My Three Fathers

Not everyone has fond memories of their fathers to commemorate Father's Day, making days like today difficult.  I'd like to share with you a chapter I wrote in a book, it's called My Three Fathers.

"It was Saturday night, and I finally found some time to just sit and relax after a long week. I was mindlessly scrolling Facebook and stumbled upon old family photos. I stopped on one that was precious to me. It was of my dad and I when I was just two months old.   He was holding me tight to his chest. I could feel the security he provided simply by seeing this old photo. These were happy times. I loved my dad. He was my protector. He was not only that way with me, but for my 3 older siblings as well, especially in this time of turmoil. You see, around the time this picture was taken, my mom left him for another man - when I was just 6 weeks old.

Having stirred up old but familiar uneasy feelings, I needed to scroll on. I then came across a friend’s random post, you know the ones, designed to be fun … like “If you were an animal, or a Disney character, which one would you be?” Only this one asked, “If you were the opposite sex what would you look like?” Sounded fun. I uploaded a recent picture of me, clicked submit, and anxiously awaited the male version of me to appear. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. 

With that one click, my life became a lie.

As the Facebook generated image appeared, I felt a gut punch so hard it literally took my breath away. Before me was a split screen; me as I look today on the left, and what I would look like as a 50-year-old male on the right. But I didn’t see myself in that male picture.  All I could see is my stepdad - the man my mom left her marriage for, and the guy who sexually and physically abused me as a child. It was the face that I have spent a lifetime trying to erase from the depths of my mind. All the pain of my past came rushing back into my present with a tsunami-like force. But how could this be? How could this computer-generated image of a 50-year-old male version of me be the spitting image of my stepdad, my childhood abuser - the man I have spent a lifetime trying to erase from my mind?

In seeing the undeniable physical resemblance, it was in this moment that I realized my childhood abuser was actually my biological father. He wasn’t my stepdad like my mom told me. He was my biological father, and everything I believed up until then about my family - and who and what a father should be - was a lie. I sat there with a blank stare into the abyss of my computer screen and started to recollect the shattered memories of my childhood, grasping for clarity. This Facebook image smashed the puzzle of what I thought was my life. I was left with only scattered pieces and the painful task of putting it all back together piece by piece, memory by memory and year by year. 

My most pressing question was, who is my father?

My fifty-year journey to this moment began before I was born. My mom and dad had been married for 15 years when mom started having an affair with a police officer. I was six weeks old when she left my loving and caring dad for this other man. The two quickly married, and the abuse began immediately. The next seven years was a mind-numbing blur of the sexual, mental and verbal abuse I endured from my stepdad at a time in my life when I should have been learning to walk, read and write. I’ve blocked most of it, but doctors have since confirmed my nose had been broken and my older sister recalls coming home to visit and seeing me covered in bruises. Times were different. People didn’t want to see what was right in front of them.

Eventually mom got tired of the beatings and left him when I was in the second grade. Of course, the nightmares stemming from the sexual, mental and verbal abuse haunted me for years. 

This father had abused me.

And although my mom had ended her first marriage and forced my loving dad out of the house when I was just six weeks old, the man holding me in the picture never left me. He loved me. He let me know it, and he worked hard to be in my life. He paid child support for 18 years. He taught me how to change oil in my car and how to grow into a strong independent women. He walked me down the aisle. Even in death, he willed me a portion of the family farm. But he knew the dark family secret, that I wasn’t his daughter, and kept it from me.

This father loved me, but lied to me.

My new reality has turned my eyes to my one true Father - my heavenly Father. Tears roll down my face as I reflect and realize that I had been living a lie, but in Him there is truth. He has never hurt me. He has never lied to me. He has never abandoned me. He has shown up in my life through the birth of my children, and the loss of my husband. He helped me to let go of the pain of my childhood and take risks to live more freely. And I know He will forever be by my side. I pray daily, thanking Him for being my Rock and my Redeemer.

This father never fails me.

Even today, months later, I continue to put back together the pieces of my life that were shattered that Saturday evening. I try to find gratitude and purpose for all three fathers in my life. Some days it is easy and other days are filled with pain. Some days I feel love and some days I feel anger. Some days it makes sense and some days it makes no sense at all. But the days that I put all my faith and happiness in my heavenly Father, I feel peace. I feel grace. I feel happiness. I feel complete. I feel whole.

