NOVEMBER 24, 2020: “And They Shall Rise Up”…

They made me a mom.

They made me strong.

They made me REFUSE to give up on myself under any circumstances!

They make me DETERMINED with every single breathe that I’m lucky enough to take to be a Light in all their darkness.

You see, “Phoenixes can only make phoenixes”, so they have no ther choice but to rise up and and fly.

And that, my friends, is just the way it is!

(Have I ever told you that I’m SUCH a lucky woman?)

RISE UP

I was hoping for an indication. I was seeking higher elevation. Ay, ay, ay. Ay, ay, ay. I’ve been shaken wakin’ in the night light. I’ve been breakin’, hiding from the spotlight. Ay, ay, ay. Ay, ay, ay. The more I stray, the less I fear, and the more I reach, the more I fade away. The darkness right in front of me. Oh it’s calling out and I won’t walk away! I would always open up the door. Always looking up at higher floors. Want to see it all. Give me more. Rise, rise up! I was always up for the making changes. Walking down the street and meeting strangers. Flipping through my life turning pages. Rise, rise up! Like a prayer that only needs a reason. Like a hunter waiting for the season. Ay, ay, ay. Ay, ay, ay. I was there, but I was always leaving. I believe it, that I was never breathing. Ay, ay, ay. Ay, ay, ay. I’m bursting like the 4th of July, so color me and blow me away! I’m broken in the prime of my life, so embrace it and leave me to stray! {Imagine Dragons}

NOVEMBER 23, 2020: “One Light Burning” …

ONE LIGHT BURNING

All alone in the dark. No walls, no windows. Trying hard to define Heaven from hell. Standing out in the rain with just one shadow. Nothing to see or believe beyond myself. See my life going by each moment I am alive. I keep reaching out, holding on, hoping somewhere in my life there’s one light burning. I feel it like my heart beating inside. Somewhere in my life, there’s one light burning. All alone with my fears. No words are spoken. A story yet to be told locked in my mind. Hope is somewhere ahead shining brightly, but the past is always following close behind. Somewhere in my life, t here’s one light burning leading the way. {Richie Sambora}

If you’re reading this …

… PLEASE REMEMBER …

It doesn’t HAVE to be the dark of night to get out there, Light ’em up and be that “One Light Burning”!

It’s Monday, November 23, 2020! So many kids are home this week with parents and families who are desperately thinking “WHAT THE HELL” – especially where this whole “holiday season 2020 COVID style” is concerned. Yah, it’s really kinda DARK outside, EVEN in the daytime!

So, with that, please let me encourage you to DO THIS …

While you’re out and about living life today, SMILE AT SOMEONE! Be kind to EVERYONE! Hold a door open. Pay for someone’s lunch. HELP where you can (smiles are FREE). Say “have a good day” (and really mean it) to a complete and total stranger and see how truly good and hopeful it makes you feel! Do it for them, do it for you, do it in tribute to loved ones you’ve lost who would WANT you to have learned to value humanity and cherish “the living” with their crossing. DO IT BECAUSE ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO! Especially because, as we all surely know, NO ONE MAKES IT OUT OF HERE ALIVE! So many people, including our loved ones, do lose the hope they need to keep their feet on this foreboding and shaky ground we call planet Earth! YOU know that I KNOW this all too well! For those of us left behind in the wake of a loved one’s lost battle with the darkness, WE OWE IT TO THEM TO LIGHT THE WAY FOR THE OTHERS!

Listen! Just because you can’t see a burning flame in the daylight, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel a burning flame in the daylight. A flame is a flame regardless of its timing, circumstances or surroundings … IT GIVES WARMTH! So, get out there and make it a powerful Monday everyone …

Chin Up!

Knuckles Out!

LIGHT ‘EM UP!

ONE LIGHT BURNING!

NOVEMBER 12, 2020: “Black Roses”

BLACK ROSE

I saw you in the garden – I wanted you so much. I really thought that you were different, oh I couldn’t get enough. I tried to save you from yourself – I felt every high and low. But the lows have drowned the highs away, now there’s no where else to go. Black rose your thorns are cutting into me for the last time. Black rose I watched your petals wilt away. I couldn’t bring you back to life! You were always where The Sun could never go. I never wanted you to have to be alone. But I couldn’t find a way to help you grow … Black Rose. You never tell me how you feel, and your moods they always change. I really tried to make it real, but you never had the faith. I tried to give you something good to take the pain away. I tried to make you understand – you don’t have to be this way …” {Trapt}

… that moment you’re so proud of yourself when “that one song from your past” cues up as your driving down the road, only this time it doesn’t make you cry. God has been so good to me in all the ways He’s helped me find closure and peace with the MANY black roses from my past … not the LEAST of which was ME! Trust me when I tell you that I wasn’t ALWAYS so upbeat, “Light-Filled” and optimistic. If you’ve read any of the chapters from the beginning of this Diary, YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! There was a very dark time in my life when I was the blackest rose of them all! Such is life, right? We live, and we learn, then we move on!

