Friday, November 07, 2014

Absence of Prayer

Despite being raised super Catholic, I don't consider myself to be particularly religious.  I do believe in God and I have a deeply spiritual side, but I don't feel the need to go to church to worship and praise or have a conversation with God.

That being said, I feel like I've forgotten how to pray.

I've been attempting to have a conversation with God (or whoever is listening) all week, and I can't seem to get past a few sentences before I just give up.

I don't recall ever having this problem before now.

I've been under an extraordinary amount of pressure in recent months and my level of anxiety is the highest it has ever been in my entire life.  I'm pretty tongue-tied on a daily basis, so maybe that's part of it.  I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to form a coherent thought--so I guess I'm mentally tongue-tied, too?  I also feel a little embarrassed about my prayers.  Mostly, I want to shake my fist and scream about how just about everything feels unacceptable, but at the same time, sheepishly ask God to help me figure out a way to make it all better.  Actually, in a perfect world, I just want Him to fix it for me right now...like, I wake up tomorrow and it's all better.  I'm not going to wish for that, though, because with my luck, I'd wake up dead.  Hee hee.  Wake up dead.

I'm not doing so good in the "Let go and let God" department, but at least I'm keeping a tiny bit of my sense of humor.

For now, even if just for these next few minutes, I'll keep my eyes on what's good in my life.


  • The dogs are snuggling nearby and being surprisingly well-behaved.  And their body heat is keeping my feet warm.
  • I finally found a specialist who takes our insurance so we can get our kiddo evaluated for a medical issue.
  • Netflix and HuluPlus are awesome and way cheaper than cable.
  • I have a little container of pumpkin cream cheese that I was snacking on with some vanilla wafers earlier.
  • Hot dogs for dinner tonight because it's Friday and I don't much feel like making a big meal tonight.
Yay for the little things!



Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Breakfast

Kiddo had a hard time getting up today after the long holiday weekend.  She turned off her alarm and was just a bundle of warmth and softness as she hugged me, slightly tearful.  Oh, how sweet she still is when her little-girl side peeks out.  Smoothing her wild hair, I kissed her forehead and asked her what she wanted for breakfast.

"Pancakes and ice-cream?"

Her dad was already making scrambled eggs, but I went downstairs and whipped up some pancakes to go along with it.  I got the dad "stink eye" when he saw me place a single scoop of ice cream in a dish and put it next to her plate.

When kiddo saw that she had eggs, pancakes, AND ice-cream, her whole face lit up.

Neither she nor her dad asked what possessed me to put that small dish of ice-cream on the table.  I'm glad neither one of them asked.

I did it because I can.  Because sometimes, getting up is a challenge.  Because sometimes, I think about how a splurge like that would not have been an option for me when I was her age.  Because sometimes, it's nice to see my kiddo's face shine with happiness over something so small.

Because somewhere down the road...twenty or thirty years from now...my kiddo may be feeling tired and stressed and scared and unappreciated, and she'll need something to hang onto.  Maybe she'll remember the time she asked for pancakes and ice-cream and actually got them.  Maybe she'll be placing pancakes and ice-cream on the table for her own child(ren).

Because sometimes, something small and ordinary is anything but, and that's only way to make it through the day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

End of Summer

I don't know how it is that August is more than half over and my kiddo goes back to school this week!  That little one is heading off to fourth grade this year and I can't even wrap my head around it.  My sweet baby girl will always be my baby girl, but she's so much of a young lady now...growing and changing in ways I don't feel prepared for, "tween" emotions definitely making an appearance, leaving behind so many things of childhood in favor of more grown up things. 

I can't keep her a baby forever.  Oh, how I miss those baby days.  But, oh, how excited I am for all that life will bring her as she continues to grow up!

This was an interesting summer.  In a weird twist of fate and the consequences of company re-organization/downsizing, I had an unexpected, lengthy, but much appreciated LONG vacation and I've had the pleasure of spending the past two months at home with my kiddo!  It's definitely time to find new work and I've been actively looking, but now that the kiddo is starting school, I'm excited to embrace new opportunities.  The first week of unemployment was distressing as I imagined every worst-case-scenario (none of which have come to pass) that would befall my family as a result of my job loss.  One good thing is that the job loss coincided with a planned vacation, so in a funny way, it was nice to just enjoy the time off without the stress of having to go back to the office!

Anyway, it's been a fun-filled summer, with lots of day trips to the zoo, museums, American Girl, window shopping, brunches, a longer road trip and vacation to Mackinac Island...just fantastic mommy-daughter time.  These were all things that we had planned on doing this summer (and thankfully I had budgeted for all of them prior to losing my job), but there was an added element of fun, because I was no longer tied to a mobile device having to be available 24/7.  With that burden gone, I was able to be fully present with my daughter, never having to hush her or make her wait while I took a phone call or responded to an e-mail or text. 

