Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I always say this.  I always say how I haven't been on here in nearly a year.  Yes, I know, that gets old.  Being a working mother and putting Breck through physical isn't easy.  I look at myself in the mirror and don't recognize myself.  The tired eyes and beginning fine lines, the fuller cheeks and jaw.  I never lost all of the baby weight, though I walked two-three miles a night at one point.  At least I only gained 30 lbs last time.  And right now, I have lost all the pregnancy weight from Ace.  But I'm not Kaylea Brooks.  I am Mom.

I remember when I had the epiphany that my mother was once her own person.  It shocked me that she had a personality, and to me seeing photos of her in her youth and reading what she wrote back then made me feel like I was experiencing some mythical creature akin to a unicorn.  Yes, I was that self-absorbed.  I believe most children believe their mom is just this thing that provides and makes things better...and that's all she is until they stumble upon her past.

My personality got lost in the babies and exhaustion.  There is a constant tumult around us, so the piano, writing, and running took a back seat.  So did the makeup and nice clothes.  Now I see that my selfishness is withering away, though slowly.  But the identity, well it's not so much there.

I think they call that depression, but I call it children.  I used to think my mom was terrible for not remembering all of the parts of our childhood, but now I get it.  Survival is the default mode.  Days and night meld together, and relationships fall to the wayside, as do pleasantries and societal norms I used to follow religiously.  Why?  Because I don't have time to care about anyone but my children, and on occasions when my husband is home, him too.  I don't have time for myself, let alone too many others.  Time is a precious commodity that I spend on few, but those I invest in, I try and give the best of me.  Not that there is much of me left.  And I have a few friends who understand this.  They're the golden ones.  One specifically who is just as busy, and when we finally get together we don't feel too guilty, because we know the other understands.  Life is a raging river, and you're always trying to grab on to something solid and stay there.   Why was I in such a hurry to grow up?  They were right.

So, these days, I want to write.  Some have said I have a talent.  Maybe I do.  I just write all my feelings when they well up.  I think brutal honesty is the key to being a great writer.  There is not much else to it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Must Say This

It pains me when I see people hurting.  Violence is secondary.  Anger is a secondary emotion, covering pain and hurt.  As a white woman, I have not experienced racial violence or racism.  Not really.  I have experienced sexual violence, and all of it's terrible complications, but not racism.  I must say, if I were a African American woman or a mother of a African American or mixed race child, I would be terrified.  I would be hurt.  Who are we, as white people, to condemn an entire race for how they feel?  I don't agree with the violence, but I can see where that anger is coming from.  How could I know what these men and women have experienced?  Could it be possible that race is more of a factor than we white people really think?

Racism is not dead.  It's stealthier and quieter, and as a white woman, I don't see it.  But just because I don't see it doesn't mean that it never happens.  As with the people in Baltimore, there are a great many people doing the right thing.  Ten thousand who peacefully protest, and one hundred violent people ruin it for everyone.  They taint the peaceful people's cause.  I believe the same about police, that most of them are trying to protect and serve the public.  But I'm sure there are some others who make terrible mistakes in making snap judgments about black men, and that can cost a black man his life.

