Second Chances

Three years ago this very day life as I knew it ended.

All of the hopes and dreams I had for my family came crashing down in our kids’ treehouse, of all places. It was in that treehouse, lovingly constructed from scraps of both lumber and time by Mr. Wonderful, that I found my soul mate right before he was about to take his own life.

You see, life had gotten so bad for him that suicide seemed like the only way to make his pain go away. 

The drinking hadn’t done it. 

The prescriptions and doctors on base hadn’t done it. 

His family hadn’t done it.

He soldiered on so well that I didn’t realize how badly he was hurting until it was almost too late. Minutes were the difference in our case-the difference between our story being about second chances and it being about what life is like as a military widow raising four kids all by myself. The difference between my kids knowing their dad and wondering what he was like.(photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

When I found Mr. Wonderful with a half drunk bottle of vodka writing his goodbye notes, all I knew to do was beg God to save him. To save us. 

I hadn’t even seen the loaded shotgun yet.

I just knew from climbing my very pregnant belly up to that second-story treehouse and feeling the sadness and pain radiate off of him that we were fighting for time.

That treehouse was meant to be our end. Instead, somehow God used it to start something brand new for us, to give us a chance at a second chance. Miraculously our ending was re-written at the last possible minute. We got a second act by the grace of God. 

It’s surely a miracle that the very pregnant girl was able to get the drunk, suicidal 6’6″ 330 pound soldier who was more than twice her size out of the treehouse, onto solid ground and into treatment.

It’s surely a miracle that Mr. Wonderful was sent to a treatment for a few months that would help save his life, restore his mind, begin his sobriety.

It’s surely a miracle that we have had 1,095 bonus days, second chances, extra time.

And though it hasn’t been an easy road over the last three years, I am grateful for every one of those 1,095 days. I count myself blessed despite the PTSD diagnoses, the caregiving, the crushing blows, the doctor’s appointments, the setbacks, the fights with the VA, and the new normal we find ourselves in. Even the worst days in the last three years have been a blessing, because they have been the second chance I couldn’t imagine from my viewpoint in that treehouse.

September is National Suicide Prevention month. Twenty-two military a day take their lives. If more if us speak up, tell the story with no shame, maybe we can break this stigma against mental illness and invisible wounds. Maybe we can convince hurting people to ask for help. Maybe we can reach out to those around us.


Ask someone if they’re ok. Care about people. Walk through this world with more kindness and less judgment. 

You could be the difference in someone’s story-


💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016.

For more info about our story, to check about speaking engagements or to find me on social media, connect with me at www.meredithshafer.com.

Celebrations

I’m procrasrinating my editing deadline (finalized manuscript due one week from today people!) and it feels so right. I’m just not in an editing sort of place right now, I have no focus after the craziness of this week and I think I just need a mental break.

So I’m giving myself permission to do just that.

In the meantime I’m celebrating. This week has been full of some really great family moments at our house, and when we have those, we hold on with both hands because we know how elusive things going well can be at times. I’m always a silver lining kid of gal so I’m usually celebrating anything I can get my hands on. This week, however, has held some really special moments.

My kids enjoyed one other’s company. Sure, they fight like cats and dogs but at their cores, they are all best friends. It’s hard to see in the picture but Baby Houdini is riding Big Brother like a horse and Little Brother and Little Sis are making sure he doesn’t fall off. Charlie the Service Dog is also keeping a watchful eye-

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Little Sister did amazing at the dentist, which isn’t news to you but to our family, when we have another kid who has such bad sensory issues the dentist is torture, this was a good day. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This week was also Big Brother’s Gotcha Day-the day he was born into our family through adoption twelve years ago. This pic is the moment he was placed into my arms for the first time. It still makes me teary-eyed!😭

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

And finally, the kid who has the most struggles in school got a scholastic award for reading! He won the Thunder Reading Challenge for reading the most minutes at his school-well over 700. He told me he was going to win and he did! He read to anyone who would listen, the dog, his siblings. I even saw him reading to one of the neighbor kids… 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This has been a week where living in the Shafer household has felt more like thriving instead of surviving. That’s a goooooood feeling, one we don’t take lightly around here. Thanks for celebrating with us, it brings me great joy to look around and see that we do indeed have so much to celebrate!

Blessings, friends!💗❤️💗

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Three Days

From here…  (Photo cred redimidospelagraca.blogspot.com)
It is finished… 

Good Friday: the day scandalous grace gave it all for all of us. The dark day for followers of Jesus who, at that moment, had no idea that the Son’s light would be shining down on all of them so soon.

But then–

 (photo cred hecallsmelovely.tumblr.com)

Could it be? Could the tomb really be empty?

On that third day when all but the tiniest sliver of hope was lost, love came rushing in, death was defeated in the final round and victory–sweet victory–was placed into our hands by the scarred hands of the Savior.

It’s time to celebrate the miracle, the gift and the sacrifice.

A lot can happen in three days–

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Crazy Town

My Traveling Circus has been a little crazier than usual so far this year. Mr. Wonderful has been having these weird seizure-ish episodes and we’re still learning how to combat the ADHD and I missed my second book’s deadline by a mile–let’s just say I’m turning it in this week no matter what! (Fingers crossed😁) 

 (Photo cred quoteistan.com)

Despite the crazy and weird, I have to look at my life and be pretty grateful. 

