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

One Spinal Cracker

 

A few days ago, I told y’all the story about my unpleasant encounter with a woman from my exercise class, the trainer actually.  I called her Harriet.  

Harriett was hysterical after my factual retelling of the day when Mrs. Hoffmaster, my Kindergarten teacher, told me I would have to come for a few days during the Summer, to learn how to skip.  Yes, you read that right.  As I am regaling my audience with the story of how I was almost left back a grade, I was oh so rudely interrupted by Miss Thang.

“Oh no, Michele, that couldn’t have happened,” she is shaking her head, as if correcting a small child.  She went on to argue that she was a teacher for blah, blah, blah years-well, you can just imagine.  Stunned at first, I rallied for the cause and told her (nicely, I thought) that YES, INDEEDY DO, I GREW UP IN PHILADELPHIA, NOT THIS AREA.  WHO ARE YOU TO CALL ME A LIAR????  Ok, I didn’t say that part, but I argued with her until she shut her pie hole.

The women next to me mouthed, What the fuck?  I, on the other hand, had absolutely no problem saying WTF out loud.  As my face is my tell, I can only imagine the look I gave her.  I expected the situation to rectify after she apologized to me: needless to say, that wasn’t exactly an option.

On Thursday, I brought a carrot cake to class for the September birthdays.  I love to bake, and the ladies in Bands love to eat-so it works out nicely.  It was the first layer cake I had ever made, successfully that is.  I strategically parked next to the church (where class is held) so I had less of a chance at dropping my masterpiece.  🙂

While in class, I updated my girlfriend as she hadn’t been in class that day.  We both took notice that Harriet would not so much as look my way-let alone offer an apology.  Afterwards, Sherry and I stood outside, next to my jeep, and finished our convo  about the “incident.”

You did the right thing, sticking up for yourself, she said.  I think she owes you an apology, at the very least.

At that very moment, the diva walked past us, and gave me the oddest look-her eyes bulging out of her head-behind her prescription sunglasses.  At first I thought she may have overheard us, but I had nothing to hide.  And then it hit me, she was outraged that I had parked so close to her church.  She couldn’t believe the depravity, I mean, who did I think I was, anyway?

Here’s the rub.  Just last week she had confided that she thought she may be developing Alzheimer’s, as her father had died from the ravaging disease.  Knowing what I know, I asked her what type of personality he had.  I know that certain personality types are much more prone to dementia, especially the Narcissist.

She thought about that a second before answering.

Total narcissist, had to control everything freaking detail of our lives.  Just a very unhappy man.”

Oh, Harriet…

 

 

 

The Weeping Cherry

light painting at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The holidays are over, and as for me and my house? We will serve the Lord, whilst picking up the tornado wreckage that is our abode. Boxes, tissue paper and gifts, looking like a scene in Toy Story, which by the way? That movie ain’t for any kids I know, serious sexual undertones and witchery abounds…take your kids to see Halloween, trust me, the therapy bills will be much lower.

I had lifted myself out of the funk I was in by Christmas Eve. As I sat, crumpled over in my chair, I heard the faintest of words, and they grew, in volume and enthusiasm…it was our Children’s Choir, and singing Silent Night at that. I felt a surge of hope, a hope that this year, we win the war against Human Trafficking, Suicide and Homelessness. Anything is possible with God.

As I finished up the dishes, I walked out on to our deck Christmas evening, to see the stars and find some peace.

What at first appeared to be a shadow of a man, (Good Grief!!!!) appeared instead a Weeping Cherry tree. A gift from my husband, as I have wanted one to place at our golden Dylan’s grave out back.

I dried my hands on the dishtowel; and ran to the man who embodies my soul, and makes all my dreams come true.

And then I gave Dwain a hug, a big fat kiss on the lips.

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Tightrope

I live out in the country, way out: but that doesn’t mean I have no neighbors. I think Jesus made it perfectly clear, but I am not the one to judge. I have issues, too. Just recently? I was doing a bit of ruminating about my sin, and I came to the horrifying conclusion that all of my friends are “beautiful” people. I am actually a bit surprised at my prejudice, as I assumed that I had a big heart, for all people. I do, however it seems to me it’s a whole lot easier to love attractive people. I am deeply shamed by this, and will work on it ASAP.

