Thursday, December 6, 2012

I went 3.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.

Humans are procrastinators by nature. We are quite open to admitting the things we need to do, it's just setting the date that we tend to waffle on. As a whole, we're kind of like that man who gives a promise ring instead of an engagement ring. "I'm going to start that diet after the holidays." Kind of ambiguous considering the entire future of all time exists after the holidays. Can you imagine if we were to do that with every situation in our lives? Take dentistry... you get a cavity, you know you have a cavity, but you put it off for what ever reason until a later date. The problem is, decay doesn't pause until you make the phone call.

My spiritual life has been "on pause" for about 3 years now... waiting for me to figure out what to do with my life. Of course it didn't stay where I left it... it's the whole "good dog/bad dog" thing. Which ever dog you feed more is the dog that gains strength. By a gift from God, I was able to quit drinking. The hard part wasn't as much in the stopping as it is in the not going back. When times get hard... too hard, I am tempted, but I am learning to reach out during those times cause it is in isolation I find my greatest weakness. However another vice still holds me in its grips, smoking. I just started reading a book on stopping and I am hopeful. The funny thing is, it tells you not to even attempt stopping until you've finished the book. I imagine every one who's ever read the book reads that stipulation and breaths a little cough of relief.

We want to give up our vices, we just don't want to do it at the moment. There's always time... in the future... unless you're a Mayan. And if you are, there are a few questions some people would like to ask you. I'm not a fan of country music. A kid at work asked me why the other day and I had to stop and think about it. I guess it's just the sound... it's kinda whiny, which makes sense considering that's what the lyrics tend to do. There are a few good songs though, not to bash the whole group. One I actually love talks about a man getting advice from his father who is on his death bed.

He said "I was finally the husband,
"That most the time I wasn’t.
"An' I became a friend a friend would like to have.
"And all of a sudden goin' fishin’,
"Wasn’t such an imposition,
"And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
"Well, I finally read the Good Book,
"And I took a good long hard look,
"At what I'd do if I could do it all again,
"And then:

"I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
"To live like you were dyin'."

It's a powerful song and it preaches by not preaching at all. The best sermons don't tell you to get off your couch and do something. They say 'I got off my couch, and this is what I did.' It's so opposite of our "there's always tomorrow" society. I have a long way to go in life. I have a lot of vices to overcome. I have a lot of decisions to make... a lot of mountains to climb. I don't want to beat myself up for the valleys I've lived through, because life is full of valleys, and after all, I did survive them. The greatest failure would be to give up and build my house in one. If I keep moving, I'm succeeding and that's what matters most, not where I've been, but where I'm going. I may be at the base of a mountain, but all I know is, I'm not alone.

Psalm 103:13-17
As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.
As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; 
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,

Friday, November 2, 2012

For the men.

So here's the thing... we can't decide what color hair we will have, nor the color of our eyes. Some things were decided for us before we were shaped in our mothers wombs. But there are many things we do have some say in, yes? For instance, whether or not we will be a dill weed. Most of us don't wake up in the morning and decide we are going to adversely affect someone's world, but once the day gets crackin', we are given that choice. There's a band called "boys like girls." Cause duh. It's a fact, or maybe that's not entirely correct. Maybe it should have been called "boys want girls." Now that is spot on. I know that deep down men want the same thing women want... to find someone to love and to love them in return. Or at least I assume most do. I know there are a few users out there who are just making notches in their bedposts. Prince Charmings for sure. The thing is, most men don't confuse sex with love, women do. I really encourage you young women to wait for the right person, otherwise, you will be used and you will regret it. Avoid the heartache.

Back to you young men though. We've all heard the cliche that men are not in touch with their emotions, but I would imagine that you know pretty early on if a girl is right for you or not. Could I just encourage you, if you know she's not the one, to move on? Yes, she's playing with her hair and batting her eyelashes, I get that, but that's because she wants you to love her, not because she wants to have sex with you. Some will, don't get me wrong, but it's not fair, it's not right... you're using her. And don't say she's using you too, cause in fact while she's still looking for happily ever after in your eyes, you're looking for the closest exit the morning after. You chip away at every person you do that to. They lose confidence, they lose purpose, they lose hope.

I wrote this song today... from her perspective. I hope it speaks to you in some way.
And here she is again, in front of a closet named regret.
She scans the contents, in search of something there that fits.
But it's the same old choices, a blouse of tears, a skirt of broken-ness.
Her heart lies on the floor, it's just a 2nd hand dress.

And there he goes again, he gave her value for a little while.
He got lost in her eyes, he told her that she had a pretty smile.
And for a moment, he had her thinking she was at her best,
but when he left her, he left a 2nd hand dress.

Girl, no man can give you what you need.
Girl, there is a truer love that supersedes...
and until you want it, you'll just have a bonnet of broken dreams.

You ain't no dime-store, you're more like a Vera Wang.
See how you sparkle? Look at those lines, look at the way you hang.
You know you're meant for more, a land of dreams a place called holiness.
So pick yourself up girl, you're not a 2nd hand dress.
Any way, that's all I have to offer for today. I just hope in some way you can see the person inside the flesh. She's real, she matters, she's lasting... just because you go away and forget her, doesn't mean you didn't leave her damaged. How do you know you're a real man? The next time that PYT puts that short skirt on just for you, pat her on the forehead, tell her she has value and walk away. I know you don't believe me now, but someday you'll understand on a whole different level... and someday my friend, you'll realize, you matter too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

High Five

Love languages. Have you heard of them? Supposedly there are five ways we humans give and receive love. Most of us have a leaning towards one specific one or maybe even a mixture of a few. They are as listed: Words of affection, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. My need has been the same since I was a little girl, quality time. If I love someone and they don't have time for me, I subconsciously put up walls. I do it so that I wont feel the sting of rejection. But when someone I care about gives me their time and attention, I fall quickly. I told my husband this a thousand times, that my love language is time and attention, it seems like it might finally be sinking in. I will be patient a while longer... see where it takes us.

Why do we have such a hard time giving others what they so desperately need? It's not in our nature. It is however in our nature to work to get what we need, but not to give, clearly that goal becomes counter intuitive. Were we to focus on others needs, ours would eventually get met... at some point... if we're faithful... somewhere... hopefully... down the line.

It's quite the task, loving others. My oldest daughter and I have never been able to communicate well. Even when she was little there was an abundance of arguing. I would see her in her bed and go hold her while she slept cause it seemed like the only way I could bypass the fighting to get close to her. It's still like that now, we just can't seem to communicate, but I think we both know that despite the battles, we love each other very much.

Do you suppose we really don't understand what those closest to us need or do you think we are simply unwilling to give it? My fear is that with anyone I have a relationship with, that I will wait too long to give them what it is they need most. Whether it be that they grow up and leave home, or maybe they just move out of my life and I never see them again. Friendships die... people die... life is short and the thought that words could have been said and time could have been given, yet weren't... makes me very sad.

Sometimes we give ourselves away in too many different places, to people we were not intended to give ourselves to. It's then that we find ourselves spread to thin, with too little to offer. As I've shared before, I have this hope that Heaven will be like a big family picnic... only the potato salad can sit in the sun all day. Heaven's cool like that... and the things we never said, or the people we didn't have time for, will be accessible, and the walls we put up will be torn down, and we wont speak with our mouths, but with our hearts.

As always "must have hope" refers to my only hope. My hope that a heart can be stolen back from the pit of despair, that there is a better world awaiting. If your world seems void of love today, I encourage you to focus on someone who is in need of love. Figure out their love language... and while your at it find out your own.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quoting the giants.

Helen Keller. I don't think anyone could argue that she wasn't an extraordinary human being. She spent her adult life standing up for those she perceived to be the underdogs. She was a suffragist, a pacifist and appealed for the rights of those with disabilities. She is attributed with some of the most amazing quotes. This is one of my favorites. "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." And this one,
"It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui." I could go on and on as she lectured and wrote for many years. So what made her so amazing? She was deaf and blind save a year and a half of her infantile life. She was without language or vision, no connection to humanity, almost completely alone in the dark cell of her own mind, but God sent a light through her teacher and friend Ann Sullivan, and as Helen traversed hardships most cannot even fathom, the mainstream world gained access into a world they had been deaf and blind to for generations.

