It Ain’t No Rainbow~Audrey

It’s time for a “half year” check in (more or less; I’m always late these days). I’m having a tough time in my life right now but I am trying. Here’s where I stand.

 

“Just Let Me Know”

 

I have worked hard on connecting with friends. I wrote two very heartfelt letters to friends I thought of as “wayward.” Not that they are bad, but they have a life that has helped them close up and not reach out. So I tried to reach out but no response. But I feel better about my stance with them. I also posted a birthday post on a friend who my only contact is on Facebook. We were very close in high school but she’s changed and while I understand we grow, I wish we weren’t complying separate.  I didn’t expect her to reply; she didn’t; but I tried.

 

I failed at staying in touch with current friends. I’ve been so focused on my specific problems that I haven’t been much of the “reach out and touch someone” person I had been. Maybe I can fix that this week.

 

“And, God knows, It’s the Only Way to Heal Now”

I’m losing this battle in the war of my health. I stope exercising and sometimes just stopped caring. I’m stuck in rut. I’ve been busy and very stressed which chokes my body. My chores don’t get done but I am so tired of not feeling good. My fatigue level is high. I am upset because I worked so hard to get out of this rut and here I am again. I am trying to deal with the idea that these periods will happen because it is a CHRONIC illness. But it’s hard to adjust

 

“In the Heart of the Free World”

I thought about giving up the other day. I was tired and I had gotten a lot of flak for my opinions on pop culture (of all things!). This song played in my head and I remembered I wasn’t trapped in Russia like some people. I could choose as I always have to ignore people who are mean because they don’t like the minority opinion. I am me and I don’t have to like what everyone else does.

 

“Spinning like a Gravitron When I was just a kid”

With all that is going on in my life, I am stuck in one of depressive spirals. It’s not as bad as some instances but my fatigue isn’t making it better. In some sense I am happy but have too much stress. It’s clear when you look at my habits when I’m in a depressive mood; I get obsessive. At this point, it’s reading (especially all the Rick Riordan novels) and Final Fantasy XV. They keep my mind of the bad stuff and one glace at my Facebook and you can see the obsessiveness. Lol

 

“I’ve Forgiven It All”

I’m not mad at my exes. But I am working on wishing them a happy life. I know I can check off all but one of them (but that’s another story}.

What I have realized is that I don’t like the idea that my exes think I might care. Interestingly, I was commenting on a mutual friend’s Facebook where she was paired with Captain America. She was talking about how he was too goody goody for her. My ex then comes in and says something about him being a Nazi (that is Being erased this May and it never happened so ha!). To any other person I would have replied “shut your dirty filthy mouth” but since he was an ex I wondered if he thought I was angry at him still as opposed to the Nazi. I decided not to post but that’s when it occurred to me, that I wish them well but I don’t want them to think I actually care about them. Is that a paradox?

 

“I Refuse to Look Back Thinking Days Were Better Just Because They’re Younger Days”

So I was in the shower the other night and having an objective look at my past. For every great memory, there is a cringe worthy moment. I truly realize that things were never perfect, just different. I am not enjoying now enough because it is different. So the focus going forward is to celebrate the different.

 

“We Can Never Go Back”

 

Nothing can be the same, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

 

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Excuse the Excuses-Renee’

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.-X

My 20s are gone, I spent a lot of this time making excuses for why I shouldn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t do something.

Time, I mean who really has it?

Money? 😂😂

How? How would I get x,y or z done.

Or worse yet, I’d cheerlead another’s dream while choking on my own. But why? Why would I not do my best? Or take more chances? What in the world stops (or stopped me from moving forward?).

Truth is, I never saw myself as a leading lady, if I were in Destiny’s Child, I’d been Kelly. Id be Ringo, had I been a Beatle. Why? Because I’ve always put myself second(sometimes third or fourth). My pain, my dreams…I always felt weren’t as important as someone else’s and …gosh I dont have it that bad.

