09/03/13 Living In Limbo


How I Really Feel!

How I Really Feel!

The attached photo may strike you as a little odd… it did me! It’s a squirrel in Britain helping himself to someone’s Halloween decorations. I like it for a variety of reasons. The squirrel and I both look ‘normal’ on the outside. On the inside, I feel more like the screaming skull the squirrel is wrestling with. Looking in the mirror, my appearance is pretty much the same as always; but nothing on the inside works as usual. My return-to-work date from this pulmonary embolism is uncertain… when I’m physically ready, I’m told. What about the psychological side, which is beginning to use my frame of mind for ping-pong practice. “They” say this roller coaster ride after a life-changing event is normal. Why does it feel so freaking weird then? I KNOW my thinking’s not right, yet, I can’t seem to change it to my liking.

Being an ‘island’ during this recovery slows down my progress. I’d prefer to not need anyone or anything to get back to ‘normal’, but that doesn’t seem to work so well. Last night, The Who’s ‘We Won’t Get Fooled Again’ played on the radio. The bit toward the end when Roger Daltrey lets out that bellowing “YEEAAAHHHHHH!!!”, I thought, “That’s IT, THAT’S how I feel.” For some reason, it’s comforting to put a known marker on a feeling. At least if I can name it, it’s one less unknown scaring the snot out of me.

A friend recommended I read ‘The Shack’. My minister, Ryan, had a copy. He always seems to have what I need to read on his bookshelf! It’s kind of funny how the same book can strike various people so differently. The ‘editor’ side of my brain read the first few chapters and thought the writer should have hired a different editor. His writing style is not my cup of tea, still, I’m seeking the spiritual insights it may offer, the message God might be trying to pass along.

I’m trying to turn off my inner editor! Actually, that’s probably a hopeful sign when my mind starts editing… maybe I’m feeling a little better, after all!

08/31/13 Why Am I Still Here?


Imagine sitting here talking with God about what He wants you to do with your life.

Imagine sitting here talking with God about what He wants you to do with your life.

I write this with a fresh cup of coffee at my dining room table. In my mind however, the surroundings look something like the setting in the picture. I’ve considered my DVT/PE (Pulmonary Embolism) as a divine appointment with God. I think He’d been trying to get my attention for ages, but I always had a good reason to blow Him off: too busy, making money, paying bills, sweating over inconsequential stuff, worrying about what people thought of me…. the self-absorbed list goes on.

He got my attention on August 8th, but not before I made a few more decisions guided by self-doubt and worry about what people would think of me: Go home instead of the E.R., people will laugh at the fat lady thinking she’s having a heart attack and if she is, she deserves it anyway, she takes such crappy care of herself…. The self-induced pity party and train wreck of thoughts can go on and on until they kill you. Or nearly.

Sometimes a little clarity and wisdom can manage to penetrate your addled mind. My seven-day stay in the hospital gave me time to stop running and actually LISTEN for His voice in my confusion. The quieter I got, the more receptive I could be to thoughts and insights.

If my life were a business, it would have closed down this year due to mismanagement and bankruptcy. As a human, I DID nearly shut down from poor management and spiritual starvation. God in His infinite grace stopped me in my tracks. For that, I am profoundly grateful. What do I do now? I think anyone who has had a life changing event occur comes to the conclusion that if they didn’t die, there’s a reason they’re still here… what is it? Unfortunately for we attention-deficit humans who want answers NOW, God doesn’t always answer you in the time frame you’d like (I want it NOW, YESTERDAY if possible)

For me, the path becomes clear one little step at a time. Sometimes there’s a lot of space between those steps, when I’m too caught up in myself to really care what God would like for me to do. Those are the days I only follow His prompts if it’s convenient for me. Arrogant little squirrel!

I’m finishing the third week of recuperation. During the first few days, I graciously told God I’d like to have this whole matter cleared up to my satisfaction as soon as possible, but if it took a week or so, I suppose I could put life on hold while I figured out what this lesson was for me to learn. How far do you think I got with that mindset?! I think it landed me in a giant pot hole and there I’ve squirmed around until I’m finally admitting I have to get off of this throne I’ve built for myself and let God have His rightful place in my life.

Wow, a bit more light and clarity dents my thick skull. I wasn’t aware that we squirrely people could have such hard little noggins. We could smash walnuts with our rock heads!!

