Tag Archive | God

Practicing patience pays off…

Today, I got the “action-y” part of my day taken care of early, as I had hoped. As I was proceeding through it all, it became clear that the process was going to require quite a lot of patience over a period of time, and I realized that I was fine with that. 

doublerainbow

I got to the grocery store and up to the check-out, and the cashier, who I adore, told me that their DSL had been slow all day and that I might need to be a bit patient. I said, “I am in no rush. Being patient seems to be the order of the day today.” She looked at me with big eyes, vigorously nodding her head she responded, “It really does seem like that, doesn’t it”?

Sometimes God sends us orders for the day, in fact, He probably sends them all of the time, we just often do not hear them. Today I am listening because God is asking me to be patient instead of rushing through everything. It’s a good order for all of us, and who knows what unfortunate circumstances we may avoid by simply slowing down and being patient.

I got home and sat on my front steps and listened to the bull frogs talking to each other in the pond in the front yard. There is more than one now, and they sound hysterical conversing. I sat and listened and giggled to myself. Last night, sitting in the same spot, I saw my first fireflies of the year. Nothing makes me happier than the first glimpse of fireflies. Three nights ago, I saw a double rainbow from the same spot. Life is grand even when we have to wait, and probably even more grand when we take the time to wait and look around. Happy Monday!

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Are you wearing sewage stained glasses?

It’s a lovely day out there and the little man is headed to school having recovered from a bout with the stomach flu over the weekend.  Although he was feeling better, this morning he woke up with a spirit that was lacking in gratitude. He’d forgotten all about his excitement on Saturday at finding an Army duffel bag from the Korean War, and many other treasures, when he helped clean out a friend’s garage.

He’d also forgotten about all of the board games, books, and DVDs, that we had gotten for free after a yard sale closed yesterday, on our way home from a ginger ale and Jell-O run. What did he feel he was missing in life? Television… He had a sleepover at a friend’s house Friday night and was able to watch copious amounts of television.  Suddenly something that we have not had for nearly two years was all that he could think about.  I am considering it, television, but it is not a top priority to say the least.

Flowers from the front yard!

Flowers from the front yard!

When we go through a day feeling lack…lack for what we do not have, or lack of gratitude for all that we do have, it is like putting on a pair of sewage stained glasses, and everything we look at is tainted by the color and stink of that sewage. We become blinded to all of the goodness in life, and close our hearts to gratitude.  However, it does happen to the best of us at times, even me. 😉

A sense of lack often leads to thinking that we lack even more, as we continue to compare what we have to what others have and end up feeling even more ungrateful and lacking, whether it be lack of personal attributes, or lack of things.  Comparison almost always leads to a feeling of lacking in some way or another, which is why God cautions us not to compare ourselves with others.  It this world, that is hard not to do, but not impossible.

The little man is only 8 years old and at his age, comparison at school, and out in the world, is common.  He is using comparison to figure out how he fits into the world.  His teacher tells him not to compare, and I do the same, but it seems to be human nature, whether we are 8 or 80 years old.

I know several people in the late 70’s who constantly measure their own worth by what they have that others do not.  At 8 it is something that is fairly natural, and provides many teachable moments to help the child value who he is as an individual, and to help him to know and appreciate just how blessed he truly is, and how he can use his blessings to bless others.  At 80 years of age, it is a sad sight seeing someone who feels that the only way to measure up is to outdo everyone.

God loves people who are content with what they have, and who feel as if they are lacking for nothing.  God loves people who feel that they are enough, and have enough, and likewise, other people are drawn to those who are content within, and without, both literally, and figuratively speaking.  Gratitude does not come naturally to everyone, but I believe that it can be nurtured within, and learned over time, and strengthened into a habit.

Once you begin to appreciate all that you do have, it is amazing just how much more begins to show up. You will find yourself surrounded by grateful, content, people, and as you open up to feeling that you have enough of all that you need, you will also open yourself up to receive the things that you may have been blocking with those sewage stained glasses—opportunities that you just could not see, or did not believe existed will become visible, and obtainable.

So, today, put on a spirit of plenty, and glasses stained with the color of joy and gratitude, and don’t be tempted to take them off.  If you need to wear a pair of blinders for a time along with your joy tinted glasses that is perfectly all right.

