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.

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Hot Mess Monday💗

So…

Today I had the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve ever had to the tune of $5,463.81. You read that right, friends.

Let me explain.

I went to one of my fave coffee places to work. Then I ran to the grocery store to get a few important things, like diapers (no, Baby Houdini isn’t potty-trained yet) and bread and milk. You know, enough staples to last us til payday. Then my debit card was rejected.

Wha?!?

I quickly looked at our account and EVERYTHING WAS GONE!!! Son of a biscuit, we were negative and overdrawn and even our savings account was wiped smooth out.

After all of the blood drained from my face and my legs started working again I left the store and called Mr. Wonderful, who raced off to the bank to tell them we had been robbed. Robbed!!

When I gathered myself, I looked closer at my account. That’s when I realized $5,463.81 was taken out of our account for the cup of coffee I had ordered earlier. Now, this coffee is Snickerdelicious and it’s truly my fave cup of coffee in the world. But I wouldn’t pay that much for it. Even if I had that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket.

So, long story short (I know, too late!), I spent a large portion of my Hot Mess Monday doing things like calling my bank and going to the cafe again and talking to many, so many people about how in the world we can get this resolved sooner than 3-5 days it typically takes. Because I still needed diapers and staples and gas and did I mention they took all my money? And then some?

I’m happy to report the kind people at the cafe went above and beyond, apologizing profusely and offering help and a gift certificate for my troubles. And I was pretty impressed with my bank as well-that fraud department is efficient! By the time I figured out it wasn’t fraud but a (giant) mistake, they had already blocked our account and cancelled my debit card😳

Nothing has gone as planned but we are rolling with it. Only by the grace of God is all our money already back in our account and diapers purchased. I’m no longer driving around on fumes, either. We didn’t have to wait 3-5 days, hallelujah!!

For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram (please do, I’d love to see you over there where I actually post on a daily basis lol), I’ve been doing some YouTube videos on Hot Mess Mondays. Mondays are hard for this hot mess mama, so I’m just trying to put a little encouragement out there each Monday to be sunshine for someone who may also need it. I hope you’ll stop by soon!

This has been an especially Hot Mess Monday but life is good, friends. I have a roof, healthy kids, a husband I really like, and a job. Today I have running water and enough food to last til payday. And most importantly, I have Jesus’ love.

Truthfully, if I only have Jesus, I have all I need.

Blessings, y’all!💗❤️💗​


©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi! Or visit http://www.meredithshafer.com

💗❤️💗

So Over It

I’m done adulting today, thanks. It’s crazy when you’re looking around for an adult to handle things and you realize, you are the adult. So now I’m looking for an adultier adult–anyone out there? Hellooooooo! 

 (photo cred Ann’s Entitled Life)

In the last twelve hours we’ve had more mechanical malfeasance than I usually like to tackle in a year: the air conditioner is apparently leaking the freon stuff that makes the air cold. Cha-CHING!

Then someone–the culprit is thus far unaprrehended but I’m hot on the trail–flushed something down our upstairs toilet causing it to be broken. Since it’s the kids’ bathroom it had to be fixed or they would be all up in my business.

And my trusty 2003 Suburban started leaking green stuff. So one water pump and radiator later I’m done. Peace out suckas. This whole adult-pants-wearing thing is for the birds. Or a real adult. 

 (photo cred etsy)

Honestly I thought we were done but then we got home to batten down the hatches for the possible tornadoes to come–I have our boogie bag all ready–and our garage door won’t close. 

WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY UNIVERSE???

Do you ever have those days? Tell me you do because right now I’m ready to find a blankie and just curl up and let someone else handle all this. 

But then I remember I have some things going for me: a husband who loves and adores me, healthy kids, a roof over my head (unless it blows away later–a distinct possibility according to the weather I’ve been watching) and I remember I’m blessed. I’m not where I was a couple of years ago. I have friends and family. 

Friends, I’m rich. I don’t need anything else besides healthy kids and a man who would anything for me.

God is good, all the time and I know He has plans for me that nothing–even a few unexpected invonveniences–can stop from coming to fruition.

Blessings, and to all my Okie friends, please stay safe today y’all!💗❤️💗

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

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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Grateful

 (Photo cred erincondren.com) 

Gratitude is such an overlooked tool in our survival kit. It doesn’t get enough credit and slides under the radar sometimes. 

Gratitude is a game-changer when life is going fantastically wrong. It’s a heart-mender, a push-giver, a sorrow-ender. Without it, life remains dull and, well, lifeless. 

