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Thanksgiving

26 Nov

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of my mantra…

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Living a purposeful life.

Thankful for blessings and thankful to be a blessing.  For we are not meant to only receive…or only to give… but to find balance between the two.

My twelve year old asked that I write about our experience today…and at first I was hesitant. Weighing heavy…I’m not sure that it is the right thing to do.  It’s not normally something I share…In fact, it makes  me quite uncomfortable to do so.

However, lots of topics on this blog make me uneasy…vulnerable, even….

-slips on the blind fold….I feel my feet bouncing on the board beneath me… I’m diving in…-

Admittedly, my life has been a bit disorganized and chaotic over the last few weeks. The lack of energy causing me to wait until the last minute to do our holiday food shopping.  By the time we crossed the threshold today, the store was packed and the aisles a bit bare. Sighing as we joined the crowd, our nerves take on the energy of those around us…It is maddening….

Our cart now full, I recant from memory the ingredients of the dishes I plan to cook tomorrow, ticking each one off as I scan my cart for accuracy…check..check…good…  Our cart picking up speed as we head to the register as if in a race.

Finding the shortest line, which on any other day would not be described as such, we wait…shifting my weight every three seconds…my hands on my hips…I’m a  bit impatient wondering why this conveyer belt is not moving and why the cashier appears to not be working.

I’m tired from a day of errands, from playing the referee  between two bickering ADHD-ers…one fully grown…to whom I happen to be married…and the other, well, twelve…

Moms around the world nod with understanding and sympathy…

At this point I just want my sweat pants and a hot cup of coffee.

TAKE.ME.HOME

Loading my groceries on the belt, I vaguely hear the lady in front of me.  She is having trouble with her new debit card. It worked at the gas station she says…she tries it again…and again. Maybe four times.  A mix of stress and embarrassment flush over her. She doesn’t have another form of payment. The line continuing to form behind her.

And I know

…I make a face in response. Twisted lips because I see the outcome before I’m ready to make the decision.

(Honest confession) I’m Torn…I’m not sure if I want to ….but I know I’m supposed to…..

I’m supposed to because I come from the belief that there are no REAL accidents, just missed opportunities.

So I slide my card to the cashier.

Done.

I didn’t have all the right words…didn’t do all the right things…It was a bit awkward for all…it wasn’t a planned moment.

Why? Because we are all in it together.  Because I know the panic that washes over you when you don’t have the money to pay… because blessings are meant to flow to you and through you….and I am blessed.

Shocked she wasn’t sure how to respond…She leaned in to hug me..clasping her hands to her face, then chest…..I mumbled quietly out the side of my mouth, “happy thanksgiving…and merry Christmas”….still not having a handle on  the events  transpiring before me.

I asked T, “Why would I…should I… tell this story?”

Proud to be a part of the day, he said,

“It was literally the meaning of thanksgiving.  You gave and she said thanks.  It was so awesome.”

From the eyes of a child it is just that simple.

A story to be told.

Take Chances. Give everything…. And have no regrets.

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Damn Bears – Part 2

17 Nov

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Driving into work, I realized that I only told half the story with my last post. The rest is harder to admit, but likely more important.

You see, when my cousins burst into my grandmother’s room, tear stained and gasping between sobs, a piece of my nine year old self felt they fully deserved the tongue lashing they were dealt.

Admittedly, a large piece.

Sure, my grandfather was over the top angry…..at the sound of children playing…. It would also be reasonable to believe he had been drinking… Was he harsh?  YES!

But I couldn’t understand how no one in the room could miss that volcano erupting.

I saw it a mile away…and I ran.

and….Over time, with repetition of the same story on a different day… a belief system was born…

Although there are variations, it goes something like this:

My behavior good or bad is responsible for how others respond or react to me. If I was “good enough” they would play nice. Simply put, they were not responsible for their outbursts, I was….Because I should have been better. Should have seen it coming…If only I had paid more attention, reeled myself in….Squished all my parts into that t.i.n.y. little box….

