Being Brave

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Today I am sitting in my kitchen, looking at my two puppies, fast asleep. I’m taking a break from cleaning and cooking to reflect on the last week and a half.

Joshua, my youngest and I, just returned home to Tacoma, after a 10 day trip to my home state of Georgia. We both absolutely loved spending time with my family and some wonderful, amazing friends. I ached for Noah, my oldest son (who has Autism and Phelan-McDermid syndrome) and their Daddy, Jeremy to be with us. I kept seeing Joshua with his cousins, laughing and playing…doing things that cousins do…laughing..playing ball in the yard…dancing to Just dance 2015…It made me smile, while at the same exact time wanting to scream out loud at the unfairness….You see, my sister, Dawn and I were pregnant at the same time twice. Both times totally by accident. So, her two girls and my two boys are less than two weeks apart. Eva, her oldest and Noah are the same exact age….Eva is attending a special school for highly capable children, Sings, dances, and plays tennis like a champ… while my sweet Noah, is in a self contained class and I fight tooth and nail, just so they will teach him anything, literally. I FIGHT just for them to keep him SAFE.

So, you see, I have a lot of feelings about this irony…and I mean, A LOT. I have gone from being so upset, jealous, and mad at God for the differences in our lives…to being able to sincerely love her stories of my precious, amazing, beautiful niece, and her amazing capabilities. It has been a journey…

This trip home, while watching the kids play….the old thoughts tried to come back…the voice that says,”this is soooo unfair!” “This should be Noah,Joshua, Eva and Charis.” It feels like a noose around my neck getting tighter and tighter…I feel like screaming to top of my lungs! WWWHHHYYY!!!????
Instead, this time, I chose to be grateful for the time we had with our family. I chose not to focus on the injustice of this life. I know in the marrow of my bones, that my son is a gift to us. I understand to the best of my ability, that we are not promised a life without difficulties and that no one…If they live long enough, get through this life with out SOMETHING HARD. I know we are not alone. So why does my broken heart stay so very, brutally broken?

Well, I have thought about this so much lately. So far, here is what I know for sure….
We are here on this earth for each other, for relationship, for community. My heart ache is not just for me…It’s for you. I have, because of my brokeness, a deep, deep well of compassion, love and mercy for those that are IN the STRUGGLE… It doesn’t have to be like mine. I just feel the pain of those that are doing their best with their broken heart.
I also, know for sure, that you can have a broken heart and still have unexplainable hope and joy. I know because, I have it.
I have, by no means mastered living the perfect life. I am not a perfect special needs Mother or person in general by any means… I still have days, when things are really going wrong and I may be vulnerable in some way, that I just lose it… To be honest with you, I don’t think that will ever change…because, I will always be angry, beyond words when a little innocent child is hurting…sick…and challenged in ways that are simply NOT FAIR. That is my truth.

Today, I sit before you, a woman that has been through many storms and come out on the other side of those storms, changed…refined…better….sifted like wheat….I.AM.Not.THE.SAME.

I love better now. I love people more…even though so many of them are so hurtful because they are hurting themselves…I can step outside my feelings and look at the “why”, and not the “What”…It helps, trust me.

If you have been through, or are going through a dark, dark time right now…I am encouraging you to FEEL your feelings. Talk about them…Please don’t hide out and self soothe in secret. We are all in this thing together…Let someone that loves you know how hard it is for you.
I have found so much solace in my bible study group over the years…women who are truly authentic in who they are… Helping each other by listening, praying, and learning what the truth is about this life. What the authority on the matter says..you know, God. If you really look at what he has to say about it, the good the bad and the ugly….He really does make you feel better!
That’s the cool thing about truth..it just IS…and your soul recognizes it.

If you sincerely say to God..”Hey, I’m having a really hard time, I need you…Show me who you are.” I guarantee, He will…You will start to notice how things start to point to HIM…I’m totally serious girl.

So…. to finish my story from earlier..Josh and I are having an AWESOME time with Nana and Papa and all the cousins…Then it came time to leave… Goodbye’s are always so very hard for me. I just don’t know if I was made to be away from my people. So…..AS USUAL…. I have a FIT..and by that, I mean I cried like a newborn baby and totally fell apart. I’m not like most first born adult children that totally hold it together in stressful times and are like awesome, take charge people and all that stuff. No Way, I’m more like the 15th child, in that, I am incredibly terrible at all that and very good at crying….Anywho….