CS Lewis. Just a literary genius, that's all.  His mother died when he was but a boy. He grew up in his head, imagining other worlds, stories, and fantasies, never knowing that reality, like a bomb, would one day explode in his face. As a 19 year old soldier, he found himself in trench warfare. His friends dying all around him. He made a pact with his friend Paddy that if either should be killed, the survivor would take care of the deceased's family. Paddy did indeed die and Lewis held fast to his promise and cared for Paddy's mother until the day she also died. Lewis claimed Atheism as a young man, but as an adult he became a Christian, and said that he had been "very angry with God for not existing." After Lewis put his faith in God, he was filled with the most amazing knowledge that very few have ever been enlightened to. Or maybe the simplest and purest of folk know what he knew, but only he could express the truths of God with such eloquence. He once said, "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." And this... "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." I could also quote him for days on end and it would never begin to wain in significance. 

Mother Teresa. It's so like God to make someone so tiny a spiritual giant. Who was the focus of her lifelong efforts? "The poorest of the poor." The kind of people most of us avoid. The unwanted and unloved, the starving, the destitute, the diseased. These are the people she felt called to feed and touch everyday. Truly she was the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. Such amazing beauty and unselfishness. She once saved the lives of 37 children as they were caught in a battle between the Israeli's and Palestinian's. This tiny, old, frail nun... actually negotiated a cease fire! Her father died when she was just 8 years old, she left home at 18 to join a convent and never again saw her mother or sister this side of Heaven. She had a comfortable teaching job in a convent, but she knew that wasn't the extent of her calling. She wouldn't be satisfied until she gave her dying breath meeting the needs of the "least of these." Listen to her words of wisdom. "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." She shared the day of her passing with Princess Diana. It always seemed to me that God was drawing a parallel for mankind to see. One person spent their life helping the needy because it was expected of her, while the others motive was love. 

So what is my point in sharing these excerpts concerning these quotable few? There is no denying their significance. They made an impact, not on a few, but on the world. They will not soon be forgotten, but what made them great? They were not noble, not in the least. They were not exceedingly wealthy nor handsome... but something they shared was that they had all suffered loss. They had suffered greatly. I'm not saying they picked themselves up by their bootstraps and moved on, no that's unfair to many who suffer and can't seem to rise back up. But they did not allow their heartache or miseries to define them, instead they plowed head first into life and began to live with excellence... excellence. It's very possible they would never have accomplished the things they had without those moments of  personal misery. I leave you with Helen Keller's quote.

"All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming." 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Samson Society

I have this problem finding my value, always have. It's not that I can't pinpoint my strengths, I can write you a list of my positive points... for some reason, they don't convince me of my worth. One of my weaknesses is believing that it takes a man to validate me... I'm not really in the position to be in a relationship right now, still stuck between being married and divorced on paper, for two years now. But I know I'm not the only one with this issue of self-worth.

It breaks my heart talking to some of the women I know. I hear their stories everyday. One lady is going through a divorce, and working two jobs while attending her brother's trial as he lost his kids due to his extreme bi-polar illness. Another friend just filed for divorce because her husband doesn't love her. He said she needed to lose some weight before she could earn his love. He is always on the verge of aggression, she thinks he will snap one day. He wont seek counseling so she goes to work hoping to get full time pay in order to support herself. He uses their daughter as a tool against her. I've worked at my store a year and another woman there has talked the whole time about a man she really likes. She considers them an item... while a different co-worker just told me that same man asked her out. He didn't even have the sense not to date two women at the same store. Are you kidding me?

I hate that expression "Men are dogs" because I have two beautiful sons, and they have always done the right thing as far as I know, and I want to believe there are men out there who care about the hearts of others. But tell me why so many men care about only what lies beneath their zipper. I wish they knew the lions God created them to be. Strong and steadfast, fiercely faithful, providing and protecting, gentle with their young and powerful against foes. I'm such a romantic... my brain just goes off when I think of what they are capable of. Men have the ability to be noble, wonderful creatures.

My husband broke my heart... I mean shattered it. When you see me, I smile and laugh and love to share life experiences, but I'm a broken person. I'm not ok. Some days I wonder if I'll ever recover. His actions rocked my world, changed who I am... which I didn't think could happen, but apparently I'm not as strong as I thought I was. Paul is a great dad, he loves those kids so much and has always worked hard to provide. He's extremely intelligent and humble and most often kind. He has a hundred little faults that I always tried to overlook, hoping he would also overlook mine. But like me, he is also broken. When I told him, four years ago that I was considering divorce, something came to life in him and he knew he had to get fixed. He found a hospital for his heart and they've made a new man of him.

It's called Samson Society. ( ) Our friend Nate Larkin started this group. We'd read his book Samson and the Pirate Monks ( ) It's a men's group, much like AA, using the 12 steps to help men find their footing again and although they often meet in churches, you're not about to hear a sermon here. It's a group about men being real... really real, without judgement, supporting and encouraging each other to find the strength to be better men. They build these awesome friendships outside of the meetings as well and often go to the local pub after. They're men of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity, financial situations... and their motto is "strictly confidential." I don't think I'd want to be a fly on the wall, to be honest, but if it helps them find their roar, I'm all for it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Quiet Man

Americans, huh?! "What are you like!" As my British friends would say. "We don't take no sh*t." That's kind of our motto, dontcha think? If you look at those we put up on a pedestal, they tend to embody that belief. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone... they had all the great lines. "... You've got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya', punk?" Or what about this one... "I'm your worst nightmare." Even when they were romantic, it was a full on action scene. Remember John Wayne in The Quiet Man? Come on now, this is how it should be done.   
Even our president took on that spirit when a foreign enemy came on our soil and destroyed the lives of thousands of people. All of the sudden we were cowboys chasing down the bad guys and keeping them at bay. Not that we all rallied behind him, but that same attitude couldn't be mistaken.

I admit, I'm drawn to that kind of man at times. A protector, a leader, a 'definer of moments.' They make the tough decisions at crucial times and are willing to live with the consequences. Someones got to do it I s'pose or we'd all be shaking in our boots, afraid of our own shadows. It's the child in us maybe... that needs to know someone bigger and stronger than us is in control and watching out for our good.

I find it easy to make decisions quickly. I doubt I'm always right, but when there's a job to be done, I'll do it. I want to be someone who can be relied upon. But at times I find myself in need... I like being the weaker vessel. I like being able to be vulnerable when there are strong hands nearby to rely on. The funny thing is, I'm also drawn to a humble man... a man who does what needs to be done, but not because he holds himself in high esteem, but because there is a need and he knows it's his duty to meet that need. I respect that man.

My pastor once commented on Christ, and how he carried the cross, his burden, on his shoulder without a word... without complaint, without a curse or a whimper. I can't fathom him giving a line like, "Eat this, sin!" He was humble, as the Bible said..."He was obedient... even to the point of death... even death on a cross." I think the point where a man becomes a man is when he uses his strength and power for the betterment of others and not in order to obtain personal gain. That's a man's man. That's a man we can respect, or should.

Sure we love to cheer on the bad-a**es. After all, they've got the brawn, the guns, the power... it comes naturally to root for the hero. But in the end, it's the man who lays his life down in love that deserves true praise. The missionary who is imprisoned for his faith, the father who loses his job and mows lawns to put food on his family's table, the police officer who puts his own life in danger to rescue women and children from abusive relationships, the retired man who feeds and dresses his wife every day because she has Alzheimers. There are plenty of heroes out there who've never had a catch phrase in their lives, but they deserve our respect. So 'a tip o' the hat to ya'.' As Maureen O'Hara might have said... after she was done with that kiss.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hi, who are you?

I used to be a cake person. I think am a pie person now.

I support a person's right to bear arms. And I would support an amendment making it much more difficult for someone to get a gun quickly and without a lengthy background check.

I have never been a cat person. I have a fear that I could become one in the future, but I am a dog person and proud of it. (I'm sorry cat friends.)

I believe that everything the Bible says is true, and I wont apologize for that, but I will apologize for the fact that you, as a non-believer, may have felt unloved by Christians in the past.  I can only tell you that God loves you enough to give up everything in order to be close to you... he loves you that much. I can only ask your forgiveness if my example has ever led you away from Him.

I don't like the rain much, but I love the wind. I feel alive in the wind. Like anything could happen.

I love wood. I love the smell, the feel and the look of it. I think carpenters are kinda hot.

I adore my kids, I think they're awesome. All of them in their own way. I love that they make me laugh and I would die for them... they are a gift to me from God.

I don't need to be rich and I've met very few rich people that I was impressed with. Money is like the teen years. It somehow keeps your character from advancing.

I love people. All kinds of people. I like to analyze them, they interest me to no end. I don't know if I'm trying to understand the human condition through each new study, or if each individual is simply fascinating on their own, but I never grow tired of people's stories.

