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Friday, August 31, 2012

This is Totally Doable With a Hug and a Blue Moon

For the most part, yesterday wasn't one of my finest hours. Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, maybe I was hormonal, or maybe I was just simply not having a good day. Whatever the reason, I wasn't sad to see it end. Yesterday afternoon a co-worker came over to encourage me... She said it looked like I needed a hug and she was right, sometimes a hug makes all the difference in the world. After my hug she said "At least tomorrow is Friday and it's a 3 day weekend, we're off Monday." I think I may have strained my neck a little as my head snapped up in disbelief. "We're off? Why are we off? We don't work Monday?" Silly me, I hadn't realized we had a holiday coming up. On top of that, tonight we'll have a Blue Moon.  In one short second the day went from being unbearable to totally doable under a Blue Moon. That's just how quickly a hug can turn things around.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

And This I Know...

As tolerant of a society we live in, there are still many things that are still taboo. I don't do taboos well, because if I feel it, think it or do it, there is a high probability that I'm going to blog about it and to some people, that's just not okay. I don't know what to tell you except that which is kept in darkness tends to seem bigger than it is. So often I have held fears inside and watched them grow like a monster grows under the bed of a child. When my kids were little and thought they had monsters under the bed, I didn't try to convince them monsters weren't there, I would reach under the bed, or into the closet, wherever they happen to be hiding that night and drag them out of the darkened corners and shoo them home because it was bedtime. You know, once I shooed the monsters back to where they came from, I never remember them returning to cause more angst that night. In fact, once the monster was addressed, we didn't have problems at all. If only adult monsters were as easy to shoo away. I remember having my first panic attack when I was in elementary school. I hid myself in a bathroom stall, attempting to dry heave my fears away. It wasn't until I was an adult and worked for a doctor that I realized it had a name... Panic, anxiety, it all looks the same. It's a nasty little creature that lurks in the corners of your mind, just waiting for an inopportune time to pounce on you with the fierceness of a hungry tiger. It doesn't happen full throttle very often, but when it does, I long to be able to cover my head with a blanket and call out for someone to shoo the monster back into the abyss. This I know... The fears may be unfounded, the thoughts irrational and the paralysis temporary, but the moment it sweeps over you, it seems terrifyingly real.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walk, Walk, Walking on Broken Glass

Not my feet
Earlier this week during my nightly walk, I noticed it felt like I had a pebble or something in my shoe. Since I was so excited about the cooling weather and how pleasant it was to finally be able to walk outside, I didn't want to pause my walk long enough to get the pebble out and decided to just power through. Maybe I took the term "No pain, no gain" a little too serious. Last night I experienced the same thing, except it felt like a needle was piercing through the ball of my foot with every step. Did I slow down or pause to see what on earth could be causing the problem? Of course I didn't, I needed to go the distance, pick up the speed, make up for the lost walks due to the summer heat. When I finally got home I decided maybe it was time to see what all the throbbing pain was about. When I looked at my foot, nothing appeared to be wrong. I ran my finger across the tender spot and couldn't feel anything, that's when I decided to do some digging around. I grabbed the nail clippers in my night stand and began excising the area of pain... "If it hurts just cut it out and go on." After a few minutes of excavation, kind of like an archaeological dig except on the ball of my foot, I thought I saw something sparkle in the the dim light. Sure enough I pulled out a shard of glass and remembered something about my husband saying to be careful in the kitchen because a glass had gotten broken. My foot didn't hurt as much before the dig as it did afterwards. I was pretty sure that I would wake up this morning with a raging staph infection or a hellaciously swollen foot. To my amazement my foot didn't fall off and it feels nothing like I've been walk, walk, walking on broken glass for several days. And let me just add, I am thrilled the pain wasn't caused by some dull splinter, at least my injury had a tad of bling.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Monkey on My Back

