So, my friend was getting married and I needed a dress.
I would be the only one standing with her and she wasn’t picky about what my dress should look like. She did make a request that it be strapless and floor length.
I decided to make my dress. Now, at this point I had only made myself about a few items like a maxi dress, maxi skirt, circle skirt…..you know, the easy stuff. I had no clue what to do for something more elegant, and the last thing I needed to do was mess up a dress. My friend was definitely on standby. She encouraged me to give it a go, and if it didn’t work out, well, we would have been shopping for a dress once I got into town.
It was an outdoor wedding that ended up being inside due to rain. The color scheme was turquoise and gray with orange accents. She also wanted her day to have a beach feel to it. Lots of shells, stones and colored sand were part of the decor.
I thought about making an all turquoise dress until I remembered my Mother-in-
law love giving me a moo-moo a while ago. I realized that the colors were the same as the scheme for the wedding.
It was a bit bold, so I didn’t know how my friend would feel. I sent a picture over to her and she loved it.
I was like, “ok, here we go.” I didn’t have much room for error. There was no way I could get another moo-moo, so I decided the fabric would be used best as some type of long skirt. For the bodice I used Simplicity #1606.
I didn’t have enough fabric for a long semi-circle skirt, so I made it an A-line. Of course, I made a muslin. I mean, this thing had boning and everything. I didn’t know the first thing about it. Sometimes you just have to jump in and not look back. I was able to use most of the moo-moo by cutting it right under the neckline. I used some of the remaining fabric to decorate the guest book.
Things got a bit difficult in trying to cut the skirt pieces. It was different from the skirt in the pattern so I kinda had to do my own thing, which would have been ok had I not cut the material a hair to short. I needed also to account for the back zipper to be put in. Either way, it wasn’t bad enough to throw the project out, but I did need a solution. So, here’s the dress with bodice and skirt attached.
There was a slight slant of the back zipper to the left side of the dress, and I couldn’t figure out how to remedy that. I would not be wearing it with that slant, trying to make sure the dress was twisted just right all night. No sir, no ma’am. My solution, add a removable peplum belt.
As the young(er) people would say, “That peplum is everything!” Lol. It was such a welcome addition to the dress. I was comfortable, felt beautiful, and no one knew that up under it my zipper was on tilt. Lol.
This dress form does not do it service. It looked really nice steamed and on me. But hey, this is what I could make happen for the sake of the blog. And for about $11 (moo-moo = free, bodice fabric = $6, boning = $3, thread = $1.50) and a little bit of my time I’ll take this dress any day.
I thought I could make it with the whole sleeveless thing, but alas I could not. The night before the wedding I made myself a bolero. I didn’t have my machine, so it was a hand-stitching type of situation. I couldn’t believe myself, but I was desperate. No pic of that, but if I get one I’ll update the post.
I’m starting to see things in a whole new light. We’re told that we have to do things a certain way……..walk a certain way, talk a certain way, spend our money a certain way. Who makes up this stuff? Before I started cooking from scratch (which I don’t do ALL of the time by the way….matter of fact I’m in a cooking rut even now, lol), I could only buy food prepared in some way by others (boxed or fast). Before I learned how to sew, I could only buy clothing items made by others. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those two things. I just want to emphasize that my options were limited, and I knew no other way. It didn’t even dawn on me that I could make my own spaghetti sauce instead of buying it in jars. My thoughts on our capabilities are changing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to just go along with what’s normal, because someone says it’s normal. My normal looks quite different than it did a few years ago. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with this journey, and looking forward to dropping even more of the stinking thinking I’ve been accustomed to.
Didn’t plan on the post being this long. But, hey, if you’ve made it this far you might as well go ahead and tell me something that you do now that, at one point, you thought was impossible. Or one area where your eyes have been opened, and you no longer see things the way you used to.
The following is a letter to my son. Even though he will not read this, it is necessary for my heart.
