Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This is my Christmas Post.
Its not fancy and its not even very cheery.
I'm trying my best, but its just not happening...the Christmas spirit, I mean. This year is a different story than years past. I haven't posted since Thanksgiving for a reason. I'm wallowing. I know I'm a little old for pouting, but that's exactly what I've been doing. Christmas has always been a glorious time of year for me. My mom was a Christmas nut and always had the best things planned and the most cheer of anyone I'd ever met. Her house was filled with Christmas carols, almost year-round, and more decorations than the fire code allowed. There was no end to how tacky my mom could get at Christmas. My favorite "Mom" story involves a Christmas Tree sweatshirt that had real lights that really lit-up. Need I say more? I say that she "was" a Christmas nut because she's not with me anymore. I lost her 3 1/2 yrs ago (I lost my dad 5 yrs ago) and to make matters worse, her birthday was
Tuesday. So it's Christmas Eve and I have no parents, no one in my family cares enough to call and check in with me on her birthday-not even my sister, I haven't gotten more than 10 Christmas cards (and one of those is from a business we used this year) even though I sent out 35 of my own , I have three of my own children who are relying on me to create their Christmas memories, I have a Red Velvet cake to bake today for my Husband's family Christmas tonight and no desire to do so, I miss my mom so much I can't breathe and its warm and rainy in Alabama today. Oh, and did I mention that I'm unemployed? Yeah, I got laid off after Thanksgiving. I think wallowing is a teensy bit of a fallacy...I think I have slipped into full out depression. I know that Christmas is supposed to be focused on Jesus and his plan of salvation; I know that I'm supposed to focus on my own family; I don't want
my kids to remember this as the year that Mom didn't care. I know all of these things...I just can't make myself "feel" anything. I think that's the best description-numbness. How am I going to beat it this year? The only way I know how is to cry. I mean it. I need a good cry. I haven't cried about losing my job, missing my mom, feeling forgotten by my family, or anything else in a long time. I just can't muster a good cry. I sat and looked at photo albums, read old letters from Mom, reminisced with the kids, talked to my husband, talked to my best friend about it.....nothing. I really think I'd feel better if I just had a good cry, but it won't come. My brain is too busy telling me about all the things I should be doing instead of being numb and it won't let me just feel. As I am blogging this, a friend from high school posted something on my Facebook. Nothing fancy, just a little
"Hey! You're fabulous and I love you!". I thought I was going to cry, but yet nothing happened. Have I turned into the Grinch? Remember that animation of his little shriveled up, black heart? I think that's me. Maybe not, but it kinda feels that way. I want Christmas cheer and carols and food and cookies for Santa and candy canes in my hot cocoa! I want peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men! I want to be excited about opening presents with my children tomorrow morning! I want.... I want my mom. I feel so selfish for that. I feel like all I can focus on right now is me and what I want, what I'm missing, how I'm feeling when I should be focused on my family. My husband, who has made a huge effort to make me feel okay about being unemployed at Christmas, my children who only have one childhood, my In-Laws who are coming to share Christmas Eve with us in 8 hours, my Best Friend who is
sharing Christmas dinner with us tomorrow and my God, who bent down to Earth to become flesh and blood with the express purpose of dying for my sins. Please, God, forgive my selfishness. Help me. Help me feel love. Help me feel joy. Help me feel anything! I promise to hide the bitterness and pain from my family so as not to ruin their holiday but I'd rather not have it at all. Please release me. Please. Amen. For anyone reading this....I hope I didn't ruin your holiday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Miracles

This is Mr. Funny. Today is his 8th birthday!

We had his party last Saturday because we are leaving this weekend for the holidays. I just wanted to introduce him officially today and wish him a Very Happy Birthday! I can hardly believe that its been 8 years since we met for the first time. I remember every little detail about his puffy little face that night. I also remember the story...our story. I wasn't supposed to have him. He wasn't supposed to make it. I went for my 1st doctor's visit with his pregnancy expecting good news, what I got was not exactly good. To accurately pinpoint a due date, an ultrasound was done. The problem was that they couldn't find a baby. In fact, quite honestly they couldn't find my uterus. After lots of tries and some equipment changes, it was determined that my uterus had fallen backwards. The doctor came in afterwards and as gently as he could explained that this was not good. It made for poor
growing conditions for the baby. He did not think the baby would be receiving adequate blood supply. The chances were very slim that the baby would grow enough to cause the uterus to right itself. He could tell that I wasn't really comprehending what he was saying. He leaned forward, put his hand on my hand and said, " Melanie, do not get used to the idea of being pregnant. I do not think this baby will survive." It knocked the wind out of me. I was numb. I went home and broke the news to my husband and parents. We were devastated. This was not a planned pregnancy by any means but that did not change the fact that from the moment we thought he existed, he did exist to us. Our faith tells us that life is present at conception....this was a tiny person fighting for his life. I felt helpless and lost. I lay on the couch for days and cried. I was completely useless to my husband and two
other children who were 5 and 18 months. I had visions of him in there suffocating for lack of oxygen and blood. A little tiny baby, gasping for air. It was horrible. After a week of being useless, I decided to do something. I went back to see the doctor. I explained that I was useless and needed a job. I needed him to tell me something useful I could do. I just could not sit around and wait for my baby to die. I wouldn't. He understood me. He told me that if I stayed on bedrest, laying on my right side, for the next several weeks there was a chance....a slight one....that the baby might had enough blood supply to grow larger. If it grew large enough the fluid that surrounded it might act like a balloon and right the womb. He stressed to me that the odds were that this was a waste of time, but that at least I could feel like I had done everything I could have. He did caution me that he
did not know how the lack of blood flow at the beginning, crucial time of pregnancy would affect the baby. There was a chance that the baby may be born with some sort of disability. Was I prepared for that? He also told me that he hadn't recommended this before because he thought it might be false hope and he knew I had other children to care for. I understood him but thanked him for humoring me. After 12 weeks of bedrest and three ultrasounds the doctor happily announced that my body was cooperating! We had a healthy baby on the way!! I only spent 3 months on my feet. By my 7th month the baby had grown so large that he was damaging nerves. My legs started going numb and I started falling. Back to bed I went. 10 weeks later, and three days overdue, Mr. Funny arrived in a whirlwind of chaos. After only a 3 hour labor I was holding my third son. The Doctor smiled when he looked at him
and told me, " He's a stubborn little cuss....gets that from you." And he is stubborn. Just like his Momma. He was born perfectly healthy, except for asthma. I pray for a long, healthy and happy life for him. I am blessed to have you, Mr. Funny!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Follow up on the art!