I have a few snippets of ideas and thoughts to ponder for the time being. God never lets me in on the next step until I’ve got what I need to from the step I’m on. I know my life needs some changes. Sometimes I wish God would send a life coach to help me figure things out, and then I realize He does, but I can’t see the next move until the time is right.

At the rate I’m going, I’ll be 225 years old before I get it all sorted out!

12/20/12 G.L.A.D. Holiday Smorgasbord


Queen Porkunia, By Bill Seitz

Queen Porkunia, By Bill Seitz (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

So many things are going on in the world lately, one could be forgiven for wondering if the Mayans might be right! If so, I thought I’d post one more post before the big…. what…. what happens if it IS indeed it? I have no clue. I wasn’t too convinced the end might be near until the Twinkie nightmare (normally sensible people everywhere burst through doors of retail establishments to scarf up every Hostess product in sight, except, it seems, for the Blueberry Muffins. I saw a few boxes of the poor muffins sitting lonely as could be on shelves at Remke Biggs, very near their expiration date.) Another sign that the end might be near? I realized, in a most unexpected way, that I don’t hate myself anymore. I always felt I’d learn to like myself: a) when pigs flew (I’m in Cincinnati, pigs fly here. That was a bad choice of markers!), b) when I was pushing up daisies at the cemetery (meaning, I had died), or c) when the world ended. As I said, pigs DO fly in Cincinnati, I’m still upright and breathing, so the world must surely be nearing that apocalyptic day.

I pondered long and hard about whether to share the next bit with you, not sure if it made me a questionable person, or a repressed woman in a world with few limits anymore. The answer to that still eludes me, but a friend said my story might inspire other souls. My life-changing moment came about a few weeks ago. I wanted to recapture a feeling of freedom I got to experience this summer, freedom from a lot of emotional baggage I’d carried most of my life. This desire led me to question my appearance, avoiding mirrors, body image, those things that some women are doggedly pursued by. I wanted to know what I look like, REALLY look like. Not the image I present to the world of a body covered by whatever black, blue or gray fabric gets pulled out of the closet that day. But ME. The naked truth. I thought about this for days. The part of me that felt this was just bad on my part wrestled with the inner person who questioned, “why?” What was I afraid of? I didn’t know.

One night, I screwed up my courage, uncovered down to the skin I was born with, and looked in a mirror. It’s almost as if I were looking at an exhibit in a museum, observing myself from this angle and that view. I made the surprising discovery that I didn’t have a single negative remark to make about myself. WHAT? No slams about the excess pounds making me a loser, lamenting that I wasn’t a size two, no haranguing that someone who looked like me had nothing worthwhile to offer the world? No. I merely commented, “So this is what I look like.” I think the past few years of embracing my inner squirrely self has taken some of the pressure off of me. It’s given me an ability to embrace my squishy softness that huggers and cats everywhere seem to be attracted to. (Or do the cats just think there’s really a squirrel in there?!)  Honestly, it doesn’t get much cuter than my squirrely self, what do you think?

                                               Sue Glamour Squirrel

The interesting result I’ve noticed is that I want to take better care of myself since viewing the real me. It’s not: “Oh, I need to lose a billion pounds, though a loss would be beneficial, I’m sure.” It’s more a case of feeling an acceptance toward myself that I’ve never experienced before and wanting to treat myself like a friend. I go for walks now, eat more sensibly, go to bed earlier, all kind of strange things that people who like themselves do!

The shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut brought such a sober, harrowing twist to the holiday season. I don’t know why the shooter did it, or why fantastic people meet such an awful fate. I’ve been awed by the acts of heroism the teachers displayed at Sandy Hook Elementary. I’ve been blessed by all of the good that has poured forth in this nation and from around the world in our country’s time of sorrow. I pray that blessings rain down on the people of Newtown.

Christmas is upon us. I’ve had a real mixed bag of thoughts this year. Money is tighter than ever, which rules out giving cash to a variety of good causes. My energy level hasn’t been up to snuff in ages, so giving my time isn’t happening as much. I’ve kept my holiday projects a little closer to home and am focusing on people I hope can use a little love. Sometimes I question if I’m following the right path or not, but my current actions feel right for this day. My goal continues to be to show Jesus’ love to everyone I encounter as I celebrate His birth. Some days I feel as if I do that so poorly, those days when a rabid pit bull is cheerier than I am. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is pretty amazing about weaving some calming presence into my soul and my attitude straightens out again for another day.

I hope my blog has added a bit of light to your week, a little humor with your coffee or an insight that helps your day. Every single one of you reading this are a warm blessing to me.

