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Thursday, November 9, 2017

I'm Thankful for.....

I was talking with my daughter tonight. A friend of hers is moving to another state. After being in the Navy for 10 years, my daughter is familiar with long distance and sometimes temporary relationships. I think it makes her guarded. I lost a dear friend almost 4 years ago. Knowing I'll never hear her sweet voice again, makes my heart ache. What am I thankful for this month of thanksgiving? I'm thankful God allowed friends like her to grace my life (grace being the key word). I am thankful for those I love, and those who love me back. They are to my heart, as air is to my lungs. To love others is to be completely vulnerable, because they hold your heart in their hands. Your heart in the hands  of others is a fragile thing indeed. Loving others is a dangerous journey, but the risk offers rich rewards. Choose, but choose wisely. I'm thankful for the times I did.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Catching some Z's

Sleep has been an illuisive friend for the years. It's a trait I inherited from my Dad. I can usually tell when it's going to be one of those nights, but instead of getting up and doing something productive, I lay there waiting for the magical moment I fall unconscious.  Occasionally, I get up and go to Planet Fitness which is open 24/7.  As odd as it seems, my system is so used to it, that I almost feel better when I only get a few hours of sleep as opposed to several hours of deep sleep. Its like my adrenaline gland kicks in when my body knows it's been sleep deprived and I usually function great. But still I long to disengage my brain for several hours just to escape the stresses of life. This week my insomnia has been in hyper drive and today I was a walking Zombie in heels..... Maybe it's the time change. The tried and true hypnosis recording I call Sandman, can get me to sleep and keep me relaxed during what would be a sleepless night, bit the dust last week. I got him up and running after work today, so tonight night I'm  looking forward to catching some much needed z's. I'm hoping tomorrow I'm less Zombie-ish, but still wearing really cute heels.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Better Man

Do you ever wish life would throw you a pleasant curve ball instead of a curve ball that knocks you on the ground?  I have.  I avoid the news like the plague. Just when you think the world can’t get much worse…. It does. As if that’s not enough, sometimes the reality of life itself can be harsh. Mike and I took a day off to get away to enjoy the beautiful weather and to sneak in some much needed alone time outside our normal environment. We didn’t go far. We went to Lake Murray which is a hop skip and a jump from Duncan.  We got to Ardmore mid-afternoon. We had our usual lunch debate…. “What do you want?”…. “I don’t care, what do you want?” We parked at Chili’s and as we were getting out, I said…. “You know, if we wanted to eat at Chili’s, we could do that in Lawton. Why don’t we mix things up and try something new?”  Lucky for me, he was willing to think outside the box, so we decided to try Two Frogs which we had never been to. Before we sat down, he was in hog heaven. Autographed guitars and pictures of famous musicians lined the walls. A small stage was in the front. My husband loves nothing more than live music, but it was too early in the day for the music to have started.  To top it off, the food was great. We were both glad we had stepped out of our familiar box and tried something new. When the waitress brought our ticket she asked if we had plans for the evening. I told her we were just spending the night at the lodge.  She then explained that Clint Black was in town for a concert and would actually be showing up at the restaurant for an after party. She had two free tickets to the concert and wanted to know if we would be interested in going. There was no debate needed about that choice. I thanked her and thanked her (and left a big tip). She said…. “I had these tickets and I said to myself….. That couple doesn’t look like they’re doing anything tonight, I’ll see if they want to go.”  When we got in the car I asked Mike….. “Do we actually look so boring that people can take one look at us and  know we got nothing going on??” Actually, I think she took one look at us and thought…. “That couple looks like they are up for an unexpected adventure.”

The concert was at The Heritage Hall, a small venue. It was a general admission concert so we got there early and had seats 13 rows from the front. We’ve been fortunate to have seen groups like The Eagles, James Taylor, Elton John, Billy Joel, Vince Gill, Martina McBride and many others in concert. I’ve always like Clint’s music, but I was aware he hadn’t had a hit in several years so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I can honestly say that it was one of the best concerts I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I love his music, but in addition to being an outstanding vocalist and musician, he had an amazing rapport with the audience. His smile is infectious and you can tell he genuinely loves what he is doing, and loves his fans. The majority of his band has been with him for 30 years which means they are tight. Their musicality is impeccable! Such longevity tells me that he is not just a great musician, but also a great man. I don’t know this for a fact, but I think his career intentionally took a backseat when he married, which is admirable. Whatever the reason, I can promise you he is a top notch musician and entertainer which is a direct result of being him being "A Better Man”.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Quiet Light

When I heard that Tilt-a-Whirl Joe, a man well known in our community for operating the tilt-a-whirl at Kiddieland, had passed away at the age of 93, my heart immediately broke and warmed at the same time. When I think of influence, I think of someone or something that is larger than life and hard to ignore. That isn’t always the case. Joe was a small unassuming man. He faithfully operated the tilt-a-whirl since 1986. He didn’t just operated it…. He owned it! He owned it in the sense that he put his whole heart and soul into each ride, carefully watching the faces of the tiny tots who giggled and squealed with each turn of the cart. When my kids were small, I loved watching as he pulled the stick that made the carts whirl with a wide grin, ride after ride, after ride. He seemed to take the joy of each passenger personally. He closely monitored each face to make sure the tiny tots were having a good time. He didn’t hesitate to stop the ride when a wee one became overwhelmed. He was the epitome of Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” His image is etched in my memory and the memory of my community. My husband and I work the Welcome Desk at our church, and every service he would come to the desk to get one of the hearing devices made available. He always had a sweet smile and a kind word. On more than one occasion, I remember thinking to myself….. “I want to be just like him when I grow up.” I never had a conversation beyond pleasantries, but that doesn’t change the fact that he had a lasting influence on my life and the life of others. He was and will always remain, A quiet light. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Love Safe