Well, I am learning to send blogs through my texts, so I don't have to log onto the internet every time. Cool, right? Well, the last post was one such post and it didn't exactly go as planned. I had the art dispersed throughout the post and a little blurb about what I liked about each. Since that didn't work so well, let me say a little about each piece here. The second piece is the very famous "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh. I love the swirls and something out of a dream. Yes, I dream in color. The third painting is "Antibes" by Claude Monet. He is the best known Impressionist, but he is most famous for his flower and garden scenes. I like this one best because for me it kind of blurs the lines between peace and loneliness. The last painting is called "Moonlit Scene in the Environs of Citta Nuova in Illyria" by Claude Joseph Vernet. Long name, beautiful realism. I
just love the warm moonlight and the reflection off of the water. Its very dark, but to me breathtaking. The detail in this one awes me everytime I look at it. If you look closely you can see people working on the dock and having a bonfire. The minute detail in this one is my favorite thing. It looks like a photograph. Well, these are a few of my favorite paintings but by no means is this all of them. Now that I have figured out how to post pictures, I look forward to sharing even more with you!

Art that I love

I love paintings. I love paintings more than any other type of art, save the written word. Paintings tell a story visually. The painting above is called "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth. Mr. Wyeth passed away this year. We have one less master because of that. I know that you might look at it and not see anything special, but when I look at it I think of a whole host of things. I first saw it at the LLlibrary of my middle school. It hung in a darker, quiet corner that no one visited. I used to go to that corner to escape my life, read and stare at that painting. I didn't know anything about the painting or it's creator. The nameplate just simply held the painting's name. I've remembered it my whole life and was surprised to discover just this week that it is a very famous painting. In my memory it only belonged to me. See, when I look at the young girl in the painting I see a young
girl who looks like she might be in pain, might be looking at that house and wishing she could get away. That story is completely imagined however because the girl in truth was Mr. Wyeth's neighbor. She had Polio and was disabled. He chose her because of her strength and resilience. I looked at her and saw emotional pain, he looked at her and saw strength. This is so paramount to me, I can barely describe it. To know why, you have to know a little about me. You would have to know, for instance, that I grew up impossibly poor, emotional bankrupt, sexually abused and physically beaten. You also have to know that no one knew. I confided in no one, but when I looked at that painting I thought I could see someone who might understand my pain....someone who might have her own pain and secrets. Mr. Wyeth's "Christina" comforted me the way no one else could at that time in my life. Now, not
all art brings that level of emotional attachment for me, but all paintings evoke something out of me. For instance, I know that I prefer Realism to Impressionism and Impressionism to Abstraction. I actually don't like Abstract Art much at all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Putting My Foot Down

Ok, its time for the rubber to meet the road. Its time for me to put my (imaginary) money where my mouth is. Its time for me to put up or shut up, and about a million other cliches. I have been obsessing about writing since I was a child. I have been telling those closest to me for at least the last several months that I want to write. I have been blogging for the last half dozen weeks...and I haven't written anything substantial yet. I'm a starter. What does that mean?? It means I have umpteen beginnings and even middles to all the things I have written, yet I have yet to actually finish anything! What is my problem?? I prefer to write on actual paper...its a texture thing. I like the feel of the pen in my hand. I like the smell of the ink and the notebook. I even like my penmanship. The thing that always gets me in the end is time. I have to put the notebook and pen down at some point...I have to come up for air. When I write, I write obsessively. No one else exists. Time stops. I hear no one...nothing. I am in my own little world where these characters alone are the only inhabitants. My thoughts are not my own, they belong to the people in the story. Its a little scary actually, kind of like channelling I would think. But, eventually the bubble pops. I am called to something else. I have to tend to a child, or answer the phone, or cook a meal. One by one my characters dissolve. Their thoughts and problems drift upward, skyward, to the great unknown. They do not exist. I am their only link to the concrete world and I do not even hold them here permanently. I can only hold them here as long as I concentrate on it. The second I become distracted I lose my hold over them. They vanish. Once or twice I have been able to reconnect with them to try to finish what I've started. "Now let me think, where were we??" Its never the same. The second glimpse is not as sharp as the first. Like a copy of a copy. Grainy. Blurry around the edges. There has never been a third glimpse. How can I get anything written and completed in one sitting? Short story, you say? Nope. I'm a long winded gal...detail rich and long winded. I can't say everything I want to say in one sitting. Anybody who has ever talked to me on the phone knows that first hand! So, how do I push past this (hopefully) temporary hurdle and actually finish what I start? The short answer to that is: I don't know. What I do know is that I have the desire to. I have the willingness to. Now I have the reason to. November is National Novel Writing Month, known popularly as NaNoWriMo. I just like saying NaNoWriMo, don't you? The premise is to write a novel in 30 days. 50,000 words in 30 days. Good Gravy, what a goal. I've never finished any fiction that I've ever started...and that is going to change. Now. I am already 3 days behind. That's almost 2000 words a day. What about the days I work? Can I possibly do this? I don't know, but I know that I want to. Sweet Lord, I want to. You know what? Its very likely I will fail, but I'm not going to let that stop me from trying. I am asking for encouragment. I am asking for prayer. I may even be asking for caffeine and chocolate before its over because I'll be writing like a crazy person. The finished product will probably be a poor excuse for a story. That's not really the point though. The point, for me at least, is to finish it. To actually finish what I've started would be the best early Christmas present I could give myself. Here's to an early Christmas and the end of an unwelcome era. Stop by and ask me how its going this month. It helps me to know there is someone who wants to see me succeed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge: Day # 4

I'm such a bad Blogger. Its a good thing no one that I know of has been trying to follow my 20 Day Challenge, cause if they had been I have abandoned them! I have not blogged in about two weeks now. I have been very ill. For the first whole week, I couldn't even get off the couch, much less blog a coherent thought. (No, I do not have the Swine Flu) The second week was recovery, but then I had a load of make up housework to do. So, with no further ado, here is Day #4.


Psalm 119:33-40

God, teach me lessons for living so that I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me- my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me-
Promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics- but what you say is always good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways.

What I got out of it:

A bent for your words of wisdom.

My prayer:

Father, please have mercy on my sinner's nature. I ask for "a bent for your words of wisdom". Instead of having a thirst for attention, stuff or earthly security, instill in me a love of your wisdom, a knack for understanding your word, a deep-seated need to be intimately connected to you. Bring me Lord the peace that I know only time spent with you can bring. Amen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Psalm 119 20 Day Challenge - Day #3

Here is my devotional for Day #3.

