Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Passing of Dreams...

We just finished watching a wonderful film starring a young actor I highly respect, Shia Lebeouf.
The movie is entitled 'The Greatest Game Ever Played' and I must say, this film far surpassed my expectations! The cinematography is amazing, the acting superb and the theme is about the realization of dreams and overcoming social stigmas. It is based on the true story of an Irish family who came to the US with dreams of great success, yet the Father only becomes a ditch digger and they live in a small house beside a Golf course. The mother is still hopeful and supports Shia's character in his pursuit of Golf, but the father is so disappointed that his owns dreams didn't come true that he selfishly witholds support for his sons dream of being a great golfer. Time after time, he fails to understand or encourage his son in reaching toward his goal. The ending is great and the father finally makes peace with his disappointments and opens his heart to his son. I was very touched when the father was finally able to congratulate his son and offer a smile of approval.

Okay, I'll admit it, I don't know much about Golf. It doesn't thrill me, but I was totally on board emotionally throughout the entire film. You see, I have a dream of sharing my music, of travel and study. I've already done that to a certain extent, but I've not been able to go as many places as I would've liked. There is so much more to learn and experience. I didn't make much money at it, so there are many who scoff. To most, unless it makes money, it's not a worthy pursuit. Well, I'm nearly to my mid-30's and not getting any younger. I have 4 bright children who sing, dance, draw and paint wonderfully well.
I know life is a long series of transitions. So, I wonder, when comes the time to accept that my dreams may never come true and begin focusing on those of my children? Is this giving up a sign of weakness on my part or simply an acceptance of the reality that without means, it is nearly impossible to rise above the stations we are born to? Yes, even in America- land of opportunity- often the door to success is slammed shut with a resounding thud in the faces of those unfortunate enough to be born poor. My parents were never wealthy. I received absolutely nothing from any of my Grandparents when they passed away- a fact that reflects their lack of interest in me while they were living. It was almost as if they were non-existent in my life. I made attempts at relationship that were not returned. There is are holes in my heart their love should have filled. Sadder still is the fact that there are many who feel this way. Watching thier lives pass by, feeling unloved and losing hope.
Now that we have been financially devastated, perhaps it's time to make peace with reality and stop hoping to ever be more than I am. If wishing could make it possible to give our kids a better future, then it would be so, but I fear they are bound to the same future of struggling to get by. For all our many complexities, we humans really are simple, somewhat helpless creatures, often bound to follow similar paths as our parents.
My sweet babies are fast becoming of the age when serious dreams for the future begin to take root. Lord, please allow me to give them the support and the future I never received. I'm doing the best I can, but I don't have a lot of great examples of how to be. How do you give what you have never received? Perhaps it's already too late to do what I always wanted and it's time to pass the torch on to the next generation. Unlike the father in the film, I want to have a beautiful spirit and be optimistic for the dreams that have been planted in the tender hearts of my children...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Totally Embarassing Moment!

Okay, so last night, we're sitting outside Walmart waiting for Jay to pick up a few things when I noticed a beautiful Australian Shepherd waiting in the car beside us. Being the HUGE dog enthusiast that I am, well, I just wanted to talk to her, keep her company and tell her how beautiful she was. She looked very lonely. Her window was open a bit, so I scooted over into the driver's seat, rolled my window down, leaned out a bit and started talking to her in the most soothing voice I could muster. I made the cute little kissing sound you make to dogs to get their attention and said, "Hey Baby, you are so gorgeous, I'll bet you're lonely- huh? Are you warm enough? Do you want me to keep you company?" The dog was not responding as favorably as I had hoped, maybe she didn't hear me? So I leaned out the window a little more and repeated myself a little louder. It was then that my children, who were sitting in the back said, "Mom, stop it, you are totally embarassing us!" Well, I thought that was ridiculous, why should they care if I talk to a dog in the parking lot?! Then I noticed a skinny older guy walking past the car the dog was in. He had a funny look on his face and when he saw me looking at him, his pace quickened and his demeanor said it all. HE THOUGHT I WAS MAKING KISSY NOISES AND PROPOSITIONING HIM!!!!!!!!