My dear son Rohan,
I was so looking forward to seeing you. Your older brother was only 9 months when we found out you were on your way. So, you definitely snuck up on us brotha. I wasn’t worried though, God’s timing is perfect. Take that back, I didn’t worry much. But I did become anxious at times thinking about if I could produce enough milk to feed you, or if I would have to supplement like I did with your brother. I knew you were coming when my body started feeling a-certain-kinda-way. Constant nausea without the vomiting, for a few weeks, seems to be commonplace with our pregnancies. Such a small price to pay for such an amazing gift. You were no exception baby boy.
Your big sister had just started her first year of homeschooling. You should have seen me trying to take her through lessons while being stretched out on the couch. I thought I was pointing to words in a book for her to read along, but when I looked up my finger was all off the book somewhere. I was too miserable to even sit up, but I tried really hard to remember I would only feel that way for a short season.
Your dad had me laughing. He said that one day I was fine, then after we took the test and found out it was positive, within 24 hours I was an absolute mess. I guess he couldn’t understand how it happened so fast. Maybe he thought is was psychological, but I say, “welcome to the wonderful world of mommyhood”. I knew something pretty much amazing was going on inside of me. Your dad had me laughing on several occasions actually. Just like he told me the gender of your brother and sister, he told me that you were a boy. He chose a name for you shortly after. That’s just how it’s been in our family. Your dad was spot on with your siblings. He lets me know when he feels really drawn to a particular name. I have often found myself in prayer a lot after he reveals the name. Once I told him I would pray the opposite of what he was praying. Lol. Talk about division. It was all in fun, but some of those names were just hilarious to me. I will probably holler (hearty laugh) if we see you in heaven and you’re a girl.
I thought I was on my way out of “baby season”, but I had to give up any thoughts of having a normal nights’ rest for a loooong time. Well, you would have just given us a new normal. Soon my mind began thinking about all the handmade items I would make for you. I started sewing last year, and it is such a joy to learn. You were going to be so cute in your little appliqued tee.
It would have been so much fun seeing you grow alongside your siblings. You probably would have knocked all of their milestones out of the park because you were trying to catch up with them and do everything they were doing. Even though we will not experience the joys of having you here with us, we will remember you. You have forever changed our numbers. And when people ask me about my children, I will not forget you. People don’t talk much about this stuff, you know? I had no clue so many women share this same experience son. I mean, you hear the numbers, but you really don’t think about it. At least I didn’t.
I’ve thought about how I won’t be able to tell you that God loved you so much that He sent His only son to live and die for you on the cross. But hey, you are way ahead of the game son now that you are with Him. So happy for you. Can’t wait to see you. I must finish out my days here, allowing the Lord to guide me through each season of life. Such a sweet partnership. I pray this can be done in faith and with much joy in each experience. You were a great reminder of the brevity of life. I have found myself not being so uptight about certain things, because hey, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
Son, you are special to me. Hopefully I can comfort others with the same comfort I have received from God concerning you. Until we meet……………..
Resting in His love, (you are doing the same)
So, I am working my way through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend entitled “Boundaries – When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life”. How sobering for me this has been. It’s been interesting to see the areas where I’ve instituted healthy boundaries without even knowing. On the other hand, to see those areas where the effects of improper boundaries are manifest is another story. So glad to be working through some of this stuff.
For example: Saying “no” when I should be saying “yes”, and saying “yes” when I should be saying “no”. I have sometimes found myself repeatedly giving my daughter a “no” at her requests to have or do something when there was no real reason why she should have been denied. On the other hand, I would say yes to requests of others knowing it was not a wise decision.
Two things in operation here:
1. Some of my yes’s have been motivated by guilt. Saying “no” to other people would make me feel bad, especially since I feel others have been so kind to me. The least I can do is pay it back. Right? No, not right at all. This giving is not motivated by love. So, my “yes” was an attempt to feel good again.
