My Testimony

I believe one’s testimony is always changing. You’re not growing if it’s not. About ten years ago I was a very shy girl. I was asked to give a ten minute testimony in front of 40 women. I hated public speaking and usually shook. I felt that I needed to share what was going on in my life though so I accepted. I wrote several pages and practiced. It did not last ten minutes when I practiced though. More like 3-5min. The day I went to pack my testimony and leave for this women’s retreat my printer wasn’t working very well. I printed it out and it was all smeared. I couldn’t hardly read it. On the day where it was my turn to speak I went up to front and began to speak. My nerves settled and I ended up speaking for like 45 min. Everyone was shocked. They all knew me as this quiet girl. It was very humbling for me and very liberating to let out what I had held in for so long as to what God was doing in my life. I was not very conventional in my speaking either. I hate boring things. I played a song that was very dear to me and even passed around a scrapbook of that year and all my blessings.

Ten years later here I am. What I spoke of long ago almost seems insignificant and at the time was trying to overcome the most pain I had been through. The loss of a friend. Forgiveness. My life changing in an instant. Honestly though it helped shape me into who I am today. I am no longer shy. I am confident. I am my own person. I have so much passion inside. I have learned so much about myself. So much that some people never get to learn in and of themselves. Life is not merely black and white. Right or wrong. It’s quite complex. It’s grey. It’s making decisions that don’t always have a right or wrong solution. God has given us freewill. God doesn’t normally care about which direction you go as long as you are following him and following your heart.

As a child nothing crazy happened to me. I wasn’t beat. I didn’t go with the wrong crowd into sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In fact, I became a Jesus freak. For a long time I only listened to christian music. Went to church every time the door was open. Was very against cussing and drinking and sex before marriage. I was very responsible for a 14 year old yet I never fully became an adult until my late 20s. I am an adult child of an alcoholic. I am codependent. I have a martyr and victim mentality. My dad was an alcoholic for most of my life. He had spurts where he wasn’t, but for most part he was pretty consistent at it. My mom was the main breadwinner when I was young. My dad was a sporadic worker. In high school he became a roofing supervisor and managed to stay with the company 15 years. So I guess you would say he was a functional alcoholic. It was a seasonal job and he managed to work whenever he wanted and take time off whenever also. My mom worked nights for a while and my dad worked out in the garage and went to friends a lot. I was home alone a lot after school. I did well in school. I came to know God at 14 and became very involved in the church.

So I was pretty much neglected. I never realized this until I was older though. To tell my parents that I was neglected my dad would become very angry and think I am ungrateful child and my mom would burst into tears saying, “I did the best I could. I am so sorry I am a horrible mother.” Nothing good would come from that. They don’t have the perspective to understand that it’s not about them. I am just talking about me and this is why I have certain issues I’ve had. I’ve flirted with it and not gone well. So I had to deal with it alone and still deal with it today, but I have managed to cut the cord and put up boundaries between my parents and I. They no longer control me. My mother no longer lives through me. Our relationship got really bad, but it’s on the upward swing now doing much better. Healing is in progress.

Fast forward 3 or 4 years after I gave my testimony and while I was so engrossed in my christian church bubble I get devastating news that my pastor and the secretary had been having an affair for over a year. Everything I held so dear just crashed to the ground. Abandonment, disappointment flooded my soul. I left that church and never looked back. I had seen another scandal years before this in the church that went horribly. Gossip spread. Judgments made. Hurtful comments. I decided I didn’t want to be apart of that anymore, but I wanted to get back of the simplicity of Christianity and that is God came to love not judge. A lot of people in the church thought I made a mistake leaving. Now I knew the secretary a long time and I know what kind of a person she is and her and her husband went in front of the church and shared the truth and he stood by her side. What amazing love! I admire that so much and I am one of those people that if someone cheats that’s it. It should be done, but watching them is so amazing and shows true healing. Anyways, that night she spoke I watched 200 people give her a hug afterwards and say how much they love her and whatnot. That’s when I decided to leave. I gave her a hug and meant it. I knew it was all garbage from what I had witnessed before. And sure enough some time later they were no longer members of that church. They had horrible things done and said to them.

