Warrior…

 

Oh my word, I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be back:  I have been unable to access my account since Sunday.  When I would try to bring up WordPress, all I saw was a blank page, with their name at the top.  At first, I thought-ok, God wants to give me a day to reflect, no big-probably just some fluke.  By Tuesday I was frantic, and incredibly anxious that the good folks in customer service didn’t seem to understand my plight.  At one point I was sent a screen shot of my blog:  I knew it was accessible through Google, or any other search engine!  I could see it-but as far as writing, editing or reading-nothing.

I felt real rage.  I felt bottled up inside.  I missed my readers and my favorite blogs.  I had work to do in terms of nominations for the Mystery Blogger Award (thank you Beckie <3) and The Versatile Blogger nomination came from my friend Stu (you’re the best!! I owe you an email, I know.  I know.  🙂 I felt diminished, frustrated to the point of angry tears-what in the Harry Potter was going on, anyway?

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By the time yesterday rolled around, I was petulant and weepy.  I have to admit I lost my integrity at one point, as I railed at the people who were trying to “help” me.  I have no proof of this besides this particular gut feeling, but I must say that I felt as if I was being censored because I write and speak the truth.  The term for this is shadow banning.  I have always had an opinion, a voice-and even at my lowest point in my drinking career, when my self esteem was in the gutter, I still spoke my mind, stood up for the under dog, and got myself into more trouble than I bargained for.  Yet, as time went on, I realized that God gave me a pie hole to use it; my inappropriate lack of political correctness, my anger with those who just don’t give a shit, my big fat nose in something, or many things it not belonged.

This morning, after getting in touch with Stu (at Something to Stu Over-please, check out his blog-his musings are on point, written with humor and compassion) and bawled like a baby about my conundrum.  I checked with customer service: no new emails, no return phone call.  I ended up trying Google, and was able to sign in.  I was so caught up in relief, that I forgot how upset I had been.  If this has happened to any of you, please comment below, as I have experienced other problems with Twitter and Facebook, even YouTube-and from what I have learned, I am not alone.

Hey, if I am wrong, my apologies, for sure.

I would rather believe in this platform.

It would be so much easier.

Alas~

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?

 

There’s Something About Mary

 

I asked for a song, and the Holy Spirit gave me this beautiful aria-always a personal favorite.  I love it with or without the words, and my mother so adored it that it was sung at her funeral service-and ever since the day we said farewell, this song has moved me to tears.

I don’t speak of mom often, but that may be changing.  After some hairy and downright scary few years of being at each other’s throats; she suffered a personality disorder, the same one her mother suffered from.  There were narcissistic tendencies, and I was the Scapegoat of the family.  The worst years were high school through Villanova, and I stewed about this for years.  Therapist after therapist would listen, but no one diagnosed me until I moved out here, to Lancaster County.  I was working for an incredibly uptight (jackass) judge, had been in a wheelchair for months after being hit by a Harley.  I was left for dead in the middle of Route 897-if not for the kindness of a young Amish man (who went for help), I would have been killed on that dark, country road.  I was drinking that evening.  An argument with my husband ensued, I made him stop the truck.  You can figure the rest.

Shortly after my recovery, there was a triple murder in our small town of Kleinfeltersville, Pennsylvania.  I was suffering from severe anxiety at the time, had just returned to work.  When I picked up the Sunday paper, I screamed.  Bloody.  Murder.  The lunatic who shot three people was a friend of ours.  The bodies were found underneath the K-Ville Hotel.  The victims were made to dig their own graves.

As of that morning, I didn’t leave my house for an entire month.  The secretaries at the courthouse were furious with me.  I had been absent more than present, for pretty much the entire time I worked there.  Finally, at the request of my husband, I sought professional therapy.

“You have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It began because of your mother’s abuse, and worsened after the accident and murders. I suggest you remain in sessions for the foreseeable future.”

The minute the words “your mother abused you” came out of his mouth?  I was pissed.  She had not!  Why would he say such a thing?

It took me years to process this information.  I was young and entitled, not yet on my Christian journey.  I drank to ease the pain of awareness.  I drank until I threatened my husband with a knife-over a bottle of wine.  That was it for me.  I went to church, and often.  I was still drinking and drugging when I began; but I tried to get to a service each Sunday, depending on how bad the hangover.  Eleven years and quite a few slips later, I have an established love for Jesus, who has been my rock through everything.

In a new church, I learned about true forgiveness.  I learned about love, and grace.  My spiritual journey took me to places I never thought I would be-I had no hopes for the future, no positivity, and zero self esteem.  All of that has changed, and not because of my own effort.  I give the glory to Abba when I think of the changes that have brightened my life.  Self esteem.  Joy.  Creativity.  Love.