2. Some of my no’s were a result of envy. My tendency has been towards introspection. From a young age I learned that my needs were just not that important (although this is not truth). I didn’t do much asking then, and am realizing that I still have a hard time asking for what I need today. How does this play into me telling my daughter “no”. Well, I’ve realized that her requests are her attempts to get her needs/wants met. One day I really had to ask myself why I was telling her “no” so much. I could find no logical reason, but could clearly see she would get upset and I would feel triggered by the constant asking. My daughter is learning to ask for what she wants/needs because she has a history of them being met…..something I didn’t learn to do. In essence, my heart would resent those requests because my daughter was doing something I would not. Ask. Woa, kinda hurts to type that. So, I am learning to come out of passivity and create boundaries by asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). And of course, I can meet my daughter’s requests with a yes and a smile, especially if there is no potential harm to her or others.
Man, God teaches us so much through our children.
I figure it’s only fitting to bless my family with healthy boundaries.
Husband, daughter and son: (taken from book)
I bless you in the development of: Physical boundaries that help you determine who may touch you and under what circumstances, Mental boundaries that give you freedom to have your own thoughts and opinions, Emotional boundaries that help you deal with your own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others, and Spiritual boundaries that help you distinguish God’s will from your own and give you renewed awe for your Creator.
In My Handwritten Life I talked about how I have been writing in journals for several years. I made mention of my memory that leaves quite a bit to be desired since I easily forget things. Sometimes I take a couple of hours to sit down and read what I wrote in years past. It’s interesting to see the different thought processes I’ve had, and the maturity or lack thereof that has come from them. Journaling has helped me to remember the good times. The funny times. But, I shoulda shared about a stretching time too……
I remember the time when going to bed at night was oppressive. I was so plagued with fear that I slept on my stomach – every night. I did this for years. The thought of something coming for me in the night was too great for me to sleep, in what I thought to be a vulnerable position, face up. At least if something did get me, on my stomach, I wouldn’t see it coming. You wouldn’t have seen it coming either way Tamika because you were SLEEP. I know, but fear has torment and this is what I had reasoned in my mind. It had become such a part of me that I didn’t even think about it as being an issue. Until I heard these words……FEAR IS NOT YOUR PORTION. I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew I wanted to be free.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32
I needed the truth.
The truth is……
God had not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
The Lord gives His beloved sleep.
When I lie down I will not be afraid.
When I lie down my sleep will be sweet.
The sleep of a laboring man is sweet whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not allow him to sleep.
Jeremiah said that when he woke up he realized he had sweet rest.
These are not merely some random good thoughts. They are straight from the word of God (see references at bottom of post). THEY ARE MY PORTION. These scriptures along with several others became my spiritual food that I partook of daily for a while. Daily until I owned them. I continued to sleep on my stomach, but the words of God flowed from my lips. Then, one day it broke. I don’t know when it broke. I just know that one day I did not feel the compulsion to sleep on my stomach anymore. The peace of God came in where there was fear. And if I sleep on my stomach today, it’s because I want to and not because I’m plagued with fear. Truth be told I can tear up a bed. Lol! My husband often tells me there is no need for me to assault him in the night. Lol. I don’t mean to. Really.
So glad I have my journals to go back and read of the good things God has done for me. And how living and active His word is. The day belongs to the Lord. The night belongs to the Lord. I belong to the Lord. I will not be afraid. The battle against fear continues in other areas of my life. At least now, I’m well rested for the fight.
For personal reflection: What areas of your life is “fear a factor” for you? What would your life look like in this area if you were not afraid? Does the bible speak about it?
Scripture references: Psalm 127:2, Proverbs 3:24, Ecclesiastes 5:12, Jeremiah 31:26
You might want to start by reading this post for context.
High Five! is the post where I shared that we were expecting our second child. I began the post with comments about my husband.
What I shoulda said…….
There was a time when I didn’t think I would ever get married. One, because I come from a family of mostly women. Women with children. Women who are divorced or single. I didn’t see marriage growing up, and I certainly hadn’t heard it being talked about much. And two, because I really didn’t think I was worthy of being loved. A lie. This is the message my life circumstances communicated to me. If my own parents were not intimately involved with the details of my life, why would anyone else want to be. This is what I told my heart as a young child and wasn’t even aware of this reality. Consequently, I grew up starved for affection and desperate for attention. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if there was at least one man that loved me. But, at some point, each one of them walked away. Growing up, I held on to that lie and carried it around as if it had been tattooed on me. I carried this lie into my marriage, it just changed forms. Have you ever been made aware of something that was in your heart that you didn’t even know was there? The lie went from, “I am not good enough to be loved” to “Oh, he really does love me, but……it will come to end. He’ll leave at some point”. See, that’s what my past taught me. All men leave. I believed it, and had no clue that was my basis for truth.