I would be terrified if I was the mother of a black son.  I would fear that he would act immature for a moment or lose his cool, and then lose his life.  I would be afraid that if he moved too fast, he would be gunned down.  Or if he was rough and mischievous like my own son, a policeman would take it wrong and blast him away.  I am a mother to a strong-willed child.  I am a sister of a brother and a daughter of a father.  What if mistakes made by a teenage or young adult African American man cost him his life, but if you are white it doesn't?  What if that is true?  What if we are condemning people of color who systematically are predisposed to poverty and violence?  What if it's not so easy to jump over those hurdles like we think?  It's very easy to criticize the poor and deprived from our nice big homes.  And how about the black people I know and see who are successful, educated, kind, and helpful?   They hurt too, because they know that a white officer might perceive their children and husbands as a threat when they are good, law abiding citizens themselves.  I see people who are white Christians judging the rioters.  Of course, violence isn't the answer, but if someone had killed my son, my husband, or my best friend, would I be angry?  If his crime didn't deserve death, which many of these stories hint that they didn't, then yes.  Maybe I would be there too.  Violence isn't the answer, but I see white Christians trying to invalidate the pain and suffering of a race of people who have plenty of reasons to be angry and hurt.  I am a mother to a son.  I cry for the  mother of Freddie Gray.  I don't know the circumstances, but as a child of God, I know I should be mourning for him too.  He is a human being.  Maybe a child of God, himself.  Let us not negate the suffering of millions by condemning what 100 out of 10,000 did.  Let's look at them as human beings and love them, support them, and understand that the numbers of black men being arrested and killed by police doesn't add up.  Sure, sometimes I know the police were acting within their duties.  But what about the times when they weren't?  Did Freddie deserve to die?  Tamir?  All the countless others?  Probably not.

This does not need to be us vs. them.  We need to love them just like Jesus does.  That's it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just Three Times Within Three Years

No big deal.

Sadness fills me lately.   I thought for just a moment I was good enough.  Or that maybe I could grow a job past the one year mark--a feat not done since college, by the way.  "Tired" is not accurate.  "Depressed" is too cold and concise.  Black, grey, cold, banished, abandoned, starving, weary, blue, bored, invisible, hellish...what words?  Can they explain anything I feel?  Not so.  If the earth swallowed me, I would be content.  Bury me under piles of earth, fold me and tuck me in.  Hide me from the light that burns and sears.  It cuts off what is inside, sealing it in until pressure mounts.  An implosion of the soul is a strangely beautiful thing, and I wonder what keeps my heart from doing so.

I do know that I am blessed.  I need not be reminded of my husband and child.  These blessings speak nothing of my failures, and they haunt me.  The lack of confidence must be off-putting to others.  Is there a mark on my forehead, like Ash Wednesday?  Do my eyes scream to you?  Do they say what I do not dare whisper?  Even when I'm alone, to whisper the devastation in my life is like feeding the Beast of Babylon from Revelations.  It's like sacrificing my own soul and welcoming an apocalyptic end.  I don't want to speak of it for fear of the floodgates that might open.  I suppose that my pride has grown to that point, and maybe I'm tired of admitting that every part of me is broken.  There are no longer shards of glass, or visible pieces of me.  These days, putting myself back together is like finding grains of sand blasted into oblivion in infinite space.  I don't even know where most of me is, and I was pretty sure I knew at one point.  Seconds and minutes change things.   So many things.  This is growth, the mass destruction of my soul.  Tear away, build back up, tear some more, build more.  Rip the suture, cut the flesh, over and over again just when new flesh was visible, albeit scarred.  When I enter into glory, I will be a scarred pathetic mess.  This is no different than most of the saints.

Am I a saint?  Surely not, but I wonder how they felt.  Were they this tired?  I doubt they were riddled with my selfish weaknesses.  I doubt they wallowed in self pity.  I get it.  Self pity is unattractive on many levels.  Right now though, I'm trying my best just to get up in the morning and breathe.  I know I am weak.  I see it when I let the despair shine through my eyes...I see how people look away or pat my shoulder.  Depression really makes people uncomfortable.  They just don't know what to say, so it's easier to hide in my house, under a blanket.  That way, I don't garner the small amount of pity that lasts just a minute.  This hole?  It's going to take more than surface words to mend.  This hole is a hole only God can close up.  Maybe He will leave it open for all my lifetime, and I will forever be condemned to the various salts in the wound.  But I don't want others to feel sorry for me.  I just want to be sorry for myself for little while.  Yeah, that's wrong, I know.  I am such a baby--I know I should be happy.  I should be.  Maybe if I smile long enough it will be true.  Just maybe.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I walked into Sunday school at 8-years-old.  I was visiting a new church with my family.  There was a girl my age.  Her name was Trista.  She had pretty brown hair and green eyes.  Her grandma taught my class.  I didn't realize I would grow up with this girl.  She was pretty and popular.  I wanted to be those things.  I was skinny, awkward with long limbs and buck teeth.  My hair was frizzy and puffy.  I never felt pretty when I was younger.  I always wanted to look like Trista.