About five years ago, I found myself embedded in a screaming match with my neighbor, Jeanne. I stopped walking my dog around our neighborhood after this incident, and I have her to thank. Jeanne and her family had recently moved to our tiny burb, and I never would have known if not for her dog, Cujo; who promptly scared the life force out of my golden retriever. After calling for immediate restraint, I heard this:

“Oh, for crying out loud, it’s just a German Shepherd,” came her response, loud and clear. You don’t know me, or how I get when people get in my face. I am a Gemini, through and through. I am simultaneously the nicest and meanest person you will ever meet-just depends on what you’re dishing out on that particular day.

Years later, I am standing with Jeanne.  Who, indeed, proved to be a horse’s ass.  But this particular day, back in February, she caught me while hunting sheds, in the field below her farm.  We took up talking and I told her I was going through a bout of Lyme.  She, in turn, told me to come up to the house, to hear about Essential Oils!!!  I must have been gravely ill, because I actually went, thinking that she was trying to help me.  What. On. Earth. Was I thinking?

Anyway, the neighbor who lives in between myself and Jeanne, is a 90 year old, Pennsylvania Dutch, busy body extraordinaire.  She knows all of the gossip in the neighborhood.  We don’t get involved, ever.  So, I haven’t been close to Ruth in years, as I knew she wasn’t fond of me.  How did I know this?  I have it on good authority, it came from the horse’s mouth. Apparently, Ruth said this to my in laws:

“You can say a lot of things about Michele, but she sure does take good care of her animals.”

So, there’s that.  And a whole bunch of other stuff I have already flushed down the commode.

Here’s the thang:  we cannot wrap ourselves up in others’ perceptions of us.  Ninety percent of the time?  They are going on gossip, unearned reputations-not the Holy Spirit or the love of Jesus in their hearts.

So, I would like to wrap this up by saying this to anyone and everyone who delights in being in my bizness:

You people are the human version of menstrual cramps.

 

I’ll Give You Fish…

 

A few blogs back, I promised you a story about the day, fifteen years ago, when I caught my husband “cheating” on me.  We were taking care of my father, who was extremely ill; we moved him to a house out in the country, where he lived for a year-on his terms-no nursing homes, praise God.  I loved my dad more than I have ever loved another soul, or perhaps the love I have for my husband is equal-but completely different types of love.

Dad was my best friend and, quite honestly, the only person besides my husband who really got me.  We were extremely close.  We laughed at the same things, had the same interests, and thought hiking was the greatest thing next to grilled cheese sandwiches.  I take after daddy, in almost every way.  Mom was the writer in the family, and she was very talented.  It is no small wonder that my brother and I are the artsy, fartsy, poetic side of the family.  I think it rather neat that my brother is a musician who writes amazing songs-not unlike myself-who writes about music-daddy was the musician.  I can still hear him singing the Midnight Special, banjo in tow, at three a.m. after an argument with my mother.  Good times.  Good times.

I would do anything to have those times back.

So, between working evenings as a waitress in a busy diner (one of the biggest tourist spots in Lancaster County) and taking care of my family-well, I guess you could say I was just a tad stressed out.  If you saw me in passing, you would think me a demented Flakka head, on the verge of going off the deep end; at any given moment in time.  You would also be correct.  About the losing my shit, not the Flakka.  When my husband complains about the two cigarettes I smoke each day with my coffee?  I always say:

It could be worse.  You’re lucky I’m not on Flakka.  Or crack.  

Jiminy Cricket, I was wound so tightly, I actually pitied the fool who got in my way.  Back then?  I was anger personified.  I seethed with an all consuming rage that basically enveloped me-my mother abused me emotionally, and my memories were a big reason I drank to begin with.  I wanted to take care of dad, believe me, but the sad truth?  I was scared senseless.  My alcoholism had progressed, then eased after he died.  Eventually I came to a place of rewriting my story, and forgiving mother.  Years of my life, consumed with bitter ire-and a tragic notion that I needed to be punished, put in place-as mom had made it perfectly clear that I was undeserving.  Forgiveness is incredibly freeing, and you should do it often-not for them, but for you.