-Jan McKee
"Oola for Christians"



How do you handle stress???

How do you handle stress???
If you've been following me, then you know that I'm remodeling my kitchen.  However, most people either take out a loan to remodel, or save up all the money at once.  I'm definetely NOT like most people LOL...  My whole life I've struggled financially, robbing Peter to pay Paul.  It's only been the last few years that I've not had to worry about where I would cut corners to make ends meet.  So, when I started my kitchen project, I vowed that I would not take out a loan, and I would divide it into 3 goals.  Goal one was met in September.

Goal two has been so close so many times since then but something always pops up that is more urgent than new kitchen cupboards.  Today, as I was sitting down to pay medical bills that I've incurred over the last month or so, I opened a new envelope that came in the mail.... this bill was more than all of the others put together!  At first the anxiety of how I'm going to pay this came over me, before I took a breath and remembered that I have the money to pay it, it just means putting off the kitchen yet again.

That feeling is filled with mixed emotions.  The comfort that I had the money, and the frustration that the remodel is postponed.  As I looked across my desk, I opened my Too Blessed to be Stressed devotional; today's verse is Luke 12:25-26, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"  And there you have it...
 

With God's word ringing in my ears, I turned off my computer, cleared my desk of bills, and got out my ink, stamps and Copics.  As I started coloring I look up from my work and see God's brilliant handiwork through the trees.  Between God's grace and the therapy that coloring brings me I'm no longer stressed.

So, again, I ask you... "How do you handle stress?"  Remember, worry cannot add a single hour to your life.  Find what brings you joy, and commit the rest to our Heavenly Father.

The cute bunny and penguin card is the result of my afternoon meltdown LOL... If you would like to join me monthly in learning how to de-stress check out my Copic Club!

The moment I quit eye rolling at the words "Gluten-free"

The moment I quit eye rolling at the words "Gluten-free"
I'll admit it... I was one of those that rolled my eyes when I heard some one say, "I'm allergic to gluten" or "do you have any gluten free items on the menu"? It seemed like everyone was jumping on this new band wagon that I thought was a fad.

The last few weeks I have been battling some health issues. My doctor suggested I restrict my diet to gluten and dairy free while going through numerous tests. On Thursday we received some answers and although he agreed that living a gluten and dairy free diet would be healthier, it's not detrimental to my illness.  So, after a long Sunday afternoon of projects, and a new found pizza delivery place, we decided to splurge!

5:04 am the morning after.  That was the moment.  The moment that I awoke and was in so much pain that it hurt to roll over.  Every joint in my body hurt.  My wrist that I've had to wear braces on...hurt.  My whole spine...hurt.  My feet...hurt. 

Then I instantly received what I call a God nudge.  That's when I feel the Holy Spirit move within me, telling me something.  Only this wasn't just a nudge.  It was like a big ole' slap up side my head saying, "you dummy!!!  Pizza = gluten = inflammation = pain"  Yup.  5:04 am was the moment that I realized that while although you may not be allergic to gluten, there are certainly major health benefits to going gluten free to some that struggle with gluten sensitivity and inflammation.  I've battled numerous health issues for years, especially RA and degenerative disc disease.  So, this wave of inflammation hit me like a ton of bricks.  I think what made it even more prominent was that after being gluten free for 4 weeks, I didn't even realize how great I was feeling, until I didn't.

And so now, as I drink my Red Juice with some detoxyme and capsules of clove and copaiba, I want to repent for all of those eye rolls.  Unfortunately, I did not do my own research before having it hit home to realize the benefits of being gluten free, and how it affects so many.  I now understand.  God has such a sense of humor, doesn't he?  Luckily we happen to have another pizza joint in town that makes the best gluten-free pizza around.  


Yes, you can withdrawal from...

Yes, you can withdrawal from...
9 years ago I was officially diagnosed with RA and given medication and braces.  7 years ago exactly; I ended up in the Emergency Room with a possible heart attack.  Short story is that my medication had eaten away at my esophagus and it was RAW....  The pain was causing severe chest pain. 

 So, after a couple of days of testing and hospital stay, I was told,

"Good news!  My heart was in great shape!!!  
Bad news... my medication was causing severe side effects.
Good news!  There's 2 more medications I'll get to take and I'll be fine"  

NO!  That's NOT GOOD NEWS!!!  That's when I was introduced to Young Living.... Thank you, Jesus!  I have been 7 years with no medications, and after a week I was able to stop wearing these braces.