I’ve learned to shrink back while others push forward. It’s self taught and I don’t really know when that flip switched for me. As a child and teenager (although yes I had some awkward stages), I always, always believed in myself. Believed that I could and dang it would make a difference…but somewhere after I crossed the stage after graduation….reality and self-doubt smacked me in my face. I don’t think I saw the change in myself and thoughts until recently. Until I stopped blogging for Rad7even(because what radical thing am I actually doing) or for HER (what advice could I possibly give) or stopped attending church…or fellowshiping with my girls. Maybe it was moving to Birmingham and finding out how hard it was to connect to another living person that i wasn’t married to..and heck..trying to figure out how to connect with my new husband.

Somewhere between the move and the marriage the miscarriage and new babies…I dropped something. The past four years I’ve learned a great deal..but I lost myself.

I’ve made excuses for the past four years, I’ve supported other people’s dreams while purposely sabotaging my own……but why??

I honestly dont know, but I’m refusing to let my 30s be another lost path on this journey.

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Link in the Chain~Audrey

 

Author’s Note: This was written in January but other pressing concerns caused this blog to be posted out of order.

 

 

 

I sit here, a week after the kids have left. A lot has happened since they left. We got a new president, the world came together to march for the rights of women. And I learned a new lesson.

 

I have a habit of being a rescuer. I want to help other get better and meet their potential. I want to be the one that helps them rise up and be the personal God meant them to be. This is all well and good. It’s noble and it gives me self-satisfaction. But I have to remember I am just a cog in the huge wheel. While the kids were here, I realized I couldn’t be everything someone needed.

 

img_8853We had 10 kids in our December group. This was a pretty good group and they had the youth exsuburance that comes with a group of kids. I noticed one girl who didn’t flock to this energy. She instead liked to chill and would often sit off by herself just watching everything. As someone who needs some time to sit and rest, I would sit next to her and talk to her. This was all she needed: someone to come up to her, to care for her.  It was just a simple action, sitting next to her, but it meant the world to her.

 

It was easy to connect with Sasha. I’m an introvert.  I like to chill. We used Google Translate and talked about our lives. If we had brothers and sisters. What we like to do. Who our favorite authors were. We spent a lot of time together but I was happy when she went off with her friends or other volunteers. In fact, about a week before she left, she told me I was her only true friend. It brought tears to my eyes.

 

This was a huge reveal that was supposed to make me happy. And in some way it did, but it made me sad. I wanted her to have many friends and, loved ones. So I went about getting her to talk to other and expanding friends while still being a stable pat of her life. I wasn’t going to disappear and she seemed afraid of hat when making new friends. I had to explain we can share friendship.

 

The day Sasha left hurt. She was very calm and handled everything maturely like she did the entire img_8177month. I only saw her cry once. We had made boxes as a craft and I gave her mine I made with our picture in it. Even then she didn’t want me to see her cry.

 

I talk to her some on Facebook but it is hard connect. I have told her that I miss her and still love her even though she was far away. She shared a picture on Facebook of us and I know that she still loves me.

 

My job is full of these moments. Where I get to share with the kids and help them understand they are loved. I miss Sasha so much. I have been praying for people to step up in her life. She needs more than just me to become the woman I know she can be. But at least I could plant a seed and be part of a chain that will help her potential.

 

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

 

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

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L-O-V-E ***DaniGee***

Love. This four lettered word can bring on palpations, giggles, blushed cheeks and daydreaming. It can also cause anger, doubt, and tears. I decided for this post to define what love looks like to me.

Love is French fries with Heinz ketchup and not gaining any weight.

Love is having my Godbabies run up to me and give me hugs.

Love is not always hearing what I want to hear but what I need to hear.

Love is watching the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with my favorite person.

Love is having my mom buy my favorite chips even when she knows I’m on a diet.

Love is having multiple conversations with my best friend on several social media simultaneously.