Finally, to the point of the story.  I was in the aforementioned condition while driving my Jeep Wrangler up Route 501 on a Friday afternoon, headed in the direction of the pharmacy in Myerstown-to get my father’s refills.  My hair is fried, not tended to; I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth.  I am breaking out-not only in zits but pimples as well-my first outbreak of acne, ever.  Stress pimples and blackheads.

I head North and see my husband’s baby blue Chevy pick up headed in my direction.  I believe I went into a fugue state the moment I saw the blonde.  I was a jealous madwoman back then-it wasn’t my husband I didn’t trust, let’s just say that.

“OMG, who the FAZUCK was in Dwain’s truck?  How long has this been going on?  I’m taking care of my invalid father and the bastard is cheating on me?  What the FUCK?”

I ran into the pharmacy, almost hyperventilating when I see the long line.  This is the most impatient moment of my life.  I fantasize about killing the man behind the counter.  I want to slap the woman who forgot her insurance card, and truth be told?  My thought cloud was rated RRR.  If not ZZZ.

I raced to the jeep and drove like a stunt car driver all the way to Dwain’s work.  I see him in the park, akin to his business.  I aim for him as I drive, he jumps out of the way.

“Oh my GOD honey, what is wrong with you?”  He looks more than mildly alarmed, but he knows on many levels what this is all about.  I jump from the vehicle, not thinking to put the jeep in “park.”  Dwain jumps into said car and saves it, saves it from going directly into the pond behind us.

I scream and holler.  He tells me he took her to drop off her car, to have it inspected.  I eyeball him from toe to head.  Calmer, yet not quite assured that all is well; I head for my car.  He gives  me a hug, chuckles and says these exact words:

“Honey, why do you have spaghetti sauce all over your face?”

 

 

 

A Preponderance of Joy

I hate to complain. My mother used to complain all of the time, I think it’s an Irish thing-it is also a narcissistic thang, and I try not to fall into the rabbit hole, if you catch my drift…:)

It is Sunday, November 25th-and I have been in bed for two entire days with the flu. These past few days are among the most harrowing of my life; and I have had some batshit crazy times. This was a perfect Trifecta,(premenstrual, full moon and the fact that I knew I was getting sick, which makes me semi-hysterical to begin with) and I had to hand it to Jesus this morning, when I cracked my first joke since the FUBAR that was my Thanksgiving.

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All kidding aside, it began soon after we left the Thanksgiving dinner our church holds annually-to feed the homeless and those facing hard times. I was in high spirits, I had made a new friend whilst cutting approximately 2,687 pies-and with a head cold, thank you very much. I was trying to figure out why Dwain and I weren’t in our traditional holiday cat fight, when, to no one’s surprise-it all came crashing down.

I had a blast volunteering at our church’s annual Thanksgiving meal for our community. I was delighted to be assigned pie duty (not so delighted after slicing approximately 2,657 pumpkin pies) with a jovial woman I immediately bonded with. I had that lift in my loafers as we head out the door, bound for my in laws and we were still doing quite well.

The Mother of All Bombs occurred, and right in front of the entire family.

I was so bored watching football with the guys, but no women had formed any coffee klatches, so I wandered over to my sister in law and her sister in law. As a follower of independent and conservative news, I know how important it is to try and warn folk about what is coming. The good and great news is that we are winning, the white hats, that is…evil is being stomped out of America, and I feel a responsibility to warn others. It’s some heavy stuff, so I went with the lighter news.

“Guys, there is going to be a ton of shit hitting the fan in the near future, and I’ll start this with telling you that JFK, Jr. is still alive.”

I went on to give facts, which were met with “FAKE NEWS!!!!” and a few attacks on my credibility. I simply stood up, placed the pillow back where it belonged, and went to sit with my husband. Because of the “trifecta,” I was a walking nerve end. I had just told my husband that I had an uncomfortable encounter with his sister, and he yelled at the football game, like-right in my ear. Which led me to shriek, because it frightened the life force out of me.

