Saturday, March 26, 2016

In a world of traditions...

...having no traditions SUCKS.

I am by nature a sentimental type of person.  I love the structure that tradition lends to time and to events.  I love special days commemorated in special ways.

I grew up in a home that did none of that.

My parents, true to their 60s roots, questioned EVERYTHING.  Oh, they didn't question it enough to totally quit and move into a commune or become gypsies.  They just questioned enough that every piece of tradition that tied them to family and community became a thing of questionable value, and they HAD TO explore ways around it.

The churches they grew up in?  Problems. Let's find one that is as far from that as possible.  And then become disenchanted and leave it, and do something equally anti-tradition, and again, and again.

Taxes? Health insurance? Investment and savings?  Planning?  Too traditional.  They went for years without paying taxes, or even filing them, with no health insurance, no investments, no savings, and no planning for their retirement.

In addition to these, they frowned on celebrating holidays (any and all), birthdays, or even special achievements.  My grandparents wanted to celebrate with us, but often we would end up at home, without any decoration, and usually only presents from the extended family for Christmas.

I am sure that in my parents' heads, all of these things made some kind of sense, but to me as a child, it was just confusing and sad.  To not be celebrated as a person, to not be able to celebrate holidays that others take for left a hole that I really didn't recognize until I started my own family.

When our kids were younger, and we lived closer to family, holiday traditions always involved Jason's family and their love of celebrations.  They made a big deal out of everything, and that helped me a LOT.  I knew I WANTED to celebrate, but frankly I didn't know how, so they helped.

Now, my children are older....the youngest is 12, and the oldest is 22, and it is awkward not knowing how to celebrate.  Birthdays are easy...a meal with the family, and some gift or activity that they want to do.  Other holidays are still very, very strange to me.  The hard part is that I am the mom, and the mom sets the tone for family celebrations, and I don't know how to celebrate.  There are no family traditions to carry forward.  The "questioning everything" tone of my childhood is firmly rooted in my head, causing me to wonder about why Christian holidays are celebrated in certain ways, and whether this is okay, or that is verboten.

I wish I could celebrate.  I wish I knew HOW to celebrate.  Because having no traditions SUCKS, and I don't want that to be what my children remember.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Extending Grace

I find it very interesting that in our attempts to be funny, to be passionate, to be involved, all too often we err to the side of being cruel, unloving, vindictive, mean.

What do I mean?

We get worked up around an issue.

We see others worked up around that issue, either for or against.

We may like some of what they say, so we repost it, with supportive words.

If we oppose what others say, we may attempt a rebuttal, a desperate try to change their mind.

If we are having a bad day, or we are overly sensitive to others who are different than us, this may all cause raised blood pressure, anxiety, fear of rejection, and anger.

Meanwhile, these people who read our pages, and are on the receiving ends of our rebuttals probably do not see things from our same perspective.  Additionally, they may be having the worst week/day/month of their lives, and are themselves super-sensitive right now.  No matter what is going on in others' lives, people are going to perceive things differently.

For instance, things I once thought to be hilarious are not quite so funny when seen through the eyes of the subjects of the jokes.  I initially found things amusing because I had never even considered that others might see things differently than I do.  My cultural bias did not allow me to see things from the cultural perspective and experiences of another.  I certainly had no idea that these things I thought funny were hurtful and unloving to others.  

Similarly, when I repost something another friend has posted.  While I like things others share, that does not necessarily mean that I agree with everything else they say, or that they agree with me.

Also, not all issues are important to all people....we are all uniquely created with different interests and giftings,

If I am going to extend grace to others, I need to extend it across the board...both to those with whom I agree, AND with those where our agreements are much different.  If I am to represent the God I serve, I have to be prepared to consider how the words I say (or share) affect those who are listening to me.  I don't want to (unintentionally) cause harm to others' walks because I spoke about something in a way that was unloving, cruel, vindictive, or mean.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

Monday, March 14, 2016


Today was my counseling appointment.   I have been working on dealing with a lot of childhood things that were recently brought back into the present.  As we talked through things today, I was able to paint a picture of where I am...

Imagine I am in the middle of getting ready to move (this is not a difficult scene for me!).  Every closet and drawer has been opened and emptied.  Now that everything is out where I can see it, I recognize that I have a LOT of junk, some excess, and some really good stuff.  It all needs to be sorted through.  The junk needs to be thrown away, the excess gotten rid of or stored, and the really good stuff I want to have on-display.  Pretty typical moving experience....

This is the picture of what I have been doing with the stuff from my past.  I am recognizing that there is a LOT of junk from my past that is cluttering up my mind.  Abuses and lies are there, which have prevented me from seeing the good parts of myself, the parts that God made me to be.  As I go through my counseling, I am systematically being able to weed out and throw away those things that are trash.  The more trash I rid my mind of, the more I am able to see ME, and who I am supposed to be.  I am able to see who God created me to be, and what He is doing in me.