Love is looking in the mirror and smiling at who I see.

Love is when someone lets you know that they have been listening.

Love is random gifts in the mail.

Love is the sun on my face on a beautiful spring day.

Love is completing the perfect squat.

 

Love is….

love-verse

What does Love looks like to you??

 

Keep Pushing,

DaniGee

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Through The Looking Glass-Renee’

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27‭-‬28 NKJV

How do you feel God speaks to you? Does He come in a still small voice,  use a friend you trust? How do you experience God?

Usually for me, it comes from something mundane, something easily overlooked…or some may feel I read too deeply into everyday things. I am of the belief, that if we pay attention He can speak to us using just about anything.

A few weeks ago, I watched Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice In Wonderland. I won’t give up spoilers, but Alice says something in the beginning that made me think, “time is a thief”. It can definitely feel that way. The older I get the quicker time slides through my fingers. My 20s flew by…I can only imagine how my 30s will go. But time always makes you think,  we always fear time wasted or we spend time wallowing in regret. Time does not heal all wounds, in fact sometimes, time is the very thing helping the wound to fester. Which brings me to the opening Scripture. In this verse Jesus tells Thomas to feel His scars, the scars that days prior had lead Him to His death. Why would a risen Savior have fresh scars? Why had time and most importantly the miracle of resurrection not healed them? When Jesus brought Lazarus back to life there’s no mention of him not being fully restored,  so why would Jesus not be made “whole” again?

I never have stated that I’m a Biblical scholar by any means, but I think it’s a lesson for us today. Healing doesn’t always mean restoration. God did not bring Baby Smith back to me, God did not allow my cousin to not be murdered. The scars are still there, at certain moments like Jesus,  I almost feel that someone could touch them. But the scars are proof positive that I am still here. That for someone who maybe freshly scarred an example that healing doesn’t always look like total restoration. Like Jacob after he wrestled with an angel, maybe you may limp afterwards. There is no shame in the limp…or the scar.

It’s simply proof to some that you are indeed living.c2e942616225371554a0c53dfff4ba99

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Loss~Audrey

Author’s Note: This post was begun during the beginning of January to focus on the idea that it’s ok to mourn celebrities but before I could finish it, my whole world change and the post took on a new light.

Maybe Death Gives Me One of Those Fresh New Starts


2017 was rough for many. It saw a lot of deaths for people they personally knew and for a variety of celebrities. I (and others) were heartbroken for the loss of Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin and David Bowie. There were other people who would make fun of people who were saddened about the lose of these icons. As if not knowing they personally made the loss unpainful. These people were actors and singers who played character or sang songs that we could relate to. Some of these characters and songs we grew up with and some whose lives were cut short.

In December, quietly, M. Lawrence Abrams passed away. You may not have heard of him. He had a prolific career and worked with the likes of Tina Turner. In his last years he was involved with one of my favorite bands: 100 Monkeys. Fans of the band are loyal and had more access to the members than any other band I have ever followed. I have met them on numerous occasions and was very fond of the man dubbed Uncle Larry. He was polite, respectful and deep. He had no qualms being in a band with four younger fellows; he could hang with the best.

He played a variety of instruments and only fronted a few songs for the band. “Invisible Monster” remains a 100 Monkeys classic and only Uncle Larry could give the soul the song needed. The band had some issues disbanding a few years ago due to the band members other projects. But in the last year, they had released new music together. Fans had hope of the revival of the good old days. But then Uncle Larry succumbed to cancer and that hope was shattered. 100 Moneys can go on but it will not be the same.

I cried and I shared the story with my family and friends who knew of him and his music. But I didn’t have too long to grieve; the next group of orphans were coming and I was busy for their arrival. I put away this blog post to post when they were gone once I had time to really give it the thought and emotion it deserved. But what I didn’t expect was that I would be dealing with an even bigger loss: the loss of one of my orphans.