I shut down, completely: grabbed my coat and head up the hill to our home, which held my beloved fireplace, dog and pc. I took a shower and got good and cozy. I sat there for a few hours when I realized that I felt like a dog crapping bones, and I knew deep within that had I lingered on that couch? I would remain there, petrified to the leather, Kombucha in hand.

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I went up to my sleigh bed, the sun shining clearly, a beam of light hitting my braided rugs. Just as I had make myself comfortable, my husband walks into the bedroom.

“What’s going on?,” he says, softly at first.

What’s going on is, I have the flu and I was just publicly humiliated by a stranger, at my own Thanksgiving, my hormones are screaming kill her, murder her and it’s full moon.

Perfectly. Good. Explanation.

And then, as if in a slow motion nightmare, my husband says this:

“I defended you down there all day!!!!”

Guys, if you are reading this, never-and I mean NEVER tell your hysterical wife that you defended her for any reason, whatsoever.

I wanted to know why he “defended” me, but he isn’t giving. He storms out of the bedroom, and down to the settee. I am absolutely stricken with rage. Alas, I am too weak to do much about this; but the next day I feel well enough to look for apartments. My husband tells me he is “headed for a nervous breakdown.” I take lots of nighttime cold medicine, and sweat through the pain.

I cry out to Jesus. I give my weary heart over to Him. Take this, Jesus, I can’t deal another second. I end up having restless leg syndrome, and my husband and I break out laughing hysterically-even though it’s 3 a.m. and neither of us has slept a wink.

And now? Merely 24 hours later?

I have managed to make the bed and don fresh underwear.

Hey, it’s a start.

One Spinal Cracker

 

A few days ago, I told y’all the story about my unpleasant encounter with a woman from my exercise class, the trainer actually.  I called her Harriet.  

Harriett was hysterical after my factual retelling of the day when Mrs. Hoffmaster, my Kindergarten teacher, told me I would have to come for a few days during the Summer, to learn how to skip.  Yes, you read that right.  As I am regaling my audience with the story of how I was almost left back a grade, I was oh so rudely interrupted by Miss Thang.

“Oh no, Michele, that couldn’t have happened,” she is shaking her head, as if correcting a small child.  She went on to argue that she was a teacher for blah, blah, blah years-well, you can just imagine.  Stunned at first, I rallied for the cause and told her (nicely, I thought) that YES, INDEEDY DO, I GREW UP IN PHILADELPHIA, NOT THIS AREA.  WHO ARE YOU TO CALL ME A LIAR????  Ok, I didn’t say that part, but I argued with her until she shut her pie hole.

The women next to me mouthed, What the fuck?  I, on the other hand, had absolutely no problem saying WTF out loud.  As my face is my tell, I can only imagine the look I gave her.  I expected the situation to rectify after she apologized to me: needless to say, that wasn’t exactly an option.

On Thursday, I brought a carrot cake to class for the September birthdays.  I love to bake, and the ladies in Bands love to eat-so it works out nicely.  It was the first layer cake I had ever made, successfully that is.  I strategically parked next to the church (where class is held) so I had less of a chance at dropping my masterpiece.  🙂

While in class, I updated my girlfriend as she hadn’t been in class that day.  We both took notice that Harriet would not so much as look my way-let alone offer an apology.  Afterwards, Sherry and I stood outside, next to my jeep, and finished our convo  about the “incident.”

You did the right thing, sticking up for yourself, she said.  I think she owes you an apology, at the very least.

At that very moment, the diva walked past us, and gave me the oddest look-her eyes bulging out of her head-behind her prescription sunglasses.  At first I thought she may have overheard us, but I had nothing to hide.  And then it hit me, she was outraged that I had parked so close to her church.  She couldn’t believe the depravity, I mean, who did I think I was, anyway?

Here’s the rub.  Just last week she had confided that she thought she may be developing Alzheimer’s, as her father had died from the ravaging disease.  Knowing what I know, I asked her what type of personality he had.  I know that certain personality types are much more prone to dementia, especially the Narcissist.

She thought about that a second before answering.

Total narcissist, had to control everything freaking detail of our lives.  Just a very unhappy man.”

Oh, Harriet…