Passage for the day:

Psalm 119:25-32

I'm feeling terrible--I
couldn't feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You
promised, remember?
When I told you my story,
you responded; train me well
in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these
things inside and out.
so I can ponder your
My sad life's dilapidated, a
falling-down barn; build
me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes
Nowhere; grace me with your
clear revelation.
I choose the true road to
Somewhere, I post your road
signs at every curve and
I grasp and cling to whatever
you tell me; God, don't let
me down!
I'll run the course you lay
out for me if you'll just
show me how.

What I got out of it:

The course you lay out for me

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me find my way, my "course", that you have lain out for me. I know that you have a plan for me but I fail to see the big picture and I get bogged down in the everyday things and tend to dwell there. Help me, remind me, prod me to follow "the course you lay out for me". Amen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Family Affair

I normally don't blog during the weekend, but The Ankle Biters are sleeping in this morning. Late sleeping is not something that normally happens when Hubby is home, but he is sleeping too. Why am I awake when there is no one else awake? Because I am cursed with Internal Weekend Alarm Clock. Monday through Friday I have to drag myself out of bed, sometimes at 8:00 AM even, to face the day and the only reason I can do that is because I know that if I persist in stumbling I will stumble into the coffee pot. Truly, the idea of coffee is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Sad. However, on the weekends, for no explainable reason, my eyes spring open at daybreak. Depending on the time of year this could be as early as 6 AM! This happens on vacation too. It truly is one of the most frustrating things. But, I digress. The reason all my men are sawing logs like lumber jacks this fine October morning is because we had us a night on the town last night! WooHoo!
We had been planning this since last week, but money was too tight last weekend to allow it so we aimed for this weekend. Our aim was true, or more importantly, the check cleared the bank, so we decided to take the boys out on the town. The best part about this story is that we didn't tell them anything. I spent the whole day secretly texting Hubby and looking up movie times when there weren't busy-body boys looking over my shoulder. Finally, we settled on a plan and Hubby came home half an hour early to start the fun. We told The Ankle Biters to change clothes because we were going to town. They were somewhat incredulous about that one. The Mouth, my 10 year old son, decidedly announced that we must be doing something great because they were being made to dress up. To this I answered that being made to wear CLEAN clothes is not the same as dressing up. I do have to add that when he said "dress up" he means that I handed him a polo shirt and a pair of jeans, but he was however still wearing his sandals. Go figure. We got them all loaded up, after we shoo'd away a new FEMALE friend that came to visit my oldest (14 year old) son, who I will name The Sweet One. This female visitor is monumental in our house and I'm going to devote a whole post to her later. Trust me, Mom has things to say. So, we finally get them all in the Grocery-Getter and we head out. There is much speculation in the back seat about what our destination is. I hear all kinds of chatter going on but no one guesses correctly. We drive to the next town over and pull into the Walmart. Groaning happens in the back seat. The Mouth spouts off, "You made me wear a shirt with a collar to come to Walmart??". Hubby suppresses a snort, which he has to do a lot when The Mouth speaks. I tell him again that clean clothes are not the same as dress clothes and we head inside. Hubby's plan is to get them all new baseball gloves. He and The Sweet One are playing softball with the Church League and The Sweet One's glove fell apart at practice Thursday night. The Mouth isn't playing ball yet, but has shown a considerably amount if skill and will probably start playing city league ball in the Spring. My chest swells with pride! My 7 year old, Mr. Funny, isn't big enough to play, but we don't want to leave him out so he gets one too. We spend a little time looking and trying on gloves before we finally decide which ones to buy. Mr. Funny ends up with a new ball as well because he is cute and we are suckers. Any other excuse I give you would be a lie. So, we look around a little more and Mom decides on a new bread knife. (The back story on this is that there was only one. I complained about having to buy a cheap knife that probably wasn't sharp enough to slice bread, came home to try it out and promptly sliced my finger open. Lesson learned.) We FINALLY check out and Mr. Funny announces that he likes restaurants. This is his way of asking if we can go out to eat. Again suppressing a snort, Hubby tells him we'll think about it. By the time we make it to the van, Hubby tells the boys that we can eat out tonight, making it sound like a last minute decision when in fact we had planned for it. We drive to Wendy's, eat our food and load back up, to go home the boys think, but we had more in store for them. When we drove around the corner to the Theatre the back seat got VERY quiet. I think they were all holding their breath. Afraid that if anyone breathed it might blow away any chance they had of seeing a movie that night. Because we have just bought the house and had to save for a year prior to that to be able to afford the house, we have not been able to see many movies lately and further more the boys know not to ask. So absolutely no one asked to see a movie at all. Trying not to smile, I told the boys to come up with me to see what was playing. The smiles on those faces...that is what I was waiting for. To see pure joy on the faces of my Ankle Biters...that is worth the effort and saving that went into planning our night out. So, we spend the next 3 hrs watching movies we have each seen more than 100 times, but with the added bonus of 3D. Because we had seen them so much, the best part about the whole experience was saying the lines along with the characters and noticing things and sounds you only notice on the big screen with megawatt surround sound. It truly was one of the best theatre experiences of my life and I got to share it with my most favorite men on the planet. Watching them watch those movies, the smiles and laughter (like they'd never seen it before), the dancing and twitching, these are the reasons we save and plan and spend and stay out until midnight. These are the people that make my life worth living...they are my reason.

Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge - Day #2

Good Morning! I meant to post all 5 first days at one time, but my day was so busy that the inevitable happened...I procrastinated. Here is Day #2.

Psalm 119:17-24

Be generous with me and I'll live a full life;
Not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
what you show me of your
miracle wonders.
I'm a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry,
ravenous! - insatiable
for your nourishing
And those who think they know
so much, ignoring everything
you tell them - let them
have it!
Don't let them mock and
humiliate me;
I've been careful to do just
what you said.
While bad neighbors
maliciously gossip about me,
I'm absorbed in pondering
your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are
what give me delight;
I listen to them as to
good neighbors!

