Author Archives: Kandy

I hoped you would show up today

April 1, 2016

I thought about you yesterday and wondered if you’d show up today. I hoped so. You’ve become an odd little pop of joy for me. It makes my heart smile every time I see you. Especially the day you brought your friend or whoever it was. That was a really sweet gift!

This morning, on the one year anniversary of mother’s death…Scott went out to start his truck before work.

“Your friend is out there” he said as he walked back in and began gathering his things.

I sat up “What?”

He clarified “your owl.”

I smiled.

You or maybe another owl have been coming for several years now. But when mother died – it changed.

The first time I remember seeing you after her death, I was intrigued. I had gotten up in the middle of the night and was getting a drink when I looked out the window and saw you hopping around on the ground. You were eating under the big light. The next morning I posted something about being frustrated about having been up in the middle of the night but was thankful for the blessing of seeing you. My friend “A” (who is Native American) commented something that grabbed my attention. We messaged and she explained how some Natives believe your arrival is the sign of an impending death. I struggled. I couldn’t handle another death just yet. I crazily asked my friend if it could be retroactive – maybe you were supposed to come before mother died but you were some crazy owl who had been late in your arrival. I chuckled at my crazy question. I know I sounded crazy. It was really late. I messaged my sister-in-law. She knew I was spinning. She tried to comfort me as my imagination was going crazy. I googled and googled and googled. I read all kinds of owl stuff. It made me crazier.

Several days later, a memory hit me like a ton of bricks. I was driving home from work talking to “T” or “K” on the phone. I can’t remember which. But I remembered as I was talking to one of them – an owl had flown across the road just a few feet in front of me and landed on a tree. As I continued talking on the phone, I turned the car around so I could get a better look. I pulled into a driveway close to the tree. I got out of the car, put the phone on speaker and opened up the camera app to take a picture. But before I could snap one – the owl flew away. Disappointed, I got back in the car and drove home. When this memory came back to me, I tried desperately to remember – was this BEFORE or after mother had died? “T” kept telling me I wasn’t a Native American so stop it. After my “crazy” calmed down, I remembered all of the people I had lost and had never seen an owl before their death. I felt better.

About 3 months after Mother’s death, two of you started showing up. I messaged “A” again and told her I was seeing owls like crazy. I told her the good news – no one else had died.

She came back with the most beautiful reply ever…

“It’s someone watching over you. Protecting you and your family. Someone who desperately wants to make sure the one amazing thing they did right is forever protected. Think of it like this…her spirit is free of any intoxicant that blurred her vision…she is the mother now she always wanted to be. But couldn’t break free from the monkey on her back that controlled her. Now she has wings on her back. Wings that have carried her back to watch over you and your family…giving you now what you needed all those years she wasn’t able to provide. She so loved you that her spirit peace resides in seeing you at peace…happy….free from that dread of THAT call you never wanted to get…but knew one day you would. She’s watching over the young woman she wanted to be for you, in you with your kids and she’s peaceful in doing so. Happy for the first time in many many years. And if there are two there…she’s showing you off to someone…proud of the woman you are. It’s a good thing Kandy. I hope you feel warmth love and peace when you see them. She’d want that too.”

I cried because her beautiful words were so comforting to my heart.

Two weeks later, on the thirty first anniversary of one of the most life changing events of my life…I looked out the kitchen window as I waited for my coffee and saw two owls sitting at the top of a tree right outside my window. I smiled as I remembered my friend’s precious words. A huge wave of joy filled my heart. That particular morning was the anniversary of my sweet Papa’s death. He had been everything to me before he had died. He had also been mother’s everything. I ran to my phone and snapped a couple of pictures. Then I opened my messages.  I read back over the beautiful words my friend had written. There was no way two weeks prior, she could have known the significance her words could have had.  I knew those two owls. And I cried a good cry!

owl

After that day – your presence became a gift.

Before mother’s death, you were coming in the mornings and only occasionally. But after that very significant day I noticed you were flying in EVERY evening at the same time. Sometimes I’d look out the window and see you sitting on the wood post at the garden or even eating on the ground. After I realized you were consistently coming, I’d go out before your normal arrival time and curl up in my favorite swing and wait for you to fly in. Soon, I’d look up and see you swoop in and land on a tree branch not far from me. You’d sit for a few minutes, watch me and then fly off.

Even if I didn’t see you this morning, I was comforted knowing you were here.

Thank you God for comforting me through your beautiful creations. I know my mother is at peace after years of a tragic life. Thank you for gentle sweet reminders.

