Anyone Need to Hear This?

So, I haven’t been writing a whole lot this year so far. I think I’ve been struggling a bit with what to say; feeling a bit like I have nothing of importance to impart. I was reminded recently that we all have something to say. We all have a voice that someone needs to hear. Even if it’s been said before, there’s someone who either hasn’t heard it or needs to be reminded of it. And, there’s someone who needs to hear it the way that you would say it.

I have noticed over the years that speakers will often repeat the same sentiment in different ways. I’ve learned that they do this because different people hear things differently. Have you ever experienced that? I have. I’ve heard something multiple times then someone will say it a little differently and it will suddenly click! Sounds a little weird, I know, but it’s true. I don’t understand the phenomenon or any science behind it, but I find it fascinating.

Having been reminded of all this, I’ve decided to step up my writing, and to diversify somewhat. This blog is, after all, supposed to be about all of my different interests. I could blame my lack of content on the state of the world right now and the fact that I haven’t been pursuing as many interests as in the beginning as a result. I don’t think that’s the whole truth though.

I can’t blame my limited activity completely on the pandemic or supply shortages, or any of that. There are lots of contributing factors; we’ve gone down to one vehicle so I don’t get out as much, Dystonia limits me physically, I’ve been focusing mainly on paper crafting and crochet as far as hobbies go, and we’re getting ready for a wedding in July. Realistically, I could write about all of these things and I think I will going forward. Who knows. I may say something that someone needs to hear. 😊

New Year Dreams

Another year is coming to a close. I’m feeling a mixture of melancholy and hopeful anticipation. I feel that way every year around this time. I mourn the things that get left behind and eagerly anticipate a new beginning.

Some things SHOULD be left behind; unhealthy habits, negative circumstances, unhealthy relationships and while it can be sad to let go of the unhealthy things that I am comfortable with, I know it will be for my good in the long run.

I absolutely LOVE fresh starts and clean slates. The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. I feel like the start of a new year is a HUGE new mercy! I don’t necessarily do “resolutions” – carved in stone, I AM going to do this kind of resolve because that doesn’t last for me. I like to think of it more as setting guidelines or maybe even dream casting. Being the dreamer that I am I like that one better.

I am also a planner junky. I LOVE sitting down around the last week of the year surrounded by; my new planner, colorful pens, stickers, whatever other arts and crafts accessories I’m into at the moment, and writing out my dreams for the coming year. Really thinking about what I want my life to look like. What I want to look like. It fills me with such hope!

As I make my plans for the coming year, I am well aware that they are just that – plans. Plans change, go awry, or simply go away. I can make all the plans I want, but ultimately God has all of my plans already worked out. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21. It’s fun to plan anyway, and I don’t mind that God is in control because His plans are always better than mine anyway even if I don’t see it at first.

So, I guess you could say that I dream about what the coming year could be all the while yielding to what God has in store for me. In fact, I eagerly anticipate what God has in store. Blessings, challenges, growth, it’s all for good. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11. Whatever happens in this life, I have the hope of eternity and a future in Christ! The rest is gravy.

What are your dreams for the new year? Write them down. Don’t think about how practical or actually feasible they might be, just dream! Dream big! Let yourself be okay if the dreams don’t come true right away, or if they remain dreams. Having them is the win!

Have a Dreamy New Year! ☺️💕

Perfect Imperfection

I keep thinking about people. Not particular people, but people in general. The way we act, the way we treat each other, the things that seem to come natural to us. The human condition, I guess, is what I’m really thinking about.

I’m dealing with a situation in my family where I have been accused of things I’m not guilty of. In this person’s eyes, however, I am guilty. It’s their perspective. My reaction to these accusations was quite human. I was shocked. I defended myself, I denied them, and I was chastised for that response.

I feel I was chastised for being human and that’s partly what got me thinking. Why do we expect each other to not be human? What makes us think that when we attack someone they shouldn’t feel attacked? And, accusing someone falsely is definitely attacking them. Regardless of how “mature” or “spiritual” someone may be, they are still human. They still react sometimes instead of responding, and they still have feelings.

Just because I’m “Mom” or “Grandma”, or the matriarch of a family, or even a Christian doesn’t mean I’m perfect in any way. It doesn’t make me any less emotional than anyone else, and it definitely does not mean that I’m not going to be hurt when someone I love accuses me of doing something I wouldn’t even think of doing.