I forgave my mother somewhere in between realizing how lucky we were to have her, and as the days go by I often feel terrible remorse for my actions; I was no angel, I had a hot Irish temper and a CHIP on my shoulder.

If you can’t forgive because you should, forgive because it heals your soul.  With forgiveness comes freedom, only then will the chains of anger, self pity and resentment-only then will they be broken.

DWAIN

On Persecution

 

More than one person has thrown bullshit my way over the past few weeks.  Even my cats are pushing my buttons.  As I write this, I am in a cringeworthy mood-150 degrees in the shade, humid as Harry…..we worked outside in the garden until we were withered nubs of nothingness, lost to the odor that permeated the air (a mix of our bodies and chicken manure).  Holy crap on a cracker we hate this heat and humidity.  We are cold weather people, as odd as this sounds, and do all of our outdoor activities in the Spring, Fall and Winter.  Summer comes round Heidelberg Township?  You won’t see Team Hoffman out and about, not past noon, anyway.  When Jesse starts digging a hole beneath the house, in the cat cave, it’s time to come inside.

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Run for your lives! The Sun is out!

Anyway, my misery is more than heat related.  Why, oh merciful Jesus WHY do people try and screw with me?  Apparently, it is quite normal these days to accuse a person of flat out lying; a character assassination for sure, and not something I would ever accuse someone of without proof.  Oh no, these frenemies are people I have known for years!  I have enough friends, I don’t need to kiss anyone’s buttocks for any reason whatsoever-what I don’t understand is, why am I tolerating this?

I just went through a bizarro world argument with a friend who has known me for years.  Whenever we attempted to grow closer in the past, I would somehow, inadvertently and unbeknownst to me (I’m pretty careful about others’ feelings, I am sensitive myself-and blacking out isn’t a reason anymore, so there’s that) commit a faux pas so merciless, so vile, so uncalled for-oh for crying out loud!  It’s like, when people are talking bullshit on you behind your back, but you’re in the room:

“Umm.  I’m right here.  I am standing right HERE!”

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The other problem, eh, person I deal with is my coworker at church.  My theory is that she went back to work after retiring, and maybe is a little cranky and obnoxious on Sunday morning.  I do not, I repeat, I do not have an issue.  I am trying to understand why they have a problem with me.

Here’s the thing:  I would like a semi-peaceful existence.  Gone are the days where I would instigate a fight, or backstab another person.  That ship sailed when I was baptized, baby, and my mother was the Queen of gaslighting, picking fights with me over events that never, in this world or any other, took place.  Quite frankly, when my “friend” attacked me recently, over something that didn’t happen, I felt quite triggered.  My stomach tightened, I shook from deep within.  It took me hours to figure out the connection to my childhood and my PTSD.  I can’t abide this type of tomfoolery in my life-I will, and I repeat-I will in no way butter your cupcakes out of fear of losing a friend.  I am a good and loyal person, who spares not her compassion, and goes out of her way to be authentic, with everyone.  I won’t apologize for something I did not do.  Neither will I argue ridiculousness with, why, anyone!

So, my “friend” is none too pleased I flat out steamrolled her propaganda.  In the end?  She patronized and chastened me, and then asked, “Are we good?,” as if I had been the one to go after her.

And as far as the church lady?  I went down to Lititz and bought the most irritating, preposterous vintage outfit, including a hat that would do my Audrey Hepburn proud.  The dress is backless, with a slit up to my thigh.  And you can bet your sweet Adam’s apple that my thigh high boots will top off the train wreck.

It will be my pleasure.  Really.

 

 

Break Every Chain

 

This past week we travelled to Potter County, Pennsylvania, for my birthday, which was yesterday.  There is so very much that has changed, and frankly, for the better.  I cannot remember being this happy in my lifetime, and without Jesus?  I would never have come this far.  He broke down every wall, chain and border; he strengthened me, and I needed it, with many lessons along the last twelve months, and I have to say this:  I have taken back my life-I leave it up to the Holy Spirit to guide me, literally moment by moment.  This has taken constant work, nerves of steel (no such thing with me, but I am getting so much better) and one heck of a ton of grieving.  As Richard Gannon, an expert in the field of Narcissistic Abuse and CPTSD, says:

You must feel the feels, in order to walk through the pain.”

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We stayed at a friends cabin, in the loveliest of spots, complete with pond, hiking trails, and all of God’s creatures-which mostly takes my breath away and scares the life force out of me, depending on the day and animal.  At first, I was hesitant to go-I have a lot of work to do, and I love my garden at this time of year.  Then there was the what the HELL are we going to do with the cats?????? issue….and then I stopped dead in my tracks.  My poor husband, with everything he has gone through, including distancing himself from his son (who is trying, indeed, to make amends, all glory and honor going to JESUS.)