We made it to the airport in Tallahassee, Fl. Then, the first bad news came. The weather was so bad in Atlanta that our flight was delayed several hours… Of course we get tis news way after my sister and brother-in-law are way gone. To make a long story short, we made it home together about 24hours later than expected…Hungry, jet lagged, and so tired that I felt like I had the flu.
I remember during the horrible situation, asking all my people to pray and I prayed hard myself…after I stopped myself from having a full break down, about 8 or 9 hours into our journey and we weren’t even out of Florida yet ( the destination was Seattle, ugh!). I simply prayed, and asked the Lord…”what do you have for me to learn right now? I am ready to learn,and not have a fit.” and It was in that very moment I heard a small voice in my mind say…”I want you to remember…YOU ARE BRAVE.” Then he said…”Even though you are trembling, you are brave..I am with you.” I am so grateful for HIS encouraging words…His truth.

I do not appreciate the uncomfortable…at all. I don’t think I ever will. But one thing I know is…I believe GOD is good. I also believe that He loves me and that He loves you and that He loves our babies more than we do.
Just because life doesn’t happen the way I’ve specifically ordered it, doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful…because I know for sure it can.

No matter what the circumstances are in your life…You can be Brave…and that doesn’t mean PERFECT..It means, though you tremble…you keep going.

I love you and HE loves you too…Now go….. BE BRAVE

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All is Grace…Think About That

Today I really want to encourage all of you who are feeling worn out. You know what I mean? You know who you are…

I walked down stairs today after the lovely children went to school. That is my favorite part of the day about half the week (right after all the people leave). “Praise the Lawd”, I thought to myself. Then I passed the laundry room and saw it was tidy and empty of dirty laundry. i couldn’t believe it, I was like, “Sweet Jesus, thank you for Jeremy, I mean I don’t even know why I complain about that perfect man.” Then I kept walking just long enough to see the guest bedroom, the one no one ever really goes in, and there it was….. just all piled up on the bed..24 thousand loads of clean, wrinkly laundry. Dang it!

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Are you like me, tired, totally drained of energy, laughs (real or fake).

Do you feel like you don’t have anymore good ideas, much less the energy to make them happen. I get it, truly I do…the day never ends……. whether you are a stay at home wonder mom or like me, stay at home but try to work out of my home, or, you do work outside the home….We all have this invisible balance thing that is so unbelievably hard to keep in check.

I have learned a few things over the years and I’m hoping that maybe they can help you in some way.

It starts with you recognizing that you can’t do it all on your own. It is okay to need some help or a break or a time out, whatever. It’s okay to let Dad or someone you love and trust help you out. On a side note, if you don’t trust your husband to be with the kids..that is a whole other blog post, girl.

Talking it out helps me so much… Yeah, sometimes I feel better if I can just process my frustrations out loud with my girlfriend or my Mom, sister, or husband ( if he’s in the, let’s talk it out kind of mood..it’s tricky) T
There is nothing better than talking to your best friend and knowing you can tell her anything at all, and that she will literally help you find the good in it, the reason to be grateful and a way to get that rest you so desperately need. Be wise about who you share to and with. There really is power in our words. You need to talk with someone who will encourage you, not make you feel worse.

What do you love? If there is something you love to do, like paint, craft, hike, anything that is reasonable,try and do it for yourself every now and then. It helps to relax you. I love to go out to eat and anyone who really knows me, knows this. It makes me feel like I’m part of the outside world again. Plus that fact that I love food in general, but especially the kind I didm”t cook myself. So, sometimes the hubs will say, “Hey Momma, it looks and sounds like you need to go out to lunch with Sue or something.” Trust me, when he throws that out there, all you here next is the door shutting as I quickly leave.

Try this on for size. What about if you thought of someone else,that YOU could help? I KNOW right?Even though YOU, need the help, there are always folks around us that are in need as well.
Sometimes, if you help some else, it kind of shifts everything around and your life starts to look a whole lot easier/better. More blessed than it did before. Just a thought,from experience though, it works 100% of the time.

How about falling on your knees and crying out to Jesus? To some of you, that sounds perfectly normal. To some others, this is where I start to sound really crazy.
What about this? If you don’t believe he is real, how about crying that out? You know, just simply telling the truth and asking Him to show you if he’s real. My thought is that maybe, just maybe,you might notice somethings you haven’t noticed before. I feel like you might get more of an answer than you think. Chew on that a while.