What I got out of it:
• Absorbed (in your wise

My Prayer:

Lord, the word "absorbed" jumps out at me today. In a way, similar to "single-minded" brings up the idea of not being distracted. Again you bring me to confess my distraction when praying to you and reading your Word. Forgive me Father for not giving you my full attention and using my time with you as a way to check a box off of my mental To-Do list.
Please forgive me again for not seeking yoy with my heart, but only with my mind.
Thank you, God, for bringing these words to my attention. I do want to know you intimately and I welcome correction and reminders to help me achieve that intimacy with you Lord. I do love you so much. Thank you for loving me too!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge - Day #1

Welcome to my journey through the Psalm 119 - 20 Day Challenge!
Because the first and last stanzas of this chapter were read aloud in church, the challenge starts with verses 9-16. Also, even though there is some argument about which version of the Bible is "correct", I prefer to use "The Message" when I am searching more for understanding than inspiration. For me personally, it feels more like my heart-language, more like God is sitting with me and we are talking like friends. The assignment is merely to read the passage and then ask God what word or phrase is yours for the day. Here I have copied the text and then outlined what I've gleaned from it and then write down my prayer for the day. Remember that this is my personal devotion though, so it should go without saying that I will be sharing intensely personal thoughts. I do not know why God is pressing me to publish this in my blog, but I trust that there must be some reason.

Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I'm single-minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.
I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won't sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of. wise living.
I'll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes. from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of
wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you've done it.
I relish everything you've told me of life,
I won't forget a word of it.

What God pointed out to me:
•Single-Minded Pursuit

My Prayer:
Thank you God that you have drawn my attention to this phrase. I confess my sin is "multi-tasking" while seeking you. I ask forgiveness for not clearing my mind and not giving you my full attention. Please strengthen my resolve that I might seek you more earnestly and "single-mindedly". This phrase brings to mind a feeling like someone wooing a lover-that you want my pursuit of you to be like that of an intimate love instead of the unequal love of a Father/Daughter relationship. Lord, am I ready to move away from you as authority and move into intimate love and relationship with you? Why does that scare me so God? Please calm my heart Lord, as I fear that I am placing my father's identity on you. I wish to seek you single-mindedly, without holding back out of fear. Strengthen me Lord. I love you.

Commentary from the Weary and the Restless

I never meant for this blog to be specifically spiritual, but there have been some things, some emotional fireworks, in my spiritual life lately. There has been a pull (from God?) for several days now to blog something that I'm not real sure I wanted to blog. I have resisted up til now, but no more. This blog is my place. Its my refuge from the world. The place where I lay my emotions down. This is where I'm going to work out my spiritual distress, not in my head, because that's not how I'm hard wired. I'm a think-out-loud, write-it-down kinda gal.
For the last week I have been taking part in a 20 day challenge. This past Sunday my friend Dave gave the message at church, an awesome message I might add, about the history of the Bible and the importance of "actually" reading the Bible. It seems that the majority of Christians don't actually sit down and read the Bible. Shocking it wasn't because I am one of those Christians. I might read the Bible if the mood struck me, or if I am taking a class or study that required it, or more commonly I would pick it up when I was wrestling with something and felt the need for comfort or guidance, but just not as an everyday ritual. I am not in the habit of reading my Bible. Its deeply shameful for me to admit that. So Dave challenged us. He gave us the assignment to take part in a 20 day reading plan on Psalm 119. He even went through the trouble of making up little reading plan work sheets, like school children get for making book reports, which I love because it let's me know that I'm not the only Christian who needs a course of "Bible Reading for Dummies". I decided to take the challenge. Since I have embarked on the "challenge" I have absolutely had the hardest time spiritually. Attack? Maybe. But, maybe its just that this way of thinking (with an ear towards what God wants instead of what I want) is so radically different that I almost don't even know how to function under it. My last post is Prima Facia evidence. Yesterday was the worst day I've experienced so far in the challenge. Yesterday I was so bowed up with despair that I couldn't even stand myself. I labored to even breathe, the despair was so thick. The air in the house was so tainted with it, my poor children tiptoed around me like I was terminally ill. Today, I didn't want to relive that feeling so I approached my reading with a different fervor, a different angle than before. I approached this assignment like a writer. I asked myself, "What am I getting from this that I can share? Can this help someone else? What if this is not all about me?" Shocking idea isn't it? That life is not just about me? I know ... revolutionary. So, this is what I've decided to do. I'm going to blog my personal thoughts and prayers for the next several days. I'm already five days into it, but since I journaled those days on paper I will just post them all at once and from then on I will continue one day at a time. Take this journey with me. We'll both be changed people from it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Depressing Questions from an Invisible Woman

Sometimes I feel completely invisible. I couldn't put my finger on it precisely until just now, after a conversation with my sister. I can't really call it feeling useless or feeling unecessary because I DO see my purpose and I DO feel like I provide useful and necessary things to my family's lives. I have to call it feeling invisible because I don't think that THEY see my purpose or usefulness in their lives. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself, and I probably do, but I have an idea about what my job is and what my role in this family entails. They probably don't expect of me what I think they do, but at the very least I want to live up to my OWN expectations of what a wife and mother should do and provide for her family. No one asked me to homeschool, I do it because I believe its the best for my children. No one asked me to cook my heart out, creating wholesome and nutritious meals from scratch every night not to mention homemade bread, but I want that for my family, I want my children to have memories of family dinners and wonderful smells. So, if no one asks these things of me in the first place, why do I feel so put out and dejected when no one notices? Why feel so deflated when dinner is eaten quickly, with not one word spoken about its quality or of the effort and love put into it? Why the need to feel "visible" and praised? Am I really doing it because I want to? Am I really "selflessly" serving my family? What is it about women that makes us want to feel noticed and important? I have heard the phrase before that "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Simon De Beauvoir), well I am here to attest that it ain't just the men. I watched the movie "Revolutionary Road" recently and I am saddened to say that I can relate to the quiet desperation felt by Kate Winslet's character. Why am I saddened by that? Well, quite simply, I have this belief that I should be content to do the job of motherhood and wife-hood without the need for recognition. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I know so many women who feel fulfilled with their lives and they are doing what I am doing. Where is my fulfillment? Why isn't it enough for me? Again, it isn't so much what I am doing that brings discontent as much as the lack of feeling visible, the lack of "warm and fuzzies" being sent my way. I love my husband and I love my children and I will continue to do what I have been doing even if I don't ever feel visible because I know its the right thing (even if they don't know it), but I fear that I will always feel invisible. That's a large fear for me. That I might always feel like no one sees me, no one notices the things I bring to the table. That I will spend my days cooking and cleaning and teaching my children and spend my every waking moment thinking of how I can best serve my family and that no one will care, no one will appreciate and that one will spend their time thinking about the things that I do or wondering how they can let me know that they care. *sigh* Well, I know these thoughts are depressing and I worry that they are not godly, but I also wonder how many women feel this way. Am I alone, a weird one, a self-centered person who only does things for others recognition? I will spend some time in prayer about this. I pray that either God brings me peace about it or directs me in a more appropriate direction for contentment.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ups & Downs - A Carnival Ride Called Life

