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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Be

Lord, I am so frightful. I am reaching blindly, hoping to catch on to something solid. I want so much to live a life unafraid...and then darkness comes.

Why? Why does every night end in pleading for rest, comfort, peace? It's a never-ending cycle of anxiety. It is like Sundowners, anxiety-version.

On the way home, I feel a weird twinge or my stomach starts hurting or I can feel my heart kicking out weird beats. There it goes, a whirlwind that lifts me off the ground and makes me dizzy. I feel sick and being dizzy makes me sicker.

I desperately want to cry. I need the renewal that comes with choked sobbing.

I have had this feeling all week. It paralyzes me and makes me crawl into bed to do nothing. I forgot to pay our monthly bills on time. I forgot to submit something important to the church bulletin. My dishes are piled up. My laundry is overflowing. I haven't cooked a real meal in over a week.  I have been wearing dirty clothes to work all week and no shower, just perfume and deodorant to cover the smell. This is me at my worst.

Rock.
Bottom.

Misery.

Give me relief Lord. Jesus, I trust in you. I hear what you are telling me and I am willing to concede that point.

I think it may be time for more therapy. I am not ashamed, but I am afraid. Will it work? Release, relief, I crave you. Let me snuggle down in the dark and never worry again. Please God...help me be still and know.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fill up your cup

I have had a long week.

My emotional reservoir was seriously depleted.  I have not slept well.  I am fatigued. I wasn't feeling well tonight and didn't feel like eating much. I am stressed, but I am grateful.

I have forgotten how much I needed to take the time for a little self care.  So tonight, I am in my sweatpants. My favorite green "T rex hates pushups" tee, courtesy for the Field Museum in Chicago, reining in the boobage and getting ready for some cross stitch.

How are you? Are you well? Have you had some rough nights recently? It's okay, really. No matter how scared, anxious, lonely, or fatigued we are, we know that we still have each other. We are all in this together.

This week I learned the very important lessons of service and grace and a huge helping of humility. I helped a very dear college friend during a very rough time in her life. I made myself available to her in any way she needed and tried to calm the chaos for her, just a little bit. For a moment or two, she had peace. I am not good at the emotions or the gestures of comfort. I feel awkward and never know quite how to act. However, for my friends, I will do anything. I am fiercely loyal and passionately in their corners. Do not think that because I don't cry much that I do not feel. I feel very deeply.  I am devoted to filling up your cup at the risk of letting my own well dry up.

This tough week has been a trial for the fortitude of our nation and our people. People feel hurt and sad and, whether you believe they should be or not, the reality is that they are.  So, fill each other's cups. Remember that true service, done out of love, can build bridges instead of walls. Keep perspective on your situation. While people cried over election results, others cried because they lived in poverty or because a loved one died. Most of all, extend compassion and actively listen to one another.   Have a wonderful week ahead and know that God is there. Love and light to you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Gee, narcissistic much?

Boy, that first day back after a long weekend is a killer, eh?

My work day went screaming by and now it's almost 8 and I still have a bunch of stuff on my to-do list!  Yikes.

I am writing this in lieu of something else that's due soon, so hey, procrastinators UNITE...tomorrow.

Here's a little something about me you may have noticed.

Sshhhh.  I'm a narcissist.  At least, that's how I feel sometimes.  I struggle with this a lot, especially lately.  I have a really hard time biting back the urge to interrupt conversations (though that does happen frequently, no matter how much I tell myself not to), I rattle off know-it-all facts when people are talking about a particular subject I may have some veeeerrrry tangential relationship to, and I have a hard time keeping friends.  Probably because of these traits.

I am somewhat of a well-meaning narcissist though, if that's a thing.  I try very hard on a daily basis to keep my ego in check.  I honestly think that a lot of people fail at that quite spectacularly.  Instead of feeling jealousy because you didn't get as big a role as you thought you should, instead focus on how to support those in the bigger roles.

Instead of talking about oneself constantly, ask questions of others and LISTEN to their responses.