Trapt is one of my all-time favorite bands by the way, and Black Rose truly is one of the “songs of my life”. If you’ve never heard it before, take a listen … IT’S SOOOOO PRETTY! But hey, if you do, I want you to tell me something PLEASE :: Can you say that when you get to the “at 3:23” guitar rift that it doesn’t send chills up your spine? I CANNOT! It’s actually one of the most beloved instrumental rifts I’ve ever heard and treasure, because it just makes me feel SOME KIND OF WAY! It’s never too far from my heart, no matter what kind of mood I’m in. Truth be told, I’ve probably “backed up and replayed” it 50 times in a row just so I could “feel something” (many of which times were to make myself cry when I couldn’t). Meanwhile, thank you God for the roses of my life – EVEN the black ones!

NOVEMBER 1, 2020: “Crossing Over” …

CROSSING OVER

All perched alone he sits there broken. An eldered man with storm clouds setting in his eyes. He counts the sands of time – remembering day’s gone by. It seemed like yesterday before it washed away. Hey, don’t wait for me there – just find your own way. Hey, don’t wait for me there – ’cause I’ll be there soon enough. The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork. A thousand tears she’s cried a hundred time’s before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on. It all just fell away – it seems like yesterday. {Five Finger Death Punch}

Some days I rise with all the words I need to say just pouring out of my soul, and often it’s because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of bittersweet healing on this road I never planned to travel, and though I knew it was fast approaching, I also knew it would be a major turning point in my final ascent out of the darkness and into The Light. So, with that, let me tell you how my beautifully shattered life works

To begin, indeed I dreamt last night, but not before closing my eyes to the sound of the Halloween shenanigans of my daughter and her crew. (PS) Did I ever tell you that the one design flaw with Williamson Manor is that her theatre room and living area are directly above the master? Yup! They are! As it turns out, however, it’s not a flaw at all! Believe it or not, especially in this last 438 days, those echoes of stomping, laughing and chaos into the wee hours of so many nights are a lullaby to me. It’s why he built this home “from the ground up” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing she’s here, and happy, safe and whole, is one of the truths that comforts me the most. But damnit, I’ve digressed!

Where was I? Oh yes … my dream! I was front row center at a Five Finger Death Punch show, but instead of a mainstream concert venue, it was a very intimate gathering where Ivan was singing to me:

The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork … a thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on …

As he was singing he reached out his hand and a tear rolled down his cheek. But it wasn’t Ivan’s face! It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary, spike-encrusted mic stand in one hand while reaching out the other to me like a muse. It was the most beautiful insanity imaginable! In the dream, I was thinking, “This means something. What does this mean?” Then I woke up and I knew.

In order to fully appreciate where I’m going with this, you must understand that I am led solely by intuition and feelings. Call me spiritualist. Call me a “good witch”. Call me whatever the hell you want. It’s my truth just the same and it’s never gonna change!

In every thing there is a meaning, in every moment a message, and something means everything, even if it’s nothing!

This is what I believe! Am I crazy? Out of touch? Insane? Delusional? Perhaps! But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and let me tell you why: What if I’m RIGHT? What if it’s true? What if the Cosmos really is trying to speak to me. What if it really is him “communicating with us” through the fog and the crows and the lights in our bathroom? That, my friends, is the “crazy” blind faith that costs me nothing but gains me everything. Sooner or later I too will cross over, and either I’m right or I am wrong. Meanwhile, directly after waking this morning from that most ethereal dream, this was at the foot of my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of the girls’ bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot was supposed to hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Well duh, I already know that! But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8” this way? Hmmmm. I think I kinda know …

IN CLOSING …

It’s Sunday, November 1, 2020. Ten years ago I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today that same king turned me into a princess. Last night I had a dream, then woke up “on the edge of eternity”, at which point I was then was reminded of the pure and endless joy he brought into my life that I get to keep until it’s my time to touch The Brighter Side Of Grey. In the meantime, today marks the day. It’s time for me to move on, whatever that actually means, and I’ve asked God to show me what’s next. Sufficed to say, my heart is completely open to anything and everything … but this is the beautiful picture of the me I’m always going to be … thanks to him …

Happy Anniversary Williamson!

I don’t mind you hanging with us as long as you feel it’s necessary, but hey – don’t wait for me here. I’ll be there soon enough.

OCTOBER 30, 2020: “A Better Version Of Me” …

“PEOPLE WHO TAKE SELFIES ARE NARCISSITIC AND VAIN!”