When I left I stopped going to church for some time. I detoxed myself from all the brainwashing pretty much. I loved God with all my heart, but those Christians are not what I want to be labeled as. No more lectures about why it’s bad to be at a casino or arguments why drinking is okay or not okay. Jesus came on this earth and he did not simply hang around christians all the time. He hung around with anybody and that’s who I wanted to be. So I picked myself up and decided to live in the real world. I went to school and became a CNA. I found a job where I finally felt like I fit in. I quickly made friends and eventually we became family. They were my new “church” so to speak. We’ve often referred to ourselves as the island of misfit toys. It was during this time I really started living life. I started taking care of myself and discovering who I really am. I moved out of my parents into my own apartment. It felt so good. Liberating.

Life happens. It is always moving and things can happen in an instant and disappear the same way. As did this job. Our floor closed down and we were scattered. Thus came new dreams. I have got to get out of Indiana. And I felt like my future husband was not there either. I didn’t move to go look for my husband. I moved because the only left there I had were friends. And I love them oh so much it’s just not enough to stay. I had to get away from a declining town with not a lot of jobs and opportunity for growth. A town only be sustained by the local college. From my parents who are always enabling me and catching me when I fall. Also from their narrow-mindedness and thinking they no what’s right for me instead of encouraging and being supportive of me to go find myself and be happy. I was tired of running into people from church and school who are always stuck in the past. Most of my family are estranged or passed away.

It was time for me to move on. Take care of me! I moved out here to Phoenix with whatever could fit in my car and about $4000. No job. No family. No friends. It was by no means easy, but it was what I needed to do. I got an apartment, got a job, and eventually found my future husband. While all that is good I still struggled and do struggle. I had a lot of issues Shawn and I have had to work through and are working through. I had never worked full time in my life. I had a lot of credit card debt that my mom was paying and I had to take away from her and get rid of. It was hard work. It’s like when God brings the Israelites to the promise land.  It took them 40 years to get there and should of only taken them 11 days. Then we they get there God doesn’t say here you go it’s yours. He says to take it. In our life we have to work for what we want. It takes effort, but it’s so worth it. It’s right there. Ours for the taking.

Right now I have on my heart this need for all of us to rise up. Rise above whatever is holding us back. Move on. Forgive. Heal. Overcome. Take care of ourselves. Let go of fears or simply do it afraid. Be courageous. Do that which someone told you that you couldn’t do. God’s healing and miracles are everywhere. Take hold of them. Claim it. That freedom is ours for the taking.

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CANCUN

Shawn and I went on vacation to Cancun this past week and it was marvelous. Coincidentally, my aunt and uncle were down there too around the same time. It was so sweet to see them. It had been almost a year. They mean so much to me. We spent a whole day with them simply eating, swimming, and admiring the beautiful bright blue ocean. Words are hard to describe it’s beauty. I was able to relax and recharge. It was greatly needed for both of us. That is why we work. For those priceless experiences. Life is so good and I am so blessed. We went to a park called XCARET. It was amazing. We got to float down an underground river for an hour that was just breathtaking. It reminded me of the show Survivor. They always film at exotic locations that are so magnificent. We walked on the bottom of the ocean while fish swam past us in what looked like space helmets, but we were able to breathe normal. I learned to snorkel and can’t wait to explore that more in the future. Shawn got his fill of people as he must of talked to 20 different people and got to know them. While that part was a little exhausting it still was a blessing meeting people from different parts of the USA, even the world. Everyone was so nice.

I am so excited for my marriage. We are still fairly new and have so much life ahead. We really want to make the most of it. That means first getting healthy. We both need to lose weight and starting in June we are going to try a program called WHOLE 30. My aunt and uncle swear by it and if you look at them, it def has helped. They look fabulous. We want to travel and continue to grow and excel. Keep our debts paid off and be finically free. Also save up money for retirement and to travel and fix up our home. We have so much potential in our backyard. It is already looking good. In five years it is going to be beautiful! Spectacular.

