DON’T FEED THE FEARS….

I took my third dose of Doxy today, and admittedly I am feeling better. I can tell you that the biggest red flag for me, when something is wrong with my body (she’s been through a lot)is emotion. Whether it be mild irritation, weepiness, or flat out rage-this is my indicator that something is amiss. Believe it or not, I am not a weeper. But I’m not afraid of my tears, we need the release as anxiety and depression often rule the day.

I had big plans for my husband today, BIG PLANS I tell you. First stop-Good’s store in Schaefferstown. I rose at 6:30 this morning, eager to get out on a Spring-like day. My mood had vastly improved since yesterday, and my attitude was decent as I descended on the store. We get anything and everything at this little Mennonite boutique, from paint to outdoor wear, to kitchen appliances. I love their clearance department, and together, Dwain and I have spent approximately three million dollars on necessities. I was there to pick up a few cards, gifts and mainly-to return my husband’s dress pants that I had purchased at Christmas-they didn’t fit, but the tags were there-as was my receipt of purchase.

I was dealing with a sweet young girl, Olivia-she was telling me that she had to have a manager look at the pants before we could do an exchange. As I was leering at the candles (please, I have SO MANY candles, but for whatever reason-I always want more)when a gentleman in his forties called after me.

“Excuse me, Ma’am?,” I associate that name with little old ladies, and even at the age of 56? It isn’t palatable, from anyone.

“We cannot exchange these pants. There is a hair on the pocket of the brown pair, and the blue have a few hairs on them.”

INCREDULOUS, I told him the pants had never been worn, just tried on.

“Maybe if you took them home and cleaned them up?”

It took all of three seconds for me to go from status quo to flat out deranged angry. The cashier behind him, mildly alarmed at the tone of my voice, busied herself with a return.

“Sir, I panted, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH MONEY MY HUSBAND AND I SPEND IN THIS STORE???????,” I half screamed in indignation.

“Sorry, Ma’am, these can not be sold again.” I felt the rage wash over me like hard rain. I counted to ten. I took a deep breath, but none of these things helped to quash my Irish temper, and only now, looking back, do I regret the way I acted.

“I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER SPEND ANOTHER BLOODY RED CENT IN THIS STORE!!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED IN THIS MANNER BEFORE, AND I HAVE HAD IT WITH THIS F***ING, PIECE OF SH*T STORE, NEVER!!!!!!!!!”

My words echoed in my head as I headed to the parking lot. I almost broke the sliding glass door on the way out, and for that I am sorry…..but I pity and I mean PITY the jerk who sent me reeling. While at the grocery store next door, I bawled into the phone whilst standing in the dog food aisle. My poor husband, furious as well but trying to calm me down, told me he didn’t need a Valentine’s gift, that I was enough, to stop crying and go home and rest.

And I didn’t hold back a giggle when he said, “I’ll stop in with the man on my way home tonight.”

Like I said, I pity the fool……….

Will You Keep on Loving Me?

Sweet Jesus I hate these days.  The days where, on the surface, everything is just perfect-long walk in nature, lunch with my bestie (she bought, as usual) and a trip to Home Depot for flowers, and flea bombs.  Beautiful and breezy, a nice Spring day up in the Northeast.

I ache.  I hurt with every fiber of my being.  It began today, when my friend confided that her sister has cancer.  All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole, I was missing my dog-and so heartbroken for her I hesitated to speak.  But this is not the problem.  I sped home, as if on a mission, to let Jesse out, and do some Spring cleaning.  As I watched the pup, all I could think of was the brevity of dogs’ lives, and I wept.  

If my husband were home, he would ask what’s wrong: and I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the issue.  I’m embarrassed.  I have it all, why am I so forlorn?  It’s as if the whole entire world is resting on my shoulders-my fears and insecurities will win this day, this I know.  Can’t you be grateful and bleed all at once?

This isn’t even close to what Jesus felt at the moment he took on our sin and was separated from God.  It’s nothing and everything, holding it all up for the world to see-how far I’ve come, how “good” I am right now.  I’m tired of being counted out rather than counted on.  So, for now, I will take a hot shower.  Sit with God awhile, and pick up my cross.

