Your Roots Are Showing by Christine Spencer

Christine Spencer
By Christine Spencer May 19, 2014 20:21

Your Roots Are Showing by Christine Spencer


A captivating collection of personal challenges, tragedies, and triumphs, Your Roots Are Showing provides emotive insight and reflection surrounding real life experiences.

It is about the journey of courage, vulnerability, strength, and faith. It is about Sisterhood and the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences and courage.

As women, we tend to take on the world by playing many parts. Women who have juggled motherhood, career, education, significant relationships, household management, and so on can relate. We are all in this together; like the threads woven through the fabric of our lives to create a beautiful and meaningful tapestry.

By sharing our journeys, the idea is to give back hope, possibilities, inspiration, and a sense of connectedness that goes beyond how we otherwise see each other. Simply put, the journey to becoming ourselves is a little less intimidating and a little more empowering when shared. There’s strength in numbers, and the collective wisdom of many is more enlightening than the singular wisdom of one.

Overcoming the stigma of our “roots” can be a daunting task. My question to you is, “Do you allow these roots to define you?”

The author has rated this book PG (not necessarily suitable for children).


SoulSister Marie

Lessons Learned

We all have scars and those scars give us stories to tell. My son has a giant scar from a “my mother told me not to…but I did” moment.

We were on a weekend vacation to Rocky Point, Mexico when a group of his friends decided to rent ATV’s for a beach ride. I told my son, no way, he had no safety gear, (something I always drilled into him); the quads had no tire guards and he didn’t have the appropriate attire; he was wearing flip-flops and a bathing suit.

I went up to our unit to change clothes to go into town for shrimp and margaritas and when I came back down, he was gone. My daughter informed me that the boys talked him into it! Not the first time as a young teen he would disobey me, but I do believe a higher power has a way to teach some lessons. I took the girls into town and told myself that this time I would not worry and sat down in a beach front bar.

About an hour later, two of the boys riding their quads through town frantically found me to say an ambulance had hauled off my son. Knowing a little Spanish, I was able to get directions to the main hospital. My heart jumping out of my body when they told me he was not there.

The police eventually showed up to escort me to a small American run urgent care. He was there with a gash in his leg from his shinbone, exposing his kneecap, and ending up near his thigh. He was in pain, but had the fear of God in his eyes. If he didn’t lose his leg, surely his mom was going to bury him alive.

Four thousand dollars later and an ambulance ride through Mexico, across the border to a hospital emergency room in Phoenix, Arizona, he was assured he would keep the leg. I also was not making death threats. Instead, I took him home, made him sleep next to me in my bed to monitor him overnight, checking that he didn’t stop breathing.

I couldn’t imagine my life without my son. He is the one who quite literally keeps my blood flowing rapidly through my body. He has a scar, a reminder, and a story to tell of a lesson learned. Even though his scar is a visible reminder, it didn’t prevent him from continuing to challenge authority, to take risks and live life. He has taught me to risk a little more even if you get hurt, just don’t hurt another person. My son sounds like a tyrant, but he is one of the most fun, loving, giving people I know. Helping and always encouraging others, he just lives a bit more on the adventurous side than most.

Emotional events, traumas, or challenges that have influenced or shaped your life.

Not all of us have visible scars.  Our scars are hidden deep within, but they still serve as a reminder and provide a story to tell and they carry with them lessons. Since I am the careful non-risky type of person, I don’t have visible scars, but have plenty of scars hidden beneath the surface of my skin. I think the biggest scar is the one caused by the love of my life, my soul mate. Prior to his unexpected death, (that left its own scar), he had an affair. So my heart was ripped from my core twice in a very short period of time.

We had been married fifteen years that were all spent during his enlistment in the US Navy. Since sailors are deployed often, the temptations of infidelity I would say are always present, probably for both partners. I believe now that even a strong marriage can be subject to a poor choice of judgment. I learned I had no control over another’s actions and I was a control freak. One of my hard lessons learned.

