How are you feeling?

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Welcome to the ninth edition of my “Gatekeeping” blog series. I shared the back story of these simple and yet powerful questions in this post.

September was a whirlwind for me and my family — from the Chicago Teachers Union Strike to planning and pulling off a surprise 70th birthday party for my mom, as well as putting together a memory book for her. I definitely had my moments and thought about taking time for some Gatekeeping here, but life got in the way (mostly for good, though overwhelming at times). Please know that though last month I did not ask here how you were feeling and what your plans were, you all were in my thoughts and in my prayers.

It has come to my attention that October in addition to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness month, it is also Bullying Prevention Month. I believe that all three of these deserve to have more attention paid and resources given to them and it warms my heart to know that this month that will likely happen more than usual.

As the mother of a nine-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter the subject of bullying it very much on my radar. I was bullied (verbally) as a child and that experience is not something I will ever forget. I want my children to be kind, compassionate and respectful people and do my best to raise them to be all of those things. I came across a story this week, that many of you may have already heard about. There is a new reporter in La Crosse, Iowa, Jennifer Thompson, who received an email from a viewer that was critical of her appearance, mainly her weight. Jennifer gave this thoughtful, heartfelt and inspiring response on the air:

My favorite part of Jennifer Thompson’s response to the man who tried to bully her were the very last words that she said,

“The cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many.”

I have found that to be so true in my own life, but often difficult to remember when I am feeling down about something that someone has said to me that was not nice.

I hope that through Gatekeeping today/this month together we can focus on the “shouts of many” instead of the “cruel words” we might be hearing from some people in our lives.

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In 2011 I lost two loved ones to suicide. I realize that there is likely nothing I could have done to change the outcome of their lives, but it is something that I struggle with as I continue to work through my grief and try to make peace with these women taking their own lives.

I know that many of us suffer in silence when we are going through difficult and uncertain times in our lives. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I am not asking you to tell me your secrets or your problems, unless you want to of course. But I invite you to check in here periodically (you can also email me or send a Facebook message) and let me know how you are feeling and what plans you may have for tomorrow.

Here’s an excerpt from the post I referenced above called Gatekeepers:

My favorite line in Meg (Hutchinson’s) song (called Gatekeepers) is, “maybe every day, in ordinary ways, we hold each other on, we keep each other here.”

I think that is so profound and it certainly rings true for me.

There have been countless people throughout my life that have been “Gatekeepers” to me. Though I have never seriously considered taking my own life and strongly believe that I will never do so, I have survived some very rough patches where my self-esteem and self-worth were severely challenged. 

I love the idea that in “ordinary ways” we can make extraordinary differences in the journeys of loved ones and even strangers that we meet throughout the course of our day-to-day lives. 

Kevin “the Gatekeeper” Briggs has done so by asking those two simple questions of strangers he has met contemplating jumping (off the Golden Gate Bridge), Meg Hutchinson has done so through her music and song, Bob Edwards has done so with the stories he shares on his radio show and you all have done so for me over the years through your comments here, your caring ways, your love and your support as my readers, fellow bloggers, friends and family members. 

Thank you so very much.

I post “Gatekeeping” blog entries now and then and hope that they present the opportunity for anyone who reads them who is having a hard time coping with challenges they are facing in life to share. That said, you are certainly welcome to comment about the things you are feeling good about too. I believe that being able to recognize and name the things we are grateful for is essential to help us find peace and joy in our lives. That is part of why I love participating in Lori’s monthly Perfect Moment Mondays.

Sometimes it’s the little things than can help keep us a float when we feel like we are drowning. Just knowing that others care and want to know how we are feeling, as well as being able to think about what we might do tomorrow has the power to help us get through tough times.

Thank you for reading. I hope that however you are doing today that you know there are people in your life (I am one of them) who care about how you are feeling and want to know what your plans, hopes and dreams are for tomorrow and the days to come.

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I will start us off by answering the questions myself:

I am feeling… 

Overwhelmed — My life has been a whirlwind lately with birthday and anniversary celebrations, as well as other commitments and responsibilities . Of course these are wonderful reasons to feel this way, but late September/early October’s cluster of these events takes a lot out of me.

Relieved — As someone who is prone to urinary tract infections, this week I thought my daughter might be experiencing her first. As it turns out she was not. I continue to be frustrated by my urinary tract issues, which I am seeing a specialist/urologist to address, but am glad that so far Abby is not having to deal with.