No, I don’t believe in reincarnation. But I do believe God shows us things in different ways. Some see dragonflies, cardinals, white feathers and so much more. Some have dreams. Sometimes, children, strangers, family or friends say things or do things that are so innocent but yet so significant that you just know. They are sweet comforting gifts and sweet reminders.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Much love,

Kandy

 

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The beauty I learned from addiction

Every story is made up of beauty and tragedy and is intertwined with the beauty and tragedy of others. There are disappointments, heartaches, and lots of bad stuff but there is also so much good.  Watching my mother slowly and tragically lose herself to addiction taught me a lot of bad but it allowed me to also learn there is so much good in people.  Going to 15 schools in 9 years grade (some multiple times), having neither parent (not as parents – and I mean no disrespect to them- they have their own tragedies), seeing so much ugly, being raised by grandparents and an aunt, losing my grandparents, having a life tragically affected by drugs, alcohol and junk and having a parent who spent time in the penitentiary has taught me more good than bad.

It taught me about love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, hope and faith.

  • There are sweet loving beautiful people in this world who do great things.
  • Love, hope and faith can get you through some of the toughest times of your life.
  • God is good.
  • Boring (or uneventful) really can be a good thing.
  • People who know you…I mean really know you and love you unconditionally are a gift.
  • Having roots is important.
  • People are more important than things.
  • Family and friends are a blessing.
  • There are people who can love you like you are their own.
  • There are many different perspectives – spend time seeing those.
  • Perception is individual.
  • You always have a choice.
  • You are not defined by your past.
  • You are not destined to become the troubled part of your parents. You can choose their good and carry it forward.
  • You can change history.
  • Your kids teach you so much and are such a gift.
  • Don’t judge others until you walk in their shoes (which is impossible by they way- so don’t judge).
  • Seek first to understand.
  • People who are the hardest to love need it the most.
  • Having someone for the last 25 plus years who sees you at your worst, loves you through it and always tells you how beautiful you are even at your worst is a blessing.
  • Sometimes you will never know another’s pain. Show love.
  • You could be the only joy a person experiences in their day.
  • Never let yourself be a victim.
  • What you look for is what you’ll find so always look for the good.
  • The seasons of life are always changing – nothing stays the same.
  • Savor the sweet moments.
  • When one door closes another opens.
  • Receiving unconditional love is a blessing but being able to give unconditional love with no expectations is a blessing that is freeing and full of joy.

I would never wish addiction on anyone.  It robs us of so much including innocence.  But I believe there is always good and we can find it when we look.  Sometimes we can’t change our circumstances but we can change our thoughts.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Sometimes we spend way to much time focusing on the bad and we become paralyzed by it.  Don’t let life’s tragedies harden you or turn you into something ugly.  Allow them to soften your sweet heart so you have more compassion and empathy.  When we offer Mercy and Grace to others we sprinkle the world with a little more sweetness.

With love,

Kandy

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Simple things

Some of the hardest days of my life were also the sweetest.

It’s the simple things I crave. Life is so busy with so many distractions. We have the world at our fingertips. With the touch of a button we can connect to people all over the world. We go-go-go and don’t have time to stop and enjoy the beautiful free things God created. We are always looking for more. For better. And to be forever entertained.

We forget to stop….and smell the roses…or to stop and breathe. We hurry past those we love explaining we have to be somewhere in five minutes. We are a busy world. Too busy.

When I was a young girl the world moved at a much slower pace. The days I spent with my Papa where some of my greatest memories. My world revolved around him. He taught me so much about life. I’d crawl out of bed early to the sweet smell of Papa’s biscuits and gravy with a side of bacon or sausage.  Papa was fun and a hard worker. There was no place on earth I’d rather have been besides standing right next to my Papa in his little Datsun or Toyota truck with my hand on his shoulder as we drove all over God’s creation. Seat belts weren’t required and we traveled at much slower rates of speed.   I loved spending my days with him…working in the garden, crawdad fishing, gathering pecans, eating banana taffy, pouring peanuts in our cokes that we drank from the old fashioned bottles, feeding the baby calves, going to the sale barn, playing with the goats and endless sweetness.  He was forever entertained by us grandkids…trying to catch the chickens or being chased by a rooster or the geese. The goats were named after people – ex family members. He was a mess. A fun and great mess. He loved the electric fence and watching us kids get constantly shocked by it. He would sit and laugh and watch as we accidently grabbed the electrical wire and got the shock of our lives. We would squeal and carry on. He’d have the biggest grin. He once filled a bucket with frogs and flipped off the electricity to the house so all of us kids would run out of the house. As we ran out of the house screaming and carrying on, he was calmly sitting in a chair acting like he had no clue what was going on. We all gathered around Papa and took any seat we could find. One of us, I can’t remember who – sat on that bucket of frogs. The frogs started jumping and hitting someone’s rump. They squealed. We all squealed and ran around in craziness. Papa just sat grinning with his beautiful joyful grin. His kids – our parents were forever saying “Daddy!!!!” His pranks were endless…the mongoose cages, pulling a quarter or bubble gum from our ears, dressing up and hiding in old abandoned houses and waiting for us kids so he could scare us. We all adored him. He would give us twenty five cents to rub his feet or his head. He wasn’t a perfect man but in my eyes – he was one of the greatest. I slept between him and my Nanny most of my childhood. I loved my Nanny too. I was safe. It was my favorite place on earth. He was the light in my dark world.

