Out of Their Box….

Have you ever had people in your life that you felt were ashamed of you? That the only time you hear from them is when they want something from you? They don’t understand that life changed how you see things.

I have some of those people “in” my life. At this point, I am afraid that they are just going to have to get used to who I am.

I am not what they think I should be. I’m not, I am so much more.

I have walked through the fire and that changes you. It will incinerate you or strengthen you.

I have given so much that I depleted myself. I laid in my bed sick for three days and not a one of them checked on me, yet every time their world crumbled, I was right there.

It is fine by me if you don’t think of me as an artist, I know the work I put into my craft. I spend hours working on what I do. Hell, it is tough for me to say I am an artist but I am getting better at it.

You may value the opinion of others more than you do mine. Okie fine, I will keep my opinion to myself.

You may not care if I live or die but I do. I have to burst out of the box people have always known and be who I am. They can like it or not. It is no longer my problem. My problem is that I have accepted being second best all my life.

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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.

Anxiety is a Sneaky Bastard….

If you live with anxiety, you know that it is more than worry. If you don’t, please allow me to educate you.

Anxiety is a physical, mental and emotional reaction to outside stimuli. (disclaimer…not a physiologist, just a human).

The thing you have been longing for happens and you are excited beyond belief until…..It sneaks up on you.  You are okay with failure because you are used to it but now it is happening and you are on sensory overload.

For me it begins physically. Last night, I thought it was a hot flash, as I laid in bed and chewed my lip raw trying not to cry, wanting to run at 2 am, thinking of all the what ifs, you try to stifle the scream building up inside you.

You wake up and even the smell of your coffee makes you sick.  You try your best to be excited or at least normal. Then you find someone you think will understand and the word vomit begins.

Things don’t always work out as planned. Your silent pleads for understanding are not heard. You need to tell someone yet you struggle to find the words to make them understand the storm going on inside you and you become more anxious until you are in tears.

Your head is telling you to stop. You heart is begging you not to let them see. Yet you can not stop. They roll down your cheeks as you try to control the sob rising up in your throat.

The more you speak the deeper you dig the  hole until you see no way out, so you stop talking.

You suck it up and deal with it the best way you can, on your own. You use those coping skills you have learned. For me when it gets awful, I need touch. I have to have a stress ball, play dough, something that is forgiving to work with. Sometimes, I need to feel the bark of a tree, moss, something created by someone bigger than me.

People don’t understand that you really have no control over it. You really try to, but you don’t. You cope.

The best comparison I can think of is my aunt. She is totally blind. She has been for years. You can’t tell someone with anxiety to stop worrying any more than you can tell her to see. She has eyes. Her eyes are open, she is coping with her blindness but she can’t see like we do. She uses her hands to “see”. Telling people with anxiety to stop worrying is like telling a blind person to see. You can tell them until you are blue in the face and it won’t change a thing.

And Then Came Peace…

In my last post, I wrote about my pastor. What we were afraid was going to happen, happened. His transition has come. Sunday night just before midnight, he left his Earthly home.

My folks called and told me. They called the other members of the church and told them.

Sleep did not come that night. Plenty of tears but not a moments sleep. The next day was my great nieces birthday and we had planned a girls day to take her to breakfast. My mom questioned if we should continue on, we decided that we should.

We went and had breakfast. I didn’t eat a lot. I had no appetite. I went back to my mom’s to take a nap. It never came. I rode to town to speak with my supervisor in case I needed to take off work. My person wanted to go have lunch. Once again, not hungry for food just his company. I told him what I was thinking. The loss, we as a collective group, was feeling. How it was effecting my parents. I just needed to be near him. I needed to know he was there.  I was tired. I hadn’t slept much on Sunday and none on Sunday night. I wasn’t much company but we were together. It helped to talk to him.

I worked last night. I had plenty of time to think. I firmly believe that we as humans are eternal beings in a temporary flesh dwelling. We are not meant to stay here forever. We are here for a limited time. Yet, I still struggle when someone I loves leaves their flesh house.

I use the term flesh house because a house is a dwelling. Not to sound cliche’ but home is where the heart dwells.

I wrestle with what I know and what I feel. What I know is that they are relieved of pain and worry. What I feel is selfishness, plain and simple. That is what grief is. We have lost that familiar. We have lost that thing we never thought we would lose yet here we are and we helpless and out of control; because WE ARE. We don’t control anything.

Today, I got ready for work and I hadn’t  been  around people. Something kept telling me that I needed to go to my church which is just outside town. I drove up there and I was listening to the song “something in the water. “

As I stood there, I took a picture of the three crosses in the church yard. There was a  cloud looming behind them. As I stood there, a light mist of rain began. It was almost as if there was something in the water. Peace, peace came to me right there on the side of a hill.

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?”

 

Whatever State You Are in , Be Content…..

Usually, when I work on Saturday night, I don’t go to church on Sunday. This Sunday was different.  I started my vacation that night. There was only one thing I wanted to do on my vacation. I wanted to just go on a day trip to one place. I hinted to it but it hasn’t happened. It isn’t but a 3 hour drive.