I like compliments and attention. I guess that should be obvious, I think most people do, but I didn't know this about myself till I was 40. In my family, receiving compliments or attention was an open invitation to be lambasted by certain members of the family. I learned to diffuse these two things early on. Now I realize I crave them. Who knew?

Some days I feel kinda sexy, some days I hate to look in the mirror. I think it would be much easier to be a man.

I live in my head far too much.

So this is me, or a bit of me. Would you like to tell me who you are? You could post it on my wall or send it to my inbox or just leave a comment. I would love that. Thanks! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's not me, it's you.

I was thinking about people and why so many of us are always stressed out. It seems to me that we look at our list of things to do and we get overwhelmed. We get upset cause others don't seem to feel any urgency for the demands on us. We think it should be obvious, but the list exists in our minds, not theirs.

Take the woman at my work who I've mentioned before. She's constantly stressed. It shows on her face. I watch her as she toils and frets as her gaze sweeps from one side of the store to the next. You can clearly see that she has taken on every task as if it's her own. She's made her list too big to manage.  The voice in her head tells her that its all fallen upon her... so she begins to micro-manage, which only adds to her troubles. She has doubled her work load as she now has to find a way to make the list of chores in her mind, the list of chores on every ones mind. But now... how to control peoples minds? It can't be done and her frustration rises.

I know that feeling. I look around my home and think that the dishes and the laundry and the trash etc. should matter to us all. How can it not? It affects us all, right? They can't really assume that I can do it all by myself while working close to 40 hours, right? They must know that leaving the lights and fans on costs our family money we don't have, right? Surely they recognize that it's impossible for one person to do the work of 5 people, right?! I don't think they do... or maybe they just don't care. Or maybe the lists in their heads don't match the list in my head. Maybe they have lists of their own and they are overwhelmed by the things that concern them most.

I see the way the woman at my work interacts with other employees. I've noticed that when she has to deal with someone who has a very laid-back personality, it sends her through the roof, she can't control their reactions and she wants to. It must be so terribly frustrating for her... this need to control and the inability to control other peoples reactions to what she considers pressing. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

So I was thinking... how do we communicate our needs to one another? How do we convey our need for help with these cranial lists, without becoming shrew-like, without becoming plowed over by our own demands? It's the same answer for many of the problems we face... by being less self involved. By discovering who the people around us are. By investigating their needs, and caring about their lists, by trying to understand what things threaten to plow them over. Is there time for this? I mean, whose arms will take care of business if our arms are holding each other up? Who will be left to focus on the details if our focus is on "the least of these"? You want my edjamacated answer? Magic. Truly it is, albeit divine magic, it's not something we mortals can explain. Math doesn't work this way. If you divide the hours of the day by the tasks at hand... there simply isn't time to make time for others is there? I've never been very good at math, but I can see the hand of God when He moves. At the end of the day, all there is, is people. Souls meant to reach their potential and when we allow imaginary to-do lists run our lives, people fall through the cracks... we fall through the cracks.

I can take out the trash, I can even ask for help and if I don't receive it, I can wait... and if I'm patient, I may actually learn something in the process. I'm learning something right now even as I write and I wait on God to teach me a new lesson, or maybe remind me of an old one. Normally, I'd look up the verse that ties all my thoughts together in a nice little bow... but today, my daughter wants to sing me a new song she just learned... I think I'll go find out what things are on her list in that pretty little head of hers.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lover be strong.

I have four wonderful kids, my youngest is the only one adopted. I love adoption, it's one of those things that just speaks "this is right" loud and clear to my heart. We were in the process of becoming foster parents 3 or 4 years ago when everything fell apart in our marriage. There was a young African-American boy I wanted to adopt, but he went to a different couple because he lived in Florida and it would have been very difficult for us to have gotten custody, living in Tennessee. I was sad, but I wanted God's will for his life, not my own. God knew what was happening in my marriage even if I didn't. He knew the hell I would go through for the next several years... and I love that He could see me where I am right now. Not fully healed, but recovering. I'm out of the ICU I guess you could say and I hope not to return.

As I stand on the precipice of divorce, I wait on God, not wanting to move ahead of Him. It would be so easy to just throw in the towel and walk away, but I don't want to make a decision that will affect my entire family until I'm sure it's the right one. I'm going to try to speak with my pastor this week and get his perspective on things. He is a godly man and though he would never push his opinion on me, I believe he'll offer good advice and I'm desperate for it.

It's a very lonely place, waiting in this holding pattern. Being in cyber-space with you all for so long now, I've come to realize just how lonely we as a people are. We need affection, we need affirmation, we need to be touched and held and... well... loved. God knew this when He looked at Adam and said "It is not good for man to be alone." So He created Eve. And even though He knows how badly we need mates, He still wants to be our first love, however, God is not a substitute for a human lover. His love is much bigger. It's encompassing. When we build that relationship with Him, He becomes our strength, our shield, our refuge, our comfort, our provision, our everything. He is what no man or woman could ever be to us. The bible says he is a jealous God and I'm glad. I have to admit, when a man knows another man is making advances towards his wife... and something in him doesn't rise up... when the hair on the back of his neck doesn't stand on end and his fists don't clinch a bit, I have to wonder if something isn't wrong with that man.  I want someone to love me so much that they would fight for me and though I struggled, His grip was firm. I belong to Him and He held gently, but He held fast. That kind of reminds me of the Lighthouse skit. Here you go, if you haven't seen it. Copy and paste:

Gavin Degraw, one of my very favorite musicians, has a song where he begs his lover to be strong while he's gone. ( ) He knows she'll be weak, he knows she'll be lonely, he knows other men could come in and steal her heart away, but he asks her to wait for his return.

I want to make the right decision and only God Himself knows what that is... so I must stay focused on Him as I wait... I've always believed that He would one day return for me. I've never thought I had much value, but if these past 3 years prove anything, apparently, God thinks I am worth fighting for.

Monday, June 25, 2012


This blog is very cathartic for me. I use it to empty my head of all the thoughts that tumble round in it day after day. So I hope you'll excuse the constant working out of my soul with so many words. It occurs to me today that my life is not beautiful... that I am not beautiful. This plagues me at times in a culture where beauty is everything and I feel like I come up lacking.

I have so much. I've been given so much. I have this job where I am always challenged and the majority of the people are lovely. I have a very nice home. Not a mansion or a showplace, but in truth, I would never be happy trying to maintain a place of perfection or grandeur. I have a running car... barely running, the tags are expired cause it wont pass emissions and I drive in fear of cops pulling up behind me, but it has air-conditioning and so far, when I turn the key, it starts and it gets me to work and home again. I live with the father of my children and we are good friends. We are going through a period of trying to figure out if we should divorce and if not, we are open to exploring the possibilities of working things out, but at times things look grim.

I have the most wonderful kids. I adore them all. But drama arises now and then, and at times I feel like I am going to drown. We have food and clothes, and enough extras to feel fortunate. I love my church. I'm not close to anyone and I miss that. I'm greatly in need of female friends, but like a wound that hasn't healed, I am not quick to expose myself to relationships again. I'm still hiding, but at least I'm out there.

I just went through paper work that has been mounting for three years. Mostly old bills that we owed and now they are taken care of. Life is such a series of ups and downs. I guess something that is different about me is my lack of goals or dreams. It's more a time of endurance... not a lot of joy in an endurance race until it's over. It would be great if I had a birds eye view of my life. Something that whispered hope into my ear of a new day coming. I think that's where trusting God comes in. Giving Him my burdens and believing He will work them out for my good as He promised in His word. Believing that He will bring beauty... believing that He finds me beautiful. Believing that there is an end to the sadness and that joy will come in the morning... through the mourning...

I wrote this song about the toughest trial I've ever faced. It ends with these words:

"Jesus, tell her she's beautiful, tell her she's wonderful, tell her you love her so.
Oh, Jesus, tell her that in your eyes, she is a perfect prize,
just help her realize how much you love her... how much you love her... how much you love her...
and help her... believe."

It's one thing to say you have value, it's another thing to believe it... especially when the world is telling you the opposite. We are, each and every one of us, beautiful to our Maker... we have indescribable value to Him... whether or not we believe.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Angry Birds

I'm feeling very grouchy all of the sudden. Must be hormonal. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Actually, I woke up feeling fine, but then someone on FB said something that irritated me and now everything's irritating me. Here's my list:

My computer's too slow.
There's something in my eye.
I ran out of Advil.
Why do I keep buying new plants? Now I have to water them all.
The birds keep pooping on my deck.
This one person at work is making every day so hard.
I didn't get enough sleep.
Why is Purple Rain on the radio? I'm not in the mood.
I have to paint the walls, but I'm so tired.
I'm lonely and I want every one to leave me alone.
Why is that thing still in my eye?!

