A Different Light

"See every difficulty
as a challenge,
a stepping stone, 
and never be defeated by 
anything or anyone"
~ Eileen Caddy

What a week it has been. 
What a year it has been. 
Actually, what a couple of years it has been. 
I try not to dwell on it too much, especially here… in my space. My happy space. My space of journaling, of reflecting, of sharing what I am and who I am and capturing the amazing blessings that make up my life. 
However, when it comes to sharing, above all else, I demand of myself and others, who I embrace into my little world, that we keep it real. I'm a bit finicky in that respect. I shut down immediately when I'm in the presence of someone who is not genuine, or is too proud or protective of her faults that she mimics a false reality. And I hate to shut down. I'm really bad at idle chit-chat, so when I've shut down, I've really got nothing else to give. I stumble. I go silent.
When I reflect back on the past year of blog posts here on Sweethearts, I see a lot of happiness. Many smiles. Several adventures. Lots of simple days with silly thoughts and random activities. And it's real. It's all real. 
I do, however, question if it appears that I'm not being 100% authentic, because I rarely elaborate on my daily stresses that frequently overtake the simple smiles. It's a tricky balance because, in reality, I do always seek to find humor… hope… knowledge... and strength amongst my daily stresses. I'm constantly talking myself through the messes and finding reasons to believe that it's not that big of a deal, and it will all be just fine.

Regardless, I will take this moment to bring you in on what a hell of a couple weeks it has been in the Agrestic household. 
Lets see… where to begin. Okay, so, you probably know that Mr. Agrestic is in the process of trying to get into P.A. school. What an adventure and a challenge that has been on our entire family. We knew it was going to be a tough couple years (what we naively thought would be 3 to 4 years is actually going to end up being closer to 5 or 6 in total by the time it is all said and done), but we placed a bet assuming a couple things were going to fall into place making it all bearable. You see, in my heart, I keep assuming that the lesson God was needing to teach us with the whole tree thing has been accomplished. Lesson learned. So I tend to place my bets on things going well for us here on out because we've paid some dues, right? Well, without getting into too much detail, none of that stuff we were expecting to work out has actually fallen into place. So either I completely misjudged our combined need for learning God's lessons, or Mr. Agrestic has done some pretty awful things that I wasn't made aware of, and I'm just being included in on the punishment (kidding, kidding :)
Regardless, there are certain days where I literally feel like the walls are crumbling in around me. It feels like the pressure builds and builds and never lets up. In just the past couple weeks we have had to replace our dishwasher, our dryer has died, we've both spent late nights at the laundromat (which scares the bejeezus out of me!). We've learned Richie needs to have another surgery on his ankle (which honestly takes us both ~ but especially Richie ~ to a pretty emotional space). We found out this crazy lawsuit we've been dealing with is going to be delayed another several months. Then, the grande finale (well I hope), to top it all off, this week Richie's Trooper died in the middle of I-40 at 6:40 am Wednesday morning. Needs a new engine. A mere $4700. Sweet. So we've been one vehicle short all week (which is an extreme inconvenience) and many thousands of dollars short for the past couple years (which makes me want to throw up!) In my self-pity moments, I always think "I've done all the right things… college, a good degree, responsible with my money, a great husband, a good job where I've worked hard and accomplished many things. How on Earth does one find herself in this situation at the age of thirty-something?" 
Again, walls crumbling.
I find peace by either laughing (cuz what else are you gonna do?) or by telling myself over and over that God must have bigger plans, and this is all a part of getting us where we need to go. Then I embrace a little sarcasm (to keep me sane) and I put my problem solving to work to try to get through the next day (of course with my favorite, overpriced Starbucks drink in hand at all times… sigh… shame… guilt… need more comfort… oh! another latte).
I told you a couple months ago that I always feel God traveling alongside me ~ and sometimes He slaps me in the face with a laugh just when I need it… Well, I picked Charlie up from school on Thursday and was told a lovely story by his teacher. Apparently, a perfectly formed turd fell out of his pants onto the classroom floor in the middle of the day. She first thought it was mud, but then realized not. She said she doesn't even think he knew he did it. Barely even a skid mark in his pants or underwear.

Um. Wow. Yeah. Interesting. Okay.
Then I laughed all the way back to work. Because, like I said, what else are you gonna do?
So what the heck is my point here? I just want to be real. For those of you who I do talk to frequently who know that I've got this stuff going on, I never want you to question if I'm using smiling photos to present myself in a different light. For those of you who I'm not frequently in touch with, this is me! But the puppies, flowers, hikes, and precious peanuts are me too. We're really all just the same when it comes down to it. A little of this and a whole lot of that. Maybe it just looks somewhat different in your life.
Quite honestly, when I look at all the stuff that weighs me down and then I pause to think about the 32 year old mother of two who is having her third chemotherapy session this week as she is fighting for her life, I can honestly say to myself, "I don't have real problems. This is nothing."
Furthermore, I have yet to be presented with a challenge where I didn't find twice as many blessings floating alongside it. Blessings that may have never been realized if the challenge wasn't handed over. It's simply how the world works. It's an undeniable truth. So I'll hold my head up high and continue charging forward, picking up a few miracles along the way. A few miracles, and a whole latta lattes!


  1. Hi Mary! Sorry to hear the Agrestics have had a rough go of things lately! You have handled it all with such grace, I would never have known. Of course, we have got plenty of this stuff going on, too - stuff I would be happy to share with you if you ever want to chat. I can't "keep it real" on the blog these days on account of the fact that my blog space has been invaded by little peepers. But I can always keep it real over coffee, and I always like to be there for a friend ...

    ... on that note, please do not visit another public laundromat. We have a washing machine (and dryer!) and you are welcome to it any time :)


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