~ By The Former Mislead & Completely MISINFORMED “Not So REAL” Cat Williamson

Yes, these are the words I used to say about “selfies”! Upon further deliberation, however, I have since changed that narrative to something more like this:

Selfies, self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-LOVE are okay in appropriate doses, if not a necessary evil.

Here’s the deal …

If I don’t love me, 100% unconditionally, and value, see and treat myself as the QUEEN I KNOW I AM, why on EARTH would anyone else? We treat others as we wish to be treated, right? Well, today I’m treating myself with the utmost of appreciation and importance. I am literally my own biggest fan these days! Well, me and the Big Guy that is … and HE DOES NOT MAKE TRASH! If He adores and values me above all things …

SO SHOULD I!

Look … I’m the one who “gets” to spend the most time with me of all, so, isn’t it a damn good thing that I’ve finally reached this place in my journey? Hell – if I had to be stuck with that “old me” I DESPISED for the next fifty effing years? NO THANK YOU — I’LL PASS! She was her own worst enemy, not a fan of me at all, and didn’t deserve to wear the crowns that once adorned her jacked up little head, because she didn’t believe she deserved them!

Hi everyone, it’s The Real Cat Williamson! I am Fifty-ONE-Derful years old and fearfully and wonderfully made!

~ By The New & Improved “Better Version Of Me” REAL Cat Williamson

Now then, about this song:

Excuse the mess – I didn’t see you from behind. I caught a glimpse, but the reflection’s only mine. It’s almost like I’m paralyzed and locked outside myself. I don’t need to concede, because I won’t be someone else! I am not perfect and I don’t claim to be, and if that’s what you wanted, well then I’m so sorry! How about a better version of the way that I am? How about a better version that makes me understand? How about a better version of the way that I am? The way I look … the way I speak … HOW ‘BOUT A BETTER VERSION OF ME? Excuse the wall I put it up from time to time. A silver shade, and the design is all mine. It’s just a maze that everyday I seem to be stuck in. It never seems to fade away but I pray for the day it ends.

“Better Version” ~ by Shinedown

To call it one of my favorites would not do it any justice. It’s so much more than just a song to me – it’s an entire way of life! I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was at the gym in the middle of a workout with the King who insisted that I already was the best version of “me” whatsoever. As I listened to the words, they ripped me to shreds in a hundred different ways. It was good, and bad, and beautiful, and awful, and absolutely AMAZING all the same! After that, I would listen to daily, sometimes over and over and over, until it actually became one of the processes that completely rewired my broken self-image and head. Truth be told, if I wasn’t pretty much out of space on my body to ink out any further mantras in as dignified a way as I have thus far (if there is such a thing, lol), I would have every word of this most empowering song tattooed in its entirety onto my body! You’ve heard it said before, “we are what we do, say and think”. I’m FINALLY the BEST fucking version of “me” that ever was and ever will be. Thank, You, GOD!

I want to challenge ALL OF YOU to post a selfie very soon. Because … YOU ARE PERFECT … and it’s OKAY to love YOU … as long as you’re doing it from a truly humble place and always keepin’ it real!

SELF-LOVE TO ALL OF YOU!

… Cat

OCTOBER 28, 2020: “Because Jekyll NEVER Hides” …

WORDS TO LIVE BY …

Words to die by.

Words that just NEEDED to be strung together:

“In order to love who you are, you CANNOT hate the choices you have made. LET THAT SHIT GO!”{Author Unknown}

Saw this today and HAD to share it.

Whatever “sins” from your past are holding you back from rising SO far above yourself that even YOU can’t stop your own ascent … LET THEM DIE WHEN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES THIS NIGHT!

No one is perfect.

We’ve ALL fucked up!

Some of us more than others.

Guess what? That’s what grace is for, and you deserve better than the guilt, shame and self-degradation causes from EVERYTHING you refuse to release yourself from.

Make it a POWERFUL day everyone!

Love Cat

OCTOBER 20, 2020: “Peace, Love, Light Aaaand” …

I struggled as to whether I should even respond to this message, but decided to go ahead let you know how it felt to get your text after being “ghosted” first.

It is more than clear to me by now that you know nothing about my heart, so I’ll fill you in on a not so big secret: I am an empath who absorbs other people’s feelings and burdens as my own, especially those who are close to me. As such, I have spent the entire last seven months of COVID worrying for my friends, family and strangers, feeling helpless that I can’t just “zap” everyone’s lives into blissful perfection. I have cried endless tears, prayed endless prayers, and done everything in my power to be “a Light” in the darkness, DESPITE the fact that 427 days ago the love of my life not only blew his fucking brains out, but also DEVASTATED me and mine in unspeakable ways that most people don’t and will never know (but YOU do). I am now a widow who has also “struggled”, with not only COVID, but countless other thoughts, burdens and stresses that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, all the while having still managed to at least TRY to think outside of myself and be thoughtful and mindful of others. I too have been near “a cliff”, and though it may not be as steep as yours, it is real just the same.

