Reaching My Heart

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more positive, and I realized that in order to do that I have to be somewhat more forthcoming about the nature of my journey.  I may have highs and lows.  So anyone who checks in from time to time will know why.

The Christmas season yielded fruit.

Somehow, in the simplicity of not thinking, “Is there enough?” or “I wanted to get just a few more things…”  because there simply wasn’t any way; I peaced out.

Jesus showed up.

There is a story in the Bible about a guy waiting for God to tell him what to do.

An earthquake comes. God doesn’t answer.

A tornado comes. God doesn’t answer.

Prairie wildfire comes. God doesn’t answer.

Then.

A gentle breeze comes.  On it is the still, small voice of God.

At the start of this blog, I mentioned being cyber-bullied by someone I had thought was my friend.  Let’s just say that what should have been a year of joy and happiness has been marred by this person’s “apart from reality” behavior. There is another family who is also being treated this way by her.

I put it away from my mind, but sometimes it rises up.  And I feel the walls closing in.  I feel like I am looking down a long telescope.  Sometimes, I feel as though I am back in the foreign country alone.  It came to light when I got home, that there HAD been someone watching me everywhere I went.  The person always knew what I was doing.

Today is one of those days.  I emailed with the other gal.  They are still being contacted.  My husband receives all communication from this person. The deal is that they ignore her.  I guess we do to.

There is an online group we all belonged to at the beginning.  They are having a “reunion” (for lack of a better term) to honor this woman.  Needless to say, I am no longer a member of this group.  The problem is most of the membership thinks she is a treasure.  I have lost the comfort of these friendships because she went first with her “hurt” and “confusion”.  The only people who asked my side of the story went straight to her and repeated it and she got mad and attacked us by email.  Someone representing her(or her giving a false name) approached people who followed the other blog and asked them for info about what was going on with us.  One gave.  That we know about.  His remarks were repeated verbatim in an email to my husband. So, I really have no idea who is safe to tell my story to, and who is not.

See, no one here will know the story, the people or the area of life; but I am still afraid.

So how is this the heart-reaching, still small voice?  It’s not.

It was the fire, cyclone, earthquake.

The still small voice came at Christmas.

Child.  Your hurts are real.  Very real.  It was not consequences of your carelessness or selfishness. You are hurting because of another’s wrongdoing. Take refuge in Me.  It is not your responsibility to right these wrongs.  Just rest.

Not only did He give me freedom, He enabled me to walk in it.

Today the panic came again.  I see it now as a visceral response to the memory of the original situation.  Time has passed and I have to take responsibility for preventing any future harm to myself, my family, or the other family.  I have already made an initial contact.  I am trusting Him to lead me step by step out of this darkness.


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Time for a Fresh Start

The Flint Hills.

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Yes, I make New Year’s Resolutions.  I can’t help it.  It is just a good time to make a fresh start.

The new year is like a brand new blank, college-ruled, spiral notebook.  Not yet written in.  The 12 subjects not yet designated by purpose and the corners not yet white and curled from careless misuse, it is waiting, full of infinite potential.

A new year is like a big new container of time to use better than I did the time of the last year (Cake Mania, anyone?).

A new year is like an uncharted frontier of mental space.  Rolled out like the Flint Hills before me; mine to section off anyway I see fit.

The new year is like a sling and a stone, to slay the giants that have held me under siege up until now — disorganization, inertia(laziness), wasteful spending, careless speech, failure to prepare for the future.  I could go on and on, because giants are easily identified. They are, however; more difficult to confront without the proper resources.

Time, Space, Slings, Stones.  And  God, who has always shown up for the one who opposes what opposes Him.

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Christmas was…

Christmas went okay.  There were a couple of little pennies that came by and I put about $60 on the Kohl’s.  The kids had a good time, and one of the teens… Got. It.

When we went to the grocery and we had to leave with nothing because the debit card was not accepted, she put together that it was the Saturday before Christmas and we couldn’t buy food.  Thus, it probably won’t be a huge haul as in years past.  She spent her Christmas money from her Paw Paw on gifts for the rest of the family and helped her little brother do the same.

We still went to the Family Night at Christmas on the Sunday before the holiday.  We had the best tree we have EVER had.  It is still taking my breath away every morning when I come downstairs.

We attended Christmas Eve Vespers.  It was just long.