I now know that, in our own strength, our love has limits. As much as we may want to love others purely and wholly (if we even make it here), we fall short. In order for me to move forward, there was one thing I had to settle in my heart. I am loved. I AM DEEPLY LOVED. I am deeply loved by the maker of heaven and earth. He will never leave me or forsake me. When he died, he said it was finished. And if I believe in him I would not taste death (spiritual), and we would be together forever. I had to tell my heart that this is my story and I’m sticking to it. Even if no one else, in this life, ever decided to spend their days with me……..I am loved. My Father said so. I believe it. And that settles it. Thank you Jesus.
Fortunately, I did marry a man that loves me. Does he fall short in the expression of it at times? Yes. Get this, so do I. These times don’t mean we are unworthy of love from the other. It means we are broken individuals being put back together by the hands of a merciful God who is teaching us to love like he does. Without condition.
For personal reflection: What lies have you believed about your value as a human being?
Man, as I write this, it’s early in the morning and I feel like I’ve already put in a days worth of work mentally. So many things to consider. To reconsider. To change. To add to. One of the reasons I started this blog was to let my heart live again. I talk about that in this series. After 30+ blog posts, I’m learning that my writing has been nothing more than a light massage to my heart. I gotta get the blood flowing again. Hence my proposal of amendments to previous posts in the form of a new series……”What I Shoulda Said…….” I will revisit some topics I’ve touched on before, but this time I’ll share more. I left out parts that make me uniquely me. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to mostly listening. Not that I don’t share or don’t want to share, I’m just limited . Unless, of course, you are one that has learned the art of asking ME questions. I’m an internal processor by nature. My heart is like a deep well, but those who ask the right questions generally get the goods. If I’m going to move forward with this blog, some things must change. I don’t want to write just to be writing. I don’t want to make a name or platform for myself. I must answer the questions that are not being asked. I must share the contents of the well. That is, if I really want to live a life that is poured out.
even those I hold captive in my heart.
I look out of my window and all I see is gloom. The grounds are saturated from the early morning thunderstorms. I’m sure as reports come in this morning, I’ll learn of the devastation that occurred throughout the state last night.
While the day seems dim from the storms, there is a sun shining ever so brightly in my heart this morning.
As I talked with a close friend(A) last night, I was triggered by a comment she made concerning a mutual friend(B). I was immediately taken back to a place of deep pain as I thought about my past interactions with friend(B). A place in which I thought I had been making progress. The reality is, I have been making progress. But, as I recently learned, sometimes this “healing business” is like peeling back layers on an onion.
I told myself, following a conference I attended this past weekend, that I would try to immediately take my “triggered feelings” to God. Triggers come from unresolved traumatic experiences. My goal is to not run from the pain. And when I feel it, take it directly to Jesus to see what He wants to say about it.
I gave it to Jesus last night and went to sleep.
I shared my triggering moment with a prayer partner this morning who was happy to help me take it to Jesus again and see if He had anything to say. We began by reflecting on an “appreciation moment”. This is simply a moment that you feel strong appreciation for something. Like an “ah!” moment. They generally involve warm and pleasant feelings (i.e. a baby’s smile, nature’s beauty, moment of kindness from someone, etc.). The following is what we saw.
I saw my friend(B) as young child. With terror in her eyes she clinched a stuffed animal tightly in her arms while being scolded by her mother. Jesus comes and kneels down beside her and puts an arm around her to bring comfort. He turns his head to the left, looks at me, and says, “Please forgive her.” Then, He rises up, walks over to the mother and places His hand on her heart until she calms down.