I was at a stop light when I saw your post and misinterpreted “your situation”. I’d honed in on the fact that you might have to sit in a 2-hour line to get a Chromebook for your son, which evidently was not the case. My first thought was about the like-new Chromebook that Gia had been trying to sell, so, I either texted or called you immediately. For the record, my intention was NEVER to sell it to you, and I apologize if that’s what you thought. Gia doesn’t need $100 and neither do I. My only thought at that moment was, “Oh no! A 2-hour line for a Chromebook? Maybe I could just bring her Gia’s.” ZERO was I “disregarding” either that situation or any situation you and yours have been dealing with as of late. I was JUST trying to help you be less stressed out.

Keep in mind that the weekend prior, I had made a gift bag to “ding dong ditch” your porch with on your birthday, but when I went to your page that day to write on your wall, I saw you on a getaway with your family and decided to hold off. Time passed and I had neither heard from or seen much of you on Facebook, so I tried to find out what was going on. I texted you two or three times. No response! I even thought about going to your house, but instead messaged your husband because I was worried that something was wrong. Then I got your text and realized that yet again (for the second time in 20 plus years) I’d, been, “GHOSTED”! And why is that? Because my well-intended message to you “kind of came across as disregarding your situation when you were already struggling”. Neither my words, thoughts or intended deeds were good enough and had to be punished!

When I got your text, I all but lost it and beat myself up pretty good! “OMG! What did I do? I hurt her feelings? Made her feel disregarded? What could I have done better? What could I have SAID better?” I felt like a terrible friend and awful person! Did you ever stop to consider that perhaps I did have good intentions and was just trying to help, but because I too am struggling, your assumption that I was “disregarding your situation” was WRONG? Short of that, could you have possibly shown some grace and cut me some slack for failing to regard “your situation” in the manner that you would have preferred? Yah, not so much!

Let me tell you about my “situation”. I had to actually run away to get my broken head, heart and feelings together after coming pretty damn close to falling off my own cliff! What you did to me was beyond unfair, if not cruel, and started cracking my heart in a brand new place. By the time my own birthday came and went and most of my “friends” forgot me, I think I was pretty much done … with all of this! I just survived an entire LIFETIME of walking on fucking eggshells in “relationship gauntlets” where the people I loved and trusted refused to extend grace for my MANY human failures and would punish me with silent treatments or “washing their hands of me”. The irony here is that ALL I’VE EVER WANTED is for “my people” to be happy, feel cared for, and NEVER have to wonder what they mean to me. The problem is that I’m not a mind reader, soooo … all I’ve ever been able to do is the best that I can do, which evidently isn’t good enough people like YOU!

I’m sorry I hurt your feelings and made you feel “disregarded”. If you knew me at all, you’d know that’s NOT how I roll. If this is “friendship”? No thanks, I’ll pass! And I especially don’t need “friends” who profess to be Christian followers of Jesus yet treat others this way. No grace? No compassion? NO THANK YOU! I’d rather be ALONE with my heart in the exact right place than “in the world” with people like you who could take me or fucking leave me. True friendships should neither be conditional nor contingent upon perfect behavior and impossibly high standards, up to and including “mind reading”. Walking on your eggshells doesn’t work for me anymore!

So, with that …

this is me …

GHOSTING YOU!

I was a good friend to you – don’t you ever forget it! Or, DO. I don’t give a fuck. I did my best to support all your endeavors and “situations” and have never been too busy to remember you, regardless of my “struggles”, and trust me, I’ve had some! I am fifty fucking ONE-derful years old now “friend”, and since you too forgot me on September 17th, I opened the candle I got when I didn’t forget you on August 8th and burned it for myself, alone, on my birthday! I deserve so much better than “I can take her or leave her”, or, “let me ghost and punish her because she wasn’t clairvoyant enough to know the exact right thing to do for my SITUATION”.

QUEENS DON’T TAKE SCRAPS FROM ANYONE, soooo, have a nice life “friend”, but LOSE MY FUCKING NUMBER! I’m done with this conversation … and you!

Damn that felt good!

I’m feeling IRIDESCENT again!

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020: “The Dark Knight Of LIGHT” …

This morning I intersected with another mom who has also buried a child, which turned out to be fascinating! By now I hope you realize that my intention with this Diary is never to make you sad. “Sad” just isn’t for me, and although like anyone else, I have had more than my fair share of “sad”, I have chosen to walk a road wherein I do not to dwell in … or on … “sad” for too long.