Well, a few months ago, my arthritis started getting worse, and what I was doing, was no longer helping as much.  That's when I decided to try our CBD oil.  I was taking one dropper full of 500mg Citrus daily..  

And then one day I was out...  UGH!!!  It was working so well.  I was back out of my braces, no longer in pain.  No biggie, I thought... I'll just order some more.  That was about 10 days ago....

Saturday evening I started with a headache.  A nagging, yucky, won't go away headache.
Sunday morning I woke up nauseous, and with this stupid headache that now hurt to move my eyes.
The day continued.  I tried everything I could think of.  Oils, caffeine, accupuncture mat, sugar, I even resorted to tylenol.  I was worried that maybe my hypoglycemia had taken a turn and I was having problems with my sugar.
Monday continued just about the same way.  I wasn't as much of a zombie though and I was able to accomplish some projects.

Then Monday night came...  My Ah-ha moment!

It was 2am Tuesday morning when I woke up in terrible pain.  It was my thumb.  My main source of my arthritic pain.  HOLY COW, did it hurt.  I immediately got up and put on my brace.  

That dreaded brace... but it got me thinking... I haven't had to wear this since I started using my CBD oil.  And that's when it hit me.  My Ah-ha moment.  Am I having a withdrawal from the CBD oil???  I got up and used our dog, Izzy's oil... ewe... I know.  But hey, desperate times, call for desperate measures.  So, I tried not to think about how many times I had used that dropper in her mouth, and just did it.  

Now, hers is a lower dose than mine, so I went ahead and also used my Calm roll-on.  I was then able to go back to sleep, and when I woke up this morning, I was a new person!!!  Hallelujah!!!

Mine should be here anyday.  For now I'm just so grateful that I figured out what was going on.  Yes, I googled withdrawals from CBD, and there are conflicting reports.  That's why I'm here to tell you that everyone is different, and YES YOU CAN HAVE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS FROM CBD.

*Side note... one of those medications that they put me on 7 years ago, has since been proven to be cancer causing.  AGAIN... THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR YOUNG LIVING!

Are you a planner or let life happen kind of girl?

Are you a planner or let life happen kind of girl?
I'm definetly a planner.  And to help keep me organized, I love my planner.  In fact, I would call myself a planner snob.  I'm embarrased to say how much money I've spent on planners.  And although I am very frugal, I will throw away a planner that I used only a couple of months into a year if it's not working for me.  After all, a missed deadline or appointment can cost me way more than a planner.

My planner is my guide.  It has everything in it from birthdays to Sunday sermon notes to projects I'm working on, orders I've placed,  and of course appointments.  Through the years I've tried dozens of different brands, and the one that I keep going back to is the Happy Planner, Create 365 by Me & My Big Ideas.  

The Happy Planner comes in 3 different sizes and is by far the most customizable.  I've had the mini, the Big and the Classic.  It also comes in many different themes.  Such as weight loss, financial, and faith.  Then you can add inserts for notes, folders, project goals, and more.


This year I decided to go with the new Homebody with Dashboard style weekly inserts.  I love it so much that I couldn't wait to get rid of my 2020 planner and start using it.

So..... another great feature of the 365 Collection is that they have a special hole punch that allows you to add whatever you want into your planner.  I whipped up a calendar in Canva for November and December 2020, and added it to the front of my 2021 Planner.  This also helps as we get closer to the new year, I can put in any new appointments, and not miss any like my January 4th doctor's appointment...  I can't be the only one that has missed something because I didn't flip the calendar????

Another great advantage of having the hole punch is that I can also add other things like bulletins, flyers, grocery list, the possibilities are endless. You can find the Happy Planners in many different places. But if you'd like to order online, I recommend HERE and if you order soon you can use the promo code EXTRA10 and receive an extra 10% off your whole order.  A Cherry On Top* is located in Saginaw, Michigan, so you can also pick up your order if you don't want to wait for it to be shipped.

I'm ready to start planning my new year, and making it the best year yet, aren't you?

*I am an Affiliate with the above company and earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.  I only suggest what I use and like, and I would never steer you wrong!

 
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