What a beautiful weekend. Thank goodness summer is coming to a close and fall is just ahead. My husband and I took advantage of the weather this weekend and tended to some much needed yard work. The last couple of years have been brutal as far as our desire to get anything accomplished past the front door. Unwanted weeds and weed trees(trees I don't want) have invaded our yard until we really are starting to look like the Herman Munster House. It amazes me how someone like myself, you know someone who can't keep a cactus alive, can grow the most amazing, vivacious weeds and weed trees.  These lawn rascals simply cannot be killed. Trust me, if I can't kill them, nobody can.  I took Riley and Sailor outside to work beside me. I like having them around, and they like being wherever we are... Well, usually. I put them both on leashes so they couldn't run off while I was preoccupied with cutting off limbs... Limbs of weed trees, not my personal attached at the body type of limbs. You would have thought I was taking Riley to dog Six Flags or something, she gets so excited about doing anything that the snorting could get on my nerves if I let it. After a while she settled down under a tree and behaved herself, which trust me can be a full time job for her.My husband brought out the reciprocating saw and went around back to mow the lawn. I know, kind of amazing isn't it, him leaving me unsupervised with a sharp power tool. It's scary crazy how much that man loves me! So, Sailor is my shy little scaredy cat. Well, at 182 lbs, she isn't exactly little, but she doesn't know that. She doesn't like change, loud noises, new environments, kids or strangers, in spite of the fact that I have tried to socialize her like a responsible pet owner should. Trust me, the first time you have to pull someones head from her mouth, you stop trying the socialize approach and turn to the tranquilize method
instead... Yeah, I'm really not kidding. Anyway, a tree fell down a few weeks ago and I just let it lay because it was so dang hot, and really who cared about it anyway, no one could see it (yeah, that's just my relaxed style). This weekend was the perfect time to cut it up and get it out... Except Sailor was freaked out, she wanted to be on me, panting like a rabid coon. It was like cutting up a tree with a 182 lb. spider monkey on my back. I took a log and tied her leash around it, I thought that would hold her back and slow her down, but no, she just followed me around, dragging her log with her. Let me just say it.... She looked ridiculous! I went to put something in the dumpster, she tried to follow me and got her log caught between the rock fence and the car and I just looked at her like she had lost her everlovin mind and thought to myself.... "That must be what God sees when he looks at me. A nonsensical mess of a woman dragging fears and anxieties that have yet to manifest themselves around behind her like a nut." If Sailor could only see how silly she looked lugging that log around, terrified of imaginary horrors, when there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of...  Well except for the fact that I had a sharp power tool thingy. I told her how silly she looked and just how ridiculous she was acting then I went in the house and bought out her doggie Xanax. In a few minutes she was resting peacefully under the cedar tree, keeping a close eye on me to make sure I didn't cut my foot off and things ran smoothly for the rest of the day. Yep, the lesson for the day is, life is too short to walk around with a giant spider monkeys on your back or logs hooked around your ankle. Shake it off, take a Xanax and get back to work!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fall, Floors & Back to School

Awe.... When I stepped out the front door this morning I could actually feel fall in the air. This time last year Oklahoma was experiencing the hottest August in history, and fall felt like it was a lifetime away. Today was the first day of school for some in our area and the breeze itself intimated falls arrival. My daughter and I were reminiscing about back to school. She used to love getting her new school supplies, meeting her new teachers and the "smell" of the first day of school... It's a smell you never forget. Fall wouldn't be the same without back to school, and back to school wouldn't be the same without the smell of freshly waxed floors (the schools floors, not mine... Lord knows not mine).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You've Got Mail

I've heard of therapist who have clients write letters describing their angst with a problem person in their life...Not that I have any of those people, or know anyone who has any of those people.  The reason my therapist doesn't ask me do this, is because she knows I would mail the letter which I don't think you're actually suppose to do, or I would blog my letter and post it on Facebook, which I'm also assuming you shouldn't do, but I would do it anyway because there is a burning desire and a great deal of release in just spitting it out, even if it's like spitting into the wind and no one on the planet knows what you're talking about but you. The problem with blogging your angst is everyone can read it and they seem to wonder if it's directed at them, but I can assure you that the problem people in your life will never be the ones to think it could be about them, even though they believe everything is about them, because they don't see themselves as EVER being the problem and therein lies the problem people. Geeze, I feel better already.

