Tag Archives: faith

Dances With Wolves …

is by far and above one of my all-time favorite films.  I love the cinematography, for one, for it is magnificent and portrays many things that I hope to see before I die.

I wonder what the Grand Canyon will feel like beneath my feet, beheld by my own eyes, felt in my heart and spirit.

I can only imagine.

I have seen it, but it was from 30,000 feet in the air.

Yes, I was able to see the whole of it, but I wasn’t able to feel it, to know it in my heart and soul, to feel it beneath my feet, to breath in the essence of it.

I didn’t get to touch it and let it become a part of me, a part of my being.

I yearn to see it, but that is another post altogether.

I was mesmerized by the characters of this movie.

I fell semi-in love with  Wind in his Hair.

What a beautiful human he is and what a disappointment to find that his real name is Rodney.

Really?

Rodney?

I was expecting something exotic like, well, like Wind in his Hair.

But Rodney?

I roll my eyes at that.

Watching a fantasy disintegrate before my eyes is disheartening.

But, that wasn’t the point of this post, the scenery and awe of the West and the Grand Canyon was.

I get sidetracked sometimes with insanely handsome men with beautiful smiles and long dark hair and forget myself.

I get sidetracked with handsome men with dark chocolate eyes and dimples, too, but that is neither here nor there.

I am, as most of the people I know, human.

my depiction of an eye ... a pencil sketch.

my depiction of an eye … a pencil sketch.

Death is imminent …

it is something that every one of us will, at some time, face.

I am saddened this night because someone dear to my heart passed away.

I have tried to rationalize it and understand it, but death is death.

My heart is heavy for many reasons.

I know, because of my own loss, what his wife is feeling right now.

She is devastated and reeling from the blow that she is now alone.

I don’t completely understand what his daughters are going through because God has performed miracle after miracle upon my own father, but my imagination runs wild.

I have, on many occasions, although it tears me into pieces, told my  mother that if she and Daddy couldn’t go at the same time, I would want  him to go first because the thought of dealing with him without her is beyond my comprehension.

I don’t want to lose either of them, but I, we, live in the real world where people die and are buried and life either ceases with their death, or we move on.

Life is what it is, when it is, as it is.

Walking on the mountain tops or soaring above them is a wondrous thing, but in reality, we are often in the foxholes, valleys and dark places.

How we deal with these times defines us.

Do we encourage or enable?

Are we a rock or shifting sand?

These are the moments that Jesus calls us to, the times that He relies on us to uphold His people.

I am unworthy on every level imaginable, but I know, without doubt or reservation, what it feels like to lose a husband.

And I know what it feels like to be comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I am, according to what is “out there”, the minority, but I don ‘t care.

I know what I know, feel what I feel, experience what I experience, learn as I go, live as it comes and believe on the fantastic.

Life is a gamble and nobody, but nobody will leave this world alive.

The photo of my late husband included in this post was taken two weeks to the day after he was buried.

An image in my head could be discounted, but a photograph is, as the saying goes, worth a thousand words.

Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave

The thing about money …

is that it is only really important when you need it but don’t have it.

Most of us are working class people who know how to make a penny squirm.

I know I do, and yet, there are times when I don’t have a penny to bully.

That’s the way of it.

Of life.

There are times of plenty, on occasion, but for the most part, the times are lean and we find ourselves trying to make a dollar out of thirty seven cents.

It isn’t easy to cough up money we don’t have when it essential that we have it, when it seems impossible and unattainable, but that is the essence of faith.

Of believing and hoping when there isn’t anything else but belief and hope.

That is the epitome of life.

Ups.

Downs.

Blessings.

Joy.

Sorrow.

Triumph.

I live in my own little world most of the time.  I have a job and am happy for such, for but I long for travel and photography and writing.

I don’t want to work for a living, I want to live for a living.

But I digress.

My point, the main point in fact, is that I am not worried about money.

It always seems to be there when I need it.

Jesus promised many times to supply our needs and to  come to our rescue when we were in trouble.

He asks little, really.  Only that we believe in Him and have faith in Him that He will do what He says He will do.

I have what could be construed as an insurmountable thing, but I haven’t given it a second thought.