With that, my intention now and as always is to remind you yet again that within each one of us is the propensity to EARN our very own “invisible cloak” just like that beautiful, flowy black one my favorite “not REALLY a superhero SUPERHERO” dons! You KNOW who I’m talking about … RIGHT?

Batman!

Just Batman.

Always, EVER, BATMAN!

We are ALL SUPERHEROES my friends … some of us just don’t know it! I mean, let’s be honest … NO parent should EVER have to bury a child. It’s just not natural. None of us should have to bury anyone! But having done so myself, then lived, survived, RISEN and THRIVED to tell about it? I’m here to tell you that although I didn’t quite realize it at the time, my tiny angel’s death was the catalyst to all the best and most endearing parts of what my human spirit could truly withstand and become.

I’m a living, breathing “Dark Knight Of LIGHT” who has found the strength, courage and sheer determination to rise above the uniquely personal demons, challenges, conflicts and chaos I’ve internalized at different points that tried to take me down, which for the record, is EXACTLY what makes Batman so relatable to me. He’s the only superhero of the historic thousands whose secret identity IS his mask. Wheras, for example, Clark Kent and Peter Parker “wear the masks” of Superman and Spider-Man? Bruce Wayne is the disguise for his true identity, “Batman”. He’s a mortal super human hiding in plain site, with a list a mile long of perfectly matched villains that took him toe to toe against personal weaknesses that eventually became his strengths. Two-Face challenged the duality of his personality and the two different paths that were offered him by Fate. Poison Ivy challenged his struggle with lust and temptation. Scarecrow challenged his struggle with fear. The Riddler challenged his intellect and the power of his mind. And the Joker? Fuhgettabout it! The greatest fictional anarchist of all times held Batman for ransom against his longing for justice and order.

So, with that, I end with this …

How awesome is it that a cosmic collision with another “grieving mom” not only made me smile, but also reminded of how effing proud I am of the cloak I wear that no one sees!

The “Dark Knight Of Light” … That’s me … AND you!

Never forget to remind yourself that YOU’RE a bad ass superhero who has triumphed over SO many things – regardless of whether anyone’s ever noticed or acknowledged it! We gotta keep shining our OWN Lights over our OWN heads … because … it’s the right thing to do and we’re allowed to!

… and besides …

The God I serve doesn’t make anything less than “super-humans”. It’s our job to find the hero hiding within ourselves, lest we become the antithesis of all we truly stand for. THAT’S why He has to let us fall — so we can learn to pick ourselves back up!

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020: “When Real Was Just 3 Doors Down” …

Dear Brad:

THIS credit is LONG overdue!

Thank you.

AUGUST 24, 2020: “The First Year … In Focus” …

I did it people!

I SURVIVED!

Thank you SO much for all of the love and support! I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on!

AUGUST 10, 2020: “A Tree For All Seasons” …

NBKB0485

DEAR CAT:

Let me remind you of the words to that song he would sing to you:

“There’s a light in you that tears me down to nothing. There’s an angel in your eyes. There’s a hope inside that you can make it better. You see right through my disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. There’s a hope in me that I will die for something. Was the fire in my eyes? All this pain inside. Will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. When the seasons change and we’re in for colder weather look for me on The Divide. {Five Finger Death Punch}

You see? None of this is about you.

It has NEVER been about you.

IT’S ABOUT THEM!

Not just your babies …

… all the lives you’ll have touched before your time is done … if only for a season.

Your greatest treasure and greatest triumph are in knowing just how insignificant you really are in the bigger scheme of things.

Your “valuelessness” is your greatest value!

Your “powerlessness” is your greatest power!

YOU ARE REACHING NIRVANA!

You are EVERYTHING!

Because you are NOTHING!

You’re NOTHING but a pebble, to be dropped into your ocean, making ripples and waves of outward change for everyone whose path you cross on your journey.

Your purpose is to keep working the roots of this new and healthy family tree you’re now growing — free from the black toxicity that suffocated and broke all the branches of the tree that we came from.

KEEP CHANGING THE STORY!

THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

Your children’s children may never get to meet you, their “Crazy Grandma Cat“, but your legacy will live on through them! HIS legacy will live on through all of you!

Keep working.

Keep sowing.  

You’re doing a good job.

… and (PS) …

I love you! We got this! I WON’T LET YOU DOWN AS THE SEASONS CHANGE!

~ Me

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AUGUST 5, 2020: “Open Up Your Eyes” …

IMG_4652

Yesterday morning I woke up to another one of those magical music moments I have come to love and cherish wherein my son, Christian, communicates what he’s feeling by simply texting me a song. As I’ve said, his music messages are one of my greatest treasures, and ironically, Zack would often do the very same thing, which of course I treasured just as much. But once again I’ve digressed. Sufficed to say, today my own eyes are open wide and I’m beyond thankful that my beautiful King FINALLY found the peace he could never find.

