My Christmas Card 2017

Merry Christmas everyone. We are just 9 days and some change away from 2018. I know! I can’t believe it either. I feel like the year started with a new beginning of a year of change. Yes the year of change. The year of growth. I know for me it has felt that way. My 2017 year started with quite a wake up call for me as a mother. I was given a load to carry and to see it through. That was my assignment. It was the start of many hard loads to carry. I knew I had to speak up for the one for the many. Due to its nature I can’t yet speak about it. But it is definitely something that I will tackle when I am told that I can. It was a situation where I was on the outside looking in, like ” This happens to other people, and now I know what other people feel like.” It was scary at first, but I overcame the fear of opening my mouth and saying something about it. I look forward to sharing that experience with you all in the future.

Then my daughter and step daughter came to live with us full time. We went from being an empty nest to having company. It was an exciting time for everyone. We were all getting to know each other and how things work in my house. Rules, boundaries, limitations and expectations. For awhile it worked like well oiled machine. Everyone knew what they needed to do and when. Then a quick shift happened. And that is when the new assignment came… survive! Hahaha. I have three teens and two pre-teens. I am a full believer in it takes a village to raise kids. If I had to go through this alone I might end up back in rehab. I’m joking. There are some moments where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I have learned a lot from my two teen daughters. Adolescents are toddlers with hormones. I mean that with all sincerity in my heart, but dang!! I learned that I really have to rely on Him all the time, otherwise, things might have gotten worse. But He doesn’t give us more than what we can carry right?! (John 16:12 NIV) He is pretty mindful of what you can carry, and He is able to help you grow through the rough stuff because He walks with us in all situations. I had referenced to the book of Proverbs a lot. To ensure that I am doing all that I can and I am being a good mom regardless how many times I was told otherwise. Which was a lot!! But I stayed within my faith first, and worked through it in confidence that I was doing the wise thing. I was super unpopular within these four walls, but in my heart I was okay with that. Teens in this day and age have a lot of new things thrown at them; much different than even seventeen short years ago. I so badly want to talk about everything that has happened, but what I can tell you is, It was a lot of darts at my back, my home, my kids right down to the dogs. It is a lot calmer, but nowhere close to being calm or peaceful. Having teen daughters so close in age is HARD!!! Like you need to be expert level in parenting. Especially since both girls have grown worlds a part. There is a lot of people affected, and we all have to work together in our own to make something work. I trust in my faith that we will work through it and we will survive. It takes a lot of work to keep the peace. A lot of letting go of certain things, and a large village. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of separation, but I feel that is temporary. God is working in everyone in their own ways. I learned to talk to others about what’s going on. Community is so important. I learned not to “Throw in the towel.” thanks Mom I learned how to step back when and where I needed too. Not an easy lesson to learn. I also had to learn was am I doing this for myself or for them. Was I wanting credit for knowing everything or was I maybe insulting the other adults in the same situation as me? It made realize that I need to really put myself in check at times, and allow somethings to happen. This has been the biggest part of my year, focused on the kids. I am blessed to have all my children, and my step children … even if they don’t know it, they were an answered prayer. So thank you Lord. Regardless of what they are going through I love them, and want nothing but the best for them.

Then I went to New Orleans for a few days, and was gone for about a week. It was a lot of fun, and which I then start noticing a new trend of things. Like my eyes were starting to open to a new light. I realized how much fun a road trip is across a thousand miles. Almost getting the Zika in Arkansas, the skeeters there are HUGE!! I was tired and I just shouted that in the middle of an empty convenient store. The poor clerk couldn’t stop laughing. It was also the middle of the night. In parts of Louisiana they farm their corn in sideways. It’s always wet, which is nice. I don’t mind that. That’s just some memories. I really wanted to go to Duck Commander and didn’t get to this time, but maybe next time. I also realized that my friend Kateri and I really didn’t sleep a whole lot. Haha. But I learned that I want to get to know so many people, I want to forge strong friends with others that I look up to, gals who are liked minded, I want to make memories with some new friends that I have been too afraid to tell them, ” hey I want to be your friend, want to hang out sometime?” That has been happening lately, and it feels good. This was a turning point for me in this year, when I came back from New Orleans there was a fast lane of life headed my way and I had no idea.