Prayer of release
Friend(B), I forgive you. I forgive you for manipulating me, whether you knew what you were doing or not. You were only doing what you knew how to do. I release you from this debt. You do not owe me anything. You do not have to pay me back for the time I lost with my other friends. I release you from this prison. I forgive you.
Of course, many tears accompanied this prayer. Oh, how I had been carrying that pain for a while now. I couldn’t help but go back to my “place of appreciation” with Jesus. He has done it again. He has taken my gloom and filled my life with His glory!
At the visions end, Jesus walks over to me and embraces me in His arms. I feel His extreme pleasure and delight. I feel like I can love again without fear of being manipulated. I feel like I can move on without the guilt of allowing myself to be taken advantage of.
I was a captive in the same prison I erected in my heart for my friend(B). Jesus came this morning to set us both free.
Whom the Son sets free, is FREE indeed! Have you tasted of the freedom Jesus brings? Does it take you back to a place of appreciation?
pic found here.
Actually this part of the story could really be referred to as “The Great Revival”. Unbeknownst to me, the part of my heart that had been shut down began to be massaged.
I did make it to college. I’ll have to dedicate a completely different post to my college years, for they were many. Lol! For now, I will share moments that were rather shocking to me then……but necessary to the revival of my heart.
If the truth be told, I did not come alive in my college career until I changed my major. I am every bit of an Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceive(r). So, you can pretty much figure out what I chose (if you are familiar with Myers-Briggs). Social Work, mixed with a little Human Development and Family Studies, and a little Religious Studies. Well, maybe you didn’t guess all of that together, but the social work part is what I’m mainly referring to. What in the world was I doing in Engineering? Oh, I know. It was that inner vow I made to myself never to be poor and never have to depend on people for anything. Ha! What foolishness. Those things never work. Can somebody say, “we were created for community?” Either way, I’m getting off track. I’m supposed to be talking about my heart and saving this info for another post. So, let’s get back to it.
Do keep in mind that turning in written assignments were like moments of terror for me. I had lost all belief that I could do this thing. It was so much easier cranking out math problems. I didn’t need my heart for that. At this point, I couldn’t run though. Either I did my share of the work, or I went home. I did have my share of the didn’t do’s, and almost went home. But, the One who calls me is FAITHFUL!
I had some really great professors. So, here is why the blood began to flow to parts of my heart again….
All I have to say is….He makes all things new. If dry bones can live again, surely my heart can too. The last part of this series is a “Letter to my heart”, coming soon.
Anything in you need a bit of reviving?
You can find (part 1) here.
I did change my major.
How about Technical Theater with an emphasis in lighting? Yep, I was on my way. Past behind me. No more criticism.
(Side note: Even though I chose to withdraw from what I thought I really should have been doing, this new major allowed me to tap into other areas of creativity. All was not lost. God is not bound by time and delights in redeeming it. The enemy of my soul thought it was over and he had won.)
It wasn’t until later on that I realized my heart was cut off to more than just writing about the One I adored. I pretty much quit writing altogether. A couple of examples should give you a better picture. These are memories with the greatest imprints.
HSSMTI – High School Science and Mathematics Technology Institute
I was given an opportunity to participate in HSSMTI. Great program for lovers of math and science. There was a research paper due at the end of the summer. So, what did I do? I stayed in the program right up until the time had come for us to begin compiling our findings in written format. Then I quit. I used some lame excuse to get out of the program. It just was not worth the effort for me to try and revive my heart. I don’t even think I was aware that my heart needed a revival. I was done with writing. It didn’t stop here though. Then I joined…..
Why did I do that? Well, again, I had a hard time saying “no” especially when I was actually wanted. My teacher was absolutely convinced this was the perfect opportunity for me. So, into the International Marketing competition I went, along with two other classmates.
What? Did you say a 30-page business proposal? I won’t be able to do that. Too bad for me, teacher was not taking “no” for an answer. Too bad for them, I contributed very little in the writing department. I was serious about being done with writing.
In both these scenarios, I was extremely paralyzed by fear. I could not live the rest of my life running every time a paper was required of me. I wanted to continue my education. Would I ever get past this?
Stay tuned for Part 3.