Ya gotta have a sense of humor to be me.... well, it's that or go crazy!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wild Weekend!

Wow- is all I can say. Life just blows me out of the water sometimes!

Met up with an old friend for dinner this weekend. We had an amazing conversation and talked for hours. She is a kindred spirit and someone I feel I can be completely honest with. God has placed several of these persons in my life and I'm very grateful. Trisha if you read this, THANK YOU a million times over for thinking of me, meeting up with me and treating me to dinner. Bless you! Next time, it's on me...

Saturday morning we slept in and had a leisurely brunch with the kids. About 11:00am, we got a bizarre phone call. Jay picked up and this guy said, "Wheresdaweedat?" Jay didn't understand what he was trying to say, so the man repeated himself, "WheresDAweedAT?". Jay still didn't get it and said, "I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number". The guy said, "Is this Jay?" "Yeah" "Then I want my puff-puff!" Jay said, "I don't know what you're talking about." To which the man replied, "Don't F--- with me man, I want my stuff!" Jay said, "Look, I don't have your stuff and I don't know what you're talking about". The caller said, "Man, I know what paper routes you run and I will shoot you down". Jay hung up. (Guess the dummy didn't know we have caller ID and got his name & number) We called the Newspaper to inquire and turns out the guy is a former employee who quit and stole over a thousand dollars from the paper. The Police came out to talk to us and everything. Apparently, my husband unknowingly got in the middle of a drug-traffic ring that was using Newspaper racks. He inadvertantly threw out what appeared to be some wadded up trash in a rack and a bag of drugs was in amongst the wadded up paper. Anyway, kinda scary! Jay sees this as a sure sign it's time for us to move on...

Honestly, Jay has had it pretty bad the past 3 yrs. He's worn out, completely humbled- devastated is more like it. Getting fired from an 11 yr career and going bankrupt has a way of doing that to a man. Now he's exhausted from working 2 jobs. You know things are bad when a 36 yr old man is too tired to even "show interest" in his wife. Everything we've done to stay in this area has fallen through. The little house we were hoping to rent is now for sale and we can't afford to buy it. Besides, who's going to give us a loan now? Looks like we are headed to MI- at least for a while. I was supposed to be in a friends wedding this April, now I'm probably going to have to miss it. Hate to break the news to the happy couple.
Today I had to tell MofM that I will no longer be able to sing with them. It was a tough announcement on my part as I love these girls. We cried and prayed together. They seem to understand and feel the gravity of my situation. I really love them, we've had a lot of good times working together- although we've had our share of differences, we stayed together and have done a lot of minstry. I don't know what will happen now, perhaps I'm just not meant to be a musician? Maybe all the rest of the songs I've written will remain in my folder unheard?? I'm not getting any younger... and unfortunately youthful looks are important. In a way, I'm ready just to give up on it. It's not like I want to be a big, famous label artist or anything. Those people have it tough and they are pretty much owned. I just want to make recordings of my songs and be able to perform from time to time- for posterity mostly.

Jay wants to stay in the apartment of some good friends up north, relax and pull ourselves and our marriage back together. He may be working at a Medical Supply company, then after we have healed a bit and saved up some money, we will head out to Montana- the dream state. Always knew in my heart we'd probably end up out there in the fresh air, but I thought it would be after our kids were older and we had done our music. Oh well, I know God has a plan in all of this chaos. We need time to re-connect as a family.

As I pack these boxes, in many ways it feels like I'm packing away my dreams. Perhaps I will never rise above the status I was born to. Sometimes I feel like a big NOTHING. In the hardest of times I always held on thinking someday things would be better. I know God better now than ever. He loves me and for some reason, He deems these trials necessary for my growth. I'm thankful that I still have a family- that's what matters most.

It seems very surreal that in just a few short weeks we will be leaving TN and heading for a new life. Years ago, moving was an adventure. Now I am dragging my feet, feeling sad and happy at the same time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Miracle of Mistakes...