Oh I don't know, there's a million of them and they're all rolling through my head. Not a very impressive list, but they sure are making me angry... gotta be the hormone thing. All I have to do is remind myself of all the positives in my life, but that silly list of negatives seems to be taking up a lot of space. I've been to Africa, China, Mexico... I've seen poverty... I've seen children dying in their mothers arms cause they didn't have 79 cents to buy medicine. I've been sick myself, so sick I practically lived in the ER and now I'm doing so much better, so with all that to be grateful for, why is that one person at work taking up such a huge space in my brain? Ugh!

So I tell someone how I feel, and they concur, and just for a moment, I feel better. "Ok," I tell myself. "It's not just me... this person is making a miserable work environment." But then I feel bad. I did one of the things I hate most... I gossiped. A lot of people think gossip is just sharing personal info about someone, but I know better. It's saying something about them that you probably wouldn't say to their face. I heard a song on the radio yesterday talking about how we cut people down with a sword we were never intended to pick up. I felt convicted. I just want to not feel stressed and anxious, but this person is standing in the way of my peace... or at least that's what I tell myself, but what is factual? The actuality is, I am standing in the way of my peace. How do I live at peace? Same as always. I love, I forgive... each day... each and every new offense.

Breathe, Beth, breathe. There are 24 hours in a day. Your thoughts are going to be spinning for about 18 hours of that. Choose what you are going to dwell on.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Peace in/Peace out.

Is there something, concerning peoples personalities, that really irks you? There are a few things that just make me bristle. One is controlling people. I have a hard time dealing with someone who wants to control a situation, the people around them... or even the conversation. Something inside of me just wants to tell them to relax... to let people breathe... but then I wonder if I'm trying to control things by wanting a more comfortable environment. I bite my tongue and stuff it down in order to maintain civility. I try to remember biblical teachings about forgiveness and love, but that sinful nature just wants to climb out and do some damage.

Prideful people. That's another one. Oh my wicked side comes out here more often than not. I like to get cheeky and take them down a peg or two. I don't love debating, but I love a good verbal sparring. Sure, women like confident men, but that guy who looks in the mirror more than we do... that guy who says, "enough about me, what do you like about me?" He's not scoring any points with anybody. And the sad thing is, it's almost always based in insecurity. A man who comes in and takes over the situation, oozing self confidence... that's the guy who gets the job, the girl, whatever he wants right? Some might see him as strong, but I'm seldom impressed. My interest is usually captured by that quiet, confident, spirit who knows all the answers, but doesn't raise his hand. Not because he's shy, but because he doesn't need the accolades to sustain him.

There are a few women at my work who are trying their level best to "get ahead." I see them talking down to the teenagers. Distrusting and backbiting their co-workers at every opportunity. Manipulating situations in order to make themselves look better. Just generally clawing at the air... and it makes me sad. Well, to be honest, it makes me mad first. I mean, I want to do well... I want to please my employers and make a difference, but I want to feel good about myself and my fellow employees when I lay my head down at night. It takes a lot of effort to be that intense. They must be exhausted.

From talking to one of these women, I've come to realize that her need to succeed came from her mom's constant criticism of her. I have to try to remember that when she's knocking down everyone in her path. And the other woman, I'm learning how to get along with her. As soon as she says something nasty about someone else, I change the subject. "Oh, you sound hoarse, are you sick?" My nature is to deal with things directly. "Do you realize how b*&*#y you are?" This is what I want to say. But the Bible gives incredible advice when it says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Rom 12:18. I do my best at this weakened state I am in, to live this out... but I need to give myself this gift of peace too by not re-living these frustrating moments over and over again in my head. It's too bad we can't just turn up the volume in our minds and listen to Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World," but maybe we're better off listening to what's behind what the other person is saying. It's usually the voice of their inner child asking for approval, needing to be loved. I think we all can identify with that.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Red Thread

I often allude to a time of trial in my life that began about 5 years ago, profoundly overwhelming me about 3 years ago and as a result, I found ways to try and cope with what could have easily destroyed me. I am still baffled that I didn't run to God, but in truth, I couldn't comprehend what was happening so reality became an unsafe place for me. I hid. One of the faulty tools I used, as I've mentioned in the past, was alcohol. I am a very high-functioning alcoholic. I could be full on drunk and no one even knew. This is not a strength as you can imagine because what saves many alcoholics is that they eventually reach a bottom and then seek help. High-functioning alcoholics don't really reach a bottom until their liver gives out and then they are motivated.

I could feel God during this time. I didn't actively seek Him out, but I could feel His presence. He didn't reject me ("I will never leave you or forsake you." Heb 13:5), though I gave Him every reason to. He was so patient. After two years of daily drinking, I came to a place where I felt the strength to stand again. April 2012 marked my one year sobriety point. Unfortunately, I'm still smoking, but I believe God will free me of this vice too. Rome wasn't built in a day.

The internet was another place I learned to hide. I was fine while on-line, but take me off for too many hours in a row and I began to feel insecure. Real life was more than I could bear and had to find my safe place again.  For about 2 years I slept approximately 3 hours a night. I did the things I had to do in order for my family to carry on, but it was sad and strange how people adjusted for my lack. I'm doing much better in that department now too. I spend less than half the time on-line than I used to, and it doesn't have the grip on me it used to have. I'm so grateful for my job and co-workers.

During this addictive time on-line I met a lot of interesting people. Many of whom were professing Atheists. I didn't really want to talk about God at that time... I was kind of avoiding Him, but they did. Oh how they wanted to talk about God. So I did my best to tell them what I knew, all while trying to be honest about the fact that I wasn't, at that moment, living a life that pleased God. But you know... even if you run away from home, your dad's still your dad. I knew He still loved me and I believed He would come to my rescue when I was ready to surrender, I just couldn't quit numbing up.

It's difficult though, trying to explain God to someone who hasn't experienced Him. Some of them knew the Bible, or at least had been in some sort of church setting as a child, but they really had yet to experience God for themselves. It's like telling them to look at one red thread in a giant tapestry and follow it throughout the extent of the piece. It would be impossible. It winds and weaves it's way throughout the entire work... you couldn't possibly describe the point where it loops and where it crosses the other threads... but without it, the whole thing would fall apart.

I shared with them my personal experiences with God. I told them about the miracles He had done in my life and in the lives of those around me... but until they know that they are truly loved by someone as real as you and me... the void in their hearts is unavoidable. My heart goes out to them, as do my prayers. I grew to care deeply for many of those once strangers, but my hope is that one day, they will be a part of my family.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Being human

I need to be crushed under the weight of someones love, and I need so much space.

I'm coming out of my skin, and I'm holding it together.

I need to run and never stop. I need to sit still.

I need to lose my breath and I need to catch it.

I want all my dreams to be fulfilled. I want to be content.

I need to be seen and I need to disappear.

I need to laugh. I need to cry.

I want to live and I want to die.

You may need to be a woman to understand this, or you may only need to be human.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm sitting outside now. I felt a sting on my leg. I looked down and there was a strange little bug on me. I knocked him off... not that I know if it was a him, but I'm suspecting. I looked on the ground for fear of a re-sting and saw him again. I stepped on him. He's gone... forever. He can't hurt me again. "HA HA little bug!" I think triumphantly. "That's what you get for messing with someone 9 million times your size!" I begin to contemplate that it's probably a very good thing I'm not God. I'm thinking a lot of people I've met would also be gone, never to be heard from again were I in control of such things.

Forgiveness is a complicated thing for an idea so simple. I think I have the kindness thing down. I can be kind to someone who's hurt me. I can grant them mercy in word and deed. I can even chance the re-sting. It's the forgetting the sting that perplexes me. The Bible says God has thrown my sins as far as the east is from the west... the east and west never touch. Never. Touch. That's so deep! The Bible's deep... as deep as the ocean... which is also where God says He has thrown my sins... straight to the bottom. I don't know anyone who's been to the bottom of the ocean, but I'm guessing I wont be meeting them in this lifetime.

The Bible also says that I will be forgiven with the same measure I forgive. This more than perplexes me, it haunts me. I want forgiveness. I've done a lot of bad things. I've never murdered anyone, but if I'm just comparing myself to the worst of society, then I've left myself an awful lot of room for some ugly living. So I know I must forgive, but to forgive as God forgives is beyond me. I guess that's why Romans 7:18 says "And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't." I'm not capable of such an act, but there is something inside me that is. That's why I need more of God and a whole lot less of me inside. I know how to get there... prayer, communion, and dwelling on His Word. So why do I fight it? 'Cause there's that old nature in me that rises up and strives against His Spirit. I'll never get where I need to be while allowing both to exist in me.