Depression hurts.   And not just the depressed.

I can’t let them down again, my tribe.  They have been through too much.  So I will banish myself to the kingdom of Irrelevance, and wipe my tears on the twin city of Despair.

Like Some Heroine….

Every other Sunday, I work at our church Welcome Center.  I genuinely like my coworker, (names have been changed to protect the criminally insane, mainly me) Alice.  When we began working together, about two years ago, she frightened me to death.  I feared she may be judgmental, and I’ll be honest-she intimidated me-two years ago, that is.

When I first began attending Hosanna, I wasn’t in the best place at that time in my life.  I hadn’t dealt with my poor self esteem issues, and was not aware that my PTSD was eating away at my life, making me cripplingly insecure, and a people pleaser.  I tried to hard.  I wanted everyone to love me.  I had just come from a very broken church, and the grief enveloped me to the point where I am sure it showed.

Alice is pleasant, and I admire her status as a cancer survivor.  She likes things done her way, so we have fallen into a pattern of her doing the desk work, and me doing the people work.  I know she means well, but I am beginning to tire of her putting me down.  I am beginning to feel as if I should protect my heart, as she criticizes almost everything I do-but here’s the catch-she’s my sister and I love her, so therein lies the rub.

I told Alice about a picture of one of the congregants cats, who had just passed away.

I don’t do any social media.  You have to be very careful being on the internet, it is very evil and you are swayed way too easily.  You have no idea what goes on, (she is shaking her head as if I am a toddler) and we (Christians) would do best to stay away.

I mentioned that I wrote a blog on WordPress, a Christ centered one at that.  She mumbled underneath her breath.

I wanted to say something, yet gone is my rage.  I find it impossible to remain angry with some folks, and what is the point of harboring resentment?  I need to speak up or shut up.  I will pray for a way to approach her-say my peace and be done with it.

I believe she would be horrified to think she has hurt me; and I know I enabled the behavior simply by allowing it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is kind and compassionate-yet today it kind of stood out, and gone are my paranoid ways: as a sensitive and intuit, I found it excruciatingly difficult to discern between being oversensitive and just plain hurt.  Over the past two years, Jesus and I have been working on my self esteem, values and perceptions.  I now know that I am okay, worthy and pure in God’s eyes.  This has changed not only my persona, but my boundaries.

I have found freedom in authenticity.  It has been a tiring, painful journey to get to this stage in the game-where I have tired of the human punching bag role in life.  I think myself equal with all people, no better, no worse.

How is Jesus working in your life?  Anyone have a similar experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts~<3

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

After a fairly blasé week, my husband was kind enough to take me to the Annual Vintage Market in Manheim, Pennsylvania.  Something about Amish country…..so vivid and pleasing to the eye in Spring.  I love the little boys and girls all dressed up, riding in the horse and buggies with family-they are so precious, so innocent!   Imagine watching a sunset featuring nothing but countryside and a lone buggy.  Surreal.  We are so blessed. Sometimes we see the children out and about, helping in the gardens, playing in driveways or out and about-it brightens our day every time.

Going to this market was a tremendous step for me, as it required searching, planning and stepping completely out of my comfort zone.  We never had   two cents to rub together, not that I minded.  But the last thing on our list was entertainment, and/or anything that required gas.  I never for one minute felt less than.  I never griped about our social life, or lack there of-I was perfectly content to stay shuddered away at the farmhouse we have lived in our entire time together.  Twenty seven years.  I love my woman cave, and it takes me a good kick in the ass to leave; the orchards, pond and gardens, my Victorian bat cave that is the cheeriest room I have ever encountered-and this is the very first year I have not spent eons of time in my boudoir, but the sunlit room entices me.  I am proud to have come down to the living area, it was like kicking smack, I swear to Jesus.

As we were leaving, me-holding my treasures, happily rehashing the morning, when we see her.  Oh my soul, oh my soul.  She was a mess, dirty and raggedy clothing, stocking feet (NO SHOES) her hair in bad shape.  I was hit hard by the guilt and shame.  Survivor’s guilt, or a form of it.  How is it fair that I have been blessed beyond measure, and she….well,  but for the grace of God go I.  My poor husband.  I wept salty tears and blew my nose.  No need to tell him why the water shed, he knew, God bless him.

