Stillness In The Eye of The Storm…

So when I was going through my recent bout of anxiety, I got to the point where all I could do was pray. It wasn’t a pretty prayer. It was me at bottom going God I have no where else to look. I need some answers. I need you to help me with this thing. I need you and I need you now.

God is right on time every time. I listened after I prayed. I was taught a lesson in life. I was taught a lesson in humility. I was reminded of some happy times as a child where I overcame my fears and I was told to reach out to others, which I haven’t done in a while.

God showed me through the art that I do how I am being put through the same fire. It will strengthen me just as it does the glass I work with.

I was reminded that I had always allowed my fear to stand in the way of things and it had cost me hours of fun that once I overcame that it was some of the best times of my childhood.

I was reminded that in times of internal struggle, I should turn outward and present others to the world. Build others up. I have cousins who are photographers and jewelry makers just as I am. My person is an artist, he paints and sculpts and so much more. A friend of mine grows pumpkins, his art is in nature. I have three friends who bake cakes. My sister does floral design. My niece is a cosmetologist, her art is done on the human body.  Instead of waiting for them to promote me which none of them do, promote them, not wanting anything in return, just to be kind. Just to show that talent is all around me. I won’t share everything the post but I will try to help them if I can. There are different types of creativity.

In the middle of the chaos of my own making, I found silence in the eye of the storm. I was made aware of a great deal of things. I have now put them into place. Some don’t and won’t understand it. I have to be okay with that. It is not their life. It is mine. I want us all to win. Simple yet so hard for some to understand.

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When The Heavens Cry With You….

My pastor is “dying”. I prefer the term transitioning to his permanent home.   He was sent home this morning, from the hospital with Hospice care. He was transported to one of the big hospitals on Thursday. This morning his wife and children heard the words I have heard before. “We’ve done all we can do”.

That very moment is when you start functioning in survival mode. You have arrangements to make. You have to make sure someone is there to care for them. Luckily, this is a family of a wife, 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren who are old enough to help out.

When he heard the news, he told them that he wanted to go home. So they went home. Last report, the nurse was with him where he resides getting him settled in.

We live in a small mountain community and we are a very small but loving congregation. We have been in constant contact for the past three weeks since he got severely ill.

He has been at our church for 23 years. He has driven 50 miles, three times a week to preach to us. He made numerous trips to the same hospital and others when things were going wrong in my world. He has been in my home when we were facing death to let my husband know that he was loved and cared for even when his own family would not come around.

When my husband died, he was right here in my home providing love and comfort.

After making sure my parents were okay after getting the news, I went for a long drive. I was alone and I could cry as hard as I wanted. It was raining buckets almost as if the heavens themselves could feel my pain.

I cry for his wife and his children knowing what they will be facing. I cried for our church, we have a heartache that unless you have felt it, you don’t understand. My tears are not for where he is going. He is heading to Heaven, where his heart and lungs will not be an issue. I cry out of selfishness. I will miss him.

He has been our spiritual leader, our burden bearer, our under shepherd taking care of  the flock. You have a tremendous amount of respect and love for him.

We are independent. We don’t have someone to come in and fill that spot, not that anyone could take his place.

So for now, we as a collective group try to carry on. We will have a fill in preacher tomorrow. We do what we have to do to cope. One lady went and rode with her husband in a dump truck so she would not  be alone. My mom carried beans to the can house to stay busy. I went for a long drive and had a good cry.  We all handle it differently.

My prayer for his is that his crossing be gentle. He has been a faithful servant.

My solace??? I can just imagine my husband looking at him when he crosses and saying “Well Preacher, what are you doing here?”

 

We Are Glass….

I don’t know anyone who is truly and entirely happy. Nobody.

Everyone is worrying about something.

I worry about everything. It is what it is.

In the past week, I have had someone come to me with a very personal problem and all I could tell her is what I have experience with. I have not walked in her shoes so I couldn’t say I would do this. I know what I think I would do but I have not been there.

She was pretty torn up when she was talking to me. She wanted me to tell her what to do but I wouldn’t. I just told her a story and asked her some questions.

It was up to her to make her own decision. Tonight, she came and talked with me and thanked me. She told me that she had thought about what I had said. It had helped her. She told me that she appreciated my honesty and being up front with her.