Once you establish your focus on gratitude, goodness, and plenty, and make it a habit, the blinders will naturally fall off in such a way that your view of life will be brighter, balanced, and the scent will be so sweet that you will not believe that you lived with the scent of sewage for so long.  Take the time to develop a habit of contentment and gratitude.  It is a very worthy summer project with such beauty all around!

Life, love, lemonade, and letting go…

I love the writing of the late Nora Ephron.  Her writing style is clean and crisp, not forced and flowery.  I especially love her personal essays.   They are honest, funny, perceptive, and often profound.   I can read them over and over again and still take away something new each time.  I love that, too.

The quote below is from an essay she wrote called Moving On.  In the essay she talks about falling in love with an apartment and the many rationalizations that she uses, not only to justify the cost of getting into the apartment, but for staying for a decade despite poor conditions and numerous rent hikes.

lemonade1

Finally, once her rent is raised by 400%, she instantly falls out of love, and finds a new place that feels like home just as fast.  These two sentences sum up so much of my life, both in terms of relationships, and many other things, as well.

I was raised to be strong.  My mother was a strong woman who had endured much and she tried to form me into her own image.  “You’re stronger than that,” she would say when I was having a tough time and it was showing.  Stronger than what, I now wonder?  Was I to be stronger than a team of oxen?  Stronger than what, exactly, is still my question.

But I am a good learner, and life provided many powerful experiences, so I got stronger and stronger.   I could, and would, endure almost anything.  It was a point of pride.  I was persistent.  I persevered, no matter what the circumstances might be.  I endured and I tolerated like few can and I rarely complained about it.   Again we go with the pride thing, as you can easily see.  Of course, all of this enduring and persevering and sticking it out and being strong almost killed me, but that was beside the point, wasn’t it?

When I left my last marriage, I swore that I would never allow myself to be in a relationship that was so unhealthy that I had slipped into a place of tolerance that is beyond all reason.  I would never tolerate such conditions and treatment again.  I would be grateful and happy and free, even if I was never in a relationship ever again.  For the most part, that has been true for going on four years now.

But then I had to go to prison.  Going in, I was determined that I was going to do prison like a champ and come out better for it.  Guess what?  I did prison like a champ and I came out far better for it.  Coming out of prison, I was determined to thrive and succeed and be completely open and honest about my past while continuing to move forward.

Within five days of my release from prison, I had found a little cottage in the woods to rent, and my little boy and I were soon moved in, and I was working, and parenting, and making it through a nasty divorced, and smiling all of the while.  Every day was like a gift.  I danced in the living room every night.  I was in love, or so I thought.

I didn’t mind having to use a sled to haul groceries and laundry down the luge run of a road.  I overlooked all of the many ways that my landlords deceived me.  I tolerated the hot water heater that allowed for a three-minute shower, and when the entire place molded last summer, I did my best to clean it up, and move on, despite my mold allergy.  I rationalized, I tolerated, and I endured.  I was a trooper, because I do “trooper” well.  In short, I fell back into old habits.

Fall of last year came, and I renewed my lease when my hopes of a better place fell through.  By the time winter hit, the bloom was long off of the rose.  The long promised new hot water heater never arrived.  It was impossible to remove the entirety of the mold in that place.  The road was poorly maintained, and I still did not have a blessed smoke detector after asking for one over four times.

My friends and family were constantly encouraging me to break my lease—that I was within my rights to do so, but I kept on enduring, mostly because I had no idea where the money for a new place would come from.  My car had also broken down again, and my little boy was in the middle of a school year.

At the same time, though, I began to finally assert myself with my landlord.  That did not go over well, and soon I found that I was being evicted.  I knew it was wrongful, and that I could fight it, but after I finally wrapped my head around the whole mess, which took a couple of weeks, I finally saw it for what it was—a rescue from God.

My tenacity and desire to persevere is so danged strong that God often has to give me the old 2×4 upside the head treatment to get me to let go of something, or someone, that he wants me nowhere near.  And so this buttercup bucked up, started a fundraiser online, and had first, last, and security deposit for a place provided in no time.

