Friday, February 24, 2012
I am 43.
To some people, I am "older than the hills" (as per my young co-workers) and to others I am "just a baby" (as per my older brothers and sisters). But to me, I am, well, 43. Caught somewhere in the middle, caught at the beginning of some kind of transition that is coming, and then, on the tail-end of where I have been. I've been kind of "stuck" since the last job interview didn't yield the desired outcome I wished for. Maybe it kind of made me hesitant to put myself back out there again.
I'm no better than anyone else and realize that I have to keep trying, though. Today was sort of difficult for me because I doubted my own intellect. I doubted if I was even smart enough to try to keep bettering myself. (I'm definitely not smart with numbers. I still have to use a calculator even for the most simple multiplication. It's a standing joke at my house that I can't add or subtract and, even though I laugh along with them, it still bothers me sometimes.)
But I am smart enough, in OTHER ways. I have to remind myself that I am strong enough to keep trying, no matter HOW much past experiences have hurt me. I can't allow my inner dialogue to rule my actions or what I want from my future. I dear friend told me today, "There is a world out there. Check it out. It wants you." That struck home in a big resounding way. It made me hold my head a little higher, my chest a little bigger (rhetorically, sigh) and made me think. Okay! If the world wants me, then I need to show it what I've got!
Ugh, though. How?? Where do I even begin?? I've been stagnant in my freelance writing and my commissioned artwork. I've allowed my current job and its weird crazy hours to get in my way. I also have been having health problems that zap alot of energy from me. So, therefore, then (bear with me as I like to talk myself through things) that tells me there needs to be a change with my work habits. I didn't really need this job financially so therefore I need to change my work availability. Right? So, if I tell them that I am only available during "these" hours on "these" days, then I find some kind of stability in that area. Thankfully, this particular place will allow its employees to do that! I can use my time that I am off to decide what I want to go back to school for. (I've been thinking of something in the pharmacy field...but I have to find out if I will deal with numbers. Lol.)
Then I have to get back to the doctor and deal with my hypokalemia and lupus instead of trying to do it on my own. It's not working out this way. I have learned that doctors really do know best.
Okay. I don't have to make a commitment right now to EXACTLY what it is I want to do with the rest of my life. I just have to take a step. FORWARD. I don't have to stand still and bite my nails. I don't have to do anything that I don't want to do. And I still want to work with those kids...but if I can't find a job working with them, what's to keep me from VOLUNTEERING to do things with them?! Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! I love talking to myself with you guys...
But in all honesty, I'm a little scared. Of rejection. Of failure. But I think we all go through that, right?? It's just at my age, I have to get it right once and for all. I WANT to get it right, once and for all. My life isn't over by a long shot and I still have a lot to offer to others. I've had 43 years of life experience. Forty-three years to love and be loved. Forty-three years to discover my talents and my strengths. It's not been for nothing. I am who I am, numbers-dumb and all because that's who God wants me to be! It's all about finding my niche in my little corner of the world.
In the world that wants me. That needs me. So, ya know what??
I think I will check it out.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
When I woke this morning, the early light coming through the slats of the window blind was shining in a funky way. Stretching, smiling, I threw the covers back and slid on my fuzzy pink slippers, lazily making my way to the window. Fresh, powdery snow adorned the earth on all sides of my house and it was still falling in a slow, whimsical way, peaceful. Picking up my Bible from the desk, I clumsily fumbled for my bifocals (yes, I've reached that milestone) and made my way to the chair. The house was quiet, as usual at that time of the day and I opened the well-worn pages, noticing the earmarks, highlights of specific verses and notes that adorned each available free space.
I noticed that the Book had fallen open to a specific area, 1 Corinthians, and I asked myself, "Could it be??" and yes it was. My favorite passage in the whole Bible. 1 Corinthians 13. I can recite it by heart. In two different versions. But I felt compelled, like a magnet to read it again. Wrapping my robe closer around me, I smiled again, pushed my glasses up tighter on my nose and read these words:
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (wo)man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Just what is it that draws me to this passage, time and time again? I have always and forever been a romantic at heart, even delighting in the love stories of the Bible. Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Zipporah, Hosea and Gomer, Jacob and Rachel. And who can forget the couple that faced the most challenges, Joseph and Mary. But this passage always spoke the most to me because it poses the most poignant questions in my personal life. How to love others even when loving them was difficult? How to love others when they were angry with me or I was angry at them?