Proud — Tuesday was our son Sean’s 9th birthday and it is surreal to reflect on nine wonderful years of having him in our life and being his mom. Last month we celebrated another very happy September 17th when Abby turned three. Though my children can be very challenging to parent (which I realize is normal at their ages and stages), I feel incredible blessed and grateful to have them in our family and that I get to be their mom.

Frustrated — There are some things going on in my life that I have little to no control over and find frustrating. I understand that is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult to accept and make peace with at times. Though I chose not to go into more detail here, I will share that when I feel like this I find comfort in The Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference.

Comfortable — After living in our new house for over a year now, it is feeling more and more like home. Recently I found a great deal on a bedding set and rug for our master bedroom. Bob and I worked together last night to get the rug down under our queen sized sleigh bed (which was tricky) and put the new bedding on. Our room is so much cozier now and makes me smile every time I enter. It took Bob and I a long time, after looking at many houses in our neighborhood, to find one that we could afford and loved enough to want to spend the rest of our lives in. Every day I am aware of and feel grateful for what a great choice I think we made in buying and moving into this house.

Encouraged — Thank you to all those commented on my last post and who have prayed for my friend Amanda, her husband Ray and their family as he recovers from heart surgery. The latest update I heard, from yesterday, was that Ray was going to be slowly taken out of sedation. I know that his loved ones cannot wait to talk with him again. Please continue to send your healing thoughts and prayers the Thompson family’s way and if you have the resources and feel moved to make a donation to Ray’s Medical Fund, as my family did this week.

My plans for tomorrow/the days to come… 

Abby will likely return to preschool after being sick earlier this week. I hope to get a run in while she is there in my half-hearted attempt to train for the inaugural Tombstone 5K which is being held at a cemetery in our neighborhood later this month (some of the proceeds will benefit Team Nate). My mind and body could really use the exercise and I want to be in better shape for the run on October 20th.

After I pick up Abby from preschool we will go to Sean’s school for the annual celebration there of his birthday along with three classmates all of whom have birthday within a few days of each other. When the mothers of the three other children and I discovered when they were just starting out there together in first grade how close their birthdays are we decided that rather than each of us bringing treats on different days to go in together and celebrate all four of them on one day with a pizza party, cupcakes and goody bags.

Tomorrow night is the first MOPS speaker meeting of the school year and this year I am responsible for getting the speakers. I asked my friend and group fitness colleague KT, who is a yoga instructor, to come and speak to us about stress relief, along with teaching us some tangible things we can do to cope with stress in our lives. I am so excited for her presentation (the topic couldn’t be more timely for me and I believe many in our group) and for the women in my MOPS group to find out why I think she is so wonderful.

This Sunday my family and I will Walk to Remember our daughter/sister Molly and Babies Benson (our three pregnancy losses) with members of the perinatal bereavement support group called Caring Connections that I have been a part of now for six years. I look forward to the walk and memorial ceremony every year. I find it to be healing and validating to get to hear my baby girl’s name and have our other angel babies lives and memories honored in a safe place with those who understand what it means to have lost a child.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 April October 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

I get the overwhelmed, from April 29-May 23rd we have our and my parents’ anniversaries, all 3 of our birthdays plus my brother’s. One day we’ll get through all of them with no complications!

I’m glad to year Abby’s health is fine, and hope your frustrations are resolved happily soon.

Today I’m feeling frustrated because I have to rely so heavily on others just to get access to the places I have to go for my job…it’s not their job, so not their priority. I’m grossed out because we also get to carve out time today to treat our cats for tapeworms!

I’ve also been feeling more anxious about some things that Abby’s other mom has said about me, all of which are negative, untrue, and hurtful.

Tomorrow I look forward to sleeping in? Our Abby has been waking an hour earlier than her usual this week. I’m hoping tomorrow is back to normal.

Thank you for gatekeeping.

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2 Lori Lavender Luz October 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Wow, you sure have a lot going on. Happy birthday to your son, and get well wishes to your daughter.

Sounds like you have some meaningful events coming up. Thank you for gatekeeping this month.

I am feeling…eager. Just found out there is a Date Night on the horizon!

My future plans….a more relaxing weekend than we’ve had in recent weeks.
Lori Lavender Luz recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Burning bushMy Profile

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