We are now living in a home right where I had been praying for years to be, on our lake, once again renting from good and honest landlords from the past.  After a year and a half in a cottage so dark that it was debilitating, we are enjoying light every day, and space to move around,  a huge  yard, lovely gardens, and the ability to stick our feet in the water and dig our toes into the sand anytime we like.

The front yard.

The front yard.

Our constant congestion, coughing, and for me, asthma, is gone now that we are away from that bloody mold.  We no longer sound like a couple of chronic lungers. That place was killing us.  We are happy, filled with joy and gratitude, and truly free.  My little depression has lifted.

The living room.  See all of that

The living room. See all of that

Life has left me with a highly developed ability to make lemonade, but I simply do not tolerate citrus.  It gives me terrible reflux.  I am done making lemonade just because I can do it especially well.  Yes, I will stay positive, and I will remain resilient, and I will look for the good, and live in gratitude of God’s grace.

The sitting area

The sitting area

However, I refuse to endure anything less than what God has finally shown me that I deserve.   I deserve all good things, including love, and I am now finally strong enough to be vulnerable enough to ask for help, let down the walls, and allow myself to be loved, by God, and by all of the beautiful people who surround me.    I am finally open enough to allow myself to be deserving of goodness, not simply enduring.  What a blessing!

Our lake!

Our lake!

To end this, having not written in so very long, I would like to thank all of the people who have nominated me for various awards, including the Very Versatile Blog Award, and The Shine On Award, a couple of time for each!   Thank you so much!

Fear and Faith Cannot Exist in the Same Place

Far be it from me to suggest that I may have been out of touch with my own self in the past several months, but let me suggest just that.  I have been sorely out of touch with myself in the past few months.  Although I prayed every day, I also felt as if I was out of touch with God.  No matter what spiritual books I read, saying a hearty “Amen” to what I read, or what practices I tried to employ to get me over the hump, I remained absolutely stuck.  Stuck rhymes with another work…and it was  that, too.  Yes, it stunk!  (I trust you to get what rhymes with stuck.)

LeSeur In end1

Gosh darn it all to heck, a once ongoing issue had me scared and traumatized to the point where I could no longer write.  I was completely afraid to write for fear of some unforeseen backlash.  Being totally afraid to write left me in a place where my soul got sucked dry.  Each day I prayed to God to help me deal with the fear and the trauma, and to bless whatever might be the source of my fear.

Some things are like the interest on credit cards, or a saving account.  I needed do nothing, but they were compounded daily, or annually, and now I even sort of know what that means, because I am no financial genius.  You can trust me on that.  It means that even things I ignored added up, and even as I kept ignoring them, they continued to add up, then one day God came down and froze my assets and then what did I do?  Well, I prayed harder.   I also may have gotten depressed quite a lot.

There I sat.  My assets frozen, and I could not move because of, or from, fear.  Suddenly, the deficits started to pile up.  First, my own perceived deficits, and I found that they piled up quickly, with no interest whatsoever.  Some deficits I acquired rightfully…I judged, I spoke ill of someone, I felt compassion at times, and anger at others.  Other deficits were old issues, long gone, but back again for a visit, and I let them in, gave them tea, and a place to stay.  Fear lived in my home, and faith and fear do not cohabit well together.

What was I afraid of, you ask?  It makes no matter at this point in time.  What mattered then was that my fear was based in pride, and the resurrection of old trauma.  It took me a long time to figure that out, and even when I *knew* it as plain as the nose on my face, it would not disappear.  Still, I continued to pray every day.  I did not pray only for me, but for the source of my fear.  For some softening—for an end to hate and an opening to love.  I have been praying for that for a year and a half and nothing, but I am no quitter!

There are times when God tests us, and He does so not just by trials, but by a feeling of dryness in our faith.  Lord knows, (Oh, yes, He does!) just how stale I felt.  As a Montana gal, I do not give easily, so while I faltered many times, I did not give up, and then the grace of God descended upon me in the form of something so gracious, loving, and humble, that my weak faith never thought it would appear.  Ah, but it did, because God is good, and I am one persistent woman, for the good, or the bad.  God has given me the biggest prayer of my heart, and the fear is gone.  Today, I can write.  Hallelujah, today, I can write.