And… then there are the bears…

There was a time when my two story home with the white picket fence was located smack dab in the middle of a bear preserve…everywhere…as far as you could see..over populated..  Bouncing like a pin-ball from the belly of one energy draining bear to another.  In anger, bearing their teeth and slashing the air  with their mammoth claws…Exhausted, I ran….

Dragging  my baggage behind me, I searched for a new place to lay my head.  One less chaotic. Less noisy…more.. me.

Rebuilding from the ground up has been hard…painful, even…Standing toe to toe with the past is never simple.  Yet  I’m in it…neck deep.

I know it is necessary for the abundant life I’m destined…and determined… to live.

So here is a **News Flash** friends…

I’m not responsible for anyone’s behavior….and neither are you. (good or bad)

Let that sink in for a minute.

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You can’t make someone mad, angry, or act a certain way. It is ALWAYS THEIR CHOICE.

You are (I am) solely responsible for our own actions — and nothing more.

Now go forth and prosper….

Take full and complete responsibility for yourself

….and avoid those damn bears.

They are rampant….but not necessary.

As an adult, you get to chose.

 

Don’t poke the bear

16 Nov

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I remember watching my younger cousins bouncing around the den. Their laughter piercing the ears of my grandfather as he silently sat in his chair, his lips forming a straight line. My gram hunched over the coffee table, lost in her own thought, searching for letters to fill the boxes of the daily crossword puzzler, as she would say, a grin of known cleverness spreading across her face. They were watching the People’s Court, Judge Wapner presiding, a daily six o’clock ritual.

Rolling on the floor, and throwing pillows. I watched the agitation wash over my grandpa’s face, his body. Twisting in his chair, willing my cousins to silence with the narrowing of his eyes until they were nothing more than slits. His jaw hardening with increasing speed….and yet no one else seemed to notice.

I could see the eruption forming. His feet near the edge of a cliff. I darted up the steps, hiding in my Gram’s bedroom turning up the t.v..

My cousins would soon follow, a wash of tears and embarrassment, the intense tongue lashing leaving their heart bruised.

I knew better than to poke the bear. In all my years, I don’t remember him ever exploding on me.

I would venture to say by the age of eight or nine, I had already become very adept at reading people and situations. The river of alcoholism and dysfunction running deep and wide in my lineage. Learning to alter my behavior to fill the box that would offer the most protection was necessary to avoid  the land mines hidden beneath the surface.

On one hand this skill has served me very well, catapulting a career and opening doors. However, it is also a double edged sword, whittling away the wholeness of who I once was, trying to morph into a space that is not mine to fill.

As a child it was essential. As an adult it is exhausting.

Round peg, square hole.

Tight and uncomfortable. Claustrophobia searing through my veins as the walls creep in a little closer, another piece of myself falling away. My inner voice screaming to get out. She knows she was created for more. She does not belong here.

Fueled by faith, and little else, I trudge through the muck of confusion. Footsteps heavy, deliberate, requiring  more energy than normal to place one in front of the other. Bending to pick up the pieces of my former self, haphazardly strewn throughout the path I’m walking. I hold each in my palm, examining closely under the microscope of recovery. Knowing they will never form the same puzzle  they once did, they are nonetheless valuable. Tarnished, I brushed away the lose dirt and slide them into my pocket.  I inch forward. Slow but diligent.

I could say I don’t know how I got here.  Truth is, I do.

I know better than to poke the bear.

Unwilling to stay in the box.

Feet on the edge of the cliff.

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Courtesy flush, please

11 Nov

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Okay, ladies. Let’s talk.

I’m not sure why bathroom etiquette is not taught in school. It really should be…say starting in kindergarten when they teach you to wash your hands after going.

It appears to be skill that is lacking among some women.  Probably among some men too…but I don’t frequent their bathrooms so I’ll keep this to the ladies in the house.

Rule #1 – If possible, please leave an empty stall between us. Meaning, if a person is in stall 1, skip stall 2, and use stall 3.  There is no need for your feet to touch mine…in fact, it’s a little creepy.

Rule #2 – Flush…Flush…Flush.. Flush often. If in doubt, flush again.  You can never flush too much.