The people on this planet are all human; flawed, imperfect, broken in some way humans. The last thing we should expect of each other is perfection. Even the “high-minded” are not perfect. NO ONE IS PERFECT! This is why we need grace and forgiveness.

We need to extend grace to one another. We need to forgive each other. We need to do what we need to do to deal with hurt and offense so that we can move forward in a healthy manner. If something needs to be discussed then discuss it and allow each other our humanness. If we need to be emotional, then we should be allowed to do that, within boundaries of course. Physical violence is never acceptable.

I don’t think anyone should be chastised for being emotional unless those emotions turn into verbal or physical abuse. Hate talk, bullying, downright nasty insults are never productive nor should they be tolerated. A little yelling, crying, even “How could you?” is not abusive in my opinion. In some cultures, yelling and hand-gesturing is a completely natural form of communication, but some people are offended by that. I think they’re called “snowflakes” these days. At least that’s what I hear.

My point is we are not robots. We all react to life and other people in some way – some more calmly than others and that’s part of it. We are all different. We respond and react differently. We process things differently. The world these days is all about differences. How about we learn to accept ALL the differences, not just the ones we think are cool or fashionable, or liberating, or whatever. How about we agree to disagree and still treat each other with respect as long as there was no serious harm inflicted? Forgiving things that happen outside those boundaries is a whole different topic and not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about sane, rational human beings who sometimes lose their temper and yell or who feel hurt and cry in public. Or when someone is falsely accused and they respond with defensiveness, or react with shock and disbelief. Purely human responses. There was only ever one perfect human being who walked this planet – Jesus Christ. How about we allow everyone else to NOT be Him?

Melancholy Morning

Some mornings the melancholy is overwhelming. I try to focus on my gratitude list with tears clouding my vision. So much heartache. So much disappointment. Most of the time I try not to go there. I try not to think about the broken relationships with loved ones that I feel helpless to mend. I try not to dwell on the things I’ve lost. I do my best to overcome health issues that limit me; finding new ways to function and new pain thresholds. Most days I resist the melancholy and succeed in pushing it back.

I have always believed it unhealthy to bottle emotions and at the same time I am an expert at denial and constructing walls. I can put up a brick wall in the blink of an eye! In all honesty, I don’t like to cry and the walls help me with that. Crying is messy and painful. I don’t like messy or painful!

That’s life though, isn’t it? Messy and painful. And we get to choose whether to waddle in it or get up and move on. Eventually, I always move on. I wonder though . . . am I avoiding or am I being more positive minded? Is there a fine line between positivity and avoidance?

I think there needs to be a balance. Deal with the sadness, the disappointment – feel it, then move on. If there’s something that you can change, change it. If not, then release it. At least for the moment. Maybe a solution will come later, but for now, put it on a shelf and walk away. Dwelling in the sadness sounds so dangerous!

What would become of me if I stayed there – under that little black cloud? Would I make life miserable for those closest to me? Would my heart break completely and cause me to go mad? Then I would be the cause of sadness and disappointment for those I love most and I could never do that on purpose! That is usually what brings me back from the brink. Realizing how giving in to my depression would affect those who love me, keeps me from giving in. But some mornings, the battle is harder. Some mornings . . . the melancholy is overwhelming.

Stereos are Fun – StereoTYPING, Not So Much!

Every person on the planet has a story. Even if you were just born yesterday, you have the story of your birth. Some stories you may be able to guess and others take you completely by surprise. Even the stories that you may be able to guess will probably have a twist or two you didn’t see coming. Don’t ever assume that everyone is who or what they seem to be on the surface.

Take me, for example. People look at me and see no tats, no visible scars, no multiple piercings or purple hair and they think I’m milk toast. Conservative, middle-class, stay-at-home mom. A goody two-shoes even (I’ve been told that). People don’t generally cuss around me. My kids keep their “alternative lifestyle” friends away from me because I would be shocked and my delicate sensitivities offended! The list of ways that I am “protected” because of how I’m perceived could go on. Granted, I’m not a “rough around the edges” kind of person, but neither am I a delicate china doll.