It’s always trips like these that help me rediscover zest for life. I really am able to think. Introspection. Appreciate life again. Sometimes life gets to be stressful and overwhelming. It’s hard to see past it. You get focused on the little things, but we got to take a step back and re-examine our struggles. Most of us are so blessed moreso than most of other parts of the world. If you have family and friends that’s a big blessing. I’ve been watching The Amazing Race and there is a team on their that met for the first time on the show and they call themselves #teamfun. They are the most positive people I’ve seen on a show like that. In fact, this past week they almost came in last and it’s remarkable they are still able to be so positive, when you could understand the frustration. We need to be more positive in life. It is so much better for our health emotionally and mentally. It doesn’t drag us down, but encourages and uplifts. My goal for the rest of this year is to become more positive. Make it a habit.

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Breaking Free

I’ve been feeling a little stressed lately and finding myself falling back into old feelings and routines. Eating my feelings. Vegging out watching tv. Bottling things up until I want to explode. Despite the stress when I compare my stress now to five-ten years ago I’m happy these are my stresses. I also am realizing that I continue to learn new things about myself and the depth of my broken childhood. I am forever having the same struggles. I want to be healed. I want to grow away from these. I want to press on. These struggles hold me back from completely being myself. I crave that freedom. I don’t want to be in bondage anymore.

I am finding myself getting annoyed with people. Some big and some little. I’m more short tempered and have a bad attitude. Even though I say I am trying to be positive. I want humility and thankfulness. I want peace and freedom. I want to feel power and strength to be who I am. To be that happy and positive person. I am so happy in life. I love my husband. Things with my parents are going well. My job is okay. We are developing friendships this year like we wanted to. We have a home that has been so much fun working on. Not a lot to complain about.

I just want to get out of this rut that I guess I’m in and get back on track living life to the fullest. I’ve been getting back into reading. I am back into church. Got to keep things simple. We joined a gym and have yet to go. I need to take care of myself. Keep writing, eat better, work out, stay active and motivated. It’s all very hard for me right now. Not sure how or why it got there. We get so worried about money. That takes a toll on a person. I want to get back into counseling or go back to an adult child of alcoholics meeting. I think all that would be good for my soul.

I keep thinking of Criminal Minds while writing this. Reid is in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. Being in prison has made him do things he wouldn’t of normally done in the outside world, but in order to survive and not get walked on he had to do these things. I’m very thankful that I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I used to be, but I feel like I keep changing. Mostly good, but there are still times where it may not be all good. Lately, I’ve been feeling like the passion I once had is gone or not as vibrant as it once was. A scripture came to mind where it talks about when you’re single you can focus on serving God completely, but when you are married your focus is split between serving God and pleasing your spouse. That’s not necessarily bad. Just a different type of change. I wonder if that is going on with me. I miss my passion and spirit I once had, but at the same time I wouldn’t trade this life for the world.

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What About Your Friends?

So I’m a little angry at a friend. When my husband, Shawn and I first got together we did the whole spend every moment together, don’t hang out with anybody else. Now we’re at a place in life where we have both had a lot of broken friendships and never had a lot of people to really be there for us. We’re looking for lasting friendships. We want to spend time with others, do fun things, live life together, support one another, etc. We made a friend with this guy Chris. We both worked with him for a while then started hanging out. He started out a really good friend. He was living month to month at an apartment, not sure what to do and we moved into a house with an extra bedroom so we decided that it would be beneficial to let him move in and pay us rent. It would save him money, plus he was really lonely so he would have us as friends and we would gain extra money and have a friend around. Living with him not really a problem. The problem has became the type of guy he really is. He is very wishy washy and unreliable. He’s very immature and 29 years old. We found out he was a player and been talking to all these women. Of course we don’t care except that you’re not gonna bring all these girls over and one of them be crazy and know where we live. He’s been okay with that though. I met one of his girlfriend’s that he acted all serious about and I became friends with her and they broke up and I found out he was such a freaking liar to her. So that leaves me to believe what is he lying to us about? We seriously seen him go to church and praise Jesus and then lie his brains out and then lie to the girl and we find out and he not tell us the whole story. We have to confront him. Just as a person I am really not liking him. He asked my husband and I for free rent for a few months so he could pay off a credit card and we ended up compromising to half rent for two months and all we see is him going out with girl #3 taking her out to eat driving an hour back and forth to her house and wasting money that doesn’t look like it’s going to his credit card. Just today my husband had a talk with him and next month he is going to full rent so that’s good, but I guess it’s just the principal of everything. I know none of us are perfect, but he just acts like a jerk sometimes. Always waits til the last minute on things, which would be fine, but when it affects us not okay.