 

It Only Matters if We Care Now

Last June, we brought our first group of summer Ukrainian orphans to Bridgestone. We had siblings, girls and boys of a variety of ages. There were two particular teen boys who liked to push the boundaries and they had to go head to head with me. But a mutual respect grew between us. They understood they were loved even though they had to be told no. When they left we were all in tears and hugging one another. I knew that all these boys needed was to someone to help them get on the right path; they were not lost for good.

A few of the kids were pursued for adoption but these boys weren’t. Sadly, not every child gets adopted but all we can do at Bridges of Faith is try.

Flash forward to this past Tuesday, I am going about my day writing grants and filing, typical things I do when the kids aren’t here. I came across a post by one of my friends that an orphan had asked for her prayers because his friend has died. My heated plummeted. We are connected by the same orphans. I immediately went into research mode to seek out the story. Sadly, I found that I did knew the boy who died: he was the quiet one of the teen duo mentioned above.

Finding out what happened was hampered by language and time barriers. But I knew this much, he was stabbed and fled for help but bled out. His friends are devastated. I connected with the other pair of the above duo; it was true. I found an article written up out the even and sent it to one of the translators know for details.

Sasha. He was quiet and wanted love but was scared because he had been hurt. His best friend was a leader who helped protect both of them. Their rebellion was protection against the harsh realities of their world. At Bridgestone they felt safe. I saw them both smile. These were rare and beautiful gifts which I treasured. This boy had potential and could live a productive life.

I think this is where I was the most heart broken. He was gone at 16. He was killed brutally in what turned out to be a triple homicide. Alcohol played a major factor in the incident. He was gone stupidly. His potential gone. His sweet inner heart gone. And I couldn’t help him. I could not save him from this fate.

I know, I know. We can’t save them all. Days later, I am finally starting to look at this with a clear head. I did help him. I showed him love. I didn’t just talk Jesus to him, I showed him the love of Christ through action. I got to be a ledge for a month when he lived in avalanche.

This is why I do what I do. Just because I can’t save them all doesn’t mean I can’t try.

Loss comes in all forms. Each death of a precious life affects the world and the souls on it. Whether you have lost a sibling,a friend, a member of your favorite band, a student you taught; it’s the same pain. I pray for release of your heart break and a positive outlook for the memories of your loved ones.

 

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

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And then there were 4-Renee’

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It’s been a looooooooog time since my last post. Sorry for the hiatus! I’ve been a bit busy housing yet another Smith baby! That’s right for the third  (I’m fertile Myrtle) time in Rad7even history I’m with child. My sweet rainbow baby Lennon was supposed to be the last….but..surprise lol

This pregnancy has been HARD, I  was diagnosed with HG  (hyperemesis gravidarum) 2 wks after my positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t keep anything down. Im now 15 wks and…still on medication. I tried to go unmedicated for a wk…and it was horrible. Im praying this doesn’t last the ENTIRE time..

The boys have nicknamed the baby Tiny Smith and are hoping for a sister. I’m just wanting a healthy baby.

This pregnancy was also foretold to me by an old college classmate. I thought she was crazy lol. LaDarren and I were done with the baby train (in our heads lol) but i was told in August a new baby was coming.  I thought baby  might symbolize a new business venture…not like a real baby lol. But as soon as I got the results i was excited.

Now it’s been a bumpy road. I’ve battled depression a lot, questioned the timing, stressed over the budget….felt like a trash mom because I was so sick i couldn’t cook,clean or play with my kids.

 

BUT I’m hereeeee! Even after all of that, I’m thankful. I’ve been humbled in a way that’s almost unexplainable. Pregnancy is such a God thing. You can plan and plan and still get everything turned upside down. Even with all our medical advances we can’t 100% prevent pregnancy or guarantee it will go full term. You dont know if you’ll have any easy breezy pregnancy or one that is filled with complications…you’re just along for the ride!

So…here’s to a beautiful Summer baby!

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