What happened in all that time from August to present has me even know in awe of this year and all that I have endured. Both good and bad. We were blessed with getting a new truck after a long time of not knowing if we could. We were blessed with that gift and that payment. Haha but now we have a reliable mode of transportation. I was sad to see buttons go ( my old ford) but it was time. Now we have Peter, the new white truck. I am taking better care of myself. I am looking fear in the face and telling it to kindly move because it is hindering my journey. I am going back to church, which is a blessing in itself. I am putting myself out there, and accepting when a door closes on something not to go back to it. It’s closed and it has served its purpose. I am getting better at saying what I mean when I say it. I hope to learn more about my gifts that were given to me. I was reminded of my purpose, which is to write, and write some more. Learn more, experience more, take care of myself in order to take care of others, love, be compassionate, be assertive, discernment and really getting my life back. It was highjacked for a little bit. But man to end this year like this is a blessing. I know that I went through this to learn these things and so much more. I am a better person for it. I mean I am really taking care of myself in a new fresh way. I am losing weight, both physically and in all areas in my life that I needed to lose some weight. I mean I inspire myself sometimes, ” Good job Kristal for treating yourself good today.” I am becoming disciplined in a new way. I know that all that I have gone through good and bad was setting me up for something in the future. I really believe that. Life is so much more than the enemy darts coming your way. (Matthew 6:25 NIV) I know I am taken care of. Love yourself that way you can love others the same way … Would you treat someone the way you treat yourself? (Matthew 22:39 NIV) I know I wouldn’t treat anyone they way I have treated myself lately…. So I take care of me first, and I don’t feel selfish for it. Because I know I am in a much better place to help others when the time is right.

This year has been a good one. I am able to see the joy in all of it. I look forward to what 2018 brings. No matter what, it starts with me and where I am going in this journey. I look forward to writing myself a letter on my anniversary thats coming up, and I cant wait to read it in a years time. But first Jesus’ birthday shindig first.

Regardless of all the “bad things,” that happened this year, it was a great season. I grew up a little bit more, became more mature in my walk. Learned so much. Weeding your theoretical garden of life is a must. If its a weed,pull it. It might hurt but your garden will appreciate you doing it. You’ll be able to grow something new in that good soil, because you made some room. Love yourself everyday. Forgive often, maybe a lot. But live!! Not just survive to the next moment. I rather have a floaty in flood waters than nothing at all.

Kristal xx

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Chapter 6 First Love

I am officially with my mom, her new husband and my little brother. My sister is now doing her own thing. This was the summer that I really experienced all the hype of those hormones that all the adults in my life were talking about. I mean sure I was emotionally but as far as boys went I was not interested. That was until this tall boy on a bike rode passed my house. Who was that?

That was it for me. He was all that I thought about from that moment. I didn’t even know his name and yet I have seen him ride passed my house on his bike several times. I have never wanted a bike so bad in my life! Oh and how I wished my brother had a different babysitter than me! I must know this boy. I watched out my window everyday to see if he would pass by, and he did. I finally grew a pair and saw that he was coming and I went outside with my brother. I needed a reason to be outside.

Thankfully my brother was eager to go outside! I happen to step right outside as he was passing my house. He stops abruptly and turns back towards my house. I have major butterflies happening right now. I think I need to pee. Oh MY Gosh. He is very cute. I might be in trouble. He stops and the first things he says is ” Hey are you new here?” Oh yes I am very new here. I tell him that I just moved back from Texas. I tell him my name and he finally tells me his. Joe.

There was this connection between us. I can’t speak for him but it was there for me. From that day on he was over at the house everyday, and I didn’t care because I was with him, and my brother. I broke rules to be with Joe. I had impure thoughts about Joe. Now before you make this something it isn’t. It wasn’t like that for me. Sex was furthest from my mine but my first kiss on the other hand. I envisioned that being with him. The first time I ever snuck out was to be with him.I don’t remember who we were with but I just wanted to be with him.

The way he held my hand and even the way he was proud that I was his girl made me feel good. Boys are dangerous. Haha. I say that kind heartedly because he was the first boyfriend that I ever had. I will never forget the way he claimed me to be his. We were together one afternoon and he pulls me into his tall body and lifts my chin and says ” You know you are my girl forever right?!” Talk about a smooth talker that one. He had my heart from that moment on.  We both started middle school that year and school was about to start. What would that mean for me and him? I had so many questions about his feelings? Did he feel the same for me? Did he talk about me? Did he think about me? Did he still want me when we start school?