So much has been happening so fast that I haven't had time to blog. That makes me sad. I started this blog so that I could write something everyday. Most days I don't feel like I have anything to write. Its not like others that I have read, who have reader intimidation, I have only a few readers, if that. I do have a couple of things rattling around in my brain that probably could be vented here. I have a close friend whose marriage is falling apart, whose husband has decided that his happiness trumps the happiness of her and their children and who is barely keeping herself contained while she has to work 60 hrs a week and pretend that she doesn't want to curl up and die. I suffer with her, albeit in silence. My estranged grandmother has decided to pop back into my life after several tense years apart, including the three since my mother's death. She, my mother's mother, has apparently decided that she should tell me NOW that she loves me. A letter arrived in the mail 2 weeks ago. I did write a return letter and effectively skirted by the issues in our past to fill her in on the present in the politest way possible. This week I received another letter to which the first sentence said,"I didn't really think you'd write back." What? What does that mean Grandma? Does that mean that you are happy to hear from me? Or does that mean that you didn't want to actually hear from me but wanted to make yourself feel better by throwing the ball into my court and point back to this moment when someone asks about me? I haven't decided what to write back to her. My sister, who I have had a treacherous relationship with in the past also, has been appearing on my doorstep several times a week since we moved into the new house. Things have been good, sister-like even, because she has started homeschooling her oldest son due to his Cerebral Palsy. I'm glad I can be so helpful to her but I can't help my suspicious nature from wondering when it will go back to treacherous. I pray, seriously, that this is the beginning of a shift for the good for her. A major step was that she actually got her husband - who doesn't get along with my husband at ALL - to come to our church 2 Sundays ago. I'm still praying. I'm struggling with homeschooling this year because of the need to work 2 days a week. I feel like I am effectively failing to be a good teacher or employee by not having my feet planted firmly on one side or the other. Oh, and 3 ex-boyfriends have looked me up in the last 60 days. What is that about?? The first one stirred up trouble by sending his phone number and a not so subtle hint at traveling to our area on business. The second one (who wasn't serious in the first place) seems to be far...and the third one was serious enough that I told him straight away not to contact me again. What is going on anyway? Hubby thinks I am being tested. Really? I don't think so, I think it probably more like Murphy's Law. On the brighter side of life (Yes, there is a brighter side) I have been able to keep to my meal plan with only $100 more dollars spent, which means I spent a total of $250 for groceries this month! May not seem like a big deal for anyone else, but its a big deal for me because I am a starter, not so much a finisher. This maybe the first idea I've had that I actually followed through on. I've also gotten the hang of bread making and haven't bought bread for almost 3 weeks! Also a big deal because I have been experimenting with bread for over a year. Minor victories. I feel like I may have just broken even emotionally this month. I continue to pray for God's unfailing grace. It turns out that I need that more than a meal plan, a restored relationship or a clean house.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Art of Being Cheap

I have done something that I previously thought impossible. I have learned how to feed my family of five for next to nothing! Now, I don't mean cheap "I'm still hungry Mom" meals, these are hearty meals. I knew that coming into a new mortgage was going to leave us strapped for a little while. The power deposit alone was almost $600! So two weeks ago I began to research meal planning and frugal homemaking and found a host of information on the subject. Using the tips I found, one of them being only shopping the loss leaders at the grocery store, I successfully managed to make a 28 day meal plan and only spent $110. Poppycock you say? I beg to differ! Now just to disclose everything, my meal plan does include one "leftover" day a week and we always have simple breakfasts & lunches. I bought all the meat, veggies, and dry goods I will need for the month leaving me only perishables to purchase each week. I met one of those hurdles yesterday though when I successfully MADE BREAD! Ladies & Gentlemen your applause is greatly appreciated. I went back to the store and spent another $40 on extra produce to blanch and freeze and extra lunch meat to freeze as well. So total this month I have spent $150 and I should not have to spend more than another $100 for the next 2-3 weeks. Even if I did spend that much it would bring me to the grand total of $250 for an entire months worth of food (3 meals a day) for 2 adults and 3 kids. Admittedly, this plan is cooking heavy and is a make-your-own-snacks kind of plan, but I like to cook and my family prefers homemade food to storebought. The reality is that no one may care about this, other than my husband who is in awe of me at this point, but I'm telling you that I have never felt more awesome as a wife or mother than right now. Not only have I been financially responsible but we are eating more whole foods and by proxy living greener since we are using less packaging, but I am teaching all these things to my boys by example. I have found that there have been some unexpected, but happy side effects as well. One of the best things I didn't see coming was the structure that my meal plan has added to our house. No one has asked me the dreaded "What's for Dinner?" question for two weeks now. Another glad change is that I no longer have that "Ugh! What am I going to cook for dinner?" feeling every day at about 2pm. I actually find myself looking forward to dinner time now! I didn't plan for these things but I don't ever want to go without them again. I know that there are plenty of women who do this all the time and don't know any other way. My hats off to these wonderful ladies. Since this is my first foray into the frugal homemaking world I am utterly grateful to them and astounded that I ever did it another way. I'll never revert to my former wasteful and irresponsible ways...pinky swear.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The New Normal