I gave it to Jesus to let Him sort it out according to His will.

I have faith that He will, as He said He would, take care of me.

It is difficult, I know, for some to live simply by the faith that someone will actually do what they say the will, but I live by it.

I depend on it.

I rely on it.

The promise from Jesus, that is.

I take His word for what He says He will do and leave it at that.

Do I have the money I need?

No.

Will I have it?

Most definitely.

I have no doubt that what I have need of will be provided to me.

It is really no different than the trail shoots that I go on with nothing but my strength, stamina, camera and tripod.

I could see the same things that everyone else who walks the path sees, but instead of looking through my own eyes, I rely on the eyes of Jesus to guide me and the results are beyond anything I could have imagined.

The same goes in my day to day.

Is it always pleasant?  No

Is it always what I hoped for?  No.

Do I find blessings in the unexpected?  Yes, more often than not.

I won’t say that every experience is a good one because that would be a lie, but for the most part, when I give myself over to Jesus and let Him lead, I learn something about myself, humanity, love, grace, or some other wonderful thing that reminds me that I am a child of God.

A blessing to Him.

A flower in His crown.

As hard as it is to believe sometimes that I could be an asset to anyone, I am, according to Him, His glory.

How magnificent is that?  To be glorious to someone?  To be important enough that someone would willingly die on my behalf?

I am breathless at the the mere thought of it.

But breathless or not, it is true.  He did.

Without reservation.

And therein lies trust and belief because I was important enough to die for.

We all were.

Some of the lessons are hard and leave me shattered and nearly broken.

The keyword here is “nearly”.

I have what I need when I need it.

That, in itself, is a beautiful thing.

I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.

I don’t worry about today because I have given it to Jesus.

My past is just that, a past that I, if I choose to, can regret, or if I use it wisely can learn from the successes and failures.

I am only concerned about now, this moment, this particular space in time.

The rest, well, it is out of my hands.

As it clearly points out in Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

It pretty much says it all.

Faith.  Hope.  Evidence.

Right now is my priority, tomorrow is uncertain, yesterday is beyond me.

Now is what I have to work with.

Period.

I choose to have faith, believe, hope and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He meant what He said.

There is my comfort, my strength, my joy, my thanksgiving and my life.

Life is, whether in the valley or on the mountain or soaring above the mountains and valleys, good.

And I am blessed.

Amen.

Hope makes us more than we really are.

Hope makes us more than we really are.

Lunch with a friend …

turned into a five-hour visit.

Five hours.

Just visiting.

The waitress came by regularly for the first 45-minutes.  After that, we became a novelty.  She would still come by and offer service, but it was with a different attitude.

It wasn’t that she had to serve us (which she did because she gets paid to do so), but that she wanted some of what we had.

A friendship.

A kinship.

A shared knowledge of how much we were loved and cherished by Jesus.

People cringe at that word.  Yes, cringe.  You can say God all day long, but mention Jesus and people start to squirm.

But that is a post for another day.

Back to the point at hand …

Our simple lunch turned into five hours of worship, confession, joy, praise and thanksgiving.

Day two, resolution free, and I’ve already been blessed abundantly.

Living life in real time.

Speaking of real time, I encourage everyone to check out So Real Ministries, founded by my friend Lori, who along with myself, sat in a booth at Teddy’s in Nickelsville today for the whole five hours.  We did.  And nobody ran us out.  But I digress.  Check out So Real on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SoRealMinistries and on Twitter at @SOREALMinistry .

octoberleaftour_day2-16

Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

snowfall

Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

I feel …

good.

I feel good.

Yes, I said it and yes I mean it.

I feel good.

It has been an incredibly difficult week with incredibly difficult patients and incredibly difficult news from friends, and yet, through it all …

I feel good.

I’m not manic.

As strange as it may seem, I am totally even.  Completely sane.  Absurdly normal.

I think to myself that I should be manic and irrational and standing in left field waiting for a right field hit, and yet, here I am.

Feeling like a normal human isn’t something that I am readily accustomed to.  It takes me by surprise when I find myself being like everyone else.

I don’t know whether to be elated or dejected, so, for the moment, I will choose elated.