Today, a piece of trash that everyone may recognize went out on the trash heap..."I'm always wrong", "it's all my fault"....those are lies and garbage, and are now gone.  In place of these lies, I asked God to show me how HE sees me.  THAT is a work in progress....

Meanwhile, the decluttering continues....

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tired....oh so very tired.

Some days I have a LOT of energy, and can accomplish things, and feel successful at things, and paint, and blog...

Other days, it feels as if the whole world is shackled to my ankles, and I have to drag it all with me as I go about my activities.

I find that the heavy days are the days that another bit of rottenness oozes to the surface and insists on having my attention.  Since I am working toward healing and wholeness, paying attention to the shrapnel is important and is part of the process.

Today's piece of embedded infection is one that comes and goes with regularity, and causes even more exhaustion than normal.

This piece is one labeled "it's all my fault."

Every time something goes wrong, it's all my fault.
Every time there's not enough money, it's my fault.
Every time a kid fails, it's my fault.
Every time a family member does or says something hurtful, it's my fault.
Every time others' expectations are unfulfilled, it's my fault.
Every time the car breaks down,
the washer quits,
the sink backs up,
an appointment is forgotten,
a book is left somewhere,
a child catches a cold,
the dog gets sick,
the house is a mess...

It's all my fault.

Even when things are going well, it could probably have been better, and it's my fault that it is NOT.

I'm not good enough.
I'm not pretty enough.
I'm not thin enough.
I'm not smart enough.
I'm not savvy enough.
I'm not spiritual enough.
I'm not organized enough.
I'm not creative enough.

I can step back and logically look at things, and realize that others have choices, and life on planet earth means that things fall apart, and money is finite, and time is finite, and it is completely impossible for all of it to be my responsibility or my fault.

And yet....

The tape that plays in my head says that if I WERE enough, everything would go right.  The kids would make perfect decisions, the house would stay clean and company-ready, the fat would melt away, the food would always be delicious, the laundry would be clean and folded and put away, the dog would always be a perfect gentleman, my husband would always be attentive (and awake!), the cars would last forever without needing costly repairs....and God would bless each and everything I did and it would all turn out perfectly.

Some days, I feel like I was sold a bill of goods.  I KNOW that's not how God works.  He blesses me whether I'm good, or not.  He blesses the mistakes, and the burnt brownies, and the yippy dog that MUST pee on my bedroom carpet, and the children who are learning how to live and to love (sometimes the hard way!), and the cars that need encouragement and oil changes to keep putzing along.  He also blesses ME...the broken mess that I am....the one with the falling-apart body, and the forever-disabled insides of me, and He says that He loves me.

I have a hard time with that love.  Because there's this tape in my head that says I'm not enough.  And THAT is exhausting.

Friday, March 4, 2016


You would think it would be understood. 
After more than 20 years out of the house, seeing close to a dozen different counselors, and investing countless hours in healing, I finally realized what has made the absolute most difference for me. 
A counselor finally said it...
"that must have been horrible." 
She acknowledged how hard it was.
How horrible to have grown up frightened out of my mind by the one person who should have been the most nurturing. 
I got a lot of other responses over the years, but this one has made the most difference for me. 
I thank God that He caused our paths to cross. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


1. I'm cold and sore and tired.

2. I'm ready for Spring, and beautiful green things, and planting my garden.

3. Physical therapy would help ever-so-much more if I had it more spaced out...having my two appointments for the week back-to-back is not helpful for the rest of the week.

4. I'm tired-to-death of politics.  I don't want people to lie to me to get me to vote for them.  I can see through that.  Please make it stop.

5. Re-processing old traumas is exhausting and stirs up a lot of stuff.

6. Starting something new is exhausting, too.  Also, I think I have a very short attention span.

7.  Painting is more work than anticipated, and more therapeutic than expected.

8. Hot tea is amazing, especially if I can remember to drink it while it is still hot.

9. Filling a sock with rice for a heating pad takes approximately 4 cups of rice.  I wish I had some cheap rice on hand, instead of having to use the very good rice I use to cook.  The plus side is that it smells delicious when I heat it up in the microwave.

10. Being in pain is exhausting.

11. I think I need a nap.

12. 9-million things on the to-do list this week, and I just want to sleep.

13. I am sad that new friends will be leaving this summer.  I know that it is part of the military life.  It still makes me sad.

14.  I still don't have a job.  I find out that the main website for government jobs is a joke, and not to, is the other any better?

15.  At least in Virginia I knew where to go, and who to talk to.

16.  Think I need to retreat for a while, and not subject myself to the fear-mongering that passes for news and discussion on social media these days.

17.  It was supposed to be warm enough for a motorcycle ride with our new helmets...and we're supposed to get more snow?!?  SPRING, where are you?!?

18. Comfort food is good...and fattening...especially Southern comfort foods.