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Preface: My brother was a genius, but like every other human was not without his faults, hang-ups, problems, and things that irritate others. I wrote this letter to him but never sent it, and now he is dead, out of my life… for what will feel like forever. I was reluctant to post this but I felt a need to do so.

I found this amazing version of the song “True Colors” by a group named “Groove For Thought.”  I was inspired to search for it because I love to find A Capella versions of songs and my brother, Dennis, had said that the song “True Colors” reminded him of me.

Dear Dennis,

The last words from your proverbial mouth through your emails were unkind, uncaring, and devoid of love but not lacking in emotion. You even went as far as to say even if I needed to be hospitalized again, do not bother calling because you weren’t there for me anymore. It hurt so bad because I thought we had made up our struggles and disagreements. I was so hoping we could still be friends. But when you sent that final nasty email to me, my dear husband had no other recourse of action but to cut you out of my life until you could come to realize your part in our disagreements and apologize for your part. He knew you were doing more harm than good. Therefore, he told you to contact him before contacting me. Nothing was heard from you and I feel sad.

The song “True Colors” came on and it made me think of you for two reasons: 1) you said that song reminded you of me, and 2) I want to show you my true colors.

I may have “sad eyes” and may not smile as often as I should. I often feel discouraged when the world is full of people who misunderstand me. Sometimes the darkness inside me makes me feel so small. Sometimes this world makes me feel crazy because it is more than I can bear. But my true colors are much like a rainbow.

Red – I am full of love. I do my very best to show the love of Christ to others and though I know I fail sometimes, I hope the love still shines through the clouds in my life.

Orange – I show caution with trusting others sometimes because I have been hurt by those closest to me. People I should have been able to trust with my very life have stabbed me in the back and caused me extreme pain.

Yellow – When I do smile, it is genuine. I don’t always feel happy. But when I do, I make sure it shows. And even when I don’t feel happy, I do my best to still smile a little and extend kindness in an effort to lift up others.

Green – I am always growing. I refuse to be someone who is stagnant like an old marsh. No. I am continually growing and changing to become someone better; more like Christ. I work hard at this and though I may fail, I am learning to extend grace to myself.

Blue – I have sorrow and sadness and blue days just like everyone else. But I don’t let myself get stuck there. I let the clouds pass and eventually the sun shines through. And when it does, I let my smile show and I embrace those moments of happiness.

Indigo – the darkness inside can be so smothering… but it isn’t without purpose. God, I know, does work out things for good and I can be a part of that “Working out” by doing my best to do the Lord’s will in my life and affect others for Christ.

Violet – I have scars and old wounds and bruises. I am not without past hurts and I am sure future hurts will occur. But I don’t focus on the hurts to come. I focus on what those scars mean to me. They mean I am an overcomer.

I am an overcomer. I am continually working to overcome many past hurts, pains, struggles, trials, and tests. And as I continue to grow, I pray for you. Prayer is all I have for you at this point. I cannot reach out to you. My husband has instructed me to let you be until you reach out to him. Additionally, after such an awful email I feel like you do owe me an apology. It really hurt. Not really because it rang true but because you did what you know how to do – you sent zingers. You hit me in the spots you knew were soft. How could you bring up Mary? She is dead. I cannot make amends with her or anything she has said or done.

But I don’t want this bridge to be burned. Our relationship is valuable to me, so I am in prayer for you. God bless you.

Dear God,

Forgive me for any wrong doing in my relationship with Dennis. May I do what is right in your eyes.

Forgive him for his unkind words and actions. May he see himself through your eyes – someone you love and care for – and also see his flaws and desire to change them. May he be repentant and also forgiving.


I believe Dennis, if he were at his best, would not have said what he said. I choose to believe in his heart of hearts he loved me. That is what I choose to hold on to – the love he had for me in his heart and the good times we did have.

There are many hard parts about this loss as compared to the other losses in my life. My sister died in 2007, but honestly this death is so different from hers but not any less significant. The differences are that I got to say goodbye to my sister. We were moving from NC to OR and she came to say goodbye to me; we hugged and cried a little and I felt her love. I felt no such love from Dennis in the final moments I spent with him and I certainly didn’t get to say goodbye in any good form. The pain of losing them both cannot be compared but as it has been 10 years since my sister died and I feel more peace. With Dennis, I feel so much hurt that sometimes it overcomes me and I literally feel like sorrow is sitting on my chest like an elephant sitting on a peanut and I am being crushed by the overwhelming sense of loss.