Today, she asked me some more hard questions. I told her I didn’t know those answers either. She said it just made her feel better to be able to talk to me about it. I told her that things would work out just as they should.

She is very much like me. We have a commonality. She looks to me as a person who she has known since childhood but now sees that sees me as someone she can come to for advice on the tough stuff.

Tonight, I really didn’t want to work. It was a beautiful day outside and I just wanted to point my car in the other direction and just go. I knew where I wanted to be. In one of the most peaceful places I can imagine.

We are all glass. We break easily. Life can break your spirit, like it did with this young woman. Sometimes it can leave you with more questions than answers. You just have to wade through and try to work it out.

Maybe today, I was supposed to be here for more than one reason. Maybe I needed to here to hear that I made a difference.

A True Artist Knows No Limits….

My friend, my person, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. If you have read this blog very much, you know I have referred to him as such many times.

Often is the time I have studied his hands, he has the hands of an artist.

He has the soul of an artist. I told him today that he was a natural born artist and I had to sneak up on it. He then reminded me that I have been singing all my life and telling stories to children, that is creative. True. Busted!! I was talking more about visual art.

He is a painter, a sculptor, a designer, a photographer and so much more. He does them all well. Much better than I. As a matter of fact, he has been my mentor on a great many things. He is my muse. (Don’t tell him I said that).

I have seen photographs he has taken of athletes that look like they are dancing. I have seen photos of dancers that show the strength of an Olympic athlete while maintaining the grace of a swan. He has this uncanny ability to see beauty in all things and capture it.

I learn from him every time we are together. I feel like he loses brain cells talking to me sometimes. He can say something and it is followed up with twenty questions.

It is not that I am trying to “build up his ego” as he said today, it is just he has so much knowledge on so many subjects that I want to know more.

On the MBTI scale, he is a thinker; I am a feeler.

He has to understand the puzzle and solve it. I must at some point question why the puzzle is there in the first place. I need to know the why. I have to study on it, think about it, which ultimately leads to me overthinking, which leads to me doubting myself and putting roadblocks in my own way.

He reaches out and does his own thing with ease, I tend to compare myself with others, who have been doing it longer and planting seeds of doubt about my own work. He is a visionary and I, well, I piddle. I play with squares and rectangles of glass with smaller squares and rectangles on top. Nothing ground breaking there. If I am feeling especially frisky, I might try a circle.

He can spend countless hours learning something. If I don’t get it in 10 minutes, in my mind, I am the dumbest person on the planet and should be dragging my knuckles on the ground.

It is just a difference in us. I am envious of how talented and knowledgeable he is.

He did point out somethings to me today that enlightened me, about me. He has a way of doing that.

He pointed out that just because he uses lights, motors, actuators to enhance other art forms does not make him “the tech guy”, that he is an artist. He is simply using those things to enhance the beauty that is already there. It is a tool, like a paint brush, sculpting tools or a grinder. You are using another tool to add to the loveliness that already exist.

Not meaning to refer to him as “the tech guy”, yet doing so, my inner Beetle Bailey steps to the front and says I’ll take it from here. At this point I am unable to articulate clearly what I am trying to say, (I babbled).

This made me even more frustrated with myself, which made the babbling worse. At one point the voices in my head were screaming for my inner Beetle to shut the %*^*  up. He didn’t.

Having lived in rural Southern Appalachia for my entire life,  he pointed out that I have some cultural bias. There are guy things and there are girl things. I above all people should know that roles in life are not gender specific. I have never been the fragile little thing. I grew up on a farm where you worked as hard as a man.

There are very few guys here who take dance, paint or even sing until they at some point pick up a banjo.

He has lived in large cities and seen places that I would love to see. He has had contact with different people and cultures that I have not. He has photographed models and help design buildings schools and hospitals. I ……well….went to work, in a factory,  in the same hometown I have always lived in.

In our maker group we saw a divide. The females gravitated toward the jewelry and the painting. They guys toward technology. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. We both tried to bridge the gap, with no success. He couldn’t make us understand that it is just a new tool to work with. I can only speak for myself, but I made it harder than it was. I still do. I need to close that divide in my brain that they are two different things. They are the same thing. I need to see it as a new type of paintbrush or a new kind of glass I am learning to work with. I am going to work on that.