I’m not writing this to vent oh we made a mistake letting him move in. Absolutely not. We’re getting extra money and have a little more social interaction with people. However, it’s just sad this guy who is obsessed with finding love, wants to get married and have a family has been being a player to all these girls. Every time he was about to break up with one he would have one as a safety net. So he pretty much cheated on all of them, started every relationship while still being in a relationship has now started a relationship with girl #3 around Halloween and is already talking about marrying her and whatnot. This boy has so many issues with his childhood and past relationship i just think he needs to work on himself first and I can’t help but want bad things to happen to him. I don’t wanna feel like that, but honestly he could of been my long lost little brother because he reminds me a lot of how I used to be and I just look at him everyday and it disgusts me. I am surprised things didn’t turn out worse for me and so thankful I was able to turn myself around. A part of me wants to message every person I wronged and apologize! I guess the sad part of all this is that despite him being who he is we have been there for him and my husband and I know that whenever he does marry her or move out we’re never gonna see him again. He aint’t gonna have anything to do with us. He will just be in his own little happy world that he finally found love or whatever and ditch us. That is what sucks.

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You’re My New Dream

I’m starting a fresh new blog. It’s called “You’re my new dream” from the movie Tangled. I was reading my Hotel Transylvania blog from 2013 and I wrote that I don’t normally watch animated movies. Since then I now love a lot of them.

Tangled is my favorite. It describes my life story perfectly. I couldn’t come up with a more accurate movie. A young girl growing up with her mother. Her mother sheltered her. Would not let her leave their tower. She said it was two dangerous out there and that people would try to steal her hair (power). Growing up my parents sheltered me. They were not religious. They let me watch R rated movies, however for whatever reason when it came to going out with friends and going to amusement parks or on small trips with the youth group I practically had to beg. It wasn’t that I never got to do anything, it was more I missed out on quite a bit. One of my best friends lived less than a mile away on a back country road and I wasn’t allowed to walk or ride my bike to her house. Youth group would go out for ice cream after church and the answer was usually no until one night I finally begged and said what have I done to make you not trust me? I was in high school. I never did any drugs, never drank, never had sex. I was a goody goody. I wasn’t allowed to ride in the car of my best friend. They had to take and drop me off. When I started off driving I was only allowed to drive to school and back. We lived out in the country and wasn’t allowed to make a ten min drive into town. I grew up super responsible. My parents started leaving me alone without a babysitter probably around 8. My mom told me when I was 2 years old and woke up early that I knew better than to wake them up and make my own bowl of cereal. I went to King’s Island (amusement park) for one day with a friend and her church and my mom was in tears letting me go. It was two hours away. I was back home late that night. I had friends growing up, but as I look back I really never did a whole lot. I thought it was because I was so shy and maybe that’s part of it, but I think a lot has to do with being sheltered from a young age. I was taught to trust no one. We don’t talk and express feelings. We don’t deal with things head on, but when times are rough we quit and get out of them or sweep them under the rug and move on. I remember hanging out with a friend and her wanting to sneak out the window to do what? Nothing just to do it and I ran and told my dad. My dad would randomly drive by her house to show off his hot rod or to check up on us? Not sure. I went through a phase where I would not cuss. I found religion around 14 and clung so tightly to it. It gave me comfort so I drifted more and more into it until I was brainwashed. I threw out all of my secular cds and only listen to Christian and country music. I went to church every time the door was open. Went to everything bible studies, ladies group, youth group. I thought it was wrong to cuss and drink alcohol. Thought I had to pray and read my bible everyday. I would make a list of people to pray for and feel guilty if I missed anyone, even those I am not super close with. I never dated, never went to prom or dances or sporting events and those were by my choice. By the time I was 18 I think my parents wish I were going to stuff like that and thought I might by gay. What was the point though, the things I really wanted to do I wasn’t allowed. And boys? I was too scared and shy. I lived more through my friends stories of meeting boys. My goal was simply to blend in. I was always that friend though that people felt like they could open up to me. I listened and empathized greatly for them. It’s like I could feel what they felt. My parents always told me they loved me, but never encouraged me to be my own individual. Never supported me to try new things, but only to do what was safe and expected. My parents never even gave me the sex talk.

