Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Everyday Family

August 6, 2014 (Draft that I decided to hit Publish on)

No family I know depends on a holiday, an occasion or a invitation to spend time together. Families... Sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins... Don't need a special occasion to get together. If I'm going to be somewhere, whether it's a store, park, picnic, cookout, or ANYWHERE and I think you'd also enjoy it, I'm going to invite you. And for the most part, in my family, everyone else does the same. We're a family and we do things together. No matter how random, uneventful and mundane... we do it TOGETHER.
I see my mom, on average, twice a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. But I KNOW that it's not gonna be...(thinking of the next upcoming celebrated holiday) Labor Day? Columbus Day? Thanksgiving!!! It's not gonna be Thanksgiving before I can expect to hear from my mom again. Or my sister, or my grandparents. And I can consider that, quite possibly, I should give family members that operate differently than this a break but... Nah!
My life after marriage and Mali got a little hectic and I probably started visiting my grandma less than before. But because we're family (and she's crazy, lol) she's not going for me not visiting. And my grandfather, who isn't much of a talker really, instigated my not visiting. 
(I can imagine...) Pop pop to grandma: Tamika must be upset with you, she hasn't been over in awhile. OR
Grandma to Pop Pop: Tamika hasn't been over in awhile.
Pop Pop: She must be upset with you.

Grandma texts me: are you upset with me? You haven't been over in awhile. Your pop pop says you must be upset with me. 
My reply to grandma: FOOLISHNESS! Don't let pop pop try and break us up. I'm not upset, just been busy. Currently at a bday party with Mali and Ki. (Takes pic of Mali and a selfie with Ki and sends:)  
Note to self... Go visit grandma soon. 
And guess what? I appreciate that. I appreciate my grandparents checking me for getting too busy with life. I appreciate them noticing they hadn't seen me in awhile and calling me out on it. I appreciate them thinking about me and wanting to see me and loving when I visit. I appreciate them being active in my life, caring about me, and showing it. I appreciate them being everyday family. And same for my siblings. We do things together, and mostly sometimes, we do nothing together and that is just as rewarding. 
I even don't go too long without seeing my aunt. We have separate lives but if she needs me to be somewhere or do something, I don't mind showing up and being available. We make it so our separate lives meet up, cross paths, become joined lives. Life just won't pass and next thing I know it's Thanksgiving and I'm getting a text message with a "Happy Thanksgiving!" No! We're spending the weeks before Thanksgiving messaging back and forth planning to spend it together, cause... That's what families do. I don't know what I'd do without these people and I'm so thankful for them.
I'm going to miss my sister when she moves away, but it'll be distance not desire keeping us apart.

I am thankful for my "everyday family".

I try to pay attention to when God is trying to get my attention. He isn't usually subtle with me. Or maybe He is and I just don't pay attention until... until it gets too drastic. God sees me over here in my comfort zone and KNOWS it takes an elephant to move me from it. It's shameful almost-- what I allow until it gets too large to avoid. Too big to bear. Too much to pretend like it's not uncomfortable. OK God, I see you. I am paying attention. You want me to do something different. And I am here for it.

I am the Comfort Zone Queen. I get used to the circumstances and I stay... good, bad.... I get comfortable in it. Like a pile of laundry on the bed. It for sure needs to be folded and moved. But no... I'll reposition that pile all over the bed and lay comfortably on it. I'm clearly no princess... (reference the princess and the pea story). But I am!!! I am a child of The King, that makes me a princess by default. I can't be comfortable with the pea lump of laundry in my back. I feel it, don't settle and sleep there anyway Tamika!

I need my comfort zone rocked! Make me uncomfortable Lord, so you can use me. Here I am! Show me what it is you want me to do. I am here for it.

I notice this as a pattern though. I get stuck.

(Unfinished Draft from April 2015 that I hit Publish on anyway) 

Better Together

It'll be short and sweet today. But I was sitting here thinking these thoughts and when my thoughts consume me, I like to write them down. And here we are...

Once upon a time, not too long ago, I used to worry alone. I'd keep my concerns, problems and troubles to myself. I didn't ever want to burden someone else with what I was going through. I figured I could just handle it all alone. One day it became too much. I just couldn't hold a problem anymore, I felt like I was drowning, and I needed a rescue. Or I at least needed someone else to know that I was drowning so they didn't just find me drowned and dead. Know what I mean? I needed to tell someone what I was going through. I could feel life feeling heavy, I felt overwhelmed and I just knew things were about to get hectic. When it all came to a head, and it surely would, I wanted someone else to know that it was coming.

At the time, my mom was my closest ally. And no matter what shame I was feeling about the situation I'd gotten myself in, I knew I needed to tell her. And so I did. There wasn't an easy resolution, (I wasnt even expecting her to have a solution) but not long after I unloaded my worry, it did come to a hectic, explosive head and eventually was resolved. The energy spent on worrying and hiding became energy to refocus and resolve. The lighter load, and having told someone, made it easier to face the struggle. And having told someone made it so I was not facing the problem alone. They had answers I didn't.  They encouraged me to have hope when I felt hopeless. And most importantly, they knew to pray when I couldn't.

The lesson I learned in all this... Never worry alone. Someone may have answers you don't. That has become my going forward, working, life mantra. Never again have I carried a problem alone.
Why should I be the only one having my thoughts consumed by this trouble? Let me call my mom, she may have an answer. She may know something I don't. She may be able to stand with me, support me, hug me. In hearing my problem, she may know just what needs to be done. Or at the least, offer me the comfort I wouldn't ask for.

This morning I had a worry. I pondered for 5 minutes on how worried I was going to be, and how worried I was going to make someone else based on my worry. That was 5 minutes of worrying wasted.

*texts Gigi*

"Listen. I hate to worry people unnecessarily. But I also hate to worry alone so..... I was going to wait but I couldn't."

Gigi texts back 2 seconds later with simple answer that put the whole worry to rest! 10 minutes later, worry completely dissolved. Had I never told her, I would've spent countless moments fretting over nothing.


Why did I just waste that time worrying myself crazy? Never again!

I share this only because I live by it. It saves me. Thinking on it consumed me this morning. I love these kind of life reminders. And I want everyone to save themselves from worrying. I am living well and I want everyone to be well. We're all better together.

God put us here together for a reason. He uses His people to care for one another. To help one another. To support one another. To bless each other.

"Bear one another's burdens..."

"Therefore comfort one another..."

"Stir up one another in love and good works, not neglecting to meet together... but encouraging one another..."

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

There is great peace in sharing your troubles. 

Living my peace.

Love, Tam