 
  (Photo cred lifelistlust.tumblr.com) 
I am so happy to have Mr. Wonderful at home, my kids are thriving and growing and eating me out of house and home. I won’t even have a teenager til later this year and it’s already happening…I may need another job….

I am getting some wonderful opportunities to speak to ladies groups and tell our story. Can I just tell you how much this blesses my socks off? I spoke to a gorgeous ladies group last week and I am leading a ladies’ retreat in two weekends and though it takes up my time, somehow I get so much more out of these events than I have to put towards them. God’s math and time and blessings are crazy that way. 

All this to say it’s been nuts, I’ve missed y’all and hopefully after I turn in this manuscript (this week dangit!) I will be spending more time with my blog friends doing some catching up.
No promises though, my job as Mayor Crazy Town is very demanding….

Peace, love and blessings to y’all today!💗❤️💗❤️💗

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Pre-Birthday 

We couldn’t wait to give the two birthday boys their gifts–matching bikes! The seven year old was so excited he jumped up into Mr. Wonderful’s arms😂   
 The two year old just wanted to wear his shark “hat” and sit on the bike. We were supposed to be cleaning for company tomorrow but this was way more fun! My fave pic of the day: The Superheroes! And yes, the Hulk is wearing a princess dress underneath the costume… 

 Hope your Saturday is as awesome as ours!
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Ce-lebrate Good Times, Come On!

This week.

So far we’ve had a trip to the ER (broken growth plate), occupational therapy appointment, ADHD testing, timeouts (theirs), meltdowns (mine) and my new inability to find sleep as easily as I usually do.

Add to this a busy season at work, continued spats with the VA and I have done near lost my ever-loving mind!

Is it Friday yet?

On my Instagram feed I posted a bible verse about the weary needing rest. I’m incredibly weary right now. Turns out, so are a lot of you. I don’t know when things got so complicated, do you?

It’s so hard in the middle of any mess to find the silver lining. Figure out a reason to celebrate. Rush towards generosity of spirit. But I believe that’s a game changer if we do. Instead of waiting to rejoice in the midst of our circumstances, I think extravagantly celebrating in the midst of the muck brings about changes much more important than things going our way.

Seems like celebrating before our circumstances change changes how we even view those circumstances, allowing us to find nuggets of wisdom, gifts of goodness that were placed along our path just for us.

Times are hard. And life moves too fast. And we are all so swamped with business and busyness. But for one glorious moment I encourage you to put all of that to the side and rock your socks off. Party like its 1999. Celebrate your blessings or silver linings or good moments lavishly like the gifts they are.

See what happens. I’m willing to bet you will celebrate yourself right into something truly amazing.

Blessings friends!

(photo credit livelifehappy.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer

I would love to connect with you on Instagram  and Twitter, come say hi!

Happy 4th of July

For those of us stateside today is a day for barbeques, fireworks and swimming pools. It’s a holiday to celebrate how awesome our country still is and how we’ve still got lots of great thing a going on. 

(photo credit pinkmakestheboyswink.tumblr.com)
 

For some military families it means another holiday celebrated separately. One is deployed and the other is keeping the Homefront running smoothly.

For military families like ours, we’re just trying to survive. We didn’t know when we moved to our new home last year that our county was one that allows the shooting of fireworks. Apparently at any time. Even in our neighborhood.

So for three weeks now we’ve battened down the hatches and tried to distract the guy who gets triggered pretty good by fireworks-they sound an awful lot like gunshots and explosions. Which take Mr. Wonderful right back to his time overseas. Which was both some of his best times with his band of brothers and some of his worst.

So we have a sign in our window, not because we don’t want people to celebrate, but because we want people to remember the reason there’s celebration in the first place and how so many have sacrificed for the freedoms we celebrate today. 

Sign furnished free of charge by militarywithPTSD.com-thank you!
 

We love America. Or ‘Merica. We appreciate our freedoms provided to us by people who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We celebrate, we barbeque, we may even go for a swim. 

(Photo credit acommonplacebook.com)

But we won’t be shooting off any fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July y’all!

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

We Made It to Wednesday!

Hope your Hump Day is splendiferous!   Do something amazing today, you’ll thank me later😉(Photo credit thebluedollhouse.com)

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

What Day Is It?

  

(Photo credit lovethispic.com) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015


I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

Betty

I’ve discovered I almost can’t have an emotion without writing about it and I’m feeling lots right now. We laid to rest one of the good ones today. The woman who was the matriarch of several generations, community leader and friend to many had a packed house at her funeral.

Stories were told, tears were shed, laughter was heard and music was sung. Everyone was so sad to see her go because she gave joy and food and mischievous smiles and help to everyone she met. But it still felt like a celebration.

That’s what happens when you live 89 years really well. People notice you and want to be around you because of that special thing you have that makes you shine from the inside out.

She was many things to many people. I connected with her because besides being related, she was one of my Grandma’s closest friends and she was an artist. She discovered her talent later in life, proving that late bloomers have their place too.

I had the privilege of painting with her and my Grandma at their little artist retreat. They called themselves the Pal-ettes and every Tuesday they fellowshipped together, shared a meal, talked, laughed and occasionally, painted. What they did for me was inspire: creativity, friendship, thirst for knowledge.

From the apples of her cheeks to her helping hands and giant heart, this lovely lady had a fine celebratory send off today. She is with my Jesus, the one I pray to, cry to, talk with. That blows my mind and makes me smile. She  has found her way home after a job very well done.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015