I may not cuss as a rule, but I’ve heard every word in the book and have let things slip out a time or two. I may not live an “alternative” lifestyle, but I’ve had friends who do. I dated a Hell’s Angel, hung out with crack addicts, was homeless, have been sexually abused and was almost thrown off of a two-story balcony by an alcoholic husband. I’ve been married and divorced three times and used to party like it was 1999 well before it really was. I was no saint.

I think that’s the thing though, that was my past. My very distant past now. Jesus saved me from all that and my life has been very different since then. I have been married to the same amazing man for almost 30-years. We have had a wonderful life and, yes, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom to our two boys. I have become a different person. The person people see when they look at conservative, middle-class, stay-at-home mom looking me. I look the part. That’s where the stereotyping comes in. People assume that all I am is what I appear to be. That is true of no one. My scars are internal, and almost completely healed. No one sees them so unless they sit down and have a meaningful conversation with me, they never know they are there. They put me into a box, they stereotype me.

I think we all do it. I think it’s kind of human nature to want things to be neatly sorted for the most part. We want to have a sense of order and pigeon-holing people seems to give us a sense of that – if even a small sense. To be honest. I think that is unfair to everyone. We miss out on some amazing stories for one. We also miss the depth of a person, which can cause us to mistreat and even disrespect them. Maybe not in any really abusive way, but like thinking they can’t handle a certain situation because of your perception of them. I think that’s a little disrespectful and invalidating. You are assuming for starters and you know what they say about assuming – to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME. No one wants that.

I think life would be so much richer if we all treated each other as if there was more to us than meets the eye, because it’s true. We really DON’T know what struggles a person is going through or has BEEN through unless we know them closely. I guess what I’m getting at is this: Don’t judge a book by its cover or a person by what they wear or how they do their hair. Break out of the box. Be non-stereotypical and don’t stereotype. That’s easier said than done, I know. We can give it a shot though, yes? Since I very much do not like being stereotyped or pigeon-holed, I’m going to do my best to not do that to others.

Every person’s story has worth. Don’t devalue someone by disregarding that fact and stereotyping them.

Patsy Cline in Honor of a Birthday???

I found myself singing a Patsy Cline song this morning; “Walkin’ After Midnight”. I don’t know where it came from. I’m not a huge Patsy Cline fan and don’t normally go around singing her songs. Then I remembered . . . my former father-in-law, Hugh Sackett, was a HUGE Patsy Cline fan.

When I was married to Hugh’s son we lived on the same property. Basically, my in-laws’ house was in our backyard. Hugh was a truck driver, but mostly short hauls, so he was usually home on the weekends. And on those weekends he often liked to be in his garage – blasting Patsy Cline on his boombox. I think they were cassettes anyway, I don’t remember for sure. I DO remember hearing Patsy Cline almost constantly on the weekends and any other time he was home.

Hugh was a sweet man and has been gone for many years, and it’s been even longer since I’ve heard a Patsy Cline song. Today also happens to be his son’s birthday. How strange is that? I wonder if my subconscious tapped into that somehow and Patsy Cline showed up in honor of that time in my history when I actively celebrated this birthday? I really have no idea, but I do know that the mind is an interesting and complex piece of machinery. Memories seem to pop up all on their own and sometimes very randomly. Not so random today though, it seems. So, even though I haven’t spoken to Hugh’s son in years, I remember his birthday and hope that wherever he is, Patsy Cline is haunting him too.

Reminiscent

I went for a walk around my neighborhood this afternoon. The wind was howling through the trees and whipping leaves up around me as I walked. I heard no other noises except the wind (we live in a very quiet neighborhood). It transported me back to my great grandma Emma’s house in Palmdale, California. Palmdale is in the Mojave Desert and considered “high desert”. It’s pretty windy there almost every day.

Great Grandma lived on a couple of acres and the back part of her property was nothing but desert – dry brush, cactus, and dirt! The four older of us six kids would play back there all the time. There was many a time, however, when I was back there by myself and the wind would kick up. It sounded a lot like what I heard on my walk today. Except when I was a kid on the back part of great grandma’s lot, there were no other houses and not a lot of trees, just enough for the wind to make music with. It was eerie and magical all at the same time. Sometimes, when the wind got especially gusty, it seemed to magnify the solitude and send me high-tailing it to the house! Keep in mind I was like 10-years old at this time. I spooked fairly easily.