That bug bite hurts less each minute, but I already have two mosquito bites on my other leg. I live in a world where I have been and will be bitten again and again... time after time. I can't change that, I can only move forward. "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Magic Mirror on the Wall...

While listening to my daughters (24 and 9) talk about who their favorite Disney heroine is, it occurred to me that we women posses qualities from each of these Disney characters.

Take Jasmine:
She calls all the shots in her relationship. Aladdin falls for her right away, but she makes him work for it. You wanna ride the magic carpet with her? You're gonna have to prove yourself first.

You've got the traditional Cinderella:
She worked her butt off for her home and waited patiently for her prince to show up and rescue her. She was the 50's woman, vacuuming in heels, and provided Charming stayed faithful, she earned her fairy tale ending.

What about Mulan?
This girl's all boy. She doesn't want to serve the soldiers, she wants to be a soldier. She's got a lot of fight in her and she's got a mission impossible, but somewhere under those weapons and shields is a girl who loves a boy and she wants to reveal her heart to him.

Arielle the mermaid:
Probably my favorite. She felt stymied in her life and was held firmly in place by her father's thumb. But with a huge gamble, she swam her heart out to reach a new life. She got that life, she also got her man and it was her voice that set her apart in his eyes. Romance trumps all with this girl.

And who doesn't love Belle?:
The thinking girls girl. She always had her nose in a book and when a handsome brute tried to capture her heart, he fell miserably short. She was looking for something more and like many of us... she was looking for a man to save. She may have been co-dependant, but he'd still be an animal (and not the good kind) if it weren't for her.

I like to think of myself as a girl who wouldn't fall for a man just because of his looks, and I like to think of myself as a reader/thinker, and also the 50's wife, but one who would fight a battle for the things that matter most... and of course I love to sing and swim although my tail's retired for the moment. I didn't even mention Tinker Bell and her jealous heart... I definitely have that going on at times. Yeah, I enjoy men and all their characteristics, but women are a special breed... we're interesting and with all our similarities, we're still unique. All beautiful in our own way. I like the thought that there's someone for everyone.

The Bible has some fascinating stories of women too. Soldiers, prostitutes, queens and daughters. I see myself in all those women too. It's a gift to be a woman and I want to start appreciating it. Who cares if the world tells us we're all supposed to be carbon copies? They're wrong. We're beautiful, just the way we are and it's time we celebrated the people we are, inside and out.

Monday, March 12, 2012

All in!

In church yesterday, two different people spoke about not losing your wonder... your amazement at God. One man asked us to recall what we loved and marveled at as children. Immediately I had a vision of the ocean... when the sun shines on it and the billions of diamonds sparkling on the waters surface. I could be mesmerized by that for hours. Even when laying on the diving board in our back yard, I was affected the same way as those light diamonds danced on our pools surface.

I realized how much Ive been thinking about the ocean these past few years. The funny thing is, I thought it was a new interest.... thinking Id like to live on the ocean, and how beautiful a wedding on the beach would be at night. But in church yesterday, I put two and two together. I have always loved the ocean... loved water in general actually. When I was a young teen, my friends would lie on the sand of our local lake in Connecticut where all the boys were, and where the sun could tan their white skin, but I was always swimming. I couldn't stay out of the water.

I just always felt better around the water... and a waterfall... well that is like the chocolate of all water. The air around oceans, forests and waterfalls are full of negative ions which are supposed to boost serotonin, causing our moods to improve. So it's not just my imagination, science and nature back me up on this... water just makes us feels good.

In the midst of the trials Ive been dealing with for the past several hurtful years, what should I do with this realization? "I love the ocean, I want to be near the ocean, the ocean makes me feel better?" I'm not sure... at least, I'm not sure how to get there or stay there... yet. I do think
it's interesting that something so welcoming and beautiful is full of so many uncertainties. Tsunamis, jelly fish, rip tides, and the ever terrifying shark. Funny, my greatest enjoyment and my biggest fear all in one place.

It's kind of like life if you think about it. You could jump in and live life to it's fullest, fears be damned. Or you could sit on the edge, enjoying the sun and the boys, but never feeling the water on your skin... never feel the rush of the giant waves crash against you as you struggle to keep your head above water, never fight the tide and win. Id like to jump in, but I'm fearful... and the thing is, I don't think I fear the things in the water as much as I fear leaving the safety of the shore. I can't seem to figure out whether I'm supposed to put my floaties on, or build a shelter on the shore. Maybe it's time to swim.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Once again... huge gap since last post.
I've been thinking lately how strong the human desire is to be loved.
It comes in many forms and we crave it from the time we're infants.
Look at the newborn. Love comes in terms of nurturing. We want food, warmth, to be clean, we want... no we demand to be held. I so get that. Maybe we're all just babies at heart.

There comes a time when we realize it's our turn to give back. Someone has to or civilization would disintegrate. We can't look at ourselves anymore, we have to look after the needs of others. We begin to understand the sacrifices our parents made for us. We become more compassionate, more selfless than we ever thought possible. We grow up.

Both of these places are so good: The place of needing, of learning, of being a student. To the place of giving, teaching, leading by example. The circle of life stuff.
But what happens when something breaks that pattern? When the teacher can't find their way? When the lover needs to be loved? There's no relief for that strain... it has to break. That person must be broken to be mended again. What a harsh truth. And the fact is... there are so many of us you can't even begin to count the wounded. A devastation even war can't parallel.

So who will fix this "brokeness"? Some actually look to their children to fill those needs, but kids aren't equipped to mend the holes in our hearts. Some look to their jobs, but a job can't wrap its arms around us at night. Some give up and medicate, but even groggy we can see we're still alone.

I am broken. I am tired. I am hurting. I feel hopeless.
If you look at my last sentence you'll see I said "I am" every time except once. When it comes to hope... I only feel there is none. I am blessed to have been close to my God for many years. Even when I feel all is lost... I know there is hope. I can't see it, I can't touch it, I can't even dream it now... but I know it's there. I have forgotten my address many times as well as my phone number. I've actually forgotten my own last name... but I cannot forget my God. So many do not believe and I can understand. If you lived in a desert, could you fathom an ocean? If you lived in the city, could you dream of open fields? We are tactile people. But once you've experienced the reality of God... once you've seen that everything you've studied works perfectly together with time and space, the past and the future... once the stories of the Bible mirror the stories of your life... your doubts slip away.

It's been a terribly long journey for me these past 5 years. I do feel hopeless and in the deepest need of love. But what I know is... I am loved by the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. I am treasured by the creator of the sun and moon. I am wanted by the forgiver of Rahab, David, and the woman at the well. I am desired by the maker of all things. I will be held again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Throw me a rope.

First of all, I have to apologize. I usually have a pretty zippy, up, fun personality. But when I blog it's usually for one reason alone. Life's gotten too heavy and I have to write something down to get it out of my head and off my heart. So if you ever read my blog, please keep in mind that I'm not a manic depressive. lol

Having said that, I plunge head first into the dark pools I've been swimming in. I've lost faith in love. I've lost faith in men. Is there any man left on the earth a woman can trust? If you say yes, I wont believe you. If you say he's been good and decent and kind, I'll smile and nod, but inside I'll think it's a matter of time before he breaks your heart. I don't want to feel this way. I used to think of myself as an optimist. I don't want to change that, but I guess this changes that.

Why do so many hearts have to be broken every day? I have a few friends who are on the edge right now. They're losing it. I don't mean they're throwing things or drinking a little more than they should. I mean, they're LOSING IT! Life is winning, they are losing. Did we have too much? We... Americans? We're we so blessed that we don't know how to take a punch? Where do you go to give up? Where do you turn in your time card? Or the better question... how do you keep going when life just beat the crap out of you and your flattened on the ground? Sometimes surviving isn't enough anymore. Remember when we had dreams? Were those born from our imaginations or did God give them to us? And if they are from Him, isn't there still hope? This world needs hope!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know with everything Paul and I have been through the one thing that has made him thrive and kept me afloat is support. Not just groups like AA or what have you... but the friendships made through groups of this nature. I found a group of women in my town that have all been through similar things as me. That group was a lifeline. The class is over, but I still see them at times. I need a new group like this or I'll isolate again. There in lies the greatest danger. When you're alone in the bottom of a hole, no one can hear your cries for help... God will send a ladder, but you must climb out.