Blessings and Peace  🙂

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

12/2/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles Week 9 – Pondering


Rain Bunny Pondering

Rain Bunny Pondering

It’s hard to explain how realizations – good or bad, tend to rock my squirrely mind. The old saying about ‘hindsight is 20/20’ is sadly true for me. Imagine my mind resembling the interior of a gypsy’s crystal ball: the past swirling about like an old-time London fog. Thoughts about certain persons in my life appear in the haze and begin to make sense. Some of these thoughts are from events that happened five, ten, twenty years ago. They stand out now, with a clarity that escaped me then.

Sometimes I’m a great, compassionate person with a few useful qualities;. Other moments, witness a snarky, anxiety-ridden squirrel who obsesses over thoughts whether I want to or not, because that’s the way I’m wired. Pondering the situation is half the joy for me. Pondering also uses up valuable time that I could actually be DOING something, when I’m in an ‘avoiding’ sort of mood.

In the past, I suppose I thought I was being kind to overlook things a person might have done that really bothered me. At the time, I didn’t have a lot of boundaries. Letting people mow over me and figuring I should ignore controlling, manipulative behavior because that’s what a good Christian did. I’m not sure where in the Bible I thought I read, “Thou shalt imitate a door mat with rude, inconsiderate clods.” I think I’m finally accepting that sometimes you outgrow a relationship: be it a friend, a relative, a coworker. Possibly the relationship worked well enough for a time, but now its season is over. This doesn’t make me a rotten tomato. It does, however, enable me to open the door to a little more peace and serenity. But in the meantime, squirrel sister has to ponder, ponder, ponder…. and usually ingest a Titanic-sized load of empty carbs while I do. Judging from my size, me thinks I ponder just a little too much! It’s okay to ponder, but I need to pick up a new partner for it, maybe: “Thou shalt only ponder endlessly whilst moving one’s bodacious behind.” It’d certainly be a healthier pairing.

The thing is, this blog’s goal is to reflect God’s grace in my life. It is SUCH a fine line between declaring your freedom and behaving like a jerkwad toward someone who’s treated you poorly. I really do want to take the high road and show grace as I decide what’s positive for my life and what’s not. I will so enjoy the day when I discover how to ponder and just feel the feelings. One can hope.

11/25/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles Week 8 – Reunions, God’s Presence, Life’s Presents


Cousins Kevin and Hayley
November 23, 2012

What an unexpected turn in the road my life has taken in the past few weeks. It started with a text from someone I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. At the time, the text annoyed me, because it caused a slight chink in the invisible wall I’d taken great effort to put all around me to keep out pain. I considered the text and answered as politely as possible. The person texted back. Really? Are we seriously going to go to that invisible place where I have to decide if I’m going to risk letting hurt and rejection in again? I truly didn’t want to. I more honestly wanted to scream at this person to leave me alone, I was having a hard enough time balancing the façade I tried to keep in place that showed everything is just peachy keen. She kept texting. Tenacious woman, I’ll give her that. I wouldn’t capitulate, but I left the door to my emotions open very slightly.

The next day led to more texts, from another female. That part of the wall dedicated to her crumbled a little, but certainly not entirely. I have become way too wary about humans to believe things can work themselves out that easily. Over the next few days, we texted and got to know each other a little better. This was a great way for me to communicate. I didn’t feel the pressure I can feel speaking on a phone. And I don’t tend to put my foot in my mouth so much. I felt a little light streaming into my heart where it’d been pretty dark for the past few years.

The calendar indicated Thanksgiving week was approaching. I could probably never adequately explain the vortex of confusion I feel every year beginning shortly before Thanksgiving and ending around January 2nd. Melancholy, missing those who have passed away or are gone from my life, the endless effort to seek the spiritual and divine meaning of the holidays, the sad observations of how ugly some people can get at this time of year when we’re supposed to celebrate love, the retailers never-ending campaign to reach into my pockets for money I don’t have and don’t care to use a credit card so I can pretend I do. Lastly, well-meaning people putting their hand out to take some of that same non-existent money to further some holiday campaign.

This year, I continue to say ‘no’ to the things that make me unhappy about the holidays, and my focus is on spreading some love to people who typically get ignored. They’re not poverty level, they’re the working poor. People who work incredibly hard at their jobs, but just don’t make enough to do much more than keep the heat and lights on and gas in the car. It is brilliantly fun to see the smile on a waitress’ face when I leave a possibly extravagant tip, as I listen to her story of working two jobs and being on her feet all day. I don’t just leave the tip, I give my time and listen to their story, express appreciation for their great work and kindness. Some of the time, you can see these people don’t hear nearly often enough that they’re appreciated. The feeling I get doing so is simply priceless.