It’s weird to me to think back to that time and realize how long ago it was. All of my ancestors are gone now. I haven’t been to that house in Palmdale in almost 50-years! Great-grandma passed away when I was in my early twenties. Great grandpa had passed many years before that. My parents and my grandparents are all gone. I am now my great-grandma. I’m not quite the same age as my great-grandma when she lived in that house, but I’m not far behind. In actuality, I’m not even a great-grandma yet. I am the matriarch of the family though. The oldest living female. So weird!

I never thought about any of this when I was younger. Aging does weird things to your emotional state. Nostalgia is a regular visitor. I try not to dwell there too much though because for me, memories make me sad. They remind me of what I’ve lost and who I miss. That’s the Eeyore in me. I do my best most of the time to look forward, but every now and then something will take me back. Like a solitary walk through a quiet neighborhood, with only the sound of the howling wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves that feels eerily reminiscent of the high desert of California, and makes me want to high-tail it back to the house.

😊💕

Big Birthday, Little Freak-Out!

Today is Monday, my birthday is on Thursday. Not just any birthday though, my 60th birthday! That’s a milestone, right? It definitely feels like a milestone! I thought turning 40 was hard! That was a cake walk compared to this! Turning 50 was fun! I celebrated all month and had several parties! This year . . . not so much.

Aside from the pandemic that has plagued all special days this year for a majority of us, my health has put a damper on the celebratory spirit. My quality of life is very different from when I turned 50. Having a movement disorder puts a very different spin on things.

All is not lost, however! I am married to the most generous, big-hearted guy I’ve ever known. His positive attitude has been a lifesaver for me! He makes me laugh every day! He’s my best friend, my biggest fan, and the love of my life! He has been celebrating my birthday all month with little gifts and big gestures.

Under normal circumstances we would probably be taking a trip of some kind. We love to travel and often celebrate special occasions with at least a weekend trip somewhere. Things are very different this year and a hotel stay is not something we’d prefer right now. Which may actually turn out to be a good thing!

Like many are doing this year, we’re turning to the great outdoors. Rich has taken a week of vacation and we’re planning several day trips to national parks around us. I’m excited about it! I was once an avid hiker/backpacker and I’m willing to give it a go with my new “normal”. I’m eager to see just what I can do out there. It will be different, but Rich and I share an adventurous spirit and the ability to go with the flow. We also enjoy just being together. It’s going to be a birthday to remember whatever happens.

In spite of looking forward to our vacation, I seem to be freaking out a little bit about turning 60. I freaked out a little at 40 and it turned out to not be that big of a deal. I’m hoping this will be the same. Things are just SO different. I still had kids at home at 40 and even at 50, and was not encumbered by a movement disorder. I also became a grandma for the first time at 40, that distracted me a little. 😊. I guess I feel more alone this birthday; no kids at home, semi-isolation due to the pandemic AND my health, just a very different picture from turning 40 and 50. Not one I’m ecstatic with.

Life is full of hills and valleys, I know this. Attitude is everything and focusing on the positive is key to maintaining a healthy one, as is acknowledging the negative and moving on. It’s funny though, how you can know things in your head and yet your emotions don’t seem to get it.

I am a melancholy personality and naturally gravitate toward the little black clouds. I am Eeyore in the Hundred Acre Wood. I’d rather be Tigger, he’s my favorite, and I sometimes try to act like Tigger, but it doesn’t stick. That’s probably why I’m having this little freak-out over my birthday. I’m being true to my inner Eeyore.

I just need to remind myself that God is in control and He has a plan. It’s okay to be aware of my own mortality (which is what I really think this is all about) because it’s an opportunity to remember that life doesn’t end for me after I leave this mortal shell. I don’t HAVE to be anxious about getting older. I have a choice. I can believe that my best days are behind me or I can remember that His mercies are new every morning, and believe that the best is yet to come. I prefer the latter. I also prefer to be thankful that The Lord has allowed me to be here this long. I prefer to celebrate His grace, mercy, love, and generosity!

So, damn the high cholesterol, diabetes, and anything else that may be lurking and bring on the birthday cake! (at least for one day). 😂 There has to be some wisdom to go along with the “maturity”, right? Sigh! The joys of an aging body!
A sense of humor is very helpful also. 😉

Happy Birthday to all of my fellow 60-somethings! May we look to the future with hope and joy, and believe that the best is yet to come!

