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Protect Your Merry!

Merry Christmas, Sweethearts! I know a photo of Serena may not be your thought of Christmas, but allow me to explain why it perfectly fits mine.

I had to protect my Merry yesterday (and for the last couple of weeks, for that matter.) I mean, I fiercely protected it like Serena Williams defending her side of the tennis court. A few people got clap-backs that they inadvertently signed up for. Rude shoppers, irresponsible drivers, and inconsiderate individuals/former friends in my circle could have sucked the happy right out of my bubble, but I swatted them like flies… and I have no remorse.

They didn’t know that I had to fight to gather my Merry.

I searched for its pieces while crawling through the barren forest of my spiritual winter. I scrounged. I foraged. I created little piles of joy around me, forming a 360-degree barrier between me and the world – me and the reality of my bank account, professional transition, and life changes. I replayed fond memories of my father instead of anticipating his absence on yet another holiday.  Four months later and I still patch the holes of my heart with thoughts of his smile to protect the cracks of my heart from the cold winds of grief. My piles of Merry were the only boundaries I had to keep the darkness from penetrating my oxygenated peace.

So, you had best believe, that I defended my happy with everything I had yesterday. To keep from crying sporadically in public places, I thought of his spirit dancing and I spoke to him.

“I love you.”
“I know.”
“I’m trying.”
“I miss you.”
“Thanks for everything.”

DP1745482_xmas_trees_Glass_OrnamentsTo keep from royally cussing someone clean out (as we say in the South), I retracted the sporty backhand that was perfectly poised under my tongue and said “Have a blessed day.” Friends that were jolly as long as I supported them have surprisingly fallen away like leaves from trees when reciprocity made sense. I stuffed a little happy there too so the wind couldn’t get in and make me bitter. I let the angels do their jobs. I summoned God the Father to comfort me and the Holy Spirit to keep aerating my Merry with reminders of Truth. I let a harvest of joy grow from seeds of gratefulness. As I stood in front of my heater, I thanked Him for warmth. As my feet hurt from working, I thanked Him for the opportunity. As I drove on lesser gas as I normally do, I thanked Him for my wheels. As I coughed and massaged my face from sinus pain, I thanked Him for life. When I ate leftovers, I thanked Him for provision. Upon receiving random messages from sweet friends, I released the expectation from hearing from certain ones and truly let the peace of God rule and wash the hurt away. These things fortified my Merry and I wasn’t letting anything rob me of it.

Maybe you’re like me. You’re holding onto your Merry with both hands and you’re trying to keep it alive in the midst of hardship, loss, or change. I pray that you protect it with everything you got – that you exhibit the grit needed to keep the light in your spirit on, that you regain the strength and courage to fight for your happy, fight for your joy, and fight for your right to live. Don’t be distracted by what you don’t have. Defend what you have and let God heal the cracks. Let the angels of protection do their jobs. Hold fiercely to the Truth that Jesus was born so you could live.

You are loved.
You are cared for.
You are the reason Christmas exists, and your Christmas is Merry because Merry is a state of mind.

I love you and Merry Christmas, Sweethearts! Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo of Serena Williams courtesy of Tennis.com
Photo of Christmas tree ornaments courtesy of Lowes.com

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#bloglikecrazy: Day 14 – Honor Roll

It’s easy to convince yourself that they will be around forever. The truth is too ugly to face, but it’s not leaving. When it involves losing someone you love, truth’s invisibility materializes. If the loss is in the news, somehow it’s a foreign reality. But when death walks down your street, the chill is undeniable.

On Monday, November 14th, I watched the honor of others and beamed. It was a beautiful thing to behold. Smiles. Love. Respect. Humility. Priceless jewels that anyone would be proud to wear.

That night, I wondered how often people leave this world without knowing how pivotal they are to the lives they’ve touched. Not to sound sad or morbid, but why wait until a memorial to cry out words that could have saved a life? Created a blanket of joy? Soothed a scared spirit?

On a day like today, thanksgiving is in the air and it would behoove us to be grateful for each other and everything that brings. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Honor anyone you deem important and cherish the memories of those that are no longer in your life. Delaying your love expression inadvertently says that you take them for granted and that their presence does not take precedence in your life. That’s not what you want to say… repeatedly. Extend honor. Extend your voice. Extend your hand. Extend yourself. Today.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of craighollomanx.wordpress.com

Independence Today!

In the spirit of the 4th of July, I decided to pose this question to myself for today’s WriterUNblock (see my Instagram for more of those).

The answer:

I’m definitely free of some things… more than I was a couple of years ago. I have a few stragglers still tagging along on my full-length skirt, but they’re losing their power by the month.

If you’ve ever heard that freedom isn’t free, you received wisdom. You may have to slay some demons within your soul or prune the weeds that are stunting your growth, but you can get it. You can be free. From whatever is clutching your potential to run and fly, you can fight AND win. Battle scars just show your strength, so get some. Get free. And don’t apologize for loving yourself enough to live.

Peace & thanks for listening. ✌

#redwhiteandyou

Happy Memorial Day?

Good Day, Good People!

I hope your day is going well so far because guess what… it’s a holiday weekend, baby! *insert public jig here*
We’re not out of school yet, but at least I have a class-free Monday thanks to the service men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. I teach a significant amount of veterans each quarter and yesterday one of them said something that struck a chord within me. 
After class, she expressed her annoyance in that she hates it when people say “Happy Memorial Day” to a veteran. I asked her why although I had an idea of where she was going with the conversation. She explained that the day commemorates the death of fallen soldiers and there should not be a “happy” greeting in front of it because it’s not a happy occasion/holiday. I listened to the rest of her spill and so did a few lingering students waiting to sign the attendance roll. Considering it was a speech class and I encourage them to consider all sides or “voices” on an issue, I took the opportunity to share why someone would put “happy” in front of their memorial day. 
My deceased military family members did not die in combat, but they did serve admirably. They were happy in doing what they loved… serving. Marines, Army, and Air Force run deeply in my family tree. Memorial Day for me is not happy because they aren’t here. It’s a Happy Memorial Day because I make sure to pause and celebrate their happiness. While I wouldn’t dare compare the pain of them being missing from my life to someone who has greeted the casket of their fallen soldier, I’m not sure if I’m completely in favor of removing the “happy” from the holiday. Their ultimate sacrifice was not happy, but their gift of service probably made them happy. Whenever I see military personnel (active, reserve, or veteran), I tell them thank you for serving. No matter what. Each time, I get the same response – “Thank you ma’am, “Thank you for your support,” or “It’s my pleasure.”
Maybe it’s ingrained, but I’d like to think they are doing something that makes them happy… serving others. 
I understand her disdain for people that walk up to a veteran and saying “Happy Memorial Day” with a pasted smile. I sympathized with her past military experience where individuals were not respectful of her fallen comrades. I acknowledged that Monday may not be happy, for she is entitled to feel and commemorate as she deems appropriate.
She is the one with a “V” on her chest, not me. I cannot step into her shoes and say “I know how you feel.”
All I can do is honor my fallen with a circulation of happy memories and allow her to remember hers as she sees fit. She’s earned it.
What do you think? Should we take the “happy” from in front of memorial day? 
Peace & Thanks for listening.
Photo Courtesy of American Soldier by Toby Keith

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