Category Archives: Mom

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

It’s been a while …

since my last blog post. 

Since last time, satan has reared his ugly head and life has given me a bonified black eye, busted lip, bruised rib, and all around beating.

My mom, who I depend on way more than a nearly 50-year old (ok, 47 in two weeks, but still) woman should, has been ill.

In the hospital, taken by an ambulance, ill.

My dad, who leans heavily on my mom, has been beside himself.

My dearest friend has been given (by mere mortals) six months to live.

It has been a trying month.

First off, my mom is home, well and feeling quite herself. 

My dad, an Air Force Veteran (whom we should all be applauding today for his service to the USAF) is better because my mom is feeling better.

It brings a surprising revelation to light.

While this would distress and hurt me beyond comprehension, I have this hope they would die, in their sleep, at the same time.

As awful as this may sound to some, I’d rather mourn them both at the same time than try to handle one without the other.

I can’t frankly speak for my sister, but wonder if she wouldn’t agree.

If that isn’t possible, I hope my dad, my hero and advocate goes first, because I cannot fathom him without my mom.

Mom would miss dad terribly, but she’s strong, and would survive.

Maybe I’m more crazy than I imagined, but I can handle Mom’s tears more easily than Dad’s.

I honestly don’t know how I would deal with him if he had to live without her.

As for my dearest friend, who is battling cancer, I advised her, as I do everyone, to live every day as if it’s the very last one.

Nobody, but nobody has the promise to live further than the moment they are in.

I know where I’m going when I’m gone from this world, so dying doesn’t scare me.

Living, however, without the people who love and understand me, gives me pause.

If that sounds selfish, it’s because it is. 

I thought I’d grow old and watch, with my husband I dearly loved, grandchildren playing in the yard.

Then, I came home one day, and out of the clear, blue sky, found him as dead as Moses.

No warning. No goodbye.  Just gone.

There’s no promise of life, to any of us, past the single moment we find ourselves living in.

If one doesn’t intend to live life as it happens, they forfeit their right to complain when it’s over, or nearly over.

You can quote me on that.

Right now, in this moment, is all I am certain of.

It is all any of us can be certain of.

This moment.

This breath.

This heartbeat.

Each day, if it doesn’t mean something, is wasted.

I say this to family, friends, former friends that I miss with an intensity that embarassess me, and though I can’t think of any specifically, my enemies.

I don’t think I have any absolute enemies.  If I do, they’ve been mighty quiet about it, and I forgive them anyway, knocking out the one leg they, were they real, had to stand on.

That’s good, though, in my way of thinking.  Who, when they have life to contend with, need enemies to muddy up the mess further.

And yet, as I often do, digress.

Now is the only thing that matters.

Grab on or be left behind.

Those are, in actuality, the only two choices.

As Shakespeare said (though he may have meant it differently as words in his day were perplexing, they pretty much say the same thing). To be or not to be … that is the question.

I choose to be, even when it hurts, is painful, annoying, hurtful, betraying or joyous.

I choose to give it everything I have, be whatever I can be and love, even those who don’t love me, unconditionally. 

Be it joyous, angry, confused, happy, sad, contemplative or any number of emotionally relevant states, with bright lights, awesome auroras, sleepless nights and flying debris; I’m there, every day, all the way.

I know who I am and if I die before morning, I know where I’ll find myself.

I love you all, even when you’re unloveable, just as you do me.

We, though we are all in the image of God, are, intrinsically human.

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At home ..

I walked in, uninvited, as I always do. 

It never occurred to me to knock on my parents’ door.

It is just, well, home.

When I didn’t catch a glimpse of my mom in the kitchen, I called out Hello? Anybody home?

My voice echoed slightly in the emptiness and it startled me, deep within my heart; in a hidden place I never visit.

I walked, knowing I was alone, from room to room.

The Grandfather clock tolled half past the hour.

For which hour it tolled, I can’t be sure.

I looked out the window toward the pond and mountains.

I could see how much of my mom and dad would be lost.

Gone.

Irrevocably changing everything.

The tick-tick-ticking of a clock became louder and inexplicably, Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” flashed into my thoughts.

Odd, I thought.

I didn’t doubt that they were fine; yet still I felt a shiver.

The oppressive silence.

The unanswered echoes.

The emptiness.

If they don’t outlive me, I will miss my parents when they are gone.

Have I thought of it before?

Mayhaps.

But it only occurred to me today.

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I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

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My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts

 

This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.

 

When the words I dearly love mean nothing …

then I know that I am in a fix.  The words are there, the right words, but they are so jumbled and discombobulated that when they come out, they aren’t right.  They are harsh or meek or, worst case scenario,  make no sense at all to anyone but me.  I lash out at the ones I care about for no good reason at all.  I expect them, since they know me, or say they do, to understand, but it doesn’t make it fair.  It doesn’t make it right.