Well, the saga ends...or maybe just slows to a dull roar. We moved into our new home last Saturday. I am so humbled by the effort put into the move by my friends and loved ones. Everyone showed up at 8 am (one friend even showed up a day early due to a work schedule), trucks & trailers galore, and just set to it! I almost didn't have to do anything but just sort of "direct" the events of the day. I am so blessed. At one point the hedges even got trimmed. Ok, so I'm REALLY blessed :) So, things have died down but not really if that makes any sense. I woke up the next day and for an instant I had no flippin' clue where I was. In fact, it still just doesn't feel real. Hubby & I agree that it will take a little while. Its only been a few days however, so to be completely fair we've got the rest of our lives to get used to this house. That's right, I said the REST of our lives! I do not plan on ever moving again. It might be a lofty goal, but hey, a girl's gotta have ambitions. I grew up a migrant. That word might bring to mind legal aliens (or maybe even illegal-depending on your background) and agriculture work, but it very correctly describes my childhood. I am a natural citizen and my parents weren't agriculture workers in the true sense of the word BUT my parents moved us wherever they could find work. In fact I went to 4 schools my third grade year by itself! Since I have gotten married the moving has slowed but we have still moved a whopping 22 times in 15 years. Mostly, because we have always rented and leases are always about a year long and we've never liked any place well enough to want to stick around for another term. There is always a better deal. Some of the moves were to find work, some to improve our standards, at least 3 moves were purely emotional and involved family and more than that involved my mother needing help caring for my terminally ill father. In the end I can say that this has made me a resilient person who does not shy away from new places and people. I recently took a strengths test and discovered that one of my strengths is WOO (winning others over)...perhaps God knew when he "packed my bag" that I would definately need that one, because with that strength moving was never that big of a deal. I hate packing...can I just say that? I always have. Hubby makes it worse because if it were up to him we'd load it all up in garbage bags and haul it on over. The control-freak in me cringes everytime we move because I know that in the end I'm going to be too anal about what to keep and what to shed and ultimately he's going to win. I have to admit this time that I think I did it pretty well. VERY few garbage bags made it into my house. I muse that it may have been the idea that this was our last move or maybe it was the fact that we were moving into our own home, but I really did not have the stress during this move that I've come to dread. All in all, I'm so glad we bought this house. Its definately worth all the drama.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prayers, Pessimism & Pea Soup

Well, by this afternoon I should have the keys to our new home in my hand! I am excited but because I also have inherited a little pessimism from my hubby, I am nervous that the previous owners will not honor the contract & GET OUT TODAY!! Ok, that was a little uncalled for but I'm frustrated! We were in contract with this house for 3 months & the day that we FINALLY close they ask for more time to move out. I do understand that with the lagging close date they might not have wanted to pack everything in advance but I have moved enough to know that there are things you can live without that can be packed way ahead of time. If 7 days is not enough time to pack the essentials (clothes, toiletries, dishes, etc.) then maybe you have too much stuff! I do think that their Realtor might have led them to believe that they might have had until next month or that the deal might not even go through & I forgive them for that, but still... their adults. If you put your house up for sale have a plan! Have a place to go to so that the people who buy it can move in on time! I feel really badly for them if they did get caught in between but really & truly they are the only ones in charge of their business. No one else. So, this afternoon they are supposed to be out & the house is SUPPOSED to be clean. I pray that everything goes well with them & that they have a blessed life. In the meantime, I am going to be nervously awaiting a phone call from our realtor that the keys have been delivered. If I haven't heard from them by lunch time, two o'clock at the latest, I think my head might explode and pea soup might splatter everywhere. So, say a prayer for me. Pray that everything goes smoothly and my head doesn't explode. I'd kinda like it if that didn't happen :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More trips down Memory Lane

Well for some reason Blogger decided not to let me edit my last post, so here are the rest of my poems. They are still in chronological order beginning where the last one left off. Enjoy!


*Inside your eyes...*

Inside your eyes,
I see many things.
I can see a caged bird,
who wants to spread her wings.
I can see the depths
of the oceans in your eyes.
I can see lost dreams
fading as they die.

The extent to which your pain goes really knows no bounds.

The sound of anguish echos
as it crashes and it pounds.

Your face continues smiling - as you turn to face the world.
But inside your shrinking slowly...
the fire inside you cooled.

The demise of the true you, all but missed by those you hold dear,
has caused you to become
jaded and locked inside by fear.

I wonder how this happened, how you came to be so far away.

Will someone finally notice it?
Will there ever be a day?

As I watch your face with pity,
your heart as dense as stone,

I realize with great sadness that the face I look upon
is my own.



To see you is like
waking to a glorious sunrise and realizing that God
has given you vision,
to see this very thing.  

To be near you is like witnessing a miracle.
You are fairly certain
you will remember this
for as long as you live.  

To know you is like being exposed to the secrets
of the heavens.
The sheer wonderfulness of it all is awe-inspiring.  

To touch you is like unadulterated bliss.
Nirvana that comes from the nucleus of every cell in my body.  

To love you is like
being touched by God.
This presence, this calming presence, stays with me and roots me to the earth. Encouraging me to be a better woman.



Mommy will you stay?
Will you hold me through the night?
I am so small that I get scared-
especially at night.

Mommy do you love me?
Am I what you asked God for??
I did not mean to spill my drink on the kitchen floor.

Somtimes I get excited and just cannot be still.
I am silly with a funny face-that's part of my appeal!

Please do not forget, Mommy,that I learn these things from you.
When you frown and shout so loud,I use that as a tool.

I learn to lash out in anger,at things that make me mad. I never learn to compromise,or let my temper cool.

One day you will need me, Father Time can be cruel.
One day you will spill your drink then I'll be lashing out at you.

Please remember Mommy,
that I love you with all my heart.
All I want is for you to smile at me,
that's the easy part :)

Visiting the poetry of my past...

These are some poems that I had posted on another site. Hope you enjoy. They are listed chronologically from first written to last written, over a three month period in 2005. Hopefully there will be more to come.


*Lover of Words*

A blank sheet of paper...
the most intimidating thing I've ever seen.

Lying in wait,
with expectancies that
far outreach my own.

You could create something brilliant and flowing,
or witty and emotional,
or you could just write out your grocery list.

How do you know
what that paper's destiny is?

The very first step  
is laying your pencil to it, and speaking to it with your heart.

Poetry is a love affair that your heart has with a notebook.

What kind of lover are you?

Playful, conservative, passionate, quiet,
boisterous, reserved...?

So too, are the types of words that you write.

Close your eyes and let your heart imagine  
the type of lover you are
or could be if you tried.

These are the types of poems in your heart.

Let them out.


Darkness falls -

Darkness Falls-
black as the long raven hair of a gypsy girl.

Loose waves of blue-black, twisting and tangling...
as is frames that beautiful young face.

Darkness creeps -
Silent as a panther in the jungle, stalking prey, unsuspecting...
ready to pounce.

Darkness lingers -
Like the red hot feeling
of a lover's breath
on the base of your neck
or the electric shock
as his fingertips dance across your skin.

Darkness grieves -
A mother for her child,
a daughter for her father.

Darkness comforts - Empowering you to relax,
and slip unencumbered
into sleep.