Don't know about you, but I've made my share of mistakes. You see, it all started when I was a baby attempting to walk- I miscalculated and fell a lot. My balance was challenged, but no more than that of any other baby. It would seem ridiculous for a parent to scold a baby for falling while attempting to walk. In fact, parents smile and make over a little one as he/she takes those important first steps. Proud Moms & Dads stand a short distance away, arms outstretched and invite the toddler to "Come to me".

I'm a reasonably coordinated, quick learner, but peddling a bike, riding a horse and learning how to skate were challenges. I went down a lot, but each time I bit the dust, I learned something. My brain was making calculations and recording results. Though I fell, I was learning and eventually, though I'll never be an Olympian, I could ride like a champ.

What would've happened if at any point, I was yelled at when I lost my balance? What if I was kicked out of the family unless I could promise never to make any mistakes? I would have been terrified to try anything and probably would have ended up a vegetable lying flat on my back and pretty much useless. Humans make mistakes- that's what we do. It's all part of a Divine learning program. Now, I'm not saying we should go out and deliberately do something we know is wrong and then excuse or explain it away. We need to use good judgement. However, even the most careful and sincere people mess up. Then what? Does God get angry and pull away? No, He forgives and encourages. Like a loving parent, He wipes the tears, brushes us off, sets us back on our feet and continues to invite "Come to Daddy, Sweetheart". I'm still learning how to walk- with Him. I've gotten tripped up and I've chased a few rabbit trails, but the miracle of it all is that these mistakes have taught me more about who I am and more importantly, Who God Is. I see my need for something bigger than myself.

When people scold, lecture and condemn people- especially the youth- for their behavior and think for them, they are telling them it's a sin to exercise our intelligence or make any miscalculations in the formula of life. This puts a ton of pressure on an already insecure person not to "mess up". Perfectionism is a cruel master. Christians tend to focus on avoiding certain behaviors and come down pretty hard on each other. Is this love or control? Maturity or manipulation? Wisdom or folly?
What if we allow each other room to question, to seek, to try on new thoughts and ideas? Is it possible that in our great caution against making mistakes, many who could run- even dance in the presence of the Lord are only allowed to walk with a cautious shuffle? If so, how then will we ever learn to fly??

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cluttered Houses & Broken Vessels...

Today is 'Martin Luther King, Jr. Day' and we pause to remember a great man and his dream. Perfect? Not by any means, but he was used by God to help bring freedom to the captives, the oppressed and underpriviledged.
There's a mindset in many Christian circles that says we must be perfect before God can or will use us. This is a lie conjured up by the Devil. Should we strive for excellence- YES! We should do everything with considerable heart- as if to God Himself. Just don't obsess about being perfect or putting in a show-stopping performance every time.
Every great man or woman of God fell in some way, but they kept getting up, dusting off and trying again. They had the courage to do so because they understood the heart of God. He is patient, kind, merciful and forgiving.
Moses killed a man, Joseph spent time in prison, David committed adultery, Abraham & Solomon had more than 1 wife, Noah got drunk, Rahab was a whore, Peter had a bad temper, Gideon was a bit of a scaredy-cat, but God called and used them anyway- He could see that in their hearts they loved Him and wanted to do good.

I know a lady who NEVER invites friends over to her house. Her house is lovely, but with 3 children, it's often cluttered and she doesn't feel worthy of company- unless her house is perfectly clean, so she just won't relax and lay out the welcome mat. Apparently, she doesn't know that a true friend will enjoy spending time with you, even if your house is less than perfect. I feel sad for her. She is missing out on the blessing of hospitality and her friends all have complexes thinking they aren't good enough to be invited to her home. When the day comes for her to reflect on her life, it's likely she may regret that she didn't have friends over.

