Quiet Like A… DaniGee

It’s been a minute and I’m sorry. I would say I would do better but I am not sure. This blog idea came to me while I was driving home from shopping. I am so happy that I still have the energy to write it.  There are older individuals, older as in 45+ and they seem to only see social media as a negative atmosphere. I tend to disagree. My social media environment is what I make of it. It is my way of keeping up with my closest friends who are hundreds of miles away. I use it to connect with the general public by providing pieces of my personal life, in hopes that it helps them out in a positive manner. I use it for purposes that are positively beneficial for me. Now, I am not saying that there are not people who use it for the opposite reasons than mine. You’ve seen them.  They either perpetrate or feel the need to just keep it real, which in my opinion is just a way to justify being messy and judgmental. They are the ones who are always going on a deleting spree. Why it has to be announced, I’ll never know.

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I say all that to say this. I am learning to talk less, and do more action steps to create my own success. I have realized about myself that I have great ideas but I let my fear stop me. I throw out ideas to people and if they don’t give me the resounding vote of confidence, I start to doubt my ideas and the validity to it. I start letting fear and doubt creep in and it puts a halt to me doing anything. This week, with the help of my best friend, I have started back on the train again of creating my own success and stop waiting for the perfect moment. Instead of sharing what I am doing, I will do what I have always needed to do it  which is to pray about it. I need to be asking for guidance and strength from my heavenly father. The last couple of months, I have gotten the same message from different people, pretty much saying that if you and God’s ideas are aligned, then it won’t fail. I have to get myself back aligned to the person who really counts. I also go with the thought in my head that trying anything new may never be easy and it may not even be successful, but there can never be failure if you are continually learning about yourself.

 

Until Next Time,

 

Hopefully sooner than later,

 

Still PUSHing,

 

DaniGee

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Co-Parenting Survival Guide 101-Renee

This by far is not a statement to anyone that I have always done everything right or that I have not cried, been angry and questioned some things along this journey. BUT I have had people ask me for advice, because I have been very open about being in a double blended family. I say double blended because both my hubby and I had a son before we got married and now…we added our first (and probably only) biological kid to the mix as well.

This means my husband and I have to be co-parents and “step” parent at the same time. This has been a crazy, wonderful, hard, amazing and just transforming time for us. So…here’s just a few of my tips to surviving the “blend”.

  1. Validate your feelings while not dismissing the other parent’s feelings.feelings

Parenting is hard. Period. Even without having to juggle schedules and other partners and other kids…it can be complicated. When you’re in a blended family things can get hectic fast. I’ve been there before where you can see the other person’s point of view, but totally disagree. I had an incident last summer with my bonus son and his mom that really had me torn. I always want to be respectful of another person’s feelings, but at the same time that can have you feeling left out or hurt too. Being a stepparent is really hard at times. You are asked to love a child with no bounds, but are also expected to be more of a support system and not an active participant all the time. When a child has two biological parents that are healthy and good for the child you really have to let the parents work out some things. I always defer to my husband when it comes to major decisions for his biological son. Not saying I have no say, but that ultimately I can give my advice or point of view but have to let the biological parents really figure that out. LaDarren does the same thing for me when it comes to my biological son. He always gives his input, but ultimately allows (and supports) the decisions that I make.

 

  1. OVER communicatetalk

When there are so many different people in play things can get confusing fast. “I thought you were coming at 4?”, “Oh did you not get the last text that said 5:30?” Those statements could cause an argument or small inconveniences. To avoid that, always make sure that you get a response from the other parent; make sure that your message actually sent. If not response try again within an hour or so. Make sure you all are on the same page before, during and after visitation schedules are confirmed.

 

  1. Take a step (or two) back from the situation.care

Things will not always go like you planned. Someone may say or do something that you might find disrespectful, annoying or mean. Step back. Do your best to control the only thing you can in this situation and that is yourself.

 

  1. NEVER EVER talk bad about the other parent in front of or around the children.fighting

As I said in step 3, while stepping back be sure to not let your emotions cause you to say or do something that you might regret later. Venting is healthy and needed but try to do 3 things.

  1. Ensure that the children are not around when you are having your venting session. This goes for all the children involved, not just the children of the co-parent.
  2. Figure out how to keep the peace, if something happened that really upset you maybe it’s best to let your spouse pick up the child or you simply pick up the child and not say anything to the other parent at that point. I know how tempting it can be to want to just say this one little thing, but in the end it’s rarely worth it.
  3. Reevaluate things. In the grand scheme of things- is this issue I am upset about annoying or is this a really big deal? Sometimes when emotions are high we can blow situations out of proportion or place unintended meanings to words.