I didn’t just lose a brother or a friend. I lost a future with Dennis. I will experience Heaven with him but nothing more on this earth. That hurts something awful as well.

In all this I have learned many things; much of which I have already shared in previous blogs. I hope you go back and read them and glean some sort of knowledge or wisdom that helps you keep from making mistakes I have made or going through the same trials I have gone through.

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(Note: A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1)

May he rest in peace and may I see him again but not too soon.

God bless you today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

This is a link to the song I am referring to: True Colors on YouTube

This is a link to the lyrics of the song: True Colors Lyrics

 

I am going to be completely transparent here. I feel like Paul in scripture (Romans 7:14-25). I considered just quoting what he said, but he uses such language that I find myself getting lost in the verbiage and missing the meaning if I am not careful. Therefore, I read it again and again and decided to paraphrase. These are my words:

I know what I ought to do and what I ought not to do. But rather than doing the thing I know I ought to do, I do the thing I know I ought not to do, that is to sin. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do not is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not what to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not what to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members [or parts of my body].

The point of it all? I know what I should do – what is good and right and best. I know how to please the Lord with my actions, words, and deeds. God has blessed me with a lot of wisdom, but I feel like Solomon from scripture here. Solomon had so much wisdom and yet made mistake after mistake and it ruined him and his empire. I feel like I have a choice: to do what I ought to do, the things I know are best – the things that please the Lord and the things we are called to do in scripture. OR I can choose to let it go and just let things be as they are, just give up, basically.

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I must extend myself grace, as the Lord extends me grace. I must recognize that I am imperfect and always will be. But I hold myself to such ambitious standards – standards I could possibly never reach – and I expect these things from myself and extend no grace when I fail. I beat myself up and feel guilty. Sometimes this causes me to feel sleepy, because I just feel so emotionally awful inside, so I give in and sleep my life away.

What I am trying to say is I have a lot of good advice to give but:

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I think, I feel, but I do not do. I refuse to find myself to be a hypocrite. I will not express to my readers all this great advice and follow none of it myself. I will hold myself accountable for who I truly am.

I was once in a meeting where they asked us to come up with a purpose and mission statement, and recently I was instructed to come up with a chief aim (something I cannot explain very well).

My Purpose is, “To Live for God, making the most of each moment, loving and serving others as I go.”

My mission statement goes like this:

“I genuinely give life all I have and all I am.
I care deeply and intensely about each individual in my path.
I lead by example and am an example worth following.”

My chief aim is still a work in progress. It is supposed to be a short snippet that sums up the direction you want to go in life, or something like that -it is like your purpose summed up. So far, I have, “I live my life for God, serving him fearlessly in every area of my life.”  But I feel like that is too much like my purpose.

Then we were instructed to come up with how we were going to LIVE OUT our mission statement. Here is what I said:

I commit to life and individuals by doing the following:

I continually and completely Love God with all my heart, body, soul, mind, and strength, with enthusiasm and unfailing devotion.

I completely invest in my relationships and the direction they are going now.

I LOVE fully, deeply, with passion and emotional intelligence.

I am committed to enjoying life-altering relationships.

I push myself further beyond what I believe to be my “best self” every day and have integrity in this process.

Everybody fails. Everybody falters. But failing does not a failure make. Fail forward – which simply means to learn from your mistakes. Failure and mistakes make us fixer-uppers. (See this blog post: “Failure or Fixer-Upper”) Am I an example worth following? I do not know what others would say about me, but I feel like I do try to be such and my effort counts for something.

I will follow my purpose, mission statement, and chief aim to the best of my ability. I will be better today than I was yesterday and better tomorrow than I was today. I will grow and change every day for the better. This I commit to do consistently, but I also commit to extend myself grace and love to the extent that I know my Lord does.

