Friday, March 16, 2012

Dirty South Part II

I realize this trip took place in January and it is now March, but at least I'm gettin' her done!

Here is part II of my fun and fantastic trip to the South.

After our time in Savannah, we headed up the coast just a bit to South Carolina ya'll! We wanted to dip our toes in the ocean. We stopped off in Hilton Head, SC. It was dark, and the water was pretty cold, but well worth it! The sound of the ocean always amazes me. We collected some shells, played for a bit and then headed back to the ATL.

I thought I'd reinact Johnny Lingo! I'm surprised I didn't pull a muscle gettin' myself up in that there tree.

It was pretty late when we left the coast, but the drive back was so fun! I love my Jenns! (my sis & my friend) We just talked and laughed, it was the best!

One of the days, we drove into the big city of Atlanta and went to the Coca Cola museum. That was so fun! Here are a couple of pics from that:

Waiting for our 4D movie to start.

I still have one more part to this trip that I will post later. I loved just being with my friends and my friend's family. Her kiddos are adorable and kept us laughing! Her dogs were so sweet and made me want to own a dog or take hers home :)

Sadly, this week, one of her dogs passed away :(. Irish was seriously the sweetest pup I'd ever met! She was my buddy while I was there. She'd come down and sleep right next to the couch where I was and let me pet her in the morning when I'd wake up. She'd be layin' there just snoring away! When we were getting ready to leave, she stayed right by me and comforted me when I hid to cry. Here's a pic of her sweet Irish that I took. I hope that she's up there keeping my dad company for a bit.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Forgiveness. . .do I have to?

This week has been one of those weeks where my head starts filling with so many different thoughts and I start having these epiphanies and think "oooo I need to write that down!" or "why the heck didn't I think of that before?" So here I am . . . awake at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and needing to get it all out just so that I can get it straight in my head. This has been one of those really tough weeks for me. My birthday is just around the corner and I'm dreading it. I know that it's "just a day" like any other old day (literally :) ), but for me, it feels like this big life marker each year of where I'm at in my life and where I want to be and where I wish I was. This year, I'm not where I wish I was (if that makes any sense!). I never imagined that my dad would be gone this year, or that I would still not have any other children, or that I'd be filled with so much sadness from the loss of my dad. Don't get me wrong, I am amazed with what I do have! I know that my Heavenly Father has carried me through so much in my life, but I'm just at a point where I struggle big time with questioning Him and this very difficult task that has been laid before me.
This week I went to my 12 step recovery meeting. After my dad passed away, I wondered if I should still go to those meetings. I felt a bit silly being there when my addict is no longer on this earth. But it was made very clear as I went this week, that I am supposed to be there! Whether it's for myself or someone else, I do not know, but the Spirit told me very strongly that I needed to be there. My sisters were both sick this week and I had to stand on my own two feet and go all by myself. As I headed there, I actually thought for a minute "do I know how to get there?" I know that sounds silly, it's not very far from my house, but I figured out why I had thought that. Usually when my sisters and I go, we stop by the cemetery and see my dad for a bit. But I was running a little late this time and just had to go straight there. I thought back to when we first started going to this meeting and we'd go the way that I had to go that night. Now, we go to the cemetery on our way and that made me so sad!
I was amazed when I got to the meeting and the step we were on was "forgiveness". I struggle with that step because the person that I need to forgive and that I need to ask forgiveness from the most isn't here anymore. . . I didn't get a chance to do that before he left. What a powerful word though. . . forgiveness. . . how do I use it? How do I let it's magic into my life and allow it to work? There was a really amazing quote in the manual that I wanted to share:
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said:
"We cannot repent for someone else. But we can forgive someone else, refusing to hold hostage those whom the Lord seeks to set free!"
As I read and reread that quote that word "free" stands out to me. Oh how would it be to be free from this immense sadness and sorrow! How would it be to be free from this immense guilt and pain? I thought a lot about how scared I am to forgive my dad and to forgive myself. I'm scared to let it go because I'm afraid that I'll be letting him go. I've been so angry with him for so many years and I'm not sure I'd know what to do with myself if I let the pain go? Who would I be without it? (I know you're thinking . . . happier duh!!) but why is that so difficult, yet so obvious?
Then we got to a part in the manual about asking for forgiveness from the Lord and as I read the paragraph that followed, it fit me to a "T"!! As I said before, I have questioned Him so many times about why I've been dealt these cards? Why did I get picked for all of this? And in doing so, I've stopped trusting Him. Then I read this amazing quote:

As we have struggled with crushed expectations and tremendous disappointments in our lives, we may have withdrawn from the Lord, even while going through the outward motions of Church activity. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reassured that when trials come "We must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. . . .When we are in dire circumstances and want to cry, 'Where art Thou?' it is imperative that we remember He is right there with us - where He has always been! We must continue to believe, continue to have faith, continue to pray and plead with heaven, even if we feel for a time our prayers are not heard and that God has somehow gone away. He is there. Our prayers are heard. And when we weep He and the angels of heaven weep with us."

So I went away from my meeting this week knowing that the only way I can move forward is if I set my dad free! I'm so scared to do that! But I know that he needs me to do that just as much as I need to do that! I also realized that while my addict is no longer in my life, the remnants of his addiction are still everywhere and I still need help and support in order to change some of my unhealthy behaviors.

I still don't want to celebrate my birthday. I still wish that I could just postpone my 32nd celebration for another year. But it seems to be happening whether I admit it or not :). I will just have to work really hard to make my next birthday celebration be one that I'm proud of!!