So here I am. I'm in the bottom of a hole marked "lost faith in love." I'm looking for a ladder. Let me know if you see one.

Friday, May 20, 2011

He loves me.

Man, I probably shouldn't write a blog right now. Truth is, I'm mad. I don't get mad too often, cause I tend to block all my feelings and just stay positive on the outside, while kinda hammering myself on the inside. These are things I'm learning about myself. I tried to numb that inner pain with alcohol, but God. I'm 23 days sober. Thank you God. I'm still numbing up in other ways, but I know He will continue His process in me. I'm so blessed to know Him. I still don't know why anyone is interested in my blog. Maybe it's like watching a train wreck... I don't know.

Our friends and even family are so confused about our divorce. Paul and I still live together... I filed back in November, but I can't finalize the divorce until I get a job... which I have not been able to. If there were a job cleaning horse stalls for no pay, weekend/overnight position... I could not get that job. It sucks. I feel stuck. But Paul and I do have a good working relationship and I think that is a blessing for the kids. We plan to continue this loving, kind, relationship even after the divorce, because it makes sense to us. We will forever be friends (we hope) and forever be the kids parents. We are always going to be partners in that, God willing.

I guess what makes me so angry is that everyone analyzes the choice to divorce. As if, if I could produce enough evidence to convince them that we have done everything we could possibly do before we got to this place, they might hesitantly offer their support. I feel like I should issue some kind of statement that I could just send out to each person who asks. I know that so many ppl ask because they care. It's not that I doubt that. I'm sure most ppl don't think about how many other ppl you've hashed it out with. What bothers me is the judgement. I got one e-mail where the woman didn't even have the courage to sign her name. She told me her husband had an affair and that they were still going to stay married. I don't remember sharing that we had that issue, but who ever she was, she had decided that if they could do that, so could I. What if that was my issue? What if my husband had 20 affairs? What if I couldn't trust him as far as I could throw him and he was abusive? Yet she still felt the freedom to write a letter telling me how God felt about my divorce and how she was succeeding and I was failing.

Then there's the ppl who tell you it's hard on the kids. Really?! Huh. I had never even considered that. Therapy? Really? You think we should try it? Huh. Never entered my mind. Get counseling from our church pastors? Huh. Well... I guess I could. Argh! Like it's not painful enough without ppl's assumptions that you are the most clueless human on the planet... when you're LIVING it! Day in and day out, for years, struggling with the tearing apart of two ppl who were one. Do you think it's painful? Really? I guess it could be. (Was the sarcasm inferred there?)

Sorry. Divorce is awful, it's so painful... what leads to the divorce has got to be just as bad or who would go there, right? So here's a couple in upheaval, in misery and the ppl who should be offering a shoulder to cry on... are slapping their wrists. If they could see me at night, in my bed... holding my head, heart breaking, struggling to make the right choice... dealing with the facts that lead up to the choice. It's overwhelming in the way the titanic was overwhelming for the passengers... all the while, trying to give a smooth ride to the little ones on board. You've no idea... unless you've been through it too. Then you know.

I heard on the radio a woman say that she had gone thru something similar... the criticisms from every side. She said the one comment she never forgot was when someone said to her, "I'm so sorry about your divorce. It must be so hard." That's all. "It must be so hard." It stuck with her, and blessed her. The woman on the radio probably believed as I did, that she'd be married forever. I dreamed of being old and holding hands on a front porch swing. Maybe some ppl get married with an out option, but I believed in RV's and rocking chairs. Sometimes we take a beating from life, and we learn to walk with a limp. I'm still crawling, I'm hoping to limp soon.

You know there's a reason God hates divorce. Is it 'cause He doesn't want ppl to jump in and out of marriages so He had to say something really profound to make His point? I don't think so. It's because to the depths of his being, He loves ppl. He knows what leads to divorce and He knows how much it hurts them. It's a wound that somehow was self inflicted... something went terribly wrong and it tore two ppl who became one... back into two again... and the tear is never clean. He hates that, and not the ppl themselves. He can heal. He can bind. He can restore. Lucky for some of us, He can do this to two broken ppl as well as He can do it for a marriage. He loves ppl. He loves me, even when you think I've failed. Even when I hate myself. Even when my life feels destroyed. He loves me. Once I get that... everything else falls into perspective.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things women would like to say to men.

"Really? You like my hair in a pony tail on the side like Chrissy from Threes Company? Cause even as a young girl I knew there was something wrong with her."

"Why do you tell me I look better with no make up if every time I have it on you say, 'Oh, you look pretty.'"

"Why is it, with rock climbing, basketball, going out with the guys, golfing, retreat's and basket weaving courses, you spend your whole life working to buy a home you clearly don't want to be in?"

"You know, it really built up my self esteem when you said I was a good cook... until one day I noticed what you were content to eat when I didn't cook."

"Do you remember that one night, when I told you how much I loved it when you left your shoes and socks in the middle of the living room floor every night? Yeah, me neither."

"Thanks for buying me several different outfits for my birthday. None of them are even close to the same size, but it doesn't matter... it's still sweet."

"I appreciate you being so supportive of my work-outs, but if you could sound just a little less happy when I say I'm gonna exercise, that would be great."

"Member how I gave birth to your children, and then fed, clothed, washed and raised them? Yeah... I was wondering if you could do me a favor and please just tell them those 3 little words that are so close to my heart... "Get in bed!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Your world is full of Sunshines.

I've been thinking about a girl I knew in high school today. She was a year or two younger. I didn't know her well. I'll call her Sunshine, cause she was always smiling and happy. I got married when I was 17, so by a year after graduation, I was already an old married woman when I'd heard the news.

Sunshine had taken her own life. She had been arguing with her mom. Her mom went outside then heard a shot and ran back in to see her little Sunshine laying dead on the bed, a single shot point blank into her head.

I believe in God. I know Sunshine did too. I believe when we die, we stand before Him and according to the Bible, if we were His... if we responded to His invitation to be His child, He welcomes us home. I share that to say... I knew where she was. I was sad for her... very sad, and confused as to how someone her age could hurt that deeply... with her life just beginning, but I knew she was not dead in the cold ground. She was with Jesus.

However the person I could never get out of my head, was her mom. I was just 18 or 20 so it wasn't really natural to identify with the mom, but I did. I assumed the thoughts she was thinking, once she was able to regain any sanity... were 'Why didn't I just close my mouth? Why didn't I just give in this once? How did I fail her so miserably? Why didn't I keep that gun where she'd never find it? Why didn't I do more to make her feel loved?' etc. etc. ad nauseum until she wanted to take her own life. I'm sure that was one of the first lucid thoughts she had... was why couldn't she be the one laying on the bed and her daughter be alive and well.

I don't know why I'm thinking of this family. But 20 years later, my heart still goes out to them. I still hurt for them cause I know for them it probably still feels like yesterday. Was it really their conversation that pushed Sunshine over the edge or was Sunshine waiting for her mom to leave so she could go ahead with her plan to end her (assumed) miserable life?

How many ppl do we talk to everyday? As a self proclaimed recluse I don't talk to too many "real life" ppl most of the week, but... on a daily basis, through the Internet, I speak to dozens. I wonder how many times I'm aware the person who "liked" my silly post... has cancer. I wonder if the person who hurt my feelings, one too many times, and now I avoid... is being beaten or abused at home. I wonder if that flirty young guy I defriended... was also suicidal.

One thing I have learned in the past two years on the Internet is that everyone is hurting. And some to the point of doing anything they can to get away from the pain. I've been in that place, and it's a daily struggle to come back out. Sometimes the solitude feels safe, but this is a dark place. We're blind here and we need the encouragement and love of those who care to help us navigate through the night. I stopped reaching out to church friends. I got hurt so I hid. But you can get hurt anywhere, as long as ppl are still ppl.

I'm trying to come back out. I go to a women's group now and I'm trying to trust again, but it's gonna be a long road. It's time to feel all the hurts and stop stuffing them down. If you're hurting deeply as I have been, I really encourage you to pray. Even if you've never been a prayer. God might have been a far off light for me during this lonely time, but I could always see that light and it was the only thing that offered me hope... that there was a better tomorrow waiting.

I also encourage those of you who feel strong now. How many Sunshines cross your path and you never even know it? Speak kindly, to them, and about them. Give them something to hope for. If they're close, touch them. Stroke their hair and hold their hand while it's in your power to do so. Life is too short, not to focus on others.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm covered.