She became my best friend.  She got good grades and she was very smart.  She had a rough life that I didn't know of then.  I didn't know why she lived with her grandma or why I never saw her parents.  Trista was mischievous.  She did things that would get us both in trouble.  We sneaked out and took her grandma's car at 15.  She would smoke cigarettes and things like that.  I didn't smoke.  I knew what my boundaries were, and though Trista would break boundaries, I usually just tagged a long.  Trista had many boyfriends.  Like I said, she was pretty and popular, and I was mostly jealous of her.  She had everything I thought I wanted.  Years later, I learned that the jealousy was mutual, and that she didn't really like the boys.  She just wanted someone to love her.  She wanted a family.  She wanted a dad.  She wanted a mom.

She lost her mom when we were in junior high.  Her mother lived a rough life.  We found out when we came back from church camp.  She called me, I remember the crack in her voice.  Trista never cried.  Trista never let people know that she hurt.  But I always knew she did, even when other people didn't like her, or even hated her.  I knew she was in pain.  I knew it when I was young.  Nothing mean that Trista did would deter me, because somehow a God-given intuition told me that she needed me.  Not that I am or ever was an angel.  Not that I wasn't a selfish child either, I was.  But no matter what the fight, I always forgave her.  She forgave me too. When we were 19, and I was in college, she told me that she appreciated that from me.  She told me I was her best friend and that she had always wanted what I had.  She told me that no matter how many years went by, that she knew I would be there.

I was there.  I wish I had spoken up more...told her what she needed to hear.  Like, "Trista, you don't really need those pills.  You don't have to be 80 lbs."  Or "Trista you need to slow down."  Or "Trista quit running from the pain and tell someone.  Tell me.  Stop ignoring it."  I wish I had said the harder things.  I was there for her, but I didn't tell her to stop.  I didn't have a backbone then.  If I was who I am today, I would throw the pills in the toilet.  I would tell her what she needed to hear.  Because no one did that for her.  That was what she wanted and why she pushed people away.  She wanted to see if those people would still be there.  She wanted to see if they would push back.  I never pushed back.  I now wish that I had.  I think it would have made a difference.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Three Years

I've been married three years.  On July 30th.  I feel so much older than 25.  Oh, well.  Life is a give and take of sorts.  Being young and pretty, nice and thin...I traded that for marriage and a baby, both very wonderful things, but my body took some wear and tear along with that.  I still don't feel like myself, but I'm incredibly blessed to be with someone who sees me as I am and thinks I'm beautiful.

Marriage is pretty hard.  Having a baby is even harder.  Being unemployed for months then starting a stressful job where I take people's kids away, it's a wee bit rough.  Want to know what's weird?  I'm not all that stressed.  For once in my life, I feel like I belong.

Sometimes I look at people and I feel pity for them.  I didn't realize until the last year that pity is one of the worst things I could give someone.  People don't want pity.  They want help, but they don't want to admit it.  They will spend hours, days, and years trying to convince others that they don't need anyone and they definitely don't want pity.