Constantly serve and ceaselessly pray.  Those both have helped me realize and combat my narcissistic ways.  I will be the first to admit that I do like it when people praise my talents.  I sometimes check what I post on Facebook several times a day to see how many people like it or have commented on it and I sometimes feel affronted that no one has liked my status.  Trust me when I say that I recognize this behavior and constantly feel guilty for feeling this way.

I continue to try daily to not come across so self-centered.  I do this by nearly always asking to help someone or volunteer for some position or another.  I mean, I do it because I really do want to help, but an eensy-weensy part of me does it because if I didn't, I would be even more of a terrible person. Helping people is my calling and one I undertake seriously, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't feel just little bit better about myself because of it.

The biggest problem is the interrupting and know-it-allness that sometimes comes across.  You guys have NO IDEA how much I edit myself before I speak.  Like, ALL THE TIME, thinking about how this will come off and how someone will view me based on what I say.  I feel like half of the thoughts that fly through my head are tsking myself for having said something fairly innocuous that someone may have perceived in a negative light.  I constantly berate myself whenever I mentally correct people and REALLY let myself have it when I actually, finally, give in to the urge to verbally correct someone.

I know.  This does not paint a pretty picture of me.  I realize this.  So why post this?  I just want to know if I'm alone in these crazy thoughts.  I edit my texts, my e-mails, my speech, and oftentimes, my physical reactions to other people based on what I think they'll think about me if I respond differently.  It is exhausting sometimes to hold it all in.  I honestly don't know where I want to end with this.  I am a pretty joyful and exuberant person, but sometimes, sometimes I truly despise myself and how I told some stupid story that's only indirectly related to someone else's true and heartfelt one.  I am a very lonely soul some nights.  I'm the odd piece on the puzzle board.  The one that slipped in to the wrong box.  No matter how hard I try, or how many people try to fit me in to the missing spot, I will only get crumpled and oily around the edges.

Darkness can only be in places that also carry light.

The good thing is that I know God is there and He carries me through a lot of the darkness.  My puzzle piece always fits inside His heart.  I think my husband is the only other person in my life that actually knows how hard I try.  They both love me in spite of my filthy heart.  I will always be grateful to Rick (and God) for rescuing me out of my own personal darkness.  I will continue to work on this, but just know that if you know me, I don't mean to be rude or pedantic or ramble on.  I just want to know you and support you in any way you need.  I promise.

(Also, I took a test and scored really low, so I'm hoping that helps convince you all that I'm not completely crazy!  I tested it myself! haha)

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for me and all those whose darkness can consume them. Pray that the light prevails within us.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday 5: Summer time and the living is....busy?!

Okay, wow.  Sooooo...I took the summer off.  Sorry about that.  I have been BUSY!  This time I actually mean it and I wasn't just suffering from writer's block.

I'm gonna do a Tuesday 5 to get back in the groove, alright?

Thanks for sticking with me, by the way.  And HELLLLOOoooooo to the new faces!  (Pretend that was Seinfeld.)

Without further ado...

1.  I started a new job in May, as a trainer.  I love it.  It's always different and I get to talk a LOT.  Only downside is all. the. MEETINGS.  OMGoodness!  That's okay, though because I would still rather be stuck in a meeting than sitting at a desk doing the same work over and over and over ad infinitum.  I also chose a standing desk at my workspace.  I love it.  I occasionally do a bit of yoga while standing.  I do some squats or calf raises while reading stuff and my legs feel much better.

2.  I am involved in 3 SIGNIFICANT things within my parish.  I have weekly meetings for two of them and am about to start monthly meetings for the third one.  I'm actually THRILLED!  I like having 50 things going at once so this suits me just fine.  The people I work with are all brilliant and kind and funny and creative and so, so generous with their spirits, their words, and their time.  It's amazing.  Truly.  I love my parish so much!

3.  So, I flaked on no-spend August you guys!  I just couldn't plan and commit this year.  It was so hard.  I was busy and just feeling depressed and deflated (losing one of my pets and gaining back some weight will do that to you) and I just felt so blah that I didn't do it.  BUT, I have my shopping list for September and tomorrow after work I am going to prep.  It's going to be a September fiscal fast instead.  I have a few old blog posts on this, if you are clueless.  Check 'em out!