As is often the case, I write with tears streaming down my cheeks, and so much joy in my heart.  I pray that this is the start of a reconciliation of sorts—of a new beginning.  Today is the first day of spring and I welcome the thought of an end to the cold, and renewal, and new beginnings, and while there are still many unknowns in my life at this moments, I can feel the coming of sunshine, and warmth, and love. All of this come thanks to a season of trial, and the glorious grace of God.  Hope, like this new season, springs eternal, and my gratitude is too large to fill this page.  May that grace find all of you, too.

My Life is an Embarrassment of Riches

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past day or two, and it has been a rather eye-opening experience.  (Yes, that is all of the smoke you have been seeing—my brain is smokin 😉 While I have known what I am about to tell you for a while, today I am feeling it all very intensely.  Sometimes it takes a while for important tidbits of information to make the long trek from my head all the way down to my heart.   As much as I am a true “feeler,” I am also highly intellectual, so I can intellectualize a lot of things for years before I actually feel, believe, and know them at the heart level.  I am having a full heart day today.

Today, I am feeling absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude, and love, and pure joy that is simply bubbling out all over the place.  I have the best life in the whole, wide, world.  I know that sounds rather cocky, but it is true.  For me, I have the best life I have ever had.  I am the most blessed person that I know, and I am also the most blessed woman alive today.  Again, I am fully aware of the cockiness of these statements, but for me, they are so inherently true that I literally ache inside with happiness and joy.

Look at that glorious sunrise! Look at those than less than stellar picture-taking skills!

I got out of prison, after a six month stay, on September 15, 2011, so it has been a little over a year now since my release.  While it became very apparent to me while I was in prison that the reason I had to go there had little to do with me, but something much greater that God had in mind, there was still a lot of fear and trepidation coming out of the prison doors.  On one hand I firmly knew that the rest of my life was going to be the very best of my life, and that was very exciting.  Over on the other hand, though, there was a lot of trembling going on.  I was walking out to a child and a car that I could not drive yet and a bag of clothing.

I had a place to stay with some lovely people, but I was technically homeless and penniless.  I was also walking out into the middle of a very yucky divorce and custody battle.  That was a very scary place to be.  I was not especially helpful to open the trunk of my car to get into some non-prison clothing only to find that mice had taken up residence in my car over the time I was away, and much of my clothing was ruined.  I have never cared for mice and this did nothing to change my opinion of them, I can tell you.  I craved a place to call home, but how would that happen?

I will tell you how that happened.  My adult children, anticipating my need, all pitched in and suddenly I was far from penniless.  I had enough money to find a place to live and to get some essentials, to boot.  No mother wants to take money from their adult children, but I knew that this was something that they wanted to do for me badly and it was my job to humble myself enough to accept their gifts.  Before I had even been out of prison a week, I had secured the perfect place for my son and I to live, with landlords that have been nothing but kind to me, even knowing my background fully.

Home!!

I realized this morning, as I prepare to sign the lease for another year, that we have been here now for a little over a year, with another year in front of us.  That is the longest we have lived in any one place since we left my marriage, and the house of horrors.  Do you know how good that feels—to have a home?  It feels absolutely wonderful, that is how it feels!  It also feels absolutely wonderful to know that in the three years since we left, we have never been cold, have always had running water, and a fully functional bathroom, and we have had those things every day since we left.  We had not had those things for a very long time prior to that.  That feels super fantastic, too, as does not having had to do a single load of laundry in the kitchen sink.  Last year, I got many random firewood drops from people just because they could, and they cared.  I was beginning to see that coming out of prison has not made my world smaller, it had made my life become much bigger than it had been in decades.

I had employment cleaning houses almost immediately thanks to a friend and word of mouth.  My writing career, which I thought would disappear while I was in prison, had only grown, expanded, and gotten better.  We have not wanted for one single thing in the past year.  New people to love and care for us were entering our lives at an amazing rate.  These are people who I can call at 2 a.m. for any reason, and sometimes I had to do that due to my inability to drive for 9 months after my release.  The people who I work for were more than happy to pick me up so that I could clean for them, but more than that, they we also happy to take me to the grocery store, or ER with a sick child, or anywhere else we needed to go.  My son now has many surrogate grandparents who adore him and spoil him and treat me like their own child, too.  Love was, and is, everywhere, and that is an intense feeling in the best possible way.