I got a chance to visit with my great-niece Hayley and her family this week. What a gift this was to me! We had the most delicious lunch at Waffle House, went to see “Wreck It Ralph” at the cinema and did a little Christmas shopping at WalMart. I had the best time, and that flipping waffle was so unbelievably good. I bought a coffee cup from Waffle House to remember the day by! I haven’t seen Hayley recently, as they live out-of-town. It’s a joy to see what an interesting and wonderful human this girl is evolving into. I have to give a high-five to her folks, they’re doing a great job. The visit put a warmth into my holidays that has lacked a little.

I also got to enjoy a very nice Thanksgiving day with my family at home. I’ve decided the only thing that even remotely competes with my enjoyment of a Robert Downey, Jr. movie is a fragrant Honeybaked ham warming in my oven! Both cause copious drooling! I spent the evening enjoying conversation with family members at my brother Jon’s house. Previous years found the group gathering around the table a little larger in number. Some have passed on, others had different destinations this year. I found it one of the nicest times I can remember.

I’ve so strongly felt God everywhere I’ve been. He’s there when I’ve acted like a decent human. Unfortunately, he could see me when I was meaner than a junkyard dog! His unwavering presence is my greatest present of all, this holiday season. I hope to show more of His love as I celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Whatever you may or may not celebrate over the next few weeks, I wish you the best blessings, love and light.

Peace!

10/21/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles – Week 3 Perception, For A Person With Depression


I’m afraid a cheerful post isn’t in the cards for this week. I can’t write fiction. Life this week has felt like Rod Serling came back from the grave and used me for an episode of “Twilight Zone“. Things started out normally. I made use of my new inhaler and cheerfully walked a bit, ate sensibly, got to bed at a decent time and felt pretty darn good.

Circumstances took an invisible dip on Wednesday. A coworker decided to retire and a retirement luncheon went on at work that day. The Chief paid a visit for the luncheon and I exchanged a few pleasant words with him. After a time, being around humans was starting to get to me, and I went back to my office to make a cup of coffee and get back to work. If this were a movie set, you would have seen a villanous fog start to seep in under the door. My mood started to plummet and I couldn’t do much besides sit back and watch it. I wondered if the Chief were going to talk to my Captain and tell him to fire me. I wondered if the higher-ups were putting their heads together and deciding what to do with a complete incompetent like me. I wondered all kind of no-ending-but-bad things. Before too long, I thought about going in and giving my notice. Thankfully, common sense managed to keep me in my office, but the week went nowhere but downhill from there.

I write this to let you view a tiny part of what goes on in a person’s mind who has depression. I don’t always know WHY an episode starts. All I can tell you is that within a few days, I wasn’t sure what the merits of being alive were. It’s not that I felt like ending my life. It’s that I couldn’t come up with a convincing argument that life is worth all the hassle sometimes. Life is HARD. It would be so easy to not go to work everyday, to not pay my bills and let someone else pick up the tab. I began to wonder why it’s so important to me to do the right thing. Living right is EXHAUSTING. Or so it felt this week. The merits of life and death got a little mixed up for me. Life is hard, death is heaven and being with God. I don’t necessarily want to go there today, but I very much look forward to being with my Heavenly Father, Jesus, and all of my loved ones who are already there… someday.

I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m losing my temper a lot lately, yelling like a rabid politician who’s seeing their poll numbers drop. And I don’t approve that message of how to conduct myself. Growing up with a dad who yelled more than he didn’t, I know he loved me, but man, could the guy make me shiver in my shoes when he was on a roll. I swore I’d never be that person. How I hate it when I am.

I didn’t go to church today. My still-twisted thinking decided I’d have to miss about three months of Sundays before anyone would notice, and I went back to bed. I’d show them. I don’t know if anyone noticed or not, but I felt like a jackininny when I started to put two and two together and realize what a load of bunk I’ve been falling for the past few days. I did what any sensible person does who’s having a mental and spiritual crisis. I went on Facebook and asked my friends for prayer. All I know is that I felt an immediate need for divine help and in 2012, Facebook is quicker than telephoning a dozen people.