The unexpected fruit of this?  A mysterious silence from that wanting voice in my head.  The scorching wind of discontent stopped blowing over the gaping abyss of “gimme”.  The lonely howling sound extinguished.

I received a blanket and half interest in a bag of Dunkin’ Decaf.  With my Christmas money, I bought two 2-subject spiral notebooks and groceries.

We had our traditional Christmas dinner with friends.

It was a gloriously happy day.

And then it snowed.

 

//

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Still Here Waiting…

Scrooge's third visitor, from Charles Dickens:...

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Just a couple of things.

1)  Still no miracle.

2) Yes, I do know the definition of anonymous.  Now my husband and my best friend are reading the blog.  Maybe they don’t know.  I don’t even know how Chantele got the address.

3) This “common cold” got in the house and I feel really awful.  My daughter had this last week.  If I had had any idea she felt this sick, I would not have let her go to all the usual activities.  There is no fever, but it is clearly contagious.  Another old wives tale bites the dust.

4) There is one freaking week until Christmas.  I am completely unprepared.  Some who know what is up have recommended that I sit the children down and explain that it’s not going to be like in previous years.  I don’t think it is a bad idea, but I just keep thinking I will come up with a better one.

5) Not feeling like this, I won’t.

6) I am as disorganized as I have ever been.  It is scary.

7) But the bills are all paid.  We have $86 to get us to 01.01.11.  I feel like Suze Orman compared to the how we were on 11.16.10.

8.) I have to confess, since no one who knows this about me will be walking their dogs down by my house and flip me off.  I have never actually grown up. I know it is supposed to be about Jesus.  I also know I am not supposed to want anything for myself as long as the kids have something nice.  But in my heart, I cannot separate the provision for myself, from His party.  Christmas is when I got the socks, winter coat, lunch box, Bible, umbrella, hair barrettes, purse, jeans.  Basic provision.  As I have mentioned, I have never really believed people who said they only wanted “Peace on Earth”. I think they are trying to be “grown-upper” than everyone else.  I really think they are liars. How can you not want just a little something?  I want a pile of stuff.  I would be sad if I got a Lexus with a big red bow because it is only one gift (and it is cold outside…if you are going to give me a car, give it to me for Memorial Day).

On a side note: My husband asked the other day, why people who get each other cars for Christmas always live in modern homes.  He is an architect, so he would notice.

How do we “keep the Christ in Christmas”?  I gotta say, I am stumped.  Does He want the birthday cake that is served in birthday parties for Jesus?  Really? If you have a separate birthday party for Him, you realize, you have taken His birthday out of Christmas and made him into a little kid who will feel sad if he doesn’t get cake and ice cream and an excuse to behave badly all day.  Are we keeping the focus on Him by making our glassy-eyed, drooling children wait to open gifts until Luke 2 has been read?   My church is hauling out the whole dog and pony show… or should I say sheep and donkey show?

It is not reaching my heart.

Still saying.

He is a gentleman, this One.  I need Him to show up for this.  If He decides not to come; I guess that is okay.  We really don’t seem to be as tuned in to what He likes as we used to be.

Probably, I should clean house, though.  That is pretty timeless.

 

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Weekend Wrap-up

Père Noël

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I love titles that might turn into memes…  Not that I would ever work that hard.

I have been reading like crazy lately, so a quick review on what is on the shelves at my local library seems to be in order.

Put on Your Crown by Queen Latifah — Thank you for talking me off the bridge that weekend when I wanted to kick someone.  And her name is Dana.  Thank you, Dana. This book is about women’s self-esteem or empowerment or something.  I don’t think that I was her target demographic.  She is on the short list of celebrities I think I might like to know in person.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich — Very nearly all the fiction I have read as an adult has been Christian fiction, so when I finished reading this, just imagine me like someone on tv whose hair is blown back and their face is frozen following an explosion.  I have since read Three to Get Deadly (because Two… is not on the shelves anywhere).  I can look out for myself where “adult themes” are concerned.  However.  Back when the 16th book in the series came out, SO many bloggers were writing about it.  I mentioned it while working in the church library and someone recommended it who is the most conservative human being I probably know.  “Wouldn’t say s**t if she had a mouthful”.  I will always wonder if the woman has a secret life.  I have concluded that these books are not for me.