The whole fam-dam-ily, Christmas 2011

I had all seven of my children with me last Christmas.  I think it was the best Christmas of my entire life.  I will have all seven children home this Christmas, too, plus my new son-in-law, who I love.  I get all weepy just remembering seeing them all walk in the door last year.  I got all weepy then, too.  I love them so much, and they are the best children on the planet.  Smart, accomplished, yes, but much more importantly, they are kind, loving, generous, and funny as all get out!  They are all also safe after Hurricane Sandy, and all I can say to that is Thank you, God!  I love you so much!

My lovely daughter and her husband.

My oldest daughter got married last summer.  She was the most beautiful bride in the history of mankind.  Her wedding will go down in history as the most perfect, fairytale, wedding the world has even seen, and she did it all on a tight budget, too!  My son-in-law is the best son-in-law any woman has ever had, or ever will have—that is until my younger daughter gets married, then I will have the two best sons-in-law God ever created.  The wedding was a blast, and another chance to have all seven of my kids all in one place.

Don’t bug me! I am on vacation!

My little boy and I had a three-day vacation at the beach this summer.  It was a gift to us from one of the women I clean for who owns a little cottage with the most spectacular view in all of  Maine.  It was the best, and first, vacation he and I have ever had together.  We caught tons and tons of crabs who promptly ran back into the water, but when you are seven years old, that just never gets old.

Last night, I took my little zombie trick-or-treating.  There was no random, pick a neighborhood and go there, element about it this year.  We had many stops to make and we had many people we had to see—people who would have been so disappointed if a zombie had not shown up at their doorstep, or their floor at the hospital.  When you are a kid with a ton of surrogate grandparents, you get some surrogate older siblings to stand in for the siblings who are not around to go with you on Halloween.  Life just gets richer and bigger and swells with so much love that I feel like I might burst right open.

Be very afraid!!

Best of all, among all of the glorious, wonderful, fabulous things I see, I see one very happy child.  I see a child who has been through so much in his little life and he has triumphed over it all at the tender age of seven.  It was a hard-fought battle, but everyone sees the triumph now.  His principal at school sees it and tells me how happy he is this year.  He comes skipping off of the bus every day.  He is making friends.  He tells me all of the time now that he loves life.  I think he had the best Halloween of his life last night.

One very happy zombie!!

Last year at this time, I was still very much getting back on my feet.  I did not know what the world would think of a woman who had just gotten out of prison.  I started learning quite quickly that, amazingly, the world could and would think no less of me.  In fact, my world has grown in ways words cannot express, all because I went to prison.  Soon after I got out, I wrote a three-part series for Yahoo! Shine! about my prison experience.  I wrote it fearlessly, as if called to do so.  However, when I shared the first article, the fear did hit, for as many people who knew where I had been for those six months, there were many more who had no idea where I had been.

I did not know how all of those friends would react.  Those people who did not know read that article, and rather than turning away from me, I was hit with a love avalanche unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life…love and admiration.  I think it goes without saying that I have the best friends and family in the entire universe, and more and more keep coming!  The avalanche never ends, but who would want a love avalanche to end, anyway?

Once or twice in the last year, I have had someone who is just getting to know me say something like, “Oh, what a terribly tragic life you have had!”  When I have heard this, inside I was shouting, “Oh, pah-leeze!”  My life is not tragic—not one bit.  I have had some pretty intense life experiences, but God has taken each and every one of those experiences and He has woven them into something magnificent.  My life is an embarrassment of riches, and I would not trade a single one of those crummy experiences for anything in the world.  If that is what it took to get me where I am today, then all I can say again is, “Thank you so much, Lord!  I love you for everything!”

I am the single most blessed woman alive.  You can try to fight me for the rights to that title, but I am not giving it up!  I worked hard to earn that title.  In my world, I am the most blessed woman alive. You can be the most blessed person in your world, and I hope and pray that you are!  You earned that title, too!

