Linking up with Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolates.  Readers can follow her categories or come up with 7 blessings that happened during their week.  

Scripture::  My, my, my.  Sigh.  I'm sitting here rushing to get this post out before my in-loves (in-laws) come to pick up me and my family for a weekend in Seattle.  So I'm trying to catch my breath after running around like a mad woman packing, trying to remember to bring the diapers (I forgot them on our last trip....), night light, and other kid miscellaneous items.    And remembering what God has put on my heart for this week is better than a cup of coffee.

Psalm 16:8

I know the LORD is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
After my week of reflection on my hurt and learning about forgiveness, remembering that I am not alone brings a sweet peace to my heart.

Story Teller:  I have been enjoying all the link up from The Nester.  Every October for the last 3 years she has institued a "31 Days of (You fill in the blank)."  There is something there for everyone.  Along with going through my 31 days, I want to encourage you to read Mandy's 31 Days about Tongue Taming.  It has been wonderful reading about it when I want to say some really horrible things for my hurt, but am changing my words to reflect God instead of myself.

Social: We got to have some good quality time with our friends, Joe and Jenna, on Tuesday night.  I love those two.  When we get together my heart is warm.  I get to put everything out there and I just love being with them.  It makes me sad that they are moving to Seattle soon, but I have been assured that there is PLENTY of room for us to visit!

Silly/Snapshot: This little blessing took place last night.  She is having such a hard time letting go of summer.  And with all the smoke, summer was cut a little bit short.  Beginning October 1st, she had to start wearing socks and she thought it was the end of the world!  So we had a little bit of fun dressing up for bedtime.  Mind you, her swimsuit is on the OUTSIDE of her pants!  I love this little girl!
Sips/Sweets:  Another combo blessing for today as I'm racing the clock!  To help me sleep I've been savoring the Sleepytime Teas by Celestial Seasonings.  I have several different flavors and am thoroughly impressed by them.  Usually things like that don't work on me, but oh my.  It. Is. Wonderful!  Though I did make the mistake of having a cup before a posting and prayed that there wasn't any "dkjfaoseri" in my post.  I looked in the morning and confirmed I was good. : )

My sweet tooth was in full gear this week.  Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!  Ya can't beat the $1.28 XL Hershey's candy bar or the practically free container of Rocky Road ice cream.

Wahoo!  I got it off in time!  They are here.  Blessing
Five Minute Friday
I'm linkng up with Lisa-Jo Baker at Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday.  Don't forget to do yours and link up
back to her site.
  5 "simple" minutes of your day to just write about a one word topic.  I say "simple" because sometimes those 5 minutes seemto drag and I'm like, "Uh...what just happend?"  So just let it flow.  Let it be free.  If you only get a few words out, it's okay.  Just write. : )

I never thought I would actually WELCOME the opportunity to hurt.  Who in their right mind would say, "Thank you for this hurt." ?  Certainly not me.  But I'm changing my mindset today.  I WELCOME the hurt and the pain.  Why?  Because that just makes me cling more to my God for strength and encouragement.  Without this hurt, I would still be where I was several days ago.  I would be "just okay" with my relationships. 

I want more than superficial relationships.  I want to be me.  I want to be WELCOMED with open arms, no strings attached.  I want to say, "This is who I am.  This is me!"   To be WELCOMED is such a fabulous feeling.  There's not jockeying for the spotlight.  There's no pretending.  It's raw.  It's real. How many of you feel WELCOMED in your home, your church, your place of employment?  And if you don't feel WELCOMED would you change yourself to fit the mold or would you become the person God has intended for you to be?   

For myself, I'm going to take this opportunity to WELCOME the hurt so that I can WELCOME the healing.  I'm giving it ALL to God so that I can WELCOME the changing of my heart.  I can't change other people, no matter how hard I try.  If I have expectations of others, I'm going to be disappointed.  If I don't address issues at all or if I don't address them in love, I will be bitter.  If I don't love unconditionally, I will be alone.  So again, I claim my hurt.  I WELCOME it in my life so that I can learn from it and make changes in myself to become a better person.

End 5.
Please join me for the next 31 days and walk with me through the healing process.

The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out all the amazing 31 Days stories.

"We've shared many smiles and many tears, but nothing beats the laughter!"
I called my friend and mentor to tell her what happened between me and my parents because I knew she would understand,.  She walked through it all with me in high school and I knew that I would find comfort in our conversation.  However, out of her mouth came something I DID NOT expect.

"What's going on?"
"My parents cut ties with us." (I'm sobbing buckets of tears. . .)
"BAH HA HA!" (Cue laughter for a few seconds.)

I was a little stunned.  It even caused me to pause ever so slightly.  I started thinking, "Did she HEAR what I said?  My parents NO LONGER want to have a relationship with me and my family!"

Um, yah.  She did hear me.  And yes, she did understand.  She understood so well because she went through a similar situation.

Throughout our conversation, she just kept chuckling.  I love that through the pain she could help me find the laughter within me.  For the last 16 years she has remained constant in who she is to me.  Nothing has waivered, not even a little bit.  We've had our share of ups and down while I was in high school, but she didn't love me any less.  Her love was not and is not conditional. 

"Katie," one of the few people who can call me by that name, "you cannot change them.  But what you can change are the tapes that they created that you continue to play in your head.  That's what you can change."

Her words of encouragement and her chuckles, even for those few minutes, were so precious to me.  When I felt like I wouldn't be able to pick up the pieces, she offered up her wisdom and experience.  Oh how it felt to laugh.  It felt so good. 