First day of school we went our separate ways but not too far apart from each other. We were always there for each other but he was definitely the ladies man and well-known for that. I don’t think I saw that side of him. He always treated me like a lady. He enjoyed flirting, I mean we were young for crying out loud! I was occasionally jealous but it wasn’t something that consumed me. He would date other girls in school and it was nice to talk about him with the others, but I can tell you that non of them would express the same feelings as I had with him or even be treated the same way. He would be kind of like stuck up with the other girls, but he was not like that with me. Even if he wanted to he never did. Joe cared for me. I was his girl. Although I don’t think anyone knew that about me and Joe.

I mostly hung around my girls in school but one day this new boy came into my life. Jeremy was his name. He was sweet boy. He wrote me love letters all the time he even asked me out in a sweet letter. Of course I said yes. He brought me a new stuffed animal everyday. It was the cutest thing ever I felt like I was special. I didn’t know how to have anyone except Joe. But everyday I saw Jeremy I was in awe that boys actually treat young ladies like this. Middle school can be a crazy time for all of us kids. I was torn with my friends telling one thing, Jeremy being so incredibly sweet but that I am hurting someone else because they were in love with him, then there was Joe. My sweetheart who was dating one of my best friends.

I finally gave into peer pressure and let Jeremy go. I didn’t want to but I did. I didn’t like know that I was hurting someone else’s happiness for my own. Although, Jeremy was amazing to me. He brought me something everyday. I still have one of the stuffed animals he gave me but thinking about now, receiving gifts wasn’t something I was always comfortable with but I cherished them. The night that I broke up with Jeremy, my heart was broken. He didn’t want to be a part and I didn’t either but I didn’t like someone else hurting. He ended up going out with that other girl and I spent time to myself for sometime. I thought I always had Joe.

Joe ended up calling me one night and asked me to go the baseball fields near where we lived. I said sure and had permission to go. We met up in the middle because by this time I had moved into my new place in ” Barbie Town,” and we just talked like we always did. Once we got there he told me all his dreams of what he wanted to do when we graduated high school. As he ran around the bases of the field I tried to catch him. We were as his mom calls us Sweethearts. I got on his back and we fell to the ground and we laughed so hard. We just laid on our backs looking at the stars holding hands, he rolled over and just looked at me. We proclaimed our love for each other but in my heart I knew I would never get the guy kind of thing. I just knew that guy loved me, and Jeremy was my puppy love experience. It lessened the blow of losing such a great guy. I mean no one meets their soul mate at that age. IF you did congratulations.

Since that time Joe and hung out a lot. I think he liked having me around but didn’t really commit to me kind of thing although we were accused of that a lot. People thought we were having sex and doing all that sort of thing. I am sure he wanted to but not with me. He sure liked to tell everyone I was his. It made me happy but maybe I wanted more. I am not sure. I mean I have never done anything with a boy but one day at the horse stables I went over to help him out. He had some friends with him and they dared him to kiss me and we just looked at them like they were crazy. He walked over to me and pulled me into his arms and gave me that Joe look. He lifted me onto the bars of the ramp and he kissed me. Oh my! I have not experienced that feeling ever down below but wowza. We just looked at each other while his friends laughed making fun of us. ” yeah sure you guys are just friends” we were. Even after that I never thought of sex. Boys at that age that is all they think about. haha me on the other hand didn’t cross my mind. I didn’t plan on using my body that way for a very long time. Like marriage 

He made me feel so cherished. That is how my dad told me what a boyfriend should treat me like. My mom, I don’t think worried about me being sexually active. I didn’t give her reason too. I didn’t exactly share my body. Summer was soon coming and I inquired new friends. Let’s be honest I have known many people but not very many were close to me. I felt used most of the time. I had some close friends who I could tell everything too. I was lucky to have such cool girlfriends, but boys complicate those relationships at times. Joe was always asked about and if we were a thing. The same answer always came out of my mouth. No we aren’t a thing, yes I will give you his number, yes I know where he lives. Yes I guess we can go see if he is home. It was weird after a while.  I mean we are talking about a guy who claimed me as his but didn’t want me like that. Boys… I like to think that he honored me and didn’t see me in that way, but the connection was there. Or was on my end. Jeremy was happy with that other girl and I was ok with being alone.