The Maeve Binchy Writer’s Club by Maeve Binchy  Cute and informative.  Sort of contradicts my favorite book on writing for writers, Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See.  Still.  Binchy is more appropriate for this season of life.  See was fun for the time I was in when I read it four years ago.

The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey  Still riding out the unwarranted unparalleled success of his 7 Habits Series.  This book is full of the advantages of  teaching the 7 habits to children in small, upscale public school systems (if the photos are representative of the actual experiences described).  Perhaps I don’t understand, and God knows I am disorganized (bitter? Well, sure.).  I didn’t finish the book, because there are only three people in my classroom, and I am not trying to make them into “Another Brick in The Wall”. (Having written that, I will have to eat crow to my husband who thinks Waters is a genius.  I think there is no one-to-one correlation between genius and tragedy.)

Well, it seemed like a lot of reading.

This week saw an end to the unprecedented string of doctor visits.  Until January.  The doctor told my child she can’t run until Spring.  He can entertain her now that her “main thing” is gone.

My favorite pair of pants ripped.  Not in a place that reflects the lasagna having found a new home on my hips.  In a place that reflects poor workmanship, R*lph L*uren.

And a continuation of the financial “journey” (read: Life’s a s**t sandwich and everyday you have to take a bite.) we are on.

Joyeux Noel, Husband’s Boss.

Luckily for you, we are fake tree people.

Last summer, Husband’s Best Friend gave us a really good artificial tree.  We have been doing the “It’s Walgreen’s after-Christmas clearance, Charlie Brown!!!” tree, for 8 or 9 years.  Per tradition, last weekend was the Victorian Christmas Home Tour; we decorated after the tour was finished and the prizes had been passed out.  It is the best tree we have ever had.  On the poorest Christmas we have ever had.

Feliz Navidad.

My best friend and I have had a chat.  Traditionally, she always asks me two questions.

One is: where is God in all this?

God is refining me.  Purging wrong attitudes and habits.

The other is: Why are you taking this so personally?

I am taking it so personally, because I don’t freaking need another horrible thing to happen in December and January.  In the last five years, five family members(Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother-In-Law and Grandfather.  A cousin overdosed and died on my January birthday.) have passed and my children have gotten into very seriously damaging trouble(I found out on…yes, you guessed it, my birthday).  Generally, there are expectations to fail to fulfill and I have a parent whose way of maintaining the relationship is simply to ruin Christmas as many years as s/he can.  This year the other parent told me that s/he had found satisfying family relationships with the step-family they have become a part of, and didn’t need to be in relationship with me.  As they say on the playground, “Same to ya and more of it.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder…look for me on their posters.

I’ll be standing next to the multi-ethnic group of children holding homemade coupons redeemable for Christmas in March.

God clearly has His work cut out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pray, Love, Eat

No, that is not a typo.  In keeping with the emotional whiney baby theme, I thought I would get a book deal to go on a year long vacation as a reward for committing adultery and wondering why it didn’t make everyone give me my way.  Maybe I don’t know who I really am, because I am good looking(I look a lot like Julia Roberts), so people really ought to do what I want them to do.  Or something.  Anyway, I thought I might take this year long opportunity to see if gluttony and trivializing other people’s belief systems would do any better than sleeping with another person’s spouse to help me know who I am…

Oh wait, that wasn’t me.

That was the author bestselling book which is now a major motion picture.

Just a couple of things, though…

1) If the rest of us can’t figure out who we are, we get evaluated at the doc, prescribed a few meds, and sent back to work.  If you don’t know who you are, drop by the house and I will tell you.

2) If you are having uncomfortable feelings, that is what you are supposed to feel when you treat humans like you are playing a video game.  Respect folks. You will feel a lot less uncomfortable with your actual self.  Seems like you are getting more respect than you give.

3) Really.  Seriously.  There are just so many things.  I have to quit.

4) Just one more. When everything is true, nothing is.  You explored multiple religions in order to fulfill your contract.  That is peddling spirituality for profit.  Is that respect? Is it spiritual?  Is it even intellectually tenable? In religion as in relationships…it is generally considered best to pick one and stick with it.

Yeah, my life is sucking right now.  I got no book deal. No vacation. When I tell my own story to myself, I keep coming back to the things I did that make the current circumstances not be fun.   In other words, my own responsibility.