I have had a few emotional days recently.  On Mother’s Day, my step son text me-our first communication in months.  Throwing all of the rules out the window, I immediately text back:

“Bud, life is short, let’s put everything in the past and just love one another, ok?”

My heart was full of forgiveness and gratitude, I completely let down my guard and realized I still had not received an apology since our “argument.”  We truly needed to hold him accountable for his actions.  Yet, how could I ignore him?  I felt the love of Jesus, flowing from every crevice of my soul.  I did something I would later regret.  I text my sister Happy Mothers Day.  Short and sweet.  She did not respond, and I thank God she did not, as I lost the sister I knew years ago.  I tried to help her, but if there is a person in your life who makes you feel bad?  That perp has got to go.  It will hurt, you will throw things, and please stock up on tissues-trust me on this.

After a while, when the toxicity is removed from your life, you will begin to bloom as never before.  The air is sweeter, your creativity swells-your posture changes and so does the reaction of your tribe; I have so much gratitude and love for the family Dwain and I have created.  Turns out?  you can choose your family, and if you give this to God, he will put the most amazing group of authentic, loving people in your life!  From treasured old friends, to the family we have at our home church Hosanna, A Fellowship of Christians: we are loved and supported in new and exciting ways.

As I dried myself off in the shower, I caught a tear or two on my tongue.  This is my first birthday without my sister, and there for a moment, my throat closed.  I let myself “feel the feels,” brought it to Jesus and came away with this:

“You are loved by many, and love many yourself.  Don’t let her take one more moment of your life.”

I wish each and every one of you peace that surpasses all understanding.  ❤

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Pistols At Dawn

 

No, this is not a docudrama on the perils of standing on stage props, poor Marilyn Manson.  I loathe everything that man stands for, but I have to admit-the poor CD sales, his broken ankle on the first night of his Heaven Upside Down tour; then the attempt to climb a stage prop of two guns pointed in different directions which resulted in the whole works crushing him-well, that’s a shame, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.  I must admit I did chuckle at first, not that I am gloating, but man o’ day-what do you expect when Satan is the god you serve? It is my prayer that as he recuperates, he has a change of heart-but that’s another story and I am sidetracked.

We were up in the jaw dropping beauty of the Adirondack mountains, on lake Algonquin.  Prior to the trip, I was an anxious and traumatized mess: fake news of the September 23 Armageddon, the flea situation, the hurricanes, the fear of flying high and actually enjoying life for a change-all of this led to a reoccurrence of my PTSD symptoms.  In 25 years my husband and I had not had a “real” vacation together, and as we hit the state of New York, my nerves began to mellow, I was beginning to exhale and I cannot praise God enough for His part in getting us there.

Prior to leaving, we had ripped out carpet, vacuumed every crevice, and at 5:30 in the morning I sprayed the last of the flea killer, and closed up shop.  My “best friend” of twenty-five years was taking care of my only indoor cat, Maya Angelou.  She was to feed her in the evening-I had no problems trusting a grown woman, RN and administrator of a local veteran’s hospital-I left food and instructions on the table.  My in laws were right across the street.  What could possibly go wrong?  As it turned out?  Plenty.

On our third evening there, I turned on my cell phone.  I had planned to stay away from my phone, social media, news venues and the like.  I needed to heal, and I wanted to spare my husband the constant freak outs about the world in which we live.  For whatever reason, I felt a nudge to check to see if all was well in the state of Pennsylvania.  I was relaxed, happy and hadn’t self-harmed in days.  My body was repairing itself, and I looked forward to the next leg of our journey.  We were to spread dad’s ashes on Lake Pleasant, hike Auger Falls, dine in a lovely five star restaurant, and I hadn’t seen Dwain so happy in ages.

The text read-‘Hi sweetheart.  Just wanted you to know that I was over to feed Maya this morning (what?  My father in law was assigned the mornings, why was she even there on a Sunday morning?) and I was wearing white pants.  I was covered in fleas.   Is there anything you would like me to do?’

Holy mother Mary, mother of Jesus, and Joseph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She went on to say that the only room she had been in was the kitchen.  I text her back immediately, telling her to please turn on the air conditioner, asking if she wouldn’t mind setting off a bomb or two DOWNSTAIRS, as Maya the cat stays in the bedroom.  The very reason we hadn’t set off anything upstairs.  I phoned her and left a message, telling her where the vacuum cleaner was, and also reassuring her that I would make this up to her.