Parents teach their children about dangers. We teach them about stranger danger. We teach them not to text and drive. We drill into them that they should just say no to drugs. We warn them against many things that can trip them up and weigh them down in life, but we rarely discuss the signs and dangers of a toxic relationship. I wonder why that is? It’s safe to say that everyone has been in some kind of a toxic relationship at one time or another be it bullying as a child, or an emotionally and/or physically abusive boyfriend or spouse. But mum is the word when it comes to sharing our experience. Years ago I warned someone I love about warning sign I saw in a new relationship. This loved one lived in another state at the time, but was visiting me when they took a call from a new boyfriend.  The one-sided conversation I overheard, made the hairs on my arm stand up. I was in an abusive relationship in high school, and the conversation was a Déjà vu moment for me. I couldn't help but share my fears, but they wanted to believe the best in the new relationship and as they say…. The rest is history. Maybe we don't discuss it because it is hard to believe that you have been duped.  Maybe it's shame that keeps us silent, or fear that it will happen again. It's probably a combination of all of the above, but whatever the reason, it's something everyone should be aware of.  I have had my share of heartache from relationships that were peppered with warning signs all along. I want to say they are in my past, but I'm sure there are more in my future. Why?  Because I sincerely want to believe the best in others. I want to give large portions of grace, because I know that I require large portions of grace..... And last but not least, I am a people pleaser. The easiest way to love, is to be aware and believe there is such a thing as safe love. I found the following portion of an article that describes one of the most toxic relationships. I wish I had read years ago. This type of relationship left me wounded and caused me to question myself and others. I keep this close at hand so next time I'll love at a safe distance. 

NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER
A Narcissistic Personality Disorder comes across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. A Narcissist will often monopolize conversations. They may belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior. They feel the sense of entitlement - and when they don't receive special treatment, they become impatient or angry. They have trouble handling anything perceived as criticism. They have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. They often react with rage or contempt and try to belittle others to make themselves appear superior. 
  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerates achievements and talents
  • Believe they are superior 
  • Require constant admiration and affirmation
  • Expects unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Takes advantage of others to get what they want
  • Believes others envy them
  • Behaves in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder may seem like having confidence, it's not the same. Narcissistic Personality Disorder crosses the boarder of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of themselves they put themselves on a pedestal and value themselves more than they value others.

Love without boundaries, but always be aware. I can love a Narcissist, but I'll love them at a safe distance.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You've Came a Long Way Baby

The other day, I was standing in the check out line at Homeland with my husband. I had just put a People magazine back after flipping through the pictures, when the lady behind looked at the cover.... "Oh isn't that baby adorable?" She said. The cover featured Charlotte, the second child of Prince Williams and Kate. "Which one is that?" the lady asked me..... I told her and then I had to show her how much Charlotte looked like the Queen (bless her heart), but in a good way. We had our heads together as I flipped through the magazine looking for the picture.... This stranger and I. I found the picture and showed it to her..... "Oh, she certainly does!" she said as I returned the magazine to the shelf. By that time my husband was paying out and I headed to the car with our buggy. That's when it hit me..... 7, 6, even 5 years ago that conversation would have never, ever happen even in my, or my husband's wildest imagination. 8 years ago, yes, but certainly not 7 years ago. I stood in the parking lot replaying the interaction. It was a vivid contrast of how far I've come over the last 7 years. So much so that I almost missed noting that this would have been impossible 7 years ago when I struggled my way back from a Traumatic Brain Injury. During the years following, I found it difficult to communicate with my family, much less a stranger. Relationships were difficult to maintain, much less cultivate. Remembering those years are something I choose not to do often, but this particular moment the memory was a sweet reminder that I've come a long way baby.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Unstoppable

This has been a weird week. It seems like everything I picked up, was more complicated than it needed to be. I've worked really hard, yet feel like I haven't accomplished much. I call it "Swimming in Glue". Although everyone has days like that.... I've had a whole week. Well, almost, tomorrow is Friday!!! Insert happy dance here.

It just amazes me how God orchestrates opportunities. Today he orchestrated a beautiful opportunity for me to visit with someone who has inspired me for years. I have a precious friend who is in the journey of showing Breast Cancer who's is boss. Today she had her second Chemo treatment and I was able to visit with her for a couple of hours. When I got there she was already hooked up and ready to go. Without exaggeration, I can say she absolutely glowed. We chatted like two magpies for a couple of hours..... Just catching up. It was a great visit. As I drove away from the Treatment Center, I thought to myself about what a great attitude she has. She has met this giant face to face and hasn't even flinched. It is so refreshing to see faith in action. She is literally "Standing on the Promises of God" Unstoppable is when you go to encourage someone else and come away feeling inspired yourself. That's just the way she is. I love her to the moon and back and can't wait to see what God will do with her Unstoppable spirit.