So, in my transparency I say to you: Be your best. Do your best. But extend yourself grace. When you fall, get back up, dust off and hit it again, and again, and again.

There is a time and place for stopping something for various good reasons but when you find yourself making excuses for why you cannot do something that is a warning sign that you are giving up. At this point you must make a choice to let it go and give it up, or keep pushing on. There is a time and place for both.

I choose to hit it again and again until I am perfect, but extend myself grace. May you find it within yourself to do the same.

God bless you today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

I am someone who journals – not religiously but I do journal somewhat often. And I fantasize that someday someone will read about my life and it will matter to someone all the things I have been through and how they shaped me. I journal not just for my own expressions of feelings, but also to leave something of myself behind.

My nieces lost their mother when they were quite young. Lately the older girls have been reading her journals and finding some comfort in knowing how she felt about things, how she thought, and what she dealt with.

I was considering everything I have written on my blog in the past week meanwhile listening to music. I came across a song called “Blank Pages.” I didn’t like the song’s lyrics, but the name really made me think as I am a somewhat over-analytical person.

My first thought was of all the blank pages of a journal that death leaves behind.

My sister journaled, but is journaling no longer. She is in Heaven living a different life – a life I can barely fathom. She has left behind blank pages in her journal and they will remain blank forever, never to be filled with the ink of her pen, her handwriting, or her thoughts and feelings.

This is something I must choose how to react to. Do I wallow in the fact that, until death, I will never sing with her again (something we did often), talk with her again or hear her words of love and wisdom? Or do I push through and recognize the positive – and yes, there is a silver lining here.

I choose the silver lining… Mary is gone but her girls – her four beautiful, amazingly unique girls – are alive and I praise God for them daily. Not only that, but she left behind a legacy of compassion and love. People came to her memorial and said what a positive impact she had on their lives. That was Mary. She was authentic – truly genuine – and knew how to be real, but with love; sometimes when I didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

Which leads me to wonder what legacy – aside from family and memories – am I leaving behind. How will people think of me when I am gone? And what I wonder more is how did I make them feel when I was alive? Did they feel the love of Jesus flow through me to them? Did they feel the compassion I feel for their hurts and struggles? What did they feel?

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But I digress…

I wanted to note here that the blank pages of a journal – the moments that were never lived and never will be lived – are hard, sad, and sometimes peace is elusive. I want to encourage you with words that may or may not be encouraging to you but they encourage me. God does have a plan – in life and in death—, and all things do (eventually) work out for good for those who love the Lord. I cannot explain why people die “before their time” but I can say that God knew their last day on the day they were born and God works through it all. For more information on my thoughts on this read “The Backside of Life.”

As a person with Bi-polar disorder, sometimes I struggle to monitor my moods. My medications help, but I still feel things, which is not an awful thing. But sometimes I struggle to find that peace and joy that is promised in scripture. (I will write more about my bi-polar and this later; perhaps in my next blog.)

I want to end on a high note – as they say. I want you to know that help and hope can be found in the Lord. We find him when we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. (James 4:7-8a)) And remember what I posted in Life is Worth Living, Philippians 4:4-9 which I will highlight here by saying peace is found by giving it to God. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7). I could go on. The Bible calls God our “Father” for a reason. And not just “Father” but “ABBA Father” which is more easily seen as “my Father.” (see this interesting article). We can be as near or far from God as we choose, but he is never any farther than a prayer away.

God bless you and yours today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

(I don’t know if my brother Dennis did any journaling, so I’m not sure what he left behind besides memories and material items. Of course, the memories cannot have a monetary value put on them, and I am grateful for every good memory I have with him).

Photo of quote above was unedited and found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dearbarbz365/3342471327.

 

As someone who struggles with depression, I have also struggled with finding a reason to live. Life gives us so many reasons to desire death: struggles, hurts, suffering of so many kinds. I see them as things that make me long for heaven. There was a time when my hardships made me want to die so badly that I did try to kill myself… and failed. And not just once. This led me to wonder, what am I living for? Why won’t God let me die or take me? What makes life worth living?