So Paul and I have been learning so much during this journey we're going through. I've learned that I am not in control of my relationship with God. Which is funny, cause that's something I love... a man in control. Turns out, He is. But growing up slightly legalistic... I really thought I walked with God, because I chose to walk with Him. And that His acceptance of me hinged on my actions. Well this past year or so, with my actions being so far off the bulls eye (I wasn't even hitting the wall that the target was hanging on...), you would certainly think that I would feel God's anger and disapproval, but instead... I felt His peace and His patience. This is a side of God I knew existed, but I thought was only accessible to those weak in the faith. In other words, I thought because I knew better and He knew I knew better, that that kind of mercy was not really available to me.

I had a little break down last night. A break down for me means crying... I don't cry too much. I've felt so even keel through all of this that I was becoming a statue. Paul and I would go on dates and hang out with friends and just generally kept living life as usual. This seemed to confuse everyone. Everyone, but us. See, we've been best friends since we we're barely old enough to drive. Being friends isn't a stretch for us. But last night I had to face some things head on. Some hurts I couldn't shove into the corners of my mind anymore and when they stared me in the eye... it was too much for me. I am drowning in sorrow, but I just keep treading that f*!#ing water. Well last night I said no more and I allowed myself to feel some of the pain. Highly unpleasant.

I have tried to keep numb to the pain for so long that I wasn't real anymore. I was turning into a blur of pixels. I realized I had to do something drastic. I went to deactivate my FB account, but my daughter's out of the country and is communicating with us thru it. So then I decided to go thru my friends list and delete every friend that I didn't really know. My criteria was that 1) I had to have met them/would meet them or/knew them well 2) That I was supportive of them and/or vice-versa. So I started chopping away at the FB tree... I knew I might offend, but worse than that, was the thought that I would hurt any one. Sometimes though, you have to prune yourself of all excesses or when a storm comes, those branches will become your weakness and will carry you to the ground.

When Paul and I talked last night, I told him I was trying to wake up and join the world again, and that a part of that meant I needed to face the pain of the divorce. I went on a walk and came to a conclusion. It's right. It's the right thing for us and we both believe it. That doesn't mean we want it, or that we wouldn't change the past so we wouldn't have to be where we are right now... but it's the right thing and we both stick by that. It hasn't been a quick decision, but a very long and drawn out one, filled with pastoral counseling, secular counseling, marriage counselors, personal counselors, support groups, you name it.. we were there. I am coming to terms with it and God willing, I will have peace about it all one day, but until then I know something now. I know God loves me no matter what, His mercy is for me too and He will never stop pursing me. "Little lamb, little lamb, grateful for her Shepherd."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A city *under* a hill.

This thought came to me today. What if... and this is addressed to Christians, so you're welcome to read this if you are not one, but it's not really being sent to your mailbox... What if, the only time we gave words of encouragement was when we were ready to physically back it up? I wonder how much more seriously we would weigh our offerings.

I mean.. it's not that we don't mean well. We definitely *want* our neighbor who's sick to get well. We want our friend to find another job since he was laid off. We want that couple to get pregnant, they've been trying SO long. But... sometimes we just... say things. We tell them to be strong and know that God is on their side. (He is.) We tell them all things will work together for their good. (It will.) We tell them we'll pray for them. (Sometimes we remember to do that too.)

But what if we met them somewhere? Or took some sort of something to their house? (Christians are good at casseroles. Don't knock the power of a good casserole.) Or what if we... dare I say it out loud... invited them into our home? WAIT A MINUTE! Now that's getting a little personal. We have jobs and kids and no time to clean and our house is too small/lacking in proper furniture/filled with kids etc., etc, etc. I definitely struggle with that. I am a total recluse. Three years now. If I didn't have FB to remind me how to speak to other ppl I would be curled up in a ball in the corner every time the doorbell rang. So if anyone understands not reaching out... I understand it. But the words come easy cause in our hearts... we really do care. I love ppl. I enjoy them, they make me laugh and cry... I love their stories.. I just love them. But to invite them into my safe place... that's scary.

A few years ago I decided I'd had enough of friendship. I'd been burned so many times that I knew I couldn't face one more let down. My heart was broken and empty and that's when I went into my little turtle shell. I didn't trust women anymore, nor did I understand them. I loved ppl.. was I really so hard to love in return? What I wouldn't have given to have had someone meet me for coffee, follow up an invitation, or the big one... invite me into their home. My marriage fell apart, and I felt fully alone. I talked so little that there were times I did not recognize my own voice. A puppy we had was my solace when the kids were tucked in and I was alone.

Does this sound beyond pathetic? I'd be ashamed if I believed I were the only one. But since being on the Internet, I have found there are more like me than not. The world is alone and hurting. It's not because God doesn't love us... it's because His hands and feet (the church) is secluding. We're becoming hobbits living in shires. I encourage you, if you have the strength, love on ppl, however you can. And if words are all you can offer... let that be your last resort.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sink or Swim

Did you ever look at someone you've looked at a thousand times before and wonder who they were? I tend to do that when I look in the mirror. Who am I? I thought I knew. I was on a path. I knew where I'd come from, I knew where I was and I had visions of where I was going... where I would end up. How is it possible that smack dab in the middle of your life (or what you hope is the middle) that everything you knew, could be erased? Who hit the delete button, how did they get my password? I don't remember anyone asking my permission. I feel hacked.

That's my new focus, or what I'm hoping will become a focus. How do I become the sole bearer of my password? How do I find the strength to accept that who I was... was not what decided me anymore than who I am now decides who I will be? Am I able to decide who I will be? Is it OK? Whose permission am I looking for?

I was in church Sunday and waves of emotion were pouring over me. "Who will save me?" was the question washing over me until I thought I would drown in sadness. At the alter call I wanted to run forward to our sweet pastor and sob "I need to be rescued! Who will rescue me now? I'm alone... I've been alone and the loneliness and hurt are going to destroy me!" But I didn't. He's just a man like me. He can't save me.

I know what some are thinking.. that only God can save me, but I'm learning something more... He wants me to learn to swim. He doesn't need my password. He has full access without it. He wants to teach me to stop giving the password out. Really Lord? I mean I was always strong.. it's not that I didn't know how to swim. But now He tells me I never really swam... I was only treading water. A person gets tired treading water. Furthermore, they never go anywhere. They just stay in that spot... waiting... fearing the occasional shark... never enjoying the water... anxiously awaiting the day their strength will give out.

So here I am God. You know me. You know who I thought I was, You know who I wanted to be... but far more important, you know who I will be. You want me to learn to swim, with You as the strength in my legs.

There are so many ways to numb myself. I want so much to head for the cold, frigid waters where I'll soon lose all feeling. But that's not why You made me. Why did you make me again? Oh yeah... I have to swim. I have to feel the pain of unrelenting movement if I'm going to find that out. I'm so scared.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I wanna run to you!

Oh my goodness. It's been almost one year since the last post! This is a very hard blog to write. I really never dreamed these words would come out of me. After almost 25 years of marriage... Paul and I are getting a divorce. It is quite shocking to me too... even though the possibility was always floating around out there, I don't think I could have pictured my life without him.

Our marriage was in a sorry state for years. I didn't really know what was wrong, but it was wrong for sure. Paul knew he was losing me. At some point I just gave up. He spent a year and a half becoming a better person. He went to therapy, men's support groups... it was such an admirable effort. However a week before Thanksgiving we had a talk about personal things and I was simply unable to continue after that. I filed for divorce the next day.

We are not using lawyers, we are making sure the kids know we are always going to be friends and family. I've told them we simply will be living in two different houses. It has actually been harder on the older ones than the younger. Kala and Spence thought their parents marriage was forever... as did I. As a matter of fact, when we went thru hard times, I would picture us old together, rocking on a front porch, holding hands, talking about our kids. That dream is dead... at least as far as I know. My goal now is to find a job and a place for the little ones and I to live. I just want to live simply. I have never really been single. It seems a little scary to me.

Do you want to know the saddest part of all this for me? This year and a half... when I was so unhappy and wanted a divorce so badly, but never thought God would allow it... I kind of ran from Him. I drank, smoked... hid away on the internet. I went to church, but not for appearance sake... never for that. But because that's what church is for. It's for sick ppl who realize they can't do it on their own... that they need a Savior. The one time I told God in prayer that I wanted to divorce and have a place of my own... I finally felt peace. I was sure that couldn't be from God. How could God ever approve the divorce of two Christians? I shook it off... surely that was my own wishful thinking.

Then, after Paul and I talked that night, I realized I'd been running from God for nothing! Foolishness! I should have been running to Him. I didn't trust him to meet my needs, whatever they might be. Why do I doubt that His ways are best? ARGH! What I wouldn't do to go back and give him everyday of that year and a half.