I can’t say that I’m feeling la-di-dah wonderful now, but the pros and cons of death look a lot clearer and I feel the divine strength and ability to go a few more rounds with this thing called ‘life’. Oh, and I’m pleased to report that I’m making great progress on the decluttering project in my Sanity Room. I’ve cleared the way enough to get back to having coffee with God in the mornings. My wonderful minister, Ryan, lent me a Bible called the Serendipity Bible. I’ve got it ready for the morning and will get my backside to bed on time tonight, come hell or high water, so that I can get up and start the day with my Creator… and Folger’s in my cup!

 

10/13/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles, Week Two… and Soup In The Crock Pot!


Isn’t it a gorgeous day? The leaves are changing, fragrant coffee perks, the weather is decidedly sunny, crisp and warm. Just breathe it in for a second, take a mental snapshot for when the climate is colder and feeling less friendly!  

In my G.L.A.D. corner, it’s been a week of revelations and realizations. Still dealing with medical tests, I had a Holter heart monitor attached to my chest for forty-eight hours. If that wasn’t fun enough, add a Pulmonary Function Test on Monday and I was beginning to feel like the display model at a medical convention! The heart monitor revealed that I have abnormalities, but not enough to call for medication at this time. The PFT, which makes you feel a bit like the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down the Three Little Pigs houses with all the huffing and puffing required, indicated that I have asthma and will benefit from an albuterol inhaler. I used an inhaler years ago when I was an avant outdoor exerciser, enjoying over one-hundred pounds less on my body. Sorry, just had a rosy memory of when I could walk a twelve-minute mile. I enjoyed the time at the pulmonary office, as I learned loads about asthma, breathing, and how to make my life easier. I have been so convinced that all of my problems are because I’m overweight (I’m sure a number of them are), to hear that the breathing issue is not related to my weight gave me a certain mental freedom. It’s as if… now I can get on with the life I’ve been trying to pursue this year. Exercise outdoors doesn’t have to be horror to avoid anymore.

Watch out walking trails, here I come!

I mentioned a discovery last week. I’ve finally been able to stop dousing myself with hateful, negative self-talk. This week I’ve pondered all the times I tried praying about it, asking God to help me stop loathing myself, but the negativity continued. What changed things was the time spent waiting for these tests to happen and the results. At the time, I did not know they’d come back with such positive results. I asked myself, “What if you’re dying, or have a bad disease to deal with; how do you want to spend your time?” and that’s when I finally became able to see what a total time waster self-loathing is. I started living each day as if it could truly be one of my last. I found out that I liked a lot of how I spent my time. The one thing that blared out was the self-negativity. The first time it started, I stopped, and said, “Really, this is how you want to talk to yourself? This is how you want to go out?” and I saw the absolute insanity of what I’d been doing.

Here’s the funny part of this story. As I said,  asking God never seemed to help. Last night, I was having that thought and a quiet voice inside of me said, “Who do you think set up those circumstances?” D’OH! God was there all the time, right in the middle of it. Who would know better than Him how hardheaded and resistant I am to change? Talk about a humbling moment. Once again, I have reason to thank God for His grace and knowing just the right way to reach me, when that seemed all but impossible.

************************

One thing I want to do more of is home cooking. I love using my crock pot. There’s something so nice about coming home from work and smelling wonderful things bubbling away in the pot. I’ve acknowledged that I don’t care for cooking in the evening. For whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me at all to do the meal prep in the morning before I leave for my day job. So, work with your strengths. I asked friends this week what type of recipes they like to see. A few responded ‘meatless’. I might add that the few meatless ladies are slim, very pretty and have beautiful skin. I think that’s something all of us could enjoy a little more of, so I shall be happy to pop a meatless recipe in here and hope that some of their wonderful ways rub off on me!

One of my favorite cookbooks is “Fix -It and Forget-It Lightly” by Phyllis Pellman Good. I’ve used many of the recipes in this book. The one I’m showing here is new for me, so I invite any of you who might be interested, go to the grocery, get the ingredients and try it along with me. Please come back and tell me what you think of it. In future weeks, I’ll use a variety of meats and meatless recipes, maybe even a few for desserts. (Life is short, don’t forget dessert!) Feel free to say what type of recipes you’d like to see. I’d love for us all to get healthier together. Wow, I just looked at Amazon, you can get a used copy of this cookbook as cheaply as one shiny penny! Plus $3.99 shipping. That’s considerably less than I paid, but mine was bought at a school fundraiser a few years ago.