I find it strange that I can laugh at all.  I suppose it's my coping mechanism.  My drug of choice.  My temporary fix. 
"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Proverbs 14:13
I don't want the grief to remain.  I need to learn to let go.

What do you have a hard time of letting go?
Please forgive me for forgetting to acknowledge the basis of the 31 days.  The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out her 31 days (#13) here.

It's kind of funny how God talks to us. 

I've been trying to figure out what kind of relationship I truly want with my grandparents.  Last Wednesday I started writing a letter to them because I knew they were upset with me.  Well, I didn't really know it.  That has just been their M.O. for as long as I can remember:  Get angry, give me the silent treatment, Kate calls and asks how they're doing and life goes on.  Or so I thought.  So any way, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio waiting for Jada to finish up Cubbies for Awanas, when while I'm writing, this song came on.  Now if you're like me, you just sing to the song or listen, but not really know what you're saying or listening to.  At this particular moment, I dropped my pen to just listen.  God wanted to talk with me and I cranked up the music.
I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they
know it's wrong
Don't they know it's wrong
Well maybe there's something I
But how could they treat me like this
It's wearing out my
The way they disregard

This is love or this is hate.
We all
have a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them
They don't
know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
times seven times
Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've

This is love or this is hate.
We gotta a choice to

Oh Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've
been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel
like the one losin'

Why do we think that our hate's gonna break a hard
We're rippin' arms over wars that don't need to be fought
pride wont let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but
it's just to burn them down
We think our pain is own apologies and get them
to stop
Well truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of Your mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

Oh Father won't you forgive
They don't know what they've been doin'
Oh Father, give me grace to
forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'
I feel like I've been

Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the
one losin'
This song is very popular, but since Wednesday, I have heard it no less than twice a day on the radio and I only have the radio on to and from work.  The lyrics, it feels, like they were meant just for me.  God knows just what I need to hear.  And let me tell you, I just want to give thanks to HIM because I can't do this alone.  I also want to thank my husband, who has been a wonderful leader for this family.   He stood by my side during the altercation and continues to stick by me in love and support.  I am so blessed.

I didn't think forgiveness would come to me as eagerly as it has today.  And I'm talking about TRUE forgiveness.  The kind where you know it because it speaks to your very core.  Sure, I'm still mad as hell, but God has softened my heart for me.  My heart is malleable in His hands.  He has surrounded me with people who are letting me vent, but are also leading me down the path of forgiveness.  I can speak freely.  I am free to be me, which is a concept that I struggle with, but I don't have to worry about the outcome.  Since forgiveness doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as I would like it to,I'm glad I have my support team.

Community. . .It helps the forgiveness medicine go down.
Lord, hear my cry.  Take my heart.  Mend it. Help me to forgive. Walk me through these words.
Well look at that.  I'm still breathing.  Thank you to everyone who sent a message and/or called to talk with me today.  This experience has shown me just how important community is in my life.  I love you all.

So what happened?  How did we end up like this? 
Grudges, hurt, anger. . .unforgiveness. 

Un-for-give-ness.  This is how it all started. 

My grandparents have been harboring hurt for far too many years.  I don't think they got the chance to heal from the death of their daughter, my mother.  She has been gone 20 years.  So if you think about it, there has been a lot of hurt that has been building upon that cornerstone. They have allowed any and all little grievances to find a way to embed themselves like splinters deep down in their hearts.  During our short conversation on Saturday, they could only reference the past hurt that I caused to them while in high school.  Those issues happened about 15 years ago.  My hurtful tongue wants to use hateful words.  And my heart wants to harbor anger for them being angry. 
But I REFUSE to be like them in that way.  I want to take the good qualities about them and incorporate those into my life.  I want to get rid of the poison that has been slowly killing our family.  I want to change what we've always thought was normal.  But I need to forgive as they have not forgiven.

God has gently whispered:  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."  (Matthew 6:14-15)  Now THAT scares me.  My heavenly Father not forgiving me, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me.  But I'm NOT the heavenly Father.  Forgiveness does not come easily to me. 

So Lord, I pray that with your continued guidance, you will help me and my family learn to forgive. 
Breathe.  Just breathe. 

This is what I have to keep telling myself after what has happened.  This is so surreal.  I don't know if I can fully process everything that is floating around in my head.  My head and my heart are throbbing.  Throbbing with such pain.  Pain that I didn't know really existed in my soul.  I knew it could happen, but what person, what child could expect the unexpected?

The two people I grew up with have said that their love is conditional.  That their love comes with expectations.  Ouch!  I feel like I have been punched in the stomach and every bit of breath in me is gone.  Who took my breath away?  My grandparents.  My Mom and Dad who have raised me from birth since my biological parents are no longer in the picture.  My Mother passed away when she was 26 years old and I never met my Father.  By taking on their roles, they were supposed to take on every part of the role, which I thought included unconditional love.  Or so I thought.

I have so much anger and pain in my heart right now, yet I feel so numb.  Though in my numbness, I am seeking out the Bread of Life. 
Ephesians 4:26
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I have heard and read these words many times before, but now their truth is screaming at me.  I don't know how long it will take to let my anger and hurt go, but I know I need to do it.  I also know that I will need to forgive them 

I hope that in these next 31 days I will be on my way to healing my emotional self, walking side by side with my Forever Dad in heaven.

Hey look at that...I'm still breathing!