Flynn Rider: Now, I’m only picking up bits and pieces here, of course. Overprotective mother, forbidden road trip. I mean, this is serious stuff. But let me ease your conscience. This is part of growing up. A little rebellion, a little adventure, that’s good. Healthy, even.

Rapunzel: [chuckles] You think?

Flynn Rider: I know. You’re way over thinking this, trust me. Does your mother deserve it? No. Would this break her heart and crush her soul? Of course. But you’ve just got to do it.

Rapunzel: Break her heart?

Flynn Rider: [plucks grape off vine] In half.

Rapunzel: Crush her soul?

Flynn Rider: [squeezes grape] Like a grape.

Rapunzel: She would be heartbroken. You’re right.

A part of growing up means being a child first. Being a child, even an adult involves taking leaps of faith. Making mistakes. Doing things you “aren’t supposed to.” Experience is the greatest teacher. Which is probably why I failed at childhood, even adolescence. . . and part of my adulthood. I didn’t know any better. I was stuck in that tower for years and years and had no idea there was another world out there! I thought I had to try to be perfect, but I don’t. I didn’t know that I was my own person and had the power in me to discover more about myself, who I am as a person. It’s not the same as my mom and dad. My mom tried to live through me, but I’m not her. I am a different person. I was stuck…paralyzed for a very very long time. I thought something was wrong with me because I had these desires and longings inside me to be different. I grew up to think a certain way, but it’s my brain. I can think however I want to. How freeing that is.

Moving away from Indiana, from my parents was my first big act as being me, an individual with my own dreams and desires, wanting to see the world, wanting to learn what I didn’t get to. Let me tell you it took almost a mountain to move me, but I am so thankful for it. Growing up I went through friendship after friendship. I lost my grandparents. I thought I knew everything, that I had all the answers and that everything was black and white, right or wrong. I judged people, yet I struggled with myself. Something didn’t feel right. I was unhappy and depressed, never felt like I belonged anywhere.

It wasn’t until 2011 that things began to change for me. I moved out on my own because being with my parents was unbearable. I began to care for me. I stopped going to church. Went through a detox. I went to school and became a CNA. For the first time in years I had fun in school. I enjoyed learning so much and I made the highest grade in the class. I had never done that before. I had friendships. I became very interested in dating. I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. I found that with great determination and will things can change. I can be whoever I want to be. My hair can be three different colors. I began reading a lot of self help books, some Christian some not. I found myself journaling a lot. I started working a job at the hospital and in that year and a half I was there I found that I finally found somewhere where I really felt like I finally fit in. Another coworker later described us as “the island of misfit toys.” So true. None of us perfect, but I was able to have great friends. We were like family. It was amazing. Patients saw how happy I was. Some called me smiley Brooke. I loved every minute of it. Getting to know different patients was amazing. It touched my heart so much.

A new dream that actually stemmed from 2010 was to move away. It didn’t matter so much as where as it did that I went. At the time I had no idea what the struggles from my childhood had done to me. I went through an extremely stressful year in 2012 of having two grandparents in the hospital, my dad maybe having a stroke, my favorite roommate moving out, liking a guy, calling him boyfriend only to find out he was gay, having a headache last 24 days, finding out I have a tumor on my pituitary gland, missing work for a month, coming back to work being on night shift…finally only to find out they are closing down the unit. Our last day was December 23rd. Right before Christmas. I decided to go to counseling. I needed a little help. In counseling I began to realize my whole life I have missed out. I haven’t really lived and the way a normal person should get to. My dad is an alcoholic and been one most of my life. He has worked on and off since I can remember. Mom has been the stable working one paying all the bills. Taking care of dad and I. My mom did the best she could with what she new, but she also has some neurotic and ocd tendencies from her horrific childhood. Her mom was a paranoid schizophrenic. I can’t blame them for my problems. They did the best they could with what they knew, but because of their issues I had issues of my own to work through. There were consequences that were there for me from the beginning. My parents don’t understand that. It’s all or nothing for them. They think I’m telling them they were bad parents or bad people or something. No that’s not what I’m saying, but I am not alright. I did not have a normal upbringing and that has affects on me. I have to grieve those things I missed. Losses I’ve endured. I didn’t just make it through scratch free.