We are all human and the only one we can control is ourselves.

After learning of the affair and experiencing the gut wrenching heartbreak, I decided I needed to make a change in the way I lived my life. When you are in a marriage you talk a lot about “us and we”. I was only nineteen when I was married and I left behind a family with two faithfully married parents plus my brother and sisters to make a life with my husband. We have a tendency to copy our roots and how we were raised. So I also took with me a good dose of old fashion Catholic guilt.

Basically, I will summarize that guilt, as that doing any wrong to anyone was a sign I was going to burn in hell and that my life should be lived in service to others. So my whole part in a marriage meant “I will do everything I can to make my husband happy” and that is what I did. I followed his career and made room for mine when time and circumstance permitted, following him wherever the Navy led us. While stationed in Japan, we began our family and we were blessed with a daughter and son. I now had two more people to give my whole heart and soul to.

As any wife and mom knows, the demands of a spouse and kids leave little time for you. It was so easy for me to put all my passion into making my husband and kids’ lives happy and carefree that I stole away and forgot about my own happiness.

Now I am not saying to ignore your spouse or kids and they do provide us love and happiness, but I somehow lost my own identity. I think I was just playing the role I was supposed to play.

The affair left me angry and bitter at him and blaming him for the turmoil in which he left our family. He deserved it, but I also totally questioned what had I done to let this happen and how did things get so out of control? Suddenly I felt worthless and unwanted and not just cheated on, but cheated out of the life I had planned out. After many tears I had to get back on the horse and pull back on the reins and say whoa. After all, who was in control here? Aha, there is that word again, control!

Ultimately, we don’t have control over anything or anyone but… yes, ourselves. I also learned that life does not have a plan; we make a plan and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

Acceptance was a new word I would learn. Conquering challenges and making changes was the direction I needed to go to find me again. The word selfish came to mind frequently, but I brushed it aside because ultimately that is what I needed to make me happy, secure and loved.

I took my children and I moved away.  Actually I made my husband pack up the household and drive our children and me back on my parent’s doorstep. I guess I do have a bit of the devil inside of me. Leaving him was what I needed to remove myself and our children from the hostile environment that was our home.

It wasn’t easy, but slowly I healed and found my direction and ultimately learned to take care of me first while providing my children a stable, lovable home environment so they could continue to grow and flourish. I also found a career from the many skills I had developed in my entire short term past employment. I am an insurance agent who helps people manage the risks of accidents in their home, auto and life. It fulfills my need to reach out and assist people when they are sometimes the most vulnerable after a loss.

There never was a “we” again, although attempts were made to reconcile.  My husband passed in a military exercise accident before we could put back our marriage. Again, life handed out a new challenge and new obstacle to overcome. Looking back I believe it was part of a bigger plan. My kids and I had slowly let go a part of him over the years and now we had closure. There was no looking back of what could have or might have been, only what would lie ahead of us. Of course we do have our memories of plenty of good times and I never let what came between our marriage tar what the kids saw in their dad. He was a military hero who died while helping others bring closure to lives lost in the Vietnam War.

A double entendre

When Chris shared with me the title of her book “Your Roots Are Showing”, I instantly thought, yes they are and they are gray!

A double entendre…but are they really different? My hair color has changed like the seasons of my life. The color of my roots frequently matched the moments that defined my life.

I didn’t have to color my hair as a young child because what I got into did it for me! Children live life without a care or a fear in the world. So I painted my hair in pastel paint to add color in my already colorful world. Moving to live in the Arizona sun as a teen was heaven! We slicked our bodies with oil to bronze more and put lemon in our hair to make it blonder.

The chlorine from all the swimming I did also added streaks of green. Unless I was planning on turning into the Hulk, green was not a good accent color for me. I found I became more of a brunette when I lived in places like Japan and Washington where it rained all the time. Not the happiest places on earth for a sun worshipper, but I became a mom and was showing my responsible side. When I wanted to be a bit more daring, I started adding in streaks of blonde.