The Beauty of Discovery

At the beginning of the summer, out of the goodness of my heart toward all mankind (and Al Gore), I decided to single handedly fight global warming by purchasing season passes to White Water Bay. Knowing that Murphy's Law is my constant shadow and most often my personal assistant, I was certain that my purchase of a season pass would guarantee the temperatures in Oklahoma would fall short of the record breaking heat from last year. Guess what? It worked!!!! In 2011 Oklahoma had 63 days with temperatures of 100 or greater. So far this year, we have only had 25 days. Y'all are so welcome! I've spent several lazy Saturdays stretched out at the edge of the wave pool, while my husband scopes out unusual tattoos (and probably bikini clad beauties). When he spots an extra special tattoo, he comes to get me and we would stalk the tattoo wearer, so I can see for myself. Yes, we are easily amused.... You may talk among yourselves now. Anyway, my daughter and I love to watch the wee ones as they discover the qualities of water. It's so sweet to watch them hesitantly approach the water with wide eyed fascination. They will begin to explore it, usually with one little finger. I can practically see the wheels turning in their little brains as they try to figure out how it runs through their fingers. They will try to hold it down with their chubby little feet only to find it can't be contained.They will stomp on it and then, the magic of discovering the ... The splash! They will squat down, touch the water with little fingers then wave both hands as fast as they can and to watch the water swirl around with bubbles and waves. Everything is new to the eyes of a wee one. Oh how I've missed getting to watch little ones discovering their world. As an adult, it's easy to become cynical about discovering new things. It's easy to get stuck in a rut and cease to be fascinated by life itself. It's easy to fight any change fearing it will disrupt... I don't know, I guess the boredom we create for ourselves. So, my quest to fight global warming, gave me the opportunity to spend some sweet summer days watching the beauty of discovery through the eyes of many toddlers, and nudged me to do some discovering of myself. God only knows what wonders may lay ahead.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lucille's Great Escape

I drove home last night from a satisfying hill climb at the gym. Our street was dark when I pulled into the drive and my son's car wasn't there so I assumed he had already headed over to a friends to spend the night. I grabbed all of my paraphernalia necessary for a successful workout... Phone, in case I want to listen to music or get an earth shaking important call. My Kindle Fire because there's nothing like a good murder mystery to take your mind off the burning sensation in my
thighs. My ear buds in case I want to listen to music, or in the event that someone next to me insist on be a Chatty Cathy with the person next to them, I can block them out, well partially block them out. Usually when that happens my ADHD kicks into high gear and all I can hear or concentrate on is their conversation which usually seems to be several decimals higher than anything else going on in the place. Then of course I had my diet Dr. Pepper from Braum's (treat for working out), my Walmart purchases and my super duper cute purse with a giant bow topped of with a very heavy gold knot :-) Essentials I tell ya, just the essentials. I opened the screen door and pulled the door handle and notta, door was
locked. Funny thing about my essentials... They don't include the house key, because the door's not usually locked when someone is home. So, I knocked and knocked with the knocker and I heard the scrambling of little piglet feet that are attached to my Bulldog. Riley was waggin her "not a tail" and shaking her "barely a head" opposite of each other which makes her look like ananimated puppet. She did bark a couple of times, but that takes a lot of energy when you're trying to wag your "not a tale" at the same time so mainly she just sat there and snorted. I know my husband is in the house somewhere, so I continued
to knock until I heard the heavy footfall of Sailor, the Mastiff who recently topped out at 182 lbs. She joined the vigil Riley was holding by the front door, but she stood back just a tad in case the intruder, who wasn't very effective at intruding, turned dangerous. I looked through the window of the door only to see, sad dog eyes and heard science fiction-ish snorting, but no husband. The lights were off in the bedroom,and
I was afraid my husband had fallen asleep... That's why God made panic buttons on car keys (well that and so you can find your car in a crowded parking lot). I let the horn annoy the neighbors for a few seconds than shut it off and looked in the window to see if I had a husband, which I did not. Just like when I'm shampooing my hair I, lather, rinse, and repeated until the entire neighborhood was awake, oddly enough no one bothered to call the police because apparently I stand outside my house making a spectacle of myself all the time. About now you're probably thinking, why didn't she just use her cell phone to call her husband? Good question, I did, just so I could say I did, but he rarely answers the phone and it was downstairs where he
couldn't hear it. I tried the gate to the back yard, it's locked, as well as the garage door. Suddenly I felt like I was trying to break into Fort Knox. I put all my essentials back in the car, except the phone so I can use it as a flash light, and I walked around the block to ally. We have a rock/iron fence in the back of our house, but back yard itself is below street level. I carefully found a footing on the rock wall and threw my leg over the iron rods that taper the top. I wanted in the house, but at that moment my goal was not to impale my nether regions on the iron fencing! I got past the fence without a rod up my butt, the next hurdle was to manage NOT to fall into the Yucca plants which are nestled up against the wall... As if a Yucca is even capable of nestling. It was pitch black.  I spotted a white rock laying on the ground beneath the cornerstone. It made it possible for me to step from the fence instead of jumping. I completely escaped the rod up the butt and Yucca body piercings... Whew! I was certain my husband hadn't had time to fix the lock on the back door since Sailor ripped it off the hinges the other day(scared of thunder). Sure enough, 30 minutes after getting home, I slipped in the back door smooth as butter. As I head up the stairs my husband hollers.... "Have a good workout?"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ever Have Moments Like That?