Joel 2:25-26

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

Nothing can annoy ya like a case of paranoia—cyberstalking!

The title to this blog post should be sung to the tune of ” Carolina in the Morning” if you want to get the full effect.  In the wake of my reblog last night about sociopaths, and how they operate in the world, I woke up to a few new followers to my blog.  Yippee!  A new follower or two to my blog almost always has me over the moon, because this blog is my baby.

Yet, I find that I am only partially over the moon because I know that one of the people following me did not just happen upon my blog and fall in love with it.  I know she is here to watch my every move, or word, more to the point.  Ah, well, what to do?  What I do is to say welcome one and all!  (Then behind the scenes I add a name and email and blog link to my “Comments that must be always moderated list and my blacklist.)  Then I go about my day, which I have been doing.  I ran some errands, and I took a stroll in the woods to collect kindling, because it is just plain gorgeous out there!

Gorgeous, I tell you!

However, how I go about my day has changed to a certain extent recently and that irritates me.  I lock my door all of the time now.  In all of my life I have never done that before.  I used to live in a big house full of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of antiques and jewelry and I never locked my door.  I also lock my car now.  I never lock my car, because the one time I did lock my car, some 30 years ago, it got stolen.  True story.  It was the summer before my last year of college and I was living in Seattle and working as a waitress at an airport hotel.  I drove an old beater that had a homemade paint job, and I affectionately called it The Circus Wagon.

I had given someone I worked with a lift to work that night.  We both worked nights.  We got out of the car and when it was clear I was not locking my car, he said, “You need to lock your car.  You are not in Montana anymore.  This is Seattle.  Go lock your car.”  So I did.  The next morning at 7:30 a.m. when I wandered sleepily out to get in my car and head home it was gone.   I wandered and wandered through the enormous parking lot until the reality dawned on me.  My locked car was gone.  I never saw it again.  I also never locked my car again.

My oldest daughter went to visit her then boyfriend, now husband, a couple of years back and parked her car in a park and ride and locked it.  When she got back after her visit, her driver’s side window was smashed in, and all they had taken were her sunglasses.  They were Mui Mui–I had gotten them for her on eBay for a steal in excellent used condition, but as I told her, had you left you doors unlocked, they could have just opened the door and taken the darned sunglasses, and you would have  had none of that messy clean up!  She still locks her car.  All my kids do, and now I have joined the ranks of lockers.  We will see just how long it lasts.

My friend, Dallas, at Namaste Cafe made this poster and I am using it with her full consent. Who does not love a cute orange kitty speaking our mind for us? As we say in my family, put on your happy pants!

I am not the paranoid sort of person.  I do not think anyone is out to get me, except for those who I know are out to get me.  I do not think people are watching me, or talking about me behind my back, once again with the exception of those who I know are doing just that.  I would love to never mention cyber stalking or harassment again, and yet on it goes, and I take the appropriate measures, and go about my life, but that is not enough.  It is not enough because I know of several other women who are being stalked and harassed online.  It is not enough because teenagers are killing themselves because someone was stalking, harassing, and bullying them in an online settings.

When another teenager takes his or her own life because of relentless cyber-bullying, we all share articles, or videos, or write blogs about hate, but it is time to stop and think about where these young bullies and stalkers are learning their tricks.  The people stalking and harassing me are all of the ages 50 years and up, with two being in their 70’s.  We bemoan the behavior and hatred of the current generation of young people, but they are learning that behavior somewhere, and it is probably right at home.  Is life really so dull that adult people have nothing better to do than stalk and harass people they do not even know?   My life is plenty busy, and very happy, and I also have no desire to go hating on anyone.  I am going to sit here and think of how I could possibly be enticed into hating on someone, or stalking someone, I do not even know.  Enjoy an image of my cat sleeping downstairs while I think…

Yes, she is a big girl. She’s a pretty girl, too!