Having said that, he has made much more beautiful jewelry than I will ever make. He has been featured on some pretty high profile websites. I told him today that I would like for my jewelry to have a more finished look. When asked what I meant, I didn’t know the words to use. I just want it to look more complete, more presentable, more finished. He told me that the he thought the glass was, I think he used the word gorgeous, but I can’t be too sure of that. I take his opinion on my projects very seriously. I trust him. He is going to say what he thinks. He will give suggestions that if I follow them, I have a much better project. My way is not the only way, I always want to try to improve.

I was trying to explain to him today that I wanted to share his blog with you all and that is how this conversation got started and it was a pretty intense conversation. It shined a light on some of my own shortcomings and bias. Once again, I got schooled, in a good way.

He did give me permission to share. I hope you go and visit often. He has some pretty awesome thoughts that he wants to share with the world.

Here is the link.:::::      http://tangoofthegeeks.blogspot.com/, if you know someone in the maker community, turn them on to his site as well. They’ll be glad you did.

Until next time….Love, Peace and Cupcakes.

And Then Came The Crash….

It has been a hard couple of weeks. Worked an extra shift, switched my schedule to photograph a wedding that cancelled my services 12 hours before I was supposed to be there, had a big to do at work, followed by working 3 straight 12 hour shifts when I should have worked two.

I am not whining (okay maybe a little) but that is much better than I felt earlier today.

Let’s go back to yesterday….. Zigzag lines inserted here.

We were honored publicly at work by our community, which is cool, unless you are introverted and the low chick on the totem pole.

We were standing inside and everyone was talking about this person being there for them and that person being there for them. I kept silent. I was asked if anyone was going to be there for me. Nope. Nobody. Nada. Zipola.

Not that I didn’t know pretty much everyone there. Some I was glad to see, some I could have done without; but none of them were there for me.

We were in the middle of a large group of people, with our backs to them. You wondered what was going on behind you. My guys all had to leave because the job still goes on no matter what.

When it was over, I wandered around alone killing a couple hours before going on shift. This is when I felt the crash coming on. I knew it was coming. I was exhausted. Hell, if everything goes well, I will be 49 in two days. I have to work but hopefully I will be around to do so.

 I thought about a couple of guys that I went to school with that had passed away in two weeks. I cried for their families.

One had been sick for a while. The other was sudden. They will not see another birthday.

I have not seen my people in a week. Well, my best friend I saw on Tuesday but to have contact with my person, my folks, my girls, it has been a week.

Although I test an introvert, I am more of an ambivert so I need that social interaction with those I love. I hinted a couple times that I wanted to spend time, only to be shot down.

To quote Kid Rock, I ain’t seen the sunshine in three damn days.

I have not been taking care of myself physically, I have been sleeping but not resting. I have been eating one meal in 24 hours. I have been having kidney issues from a trip I had to take for work and couldn’t use the bathroom for 6 hours. Not good for someone with kidney stones.

My job is both mentally and emotionally draining so some calls you sleep with, even though you don’t want to. I went to sleep today with my door unlocked and the keys hanging in the door. That is exhausted.

Today when I woke up, I cried til I thought there was nothing left. My sister texted me and wanted to know if I wanted to come to her house and pick up my birthday present since they were going to be out of town on Monday.

I didn’t answer immediately. So she sent me a facebook message. Okay, drag yourself out of bed. Make your body move whether you want to or not. You need food it has been 15 hours since you ate. So I go over, I walked into her house, listen to her talk to someone on the phone for 15 minutes while it sit there with my arms crossed across my body telling her I am practicing for my funeral.

Then the six year old showed up. We listened to music, we swung on the swing set, we took a walk and picked wild strawberries.

We had food, we played frisbee and of course it landed on the roof. With some help, she climbed the ladder and got it, proclaiming as she worked her way down the ladder that she wasn’t afraid of heights.

I  asked her at one point to tell me the secret of life, somewhere along the way, I have lost it, if I ever knew it, so she told me a story about nice people who live in the woods.

When I got ready to leave, I told them to have fun at the beach. She told me she would bring me back a seashell for my birthday but she WOULD NOT tell me what color.