I sat hunched over my keyboard this afternoon, determined to complete the spreadsheet I was working on before 5 o'clock. I happened to be on the "boxes" tab of the spreadsheet and was double checking to make sure the formulas had copied correctly. When I looked in the formula box a calm even voice (kind of like an announcer's voice on a commercial) said.... "Did you know you have a great big box over in accounting?" For just a split second (maybe a split and a half) I thought to myself.... "I didn't know this spreadsheet could talk. I don't remember creating it with voices.... Wait, can it really do that?" Then the more rational side of me thought....   "Oh crap, that's probably a pop up.... But wait, I'm not logged onto the Internet... I must have a virus!" I looked over to my speaker and that's when I caught the slightest movement from behind my chair. I whirled around to find that God actually wasn't talking to me through the spreadsheet, it was the I.T. guy, Fred lurking (yes, he was lurking) over my shoulder. Good gosh!!! He scared me to death.  It's a good thing I didn't have a bat handy, because I would have very likely had a come to Jesus meeting with FRED. As it was, I just slapped at him and scolded him while I caught my breath and as he had a good chuckle at my expense.  He thought it was so funny he said he might rig my computer to mess with me randomly during the day... As if I don't have enough problems staying focused with my ADHD in full gear and usually jacked up on some kind of processed sugar and caffeine.  It's funny how I have the hardest time getting my brain to process a complete  thought until something like that happens and then suddenly I'm processing 100 nonsensical thoughts at the same time. Is it just me or does everybody have moments like that? Well, moments like that sans the Fred part?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Measure of Grace

I have been a weepy mess this week... And it's only Tuesday. I have a very close family member who has been embroiled in a nasty legal battle brought by other members of the family. My heart has broken as I've watched her attempt to maintain a relationship that is being destroyed by greed and jealousy. Every time I think about her situation, I am reminded of the parable told to King David by Nathan the Prophet....
New International Version 1984

Nathan Rebukes David
1The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 

I used to work in the life department of an insurance company. Time and again, I've seen family members lie, steal and cheat for as little as a few hundred dollars. The idea that someone may have no right to something, yet simply cannot stand the thought of someone else having what they cannot, is very common.  When  the possessions are divided, the money is long gone, all that remains are annihilated relationship, torn lives and broken hearts. I made the remark a couple of years ago.... "At this point, the most loving thing to do, is to facilitate a healthy relationship between these two parties so the last memories are of joy and not sorrow." Sadly,  the only thing many can facilitate is grief, because they are not happy, they prefer no one be happy.  My Pastor, whom I have so much admiration for has always said, if he erres, he wants to err on the side of grace. Grace is many things, but it is never self serving and usually always goes against our human nature. I know that if I extend grace by the measure of  grace I need, than I will be extending a LOT of grace.