papa toyota0002

Papa and my uncle Skip

kandy2

me as a young girl

Ironically, those were also some of the most difficult times for me as a young girl. We spent some of our days/nights dealing with mother’s addiction. Those were the days when Papa woke me up early because Mother was in jail and we had go bail her out. Or she hadn’t come home all night and we drove around to all the known hangouts and drug houses searching for her. Papa had been a police chief before he retired. I know the tragedy of mother’s addiction had to be so hard for him as well. My Papa was a brightness in those dark days. His brightness and joy overshadowed the ugly. If it hadn’t been for him and his sweet ways during those early years – I might have had a much different future. He made life fun in the most simple things and ways.

I didn’t have my mother or father…so God gave me Nanny and Papa and so many others who loved me, prayed for me and showed me better.

God strategically places people and things in our lives. Sometimes we are so busy or so focused on what we don’t have that we miss the sweetness he sends our way. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Focus on the simple joys.

Those days are gone. My boys didn’t know the world like I did…good and bad. My boys never got a chance to know my Papa. He died when I was 13. They would have loved him and he would have loved them. I would give anything for my boys and husband to spend a day with my Papa.  I would love to spend just one more day with him.

My favorite days are the simple ones. The ones that most remind me of my Papa and his sweet simple loving ways and when the world moved at a much slower pace. My favorites are the days where we cook a big breakfast, spend time together as a family, windows open with a cool breeze, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, laughing at really dumb stuff, never wasting those precious minutes….being totally free from schedules, from makeup and worldly demands. The days we are free to just laugh, spend time together and enjoy the most precious commodity of all – time – are my favorite. The best things in life are free. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us. God created the greatest beauty in the world.

Enjoy the sweetness and the simple things. Slow down. Breathe. Don’t miss the beauty because you are so busy being distracted. Time passes way too quickly and it’s the greatest commodity of all.

You have the power to be the light in someone’s darkness, to be a blessing and change someone’s world…will you?

Much love!

Kandy

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Happy Birthday Mother

Happy Birthday Mother. You would have been sixty two today.

You’ve been gone almost a year. I’ve thought about you a lot over the last eleven months. There were times I laid in bed and cried myself to sleep. Sometimes something would hit me just the right or wrong way and I couldn’t control the tears. Mostly I cried for what could have been and for the pain you must have suffered…and the powerlessness. I’m better now.

I remember your birthday last year. I had wanted to think ahead and get flowers sent to you. I knew they would have meant a lot. But I failed. I have always been bad about birthdays and gifts. Gifts are my last love language. I didn’t get anything in the mail in time for you to get it before your birthday. I called you though. You answered the phone in your sweet sober voice as if you had been waiting for people who loved you to call and wish you a happy birthday. You were excited when I called. You told me about all the calls you had gotten. You told about each one with such joy. I could hear the gratitude in your voice. It made me smile. I loved it when you were pleasant, meek and kind. But that wasn’t often those last couple of years. Mostly, you were spinning out of control. You told me about your friend Maria and how she bought you balloons or something special. I can’t remember exactly but you were so excited. It meant so much to you. My memory fails me. Which I’ve always seen as a blessing for some of the darker things.

I wish I could rewind time and go back to your birthday last year. I wish I would have known it would have been a good day for you and that it would have been your last birthday here on earth. I wish I would have known you would have been sober for the day. I would have taken the day off and driven down to take you to get your hair cut and styled. I would have brought you flowers. I’d have taken you to lunch and splurged on something totally impractical because everything I bought for you was always practical and things you needed…groceries, clothes, detergent, etc. I’m sure you wish for those things too. Or I bet you wish you could have made my birthdays special. I bet you wish you could have driven to me on my birthday and taken me to lunch, to get my hair done or bought me totally impractical things. But you couldn’t. The disease and your actions had stolen everything from you. Everything.

You drove me crazy when I called and you were drunk. It made my heart hurt. It made me cry and it made me mad.

I’ve been able to think differently now that you’ve been gone. I’ve been able to give my heart and mind a rest. I haven’t been consumed with worry, frustration and fear for you. I haven’t been in crisis mode getting phone calls over and over again from police, people worried about you, the hospital or you. I was helpless too. Just like you.