So things are in motion. Paul and I are doing very well as friends. Supporting each other the best we can thru this time. Holding on to God and offering kindness to one another. We crave your prayers, we offer a shoulder to cry on, should you need one and I encourage you to remember where your help comes from.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking Up

Holy cow Imunna write a blog here... What has it been 6 months? That actually makes me want to cry cause I know how hard these last 6 months have been and what has kept me from writing. Paul and I have been through it... to say it has been overwhelming is to play it down.

It seems so poetically appropriate that it is Jan. 2nd and I would write my first blog now. It's a new year, new beginnings, a heart standing on the edge of the high dive, trying to decide if it has the guts to jump off... to trust again... to give itself away while asking for nothing in return.

I recently read that Woody Allen said of his former adopted daughter now wife (excuse me while I convulse then vomit) "The heart wants what it wants." That sounds deep right, but really he's just a nasty cuss. It's easier to manipulate words than it is the greatest fool on earth... hence the actual career of spinning politics. So I can write this blog today, sharing my heart, but not yet my circumstance. I'm actually writing a book... I've always wanted to... and maybe, at the least, it will help me gain clarity. Something I need now more that I ever have before.

If your marriage is faltering... hanging on by a thread, I only have one thing to say to you... if Paul and I can make it... anyone can. 2009 found us closer to divorce than we had ever even considered in our wildest dreams... Paul said he had always taken pride in our marriage... he took it for granted, he said... just assumed it was always gonna be there no matter what. Well no one is safe. He said if we make it to 25 years, we're having a 2nd wedding and going on a Mediterranean Cruise. I may stick if just for the cruise :)

So say a prayer, and if you're one of my many new atheist friends, wish us luck... cause it's gonna take something supernatural for us to overcome, but if it encourages you... things are looking up... literally and figuratively :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Wow, this is the longest I've ever gone without blogging since I began a few months ago. I guess I just feel like what else is there to say? I shared the angst that caused me to write in the first place, now what? LOL... I don't know... Surely this time there is nothing to share... hmmm, let's see.

My offerings are pretty weak right now... anything I have to lay on the alter seem so diminished... After those two years of being sick, I tried to join the choir again... oops, got extremely sick to my stomach first song in and had to go home... I think God's gonna keep working on me for a while before He allows me to minister again... seems fitting.

So which way is up in this journey? I love that even if my mind doesn't know, my heart does! I have been consumed by the love of God to the point that I know He is doing a work and that He would no more forsake me in my failings than He would refuse to forgive a humbled man his sins. Not that I wanna be humbled... ha! That's probably why Adam and Eve hid in the cave when they had sinned... God is skeery! But mostly when you're hiding, dreading what you think He might do. My youngest is strong willed like you've never seen a child... she will stand right up and say "NO!" to your face... but you take one step toward her and she humbles herself immediately. We like to picture God sitting on His throne. Why? Cause God walking is more than our minds can handle. When he is walking with us, we are in bliss. When He is walking towards us... kablam! We hit the deck, humbled and fearful... but the Bible says to fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It's best to walk with Him, no?

So... where do we go from here, now that all of the children are growing up? (Wow, tell me I didn't just quote Styx!!!) I guess if you were wondering what's new here... not a lot of great stuff... except... and that's the good part. On my part, nothing really stellar is happening, but on God's end... stuff is in motion. I was fearfully and wonderfully made and there's not a one of us that wasn't. Stuff Is In Motion. So again, if you are in a similar boat... and the waters are rocky and dangerous... know that Someone loves you and is fighting on your behalf... Wow, you know what? That just changes everything.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My worst enemy.

Life sucks, end post.
LOL, oh dear now I've gone and cracked myself up. (Not really.) I've been sharing since I first started this blog that I have had a deep and painful problem... of course, being human, I have many... but the one that's giving me the most trouble is my marriage. You might wonder why on earth anyone would want to share such personal information in a public forum. I am such a firm believer though that if we would only open up and share our problems, we would not only see that others are hurting too, but we would find the help we need.

Paul and I have been married greater than half my life. I love no one on earth more than him... but that doesn't mean things can't crumble! Not only does life, family, kids, work, relational... and weather issues tear it down... Satan is there daily with a chisel and a hammer chipping away at it! Paul and I are so weary. He has more on him than I do on me and yet his burden to save this thing is greater... he is the hero that must rise up to save us... nice to be a girl right now, though I will do my part. I believe most marriages go through this at some point. It's the point in the marathon where you hit the wall... only this is worse, cause the wall hits back. It's emotional. Your heart, mind, body and soul are tied up in it. People don't tell their kids when this happens but guess what... when their kids struggle in their marriages they think there's something wrong with them. "Mom and Dad were so solid, even with all their faults..." Guess what kids... mankind is the same from age to age. There's nothing new under the sun.

If I could begin to tell you the problems wrapped up in a troubled marriage (assuming you don't know) you would flip. How do we survive this crap??? Something so cool happened for us. It was a total God thing. A few months back, when I still knew who I was... I saw an old friend on FB. I was worried that he and his wife might have walked away from the Lord so I inquired... We never knew each other well so it was interesting, but I am always kinda bold and luckily he wasn't offended so we had some good talks about it and that was that. Then a few months later he makes a smart remark on my wall and I call him on it. Over the day, my entire dissolving life is poured out to him... he totally relates and gives Paul and I both advice that is totally pointing us in the right direction... Do you see how incredibly important it is to be open with someone... anyone? God will bring the right person... but you gotta get it out there!!! You might tell 5 wrong people before you get to the right one, but who cares? Could things get any worse than they are now? That's what holds you back from healing... pride and fear!

So can't give you much info right now on the marriage thing other than to say that God is greater than your problems... no matter what they are. I again wonder what you have to hold onto... or to look forward to if you don't have a Savior. He saves us from so many things... but best of all... He saves us from ourselves!

Friday, June 19, 2009

There's no swimming in a wash.

Man... I first started writing this stupid blog like 3 months ago... over 50 blogs logged. I didn't even know if I was gonna write a second one. The funny thing is, I am writing this blog at a really icky time in my life. I mean I started exactly when things started going down hill... either God thought somebody could identify... or He wanted me to work some stuff out... (both, I know). So here I am, and if you're still there, here we are. Just the two of us... making our way through.

In AZ. where I spent the majority of my life so far... we have these things called "washes" (giant gully's.) Maybe they have em all over, what do I know? But there are mountains surrounding Tucson, Mt. Lemon being the closest and when the snow melts or a big storm hits, the water comes rushing down the mountain into these washes. Now, we are all told as kids not to play in these things, which means, we all played in those things. People rode their ATV's in there cause it was a perfect, private roadway. But a flash flood could hit at any time of the year and there was no warning whatsoever! I mean, it was dry as a dead stump, then it was engorged with water that had just made its way down from the mountain top... people die every year in these floods.

I am wondering which valley is more difficult. There is the valley in life where we are struck unaware by a flash flood, then there are the valleys where we just wade through the garbage... (oh!!!) trudging along. As we look around, we can see a lot of the debris is our own. On one had, the flash flood is swift! It comes, we find a strong root, hang on for dear life, we overcome and we are stronger for it. No fault of our own, unless we were hanging out like a fool in the wash. But the dump... now that's a different story. It takes endurance, it takes support, it takes a certain amount of faithfulness... mmm... it takes hope that Someone is watching over us and is gonna make something useful out of all our crap.

I love that when God began this whole thing... He began with a garden. It makes so much sense... (obviously, right?) Everything in life can be compared to the Master Gardener and His creation. He made us out of dirt!!! Truly worthless in every way... until the seed is planted in our hearts... there is the seed of death in every man... but when we allow that ground to be tilled and softened, a new seed is planted. Which seed will thrive and which will die away? We are dung and that's ok. We should be ok with our dungness... in the enemy's hand, we sit... we steam in the sun, we are swarmed by the flies of life until we decompose and come to not in the ground... one spot, never moved... then gone. But in the Gardener's hand we become a useful tool... we have value and worth... we are still dirt and manure, but now with that seed of life, something beautiful will come out of our lack. I want to be out of the valley soon... back on a mountain top... loving life... if I could just stop making myself untouchable... my Gardener would use this pile of _____ (fill in the blank) to make something extraordinary. He will reach us... it's not like He can't... He just gives us our space. I think if we hang out in the valley of darkness too long, He will bring that flash flood to float us to the top of the wash... and onto something new. Man, it is so time to get out of the wash.