I have wasted much of my life trying to perfect myself, my image & presentation. I missed the opportunity to help others because I was so focused on myself, basing my idea of perfection on church teachings, upon what others thought of me & the opinions I was constantly receiving. Broken? Who me?? Now that I have seen the love of God on a deeper level, it's okay to admit I'm broken and I'm comfortable hanging out with other broken vessels. We can spend our lives and mental energy trying to make ourselves whole, unbroken vessels or we can allow God to use us where we are- TODAY. When a neighbor is hungry, they don't care whether or not you're perfect- they simply appreciate the food you bring. A drowning person doesn't wait for a perfect LifeGuard to come along- they don't care as long as they are saved. When a hiker is lost in a snowstorm, they don't give a snit whether the lodging is immaculate or the decor bright & shiny- they just want a place to get warm.

We can move forward in confidence and live with courage. God has used many flawed people like you & me for the greater good!

Friday, January 12, 2007


This week was incredibly stressful for some of the reasons I mentioned in my last post. We have been doing the one-car shuffle- which, with two busy schedules is amazingly stressful. Yesterday the building inspector came again to determine if this house is on a permanant foundation or not. We were stressed to the max!

However, not only did the building inspector, but also the buyers showed up. I was not prepared for company, let alone the potential buyers of our house- in fact, I was in the shower when they arrived and Jay went out to meet and talk with them. The house was cluttered and I could've died of embarassment, but hey- I've got 4 kids and if you want the house immaculate when you arrive, ya gotta call ahead and give us some time to pick-up.
Anyway, I was stressing out bigtime in the bathroom, trying to get ready for work and worrying about them thinking we are dirty redneck people or something.... 30 minutes later, I was curling my hair and my man came in and said, "Well, he passed the foundation and we are moving the first week of Feb.- the sale is still ON!" Then, I don't know what happened, but he says I passed out with the curling iron still wound tightly in my hair. He caught me and somehow managed to unwrap the thing without burning himself or me. I 'came to' on the bed with he & my oldest daughter looking down at me saying, "Are you okay? Are you okay?" I can count only 3 times that I've ever passed out in my life. Wierd!! Guess I was just overwhelmed with relief- as we were facing the possibility of foreclosure if the sale didn't go through.

So, it looks like we are back on track and can make some plans... :o) Have a GREAT weekend!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How Long?

Two words dominate my thinking tonight. "How Long?" I just finished quieting and tucking in a sobbing 6 yr old. She says, "Why can't we just be a family again and eat breakfast together and play games and just be all of us at home like we used to be? I want you to be home again. Why can't it just happen??" She cried as if her little heart was breaking- same way she cried 2 yrs ago when I took her old, faded Pink Blankby away and slipped in a new one exactly like it on the sly. She tolerated it for 2 wks, then came to me in tears saying she missed her old blankby and wanted her back. My precious little "Bunny" is sentimental above all of my other children.
I once told the story of my black & white Pandy-bear with button eyes & Blue Rabbie with satin ears- 2 stuffed animal friends I had when I was little. I slept with them every night, one under each arm and gave them rides in my Radio Flyer wagon. They wanted to know why I don't have them anymore, so I explained how they were lost in one of many relocations. Although my parents knew exactly where the box that held them both was left in the old house, I could not with all my pleadings convince them to go back and get them. Recently, we were in the car and the children asked me if I ever had a toy that was really special to me and the story of my two most precious toys came out. Suddenly from the back of the van came the sound of uncontrollable sobs. Yes, my baby was crying back there FOR ME! She said, "Mama, you loved Rabbie & Pandy as much as I love my Pink Blankby and now they are gone forever and ever"....... more sobs. I had NO idea it would upset her like that! As soon as we got home, she ran straight for the table and drew me a bunch of pictures of both toys and amazingly, her drawings looked JUST LIKE THEM! How she knew, I do not know, but I keep the drawings beside my bed and somewhere deep inside me, a little girl is pleased.
Although we are so weary from years of this cursed misfortune, we still have our wonderful children. God, I thank you for innocent little hearts that hold such great amounts of love and tenderness. If you are no longer hearing my prayers or have grown tired of my pleas, can you hear those of my children asking You to help us??

So I wrapped Bunny in her favorite blankby, rocking her in my arms while she cried for what has been lost to all of us- the joy of having family time and a regular, more relaxed schedule. I want nothing more than to have the power to fix all of this and make it better....