I’ve thought more about you and the things you missed out on. The important things that aren’t things at all.  I’ve read lots of books and stories from other addicts to somehow understand the battle you faced every single day of your life.

I don’t think the things I used to think – like how I got cheated and how MY life was affected by your addiction. No, now I think more about you and the damage it did to you. You not me.

Like how it must have been so hard….

To have gotten pregnant at 16 by a guy who may not have really love you. Did you really love him? You were just a young girl.

To have been married five times and never have known real love…or did you?

To have a mother who you had such a difficult relationship with…

To have felt so misunderstood and judged…

To have gone in and out of jail and spent time in the penitentiary…

To have lost your voting rights forever…

To have missed out on raising your only child…

To have missed out on a relationship with your only two grandsons and other precious family…

To have felt like you were a disappointment to so many people…

To have never have experienced the simple joys of life like I have known them…

To have struggled every single day of your life for things most of us take for granted…

To not have a penny to your name and have to depend on so many people for basic needs and food…

To be taken advantage of and to live with knowing you took advantage of so many…

It must have all been really hard.

I know you struggled more than I ever imagined or could imagine. I know Satan pounced on you and tried to be as destructive as he could, to rob you of every possible piece of joy. He almost succeeded. But when I think back to the phone call from your last birthday…The one where you were sweet, full of gratitude and joy even though you were living in hell – I know that sweetness can only come from our Heavenly Father.

I understand more than I ever have. You did the best you could with what you had. Happy birthday Mother.

Love,

Kandy

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Why I drug test – Addiction slithers into your life undetected like a venomous rattlesnake

It slithers into your life…going undetected like a venomous rattlesnake camouflaged and disguised by deceptiveness. You don’t know it’s there until it suddenly strikes and sinks its venomous sharp fangs into your unsuspecting self.  Did you hear the rattle? Maybe. But you weren’t sure.  You weren’t sure until you felt the excruciating pain of the venom as it was injected and quickly flowing throughout…causing massive destruction.  Too late…treatment is needed. And so it begins…

Addiction.

Yes, I drug test/ed my boys.

I DON’T test because I believe my boys (they will always be my boys) are using drugs…because I don’t.

I DON’T test because I believe they are bad…because I know they are awesome young men.

BUT I also know…

Addiction has a deep rooted strong hold on my family.

Several of our much loved people have died because of addiction. Others have fallen down and climbed back up very treacherous paths….almost losing themselves and their lives in the process.

Addiction isn’t isolated to people who come from broken homes, lower class or uneducated people.

Addiction doesn’t care if you or your mom and dad have money…or not. It doesn’t care if you or your mom and dad are important…or not. It doesn’t care who you are.

Addiction steals, kills and destroys…it creates people who do the same.

Addiction is the enemy.

Addiction sneaks in like a thief. Quiet. Undetected and frighteningly dangerously disguised. I test because I need an alarm. Something that says….Look! Hello? This is important! Pay attention…we may have a problem!

I don’t test for punishment…I test to save lives.

Because I know addiction destroys so many. Because I know the things addiction steals from us…and they aren’t things at all. They are moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, kids, teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, preachers… They are love, hugs, kisses, relationships, security and so much sweetness.

I test because if I wait until I believe they are using…it could be too late.

I test because…I know drugs are rampant and all around us. It’s too much of a problem within our world to wait and depend on the school, doctor, police or hospital to test. I test because I love them and I know what it’s like to lose people I love to the destruction of addiction. I’ve seen the darkness.

I’ve been honest with my boys. They’ve known I would/will randomly drug test them (during the crucial years as they are growing and learning). It gives them an out with their peers (if they want an out – but they could certainly choose to use)…but they can always use “my crazy mom drug tests me” as an out if they choose.

One was having a very bad reaction to a prescription medication and an over the counter medication that he had taken together. But we didn’t initially know that was the cause. Thankfully, I drug tested. Not because I thought he was using but so we could disprove it was drugs. We had to treat the underlying cause. He eliminated both medications and has never had the issue again. Thankfully we had an extremely knowledgeable and compassionate physician.

I test because the $40 over-the-counter drug test is worth every single penny.

The first step is determining if there is a problem…we have a brilliant physician for guidance. She gets the strong hold of addiction and understands the disease. She also gets people, anxiety, depression and other issues that could lead to self-medicating and addiction.

My hope is that my boys (guys) would look at all the tragedy and darkness drugs and alcohol have created for people we love…and choose not to use. I’m not stupid. I know there is a difference between drinking and being an alcoholic. But I also know…for me and my family – one drink or one hit could be the start of a very dark and treacherous path.

I’m certainly not the knower of all things.  I’m a mom just trying my best.  I LOVE my boys and being their mom. Blessed!

Much love!

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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