In less than the five minutes it took me to do this, my blood pressure sky high, my mellow harshed-I became hysterical-worried about the cat, my friend, the house………it was like being shot from a cannon, and I immediately regressed and began tearing at my skin, bawling like a child, inconsolable.  My husband was livid.  Why?  Why would she text me this news?  How could she be so cruel?  Was she not capable of figuring this out on her own.  And then it hit me.  THERE WERE NO FLEAS IN THE KITCHEN.  I KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE ONLY ROOMS THAT THE DOG AND CAT WERE COMFORTABLE IN.   There was nary a flea in my abode when we left for New York. My husband took me in his arms, shush honey, it’s okay, I’ll call my father, we will get through this, shhhush baby…….he was in touch with his dad immediately, and Tom was to set off a bomb in the kitchen.  Relief warmed my muscles, the blood returned to my face.

I phoned my brother and told him I would call him when we returned.  I wanted him to know that I was turning said phone off and would not even look at it until our return.  When we were unpacking, the phone must have fallen out of my purse, and there it remained for three days.  I had bought my “friend” a lovely gift for tending to my feline.  I flicked on my phone to call her to see if she was home, but was immediately stopped dead in my tracks.  She had left three voicemails and a text.  She had called each night of our stay, and then left another text:

“If you EVER get around to checking your messages, there are still a number of fleas in the kitchen.  THANK YOU.”

Appalled, I thought back to the many times I had given her the benefit of the doubt when she belittled me.  Because of low self esteem I had clung to her advice, and many times I felt her to be intentionally cruel and callous.  One Summer I had given her a pair of earrings.  I took great care in picking them out, lovely avocado halves, expensive but worth it.  Days went by and I finally called her to ask if she liked the gift:

“Please give them to one of your nieces.  I will put them on the porch.”

Many, many times I had asked myself if it were possible that she was a narcissist.  That is not a term I use lightly, and I pushed the thoughts out of my head immediately.  I thought back to the day I called her, the day my sister sent me the email that would end our relationship.  I had told my sister my feelings, for the first time in, well, ever.  I was hysterical, crushed at the idea of losing my blood, my world upside down, I cried out to her.

“You fucked up Michele.  You fucked up.”  The harder I cried in protest, the louder and meaner her words.

Jesus has taken the scales off of my peepers.  I have learned that highly sensitive and empathetic, albeit broken people are subject to being surrounded by the Jezebel Spirit.  But I am stronger and wiser now.  She is a part of my past, and there will be no confrontation, because at the end of the day, that is exactly what she wants.

Might as Well Try…..

 

 

Sitting here, arguing with my better half.  He hates it when I am on the computer, and will literally argue with me over something so minutely random, (tonight it was what he was having for dessert- “I am having COOKIES for dessert, not brownies, cookies.” that I lose all train of thought, focus and joi de vivre.  I can damn well guarantee you that, if I were to sit here gazing at  his every move, talking my fool head off-that he wouldn’t say word one back.  Seriously?

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Ironically, this blog is about how desperately I love him, no matter the antics.  You see, Dwain loves me back, in a profoundly loyal and uplifting way.  He has seen every side of me, (and there are a few sides I like even less than he) but as this year of breaking bad habits and finding our freedom in Christ has progressed?  After all of the struggles, addictions and demons the enemy has thrown our way?  God has come back with blessings, tenfold.

Two years ago, whilst in the New Age (please, I pray your are not) I noticed that crows followed me everywhere.  I was having Reiki sessions at the time, and wherever I went, this loud CAW CAW could be heard beside me.  My husband thought it cute, back then.  As we pulled into the driveway of the beautiful cabin we are now staying in (thanks to generous friends) they migrated to the trees, hundreds of crows….I thought they were my spirit animals, I thought it spiritual.  As it turned out, I had been manifesting demonic energy.  Most Reiki practitioners believe they are doing healing work, and do not appreciate being red pilled.  However, it is a FACT, that the Reiki Masters are calling in demons.  These are the same confused people who think that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is an “Ascended Master.”  They believe they are dealing with loving and attentive spirit guides, and I have written much on the subject of me falling out of the New Age and into the arms of Jesus.  I was absolutely thrown on my knees and I wept like a child.  Somehow, he had snapped me out of it, and the truth is more shocking now than it was back then.

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Not only were there a frightening number of rather large birds, but I drank every day of that vacation, ruining my birthday and throwing me into a bout of depression.  Dwain does not know of this, as it would hurt him; to hurt that man would be an act of raw evil.  He deserves this peace, the quiet lull of bubbling creek, the blue jays and chipmunks-this is what we here this year.

Not one crow.  Not a darn one.