But as they laid him in the ground, her heart would sing with out a sound :: For the first time you can open your eyes, and see the world without your sorrow when no one knows the pain you left behind …“.

I can only imagine what it was like for him that night, “August 22, 2019, “just before midnight, in that split second after he pulled the trigger and his eyes closed for the very last time.

WHAT did he see when at last he opened them?

HE SAW JESUS!

I JUST KNOW IT!

God had His hand on my husband’s beautiful head at all times, even while he was roaming this Earth like the motherless and forsaken “trash can boy” he always saw when he looked into a mirror. I am still the most blessed woman I have ever known to have roamed this Earth as well. How is that even possible? Because God has had His hand on MY head at all times as well, be it during my greatest triumphs and joys or darkest tragedies and traumas. And too, this …

MARK 2:17 :: When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Make it a good day everyone and always keep the faith! Remember, “this is our temporary home“, nothing more, nothing less. The best part of all of this is still yet to come!

MAY 30, 2020: “Overwhelmed With Overwhelmingness” …

MARCH 16, 2020: “Because This Is MY Experience” …

me

EXPERIENCE

Meet me at the crossroads. The edge of all my broken dreams. I feel like I’m missing something. Missing out. Missing me. An angel to my left, the devil to my right. It’s time that I made a choice. I can only do what I know feels right. It’s time that I let go. Experience. Experience it all. I found a risk worth taking. Right or wrong, it’s my line to cross. Experience. Experience it all. I found a life worth living. I want to feel alive. I want to do more than just survive. Swimming in the shallow water. They never let me get too deep. The tide will have to take me under. Pull me in. Set me free. An angel to my left, the devil to my right. It’s time that I made a choice. I can only do what I know feels right. It’s time that I let go. Experience. Experience it all. I found a life worth living. I want to feel alive. I want to do more than just survive. A dream is only a dream. A dream is only a dream until you make it real. A dream is only a dream unless it’s something you can feel. I want something I can feel. {Trapt}

I remember the first time I heard this song in 2013 and how much it inspired me. Zack and I had been married for a couple of years, but despite the fact that we were crazy in love and truly being each other’s “better half”, I was still getting comfortable with the healthier skin I was wearing and learning how to stretch it after years of fighting to keep my head above the water in the battle for my sanity. My feet were on the path but it was a daily battle. “An angel to my left. The devil to my right. It was time that I made a choice”. Did it take me a minute to finally put all the pieces of myself that I had finally found back together? You betcha! But guess what? That was then, and this is now …

JANUARY 29, 2020: “God Only Knows” …

This one’s for my fallen king. And my son. And my daughter. And myself. And anyone in my atmosphere who is now or has ever struggled just to keep your head above the water. It’s so hard to swim when the entire weight of the world seems to be resting upon your shoulders. This is I know too well! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If I can do this? YOU CAN DO THIS! So, with that: Chin up! Knuckles out! Head held high! Fight the good fight. Just. Keep. Breathing. And remember …

GOD ONLY KNOWS

Wide awake while the world is sound asleepin’. Too afraid of what might show up while you’re dreamin’. Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you. Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you. Every day you try to pick up all the pieces. All the memories, they somehow never leave you. Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you. Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you. God only knows what you’ve been through. God only knows what they say about you. God only knows how it’s killing you. But there’s a kind of love that God only knows. God only knows what you’ve been through. God only knows what they say about you. God only knows the real you. There’s a kind of love that God only knows. There’s a kind of love that. There’s a kind of love. You keep a cover over every single secret. So afraid if someone saw them they would leave. But somebody, somebody, somebody sees you. Somebody, somebody will never leave you. God only knows what you’ve been through .For the lonely, for the ashamed. The misunderstood, and the ones to blame. What if we could start over. We could start over. We could start over. Oh for the lonely, for the ashamed. {for King & Country}

JANUARY 18, 2020: “JUST. GET. UP!” …

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Someone out there needs to hear these words RIGHT NOW:

“I know you’re clinging to the light of day to tell you everything’s a-okay. A medication don’t do much. Yeah, it just numbs the brain. Guess you might say I’m a little intense. I’m on the bright side of being HELL BENT! So take it from me, you’re not the only one who can’t see straight. If you were ever in doubt, don’t sell yourself short, you might be bulletproof. It’s hard to move mountains when you’re paralyzed, but you gotta try. And I’m calling out … GET UP, GET UP, GET A MOVE ON!”