Right now, at this moment, it takes all of my concentration to simply string words together in a coherent sentence.  Knowing this and knowing that I have conversed with people I care about about in my current state of mind brings about something that, while I am adept, they really have no experience with.   I was told recently by a friend that they were sorry they caused me anxiety.  I don’t have anxiety, I have racing thoughts that, at times, coincide with an intense “non-emotional” state.  It isn’t sadness.  It isn’t depression.  It is simply the absence of emotion.  And the absence of emotion is never, ever a good thing.

I called my mom tonight just to hear her voice. She doesn’t try to fix me or offer advice, she just listens as I tell her how nuts I feel.  And I do feel nuts, whether I really am or not.  That still remains to be seen.  She listens to my thoughts and says to me “we’re here if you need us”.  And she means it.

When I told her I had to get out of here for a while, she didn’t question it, but only said to let her know where I was going.  I have no idea where I’m going, but the ocean is calling to me.  The ocean, it is said, has no memory.  That is what I’m looking for.  Something without a memory.  Something that will not recall the harsh words, sobbing tears or indifference that, over the past few days, I have felt.  Maybe I will make it there and maybe, by the end of the week, I will be back to myself.  Either way, I cannot stand to be here for a second more than is necessary.  And dumping on the people in my life is not the answer.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that doing so is not it.

After work on Friday, I will start driving.  What direction is, as yet, unknown, but I will drive until I get where I am going.  And once there, I hope I will find what eludes me at the moment.  Sanity.  Pure and true sanity with a calm mind and rational thoughts.  I will let my  mom know where I am because she asked me to; as for everyone else, there seems no real need.  I am an anomaly in their lives.  I don’t hold it against them. I am an anomaly in my own life; how can I possibly expect someone else to know what makes me tick when I’m not certain myself.  A solitary life.  For the most part, it is the perfect solution; except, of course, when I filet the people I care about because I come to a point where control is  nearly impossible.  Yes, for the most part, a solitary life would be the perfect solution.  I rely on music to get me to a point when I can, once again, speak coherent thoughts.  I am grateful for the pianists, who play the notes my mind sings, that keep me, on some level, sane.  May God bless each one of them.

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John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

When hatefulness spews forth …

I am nearly always sorry afterward.  Nearly.  My closest friends and my sister know my moods and how my mind works.  They understand that there are times when I am not feeling myself and I try, with everything I have, to pick a fight.  If someone decides to fight back, knowing that in the grand scheme, it is irrelevant, but crucial to my psyche, then all is good.  When I am left to my own design, I deal with the the only way I know how.  The way that works best for me.  I throw things.

Yep.  I throw things that shatter and break.  Tonight it was a Bone-China cup.  A wonderful sound does Bone-China make when it shatters into a hundred pieces.  It seems that, as that glass shatters, so does all the hatefulness and stress that is, at the moment, overtaking my body and mind.  When my husband was living, he became adept at dodging flying objects.  I hit him once and, after the first pump-knot, he learned that I aimed to hit.  We laughed about it, even though, at the moment of impact, it wasn’t funny.  Fulfilling and comforting to me, but not funny.  Not at the moment.  I hurt him, physically, and shocked him otherwise.  I was sorry, but not enough to promise to never do it again. I did it again, a few times, but he had learned to gauge my moods and knew when flying objects would be part of his world.  He would never fight back with me though.  And so, the outbursts to my sister and friends continued, escalating after his death, and  now back to normal outburst frequency.  It amazes me sometimes that they don’t just tell me to get lost.  I am so very blessed.

It is a rare thing for me to get so stressed that I resort to that.  If the truth be known, when I stopped at my sisters house last evening, it was to provoke a fight.  She knows better than anyone that sometimes, I just need to have it out with somebody and is, usually, a willing sparring partner.   She wasn’t home, though, and I couldn’t find enough hatefulness in my heart to take it out on my niece and brother.  So I turned to my friends.  They must feel so special to get a message a couple of times a year that tell them just how badly they have pissed me off.  I know, were I to receive such a message, I would just cry; maybe for days.  But they know how my mind works.  They understand the need for release and none of them, so far, have held it against me.  I have, however, had to offer an apology or two when I forgot my boundaries.  I don’t forget my boundaries as much as I ignore them.  But I never, ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings intentionally, although, on occasion, I do without meaning to. For that, I really am sorry.

I used to apologize for myself all the time, but in the last few years, I have decided that I am who I am.  And who I will be is yet to be determined because I haven’t crossed that bridge yet.  My friends know me, my family understands me and I am at peace, for the most part, with myself; what else on earth could anyone ask for?

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Proverbs 27: 5-6 ~ Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

On the Eve of New Year’s Eve …

I have found myself looking back over memories of the past year.  While some of the looking has been within the vast memories of my mind and heart, most of the thoughts have been invoked from the photographs that depict the life I have lived.  While I appear in but a few of the photographs (part of being the photographer), they depict what I have found to be inspiring, beautiful, profound, enlightening and without doubt, some of the most exceptional moments I could ask for.