One of my favorite sentences is, " It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Look at Abraham and Sarah. They did not have it easy. They faced a long move away from home, jealousy and the challenge of infertility. Yet they made it. Moses while in exile from Egypt, married Zipporah and was berated for having a foreign wife but she showed great and undying respect for his faith. And Hosea and Gomer...their marriage was tormented with infidelity and many difficulties but the power of forgiveness and its necessity showed that love is stronger than any tie that binds.
There are many types of love...brotherly/sisterly love, romantic love, neighborly love, parental love. The scripture above seems to fit each and every one of these types and that is why I hold it dear. It has always and will always bring me a sense of peace. From the Song of Solomon 8:6-7: "Set me a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it." Love is more powerful than any drug, any high, any emotion on this earth.
Tell someone you love them today. It may be just what they need to put one foot in front of the other. Then tell someone else. Keep the flame of the Lord going and watch its flashes light up the faces of the people who are in front of you. When you love, you shine. Be a beacon for someone who needs to see and feel the spark IN YOU.
Oh, and by the way, I LOVE YOU.
Just sayin'!! :)
Friday, February 10, 2012
I saw this in on my SparkFriend MISHKALA's page:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me."
Wow. I think I am going to leave it at just that.
Food for thought, huh?
Thursday, February 09, 2012
May 3rd, 1991.
That's the day I first saw her. Dark blue, loud, brassy, bossy, the interior screaming of Pink Floyd (or the Scorpions, I can't exactly remember) and buffed to a delectable shine. She was sitting up high on a lift kit that extended her height by another three inches and when the owner of this 1987 Ford Bronco flung open the door and told me to get in, I struggled breathlessly to get my short frame into the passenger seat. Ohh, she was gorgeous...but the owner was breathtaking.
She had all the bells and whistles. Stereo system, speakers, plush carpet, air-conditioning, you name it, she had it. About two weeks into my boyfriend's (Brian) and I relationship, I was given a sponge and soap water and invited to get to know her more intimately. As I washed her doors and windows I became intrigued by the very thin odd blue stripe that lined her body. I asked him what color of blue it was and he smiled boyishly, eyes glistening through tousled bangs, and said, "That would be Mexico Blue, cupcake. There aren't many people who notice that but YOU did, didn't ya?"
That's when she got her name...
It wasn't long before Mexico Blue, Brian and I would go off to the old Buckeye Furnace and hit the mud-running trails. It was a maze of curves, hills that went straight up into the air and valleys that gave you that bottomed-out feeling in the pit of your stomach while hitting them at break-neck speed. We were junkies, dare-devils of the off-road rush. I can't count how many times we got stuck in the mud and would just sit there for awhile, talking about our future, how many kids we wanted to have...or just listen to music. We didn't care that the sun was going down quickly. Sometimes we would just kiss and let the day fade away in a blissful blur of embraces and whispers...
But Mexico Blue peacefully tolerated our excursions. Her gorgeous paint job faded over the years but responded well to a little TLC. Her grandeur would return during lazy Sunday afternoons at the hands of her adoring owners who lovingly bathed her and dried her slowly in the warm and glowing sun. Patiently, she would wait in the garage until the next outing in which she could prove she was up for the challenge. Perhaps she enjoyed listening to the laughter, delightful screams of her owners as we raced on the back roads, went fishing and piled her back high with goodies from the home improvement stores. And if I may be blunt, she was where my beautiful Breanna came into existence.
Yet, life began to happen. The excursions became less. Other vehicles came into the picture. My love of motorcycles began to form and less attention was paid to Mexico Blue. She slowly began to droop in the dark corner of the garage, her little blue stripe fading, but every now and then Brian would go out and slowly caress her, start her up and rev her tired engine. A few years ago I asked him if we could take her out, for old time's sake and he said that she wouldn't make it. But he would never sell her. He could not do it because that is where he fell in love with me. He vowed to fix her up, give her new life. Wiping the dust from the cursive words "Mexico Blue" that were painted by me on the small corner of the driver's side door, he looked at me, intently, with wrinkled, older eyes and smiled. "I can't let her go. I just won't do it. You see? I'll never let her go..."