One New Year’s Eve, while enjoying bubbly with Chris, we decided I needed to be more dominant and we colored my hair red! I don’t think the Strawberry Shortcake color helped me in my professionalism with my employees or parents, but I was very entertaining to the children in the daycare center I managed.

Now I am living with my fifty shades of gray, no pun intended. By adding multiple layers of color, it keeps the gray hidden and gives definition to the life I live, full of multiple unexpected experiences without fear.

I recently finished a beautiful novel with a profound message that resonated with me…to live life each day to its fullest, without fear. The message was simple and compared life to an hourglass. Our sand is running and we don’t know when it will run out.

Having experienced the death of my husband at thirty-five, I already knew how precious our time here on earth is. However, living with the fear of our imminent death sometimes doesn’t allow us to fully experience LIFE. After his death, I was always fearful something was going to happen to my children or me. Living with this fear brought on anxiety and didn’t allow me to fully live. It has improved now that they are grown and college graduates living away from me. I have learned to let go. Some friends I know get depressed with this empty nest syndrome. They have a feeling of worthlessness having completed that chapter of their life. I instead have found a peace with the accomplishment that I have given them the lessons to move forward and follow their dreams. I am more relaxed and not the bundle of nerves I used to be. I awake with a renewed spirit each day to enjoy more of life.

I released one novel fear this past year by riding a few roller coasters. I was terrified of any contraption with unexpected twists and turns and lack of any control. But after a bit of research and some YouTube video action, I got onboard and experienced the jubilation of a few thrill rides. I was proud of myself and afterwards decided life itself was much scarier and we don’t get to research, plan ahead or watch a YouTube video to prepare! We just have to let it happen. -Marie

Copyright© Christine Spencer. All rights reserved.

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Christine Spencer
By Christine Spencer May 19, 2014 20:21
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  1. Marie May 21, 18:43

    The book transports you to a Girlfriend’s getaway where you are sitting around reaching into each others lives and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly and encouraging each to persevere. Each story reminded me of friends in my life who have encountered similar paths. It was encouraging to read the stories of others and hear of the positive changes that transpired. Truly inspirational. Christine is brilliant in putting together in words what is important in life in simple examples of life long principles to not just survive what life dishes out with COURAGE, but to hold up your head high with dignity and pride and continue to live a life of passion and self-worth! A book to pick up again yearly like your annual physical just to give yourself your own mental check up. Definitely a must read and purchase extra’s to pass along to all girlfriends in your life.

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  2. Lori Farnell May 22, 10:59

    What a great book! Certainly not your typical “self help” book. It is a lovely collection of real life stories from women who have experienced personal and professional challenges in their lives. Ms. Spencer has such a positive approach in addressing these challenges as she walks us through how to find the courage to set our own destiny, to love ourselves, and to embrace our failures and turn them into successes. This was such a good read that I bought several copies and took it to my monthly book club. This book provided for some lively discussions, great laughs, and even a few tears. I highly recommend Your Roots Are Showing if you are looking for a life changing read!

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  3. Rosie June 1, 17:04

    I am usually not a big fan of “self Help” books, but my best friend gave me this book as a birthday gift. What a great read! The author approaches life’s challenges in a very positive fashion, sharing stories of women who have overcome personal tragedies, health issues. loved ones passing a very matter of fact way emphasizing the fact that we are in control of our destiny…and getting to our destiny doesn’t have to be done alone. I found myself laughing and crying at the same time. This is truly a very touching and poignant collection of wonderful tips to get your life back on track. It reminds us that we have the power to become whatever we want to be.It is one of those books that you want to keep close at hand when you start to feel bad about yourself – pick it us and reread the A great gift to buy for all of the girlfriends in your life – easy to read and so right on!

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