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.

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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!

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. 🙂

1/15/12 Depression, Bipolar, and How I Manage My Mental Melees


English: Melancholy

Image via Wikipedia

Hello all on a beautiful sunny Sunday. I’ve got the back curtain open, looking at the bare, naked trees. So much brown in the winter. The only green is on my face when I think of people in warmer climates. 🙂 Alas, I am here and there’s always hot coffee to warm a soul up.

I’ve been indulging my passion for poetry lately, having discovered a website for working poets and putting my sweat equity into words there lately. Poetry is an interesting thing, if you’re drawn to it. It demands total focus, absolute quiet to go into that Deep Down Well where your true thoughts reside. I’ve posted four pieces so far, and the one that is by far gaining the most attention, comment, discussion, and suggestion that I may be bipolar is a work titled “Asylum For Conflicted Thoughts.” It is a completely true inner conversation I experienced a few months ago at the height of a particularly nasty depressive episode. It’s apparently a bit chilling for non depressed people to read. People with mental issues hugged it to them like I had written a personal anthem just for them, giving voice to their struggles and their hopes.

I don’t believe I am bipolar, as I’ve asked a psychiatrist during a meds check. For you blessedly unmedicated individuals, a meds check is when you go to talk to the doctor and discuss how you’re doing, to see if you need to adjust your dosage, increase it, or just say the heck with it and look for the nearest bridge. Kidding on that last one! I asked her WHAT I was, as I don’t really know. I know I have depression, anxiety sometimes, menopause all the time, excess weight which is either aggravated by the other three or the other three are aggravated by the excess weight. The jury still debates about that one.

She said I am clearly distractible (well, DUHHH!) and yes, depressive, but she did not see bipolar.

Meanwhile, a Christian counselor I saw a few years ago said that, yes, she saw ‘a touch of bipolar’ in me. To which I question, how can you be a bit of something? If you take a pregnancy test and it indicates “young lady, you are indeed a bit pregnant” what do you do with that? Decorate the nursery, or hope the bit goes away and get on with your daily life?

I’m not sure why I’m talking about this today. I suspect because after countless people commented on how accurately I could describe bipolar, I wasn’t sure whether to feel proud that I could paint the scene so well, or go into a panic about a possible new problem to add to my laundry list, or maybe just read each person’s opinion, ponder it a bit, and get on with my day?

The jury will have to debate that one as well.

To fully include you in this debate, I shall include a link for the aforementioned poem. The interesting thing I noticed is that after I physically got the poem down on paper, the harsh inner critic, as I call it, went away and I haven’t heard from it since then. I have no idea what to make of that. Here is the link:

http://www.fanstory.com/displaystory.jsp?id=487569

I should warn you that with each piece we publish, we choose a picture to enhance the words. The picture may seem a bit stark. I just received notification that the piece reached All Time Best status. That’s where we poets get to puff up with happiness for a bit!

I do love to write: poetry, this blog, letters, rhymes, jingles, greeting cards. I suspect part of it is because I can control the words that fly out of me fractionally better. Part of it is probably approval seeking on my part. The funny/not funny thing about that is: as I seek approval, I am terrified of rejection. What draws my curiosity about this is, why does approval or rejection from people I don’t sleep with and/or who don’t pay my bills, why does that possibly matter?

I don’t know.