Just FLUSH.

Rule #3 – I’m not in there to have conversation….and frankly neither should you. There are lots of places to make a call…sitting on the bowl should not be one of them.

YES, the person on the other end of the call CAN tell where you are…bathrooms echo. I know this because my husband subjected me to this mental image torture before I put an END.TO.IT.

Once it’s in this mind trap, it’s hard to erase….

To recap ladies, please, please, don’t pee and chat….or worse, poop and chat.

Rule #4 – Which brings us to this…. If you are a public pooper, please have the courtesy to choose the stall that is the furthest away from the entrance. No one needs their nostrils ripped out and handed to them upon entering the room.

It’s just not nice.

Oh, and if you are a serial public pooper, you may want to invest in some poo-pouri for your purse. Just spray in the bowl before you sit.  It’s magic!    (tested out on the husband mentioned above)

Trust me, your friends…heck, everyone,  will love you for it!

Point is, there are rules ladies. Follow them.  Do your part to keep America…and our bathrooms… beautiful.

.…steps off soap box…..

Never heard of Poo-Pouri? Watch this witty commercial for your daily chuckle:   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWks4qtrESbtEvrTy0Qt9mQ

Go Left

3 Nov

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Getting ready for work this morning, I slipped on a familiar pair of pants. Hmph…tighter than I remembered.

The side zipper biting into my fleshy hip. I take a few steps, shake out my legs… trying to decide if I can tolerate 9 hours with the pinch….Undecided….Shruggingly rationalizing that maybe they will get looser as the day goes on….Sliding a sweater over my tresses, I glance at my reflection.

Muffin top….

Not.gonna.work….I flip through the hangers with a bit more force than necessary to find a slightly roomer version… without the pinch.

One more look….Turning to the left, then the right.

WHAT THE HELL? My sweater, which I’ve  decided at this VERY moment is my favorite, has a spot on the sleeve….not a little spot either.  Surely it wasn’t there the last time I wore it. I wouldn’t have wasted the energy to wash, dry and hang…damn the wasted energy!

Frustrated…feeling like I must have gained five pounds JUST this weekend…. and THIS is why my clothes shrunk…and has stains.

I’m mad…mad at my weekend food choices….chocolate drizzled popcorn…wine…cheese…Oh to HELL with the Mexican deliciousness!

I toss the sweater in the trash. Heading back into the black hole that is my closet, it  has now consumed my daily dose of self esteem. I don’t even care at this point. Wherever my hands land, that is what I’m going with.

I forgo cute shoes for flats…the right toe slightly chewed by the Damn Daisy Dog. WHATEVER, that is how I feel at this point.

BLAH…

Spilling my coffee…dropping my phone…and my book…using fumes left in my tank to get the car on the road.

I listen to music in an attempt to sooth the angry spirit now roaming inside. It is looking for any little trigger to sink it’s teeth…I mouth the lyrics without much energy. Drinking the last of my  coffee, the heat long gone from the 45 minute ride.

Traffic is unusually light.

I glance at the clock, noting that  I’m actually a little early. Fishing my sunglasses from the bottom of my purse, I look around at the other cars rushing around me. I wonder if they are running late…or are they early too?

And…out of no where the fog lifts.

 

Of course my belly is rounder than it used to be….

I have never known the feeling of hunger. I have enough.

My tummy isn’t as toned and etched as it once was in my twenties….I’ve lived a couple extra decades…happily.

This abdomen stretched to hold two healthy miracles to full term, a decade apart. They changed the world for the better. They are my greatest gift.

 

It is softer, wider, lived in….

  I’m blessed. I am thankful.

No complaints. Just gratitude.

Perspective changes everything.

Into the Light

11 Oct

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Because life isn’t always sunshine and puppy dog tails….and it is OKAY to bring that part of you to the table too. Pull up a chair and have conversation with it….and about it.

Surely we’ve learned by now that life is to short to hide behind the curtain of perfection. Keeping you trapped with the illusion of control, it is nourished by fear.  Movements limited by the box you’ve constructed around you. Each layer of protection adding a brick to the pile, building until it towers over you,  impairing your vision… and ability to see the future. When hope retreats, the shadows slithers in.