But a year ago he did.
Many times I think of her. I miss her so much. Odd to say that I miss a hunk of metal and noise but I do. I think I would give anything to just go riding with her one more time...just one more time. For old time's sake.
Please keep Brian in your prayers this Friday. This is when he is having heart surgery. Again. I think I might dig out the old pictures of Mexico Blue tomorrow and show them to him. Maybe we can talk about the good times we used to have with her, how much we loved her, how much she meant to us. Maybe we can, if just for a day, smile and realize how much she gave of herself to give us those times together.
God bless, everyone. Have a beautiful evening...
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Tomorrow I'm headed to Athens to spend the day with my Bre. I need to get away from the worries in these walls, the mental exhaustion and the inability to change things that cannot be changed. And the busted water heater that I am watching my ill husband trying to fix with a son who is easily agitated these days. I am going to get into my truck, turn on the ignition and speed-demon myself into the loving and warm embrace of a daughter who is more like my sister these days, my best friend, my major major confidante, who is growing into the most amazing, wonderful woman beyond my imagination and wildest dreams.
It feels good to touch her face and feel those little arms, which are strong and confident, encircling me. She has definitely come into her own the last few years and although I am strong in her presence, she has the angelic ability to make me feel stronger. All it takes is one smile, one word from her soft, comforting voice to make me feel normal again. In front of her I grow wings. I stand taller. I am in the presence of something greater than I am. I am in the presence of unconditional and adoring love.
She called me last night and I found peace in her excitement of stories, tales of college grandeur, the diversity of the many people around her. She has grown in independence, excited of the year before her in which she will lease her own apartment, delve deeper into her major and volunteer for many charities that I have also volunteered for in the past. The Dean's List secured her again in its prestigious list of students who have exceeded the university's expectations and she is proud, as she very well SHOULD be. When it came time to say goodbye, my voice broke a little during the "I love you..." and hers did as well. Then she said, "I miss you, Mommy. I'll always be your little girl."
Suddenly, my mind flashed back to a particular incident when she was almost five. We had spent the day in the woods picking flowers and her tiny little fingers were holding them up to me. If there were ever eyes of an angel they were hers, looking up to me in the most open adoring way. I knelt down in front of her, took the bouquet of dirty-rooted weeds and kissed her soft, pliable cheeks and said, "Do me a favor, little one. Promise me you will never grow up. Stay little forever and don't ever lose the joy and giving in your heart. It is what makes you sooo very beautiful." She threw her arms around my neck and laughed, "Ohh, Mommy, I'll ALWAYS be your little girl!"
When I hung up the phone, I pictured that five-year-old face, hanging up on the other end. Then it suddenly morphed into the amazingly beautiful face of today. I could imagine her opening her genetics book and getting down to the nitty-gritty of studying for the exam of the next day while she sat cross-legged on the bed. I smiled. Tears stinging my eyes, I asked myself where the time has gone, where did the years go in between? I miss her in all ways. I miss the baby Bre. The five-year-old Bre. The twelve-year-old Bre. The soon-to-be-twenty-year-old Bre. But tomorrow I am going to bask in the present Bre and all of the joys that this young woman has to offer me for the day. She has given me so much joy. God knew I needed her as much as she has needed me over the years. And I don't forget that she still needs me even now.
She is why I carry on. Maybe in some ways I want to be like her. In alot of ways. In the face of adversity I want to meet it with defiance but soft defiance, gentle confidence that what I am doing is right, just like she does. I want to be able, in a child-like way, to give my worries to a God who is strong and capable of handling things in His manner. Just like she does. She has taught me that it's okay to stand up for what I believe in. She has taught me that it's okay to voice my opinion and still be loved and respected for doing so. When I see her small hands ball up in steadfast determination, making things happen in her life, it makes me feel like I can do it, too.
So, tomorrow, I am going to see my little girl, the one who DID grow up but will forever be young in my heart. The one who still holds gifts of flowers of a different kind up to me that gives me strength and the ability to move forward. I am going to thank her for being my daughter.
Then I am going to thank God for loaning to me one of his angels while I continue my journey through this life.
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