Okay, I thought about it and I can think of absolutely nothing that could entice me enough to harass, stalk, or otherwise hate on someone I do not know.  I have a hard time doing that with the people I do know.  That is because 99% of  the people I do know are totally lovely people.  I do admit to keeping my eye on a few from the other team from time to time, but that is just to be safe.  It is usually right about at this point in the discussion that I expect someone to leave a comment on the law of attraction–what you focus on is what you attract.  Here are my thoughts on that.  I believe that being happy and positive and optimistic  with get you far, so will hard work.  I do not believe that turning a blind eye to something will make it disappear.  I also do not think that if I visualize something I want hard enough and long enough and with as much love as I can muster that it will appear at my front door.  Were this true, Robert Redford would be outside chopping wood for me and would be walking in any minute to ask me what delicious meal I had in store for him tonight before he heads out to buy me something lovely and eco-friendly.  Please enjoy this picture of what I see when I look out my window while I actually go look out of my window…

I know. I am a lucky gal!

Bob is not out there!  Thirty plus years of visualizing him and wanting him badly have not made him appear!  I guess it is nachos tonight, as the child wishes.  I believe in God.  I believe that God is protecting me and that He is using me for His message and that He wants you all to know what He knows.  There is evil in the world and we cannot make it go away by ignoring it.  We also cannot participate in it, no matter how tempting it may be.

We need to love more.  We need to put our cell phones down and love on our kids, and pay attention to them when we take them to the playground.  Get out of your car!  Take your face out of your phone and notice that your 4 and 5-year-old children are running around pretending to shoot everyone in sight, and you keep ignoring them when I ask them to please stop.  Turn off your computer and go outside and see the beauty out there. Get off of your rear end and do something to show someone that you love them.

If you want to talk politics with me, tell me why you love a certain candidate, not why you hate the other.  I do not talk hate politics. Your kids are listening to your every word.  They are seeing your every action.  They are learning from you, and too many are learning hate.  Enough is enough.  Here is a trite saying that I really DO believe.  Be the change you want to see!

If you are as tired as I am of hatred and bullying and harassment in the world, YOUR world, stop ignoring it.  If you ignore it you are tacitly endorsing it.  Stop talking hate.  Talk about what you love, show love, be loving.  Be out in the world and be loving.  Do not get sucked into stalking someone for a friend.  What kind of friend would ask you to do that in the first place?

Act like a good person.  Be a good person so that your kids can learn how to be good people.  If you want to change the world, then go out there and throw around as much love as you possibly can, but at the same time, be willing enough, and brave enough, to stand up to bad behavior when you see it.  I want to end this post on a positive note and so I will finish with this….I baked peanut butter cookies last night!  Oooh, peanut butter cookies!!  Now go enjoy your day!

Cookies!!

The illusion of safety… My very personal thoughts on 9-11, eleven years later.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the tragedy of what we all call 9-11 with full understanding of what those numbers mean.  It was the day that we in America learned that we were not safe in a cocoon, as we had believed we were.  We learned that terrorists could attack us on our own soil.  We learned that the world was a scary place and that hate was all around us.  It had been there all along, we were all just in our happy little bubble, and that bubble got popped horribly that day.

Many responded with love and a sense unity, even in the face of utter shock, pain, and disbelief.  Other went straight into anger and hatred.  I firmly believe that being angry at something evil is a natural response that has its place.  Hatred is never good.  I think it was far more upsetting for me to see people who I called friends screaming in rage at the “rag heads,” than it was to realize that America had been attacked.  It was easier for me to know that other countries held such hatred towards America than to see and feel the hatred in those close around me, for as much as America’s bubble had been burst, my own, personal, illusion of a bubble of safety had been shattered beyond repair.

From the time I was a child, because I had experienced so much trauma, and had never felt adequately protected by those who were supposed to be protecting me, I had built for myself a world where everyone was good, and kind, and loving, and worthy of respect and trust.  While this was a totally unconscious mode of operating, it served its purpose, which was the creation of the illusion of a safe world full of safe people.  Living in a world of my own making allowed me to continue to feel safe and secure in spite of repeated traumas.  I guess that might be seen as the good side of it.

However, the bad side was that this illusion of safety all around me left me wide open for repeated abuse at the hands of unsafe people.  I would forgive, and forget so well it would come as a completely surprise to me each and every time the same person did the same damned thing to me yet again.  Others in my life would say to me, “Does this surprise you?  That he did that?”  Yes!  It absolutely did surprise me time after time!

