As a girl I remember…
chocolate gravy spooned over buttermilk biscuits,
sitting in the pew every time the church doors opened,
ferocious squabbles with two older sisters,
a dog named Sandy who followed me to school,
picking the garden in the sweltering heat,
fried fish and hush-puppies,
laying in the lush grass dreaming of the future,
Sunday dinners and church socials
…it was the southern way of life.
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee meant certain things.
It meant you better say “yes ma’am” and “no sir.”
You better learn to like fried okra, grits, and cornbread.
You better not disrespect your elders.
You better learn the Ten Commandments and keep them.
You better look your Sunday best for special occasions,
but you better not be prideful about it.
You better mind your manners and you better be nice.
My upbringing taught me many good things…
But not everything…
Just like you, when I was young I dreamed of what my life would be like when I grew up– the places I would go and things I would accomplish. I imagined so many scenarios, but never once did I imagine the life I have been given. Never did I dream I would be the mother of a child with profound special needs. Never could I have imagined the challenges and heartbreak we would face as parents of a child who will never speak, walk, or live independently. It is a life no one “dreams of,” but many end up with. My early years did not teach me how to deal with this reality. There was no class on how to heal a broken heart or keep your life from sinking.
When I dreamed of married life, I dreamed of growing old with the husband of my youth. I was fortunate enough to marry the man of my dreams, but our life together was cut short when he passed away unexpectedly in 2017. Not once in my dreaming did I think I would face this season of my life alone, but here I am. No one mentioned this possibility along the way, or how to cope. What do you do when the bottom falls out?
I know a lot about disappointment and heartache. You probably do too. Here is what I have learned. There are some tricks to keeping your boat afloat in a storm. There are ways to adapt and overcome in this life – but they do not come naturally to most of us and there is no manual or checklist to help you cope.
Redefine This Life is a place where we can meet and talk about how to manage the unexpected challenges of life. It offers a new way of thinking and “being” that gives hope to those seemingly hopeless situations. I have found remarkable power in learning how to redefine the negatives into hopeful possibilities, but there are some steps you must take to make it stick. I have some hard-won truths I want to share with you so that you have a better chance of not just surviving, but thriving.
Join me on this journey and we will learn together how to Redefine This Life. It will take some focus and determination, some retraining of your mind, but you can do it.
We can do it together!