As I sat there, in church, I listened as the preacher  read my moms favorite Bible verse. He talked about God providing for our needs but we as human beings don’t know sometimes the difference between needs and wants.

We feel like it is a need but is it?

My anxiety level was high. I had a program the next day and it had been a year and a half since I had worked with kids. Did I still have it? Was I going to fall on my face? I was so anxious, I couldn’t sleep. At all!!

I went to church and went out to lunch with my parents. Came home and laid down. Couldn’t sleep. Posted a sale on my jewelry. Dealt with that. Went over my talk with the kids in my mind. Went through the stuff I was taking on last time.

I knew I was as ready as I could be, yet, my anxiety was still high. Anxiety feeds off anxiety. You get lost in your own thoughts and it lead to sheer misery at times. This was where I was at. I just wanted someone to take me and hold me. Not just anybody. Him. He was busy, he was working on a project and he was kind of quite. I really wanted to talk to him but he needed to do what he needed to do, I get that. I didn’t want to bother him, I feel like I bother him too much as is.

I began to cry my eyes out. I couldn’t stop it from coming. I was trying, believe me. I finally started praying. And somewhere deep inside me I heard the words, be content.

This was about 4 hours before I was supposed to get up and get ready for the program.

All went well. The kids were happy, the people who hired me were happy. I was happy.

Within 30 minutes, I received a phone call that I needed to meet with some people about some of my jewelry that had been jurored. Once again, the anxiety level went back up. Once again inside me I hear the words, be content.

That night I slept like a baby. I asked him if he wanted to come with me but he never responded until I was there. I would have liked the company as he is more used to this than I am but it wasn’t meant to be.

I had the meeting. It went better than I figured. I was happy about that. I then came home to  an empty house. I played in the dirt resetting some plants. I went and got dinner and ate alone. I was kind of sad there was no one to share it with in person. I sat and I ate in silence. The words came back to me. Be content.

I am going to hold on to those words of life with everything I have inside me. If I am alone or with someone, be content.

If things are going well or life is beating me up, be content. For you see I am never truly alone. There are things I want but do I need them. Lonesome is a state of mind. I just work until my body tells me to go to bed. Then I lay there and think of the good things in my life and I am content.

Six Years…

It has been 6 years. 2,190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. That is how long it has been since my world changed.

I remember walking into my house after he had to leave me. The transition had happened. He was out of pain. I was in pain.

My mom was with me. My best friend was the first one to show up. I sat on the sofa holding my little dog. It was more his dog than mine. They were there all day together while I worked until he went in the nursing home then most of my time was I there.

I sat there as people wandered through my house. I felt nothing. I watched as they carried food into my house and they sat and talked and honestly, I didn’t hear a sound.

As night fell, I began to pray. I was praying to make it through that first night, just one night was all I prayed for. I laid in the bed that we had slept in together and I cried. I laid there for some time. I remember when I woke up and saw the sun, I said I made it through the first time. I was going to be okay.

I couldn’t go back in my house and I walked off 135 pounds just walking to kill time so I didn’t have to go home to an empty house. Just something to do became therapy, which became a habit, which made me feel better mentally, physically and spiritually.

He had made me promise him that I would be alright and on the days and months that followed when I wanted to give up, I reminded myself of that promise.

When it got unbearable, I decided to end my own life. I knew how I was going to do it, I had a plan. Nobody would have thought anything except that I had grieved myself to death.

On the same day I was going to do it, I was sitting in my chair and I got  a response from a post on facebook that said “I feel ya but that first part isn’t right.” I asked the person to explain themselves. The response “I personally think you are hot and gorgeous”. I remember screaming all over the house. A friend of mine thought that I was hot and gorgeous. Me. Nooooo….. but at that point, I had a reason to want to live again. This man was gorgeous. He was sexy as hell and he thought I was hot and gorgeous?!?!?

I had been flattered by men since my husband had died but this one was different. I had sparked to him the first time I had met him. There was something more to him. Something of quality. Something worth me getting to know him better. That was five years ago. We have been through a great deal together. I have fallen in love for the second time after I thought I wanted to die. He became my person. That person I want to share everything (and I do mean everything) with.

If anyone had ever told me that I would fall in love again, I would have slapped them. If they had told me how deeply I would fall in love the second time, I would have laughed. Yet, here I am.

For the second time in my life, I am in love with a good, honorable man. A man who cares for me. A man who treats me with love and respect. A man who treats me an equal, he doesn’t talk down to me because I am a woman.

Does he still think I am hot and gorgeous? I can’t answer that . Only he knows the answer to that. I hope he does. In my mind I wonder. I am not 20 and skinny. I am not a model. He sees his share of those. I am not the kind of woman men trip over themselves to get to know although, sometimes people tell me I get a second look from time to time. It would be nice to hear it from him from time to time,  that he still thought that.

Life has changed for me a great deal in 6 years, 2190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. At times it seems like a lifetime and at times it seems like it just happened.

I had one love and we honored those vows to the very end.  I have just found a new way of living and a new way of loving. the heart can mend and it can love again if given enough time and patience.