When I had my first child, she gave me a reason to live—to care for her.  But there were days when that wasn’t enough to keep me from longing for heaven. Then my sister died and left behind four beautiful girls and a husband who loved her. And I should mention, I was about 6 months pregnant when she died. This experience floored me emotionally and psychologically. At the time, I was not properly medicated for my bi-polar disorder and anxiety, and it was all I could do to hold it together. Having a life growing inside of me kept me alive, because if I killed myself I killed her, too.

When the baby was born – my second daughter – we named her Serenity Elizabeth Joy (Serenity because, at the time, she was serene, Elizabeth after my sister, Mary Elizabeth, and Joy because we knew she would just bring the world joy (plus it sounded great with the other names, I admit.) At 18 months old, my dearest Serenity E. J. became the strong-willed, energetic, outgoing, and defiant child that she is today. I love that girl with every ounce of my being AND she is one of my greatest challenges. She tests my patience, tries my resolve, and consistently checks on my own consistency.

I must admit, there were days I have wondered, “Why me?” I would pray and ask the Lord, “Why did you give me this child who I find to be such a challenge??” I prayed this prayer for nine years until one day it hit me like a slap in the face. I am the only woman who could possible parent this child. That is not to say that if I did die in some accident God couldn’t raise up another person to care for her. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai tells Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This tells me that if I killed myself God could raise up another to care for her, but I believe she was given to me for a reason.

Scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I was placed here to do the works that God has prepared in advance for me to do.

And I am just now discovering what those “works” are. Being a wife, raising my children, homeschooling my children, writing the books that God has placed upon my heart, blogging to hopefully share some bit of wisdom that might help others, and (perhaps) I will go to massage therapy school to help others not only feel better but also get better.

All this and still there have been hardships. A week ago, I found out that my brother, Dennis, died tragically. He was very young – only 49. He had just had his birthday in May. I love all my siblings. Even so, for some reason, Dennis and I had some kind of special connection. There was a running family joke that we were twins separated at conception. He had a different mom who (as I mentioned in a previous blog) had died when he was young. Though Dennis and I had our struggles in our relationship, I always loved him deeply. If I were not properly medicated right now, I am not certain how I would have handled his death.

(I cannot stress enough how important it is to get help if you struggle with something – anxiety, depression, bi-polar, or just general inexpiable sadness. Doctors can help, and finding the right kind of help can mean the difference between life and suicide for many people. If you google how many people kill themselves each year you may find yourself feeling like perhaps you should reach out more. But I digress…)

I have realized though that if I wait for the perfect moment where everything is right in the world and thinking at that time I can live happily, perhaps then I will never truly live my life. I have found myself sleeping through the rough days sometimes – asking my amazing MIL to keep the kids. Or sometimes I have found myself floating – you know, just going through the motions but never really feeling any joy or happiness, sometimes feeling nothing at all.

This leads me to thinking how do I go about my life living it and not floating or sleeping through it? How do I experience life, allowing those experiences to shape me but not define me?  How do I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis?

The answer is so simple and yet so challenging for me to live out. The hardest part for me is that I have known it for years, believed it with all my heart, but struggle to feel it in my heart.

Philippians 4:4-9 says (my emphasis added):

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(And this next part is the HOW I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thingsWhatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That sums it all up in a pretty little package. Just read it again and DO IT. Then read it again, if you need to, and make a decision to do it. Make a decision to “think about such things,” to pray to the Lord asking for help, thanking Him for the good stuff and the bad stuff, and accept the peace that He extends to you.

The Friday, after finding out my brother was gone, I had a rough day. I was wallowing in my sorrows and feeling sorry for myself. I have that right in this situation, but it was affecting my parenting, how I was treating others, and how I felt about myself. I listened to a song (the lyrics aren’t perfect but the premise is good) and it made me realize I had to shake the devil off and LIVE MY LIFE.

So, I commit here and now before the friends and strangers that read my blog, that I will continually do my best to be my best self and I will live my life – truly live. Mary and Dennis are gone but not forgotten. They can no longer live, but I can and I must. I must make my life worth living by choice.

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Sincerely from the heart,

Super Momma Maggie

(I plan to begin posting more on my other blog. It will be about my past life experiences that have made me who I am. If you are interested, check out www.maggieaspoon.com. And if you enjoyed this blog please like and share. Thanks!)