I have learned that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you know (or think you know), there is more to learn.   People are complex and, at the same time, simple and beautiful  My niece Gracie has Down’s Syndrome, but I’ve learned from her that the things that make people different aren’t an anomaly or defect, but something to be praised and honored.  She reminds me that, if I get lonely, I only have to look into myself to find company.  She only sees the beauty, the positive and she never fails to offer a smile.  She reminds me to smile, even when I don’t feel like smiling.

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I have learned that I don’t have be alone when I want to go to the hard places; that there are people willing to go with me, not because they want to go, but because they know I want to.  A long and arduous trek to the White Rocks this Autumn brought this thought process to fruition.  My sister knew how much I wanted to go and because she didn’t want me to go alone, she, along with my niece, Sophie and cousin, Emily, made the journey.  It was exhausting and breathtaking and full of fellowship and fun.  It reminded me that there are people in my life who care about the things that are important to me and want to help me succeed in finding them.  These are memories that, as long as my mind lasts, will stay with me, for they are precious beyond words that can describe them.

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I learned, through my niece Sophie, what it means to be courageous and not to balk when an obstacle presents itself in my path.  She is fearless and has a sense of adventure that makes me proud.  I’d like to think that, somewhere in her heart, she has a tiny bit of me and that between the two of us, we can see and experience everything.  She, while sometimes a challenge, is an inspiration to me and a constant comfort.  She is beautiful and strong and reminds me that life, even when it seems to be mediocre, is an incredible journey that should be loved, for the moment, at the moment; the rest will fall into place when it should.

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I have been reminded that music has no boundaries when it comes to what moves the soul.  I have been introduced to new music that has touched my heart in such a way, that it will never, ever be the same.  Friends come into my life and then fade away, but the mark they leave is everlasting and causes a chain reaction of the thirst for knowledge of music in its purest form  and the peace that it brings to my mind.  For those who have influenced me, I am thankful, for there is much I would have gone my whole life without knowing had there not been special ones to show me that there was more than what I thought possible.  Music always has and will continue to be a balm to my spirit.  I am grateful for the musicians that have graced my life and made it, because of their presence in it, richer and more beautiful than I could imagine.

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I have been reminded just how wonderful it is to have the love of a beloved pet.  One who will let  me hold them way too tightly as I cry into their soft fur.  One who knew all of my secrets and then took them to heaven with them, for I cannot imagine that these sweet animals that stole my heart could be anywhere other than in Heaven.  They were my friends, my confidants and my loved ones.  As I think of them now, tears run down my face, for I miss them terribly.   They were the best of me.  The purest of me.  And the most loyal of any friend I have ever known.  They were an extension of myself and brought me great joy, teaching me even as they lived, what it meant to be a friend.  I have learned so much from them and thankful to have had them, for but a moment, it seems, in my life.

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I’ve been reminded that sometimes, something as simple as a ride on a tire swing can bring joy unspeakable.  Through time and space, I was transported to my childhood and immersed in the beauty of the memories that bring me happiness.  There is nothing like being reminded of happier times to bring a smile and moment of happiness to my heart.  I am thankful that the little ones that I am blessed to be a part of their lives, who remind me what it was like to be a child, to be carefree and to have no worries other than when I get to swing again.  My blessings continue to mount as I reminisce over the past year.

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My parents, whom I am blessed to still have in my life, have been a profound influence on me. The took me to church when I was but a babe and, while there were times I didn’t want to be there, it all came full circle when I came to the point when I wanted to give my life to Christ.  They encouraged me when I was down, supported me when I was an embarrassment to them and loved me when I was, as I know there were times when I was, unlovable.  I owe so much to them.  My parents.  My biggest fans.  My rocks.

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I am reminded of those who have gone to be with God, who will grace this life I live no longer, other than in memory, and am not ashamed at the falling of the tears at there absence.  I am richer for those I have known, more blessed for the ones that have graced my life and more fulfilled because some of the most wonderful people I have ever known have passed through my life.  It has, while moments of sadness would say otherwise, been an incredible year of learning and discovery.  I am blessed beyond what I deserve and am thankful for every experience.  Not all of them have been good, but through each one, I have grown a bit, both spiritually and in the human factor.  I have no regrets.  I have no wishes for do-overs.  While there are those that have left a lasting impression on my life, be they alive or dead, I am grateful.  Each experience has brought me closer to that which is written that I should accomplish.  I am thankful.  I am grateful.  I am in awe of my Awesome God.

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Through it all, there is joy unspeakable in the beauty that my Heavenly Father reveals to me, through His astounding beauty and wonderful works.  I am thankful for all that I have learned this year and anxiously await what He has in store for the next.  God Bless my friends, followers, family and everyone who feels that their life has, for one reason or another, been in vain.  Know that you are important to so many and that without your influence, things, at least for me, would have much less wonderful.

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For each moment, each experience, each happiness, each sorrow, each disappointment, each joy, each heartbreak, each smile, each tear, each lesson … I am grateful.  I can  only hope that the next year will bring as much knowledge, love and friendship as this one.  I am grateful.  More than words can say, even through the hard times, which have been many, I am, thankful and optimistic.  That is my nature.  I am a Christian and a Sagittarius … What choice do I have, after all?