🎉🎂🎈🎁🎊💕 (I like emojis)

The Key to Carefree

I had a thought today about responsibility and worry. Mainly because I read this this morning: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” -1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬. And: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” -Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NASB‬‬.

Some of us are natural worriers, I daresay moms especially. Our jobs are so huge and we put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right. There is so much to be concerned about! But, WHY do we worry? For me, it’s felt like a kind of obligation. If I don’t worry I may come across as unconcerned. People may think I don’t care. Sometimes. Other times I fear failure, or I’m afraid of the pain that would come with something bad happening – either physical or emotional pain. The bottom line it seems, is fear.

What if I totally trusted God and His sovereignty over my life? What if I did exactly what His Word says and cast my cares on Him? What if I truly was anxious for nothing and rejoiced in every day that He made for me? Even if my worst fears came true.

So what if people think I don’t care? If they think that, they don’t really know me and their opinion matters not! Bad things happen in this life; terrible, tragic things. My hope, however, is not in this life. My hope is in Jesus Christ and spending eternity with Him. This life is but a breath. Why waste it worrying when God has much better plans? Even when He allows the world to have its way in my life, He’s there controlling it and working it for good.

Being carefree does not equal irresponsibility. It equals trust and faith that I can do my best and give God the rest, and He will handle things in the best way possible for all concerned. I have to trust that even the heart-wrenching situations are for some divine purpose that I may or may not be privy to. I am His child, He is my Heavenly Father who knows best. Trust is key to being carefree.

😊💕

Finding a Voice

I was fairly oppressed as a child – the oldest of six. We weren’t allowed to voice our opinion in our dad’s house unless it was the same as his. Once in a great while, however, (and never around dad) if the situation seemed important enough I would speak up – rather bluntly. It was rare, but it happened. My mom used to tell me that I was tactless. Most of the time, I communicated with my eyes. My dad called it “fire eyes” and it usually got me in trouble. Funny little aside that reminded me of that: my sister recently said to someone about me, “She won’t confront you, but she can give you a look!”

Then somewhere in my twenties I experienced an awakening, if you will. I discovered that I had definite opinions and I enjoyed expressing them. I became a little more outspoken. The tact was still missing though. I called it like I saw it and your response was up to you. I was very confident in the fact that I was not responsible for other people’s feelings. This continued into my thirties until I got some very negative responses to my “straightforwardness”. I clammed up again.

I’ve gone back and forth like that most of my life. Only those closest to me have always known what was on my mind. Those with whom I felt safe and not judged. Finding the balance between truthful and tactless has always been a challenge for me. I love and admire people who speak their minds without fear. They speak with confidence. These people call it like they see it in a truthful way. That’s all. It’s just the truth and you either respect it or you don’t. I think it’s an art that I never mastered.

The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” -Ephesians 4:15. I’ve come to learn over the years that God’s love is gentle, yet firm. There is no fear involved. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, -1 John 4:18a And the fear of man . . . The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” -Proverbs 29:25.

So, for me, I see this as the balance: Speak TRUTH, make sure it’s coming from love and not pride or the need to be right (which is kinda the same thing), and be concerned with what God thinks of your words. Also, check to be sure that what I want to say needs to be said. “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” -Ephesians 4:29. This doesn’t mean that we’re just supposed to blow sunshine.

Sometimes the truth can be hard to hear. It doesn’t feel good or helpful at that moment. That doesn’t mean its not. And even Jesus didn’t shy away from some name-calling and finger pointing when He was calling out evil. He called a spade a spade. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” -Matthew 23:27-28. So, we’re not talking about walking on eggshells or treating people with kid gloves. I’m saying that if I call someone out for being a hypocrite, I’d better be sure that what I’m saying is true and for someone’s benefit.

Even now, at almost 60-years of age, I still struggle with fear in the search for my voice. I think it’s time I got over that. I think it’s time I coupled the voice of that young woman who called it like she saw it with the maturity and wisdom I’ve gained in over 25-years of walking with Jesus. There has been SOME! I’m afraid I haven’t gained enough wisdom to be perfect, and never speak out of turn again, but there’s no perfection this side of eternity anyway. Was that just a run-on sentence? Anyway, I’m done being afraid to speak my mind. From this day forth I shall be true to me and to my God. Fear be damned!

🤨😊💕