While I am an optimist, elation is not my dearest friend.

But for tonight, for this moment, for this space in time, I will embrace it, cherish it and relish the feeling of elation.

Some things are to be taken at face value.

This is one of them.

Life comes as it comes and while there are valleys, there are also mountains and being on the mountain makes all the valleys worth the sacrifice.

I am, for now, standing on the mountain and I am reminded just how blessed I was to have the valleys so I could enjoy the view from the mountain.

I. Feel. Good.

Praise the Lord.

if it were easy, there wouldn't be any reward in it.  Be adventurous

if it were easy, there wouldn’t be any reward in it. Be adventurous

And then there was light …

beautiful, blinding, mind-boggling, life-altering light.

That is the nature of bi-polar disorder, or in the more politically correct lingo, manic-depressive disorder.

The verbiage doesn’t change the nature of it, it simply makes those who have no clue about what it is, entails or emulates, feel better about saying it out loud.

Sometimes there is darkness, but when the darkness lifts, there is light.

And light in the aftermath of darkness is profound.

I would love to be able to explain this phenomenon, but I can’t.

I couldn’t even begin to explain it.

You either understand it because you live it or because you know someone who suffers from it or you are completely clueless.

If you are clueless, then there is nothing I can offer that will make the light bulb flick on above your head.  You will never know the depths or the incredible  highs of a brain that is well beyond your understanding.

I’m sorry for you, but can’t help your indifference.

Cluelessness  (not a real word, I don’t think) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without some understanding of what goes on in the mind of a bipolarist (also not a real word), there is no way anyone can possibly understand how incredibly wonderful the moments of clarity, without racing thoughts, without disorientation, without doubt and insecurities can be.

Without the chaos, the clarity doesn’t mean anything and if one never has clarity, then their accomplishments will be mediocre at best.

It is like walking into a green, summer field and seeing a triple rainbow arch over the green field that is covered by white daisies with yellow centers.

That is what the light is like.

A moment of pure bliss that allows dreamless sleep and pure and beautiful clarity.

It allows me to understand what I have been misinterpreting, to find the truth within the lies.

It really is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t lost, at some point, control of their conscious thought and then when hollowed out, to crash and burn.

Crashing is not the best feeling in the world, but it is necessary.  It is like the control-alt-delete of the psyche and sometimes, it is at this point that people who pledge their friendship and loyalty jump ship.

How … well, convenient.

When I am depressed, well, I keep that to myself.  No reason to add fuel to the fire of the witch-hunters.

I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

I don’t need validation from people who pretend to support me when they have no interest in who I am at the core, in the depths of my heart, in the center of my soul.

I am me.  I am not ashamed to be such although there are times when I am made to believe that I should be.

We bipolarists are not an anomaly.  We are a force to be reckoned with because not only do we have brains that see, feel and hear everything, we are able to function during these times of chaos.

That makes us talented and creative and imaginative;  and above all, it makes us survivors.

Those who take us for granted or think they can use us for their exclusive pleasure are the losers.

They didn’t get it.

They will never get it.

They lost the race when they rolled their eyes at our idiosyncrasies.

Our idiosyncrasies and oddities are what set us apart from everyone else and it is something to be cherished and embraced.

We are different, yes, and in being so, we are not cast in the same mold as the rest of humanity.

In my book, that makes us someone special and special is a pretty awesome thing to be.

I embrace it, even when I want to be rid of it, because it calls me to understand more than I should have to, endure greater disappointments than I should have to and to know more than I would have were my brain like everyone else’s.

It is at this point that I ask, who is normal?  Who can maneuver through a mindfield (not a mine field, a mind one) and end up standing, head held high, solutions in hand?

Kind of puts it in perspective.

I have been mocked by ones that I truly thought I could trust.

I have been shunned by ones who have know me for years.

I have been abandoned by ones that I would have bet my life I could rely on.

These things, these events, these setbacks have not broken me yet made me more determined to be who I am.

I am content with myself even when I am discontent with myself.

I am special and the people who are like me will understand completely and hopefully feel special, too.

I am misunderstood and  I am ok with that.