Oh, a D update: the Depression has definitely been snoozing contentedly this week, I’ve been continuing to Declutter my sanity room (where I pray, meditate, write, etc.) I had an extraordinary gift while decluttering. coming across two cards from my mom, who passed away in 2004. Seeing those cards made my insides light up like a lighthouse beacon and I hugged them to myself for a few minutes. Another precious discovery was a packet of letters from my niece Kelly, who died unexpectedly at the age of fourteen in 1986. I read the last letter from her, written a few months before her death, and a torrential downpour of tears ensued. It’s okay though. It feels like I have this lovely connection to Kelly that I’ll treat myself to, one letter at a time, every so often. Those two things alone have made the whole decluttering project worth it! Mind you, the cleared out space and fresh start are lovely too.

Now for that recipe…. White Bean and Barley Soup.

10/06/12 G.L.A.D. Chronicles – Week One


This blog is an egg of an idea still very much in the nest. Thoughts can come a plenty, but some, on further examination, seem as appealing as yesterday’s dishwater… cold, with the bubbles burst flat. 2012 is shaping up as the year that will either knock me out in the eleventh hour or see me become a dogged woman pursuing a seemingly out-of-reach goal. I vote for the second choice!

What does G.L.A.D. have to do with it?

The letters stand for what I hold dear (God’s grace), something I take way too for granted (Life), a few ghosts (Activity of the physical variety would be my ghost from the past. Activity of being a light to others is my Casper from the recent present. Spending time with God in prayer, contemplation, more listening, and less moaning like a rattling old ghost myself.) and some daunting D words (Depression, Dietary choices, Decluttering). I think those three are pretty tangled together in my case.

For a female who’s read enough books about health and diet to stock a small-town library, why am I still so overweight? Knowledge alone isn’t getting me thin. I believe that I’ve had depression to some degree most of my life. As a teenager, I’d have episodes of feeling “The Black Hole” crowding in on me. I knew when that happened, I wasn’t fit to hang out with humans. It would last a few weeks and then move on. Life would feel normal again. I never really knew what brought it on, but I could surely feel it coming. I discovered aerobics in my late teens and noticed when I did them… well, I discovered a few things. My first real experience with aerobics was with a Richard Simmons album (yes, that’s right, one of those shiny black discs that played at 33 rpm) titled “Reach”. The problem with doing a workout to a vocal prompt with no visual guidance is that I put my back out shortly afterwards. I don’t think the goal of using his record was to end up walking like Quasimodo!

Anyway, making myself breathe hard, break a sweat and choose foods that didn’t come in plastic wrappers seemed to keep Black Hole away and my clothes would magically fit. When I had too many dates with ice cream from U.D.F. (United Dairy Farmers to those of you not from Cincinnati) and Twinkie boy, my clothes would mysteriously shrink and that ‘Rebel With A Cause’ Black Hole would come knocking. I don’t know if I associated these things back then. I just knew I looked sassy in my faded jeans and size ‘Small’ British band t-shirts. 

I suppose these chronicles will be about pursuing the G.L.A.D. and leaving the G.A.S. behind….

G-Gritting my teeth at the thought of ever

A-Accepting

S-Sue as a human with any redeeming value whatsoever 

I had such a surprise breakthrough this week. This involves backing up a bit and giving you some background.

Oh, how the years go by….

September 25th was my 30th wedding anniversary, a momentous milestone these days. My husband Craig and I celebrated by going to a retirement party for a friend of Craig’s, being held at Great American Ball Park during the Reds game. Before I loved squirrels, I adored piggies. Imagine my delight, seeing a few of my porcine friends at the ballpark.

Why do I want to sing “Macho Man” and “Y.M.C.A.” when I look at this construction worker pig?

What a jolly piggie!

Everything went pretty well until time came to head back to the car. Overweight and out of shape, long walks and stairs are things I tend to avoid. Hence why I’m overweight and out of shape. On this evening, I didn’t have a choice. It was h-u-m-i-l-i-a-t-i-n-g. When you’re sweating so hard and panting loud enough to cause a slew of calls to 911 because people hear a pervert following them, it’s scary. Climbing the stairs in the parking garage, I had conflicting thoughts blaring through my brain. The first wondered why it smelled like a mens urinal at the bus station. Did these people never hear of regular deodorizing and sanitation practices? The second image centered around my chest which felt ready to explode. I wondered if this was what a heart attack felt like and questioned if not, how could it possibly hurt worse? The third was a passionate prayer that God didn’t let me die right there in that urinal needing sanitation. What’s gross is when you’re sucking air that hard, you REALLY get the stench of urine in your nostrils.