But throw some gratitude into a day or a season that just isn’t working and see what happens. The season may not change right away but your perspective will- 

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016

#gratitude #grateful #gratefulheart #gamechanger #godisgood #changeyourperspective

Becoming

It’s ok to be a work in progress.  (photo cred bravegirlsclub.com)
You don’t have to have it all together or know exactly what you’re supposed to do with each situation life presents you. If you can go about this life with a grateful heart, all the while allowing our good Father to do his work deep in your soul, you’re headed somewhere, friend.

Be still. And be still becoming who God made you to be– ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016
#becoming #cocooning #workinprogress #gratefulheart

Work in Progress

Today has been about as crazy as yesterday. But.

I’m finding joy despite the gum. In. Hair. 

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Look how sad the little nugget is😢


And the mountains of homework that second graders seem to have regarding quadrilaterals and polygons…pretty sure I didn’t know what those were until middle school. We find the silver linings where we can. The eight year old who struggles with so much brought home an amazing book report–we are celebrating the crap out of that!
(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

  The twelve year old handled a situation that happened on the bus and he did it with wisdom well beyond his years. Apparently an older kid on the bus was making racist remarks about the twelve year old, who is originally from South Korea. I’m proud of him for trying to ignore it at first, addressing the kid on the bus, then addressing school officials when it wouldn’t stop. He handled it better than his mama would have; I’m afraid I err on the side of hot-headed mama bear when it comes to my kids.

We also had a minor accident even as I typed this blog post requiring copious amounts of paper towels to sop up the blood. After a lotttttttt of screaming and crying and hollering I was able to determine that though there was a lot of blood, this was not indeed an emergency. The eight year old had been swinging the four year old around and when she landed with a cross necklace in her mouth (whaaaa?!?) it cut her gums. No emergency here.

During the screaming and hollering I was fully preparing myself to go to the ER. That’s kind of our thing around here.

Thankfully, instead  of going to the ER, I’m getting ready to put the baby to bed, soak in a hot bath, and binge-watch anything on Netflix.

Tomorrow’s another shot at getting it all right. Or at least better.

Goodnight y’all!

Oh My Lands

This day! I’m at the end of my frustration with children (mine and other peoples’), second grade homework, regular work, house work, laundry, attitudes, lack of gratitude and just about everything else in between.

Ever have those days? Where it’s not just one or two frustrating things? It’s seventy-four. Thousand. Seventy-four thousand. It doesn’t help that I had to be out the door and functioning much earlier than usual for a before-school parent teacher conference and I’m currently coughing up a lung. I’m just super cranky and I’m not even taking my own advice from my Instagram post earlier–

  
Here’s what I wrote:

“Today I’m going to be grateful for the progress I’ve already made, even if it’s not where I ultimately hope to be. Today I will give thanks for baby steps and forward movement, for that is still progress. I’m saying a prayer of gratitude even as I wait for the answer–”

I had such high hopes this morning for my day and now I’ve let every little thing weigh me down. I haven’t celebrated. I haven’t caffeinate or dominated or appreciated as I had planned to.

Instead I went about my day feeling slightly overwhelmed with responsibilities and too many jobs and kids and not enough time or money. I focused on what I didn’t have and what wasn’t going right. I’ll tell you friends, that can change your day from promising to just plain rotten in the time it takes to say Merry Christmas.

During this season it’s so easy to get caught up in the should haves or I wishes. Save yourselves and learn from my mistakes today: focus on the small victories, the miniscule forward motions, the teensy degrees of progress. 

Then celebrate the crap out of them. 

 It’s the only way I know to keep the darkness of this world at bay–

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I was sick the first part of this weekend so I feel like I need another day–anyone else need one as well?!?

I’m just now feeling up to tackling my weekend projects, like laundry and a few work things and refinishing an old desk. Not sure it’s as realistic goal to get all those done today…especially since church, lunch and grocery shopping will take up my morning.  (Photo cred etsy.com)

So I’m drinking coffee to try and get a handle on today. I’ll let you know how that goes.(Photo cred Sweatpantsandcoffee.com)

While I’m waiting for my coffee to kick in, here’s my gratitude list for the day: 

-a beautiful roof over my head

-plenty of food (well, after I go grocery shopping)

-a good job that has the flexibility to let me be here for my family

-plenty of coffee (I ran out yesterday and it was a difficult morning to say the least, so I’m super grateful that Mr. Wonderful picked some up when I wasn’t feeling well.)

-naps, Christmas movies, and pajamas all day (pretty much yesterday)

-healthy kids

-a sweet husband who is doing the best he can every day to get better

Have a blessed, well-spent and refreshing Sunday y’all! (Photo cred myblog.com)
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hello!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 22

  (Photo credit On Sutton Place)
Grateful for Sundays–church, family dinners, afternoon naps, snuggling in the nest with the baby. What a great start to my week!
©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Swing by Instagram and Twitter and say hi!