~ Brent Smith (Shinedown)

If I can do this, YOU CAN DO THIS! ‘Cause if it doesn’t kill you, it really DOES make you bulletproof! I promise. “I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO MUCH BETTER! Trust me!” Much love all of you. Now then: GO ON, GET UP, and listen to one of my favorite songs EVER!

DECEMBER 22, 2019: “How To Re-Traumatize A Widow” …

BoundariesI struggled this morning as to what if anything to say about “the very first social event without my husband” last night because honestly, I am just so overwhelmed and TRAUMATIZED all over again! So perhaps I’ll just lead with some friendly advice for anyone out there who unbeknownst to them struggles with “unhealthy boundaries” …

To begin, here is what Wikia.org says about “personal boundaries” (and please DO click on this link THIS VERY IMPORTANT LINK for more information when you are either extremely bored OR extremely ready to conduct a quick self-examination as to where you are on the boundaries spectrum):

Personal boundaries are an aspect of psychological boundaries and are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. “Personal boundaries” define you as an individual. They are statements of what you will or won’t do, what you like and don’t like … how close someone can get to you.

One last advice I’d like to offer against what again I’m sure are seemingly innocent comments and remarks from well-intended people. I appreciate being told “I’m so beautiful”. Truly, I do, and I’m not trying to sound like a self-inflated ass, but I am in fact aware of “how I look” and yes, I agree, I am clearly not unfortunate looking. I comfortable writing those words out loud here now in this space because only I know how long it finally took me to find my actual reflection in a mirror! It took a hell of a lot of work on behalf less than a handful of people to get me to finally “see me” the way other people see me on the outside. Eternal is the gratitude for my very firstAngel from Flight 438“, because all “this” started with him! Then Zack picked up where he left off and I will NEVER forget that day in his apartment he grabbed me by the arms and physically forced me in front of the mirror while he stood behind me repeating: “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! LOOK AT YOURSELF CATHERINE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! SAY IT! I’M NOT LETTING YOU GO UNTIL YOU SAY IT!” And then I did, and here I am. Yes, I am beautiful. The irony here is the first time Zack ever saw me in January of 2009 my presentation was “yah, not so much”. If he were still here he’d be the first to admit that I looked like a freaking train wreck. I was in the worst shape of my life, hadn’t been sleeping, was physically disfigured in the most egregious way, and about five minutes away from my final nervous break down. He used to say, “Every time she showed up at the gym she looked kind of like a homeless person”.  So trust me when I tell you – our love story did NOT begin with “wow you’re just so beautiful”. He loved me as I was, scars and all, for the very first time in my life, and for that precious reason my fallen King’s mirror of not only my reflection but most importantly my soul will always be the standard by which I judge anyone’s regard for my “beauty”.

There is probably not a human being on the face of this planet that doesn’t appreciate verbal affirmation from others, and yes, compliments in the right dose are an integral part of how our confidence is assimilated. But over and over and over again? “You’re so pretty. You’re so beautiful. You are such an attractive person.” Okay, so tell me once and that’s it! Anything more is not only overkill, but more so the polar OPPOSITE of what has ever attracted me to a man. Observations, judgments and validations about “my surface” in my life before Zack were more than half of what made me sick in the very first place and nope I don’t care if someone thinks I’m beautiful (at least not on the outside). Quite frankly? THAT REPELS ME! Yes, this is a boundary issue with not only me but quite possibly many struggling people out there. Such an OLD cliche’ but true nonetheless: DON’T JUDGE THE BOOK BY IT’S COVER!

Well this was a long post. I apologize. Actually, nope again, I don’t. These things needed to be said and now that I’ve said them I feel much better. Guess I just needed to remind myself about the boundaries I’ve fought so hard to understand, respect and build in the first place. So with that I guess I’ll just have to find a way to be thankful for my re-traumitization last night. It was a lesson for me, for sure, and now maybe a lesson for some of you. There is indeed a time and place for everything – EVEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRIEF! If you know someone has been through a trauma of any kind and you want to talk to them about it, just ask them first if they want to talk about it. They may want to. They may not. The choice should be theirs though, not yours.

AUGUST 20, 2019: “The King Who Questioned Everything” …

IMG_0028He lives in darkness. There is no progress. He knows his demons – that lie within him. He has no vision. He has no sight. He hates perfection – it isn’t right. Who cares anymore, who’s there anymore? HE’S THE ME I WAS BEFORE HE HELPED ME BECOME WHO I AM HE QUESTIONS EVERYTHING! He lives behind a lie. He is so ashamed. He keeps insisting that he’s the one to blame. He cares no more. He can bare no more. He’ll say no more. He can’t give us anymore. HE QUESTIONS EVERYTHING. And we’re losing him.

