Starting Over… What Is Possible?

Starting over is not easy.

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In fact, I think it’s one of the hardest things we have to do as an adult. Far too often we get stagnant in life. Sometimes even in our own misery. It’s safe. Easy. It’s why people stay in a bad relationship or a bad job. Change is scary for most of us. And as we grow older we tend to resist change. At least some folks do, not all. I suppose it’s the element of risk that rattles us. The unknown is a mystery and the familiar is comfortable.

But sometimes you have no choice. I would not have chosen the last two years of my life, if you talked to me 12 months ago. But ask me now and you will get a different answer. I have come so far in life in what seems to be such a short period of time.

Nashville flood victims would not choose the last two weeks either. Given the devastation of the flood, it is quite possibly the most difficult thing that some have ever faced. Even if you didn’t lose everything, it is still very frustrating to deal with paperwork, insurance adjusters, policies, agencies, and on and on. If you did lose everything, it is even worse. Where will I go? What will I do? When will the assistance come? What if I lose my job? Certainly, with all of this it may not be possible to look at the future with joy and anticipation.

So how do you keep up your spirits and not get sucked in to the exhausting daily struggles?

Ask yourself “What is possible now?”

My journey after the divorce was based on one premise: Who am I beyond Jacob & Emma’s mommy? (Beyond JEMS) What else was there to me besides being a stay at home mom.

  • What was I capable of doing?
  • Where would I go?
  • Who was I as a woman?
  • How would I support my kids?
  • What did I dream of doing?
  • When would I get my life back in order?

Many folks did not understand my journey. Many scowled, visually and verbally, at my choices. But there was only one thing I knew to be true…. I knew that this was my opportunity to start over. I was facing the second half of my life and I wanted to it mean more, be MORE! I had to discover what was possible.

Not many folks have the choice to start over. It can be a blessing, even if it is forced upon you by circumstances beyond your control. You have a choice to dwell in the negative or try to see what is possible.

Trust me, I’m not suggesting, it’s all wine and roses and happy-go-lucky, cheery, positivity. It can be hard. Very hard. But it can be done. I recall someone saying that if you are not growing, you are dead. And we all know that growing pains hurt.

Take the moments of reprieve to dream.

  • Dream about possibilities.
  • Dream about what if’s.
  • Think about when.
  • Think about how.
  • Think about why not now.

Believe in yourself., believe in God and dream. If only for moments a day. It’s a start.

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Nashville Flood: Lives In The Ditch

Franklin flooding brings community to help victims discard the ruins and pick up the pieces.

My Street

My Street in Rebel Meadows

The air was thick with a musty odor that reeked of rot and decay. As it should, given the amount of debris that lay by the road side waiting to be picked up by the city of Franklin.

The Rebel Meadows subdivision, my neighborhood, sits right beside the Harpeth River. It winds around us and ventures on back to the Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms neighborhoods. We were all in the same boat during the flood, somewhat literally.

I ventured out last week to help my neighbors by offering the use of my home for bathroom breaks, air conditioning, or a general reprieve. I also delivered cleaning supplies, trash bags, towels, etc. It wasn’t much, but I grabbed anything extra under my kitchen sink. I had to reserve a bit for my own cleanup efforts, but what I had to deal with paled in comparison for folks just 2 doors down from me.

Lives Tossed Aside

Lives Tossed Aside

Furniture, clothes, toys, it was all in shambles. Piles upon piles lay in the ditch waiting for pick up. It was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much it threw me off-balance emotionally until much later in the day. It left me with a feeling of loss and emptiness.

It also shed a whole new light on the disaster that brought New Orleans to its knees. It was one thing to watch news coverage of Katrina on television, but being evacuated from your home is another. During the flood, I had to reassure Emma and Jacob that God was not flooding the world again. But it’s hard to process as a child when you are being carried out in 2 feet of rising water. What a relief for them to come home and see their stuff safe and dry.

Flood Victim Guts House

Flood Victim Guts House

But it was also a good lesson to see the other homes on the street. You have a new perspective when you have to stand next to the destruction and smell it the very moment you step outside. You can teach children empathy by talking about it, but until they see it live, especially the littler ones, I’m not sure much of it really sinks in. This was an exceptional opportunity for them to learn and grow.

In fact, it made such an impact on the kids at their school, they initiated a toy drive for the boys and girls who lost their toys in the flood. Yes, when I say “they” initiated it, I do mean the students. Emma & Jacob voluntarily chose to bring two each. And not just any two, but newer toys they play with today. It makes me so proud to know this is who they are becoming. THEY ARE NASHVILLE!

flood clean up

It Seemed To Never End

And that is the bright light in all of this. The people. The community outpouring of support and generosity is amazing. People are not just donating things, but they are diving in, getting dirty, helping complete strangers dig out. Companies, volunteers, neighbors are all doing their part. Even Atmos Energy, our gas company, set up camp on my street for the week to pass out hot lunches and drinks for victims and volunteers alike.

Everywhere I turned people were coming to help. Just as I delivered cleaning supplies to neighbors on Wednesday, on Friday I arrived home to find two large industrial tubs of cleaning and safety supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The irony. One I used. One I donated again.

This is what stands out to me the most from last week. The positive energy. The willingness of people to help. The countless volunteers driving by asking, “What can I do? Can I get you anything?” It surrounds us. It defines us. It is who we are. WE ARE NASHVILLE!