In so many ways, though it was hard to see at first, being forced to look at the variety of jobs out there really gave me a fresh perspective and was a sharp reminder about what's most important--and I'm now being very selective about what kind of work I get into because I've gotten a taste of work-life balance and I like it!  Job interviews have been and continue to be scheduled and I realize that not every company demands that level of 24/7 availability.  I got so used to it over the years that it became normal, but not in a good way.  I'm laughing more and sleeping better than I have in years!

That's about it for now.  Nothing earth shaking, nothing inspiring, just a little rambling because...well...I can ramble if I feel like it!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Gentle Breaking

These past 20 months have been some of the most challenging of my life (so far).  Things that should have been minor issues turned into major issues, major issues turned into life-changing explosions.  I've barely been able to think straight, let alone attempt to put anything into words. 

In the past, I've made an effort not to wallow in self-pity, but for a while now, it felt...I don't know...good, in a way, if that even makes sense...to just be wrapped up in my hurts and hide myself away.  It's time to break away from that.  I've attempted to break away from it a few times in the past year or so, but each time, slipped back into that dark spot.  I was forcing myself to feel better when I didn't feel better at all. 

I was on vacation just recently--a mother-daughter road trip with my kiddo.  It took 950 miles behind the wheel, some time out on a lake, and sharing a secret with a stranger to nudge me back into reality.  I guess I was trying too hard to force myself into feeling better instead of acknowledging that I wasn't letting myself heal.  It's really nothing worth re-hashing at this point--it's about human frailties, anger, ineffective communication, and what happens when they all collide. 

FYI, nothing good really comes out of it if a person in that scenario refuses to have a healthy discussion about it.  I'm over it, but it still stings a little bit when I think about it.  It stings, but doesn't hurt anymore.

There's a quote from author Jodi Picoult, I don't remember where I read it, but it's something along the lines of after a while, a heart having too many stress fractures can't be anything but broken.  Although that's how I was feeling for a while, I don't feel that way anymore. 

Stress fractures heal.  The terrain may look different after multiple stress fractures, and there may have been breaks along the way, but they do heal.  Perhaps some residual pain lingers, but instead of getting hung up on that, I'll just take note of it and try to understand it.  Sort of how my left knee gets swollen and tender before rain or snow.  It's 15 years "healed", but the terrain is different (scar tissue inside, where nobody can see) and the pain indicates when something is amiss.  I think our brains, hearts, and instincts work the same way.

I totally just had a flash to Lost in Space with the robot yelling, "Danger, danger Will Robinson!"  My knee yells with weather changes, my heart, head, and instincts yell when something is amiss.  And that's okay.

I have a new computer and I'm in the process of transferring pictures and half-finished blog posts.  It's time to sort through them, bit by bit, and get my happy little blog up and going again.

Until then...

"Until then" what?  I don't know!  But I'll come up with something!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Making Way for Brighter Days

These past months have been a dark, dark time.

For no particular reason, I expected 2013 to be a good year.

Just so we're clear, it hasn't been a good year.  I would venture to say that it was the worst year I've experienced in my life so far.  A friend of mine asked if it was worse than the year I was diagnosed with cancer, and it took maybe two seconds for me to say, painfully and honestly, that yes, yes this year has been worse than the year I was diagnosed with cancer.

My health is good.  That was the best part of 2013. 

The rest?  Well, I'm thinking that I'm reading to burn 2013 to the ground.  A big bonfire on New Year's Eve, just blow this year away and send the ashes far, far away.

I get so melodramatic sometimes.

I won't be starting any fires on New Year's Eve.  Please.  With my luck, my house would catch on fire, which would set me up for a really crummy 2014.  Metaphorically speaking, though, I'm going to blow 2013 to smithereens.

I don't know what smithereens really are, but that's what 2013 will be when it's over.

I never realized how much negativity from others could affect me and my writing.  I've done so little in terms of taking care of myself and "filling my tank", writing here on my blog, or any writing at all.  I know that needs to change and I'm the only one who can do it, even if things around me haven't settled down.  My life still goes on.  I have no obligation to feed into anyone else's bad attitude and it's up to me to avoid letting their bad attitudes bring me down.

Nanny nanny boo boo, 2013.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Remembering

I remember a quote that I heard who knows how long ago from Maya Angelou:  "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I've always appreciated those words and found them to be true.  Mostly true.

I think they may be mostly true for other people.  Less so for me.

I'm blessed/cursed with a very long memory that clings to details.

I do remember what people say.

I do remember what people do.

And I do remember how they made me feel.  I should add that I do a relatively good job of not "blaming" my feelings on others, but I'm careful to acknowledge when I feel hurt or angry (or happy!) and what occurred to spark to those feelings and what I can do to take responsible ownership of my feelings.