While those things all work and help. My biggest battle, always,no matter what, is in my mind. How about you?
I have to deliberately put truth, good thoughts, reminders of who I truly am in my head each and every day. Otherwise, very quickly, I will drop my basket, and by that I mean, totally freak out. That can look different depending on the circumstances. Sometimes it looks like, me being a total Ass to everyone. Other times I just get depressed, cry, mope. And girls, It ain’t pretty, if you know what I mean.
Let’s do ourselves and those that we love a favor. Let’s pay attention to ourselves. How about we take a moment to love us…
You matter so very much…What you do matters, your story matters…

You are making a difference and you have a purpose. Even if it looks different than you had planned. Today is miracle to be grateful for, no matter how many bad things have happened. Not to quote Pit Bull, (the music mogul and rapper) but I can’t help it..He says that any day you have that is spent above ground is a good day. Yep, you can’t argue with that truth. (and yes, I did just quote Pit Bull…)

I am learning so much these days about Grace…It is just for free to us….there is no formula, man…Just, be grateful for it..be honest…forgive yourself..and know that you are not expected to be perfect.

This is one of my favorite verses of all…Matthew 11:28-30 the Message “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on Religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me and watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.” That’s a promise from Jesus to all of us who choose to believe him.

Trust me when I say that, I’m still here,and Jesus is the only reason. THE ONLY reason. He says he keeps his promises and I believe him, after all, he has never let me down.

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Beauty is everywhere…you are beauty…

ALL is GRACE….Love you sisters!

You Are Not Alone….If You Think You May Be Screwing This Whole Thing Up

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All I can say right now, is Thank you sweet Lord for this precious puppy.  He really makes you feel better if you are having a hard day, I mean, just look at him.

Earlier, while I was staring at him, telling him how sweet and perfect he is and how I loved him the most of all the people, I had a few thoughts…

Are there days when you feel like you just aren’t  getting it right?

I have been really hard on myself as a parent lately.  I think we all can be hard on ourselves and no matter how hard we try, we aren’t raising perfection.  No matter how hard we try to intercept trouble our kids still get hurt and life will make its mark. This makes me feel so frustrated at times.  I want to protect them from danger, accidents, and life…but you know what, we can’t do that. and that really sucks!

So,  Noah fell on his face at school last friday. I know, it makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it.  He can be very unsteady on his feet and has a wobbly gate when he walks anyway.  Just as he was getting off the bus he started puking…oh no! I thought, is this a concussion? Jeremy and I got him all cleaned up, his face looked horrible, swollen etc.

Jeremy said, you know, this could just be a virus….Okay, now…this is how my mind works.. in my head I already went to the worst case scenario….like a seizure, traumatic brain injury…. and for goodness sakes, he sure doesn’t need to add that to the list of things he has to deal with….I was in such a tizzy, I couldn’t  do anything, I was paralyzed…I watched Noah for the next five hours and he seemed okay. I should have taken him to the ER, but….Here’s the truth…I was filled to overflowing with dread. I can’t even go into how hard it is to take him to the ER, but all you who are mom’s out there know that to take ANYONE to the ER is real, real not fun , and can/does take hours usually.  So bottom line we decided no to go.

Noah is okay, it took a few days but the doctor checked him out and he’s gonna be fine.

My point?  That we all makes mistakes as parents and as people…yes, I should have gone to the ER and I learned something that day.  I also, can forgive myself and know I’m still the right person for the job of raising my two boys.  I don’t have to listen to the voice that is critical and wants me to feel shameful.  All is GRACE.

I just want to encourage all you out there who are trying really hard, but you misstep every now and then.  Just keep going, you really are doing a great job. not a perfect job…but who wants to be around that person??  The people that look like they are doing it all perfect are big fat liars…because nobody is doing this life perfect.   What matters is that you show up..you stay in the moment, let your family see that you are real.

Today I sat with a special friend and we talked and loved on my sweet puppy together…I loved hearing her encouraging words.  You are not alone, God see’s you and he is there with you.

If you need him, I encourage you to call out his name…if you need a good cry, feel free to do what I do, lay on the floor with carpet up your nose and cry out to HIM. I always find him there, waiting to give me love and peace.  So will you.