Darkness disappears -
A lover that held you all night yet you wake to
find him gone...
with no trace left behind
and leaves you wanting more.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nostalgia Run Amok

Well, on top of all the "new house" hysteria - or near hysteria on my part- other developments this week are bringing a different kind of drama to my life. For some dumb reason, known only to people who have gone before me, I decided to rifle through the internet and look up old friends and classmates. Sounds harmless right? Well, not so much. I found quite a few friends actually, thanks to the fact that I belong to a young generation of techies, everyone is on the internet these days. So a few key strokes here and there and I find most of my high school classmates and a few faces I knew but didn't go to school with. The drama is purely internal and ensues because I was a different person back then. The me that they remember was wild and rebellious. I had a foul mouth, purple hair, black fingernail polish, listened to heavy metal, mutilated my body with razor blades, did drugs, got pregnant in the 10th grade and was asked to leave the school. I somewhat expected that times have probably changed and that we've all grown up. Well, we have all grown up and most of us are even married and have children, but they for the most part are the same people. They all still do have wild hair color, like heavy metal, have tons of tattoo and piercings, etc.
The website profiles that they have for themselves are covered with metal band ads, tattoo pictures and graffiti art. I have been brave enough to talk to some old friends and they are doing fabulous. They have done and seen some awesome things. They have really made a life for themselves. Yet, they retain the rebellion and hard core tastes of their youth. "Why?", I ask myself. How can they be normal sounding, well-adjusted and successful when they still flout the rebellious and hard core images from high school? I am baffled. For me, some things had to go the moment I became a mother. Other habits and preferences just faded away with time, and I assumed, maturity. I believed that the transition I made from Hard core to Betty Crocker was a natural progression that came with age, wisdom and responsibility. What if it isn't? What if I became what I thought I should look like to the outside world? Did I sell out? We used to use this word to describe someone who gave up their individuality for the acceptance of others. I feel like a sell out. Why? Because I still think that all the stuff I see on their websites is cool. So, I ask myself, "If you like tattoos and hard music and wild hair styles and funky clothes so much why don't you have any of them?" If I had to be honest, every answer boils down to someone else's opinion either expressed to me or assumed. My husband once told me years ago that tattoos were trashy. Years have passed since then and he even has a tattoo now. Do I think he would tell me no if I wanted one bad enough? No, I don't think so, but just knowing that he used to feel this way stops me cold in my tracks from wanting one. I secretly listen to heavy metal when my kids and husband aren't in the car. Why? Because as a Christian I worry that the references in the lyrics are too strong for my children and my husband might disapprove of it. I even worry that the fact that I still like it means in some way that I'm not a good enough Christian. I admire edgy haircuts, hair colors and funky clothes but I don't have the nerve to indulge in them myself. Why? Because I'm afraid that someone will look at me and say "isn't she too old for that?", or just the opposite, "How could someone that young have a teenager?" The last one has been something I have faced discrimination over for 15 years. I have a severe complex about the fact that I was only 15 when I gave birth to my oldest son. I have spent years trying to appear older so as not to be judged. Also, I'm afraid if I act too much like I feel inside - which is very young - or dress in things I admire that I will embarrass my son. Now that I've made it into my 30's I sort of, well, really miss those young days. So my basic question is this: Did I change because I wanted the changes or did I sell out? Another question is this: Would it be a step backwards to my faith to admit these things? How do I dig through the years and find me...the real me...the me that is authentic. Most of the "hard core" me was wrapped up in pain and bondage that I've since been released from, and most of the Suzy Homemaker me is wrapped up in wanting to please other where is the real me? Is there a middle ground between Goth Tramp and Homeschool Mother of Three with a Mortgage? All I want is to know that when I say "I like that" that its based on truth, not a desire to belong to one group of people or another. How? How am I going to be able to do this? I think the only thing I can do at this point is to ask myself a series of questions when I make decisions from now on. Like that haircut? What is it that makes you not want it? Like this song? Why wouldn't you listen to it in front of the kids? Are these invalid excuses or intelligent points? My thought process is going to have to slow down but maybe in time I will have the confidence in myself to make decisions based on what I truly want. I am notorious for not being able to make up my mind...maybe once I have one I can make decisions with it. I hope that this doesn't take too long though, I've got paint colors and interior design to decide on and Lord knows I'm going to need all the help I can get!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tales from the Terrified

Ok, so I am about to leave my house. I am due at the realtor's office in 4 hrs 17 minutes to close on our new house and have errands to run before I get there. I am sitting on my bed, hair wet from the shower and I am losing my mind! Needless to say, NO school work has gotten done today. My children who dare not complain about it are pretending its a Saturday - cartoons and all. I cannot think about such mundane things as doing laundry and paying water bills right now, even though Hubby would prefer the laundry part as he is out of socks, because the fact that we are about sign a contract for over $100,000 is taking up too much space in my grey matter. Who would give us a house?? Do they know that this scares the pants off me? Do they know that we are babies (well early thirties)? Do they care? Does anybody? I need a serious dose of chill right now. God knows what he is doing-I'm sure of it. In fact it's the only thing I AM sure of. I'm not sure I'll survive today or get my laundry done or keep my lunch down...but I am sure that God knows what he is doing. I think the relevant question now is: What is he doing? Is he blessing us, testing us, sitting back to see how far we can carry it on our own, guiding the whole process with his hand? I want to believe that this is a blessing. I do. My flesh wants to know how we are going to carry this mortgage. My faith knows that God is putting us in a situation where we have only Him to rely on. How do I marry those two schools of thought long enough to not upchuck at the closing table? I don't have these answers. All I know is that I'm going to live through today. No one ever died from anxiety...did they? I hope not because if I die right now my husband will never have any clean socks ever again. By the way-I only have 3hrs & 56 min to go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Blog About Nothing