Anyway, the remembering part.  It makes my life and relationships more challenging than they should probably be--I remember things that I'd rather forget...certainly things that others would prefer for me to forget.  But I don't.  I just don't.  I work hard not to obsess, but it's not even about that.

It's about being vulnerable.  And being guarded after someone takes advantage of that vulnerability.  And not being willing to take the risk of being vulnerable again.  Which means I choose not to let people get close to me, even though I may desperately want that closeness. 

Come close, but stay away.

I know how that feels.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Unfound

I climbed a tree yesterday.

In a historical park.

I'd spent the afternoon there, alone, looking for some peace.  There are acres and acres of gardens, a military museum, a reflection point, running water, still water, flowers...but I saw this one stinkin' tree.  The only tree that had low branches sturdy enough to support me.  So what did I do?  My camera, which was around my neck, was carefully tucked into my jacket, my phone and water bottle went into my zipped pockets.

For just a moment, I felt like I needed to prove something.  To myself. 

So I started climbing.


I had looked around to make sure nobody was in sight before I attempted it, but I'll be darned if I wasn't but 10 feet up when an elderly gentleman with tufts of white hair puffed out of his VFW cap pulled up in a golf cart and sternly addressed me as, "Young lady," before ordering me down.  I thought I was going to be escorted out of the park, but I wasn't.  Instead, behind thickly lensed glasses, I saw a pair of gently smiling blue eyes.

"It's not there, you know."

I was puzzled by his statement.

"What's not there?"

"Whatever it is you're looking for.  It's not in that tree.  You may not have found it yet, but I assure you, you will.  If I'd let you climb to the top of it, you may have taken in a nice view, maybe gotten a look at the bigger picture, but I promise, what you're looking for isn't in that tree.  Good luck to you, miss."

He grinned and gave me a sharp salute and a nod before driving off.

Whatever it is, whatever I'm looking for, it remains unfound.




Saturday, May 04, 2013

True Story: A Forty Watt Lesson


I dropped a light bulb tonight. 
This isn’t necessarily unusual for me, especially when considering how awkwardly clumsy I am in almost every area of my life.
It was a GE 40 watt soft light.  A regular old bulb, not a fancy, energy efficient one.  I admit, I’m polluting the world with my fondness for regular bulbs.
I dropped the bulb when attempting to put it into the light fixture over the kitchen sink.  I swear, it fell in slow motion, slipped through my fingers, past the helpless grasp of my other hand and I watched it bounce once against the rubber mat in the bottom of the sink before hitting the stainless steel with a sharp cracking sound.
I looked at it and at first glance, it was whole.  Lying on its side, it looked perfect, the glass smooth and untouched.  I knew it was broken, though.  There was a piece next to it that was whole in its brokenness with dozens of tiny shards around it.
My curiosity got the better of me and I picked up the bulb, turning it so I could see the hole and sharp edges.  One side perfect, one side damaged.  I turned it, contemplating its appearance, contemplating its functionality.  The base was still solid, the filaments still intact.  I knew I should throw it away, but I gingerly lifted it to the light fixture, turning it painstakingly so as not to cut my fingers on the jagged edges.  When it was secured, I took a breath and turned on the switch.
It worked.
It was broken and fragile, but it worked.  The part of the bulb facing out was whole.  The part facing back—the part that was hidden—was damaged.  But there was still a glow, a burst of light coming from it.
I flipped the switch off and carefully removed the bulb from the fixture.  One reckless move and I knew the rest of the glass would shatter, would separate from its base.  It would be rendered useless.  Placing it on a dish towel, I turned my attention to the broken glass in the sink.  Picking up what I could, I laid them out, turning them this way and that, arranging them as I would puzzle pieces. 
Crazy glue.  Have you ever tried to crazy glue pieces of a light bulb back together?  I have.  Just this once.
Did it work?  Yes.  But no.
You see, once something is shattered, there are some pieces that are too tiny, maybe far too sharp, to ever be put back into the whole.  The tiniest pieces, the ones you can’t see at first glance and thoughtlessly run your fingers over?  Those are the ones that cut unexpectedly…the ones that cut the deepest.   
You can piece together what’s left.  Turn it into something resembling what it used to be.
And the glue that holds the broken pieces together leaves jagged lines, thick scars that disfigure what should have been a smooth, simple surface.
But the light still shines through.  If you’re careful…if you connect it to what it needs to make it work…if you don’t push too hard or unwittingly crush it…it shines. 
It may shine a little less brightly, may be slightly distorted because of the heaviness of the scars, but if you turn it just so, if you look carefully at the spaces where small pieces are missing, you can see inside.
And that’s where the light shines the brightest.  Not through the untouched, unbroken part that’s on display for everyone to see.  Not through the scars.  But through the raw edges, through the small parts that are so broken that they’ve left tiny, pinprick windows that reveal a fragile, but brightly lit core.   
I learned that it’s not about fixing the bulb.  It’s not about putting it back together or trying to turn it back into what it used to be.  It’s about accepting that it will never be quite the same.  It’s about learning how to hold the broken pieces and getting to know the sharp edges so that they do less damage, so they hurt less when you touch them.
But mostly, it’s about the light.  Because the light that comes from it…the light that’s still there even when the outside is broken…well, it turns out it doesn’t really change at all.  The core, the heart of what’s on the inside, it doesn’t change.  And with the right set of circumstances, it’ll keep on shining.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Where I've Been