I hope you know that you are very loved! I hope you know that you are doing a great job! Keep going…….

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Just Keep Blogging, Blogging, Blogging!

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Okay, so here I am, totally back! Doing more blogging! It’s not as easy, (not that I ever thought that it would be), but whoa…I have all these stories floating around in my head…all this stuff that I have learned over all these years but I can’t seem to organize it. So today, and hopefully every time I write, I am going to let the Holy Spirit lead me.

I just got back from a weekend away from my family…This makes me feel so many feelings. number one is grateful…Like “whoo hoo” grateful. I can’t help it and it’s totally okay…I was able to sleep in and snack and laugh and walk and sit…oh thank you baby Jesus! It was amazing to be able to do whatever we wanted. No one was calling me Mommy or Honey or anything! Life is so serious so much of the time…I love it when I can slow down and look at how ridiculously funny so much of it really is.

I mean, we ate at this crappy little seafood restaurant (it actually was very good, but the atmosphere y’all…just no) and the three of us were acting and I think really feeling like we were at a five star something…I mean I must have said “thank you sooooo much” fifty thousand times, if I said it once! we were rolling our eyes as we took bites..and making weird sounds…I’m embarrassed now just remembering..but I sure wasn’t at the time, It was like we had all three just been let out of prison…and in some ways, we had…

Prison is a harsh word for it but can’t life feel just like that sometimes? I mean, you make these life changing decisions and it seems really, really like a great idea..then you realize that hey, you know that really big party that you planned for a year for you and that guy? yeah, that’s a wedding and a marriage…and it’s supposed to last like unil you die…and then you are like…OOOHHH yeah….
Or, you wait all those months and then you get the baby…and you are like…what the? WHO thought this was a good idea?
But even as happy as I was just being, Rhonda and totally care free and loving being in my skin…and not changing diapers..or wiping butts, or cooking blah, blah
I really missed those fools…I am not the same without them. Im not that other Rhonda anymore( the one before marriage and mommy hood)..I’m this Rhonda and I love it. That’s another reason its good to take a breather…a day or two break…So you can remember that you love your life….and that Gratitude, and Joy and Love…are in you again!

It helps that I can actually leave my kids with the hubbs. He does an amazing job, yeah I realized that after I finally stopped thinking I had to show him everything and leave him notes and call a bunch. Oh man, I can really do that thing…but He (and actually most husbands) can totally handle it.. the house, the schedule, the kids, the dog, the chores…He can do it! Maybe not the same as me…(sometimes better,that really irritates) but whatever. I actually came home to a clean house, happy kids..and I think he might have taught Josh how to ride his bike without training wheels..Really?! All I can think is…well, Jesus is REAL..and my husband MUST be falling in love with me all over again, because…seriously?? Im just gonna stop right there, no over thinking it…Just saying a prayer of thankfulness.

See thats the thing, no matter what, we all have silver linings, and blessings..but sometimes the hard and the sad and the duty of it all make for these really foggy glasses that are hard to see out of. But when you stop and take a moment, a walk, a lunch, a talk, a weekend retreat. Those are the very things that wipe those glasses clean. So I encourage you to take any kind of break that you can, don’t feel bad…If you need it, and we ALL need it, from time to time. If someone asks to help you say “yes”, and then, “thank you”…If there is someone you can reach out to, to ask for help, just do it. If there is someone that you can offer to help, do that too!
REST equals JOY…at least I think so.

Okay so…I don’t know how I am possibly going to get across this story the way I want to but..here it goes…

On the way home from the beach, my girlfriends and I decide to stop into Pirate Pete’s Antiques, I mean, we should have just known from the name for goodness sakes…well…lets just say, and hour and a half later we are walking out of there, about to pee our pants because we are getting old and we can’t hold our pee anymore (and pirate Pete didn’t have a bathroom). We are already kinda weary again because we had to listen to the sweetest old man ever tell us one thousand and forty three stories ( which were funny, I have to say) we absolutely and I mean for real, could not get out of that tiny..TINY..little store! He would not, could not let us leave…he played and old piano, tried to teach us how to play the banjo…told some really weird jokes. Are you picking up what Im throwing down? It was unbelievable! we should have filmed it…I mean, if for no other reason than my own entertainment right now. Well, the worst parts were that after all the courtesy laughing (from them, not me..I really did think he was super funny) and trying to negotiate pricing for the arm loads of junk we were trying to buy…Noell loses her keys! OH my LAWD…in this junk house..she is getting the menopause, so poor thing can’t remember to scratch her watch or wind her butt. she is sweated down (because she is having a hot flash) I am giggling like Betty Rubble…so much so that I can barely look for the keys..Then it hits me! I AM GONNA PEE MY PANTS…and I get dead serious, find her keys and pay for my junk( but the way I got no deal, I think I actually might have tipped him).