What I have to do now is get my priorities in order…

Pray…

I am not the center of all this, and I need to put myself in proper relationship to God, others and myself.  The best way to do this is to acknowledge Him.  Ask Him for yet more mercy and still more grace.  He has been so patient with me and my whining and cussing of the circumstances that came along and shined the searching light of truth on my heart.  I am here again, asking Him to clean up my mess.  And He does.  Every. Single. Time.*

Love…

This is not about me.  It is about getting my shit together so I show my kids the right way to be.  Yes, there is a right way to be.  Love is action.  It is doing the right thing.  It is not always popular; it is not always even comfortable.  If I love someone I will put their best good ahead of my own.  I have Someone to look out for my best good if no one else will (see above).  Love is not sex.  Please.  Grow.  Up.

Eat…

If you haven’t picked up on it, there is an order here.  My physical desires and appetites come last.  Not first. My needs, of course, must be taken care of or I will be unable to care for my family, my job or my life.   I am severely anemic, right now.  This is a need.   I hope my kids will have a pile of gifts under the tree Christmas morning.  This is a want.  Maybe the real need is for my kids to know that love doesn’t equal stuff.

The true meaning of Christmas, after all, is emptying oneself for the sake of another.  Everyone in the story gave up something for someone else.  That is, by the way, a universally accepted treatment for depression…doing something for someone else for which you cannot expect to profit.**

Thanks, Liz, for pointing out how good my life is.  I have a 20 year long relationship with my husband.  I know what I believe, and I don’t need to go anywhere to learn to be grateful for what I have.  And, like you, I hope that a year from now, I will be a better human being.

Really just writing to myself, so I don’t forget.

 

*My husband’s company just awarded projects that will net more than the entire last year or more.

**I said treatment, not cure. I didn’t say not to take your meds, if you need them.  Some people really need these drugs and our support.  I believe these drugs are over prescribed, but I also acknowledge they are a miracle of the times in which we live and I am eternally grateful for the lives saved by them.

 

 

 

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Mama’s Holiday Wish List

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama (link to: http://bit.ly/tmwishlist) and GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

Peace, Love and Joy…  We have had a lot of transition and a lot of pressure this year, and all I want is for everyone to feel loved and content and secure.  I used to make fun of the people who said all they wanted was “Peace on Earth.”  I thought, “Be honest, don’t you want a little something to open up?”  Now I know.  None of that really satisfies.

2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?

Mom gets up first and drinks coffee sits in front of the lit tree until time to wake Dad.  Then we wake the children, who are tired because they stayed awake staring into the darkness; unable to sleep for the excitement, all night.  Someone starts by giving the first gift, then the recipient opens it and then selects a gift under the tree and gives it to the next person.  Yes, it takes longer this way.  Oh yeah, my husband takes a photo of every gift opened.  I hate this and I have asked him to stop.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

To move to another house.  We moved here with all sorts of dreams in our heads.  It wasn’t meant to be.  I would just love to move into a house with more storage and less payment.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

By using our old traditional decorations and watching all the Christmas specials on TV.  We attend our church’s “Family Night At Christmas”– a Christmas themed talent show, and Christmas Eve Vespers Service and our neighborhood’s Victorian Holiday Home Tour and our city’s Christmas Parade.  We try to always watch It’s A Wonderful Life on dvd (it takes forever when you watch it on t.v.).   This year we are donating outgrown coats to the Warmth for Winter Program.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Hide and Seek, Black Jack, Monopoly were all big at different times with my cousins. I am an only child, so I didn’t play games at home.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

We have carried on more from my husband’s tradition than mine.  I had to travel to all the parents, grandparents and step-grandparents for the holidays.  Even after my husband’s parents divorced, they preserved the holidays for their kids.  The taking turns thing( in #2 above) is his families deal.  As the only child, of course, there was not really anyone to take turns with.  My mom opened hers; I opened mine.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?

New England, my Sister In Law used to live there, and we loved visiting them any time of year, but nothing beats the Currier & Ives look of the Christmas Season.  It is sure to have snow and be cold…not like where we live.  It could be seventy and sunny here.

8. Check out GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

1) Tetris Party Deluxe for Nintendo DS, 2) Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board, 3) Nintendo Kinect.

This is all new territory for me.  We don’t have any system of any kind except some plug and play games.  I am like George Costanza in the “Opposite Episodes”  What I have been doing up to now has not worked.  I am going opposite.  And hoping that I get Peace On Earth and the kids have a little something to open up.

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