 

Where do I start? I have learned so much from the death of my brother Dennis that I feel like I could go on forever writing about all the wisdom God has blessed me with during this difficult time.

I have already posted about cherishing life and living life. So now here is just some random advice.

  1. Live in the moment, but consider the future and the effects your momentary living will have on the future. For example, my body is overweight. I could “live in the moment” by eating whatever I want, whenever I want. However, the fact is that if I don’t want my journey to end early or painfully I must lose weight. Therefore, I must consider what each bite of food is doing to my body. This is a subject I could ramble on about but I wont. Let’s just say it is somewhat of a recap of the last blog post: Live your life… but live responsibly.
  2. Instill your moral beliefs and values upon your children. I am a Christian so in my case that would be the Bible. Please recognize here though when I say to “instill” it in them, I am not meaning to bang them over the head and force it down their throats. I am saying that if you do not instill YOUR moral values and beliefs into your children someone else will instill their moral beliefs into your child. This leads me to number 3.
  3. Have a plan for your child. I don’t mean to expect they will be the next Rembrandt, or even be a painter, a dancer, or whatever. No, I am talking about deeper than that. Figure out what you expect from your children and expect it, but be reasonable and always extend grace as needed. My personal plan for my children is a list of traits I hope and pray to instill in them; the list is individualized for each of my children. Perhaps I will post about that sometime.
  4. Children are often like a rainbow. Imagine each color is an emotion. They are beautiful when properly expressed and to know what that means you have to know your child.
  5. Know your child. Really get to know them – and their friends.
  6. Never ever, ever, GIVE UP. There is a distinct difference between recognizing a lost cause and a challenging situation. Learn to know the difference. Get up. Dust off. And go at it again, and again, and again, until you succeed.
  7. Mend relationships. Not every relationship is healthy. I know that, but perhaps consider, “If this person died tomorrow what would I wish I had said or done differently, if anything?” And go for it. (But there is a time and a place for letting someone go.)
  8. Regret is from the devil. It is an evil monster that hopes to steal your happiness. It saps your emotional energy at the very thought of the incident(s) that you regret. NEVER WALLOW IN REGRET! NEVER! Let it go. Like the song says… (When you stop singing read number 9.) 😉
  9. Tell people how you feel about them, even when it is challenging but especially when you have something kind or encouraging to say. You never know when those kind words or encouragements will save a life.
  10. Fearlessly be yourself. ALWAYS.
  11. Recognize you cannot fix anyone. But also recognize that people can and do change. Your example and expressions of your feelings in a kind manner are the best ways to help a person change. But some people are just old dogs that don’t want to learn new tricks. In those moments we have to either accept that person or their traits and move on, or be willing to let them go. Sometimes a lack of change can lead to a person who is much like standing water. Sure it is water and water is good, but standing water, when left alone without runoff will become stagnant and gross.
  12. Never, ever stop growing. You are either growing or dead. There is no in between.
  13. Dream. But don’t just dream the possible stuff. Dream the im-possible. Audry Hepburn said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “Im Possible.” You will never reach the stars if you aren’t aiming for the moon.
  14. Love. Love your neighbor, your friends, your parents, your kids and especially complete strangers because every one of those people need love. We all need love and everyone may not deserve it by their actions, but who deserves love is not for us to judge. Love is like water – it gives life. Pass Love out like you have an endless supply because really you do.

I could ramble on more but again I find myself musing at 12 am…

If you enjoyed this blog click on the “subscribe to feed” button to be notified when I post again. Don’t worry. I wont spam you. And please share on social media if you found this helpful. Thanks!

Super (but not feeling so super) Momma Maggie

(So my dear editor has commented that perhaps I should do something about my grammar, spelling and punctuation errors that happen when I write late at night. For your information, and hers, if I write after 11 p.m. I schedule the article to post the following day.  This means there is no time for editing, or if there is I suppose I just feel like the point I am making is much more important than perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling. I will do my best though. I suppose this is an area I could improve in.)

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I share my life with the big wide world; my life as a mom, a wife and a Christian. I work to have original content that is deeper than you might expect but still enjoyable to read.

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