I came back home and went back to bed. I slept another 6 hours. In less that 20 hours, I have slept 16. I know a change is going to have to happen.

I feel like I am letting everyone down. I feel alone and isolated. This is not good for my mental health.

For now, night shift brain has kick in. It is the middle of the night. I am wide awake and the person I love is sleeping (I guess) so I sit here and I cry.

The crash finally came.

Not That Girl Anymore….

I have always allowed myself to feel second rate. It is nothing I consciously did, it was just that I always felt inferior.

My sister never studied and she was a straight A student. She could pass a test and never open a book. She was the basketball star, she has kids and grand kids.

I struggled with each and every C that I earned. I was the band geek, I did run track for two years but I was average at that. Band was more my thing. I never managed to bring life into the world and it is too late to start now.

When trying to learn new things, I go through the same process and come test time. I panic. I know it is going to happen and I prepare for that.

In my jobs, although competent to do jobs I have had, I live in a culture that uses fear and threats as motivation. So by the time I had left a job, I was beaten down.

Here is the thing though, now I don’t  allow that to happen to me. I am not the best in the world but I am not the worst either. I do there very best job I can for the people I work with and those I serve.

I give the best of me to my person, my family, my friends and my co-workers. This time though, I save a little bit for me. I learn something new every day. I will get something on my mind and I will research it. I never want to stop learning. I allow myself to meditate and contemplate life and the world around me, I make sure I write in my journal to get my feelings onto paper. Even when it hurts that is when I need to write most. I love sharing my love of journaling with others.

I may not be the cute little thing  that men desire, I know my flaws better than anyone, but I have a good heart and a thirst for knowledge. Most recently have been studying up on hydroponics and aquaponics. I may never use it but I can speak clearly about it. Then again, I might use it. You never know.

I am secure in who I am when I are working on my job and if there is something that comes up that I haven’t handled before, I call on the resources at my disposal.

I have grown a great deal in six years. Some may see it as a good thing, some may see it as a bad thing. I see it as an amazing thing. I am happy that I have taken some of the chances I have taken. I used to be the kid who was scared of her shadow, the one who was always at the back of the line. Now, I found out that me might get to do a ride along in a medical air transport unit and I was the first to shoot my hand in the air and almost scream I want to do it.

I want the most of the time I have left here. I don’t want to live my life as someone who is afraid to take risk. I might get rejected, I may very well fail but I won’t be found not trying.

Living life as a second class citizen, an option, that is not for me anymore.

Today, I Feel Small…

Judging by the title, your train of thought could go one of two ways…another weight loss post or what it actually is, I feel like I don’t matter.

I have spent the weekend working. I have worked on my taxes, a good business woman I am not. I like the creating, hate the book keeping.

I knew I needed to get some images of my jewelry out there. So when I woke up two hours before I should have awakened, I decided that I should take photos instead of making more jewelry. I went into my studio and began to work. I got some good images and have gotten good response from several post on different social media sites. Even got a very nice comment about the bold colors I use.

I realized that there were pieces that all I needed to do was put the finishing touches on. I packed those into my bag to work on tonight.

I went out into my yard and pick up a few stray sticks scattered about by the wind of recent storms.

I went in, got dressed, got my things together for work having talked to nobody. I let calls go to voicemail. On my way out the door I talk to my mom for a moment.

I drive through my small town, all the restaurants were either too peopley or I didn’t want their offerings so I just gave up and went for a walk.

It was when I took the first photo that I realized I feel small today. I was looking down. I know why and that doesn’t matter, it just needs to stop. Don’t look down darling your crown might slip. Raise you head high. Look up. So the next photo took was a photo of a weed with a blue sky in the background.

Oddly enough, I had parked at the office and walked to a place to walk where a great deal of pain had been inflicted on me. It was the place that the things that happened there caused me to have to turn my world upside down.

Sometimes you have to face things you may not want to but you need to. You need to look those things you dislike right in the eye and remind yourself that you are bigger than what you have endured. You are bigger than you feel at times. You are bigger…the last photo I took was of my own shadow, it was bigger.

I finally went and got food. I will eat it at some point. I ate my fortune cookie first, just hoping for some good luck.