For a few weeks, my heart has acted oddly, sounding like an out-of-tune-Mayberry band, with the odd, but regular, heavy heartbeat. Breathing during any exertion has become increasingly labored. It causes me such embarrassment that I try to hold my breath when anyone walks past within earshot. Heaven help me if they linger longer than twenty seconds. If that happens, I pretend I’m thinking about Robert Downey, Jr. in “Iron Man“. I wonder if I might experience simultaneous combustion if I were ever to walk on a treadmill and watch “The Avengers” at the same time? Oi, now there’s something to think about.

Back to the story, this has all vexed me enough to call my doctor and ask for an inhaler. He wanted me to have a stress test and a pulmonary function test, to see if there’s anything to worry about. The stress test has come back normal, for which I profoundly thank God. The P.F.T. will take place Monday. I sincerely hope I’m simply an old gray mare who’s ‘just’ obese and out of shape. If this is the case, a box of Clairol, diligent exercise and mindful eating can improve my symptoms dramatically. I think I’ve danced with denial long enough. That’s a mental exertion all its own.

On October 1st, I weighed in at 252 pounds, measured a 48″ waist, and I currently have an energy level of minus ten. Transparency must be my middle name. I don’t have the wherewithal to skirt the truth. The waist is the only measurement I hold interest in, as the number is one of the indicators for heart health. I’ve apologized to my heart for treating it like crap and I’m trying to make amends.

Oh, the breakthrough, I nearly forgot to write about it. Note to self: add Distractible to my D words. As I worked on something at my day job this week, my perpetual negative self talk kicked in and started to drone on about what a nincompoop I was. From somewhere inside me, courage hopped up and I said out loud, “I am NOT worthless and I’m NOT a loser. Period.” What the heck? In all my fifty-three years walking this Earth, I’ve never had the natural response of thinking I’m somebody and refuting that negative b.s.

Please hang out and take a walk with me.

09/14/12 Depression Sucks, But It Doesn’t Have To Be The End


Cat, with its mouth open

Cat, with its mouth open (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello everyone. The summer brought a lawn that I nicknamed Tumbleweed Connection and a drought in my blog. My writing vibe was dry and dead. Inspiration seemed as elusive as fitting into size 12 jeans… just not happening!

I wondered what it would feel like if I were to write a meaninful blog sharing insights into a life pursuing a relationship with God and then I realized I don’t even know what that looks like. Who can define such a relationship? Isn’t it rather relative, a matter of perspective? For some, it could be the ‘twice-a-year-letting-your-backside-hit-a-church-pew’ (Christmas and Easter). For others, it’s prayer 24/7. For a few, it’s talking to God throughout the day about all matters great and small.

I fall into the third category. It doesn’t make my way any better or worse than the rest of the world. It just makes it my way.

What if I measure it by how happy I am? I don’t think that would work either. I’ve had the summer from hell. A very bad bout of depression that isn’t quite over yet. Something about a dark night of the soul comes to mind.

Depression is so hard to explain to a person who’s never had it. It’s having every blessing you could ever hope for, yet you still feel on the verge of tears and ready to walk away from everything, crawl into a cave and hope there’s a landslide, so that the opening to said cave would be covered up and you could hide endlessly from humanity.

It’s looking in the mirror and wondering about God’s sense of humor in making a mutt like you, while looking at others and feeling sure they have all the answers. You’re the only one who could possibly be this stupid. You trudge along and try to get through the episode. Part of you wouldn’t care if you didn’t.

Then something happens, it can be miniscule or gargantuan, the happening is different everytime. Maybe it’s hearing a dear friend is really sick or an acquaintance has lost a longtime job and may lose their house. Or maybe it’s when you’re delivering the newspaper with your son and you make the acquaintance of a cat, an adorable feline who wants… DEMANDS your attention… you give her fifteen minutes of cuddles and then when you try to leave, she proceeds to put her teeth in your leg. For whatever reason, this doesn’t even phase you. You patiently have a conversation with this feline, explaining that this behavior isn’t cool, that if you’re going to hang out together, she must keep her teeth in her mouth and not on your leg… and you guess you’ll just have to come back next week and give her some etiquette lessons. The whole time, she sits there gazing at you like she’s actually listening! You walk away feeling a little bit lighter and smiling, not really sure why, but life seems a little better, suddenly.