It means that I am a mystery and, let’s be honest here … how cool is that?

We are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

That makes us cool in the “you wish you could see what my brain sees” kind of way.

Yes.  I am bipolar and I take each moment, each second, each event as it comes.

It is amazing what you can see when you take one moment at a time.

I love my life and though there are times when I forget who I am and can’t string words together to make coherent sentence, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not  a single thing.

I. Am. Me … and I’m good with that.

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side  Market in Cleveland, OH and bipolarist comfort food :)

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side Market in Cleveland, OH and a favorite of this bipolarist’s comfort foods 🙂

Being human means that …

we open ourselves up for things that maybe, if we weren’t human, we wouldn’t otherwise know.

We open ourselves up to disappointment.

To hurt.

To humiliation.

To joy.

To love.

To faith and friendship.

To knowledge.

To trust.

These are all part of what makes us human.  Trusting, loving and relying on other humans as we try our best to make our way along this journey is part of the process.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, what we feel, what we believe, where we put our faith … that is what is important.

People will let us down because at the core, we are are human.

None of us are perfect and none of us can be trusted implicitly.

I find myself realizing for the hundredth time how foolish I was.

It won’t make any difference the next time.

I will trust and put my faith in humans knowing in advance that it could very well be a mistake.

But we are fallible.

It is ok to be wrong.

It happens sometimes.

Being wrong about someone isn’t the end of the world.

Yes, we will cry and cry and cry.  Or at least I will.

Crying and throwing breakable things is how I best deal with disappointments.   However, until I replenish my breakable stash, crying is my most appealing option.

Nothing wrong with crying when you realize you were foolish.

But if crying is all you do, then you never move past being foolish and if you never move past being foolish, then you didn’t learn a thing.

Learn something and move on.

People will sometimes let you down.

That is part of the whole human thing and just as we have been disappointed, we will disappoint others.

It is a circle … imperfect and yet a circle just the same.

And whether we like it or not, we are human.

Live.  Love.  Rejoice.  Enjoy.  Cry.  Laugh.  Embrace.  Trust.  Live.

That is the circle.

He looked right at me and I felt his power through the lens of my camera.  I was awestruck.

He looked right at me and I felt his power through the lens of my camera. I was awestruck.

I have abandoned Facebook …

cut all ties.

Deactivated my account.

Yes, it is true, and in doing so, I find that I have taken my life back.

I no longer debase myself a dozen (OK, that is conservative) times a day to see what is going on with people I don’t even know.

I no longer look for absolution from those I do.

I don’t look to see who has been checking in with me even as I am checking on them while they are checking on me.

It had become a bit like an out of control spy ring where everyone needed to know everything and I wanted to tell things but didn’t want anyone to know what I wanted to tell.

It was pathetic, really, the importance that I had begun to place on seeing who was where and why.

I can’t remember a specific time when I felt so entirely like my life was my own.

Freedom.

In spades.

I have no-one to impress, nobody to account to or, for that matter, to account for.  When I have something to say, I write it in my journal.

My journal is so happy to have me back as a regular contributor that it has congratulated me.

Delusions of grandeur?  Possibly.

Seriously, though, it has been a freeing experience to find that what I think, like, know and experience is my own to think, like, know and experience.

I don’t need anyone’s approval to think thoughts or hear music.

When I am manic, it is OK, when I am feeling low and depressed, it is OK.

I need no validation or congratulation or adulation or any other “ation” for any of my actions.

They are mine and mine alone and the need to have someone else understand them has passed.

I understand them and what anyone else may think or have to add has become irrelevant.

Glory.

And glory again.

The first couple of days felt awkward, but after a week, when I wasn’t missed, I realized that I had begun to think way too much of myself.

Many of the people on my “friends” list have my phone number and could call or text anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

Others on my “friends” list have my email address and could send me a message anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

It was important for me to realize how little importance, in the grand scheme of things, I really have.

I was beginning feel something that I have never, not in any space of time in my entire life, felt.

Conceited.

Egotistical.

Self-centered.

That is not who I was, who I am nor who I ever want to be.

It was freeing to realize that nobody really thinks about me on a daily basis.

That would be weird.  Seriously weird, if people thought about me all the time.