This is, by far, the longest stretch I've gone without blogging.  I do miss writing, but life has been happening lately.

"Life" is a four-letter word, you know.

Aside from losing time to Pinterest, I've been managing a ridiculous situation at work.  Enough time has passed that I feel like I can think/talk about everything that happened without feeling overcome with anger or sadness.  I'm fine and my job is fine, but relationships with co-workers that I've known for a long time have been damaged.  The short of it is that someone started a rumor that I was having an affair with a new staff member.  Untrue, obviously.  But a rumor like that spreads like wild fire and does a tremendous amount of damage.  What makes me sad is that someone I was close to, a trusted confidant, was part of it.  I felt like such a fool when all was said and done, because as I tried to manage the stress I was feeling as a result of that gossip, I would talk to her and process through things, the whole time not knowing she was part of it.  I spent months feeling humiliated and wondering what I did wrong. 

And what exactly did I do wrong?

Funny thing. 

I lost weight.  And apparently, losing weight means I was having an affair.  Yep.  That logic is clear.  Clear as mud.

It is what it is.  There's nothing I can do about it, nothing I'd want to be bothered to do anyway.  I can think of plenty of things I'd like to say, but I won't. 

So...I'll talk about my weight loss instead.  In a nutshell, it turns out that these years of battling my weight were the result of a combination of factors, most of which have been resolved.  A few very minor changes to my diet and before I knew it, I was 40 pounds lighter!  We hear so much about healthy eating, diet and exercise, but less about how certain foods can impact things like blood sugar and the pancreas.  For me, getting my pancreas to calm down was a key factor.  I had no idea that some of my favorite vegetables and other healthy foods were actually bad for me--bad for me in the sense that I have a metabolic disorder and my pancreas was misbehaving as a result.

I should be happy with that kind of weight loss, but I have to admit, it's been pretty overwhelming.  I was in a dressing room at Kohl's a few weeks ago trying on pants.  It's been exciting to piece together a new wardrobe, but I rarely check myself in a mirror.  Other than a quick glance to make sure my hair and makeup are okay, I barely give myself a second glance.  Standing in that dressing room, though, surrounded by mirrors, I saw myself--really saw myself--for the first time in a long time. 

My body felt so foreign and so strange that I started to cry.  I felt like I didn't look like me anymore.  It's not that I look bad.  It's just that I hadn't seen myself full-length in clothes that actually fit. 

I don't know how other people manage drastic weight loss.  I mean, mine wasn't that drastic and occurred over 6-ish months.  I've had friends who've had gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries and they lose incredible amounts of weight in less time than I did.  Psychologically, I don't know how they cope.

I did learn something really important in all of this.  No matter how much weight I've lost, it doesn't change who I am at my core.  I still get anxious about little things (and big things).  I still feel insecure.  I still have the same obnoxious sense of humor.  I still struggle with self-esteem. 

I am living proof that weight loss is not a cure-all for all that ails us.  I'm still me.  Just me.  A slightly smaller version of me, but still the same.

Beautifully flawed.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Goals

I gave a lot of thought to the goals I wanted to set for myself in 2013 and while they're nothing huge, they're a pretty big deal for me. 

My first goal is to wear a little more color.  Not necessarily every single day, but some splashes of color here and there.  I wear a lot of toned-down colors for work, so the color may be a bright scarf or colorful piece of jewelry, but it'll be something that pops.  Something that stands out.  Something that makes me stand out.

My second goal started out a little too broad.  I decided to do something that scares me this year.  That should be pretty easy, but I also knew that leaving it so broad would make it way to easy to bail out on anything difficult, so I narrowed it down.  There are two smaller goals part of that broader one.  The first is that I'm going to make an effort to be less guarded and just be more open.  The second part of that is that I decided I'm going to share twelve things about myself that nobody knows.  That works out to one thing per month, which I should be able to manage.  Maybe I can just sit down one day and tell someone twelve things about me and get it all over and done with.  Or, more likely, it'll be New Year's Eve and I'll be asking someone if they have two minutes so I can spill twelve things about myself.  However it works out, the process will still be crazy scary.

Here's to a scary good 2013!