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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Wrecking Ball of Criticism

Since Mom’s death I’ve been very sensitive… Too sensitive. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the beauty shop waiting for my appointment when I overheard a conversation that was basically just chitchat. A woman was telling a story about a stranger she had encountered in the mall. She had no interaction with the stranger, but based on the strangers appearance she surmised the stranger was a drug addict, possibly mentally ill and in general a drain on society’s resources. Wow!!! That’s a lot of conclusions to draw from a stranger’s appearance and body language. When I got home, I replayed the conversation over and over and finally realized I was angry about hearing the exchange, and brokenhearted for the stranger. Why? Why did hearing that exchange bring me to the brink of tears hours later? It bothered me because no one deserves to be judged (period), but especially out of context of their life experiences. Humans are not one dimensional; every person is a multifaceted sum of their life experiences. It is impossible to look at a person and instantly come to a conclusion as to why they are the way they are without knowing the life experiences that shaped them. Likewise, our life experiences shape the lens from which we view life and other people. I look at things much differently now than I did when I was 20. When I thought about it, I concluded I was troubled because this type of conversation happens all the time and I don’t think anything about it. Chances are if I wasn’t in somewhat of a fragile emotional state due to Mom’s death, I may not have thought a thing about it this time. But at the moment, my heart is still very tender and my emotions raw.  It’s not like I’m sitting on a high horse and can say I’ve never passed judgment on a complete stranger before. But due to my emotional state, this time I really looked at what happened and scolded myself because I realized that usually I’m calloused to such things. We should never become calloused (the Bible calls it having a hardened heart) about passing judgment, jumping to conclusions or just listening to critical conversation. Hearing someone ripped to shreds, should always prick our souls and break our hearts. ALWAYS! Since the incident in the beauty shop, I have really tried to monitor my own conversations. My prayer is… “God put a guard at my tongue and let my words be sweet.” Having done a lot of work on our old house, I know all too well that tearing down, the demolition part of a project is the easiest part, but putting things back together takes a lot of work and concentrated effort. On many levels, people are fragile beings. Just like the hardwood floors in my house, people carry emotional scars from childhood to grave; those scars tell a story, they are the tapestry of life. Criticism is a wrecking ball to the human spirit.  So, I’m checking myself, minding my words and praying God will keep my heart softened so it doesn't become hard. I'm a work in progress...... 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hope & The Circle of Life

Two weeks after the loss of my Mom, my husband and I along, with my Dad went to OKC for family night at my daughter’s. My brother and his wife were there and my kids, minus the youngest. We were sitting around the living room chatting with each other. As I was talking to my sister-in-law I noticed a sudden silence in the room. I turned to see what everyone was so quiet about, and everyone was staring at me. As I looked from face to face waiting for someone to tell me I was doing that merited the attention, my son tilted his head with a quick jerk toward my daughter-in-law. I looked at her and she shrugged her shoulders, held up an envelope and almost apologetically said they had my birthday present/card. There was a hush and then a very high pitched squeal that came from my toes and worked its way up as I reached for the card... Think Darrell Hannah’s mermaid squeal in "Splash". I knew, I knew, I knew there was hope rising up from the ashes of grief. I opened the card laughing, squealing and crying all at once. My card held the most beautiful words ever written...

I'm going to be a Lolli and my husband is going to be a Pops, making us none other than Lollipops!!! Of course that's our idea, I'll answer to any name such as "Hey You!". Just the idea of hearing the little pitter patter of tiny feet takes me to a happy happy place. It is well with my soul.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Party on My Friend

We celebrated the 50th birthday of a friend this weekend. I wrote to her about the joys of turning 50... Maybe I was a little too honest, but I wanted her expectations to be fully hinged to reality because we all know it's never good when a woman becomes unhinged (Can I hear an amen?).

50 years….. That’s only 18,250 days, or a mere 428,000 hours. When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem nearly as bad (NOT). Remember, “50 is the new 30”, WHATEVER! That’s a load of crap too, but once you’re there you’ll reach out and embrace anything that helps you feel better about saying the “F” word. Turning 50 wouldn’t suck, if every time you turned around there wasn’t a reminder of just how different things are. I hate it when I go to a doctor and they look like a pre-pubescent 13 year old. I always have the urge to have them show me their driver’s license before they touch me. What the heck!? Last time we got a new engineer, someone mentioned “James Taylor” during a meeting and the new kid didn’t know who “James Taylor” was…. Now that’s some poor parenting, I’ll tell you. Yes, I would love to tell you that turning 50 is all the rage, but it’s not. Don’t be surprised if elastic is your new best friend; if it is, rejoice because although you may love it around your waist, the elasticity in the skin becomes a sparse perk.  If you’ve never had much of a green thumb, since turning 50 you may find you can now grow inch long black hairs on your chin, seemingly over night. It’s wrong, it is all so wrong. The best thing about turning 50 though, is looking around and seeing all of the beautiful friendships you’ve invested in over the years. Trivial stuff like the color of your hair, or the numbers on the scales may fluctuate, but the one constant making the bad stuff less scary and the good stuff much better, is the eternal relationships you’ve made. We’re all in this thing together and like they say (whoever they are) it’s not over until the fat lady sings and I’ve noticed that she wasn’t invited to your party, so we’re good! Party on my friend, party on.