In that moment, I talk to God; laughing about the absurdity of speaking to a cat as if it understands me, wondering how many people saw this daffy woman …. being who she is… and suddenly life doesn’t seem so bad.

I bet the prayers of friends might have had something to do with it. Maybe God knows better than anyone what the best way is to reach your hurting heart. It might be crazy as heck to everyone else, but it works for you. 

Maybe you can pass the blessing on and pray for someone else having a bad day/month/year/life. Maybe, just for today, the depression doesn’t win, God seems a little closer and you have a smidgen of insight into why you’re here.

To straighten out cats with wayward teeth!

Abundant blessings to you. 🙂

05/19/12 Losing Weight, Books, Elderly “Senior Prom”


Life moves faster than I can, some weeks. This has been one of those times. I saw my son off to his class trip yesterday morning, getting up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the chartered bus on time. My internal clock still hasn’t adjusted to that! Lots of coffee and I’ll eventually be fine. 🙂 Here I am with ten days to be “just Sue”. All of you are only getting my attention this morning, as I plan on taking a break from a lot of my internet business for the next week or so, in favor of real life: reading a real book with paper pages: Elizabeth George’s newest Inspector Lynley novel “Believing The Lie”. This book has 608 pages. If Ms. George wasn’t one of my favorite authors, I wouldn’t be reading this. Time is a rare commodity for me at the moment.

I went to a festive gathering for Little Brothers volunteers last night. We sat outside on the patio overloking the city. May I tell you, I was in Anglophile and book lovers heaven, sitting next to Cathy One and Cathy Two, discussing books, British royalty and their weddings, British movies, television series, etc….. I finally understand how Nascar fans feel when they sit and talk endlessly of those men who only make left handed turns while driving. The fine wine made and brought by one of Little Brothers own volunteers added to the cheery feeling. 🙂

My book club has chosen “Fifty Shades of Grey” for this month’s reading. I knew nothing about this book and looked it up on Amazon to read the reviews. What a completely mixed bag of opposite spectrum opinions and critiques are offered. It appears this is a book one either loves or hates. Anyone reading this read the book yet? What are your thoughts? I have it on request from the library, hopefully it’ll be back in stock before our next meeting June 26th.

Did I write about a prayer session at church I took part in on April 10th? The type of prayer is called SOZO. My session lasted three hours and was truly life changing for me. A lot of my buried garbage was unearthed, dealt with, and I’m now experiencing the loveliest freedom from things that have hounded me for decades, in some cases, my whole life.

One of the most noticeable is my food habits and preferences. I’ve lost the taste for sugar, soda pop, most junk carbs, etc. If I’m having a bad day emotionally, now I look the emotions in the eye, instead of eating my way through it. For a lifelong emotional eater, that’s too tripped out to even fathom. The excess weight is coming off. I wouldn’t have believed this possible if it wasn’t happening to me.

I can’t take credit for it. My gratitude is entirely to God and the Holy Spirit seemingly doing a great deal of internal housecleaning on this girl. Thank you God. I can’t describe how surreal the freedom feels.

My pedometer has been attached to the waistband of my pants forty five days straight. I do think wearing one encourges me to move. Logging the steps on my phone calendar every night has become a ritual. I raise the bar on how many steps are my minimum goal periodically. In the beginning, I walked 1,000 steps a day. The current minimum is 3,000 steps daily and usually 4,500 to 6,000 is the accomplished range now.

www.myfitnesspal.com is one of my favorite sites now. I’ve made friends with a lady there and we’re meeting up tomorrow to walk through Eden Park. I’ve enlisted my Facebook friends to walk at Veteran’s Park and I hope to visit Fernbank Park soon.

My breathing eases up a little bit more all the time. I still sweat like a pig at a pig roast, but really, I’ve done that my whole life. My poor mom, she was one of those creatures who didn’t sweat and couldn’t take the heat so well. I’ll take sweating. That’s why God made showers and deodorant. 🙂

One last fond memory of the past week. On Friday, May 11th, I drove three elderly friends to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly “Senior Prom”. It was a blast!  These folks definitely know how to enjoy a lovely evening. Two of the volunteers shown, Colleen and George, are part of a wonderful team from Macy’s that helps the prom in various and tremendous ways. I can only tell you that I kidded with Betty and George, thinking they were old friends, only to find out they had just met that evening. George was exceptionally gracious and treated our guests like elegant princesses at the ball. It was  truly a beautiful night!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.