I had become so adept at disconnecting from my own experiences, and from all traumatic events, that they would literally vanish from my memory almost instantly.  This illusion of a safe world that I had created for myself made me deaf, dumb, and blind to the bad behavior of others, while sinking so deep into the shame of my own bad behavior that my world nearly became one of, me= bad, everyone else=good.  At the core was me, and my pain, and my shame, and I was surrounded by a very thick, many layered, wall that served to protect me by distorting my perceptions of life events so severely that it was like looking out at the world through a small slit deep within a dark bunker.  What I saw through that slit in my bunker was a bubble gum and rainbow world of my own creation.  I was safe.  I was protected.  In my dreams…

On September 11, 2001, that bubble I did not even know existed blew apart.  In the aftermath, my relapse, already in motion, though I was sober at the time, took off in ways that still mystify me, though far less now, than then.  Back then, I was exposed, and angry, and there was a part of me that I was unaware of who said, “Screw it.  If I am not safe here in America, I am safe nowhere.”  My drinking took off like a wild-fire fueled by high winds, and suddenly I was doing things that were the polar opposite of safe.  I was driving drunk…something that would have appalled me before, and appalls me now beyond words.

I was not just getting drunk and finding myself driving.  I was getting in the car with the intent of getting drunk while driving.  As much as it pains me to type this, as much as it disgusts me to remember that time, I now know that, finally, a lifetime of anger was beginning to come out in a very extreme, and very sideways way.  I know I did not want to hurt anyone else.  I am not certain if I even wanted to hurt myself, but some damned part of me was hell-bent on destruction.  I thank God every day that I did not kill anyone else during that time, or myself, for that matter.  Of course, I got caught time and again, and this led to arrests, and jail time, and a halfway house, and finally sobriety that was nothing short of deliverance—pure divine intervention–in the midst of my awful marriage.

As ugly and awful all of it was, it was necessary.  The walls were slowly being broken apart, brick by brick, and my view began to widen.  The disconnect remained, but I became fully aware of it.  It was while I was in prison, with the help of two wonderful women, both specialists in the areas of trauma and addiction, that the walls came down completely.  I came to fully see the illusion I had created, that safe, happy, pretty, world that was supposed to protect me, but in reality had left me so unsafe in more ways that I can explain.  Then one day, while spending time with one of these wonderful women, these words came out of my mouth:  “I am safe.  I can protect myself.”  At 52 years old, I finally realized that I could live fully in the world, as unsafe, and ugly as it may seem at times, and that I—me–I could protect myself.  To me that was the revelation of a lifetime.

A year later, I know now that most of us have some form of an illusion of safety, and in reality, the concept of safety is always an illusion.  We can wear our seat belts, and lock our house and car doors, we can wear helmets and pads, and eat well, and exercise, and watch our children very closely, and still, safety is an illusion.  At any moment, within a second, something—anything–can happen that will shatter our illusion of safety.  I pray for protection for my children and friends and loved ones every day, and yet I know that should I forget to say those prayers until noon on a certain day instead of saying that prayer as soon as I open my eyes, that God has still been protecting my loved ones without me uttering those words.

I can protect myself, but only up to a point.  The reality of it is that it is all in God’s hands and it always has been.  There is no other way I would still be alive were this not the case.  I still wear my seat belt, and watch my child, and say my prayers, but in the end, God’s plans are bigger than mine and I am happy to have it that way.  I know that safety is an illusion, but I absolutely refuse to live a fear based life.  In so many ways, knowing that there is no real safety, expect in the arms of God, has allowed me to live a much fuller, happier, and far more carefree life than I have ever lived before.  I no longer am ruled by what others think of me.  If I want to dance in my living room, I dance.  I will never be a huge risk taker, no matter what my arrest record might lead some to believe, but I refuse to wall myself off from the world again.

Yes, I can protect myself in an intelligent way now, but what my intelligence, and my heart tells me to do most of the time is to love as much as I can, and feel as much as I can and live as freely, openly, and peacefully as I can.  I am who I am.  Love me or hate me, I know God loves me.  Like Cramer, I am going commando now.  I am out there in this not-so-safe-world, and loving every minute of it!  God has got this.  I am at peace now.