“Honey, we don’t know that she isn’t being taken care of.  We don’t know anything about the circumstances, or the choices she made.”

That helped for a moment.  The plight of the homeless crushes the hope in me, I become one big, walking Irish sigh.  Then, as if a nudge, I am  reminded that God knows each and every one of these tragedies, and if He is going to watch the sparrows, you can bet your bottom dollar He is watching over the least of these.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have to say:  life on this planet as I know it?  I’m raising a white flag, and at the same time?  I feel His presence and am strengthened by His spirit.  Life as I know it is growing on me, and that is because after each and every struggle, after every storm the blessings blow my mind.

Later in the day, I felt the nudge but I wasn’t sure.  I waited until the nudge became a shove, and I picked up my phone.  Bracing myself, I reached out to my step-son’s girlfriend, asked her to come and clear up the miscommunication.  I tried not to watch the phone, but when I had finally given up my text was returned.

I am so sorry for everything that has transpired.

That’s a start.  She never returned my last text, so, progress, right?

 

1975 Was a Very Good Year

 

I have experienced a lifting of the veil, if you will, and recently I have taken notice to the notion that when I hear songs from the seventies?  I literally go back in time and remember what I was feeling and experiencing at the time or era the music was popular.  I remember the clothing that I wore.  I can smell the season. I believe I was gifted this sixth sense and long term memory so that I would have something to write about-I have wondered my entire life where it was that I belonged in this grand Rubik’s cube of life.

When I joined the WordPress community, I was quite nervous at first, but it soon became evident that not only was it wonderfully cathartic, but that I had a modicum of talent, which surprised no one but me.  Finally, I was creating a tribe, a community of like minded mental health advocates, smart asses and remarkably talented writers.

Oh, so when this song came on?  I was fourteen years old, sitting in the lush, green grass of my father’s freshly mowed lawn.  The smell of the grass, combined with daddy’s azalea bushes, drifted around and about me.  I was happy.  I was wearing a blue denim shirt that dad had bought me, things were tight, and I just adored the lace, the loose fit.  I was all dolled up with lip gloss, wearing White Shoulders perfume, and had just pinched my cheeks (a trick for rosy skin, on the run) in preparation for my crush, Tom Shunder, to ride his bike my way.  I don’t remember if he did, or if he did not.

They say you know what it is you want to do when you find a career you live and breathe, when just thinking about doing it makes your endorphins multiply.

So, whether I am pouring my bloody heart out, or trying to raise awareness-there is a great deal of love involved.  It is my prayer that you feel that love, know that you are not alone and that, as my dear Irish mother said:

Nothing to worry about, honey.  It all comes out in the wash.

~~~~~~~~~~

 

See Right Through Them

I might bitch about my situation, you know, with all of the people who have a hard time dealing with my new found confidence, and Zero Tolerance for Bullshit of Any Kind policy-but God has placed a treasure trove of good people in my life-I may not see them as much as I would like to-but my friends are true blue, and they love me, no matter what others may say…..and this is where future proves past.  I haven’t been mistreated or bullied for years (not counting my family and ex-best friend) but now find myself fending off attacks from every which way.  Speaking with my gal pal extraordinaire yesterday at the grocery store:  I had sent her a few videos with the hopes of red-pilling her; but as it turned out?  She ended up red-pilling me.

We were talking about the current state in which the world has been turned upside down, dumped out for all to see:  pedophilic sex trafficking rings, involving VIPs in high places; corruption at every turn, blood in our streets.  The American population has been spoon fed a lie.  And the Cabal is now running at warp speed: everything they have done is being exposed-and He will have his vengeance, it’s right there in Revelations 18.

Do narcissists every worry about Karma?  I am doubtful, as they don’t believe they are accountable for, well, anything whatsoever.  It is a statistical fact that 85% of known narcissists with the full blown personality disorder suffer early death-from Alzheimer’s primarily.  That isn’t a pleasant thought, I am not wiping my hands feverishly while gleefully spewing the facts, just the facts ma’am.  I do, however, think it ironic that those with NPD, who gaslight, malign, triangulate and misinform others about you-that so many of them end up with their memories erased.  There is a poetic justice in that they will get paid back, tenfold, in the end.

I now know why I have been given some raw deals in life-it has made me stronger, much tougher, to the point where I feared I was losing my humanity.  And just like that, while going through my Facebook feed, seeing that a good friend had lost her fur baby?  I wept like a child.  No, Jesus hasn’t taken my humanity.  He has given me the wisdom to know the difference between an insufferable hypocrite and a friend, family member, associate.

I was once a very self involved girl, who plagued friends and family alike with her inability to make decisions, or function in a grown up fashion; I needed others’ validation to even exist, but with Jesus I have found incredible FREEDOM from the burdens others put upon me-sticks and stones, yada, yada, YADA.

I don’t judge others because I know not what they are dealing with, or suffering from.  Unless you give me proof that you are, indeed, an ass?  None of my business.  So talk all you want Kleinfeltersville-it doesn’t phase me-I’m too busy winning at happiness to be brought down by your insensitivity-and I like myself just the way I am, thank you very much.

No Turning Back….

Oh what a difference a day makes!  Today was one of those times when you make snapshot pictures (in your head) of the rare moments of true and utter peace and joy.  They aren’t so few and far between, I don’t think….as of late, anyways.  People think you just quit drinking and bingo-you’re cured.  That journey is long and tethered to everything you deem important.  It took me years to feel safe in my own skin, and more years to realize that I could find laughter, joy and adventure without that monkey on my back.  And when that transpired?  I began my ascent out of the gutter and into the loving arms of Christ-improving everything that mattered.  That reminds me of the commercial with the older ladies “posting pictures” on Facebook, but thought that the “wall” was any place you chose, in your home, to tape pictures to your drywall.

“Betty, that’s not how you do this!  This isn’t how anything works in real life.”

I smile every time I think of that old commercial.  I am smiling more frequently this day, as everything came together, not unlike synchronized swimming, my blessings surrounded me wherever we went.

My girlfriend asked me to an exercise class, for older women.  I think I may have been the youngest one, and I’m telling you-I can’t move and I’m pretty sure I have a pinched nerve in my arm.  The same arm with the bad shoulder. Yet it was so much more than a class.  The average person would have looked in to the chapel and seen a group of women in their golden years.  What I saw?  A room full of sisters, mothers and life long friendships.  Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m.  There is no charge and it’s run  by Penn State Milton Hershey Health.  God has answered a prayer, more than that-he has given me a quiet hope for the future.  I  knew a few of the women from town, and they are precious, dear to me for reasons so obvious, I hope I won’t bore you by saying it-I have been grievously injured by the women in my family.  I have no relationship with my sister, and my mother passed in ’92.

I had truly held on to hope with my relationship with the monster in law.  Looking back, it appears I was trying to make peace, but ended up enabling her to emotionally abuse me as well.  Emotionally, verbally…Each time we were down at her home for a holiday, I would wonder why I didn’t simply walk down the road and have coffee with her in the beautiful front room, where we could gaze upon the birds and lovely gardens she maintains.  Something held me back, and recently I realized that, for my husband’s sake, I will have to be civil, but that doesn’t mean forced kindness or hypocrisy.

Jess and I had a hike on Elder’s Trail today, a place I have avoided for almost a year now.  The terrain is rough, it’s a bitch of a hill, and it’s out of my comfort zone.  When I got out of my jeep, I noticed a record album (yes, I know-ancient) broken in the parking lot.  I try to do my best when out in woods to pick up any stray trash in the area.  Today I was worn out, and actually thought, oh, I’ll get it later.  Strangely enough?  I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to go look at the album.  To see what song was on there that would immediately convince me He is working in my life; everywhere I am.

I inched closer to the LP, somehow knowing that there would be a song of sentimental value to me, and my relationship with Jesus as well.

Someone To Watch Over Me” by Sarah Vaughn.

The song I danced to at my first wedding, with my first husband.  No, there must be more, there must be….

Mere seconds later I was almost in tears.  God was giving me a clear sign that he was, indeed, a good, good father-and he didn’t miss a trick.  He had been watching over me all day, all year, for the past 56 years of my life.