Monday, August 6, 2012

As Simple as That

My daughter recently met a young man who had just returned from Afghanistan and who suffered a TBI while he was there. Not only has this man seen the atrocities of war, had close friends die before his eyes, but also struggles with the difficulties of recovering from a traumatic brain injury. I can't even imagine what he must be going through. As my daughter explained to me some of his behavior and some of methods he used to cope with the the aftermath of his injury, I found myself hurting for him and relating with his struggle. I'm not for one second suggesting that my situation was as devastating as his, but I can certainly understand a little of what he is going through. Today marks the 2 years, 7 months and 6th day of my journey. Without a doubt every step, every day has been a challenge and a hell that cannot fully be expressed with words. During dinner this weekend the subject of the injury came up. My daughter was on deployment when the injury occurred, and as my husband began to talk about that day, he went into greater detail than he had previously shared with her. She admitted that until she moved back to Oklahoma, she didn't fully understand the extent of how the injury had changed me.  She told me someone close had told her that I could simply recover from it, if I chose too. And herein lies the absolute helplessness someone who has had a TBI deals with on a daily basis. Not everyone suffers a personality change after a TBI, but those of us who do, would do anything within our power to get back the person we were before.  Imagine for a second, if suddenly most of your personal, emotional, and spiritual attachments disappeared.... Ceased to exist.  Imagine looking into the eyes of your children, your spouse, your parents, and your friends and not feeling any of the intrinsic connections to the most important people in your life.  The loss of some of your memory is one thing, but the loss of who you are is not something you can simply "Get over". Our sense of self is what connects us to our world, to each other and more importantly to ourselves, not to mention the spiritual connection to our God.  In the last couple of months, two of my children have been told by their counselors, that they must mourn the loss of the Mother they knew and embrace the woman I now am. The depth of the sorrow I feel for not being able to bring their old mother back, is a vortex of failure I will forever feel. When the movie "The Vow" came out, someone asked my husband if we had seen it. We watched the trailers on the computer and looked at each other and simply shook our heads no. We are walking this path and though it may make for a touching movie plot, we find no entertainment value in watching it played out on screen.  My therapist asked me a few weeks ago, what I missed about the old me.... "Oh, let me count the ways" Besides missing the feelings associated with my most important attachments, I miss knowing how I would react to any number of given circumstances. I miss trusting myself. I miss being a "fix it" person. I miss my compassion, empathy and passion. I miss knowing that I KNOW who I am and what makes me tick and I miss liking myself. I miss feeling the presence of my God, the spiritual moving of him in my soul and the feeling of being at one with him and myself. I miss dreaming with expectation of those dreams coming true and miss the joy I found in life itself.  The first few weeks and months after the injury seemed like one long out of body experience. Slowly but surely my mind came back to my body, but not entirely. I still get the sense that I am watching my life from afar without the means to return fully to that which I was. That being said, I am better than I was. I operate not on instinct, but from drawing on the remnant of who I used to be and I still hold onto the hope that some day I will return to being that person and leaving the new me for the familiar comfort of the me I knew and loved so well. Until then, I am on auto pilot, or an actress playing the part of me. Some days I'm not sure where this plane is headed, or how long I can continue the roller coaster ride.  Yes, if I could I would "Get over it", but sadly, it's not as simple as that. My salvation has been those who continue to love the new me as if nothing has changed. It's for those people that I desperately dig the depths of my soul to bring myself back to the surface.

And Then There Was None

Last night as I lay reading in bed with a super delicious chocolate ice cream bar, my husband came into the room, stopped cold and asked.... "Have you taken your sleep medicine? Is that why you are laying in bed eating?" "I responded with an indignant... "No, I'm eating because I'm hungry and for
your information I am out of sleep medication so I'll probably be awake eating all night." There, that will teach him to not accuse me of sleep eating for no reason at all. Although admittedly I did buy a new jar of Biscoff spread (best stuff ever) yesterday and then this morning there was none.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Turn the Leaf


A single leaf, a dormant tree
As it slowly fades from vibrant green
The graying limb it hangs upon
Glistening bright in the dew drenched morn

A breeze yet warmed by morning sun
Swirls around as it comes undone

Surrendered all, loosely clutched
Releasing to the cooling touch

Turning with abandoned ease
Among the long forgotten trees

To find itself upon the ground
Where rotting leaves lay in mounds

Heaps of color transforming from
Beauty found in dying form

Surrounded by the breath of fall
Colors scatter the morning air

Touch the leaf intent to turn
Forever changed, never mourned

Return the leaf with no concern
Leave it there, forever yearn

Indigo Sunrise

 Lamentations 3:21-23

The Message (MSG)
It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God
 19-21I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
   the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
   the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
   and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
 22-24God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
   his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
   How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
   He's all I've got left. 

Up until the heat drove my walk into the confines of the gym, I ended each evening with the setting of the sun and a long walk to the golf course, around the paths vacated by golfers and back home again. I was sad to see summer approach, knowing I wouldn't have much tolerance for the Oklahoma heat and humidity. The thought of moving my walk indoors to a treadmill that was flanked by sweaty bodies and blaring television sets wasn't as inviting as having a breeze on my face, listening to frogs in the pond and watching the day give way to the moon. This morning I hopped out of bed at 5 a.m., grabbed my kindle, phone and ear buds and headed to the gym. When I stepped outside into the dark, I was pleasantly surprised by tolerable temperature, so I turned around, ditched my keys and thought an early morning walk in the great outdoors sounded much more appealing instead. It was a perfectly still morning. Most houses were dark as people had yet roused to face the day. I enjoyed watching the sky turn from darkness sprinkled with twinkling stars, to a indigo blue as the sun began to rise. As I watched the sky turn before my eyes, it reminded me of God's merciful love, and I took comfort in knowing that if I had somehow managed to drain God of all of his mercy and grace with the setting of yesterday's sun, All was not lost.  The dawning of the morning brought with it infinite mercy and grace that even my parched soul could not drain. 

Psalm 139:17-19

The Message (MSG)
  17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
      God, I'll never comprehend them!
   I couldn't even begin to count them—
      any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
   Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
      And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!