I will admit that there are ones those that I think about much more often than is good for me, but I have cut those ties as well.

I am a solitary introvert.  I always have been and pretending to be otherwise did not serve me well.

I know what I want, what I hope for and wish for and nobody, other than myself, need to be privy to such privileged information.

During my facebook run, I trusted some people I shouldn’t have, thought about ones I had no right to and was well on my way to becoming obsessed with being liked.

I don’t care about being liked.

That is old news, teenage stuff, high school drama.

I don’t care if people like me or not.

I  like myself and that, in itself, is quite the accomplishment.

Will I go back to Facebook?

I honestly don’t know.

I feel so good not being a part of something that had the distinct capability to make me feel bad about myself that I doubt, quite seriously, that I will go back.

If I do go back, it won’t be in the same frame of mind that I left.

It will be a more confident, self-assured, know where I’m going because I’ve been where I’ve been mentality.

In the meantime, I’m reveling in realizing who I am, who I can trust, who I thought I could trust but can’t and what my purpose is.

It is an adventure that, although daunting at times, has proven to be the ultimate learning experience.

I am happy even when I’m not.

There is power in that realization.  The knowledge that I am happy simply being myself without any extraneous notions.

I can be happy and cry at the same time.

I have set my Sagittarian spirit free.

Mind-boggling in ways I never imagined.

I. Am. Free.

And I find that I like it that way.

solitude

Trust …

a small word and yet it holds an incredible amount of power.

What is trust, anyway?

Mr. Webster defines it as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.

Assured reliance.  

What does that mean in reality?

To me, it means being able to take someone at face value, to believe what they say, to know that I can tell them anything and not be judged, betrayed or lied to.

It is one of those things that we all look for in other people.  Things we want to believe about those we hold dear in our lives.

But is it, in reality, something that truly exists?

I suppose that it does, sometimes.

I have trusted people in my lifetime and have, on more than one occasion, learned the hard way that I misread, misconstrued, misunderstood or simply made a bad choice.

Bad choices are not obsolete.  

We all make them.

Some, more often than others.

I’m not, by nature,  a trusting person, so I give it sparingly.  I suppose that is one reason that it hurts so deeply when the confidence is betrayed and the trust destroyed.

The destruction of it leaves a hole that can’t really be filled.  It leaves me vulnerable to further mistrust and, in doing such, I may miss out on relationships that could be to my benefit.

But if I lose the ability to trust because of betrayal, where am I?

Who am I?

When someone I trusted with the innermost secrets of my heart and mind betrays me, what am I left with?

Myself.

I can trust myself and know that I will keep my  own secrets.

I don’t want to be a person who cannot trust, however, over the years, I have learned by experience.

I trust my Lord, for He has never betrayed me.

I have, on occasion, betrayed Him and yet He has stuck by me, even during the worst moments of my life.

I am starting to think that I can, other than Him, trust no-one.

It is a sad state to find oneself in, but one that many people, far too often, find themselves.

When someone can trust themselves to be everything they can be, to stand for what is good, to hold their head up in the midst of adversity and controversy, then they can say they have fought the good fight.

I am still fighting, but I am not depending on anyone to help me.

I can’t do it myself, but with God, all things are possible.

I  have been betrayed, that is true.

But I have not betrayed myself and that is of utmost importance.

What others do, they are accountable for.  I will stand for myself and cling to what I know to be true.

In the end, I will be standing on the rock and as long as I stand on the rock, the uncertainly of the world cannot touch me.

On this certainty, I can rely.

Little else, once all the obstacles are cleared away, matters.

I am who I was created to be and while I am constantly evolving, learning and making strides, I will make mistakes.

That is the beauty of being human that saves us all from the burden of perfection.

Learning the hard lessons is what makes us stronger today than we were before;  without them, we would always be the same and I can’t think of a worse fate than always being what I was.

Be well, dream big, live every moment and know that you are cherished by One who will not let you down, not even when you deserve it.

And be trustworthy.

Be the one that can be trusted and counted on to accept, without judgement or deceit, that which is willingly given to you.

It’s important.

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love and trust are the most powerful of emotions