Normally writing comes so easily. I know what I'm going to write about ahead of time. At some point in my day a thought occurs to me or something funny or bizarre or inspirational happens to me and I think to myself "This is going in the blog". Tonight this isn't the case. I have no plan, I have no topic. I am a writer without a story. My day was bizarre enough alright but do I write about my house closing tomorrow or the drama that happened at work...or maybe the job opportunity that came my way today that would make me choose between two things that are precious to me? When you have a whirlwind of a day how do you choose? How do you single that one thing out and declare it as the most important or vexing thing in your life right now that it should grace the pages of your blog?? Being new to blogging, I don't know the answers to these questions. I know that my mind is racing 100 miles an hour. I know that any decision I make tonight could be the best decision ever or be one more time that I look back and feel like an impatient fool.I know that no matter what the topic, I have to write about it. So, unfortunately that leaves me right here. Writing about nothing...rambling on without even designating a subject. I suppose being overwhelmed is my topic. Being overwhelmed to the point of being paralyzed. How do I handle this feeling? How do I catagorize feeling excited but scared about the closing, frustrated to the point of tears over drama at work, anxious/confused/scared/fearful of the job opportunity, and just generally so worn and tired of the hoopla that I want to go to sleep like Rip Van Winkle and have my life pass me by without my intervention? There is no catagory for place that I belong. I trust God. I believe that he will guide me and protect me. I know that if I trust him and seek his guidance that I am covered by him. So, why? Why is this feeling strangling me? Why do I feel the helplessness and futility even now? Because I doubt his omnipotence or wisdom? No. I have never doubted God. I think that I struggle with these things because in my pitiful human state I want control. I want control of these situations so badly that I would give myself an ulcer over it. I need to feel control over something. I ache for the feeling of control. But that's just it isn't it? A feeling. Its an illusion. There is no real control for us. God is in control. Why is that so hard for us? Is there something ingrained in us that needs us to repel God's control and guidance? Oh, silly me...yes there is - its called sin. The sin inside me wants to control my own life, like a toddler insisting "I can do it myself!". Well guess what? This toddler cannot "do it myself". I don't even want to imagine how many ways I would foul up things if someone left me in control. There have been a few times that I have elbowed my wants and needs to the front of the line - ahead of what God desires - and trust me...I don't want it again. That never worked out for me anyway. What I need right now is a good healthy dose of humility and patience. If I take my problems to Him and stop trying so pitifully to solve them myself maybe I can sleep tonight. Sleep sounds good. And, so does a hot bath. At least the water temperature is something that I can control.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Drama Llama came to see you today - I told her to leave a message

What is it about small Southern towns that make it so hard to keep a cotton-pickin' secret?? It cannot be just my town. I have lived in more than one hole-in-the-wall town down here, yet they have all been eerily similar. Let me qualify my rant by explaining that Hubby & I are buying a house. In the current market this is no easy feat. I could probably sum the whole experience up by saying: Who's idea was this?? So, its fair to say that it has not been easy. We still haven't closed escrow yet and we have had a contract on this house since June...JUNE! Anyone who is buying a house right now might know that the system is a little overwhelmed with greedy, I mean "eager", buyers trying to snatch up all the empty forclosures that were left after the housing crash. So overwhelmed is the system that, at least in Alabama, the servers are going down like me on a 6-mile hike--fast & with a thud. So, when we decided to let a few people know that we were buying a house it didn't occur to us that in a few days the whole church would have heard about it. It also didn't occur to us that by sharing this information with these people we would be locked into the commitment of keeping them updated on how the deal was going. It gets a little depressing saying "We don't know anything - we are waiting on the paperwork to process" a dozen times between the time you get your coffee in the church lobby to the time you take your seat! Don't get me wrong, its wonderful to have so many people to care for us and keep up with what's going on in our lives, but the reality of it is that we started getting a little scared. At this point, we are concerned about what might happen if the deal falls through. What will we tell everyone? There's this pressure now that I'm pretty sure we've made up but feels real anyhow. It feels like if something happens we're going to let everyone down! I know...its crazy, its probably inaccurate and wildly egotistical of us to think that we are on everyone's mind. These people probably only care to ask about it because its a good way to make conversation. Mostly I'm sure of the fact that if something terrible did happen, like the deal falling through, we'd have plenty of shoulders to cry on about it. I am just still so amazed at the fact that word travels so fast in my church! Forget "tele"-phone - tell the church members!!
Ps. If I have an aneurysm and die before I close on this house its probably because at some point a mass email went out alerting the congregation of the need for prayer over our "house" situation! If you hear of my demise check your've got mail from the church.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Heart Response

I met a young girl today who cuts herself. She just blurted it out, not that I needed her to explain the dozen or so slash marks lined perfectly up her forearm. I would have spotted them a mile away. #1: I'm a nurse. #2: I'm a former "cutter" myself.Ihad treated her before and knew some vague history, mostly what amounted to small town gossip. Bad home life, promiscuity, rebellious behavior. She is me. The me that I was 15 years ago. At the time I was struggling with a bad home, rebelling more against life and God than anyone. When she admitted the cutting to me a miraculous thing happened that normally is not so miraculous, my mouth began to speak without permission. Call it professional instinct, diarrhea of the mouth, or stupidity... I call it divine intervention. I heard myself say: You're a cutter? I was a cutter. She stops talking to her cousin and we stare at each other quite a long minute before she says: Did your parents think you were crazy too? Without hesitation I answer: Yes but that didn't mean that they didn't love me, it just meant that they weren't going to be able to walk with me through the healing. Her lip trembles and tears form in her eyes. I know that I have reached a deep place in her that no one has touched in a long time. Suddenly it's as if someone has given this wilted flower a long draught of clean water. She has found a kindred, she is safe here. I don't ask why she cuts. That is really of no importance to me. No matter how the pain was inflicted, cutting always comes from pain. Deep, unresolved, festering pain. We talk while I do my job, she asking questions most people never ask. Where did you cut? What did you use to cut with? Did you see a shrink? Finally she asks the question that I know she's been circling around. How did you get past wanting to cut? Knowing how gently I needed to treat her at this juncture,I simply said that I laid it down. She fidgets momentarily before asking me how I can just lay down the need to cut. I tenderly answer this way: I didn't mean lay down the cutting...I meant I had to lay down the pain and hatred I carried. I had to forgive. This child takes a second to absorb what I've just said and then dissolves. She is in so much pain that she cannot possibly wrap her brain around the possibility of not feeling the pain anymore. My heart becomes a gooey mess inside my chest. I want to wrap her, this little girl in a big body, in a blanket and rock her while she cries. I know I cannot fix her life, I cannot make the pain go away, but in this moment I can do one extraordinary thing. I can love her.It is something that she needs right now that no one seems willing to give. She needs my love right now more than she needs a shrink, a new prescription, and more than the bloodwork I just drew. For her, Love is better than Morphine. I break nursing protocol for a moment and wrap my arms around her and give her the freedom to lose control of her self for a minute. Stroking her hair and rocking side to side like my years of motherhood have taught me to do, I let her cry. Several minutes later she regains her composure. The cousin that came with her is dumbstruck. What just happened?, she says to me. I let the girl wipe her face and then say to the cousin, Did you see what I just did? You need to do that as often as she needs it. All you did was let her cry, she says-still confused. Exactly, I respond, I let her cry without making her feel like there was anything wrong with it. Do that for her if you love her. She left today smiling. I may never she this girl again, but this much I am sure of, I will never forget that smile.

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