4.  I've been thinking about babies a lot lately.  There's a song by Jason Aldean called "Laughed until we Cried" and it came on my mp3 today.  This is one of the verses:

Just the other night the baby was cryin
So I got out of bed rocked her awhile and I held her tight
And I told her it would be all right
My mind went back to a few years ago
We tried so long, we almost gave up hope
And I remember you comin' in and tellin me the news
Oh man we were livin, goin crazy in the kitchen
We danced and screamed and held each other tight
We laughed until we cried

Ugh, you guys.  I wanted this so badly...I dreamed of the day that I could do this with my husband.  It touches my heart so deeply and some days I can't handle it.  It's been a while since I've felt as sad as I did when all the fertility stuff was actively happening to me.  I trust in Jesus to help me.  He's there.  I know it.  It's just really f'in depressing sometimes.  It makes me hide that pain behind something else and not processing this crap hasn't helped.  Sometimes I watch a bunch of sad videos to force myself to cry it out, but I have to find joy in small things.  I have to. 

5.  Well, the inevitable "signs of aging" have started.  Oh boy.  (Note the sarcasm.)  I put my hair up in a top knot the other day and I apparently have glitter all over my hair now...?  Or something glinting in the light.  I'm going with strands of glitter.  I also have to fill in my eyebrows with a pencil now.  Okay, that's just not cool.  Why do eyebrows thin?  I don't want to be the middle aged woman with just one thin line as my brow.  Also, there's a vessel in my eyelid that's now visible.  The hell is that?  My hands are getting old, too.  This can't be happening!  Where do I submit complaints?  

Get off my lawn, you durn kids!  

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 29, 2016

I am melancholy

I am sadness.
I am the swirling waters of the sea and
the deep expanse of a midnight sky.

I sit quietly among the trees in the forest and
Ponder my existence.

I know that I cannot be here for me alone.

To what do I owe my allegiance?
To who am I called?

I am one with the Maker.
The Giver bestows me with wisdom.

          May I preserve and use it.

The Creator endows me with the spirit.

          Lord, give me purpose.

Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened.

The Dark One assails me and I

          Raise my hands over my face.

This feeling of despair only comes with the Darkness
I can always see Christ more clearly in the light.

Come Light and Chase out the Darkness.
Soothe me, comfort me, and turn my

Melancholy into
          Joy!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Race

A week or so ago, I needed to get out of the house.  I had itchy feet and I knew I needed to drive.  I just needed to drive somewhere, it didn't really matter where.

Accompanied by the vocal stylings of Bret Michaels (Poison 4everrrrr), I rolled down the windows on my miniv...*ahem*, crossover vehicle, and turned up the radio.  I just started going south.  I drove south, out of the city, winding past close-set houses, until I got further out.  I started passing by wide, lush lawns, huge homes set far back from the road, and kept going.  I drove until I ran out of asphalt.  I live in Kansas, so it actually didn't take as long as you'd think.  Then, I took a left, and another right, and drove south again until I ran out of asphalt.  Slowly, I turned around and meandered home, taking another route, past houses I'd never seen before.

My life's motto!
Every once in a while, the only fix my poor, wanderlusting heart can get for the gypsy feeling is to just go.  I beg my husband to go on Sunday drives, but he's not as fond of wasting gas as I am, I guess.  Occasionally, I get the opportunity to run away, just for a half hour, or maybe a few hours, or even just 10 minutes.  I don't want to escape my life, but I need to run out of my skin for a minute.  I need to feel the wind and see the countryside.  I need to blast my radio and sing out loud.  Sometimes, I need to chase the sunset...or sunrise.  Depends on the day.

In the midst of my drive though, I realized that one of the last times I did this, I had to turn around rather quickly and go back to familiar territory.  My anxiety belted itself into my passenger seat and mocked me.  It scowled as I took off and cringed the further away from my home I got.  When I got to an area where the land rose and became hilly, it wound itself up as tight as a coiled snake and its tail started rattling.  I knew I couldn't make it.  I knew that it was going to bite me.  So, I turned around.  I looked at my piteous self in the rearview and I drove back home, defeated.