P.S. When I proof read this I noticed the font was a little small and the color a little light so I increased the font and made it bold cause at 50 everything is better when it’s bigger and bolder… Wouldn’t you agree?
Love Jac

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grief Interruptrd

It's a natural response to grieve the loss of a loved one. Death isn't the only type of loss we grieve. I've grieved over the loss of friends who suddenly dropped from my life either through a move or having chosen a different life path. The one constant rule is you must deal with your loss or your loss will deal with you. In my case, immediate grieving wasn't an option. After Mom's death, there were too many loose ends, things that had to be done and my Dad to keep an eye on. We continued living with him for a month after Mom's funeral. I just couldn't bear leaving him those first weeks. Dad was home alone while I worked a d every night I could see him slowly processing the loss and the emotional trauma (for lack of  better word) that came from the intense process of caring for her while she rapidly declined.  Because Dad was being so strong, I naturally wanted to be strong too. I placed my little package of grief on the back porch and concentrated on helping Dad find a new rhythm and a new purpose. Until just recently, when I wasn't working, I was at Dad's. As I sensed him copying more.each day, I,'ve slowly allowed myself to spend more time at home, but have retained as very busy schedule. My schedule has finally slowed affording me time to begin unwrapping the package of loss that had carefully packed away. Personally I believe having delayed the inevitable only intensified the release. As I sat at my desk and cried for the greater part of the day yesterday, a friend asked me what was wrong.... Are you still grieving!? In girl world it translated into.... "Aren't you over that already?" I didn't feel like going into it, but not only am I still grieving... I'm just beginning the process.  Death doesn't come in a neat little package, and grief isn't  always immediate. Although a loss is a loss, some losses are more complicated than what the surface shows. If I had my way, I would hide in a hotel room by myself for 2-3 days in order to face my thoughts, process my loss and to wrap up my emotional baggage concerning the whole thing.  Grief is a natural process and  a form of healing a broken heart. Grief unattended is grief interrupted and that's rarely a good thing.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

In My Minds Eye, Random Musing from a Tired Heart

I want to walk on the beach; stand with my ankles buried in sand as a million bubbles from the crashing waves engulf my legs....That always makes me giggle. I want to lose myself in a tub filled with mud, lay beneath the hands of a seasoned masseuse and wake up from a deep dreamless sleep on a massage table with a little bit of drool pooled beneath the nook
that snuggles my face as I relax. I want to sit beside the shallow neck of a rushing river and watch the water carve away the rough rocks as it bubbles and trickles the edges to smoothness. I want to sit and watch a beautiful sunset as the air cools my face that has been baked by the sun. I want to feel my cheeks ache from a smile that can't be tuned down and I want to feel my stomach beg for one deep breath having been racked by a fit of spontaneous belly laughter. I want to sing like no one's listening, dance like no one sees and to cry without
restraint. Until then, I will be content in my circumstances, stand strong in the face of adversity, portray strength in spite of my weakness, smile with a breaking heart and a poker
face you'd bet the farm on. But in my minds eye, I am laughing, dancing, giggling and soaking my worries away with an imaginary vaca taken far away from prying eyes and knowing glances.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Great Theme, Wonderful Celebration

I was invited a little late to help with the latest baby shower. I've had a lot on my plate and no one wanted to add another thing. When I was asked, I was thrilled because I love to decorate for parties. I can't take credit for this amazing Woodland theme, but I did lend a hand in putting it together. The happy couple are rangers at the Capulin Volcano National Park so the Woodland theme was super cute and easy to do. We had a super huge island to make the landscape using burlap, river rock and pine trees from a stash of Christmas stuff. I added a limb from my pine tree, stood it in a planter topped with river rock and wrapped the planter in garden twine and lined the lip with fresh cedar from my front yard. At the base of a tree I nestled a little "Tooth Fairy Owl". The couple's Dad painted some Woodland animals on small canvases to place here and there. We tucked our food trays between the trees and limbs, scattered pine cones around and there you have it, easy as can be!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blown Away by The Annie Moses Band!

It's Sunday afternoon. I'm snuggled under the covers ready to read and nap (not necessarily in that order). It's thundering and lightening outside.with sleet peppering down. When we left church, there were snowflakes mixed in with the hail sized sleet.... Just another March day in Oklahoma.  Even this Snow Princess is tired of cold wet weather. James Taylor should write a sequel to his song "Fire and Rain", he could all it "Thunder and Ice". Even though it's 10 outside, I'm still feeling the warmth from the amazing church service this morning at Ray of Hope. Dad worked the Welcome desk with us and we were graced by "The Annie Moses Band". We were worried due the weather they might not make it, but they did. Despite the horrid weather conditions and being behind schedule, they took the stage like the professionals. They were friendly, warm  and gracious as I showed them to their area. When they began to play, I was completely blown away by their sheer passion for music and excellence. To those who believe the hymns of yesterday are outdated and are longer relevant, take a second listen to see how it's done. Their passion came from the marrow of their bones and radiated out; a visual representation of the incense of praise. If you haven't heard of them, I encourage you to look them up on YouTube. They are in a class all their own and if you have the chance to see them, I highly recommend you do, I can promise you won't be disappointed. They will warm your soul.