Long story longer, we made it out of there and no one had a potty accident. Especially, because Jessica actually slipped out during one of the performances and peed beside the building…tsk,tsp,girl! (why didn’t I think of that)

I have to sit back and think…. I am so happy I was able to meet Pirate Pete..Hear about his five wives etc…I love people..I love visiting…I love antique shops, the weirder the better.
And there, my friends is even one more reason to be grateful!

So how are you gonna wipe those foggy glasses clean?

Here We Go….I Guess I Have Started a Blog!

IMG_0854This is the family…Me, Jeremy (the hubbs), Joshua 6, Noah 10, and that beautiful angel of a puppy (giant puppy) is Andy. Does anyone out there feel the same way I do about the family Christmas card picture??? It is sooooo super hard for us to get a good one. This is the Prigg family Christmas card photo that got mailed out this year to only about 40 folks because I lost track of time. (so you know that means i have about 100 of these babies in a drawer now) ….It took 14 thousand tries….that number is vaguely exaggerated.   Here is one of the warm up photos just for your entertainment….

IMG_0847Now there, I hope I made you feel better about yourself.  However many tries it takes to get a successful Christmas card photo, this is my life. Lets just say things didn’t quiet turn out like I had planned. And by that I mean…nothing at ALL…like I had planned.

I am southern girl, from Georgia and I never thought I would leave the South.  But I met a  great guy from Seattle, right after college and my heart fell in Love….the rest is history…I have been here ever since May 6th 2000. I hated it for the first five years maybe more ( I didn’t hate him though…well not all the time) but now I really love it and call it my home.

I have always wanted to be a mom, and after trying for several years to no avail, Jeremy and I turned to a fertility clinic here in Tacoma, for help conceiving.  It worked! we got pregnant right away…and then it all happened.

On our honeymoon we chose the names for one boy and one girl…the boy was to be Noah Luke….I just loved it!

Noah luke was born today January 20, 2005,  One decade ago…I can’t believe its been that long.  After his 20 hour long birth( ill spare you those details)  and spending 5 days in the NICU at Tacoma General, we set out to begin our life together.  WOW…I was soooo scared, sometimes I still am.  But I was hopeful and sure that things would work out just fine.

You see, Noah was born with special needs..we didn’t get a diagnosis until he was 11 months old but I knew that first day at home with him…I just held him and cried out to Jesus to help me….Help me be a great Mommy to this miracle.

And you know what…HE HAS….Ten years later no body has died…we have survived! I have come to realize and appreciate that just like Glennon Doyle Melton says, Life can be so brutal, but also so beautiful….Life is just brutiful. this, my friends is PURE TRUTH.

I have redefined what life means and realized that I have a purpose that I never saw coming…I have tried my best to embrace this new normal and find ways to share our family stories to not only enlighten those that don’t know about Autism and Phelan-Mcdermid syndrome ….but to also show them that Life can still be filled with laughter…even if, sometimes the laughter comes through tears…Life can still be full of Joy, even after several nights with no answers, and very little sleep.  Life can mean so much when we live it out as who we authentically, really are. Being honest about your pain..your joy…the moments when something amazing and wise, just clicks!  My story matters, and hopefully you will feel the passion, love and sensitivity I have for people in general and be encouraged to go out there…and tell your story too.

Happy Birthday Noah Luke!

To my handsome prince…Noah Luke Shields Prigg,

The day you came into the world changed EVERYTHING. I am in awe of who you are.  Your strength, determination, patience, and joy amaze me every single day.  You make me want to be better.  I honor you today and every day…I thank God for you…When I look into your eyes, I see Jesus.  You make me Love God more.

Honey, I just want you to know that if on that day when you were born, God himself had given me the choice of any baby in the entire world…and if I knew then what life would be like, all the good and the bad….I would have walked right up to you and held out my arms. You were a gift for me…and I was born to be your Mommy…one day at a time, let’s walk this life out together okay?

Love Mom

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