I see plenty of messed up things.  It's like looking into a dirty and broken mirror.  I spend time trying not to notice how easily I could be like one of these people who beat, burn, and neglect their children.  I don't pity them that much anymore, because it doesn't matter what happened months or years ago.  They are where they are now, and there's no changing what was.  They can only go forward.  Some of them refuse to, others need some nudging or pushing.  Three years.  That and more is how long some of these kids have been away from family.  As a Christian, I am called to love the orphans and widows.  I am spending most of my time with orphans lately.  The grace of God shows up in the strangest of places.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The New Kid

You know the feeling.  The new job.  The new school.  The new neighborhood.  The new town.  The new in general.  Everyone else knows what they're talking about except you.  I barely understood what my supervisor was saying, it was like talking to a robot from another planet.  Not that the things I will be doing are that complicated, they are in a way, but it was more like how she acted.  She was nice, but didn't explain too much.  She's a sink or swim gal, I think.  Actually, now that I think of it, I think she disliked the process of dealing with a new person as much as I disliked being new.  She wasn't mean, but more like exclusionary.  She talked with her coworkers, but didn't direct a lot of conversation to me.  She did say she couldn't go with every new person wherever they went, and I get that.  But I felt like I was being babysat.  She sent me with people to be out of the way while she trained other people who would be testing soon.  I also get that, but I still hate feeling incapable, like an infant.

She sent me to watch several people, and I got what they were doing pretty quickly.  The girl and guy I was with a majority of the afternoon were pretty awesome.  They explained things in detail and gave me case files.  Despite the dysfunction of some families, I can trace their thought processes in their actions and reasons for doing "crazy" things.  Does it make it right?  No.  But most of the cases I studied today are people who need help, who lack resources.  They are people in pain from their own troubled childhoods.  They crave compassion and understanding, and more than those, they need accountability.  I read one with some sexual abuse accusations, and get this, I didn't freak out.  I'm not freaking out still, even though the things I read are hard, and the things I see will be even harder, I have a magnificent peace about it.  I can handle it.  I wasn't nervous, nor self-conscious.  Aware...yes, that's it...I was aware of how I was new and that made me a nuisance. 

All the same, I have a job and I'm seeing some pretty interesting things, like pregnant women who are petitioning to see their kids, shaking from withdrawals.  Sad.  Yes, but this is real life, and like the grubby DHS building, I can't be clean.  I will have to get my hands dirty, and be cool with that.  Everything is used and scratched there.  Terribly out of date...all of it.  Reality TV...nah, I have real life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spinning World

I have been fighting many many things compete for my attention.  Today, I have found peace.  The Lord poured it over me, and I couldn't help but lift my hands and be speechless.  It has been hard being unemployed and a new mother.  I fail at it quite often.  I fail at being Godly quite often.  By myself, I FAIL.   But when I come to the point of sweet surrender, there is nothing I can do but know that God loves me and my family, and that every little thing that I would see as a negative is a teaching point.  It is a point of grace where I need God the most, and that's just it.  God wants you where you need Him and only Him.  He'll walk you through very hard things to get there, but in the end, it is worth it.  Being chastised is a blessing.  Discipline from the Father means He loves me, and He wants me to be more like Him.

I am not like Him.  I am dirty.  I am mean, angry, foul mouthed, base, lascivious, cruel, close-minded, hypocritical, ignorant, apathetic, afraid, GUILTY.

But in the midst of all my muck and mire, He calls me to be like Him.  He forgives me.  He gives me grace that is new each day.  He looks on me as if I am righteous like His beloved Son.  It's time I looked on each trial with a gratefulness.  He is near to the brokenhearted.  He is near to me.  

If you know me, you know I am not perfect.  You know my temper.  You know my mouth, and how I say stupid thoughtless things.  Forgive me.  I am wrong, and it takes every day of trying to steer this ship in a new direction that is NOT me.  If I take my eyes off Him for a second, I lose my way fast.  You have seen it.  Forgive me for not being better or stronger.  Forgive me for not being gracious or not being positive.  Forgive me for holding myself back.  For indulging myself in the things of this world.  I am a child of God...I'm still a child, still learning, and I will be for the rest of my life.  To all my friends who don't see Jesus in me, I am ashamed, but I stand in His grace, hoping that with each day He will make me more like Him.