I spent my childhood in Northern IL. I really never felt at home in IL; I quite often felt out of place. Up until the 4th grade, I lived with my mom, stepdad, sisters & brother in Rockford, IL. While I was in the middle of the 4th grade, my brother & I moved to Itasca, IL with my dad & stepmom. To say I was scared was an understatement, I was not sure what awaited me.

We only lived in Itasca for a year when my dad moved us to Schaumburg, IL. In my estimation, that was a fantastic move. We moved next door to a wonderful family. There were gals my age that lived there. We quickly became the best of friends. We hung out every day. They were my only constant in life at that time. To this day, we remain friends. They call me their blonde sister. Even now as I type that, it puts a huge smile on my face.

My stepmom was not very kind. She was very abusive towards me. She worked hard, cooked the meals, cleaned the house & paid the bills, perhaps she was just exhausted. But, in all honesty, I believe she resented having children in her home. She loved & cared for her animals way more than she ever did me. I tried my best to stay out of her way. Dad? Well, he was gone more than he was home.

It was in this environment that I grew up. Through this, I learned anger, fear, mistrust and perfectionism. This is why I turned to drugs and alcohol at such an early age, it was a means of escape. Let me be clear, I do not blame my stepmom for my choices. They were my choices to make. And, I have long since forgiven my parents. They did the best they could with what they had. I’m attempting to paint a picture so you can see that if you find yourself in a rough space right now, you’re not alone. I’ve been there. Even now, I have my fair share of struggles.

If I had only known Jesus Christ as a child, things may have been different for me. My neighbors tried, they really did. They took me to Mass with them just about every week. It was through them that the seeds of love were planted. We swam, we rode our bikes, we hung out in their garage and we roller skated at the rink just about every week. God knew what He was doing when He moved us next door to this family. I may not have known Him then but He knew me!

While typing that last paragraph, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Stay tuned to hear more about the increase. It’s only just begun.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have in the comment section. Blessings & hugs my friends! Thank you for joining me on this journey…