Shining a light on the pieces I’d rather hide leaves me vulnerable. Yes.

It allows space for judgment. Yes.

But where there is light, darkness must flee.

I fight the demon of depression with all my might. Tremendously thankful that he rarely wins these days. However, it isn’t for lack of trying on his part. Like an old boyfriend who thinks there is a snowball’s chance that the love will rekindle, he shows up regularly at the gate holding roses and calling my name.

“Aren’t you tired? Sick and tired? Come rest in my arms.”  he whispers

Tossing a small wave as I walk by the pen that contains him, I smile internally.  Smirking because today I have the upper hand.  He doesn’t know just how blessed I am.  Don’t misunderstand, he isn’t interested in hearing. Unreasonable and manipulative, he is.  He disputes my truth, throwing daggers into my picture perfect memory.  But today I move like a ninja, avoiding his taunts with quickness and agility. My bouncy step flippant to his gestures. His words rolling off my shoulders, crashing on the cement beneath my feet, my ears muffle the sounds.

Admittedly, though,  there are times I get a little to close to the fence. Mesmerized by the reflection of self pity, he pulls me in. His breath swirling into mine. Brushing the hair out of my eyes he requests a dissertation of all the wrongs. His arms around my shoulders, pulling me closer as I melt into him. Buying me drinks while we talk, he piles each ill on top of the other. Stacking like a game of Jenga. Trusting him now, I mouth the last crime against my heart. Before the sentence completes,  the ills tumble to the ground, embarrassing me with erupting  sound of shattering glass in an otherwise quiet room. Heads turning quickly in my direction  to see the mess I’ve made. It is public humiliation.   Knowing my weaknesses, he pushes my emotions to the top until they over flow, spilling out in the form of tears.

He is no friend of mine.

Yet my feet do not move. Stuck as he dives deeper into my pain exposing wounds that have yet to heal.  I’m paralyzed in the darkness.  Weak from  being in the pit to long, the lack of sunshine and food. I use the last remaining scraps of energy I can muster to rally the truths of Faith.  I lean into the scripture they speak, allowing it to form a shield against my body. Limp from exhaustion, their wings carry me to the safety of the sidelines… and I rest.

Breathing in God’s grace until my lungs are full,  I rise stronger than the time before.  Bones mended, heart healing by the freshly oxygenated blood in my veins. Vowing to never return to this cottage of despair, I stand to brush the dirt from my backside, shaking lose the excess. My legs still wobbly, I walk towards the sun. It’s light eclipsing the mess I’m leaving behind.

Desperate  for more control over the curves thrown my direction. I recant the words softly spoken over me in battle.

 Choose Life. Choose Happiness.

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One of my favorite songs that help me walk into the sun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGAYNKDyIU

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

The Mask

9 Oct

mask Stepping onto the scene of the masquerade ball, my mask broadly smiling with dimples in my cheeks, long lashes and painted lips. I dance until my feet tire.  My belly hungry for connection.

With the setting sun, I wrap up the sum of my day and eat it for dinner.  The taste not quite what I desire but I chew it anyway.  Swallowing slowing, drinking between bites, so as not to choke on the pieces.

My mind craving light. I search for it in the history of the hours previous, flipping through the words, the movements, allowing  space for kindness.  But finding myself standing alone on the porch, my offering brought inside, the door closed behind.

I turn and walk home, sadness riding on my shoulders.

The mask that  previously fit like a glove has become a bit lose lately. The elastic stretched and fraying. It is possible that I’ve outgrown the mold from which it was formed. Afraid it will fall off at the most inopportune time, exposing the pink skin beneath, I keep my movements small. Contained.

Working to replace what is worn , I try to fashion the mask into something usable.  My spirit prolonging the effort…mobility slowed. It is conflicted.  Uncertain if it should repair or remove, noting that each presents its own challenges. Undecided as to which is worse….Which it can endure.

The road is quickly disappearing beneath me…. Road

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