NOVEMBER 8, 1996: “What Lied Beneath” …

img_8269-1WHAT LIES BENEATH

Take a breath. Hold it in. Start a fight. You won’t win. Had enough. Let’s begin. Never mind. I don’t care. All in all, you’re no good. You don’t cry like you should. Let it go if you could when love dies in the end. So I’ll find what lies beneath your sick twisted smile as I lay underneath your cold, jaded eyes. Now you’ve turned the tide on me ’cause you’re so unkind. I will always be here for the rest of my life. Here we go. Does it hurt? Say goodbye to this world. I will not be undone. Come to life. It gets worse. … Don’t carry me under. You’re the Devil in disguise. God sing for the hopeless. I’m the one you left behind. {Breaking Benjamin}

It was the second Friday of November 1996 when Jay excitedly asked me to meet him at a church in Sachse where he had been invited by one of my new Christian friends and mentors, “Abby” (who he had also befriended) to attend a Power Team Christian evangelism presentation where he would also later be baptized that as well. He said that he had “something very exciting and important” to tell me that night, and based upon the tone and context of the recent conversations we’d been having I had every reason to believe that he was actually going to propose to me! Imagine my surprise then when after the baptism I was led into a room in the back of the church, where there he was standing, beside Abby and her entire family, a couple of whom I’d really come to admire and respect. It was then that Jay told me “he was so sorry”, but over the last several months, and completely unbeknownst to me, “God had called them together”, they’d fallen madly in love and had been hiding their relationship from me. There I stood, just as I had 20 years before, numb and sick with the same stinging, disconnected pain just beneath the top layer of my skin on the day of the “Spic and Span”. I walked out of the church, heartbroken and alone and just started driving … to Oklahoma City and back.

When I got back to Dallas it was already morning and I had convinced myself that I just needed to LET IT GO! “Pull yourself together Catherine! Shrug it off! Suck it up! Don’t be weak! DON’T FALL!” I proceeded to the regularly scheduled Saturday morning meet with Christian and Him at the mall parking lot for our weekend custody switch, wrecked beyond belief but fervently trying to keep myself from coming unhinged for Christian’s sake. I needed not to let the night before breaking me down completely and at this stage in the game I was already an old pro at “stuffing all the painful things” as far down as possible and pretending they just didn’t exist. But despite my best efforts to keep it all together, I consciously decided to pick a fight with Him so that I could just run away and avoid having to mottle through my weekend visit with Christian. I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, had just experienced the second biggest bombshell of my life, and although I didn’t know it, was less than 15 minutes away from the first of my nervous breakdowns. I went back to my parents’ house where I’d been living at the time and proceeded to swallow every single pill or capsule, I could find in my bathroom cabinets. I JUST WANTED TO “GO HOME”! 

The details of that morning were never very clear, but I do remember laying there rocking back and forth and crying that I wanted to be with God. My sister heard me and quickly realized what I had done and called 911. Meanwhile, He and Christian had followed me home because He was concerned that something was “off” with me at our meeting and was worried. My parents were ballistic, and Julie had frantically pulled me out of the bed in a desperate attempt to drag me to the bathroom and make me throw up all the pills. There were flashes of light, like neurons snapping on and off, and fuzzy, swooshing sounds that I can’t really describe with words. Then my Christian, a mere five years old at the time, managed to slip through the chaos and come to me. He too was crying but had taken hold of my wrist and was patting my back as though he were the parent consoling their child. Up to that point, I had been unable to focus on anything in the room, yet I could clearly hear what my son was saying: “Mommy, God’s not ready for you to go home.  He wants you to stay here and be my Mom.” It is imperative to note that, although I could see his mouth moving and hear the words he was saying, it was not Christian’s voice that I was hearing. I firmly believe and will never be convinced otherwise that God Himself was speaking to me through my son that day.

I stayed in the hospital for a few days and from there the State had committed me to Green Oaks Hospital where I went underwent intense treatment for clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and also the much needed but sorely delayed rape counseling that I had never actually gotten. My entire family, including Him, was involved in this process, which was something that by then that we were all in dire need of.  Looking back, I realize that I didn’t want to die that morning, but I just couldn’t pull myself out of the black hole that I was in. I was lucky. Very lucky.  I made it home in time for Christmas that year, feeling lighter and happier than I had in years, clear-headed and focused.  And despite the unbelievably selfish horror I had put them all through, my entire family welcomed me home again.

Small empty concrete room.

As for him? He never turned back to look and see what he had done to me. It was such an easy choice for him that I should be set out on the curb as mere “unwanted baggage”. For me? He was everything, because I loved him, and I trusted him, and had given him every piece of my already broken heart that I could possibly give. His betrayal “in Jesus’ name” literally murdered my soul. It was indeed my darkest reality and I actually wanted to die.

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