 

  1. Compromisecompromise

If the other parent wants to bring the child home an hour later or earlier try to work with them. I know that time with children is precious for both parties and sometimes things happen; that’s life. Try to be flexible (if it is within reason). This is why OVER communication is important. If you said you’d be done in twenty minutes and it’s looking like that will not happen call the other parent. Or if you need the child home earlier communicate that as well; if the other parent can’t (or isn’t willing) to accommodate see if you can work out this situation amongst yourselves. If not…..

 

  1. Find a mediator

I am not an advocate for always going to the court first, but if you can’t work it out amongst yourself it is best to bring another party in. This can (hopefully) be worked out in a healthy way with just the co-parents. If not I am a big believer in letting the courts sort things out. Sometimes you just can’t see eye-to-eye with the other parent; it happens and that’s ok too. I don’t recommend running to court every time the other parent is late on a payment or late picking up a child (or bringing them back). If the negative behavior is consistent and they do not seem to want to work with you use all the legal options available to you. At the end of the day, the child is the most important piece to this puzzle and when the parents can’t respectfully disagree or come to a terms on their own it negatively affects the child.  I know for some this is a very controversial stance, but again these are tips that have worked for me.

 

  1. Celebrate victories with your spouseus

And last but not least, take time out for you and your spouse. Never forget that you are in a partnership. Work hard to protect your marriage- appreciate your partner. I thank LaDarren all the time for who he is in my life and for all of our boys. Our lives can be messy, but I wouldn’t want to sort through this without him. He is my backbone, my strength and many times my in-home counselor.

 

Hope this helps, if you have some additional tips for surviving the blend, let me know!

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Kirill~Audrey

This is the first of a set of three stories about specific children that touched my heart during my mission trip.

 

On our first full day at the orphanage, I sat down at the craft table with the children. I sat next to a cute little boy who was so excited to show me his art work. They were using IMG_9499punch outs to create a cute little basket of flowers. As he glued his flowers to his sheet, he would peak at me and see if I was watching. Then he proudly displayed to me his finished art. I was lovely and I told him so.

I didn’t think much of the exchange. I went about the rest of my day. I went out side with
the kids and enjoyed being with them. He and several other children wanted to hold my hand as we walked to a nearby playground. Once again, I didn’t think much of it; there were new people and all the kids want to be around them. We were a novelty, and I didn’t think much about interacting with certain children or forming a particular bond (except one kid; but that’s another story). But that day meant a lot to Kirill.

That afternoon, after nap time, when I walked into the room, he came flying into my arms. This happened every time I came in. He would sit with me often and join groups I was playing in. I was so surprised by him. I hadn’t done anything special: I hadn’t made an inside joke with him and I hadn’t gone out of my way to do anything special for him.

But I think that is the point. Children just want someone in their life who is attentive and will give love. I didn’t do anything other than be part of his life and give him positive encouragement. This something the orphans don’t get. And they aren’t the only ones. This small story is just a big reminder that everything we do affects those around us. We have to remember to be good to one another; one small gesture can change someone’s life or change their perspective.

In the case of Kirill, he just needed someone to sit beside him and encourage him. I am so blessed to be have been one of the team members on this mission trip and to be able to do this for him.  Not only did he need it, but I did too.

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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Shelf-Shaming~Guest Blogger

I have suffered from trauma related to being let go from a job I had for a long time. As I come up on the one year anniversary, bad dreams, anxiety and negative feelings have plaque me. I have been angry at the way I was treated and beat up myself because I took their abuse. I couldn’t kick my distress with the situation until I am could admit: their behavior was horrible but it was my self-abuse that was the problem.

I loved my last job. I wasn’t big on some of my responsibilities or the way management treated the employees but I loved changing lives every day. It made me happy. I was happy with that but I was ridden with anxiety and depression because of the way the organization was being run.

I did see my fall coming. I won’t go into detail. It causes me anxiety but I never thought of leaving first. I could have but I decided that they would have to let me go and reap any consequences that would happen because of it. This was my control and, logically, the best for my departure. I was able to stand on my own feet and branch out. It was probably one of the best things to happen to me. I love my current job and my coworkers. I have less anxiety and depression. I am a different person, and I am happy. I still make a difference and change the world for the better.

So why am I still upset? They did what they did and they deserve whatever comes from their actions but I am no longer angry at them. Instead, I found that I am mad at myself! I am blaming myself for letting the abuse occur! I am doing what I did when I broke up with the boyfriend that always lied to me: I thought I was the problem!

You ladies know what I mean. We blame ourselves for believing their lies or putting up with their inappropriate behavior. We tell ourselves we should have known better. But here’s the thing: we can’t do that. We made our choices based on feeling and what perceived truth we had. I loved him and wanted to believe him so I did for the longest time. I loved my job and what I could do for others so I decided that passion was more important than their behavior. I keep saying I shouldn’t have let myself be treated like that.