How long, Lord? How long??

Monday, January 08, 2007

Beautiful Comes from the Heart...

My mother loved me, but was very critical at times. She was often picking out my worst features or my weight, or telling me how ugly my hair looked. (I was pale with reddish hair.) We didn't have much money, I was short and the "ugly duckling" during most of my schooling. I pretty-much believed whatever nastiness other people said about me- messages that play repeatedly in my head.
Then I married. He's not perfect, but he does think I'm beautiful and has never ceased to tell me so. His pet names for me are 'Shining Eyes' and 'Pretty Mama'.. At first when he would call me these things I'd just roll my eyes and think "how corny". But I think he is getting through to me? I still have days when I feel like a toad, but most of the time I'm feeling better about myself. I guess this is part of growing up? It is a mystery to me how recently, during the hardest time of my life, people tell me I look radiant. They ask me what skin care regimen I'm doing. Well, I'm not doing anything special, I just feel different inside. All the stress of our current situation weighs heavily on me- it's overwhelming, but inside I have this sense of peace- this vibrant warmth no words can describe. My heart is growing. I believe God loves me, He accepts me as His daughter and thinks I'm beautiful. It really helps to know this when everything you've tried to build comes crashing down around your feet. I want so much more for my children! We need to laugh, play and delight in being a family. I look at this recent photo and see that my countenance has changed. I look older, but a bit wiser too.
This morning, we slept in a little. Hubby and I spent 2 hrs talking and venting our frustrations. I cried a bit. We are both worn out. Gut level honesty and communication are important features of any relationship and we did not hold back. We talked about the reasons we got married, the challenges we are facing and how much we've both changed over the last 14 yrs. (I was still a teenager when we married) We have considered a trial separation, but that's not what either of us want. We want to hold this thing together, but how do you when circumstances dictate that you so rarely see each other? I need romance and intimacy- virtually impossible when you are both working so hard and barely scraping by. Quality time together is extremely important to me- not a high a priority for him, but he knows that in order for this marriage to survive now he is going to invest more time in the relationship.
Anyway, at the end of our long talk, he was leaning against the headboard looking up at the ceiling, I just laid my head quietly against his chest and he stroked my hair as if I were a little girl. It was comforting. I have been humbled by the gravity of living and the reality of my limitations. This is not all bad. Somehow it helps to know I'm not alone- though I do not celebrate the fact that my man suffers with me. I felt close to him today and this encouraged me. Whether we stay together or part ways in the future, I owe him a lot. I have gained so much from being in this relationship. Nothing learned is a waste of time. Despite his shortcomings and mine, he gave me 4 beautiful children and has helped me learn to love myself. That's a miracle for which I am grateful.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Enduring with Dignity...

"The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured." - Dean Acheson

Wise words! I don't know what 2007 holds in store, but my greatest desire is that I will handle it with dignity and grace.

The first week of the New Year and there is no break from our trials. The car died- cost $450 to repair and the Building Inspector that came to look at our house didn't like our shingles or our foundation, so the sale of our house is now in jeopardy- ridiculous! This place is only 10 yrs old and solid as a rock! However, if it doesn't sell, we will most likely end up making a late payment or defaulting on our mortgage. (Humiliating for anyone with integrity to face) It is difficult not to be bitter toward those leaders who put us in this position by demanding we follow the ministry down here, then after we take on a bigger mortgage, they fire my man. Worst of all, no one in the denomination will take any responsibility for what happened to our family & 5 others, so there is no closure, only this terrible frustration. My life and marriage are ready to split at the seams from all the stress. God help us!

I go to my quiet place whenever I can to pray Heaven will hear us, have mercy on us and lighten our load somehow. I bow before the Lord of all things and walk away- not feeling lighthearted, but my shoulders are squared and my head is carried upright. I will cry alone in the dark, I will workout hard and I will write my thoughts here to cope, until something changes for the better.