This time was different.  My heart soared and I kicked anxiety to the curb like the unwanted hitchhiker it was. I outran my skin that day and for a few moments in time, I was happy.

Life is what you make of it and I am taking my gypsy heart for a ride more often.  I'm making a life that is no longer consumed by anxiety.  I hope you get the chance to outrun your fears, even just for a moment.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

We all fall short

Today started off crazy.  Our good friends' two little boys spent the night Saturday night and this morning they woke our teens up super early. Everyone was a little tired and we forgot what it took to get little ones ready for church. They are 5 and 4 and of course, we weren't used to anyone getting up early enough to eat breakfast before mass.

We loaded everyone up, after running to grab car seats, and headed to church. The boys were very good, even though it was their first time in a Catholic mass.  We brought a couple books and our kids brought their phones to distract the boys when they got antsy.

I have been struggling recently with drawing my kids closer to the church. I have also been feeling a lot more like a stepmom than usual, feeling a bit left out. It's a natural progression as the kids get older and start figuring out which parent is the "fun" one. Shock of shockers, that ain't me!

I feel like sometimes, instead of leading them to Jesus, I have pushed them further away.  I get frustrated because they aren't following along, they are distracted, they don't take as much time to pray as what I think they should, and it makes me hypercritical.  I see myself getting angry and making biting sarcastic remarks to them and I know it only hurts them.  I can see it in their eyes and it makes me feel so, so sad.  

Today during mass, it struck me that I need to let them see the Church through new eyes.  As with the two boys we brought along today, I need to allow them to have the same awe and excitement that the little ones experienced.  Before, I would make sure they were following along closely in the missal.  I would give them head nods or hand signals to let them know to pay attention, but what I was missing is that we have to also EXPERIENCE the mass.  In the midst of the chaos today, I realized that my stepson didn't have his missal.  It was just after the transubstantiation and I at first thought I needed to grab one and hand it to him, but then I stepped back.  We were at arguably the most important point of the mass.  Jesus became present to us, through His flesh and blood, in the sanctity of the Eucharist.  My stepson was still kneeling down and still looking at the altar.  Did I really need to bother him to make sure he was following along line by line?  What if I stepped back and allowed him to experience the mass in his own way?  Would that be so bad?

I am struggling with lots of emotions regarding my children lately.  They are your typical teens, reluctantly doing chores, sometimes reacting with a negative attitude to certain requests or situations, and I often forget what I felt like during those years.  It's a wonder how my parents (and siblings) survived when I was a teenager in that household.  Would it be so awful to allow them to express their feelings and react how they need to?  Of course not.  The teenage years are hard enough without a harpy of a stepmom on your shoulder!  

To draw them to the church, perhaps I need to show them how loving Christ changes you as a person.  Instead of trying to have them stick to my rigid demands, I need to let them love and embrace Christ how THEY need to.  I need to pray for them LOTS and I need to be sure they know that not only do we love them, but God does, too.  I also need to remember the line from our homily on this Pentecost Sunday, that we ALL fall short.

The Holy Spirit guides us and we need to teach ourselves to listen.  I've fallen short a lot recently and it has left me feeling like I am a horrible mother.  I love these children and I want to see them do well in life, but I also need to remember that they are 14 and 13 and at a very rough time in their lives, regarding identity, self expression, and identifying the truth.  

I'm willing to let God take the lead on this one.  Next Sunday, I will do my best to allow them to immerse themselves in the mass.  I will let them look around in awe at the beauty of the physical church.  I will also let them be reminded of the beauty of the metaphysical Church as well, as we honor God by our praise and worship and remember what the center of our lives should rely on.  

I will do my very best to get rid of the critical tone in my voice that has appeared so often as of late and instead, listen to my children.  It's so hard sometimes to know when you need to push and when you need to let go.  I don't think I'll ever get that balance right.  

But, you know, an off balance life is a good life and one I'll gladly take.