I moved to Arizona finally in Sept. 2014. I finally broke free of the things holding me down. I found freedom. It wasn’t easy. I was alone for the first few months. It was very lonely. I cried a lot, but when I finally let my guard down and began living trying new things WATCH OUT! Good things happened. I met my future husband. One of the things I felt God had told me before I moved was that my husband was not there in Indiana. Soon as I move BAM there he is! I felt things I never felt before. These emotions and feelings were so overwhelming. It was a God thing. I started going to church with him. It is awesome. I went to a few Adult Child of Alcoholics support group meetings and oh wow! Should of been going a long time ago and that could of answered so many questions from the get go. Life was flowing wonderfully. My first dream was moving away, finding myself (seeing the lanterns). After I moved here my new dream became my husband. And from there we have new dreams together now. It’s beautiful.

One downside though. My parents gave me about 7-9 months to ruin it all. Like the mother who went after Rapunzel. They have nonstop tried to hinder me! Tried to take my freedom away. It’s quite sad actually what they have done and the stress they have caused me in the past two years and even before then why I urgently had to move away. I been nice and tried to forgive and tolerate. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. That cord is gone. NO MORE. It’s so sad. I’ve grieved this decision months in the making. What I am giving up. My family. I seriously have nobody except my husband. Everyone wants family. It’s just so sad that in order for me to have family it comes at a price and frankly I am not willing to let their negativity create toxicity in my life anymore. My freedom will be positivity and all things that are good. The old is gone. The new is here and alive!

Let go and embrace new life.

My husband and I got married and have been so blessed to purchase a home, have good jobs and trying to build lasting friendships, possibly talking babies in a few years and traveling. Living life to the fullest. It is beautiful : )

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Hotel Transylvania

I normally do not like animated movies, in fact, I thrive on horror and action, but I really liked this one. It felt really close to where I am at in my life. I just moved back home to save money and like Mavis my desire is to see the world. I’ve been wanting to move for so long, get out there and have some new experiences and live life to the fullest. But like Mavis dad, Dracula being against it, I haven’t had very much encouragement either. My parents don’t want me to leave. They are afraid. Friends don’t understand either. Nobody can comprehend why and I’ve tried to explain it, but I get nothing.

Nothing in my life has turned out the way I thought it would. I used to want to live here forever, get a job, have a family, etc. I had a lot of things holding me here, but slowly everything has been stripped away and while it hurt, I heal more and more everyday. I’m okay, I just realize there is so much more out there than my perspective can grasp and I want to see it. I want to be apart of it. I’ve gained wisdom. I feel stuck and trapped here and I so badly want to break free. My heart is guiding me. I can’t change the way I feel.

So what if it doesn’t work out?! On to something new…I’m miserable here and if I stay here nothing will ever change. I’ve counted the cost and willing to take the risk. Plus, isn’t that what family and friends are supposed to be for? Your support system so you can go do great things and if you fail, they are still there. So what’s the big deal? If they miss me they can come visit.

3 Simple Rules in Life

1. If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it

2. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no

3. If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place

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Brave New World

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” ~Neil Gaiman

I want to fly…

“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.” ~Nicole Sobon

I’ve started a new chapter in my life. I’m preparing to move away. I’ve lived in the same town my whole life and it’s time to spread my wings and see what happens. It’s scary, but also exciting. I’m following my heart.

Goal of moving date: March 2014

Destination: From Indiana to Phoenix, AZ

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