During that summer though I was feeling a little left out. All my friends were starting to date older boys and I couldn’t get a date to save my life. I have often wondered why? Why was I in a rush or was I? I was just feeling left out or the third wheel. Or the ugly boy in the group would try stuff with me. Hmm No! Oh that’s it I wasn’t approachable. I was called a prude a lot. I was okay with that. I had nothing to prove. Older boys were always around my friends and I don’t think I liked how they talked or even thought they were entitled to grope. Gross. But I did meet a nice older young man and my parents approved me to be with him. He was marriage material for sure. He was a lot like Joe and a giver like Jeremy. I hit the jackpot with him. His name is Chris. He was good to me. He honored me a lot like how Joe did. He protected me. He was 17 and I was 13. He never tried anything with me.

That summer my virginity was taken from me and I was shamed for it. I later found out that one of my best friends liked my boyfriend. She liked him so much that she paid for another young man to have sex with me. It was NOT consensual. I have not ever felt so dirty in my life. Not only that I felt ruined. I was alone even more so now. I have turned fun me to don’t even look at me, don’t touch me, and don’t talk to me. I was not me anymore. I came home that afternoon and showered. I just wanted to wash it all away like it didn’t happen. This so-called friend ran to my boyfriend spinning lies. My sister asked me if I was okay and I broke down and just cried. She made me tell my mom. I hated telling my mom. She made me talk to the police, do a rape kit and lastly I had to go to school with this ass hat the following year. My whole world has changed once again.

My boyfriend called and he was hurt, he was scared and the guy who raped me was one of his best friends. He kept telling me there is something called Saying NO Kristal!! Like I didn’t try in his eyes. he broke up with me. I just wanted comfort not shame. I got shame and a lot of it. I was once again a loner. That is how it felt anyway. The guy’s girlfriend and friends would throw soda at me when I would walk home. I don’t think my mom knew all that I was going through at that time. I felt like everything that happened to me was my fault. Like I had asked for all of this. That shame turned into rebellion against my mom. I had to survive Hight school the next year. Who was I going to hang around? Who can I trust that is a girl? I met my best friend Tab that eight grade year. She’s still my best friend to this day!! We did everything together. After awhile the whole rape case went nowhere and all those clothes they took from me I threw away. I gave up having girlfriends, and I really hung out with my two best guy buddies. I realized at that moment boys weren’t worth it to me and I was really not wanting sex. NOPE!!! Closed for business…. it was robbed and now closed for sure.

The reason why I brought up my first love. I think that it was one of the most important parts of this age for me. When I came back home with my mom. There was a lot of change and there was hope that all would be well when I came back. There was a lot that went well and were happy moments. But for me as a young woman, finding your first love is something you don’t forget. Through the boys I have dated and hung around they showed me something. Jeremy was a kind young man. I feel he just wanted to pour his heart into his relationships. He was super attentive and attractive. I gave him up because I felt it was the right thing to do for someone else. I learned my first experience with puppy love with Jeremy. He is a successful man who I think enjoys his job and having drop dead gorgeous women on his arm. We haven’t talked in many years. Chris and I never talked after that summer. I tried to get back with him but I was grounded and couldn’t meet him to talk. I have no idea what he is up to but I am sure he is doing just fine. The guy who raped me… well I choose to forgive him. I have no idea what he’s doing and don’t care to know. I just know that I made a choice to move on with my life and not allow what happened to me to define me. The girls that threw soda’s at me, well I am friends with most of them. Women are stronger together than competing with each other. Guys come and go. So do friends. I have chosen to let all that go and redeem my life. For a long time that event of that summer scared me for a long time. Finally, there is Joe. Joe is living what looks like a fulfilled life. He has done a lot of great things in his life thus far. He showed me what it was like to be cherished. To know what it felt like to be honored. I am not sure what he felt on his end. I can only tell you what actions he bestowed onto me. He will always have that one piece of my heart. He impacted my life is such a great way. He has overcome many things in his life that are respectable. His momma is an amazing woman and raised him right. His father was hard on him but he knows his story and it is not for me to tell. I can only tell you what my first love was like. He was a man of respect, a great sense of humor , he was a young man who had big dreams running around in the middle of night on a wet baseball field, who dreamed of a life outside of this small town, to take pride in something that was his. In those moments with Joe I was his and he knew it. I am not sure if he ever knew how I felt. We were kids. I just know that he is living out his dreams and making things happen. I would love to hear what your first love was like. I know that mine was great. His Mom still would refer to us as sweethearts. He is happy and doing well y’all.

So the moral of this story…. Just be happy. Choose to forgive people who have hurt you and move on. Find good people in your life that will be your humans. Remember that we all are flawed and give a little grace and love! Love each other and Love yourself. Remember the good times just don’t unpack there all the time. Give all the glory to God.