While that has some truth to it, we cannot be blamed for their behavior. Quite often these traits are core to their personalities. I wasn’t the first girl he had lies to, and I sure wasn’t the first worker they mistreated. There was nothing about me that was the ultimate problem because even if I had been perfect, it would not have changed the way I was treated. Their actions are their fault. Maybe I should have quit a long time ago but everything has led up to my current situation. My current situation is happy and joyful.

So I have to wash off my self-shame and say thank you for getting to move on with my life. I wish no one any ill will, but I am not going to let them have hold on me anymore.

 

Peace, Love & Prayers

Hollywould

Holly Weitz changed jobs in 2015 and is living happily in a rural community. She loves animals and spends her time enjoying a variety of water sports

 

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Mission Trip: A Retrospective ~Audrey

I really expected that when I stepped off the plan in Kiev, I would feel like a stranger in a strange land, that my I would feel like a totally different person.

I am, of course, referring to my trip to Ukraine earlier this month as a missionary working

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The view out my plan window on the way to Amsterdam. with young children in an orphanage.

I had envisioned being overwhelmed and scared in a place where I didn’t know the customs or the language. I wasn’t too concerned with these feeling as I prepped; I had to worry about my health more and reserved any nervousness for the airport for my first international flight. I had visions of security hell and bureaucratic red tape (every story ever told me magnified by ten). While there was an issue in Atlanta, that was cleared up after ten minutes, and I never had another spot of trouble even when I flew home all by myself 9 days later.

Many will give a variety of reasons: I was at least familiar with the sounds of the language, I was with a group of people I knew and trusted, the landscape was somewhat similar to what I was used to. But I stand by this: I felt at home because I was where God was calling me to be. The first day was tough health wise, but I quickly learned from my own mistakes and made it through the week (I did suffer when I got home; my body was ready to shut down for a day to catch up lol).I was in Ukraine for a purpose, to reach out to his children who had been left frightened and alone. Because I stepped out in faith, he kept me safe and eased my path. In fact, I am still reaping benefits and rewards from him for stepping out in faith.

Getting on this trip was pure faith. I had to raise funds and didn’t quite reach my goal. My job graciously made it so I could go, and I will continue to pay them back with money and hard work. Getting my passport proved challenging but then it came back quickly and with no issues (two weeks!!). Everything started rough but easily smoothed out.

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In Ukraine with old friends and New

I will admit that while I was there was some struggle. I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with the children and that I wasn’t being helpful enough. I was frustrated with my illness and how it limited me. But about half way through, I understood: God has sent me on the easy trip because he knew I needed it. He made sure I was on the trip that was the least taxing to my body. I had heard stories about lack of sleep and comfortable beds and even bathrooms. So I stopped complaining in my journal and in my head.

When I came back everyone wanted to know what my favorite part was. This is the most difficult question: I didn’t know. I loved the food, the orphanage, the city, the people, the kids, the culture. But in the end it was the passion for my work that was my favorite part. God used the trip to solidify the thoughts I have always had about my talents and he rekindled my passion for children. The normalness and the use of my gifts was the best part. It was like home away from home and I loved it.

Stay tuned for my next entries cataloging events within my trip and stories about the children.

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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But Until My Moment Comes~Audrey

“Hope that you spend your days,

but they all add up
And when that sun goes down,

hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness

all your joy and all your pain”

 “I Lived,” OneRepublic

 

This year is the year of doing. Hears a mid-year(ish) check in!

Leaving for Ukraine Tomorrow!!

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Received payment for writing grants so that’s half way done!

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See a show-Not yet

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Walk a mile throughout the entire day! Now to see if I can make it one mile at a time!

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Reading the New Testament is right on schedule

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Speak conversational Russian-uh, er, I know some vocabulary words! lol

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Have four more of ten pounds to loose

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Fight or Flight or Freeze ***DaniGee***

fight or flight

I am always surprised by God’s grace and mercy. I  shouldn’t be but I always am. For the past 10 years, I have been wrestling with something that has literally have me between the flight or freeze  position. Either I would run from the feelings that I was having or I would freeze and deny that I was going through it.  But as always God has a way of bringing things to surface.

I was afraid. I was terrified that I would lose my friends, that  they would disown me. However, as always, my friends are awesome. They showered me with love and understanding. They have empowered me and showed me that they are truly in my corner.

Now, I am in fight mode. Fighting for my truth. Fighting for what I feel is right. Life is too short to fear life. Have fun. laugh. Surround yourself with beautiful spirits.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

 

Still Pushing,

DaniGee

 

 

 

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