Sometimes I strongly identify with a character I saw in an old movie once. No idea what the title was- as I only caught one scene. A woman of nobility is being led to her execution. She is not guilty of any crime, but there is great hatred toward her. They are throwing rocks and tomatoes at her, they are shouting obscenities and calling her a dog, yet there is a calm on her face. She KNOWS who she is- their opinions will not shake her and she goes defiantly peaceful to her death. Jesus too, stood calmly before hatred. They put him through a mock trial, ripped out his beard, struck Him and spat upon Him. They taunted Him, even as He hung on the Cross- stripped of every dignity- including His clothing. Yet He did not sink into the bowels of hatred.

Love is far stronger than any bitterness.

Life is throwing everything it can at us. I'm lonely and weary, but as long as there is breath left in me, I will keep the words of God that were spoken to my heart. "You are mine, purchased of my Blood and you will be lifted up. Hold on just a little longer and I will move in your favor."

Please pray for me and my family...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Music for the Soul...

Beautiful music is caressing my soul, the sweet sounds of my heritage fill the room. AWESOME!! The purity of the vocals, the inspiring instrumentation lifts me up. Two thumbs WAY up for this project! I find myself tearing up for several of the songs- touching release. Their link is in the right-hand column if you'd like to visit their site and learn more about them. I'm a singer, dancer, mother, but above all else, a free-spirited lady. My heart thrills to good music and splendid scenery. The hectic life we lead threatens to shut me down and close me in, but that's NOT who I am and I refuse to let life get the best of me. This music sets my spirit free like that of a wild mare and I hope it will touch you as well.

Out With The Old...

Good riddance to the nightmare that was 2006! I welcome the mystery of this New Year. We'll see what comes of it. Surely our string of misfortune will not last? Spent New Year's weekend in Texas with my friend Allie and her husband Jayce. Fun! We mostly just chilled out. Went shopping a little, ate out, had some Soy Latte's, watched some movies and just enjoyed each other's company. I picked up some sickness on the plane ride there, so I was a little out of it. I missed my kids and my man while in TX and never feel as lonely as I do when I'm in an airport all alone. Everyone is a stranger there and I feel very curious and disconnected. I mean it's a strange kind of lonely. I didn't enjoy that part of the trip at all. Made up for lost time with my man when I got home- that's always nice. There's just something about his arms around me that gives me courage to keep hope alive for a better year in 2007 and beyond... God help us hold this marriage together!

One of my daughters has a bad case of Chicken Pox. She looks awful, but I know she will be better soon. Poor kid has really been through the ringer this year! We all have. She named her scabs.

I wasn't really happy about the execution of Saddam Hussein- no strong sense of relief or victory. Felt it was more of a media ploy than anything else- maybe just to stir up retaliation so as to pinpoint more sources of resistance? I certainly don't think he was any good for the world. Still don't see where the connections were between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden or Iraq and 9/11. hmmmmm. The death of any human being does nothing to excite me. Sometimes war may be necessary, but any loss of life is a tragedy to me. I believe there is good and bad in every one of us. We should never be so one-sided in our views that we cannot see the value of life in those who oppose us. We are all capable of great deeds of mercy, but also of evil. I hope that my presence in this life will, even in some small way, bring about something positive.

Denver Broncos are out of the play-offs now. I'm very disappointed!!

Worked a long shift at the YMCA today. So enjoy my co-workers! Swamped with New Year's Eve resolutions. I signed up about 12 people for memberships. Some will stick with it, but in about 3 wks many will start to give up- happens every year in fitness. I try to tell people that moderate, consistent effort is what makes a difference, but there are those who insist on coming in completely out of shape and working out as long and HARD as conditioned athletes. The higher the intensity the better in their minds. Well, they end up exhausted, nauseated, sore, injured and disappointed. Bless their hearts, I see them overdo it BIGTIME with this look on their faces that says, "I, I will survive", but they just can't keep up that kind of pace. Then they blame the club & instructors for not getting them where they want to be and demand refunds on membership. Go figure!

Not sure I'm making any official resolutions this go-round- though it's always my goal to be a better person today than I was the day before and keep learning...