Sunday, November 04, 2012
So many times...
So many years I've given to bettering myself. I've been on journey after journey to find my personal Nirvana, longing to find that tender balance of spiritual, mental, physical stability that we ALL crave as soulful creatures. Even as I write this I am still searching for my place in this big wide open world...
I could tell you who I am until my voice is hoarse and my face turns seven shades of blue. I can tell you my favorite time of day (and night), my favorite color, my favorite music or why I like to get lost in certain romance novels when I have had a trying day. I can also tell you, while I'm practical and methodical most days, I like giving in to the whimsical spiritual side of me, enjoying utterly sweet spontaneity.
But I think it is who I am not that gives me a clearer definition of the person I see each time I look into the mirror.
As I look back on my life I see the moments, sometimes the not-so-wondrous-moments, that could have changed the way I see life. Or worse yet, altered the way I LIVE life. But there is something in the deepest part of me that refuses to give up the notion, that in the end of all things said-and-done, that I will stand before a Higher Being. One who will ask me, judge me, on how fair I've weathered the storms...
I realized that I am not someone who can lie down and allow life to pass me by. I cannot watch from the sidelines and not long to join in. I want to somehow, some way, make my world a better place to be, not just for me, but for others who share it with me.
I am not someone who cannot forgive. The hardest part, I've learned, is not forgiveness of others. It is the forgiveness of self.
I am not someone who cannot see past my own pain to be there for others during their own.
I am not someone to truly hate. I've been angry, yes, but to hate? Hatred to me is little deaths to the soul that can eat away at the most precious part of you...
I am not that person you will find talking behind your back. I will laugh with you but never at you.
I am not someone who can say all the right things to make you feel better. But I will listen with an open heart and let you find a soft place to rest in the solace of my arms.
I am not just "that girl" with lupus. There are times I cry in private because the make-up can't conceal the rash. There is a place in the smallest part of me that is still frightened of what you might think when you look at me...
I won't become someone I am not just so you will like me better.
I am not a triathlete. Oh, I would like to be! But I have given birth to what I am and I thank God, when I hike, I am able to take the time to see the beautiful things around me. They are creations on His canvas, given the breath of life to be all things great and small.
I am not a person who places much emphasis in material things. I like nice things, yes, but I can't take them to Heaven with me. I can also appreciate the appearance of a handsome man or a lovely woman but that is not what I value. It isn't what makes me want to know you. It is your heart inside of you that makes me ache to love you more...
I am not an option. You either love me, accept me, and trust me. Or you do not. I only ask that you do not discard my compassion while you are trying to make up your mind.
I am not someone who can forget you. If you have passed away, moved on or forgotten ME, your presence made an imprint on my soul. It still lingers in my life and will for years to come...if not for an eternity.
I am not able to deny that our greatest existence lies in the purpose of giving ourselves to others, in the most quiet and gentlest of ways. I am the person who will give you my whole heart as long as you use it to love others more because of it. (But you cannot have my soul for that is God's).
I am not your enemy. I only ask that you eat well, exercise and take care of yourself so that I may have you in my life for a very long time. Why? Because I love you and I cannot imagine my life without you.
I am not impatient.
I am not weak...for I have found my strength.
I am not indecisive...for I have found my focus.
I am not frozen...I have exhaled.
I am not someone who has given up on you even if you have given up on yourself. If you yell at me I will cry for just a bit but will still hold out my arms to you when you feel bad for doing so.
I am not just anybody.
I am ME.
I am Michelle.
You are the sculptors of who I have become. But most importantly, you have shaped me into the person that I am NOT. For that, I am deeply grateful to you.
God bless you abundantly today.
You are loved by many and always loved by me.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by a loud "crash" that sat me straight up in bed...my heart pounding, I shook Brian awake and saw a bright light burst through the bedroom blinds. We both jumped to the window. Brian said it was snowing and I pulled the slats down to see for myself. "But what was that light," I asked and the "explosion" happened again. Lightening. I've seen it only once before during snow and it has always struck me as odd. Yet, for some reason, I found it beautiful and unable to tear myself away from the magnificent display of power. Our electricity flickered and went out, then slowly whirred back to life again. I managed to get back to sleep about an hour and a half later once I was satisfied the power might stay on...
It's difficult to believe that it was in the 80s just last week. Indian Summer, nonetheless, but it was delightfully warm. Then this occurred...
Freddie looked really ticked off and demanded an answer to why it was snowing in October...
You can't see it in these lousy cell phone pics but the snow is really coming down. I couldn't believe the wind...it was a constant moan.
I took to the "dreadmill" today for my daily exercise, all the while praying for my friends who live along the east coast. They are all okay, thank God. However, I feel for those who have lost so much during this time...
It is a reminder of how truly "small" we are on this planet, physically. It puts my mind into perspective that we are no match for Mother Nature and her constantly changing mood. It reinforces my belief that we are all in this world, this life, together; needing one another. It is a shared thread that is woven into our spirits...which is why we feel compassion for one another in a time of need, or when our hearts skip when we hear a child's laughter.
Being "small" gives way to doing big things, though. Whether it be just to reach out and hold the hand of someone else. To lend encouragement, pursue our dreams or helping someone else pursue theirs...being "small" is the tie that binds us all.
I wish you strength to continue pursuing your dreams today. There is no dream too big, no hill too high to conquer, no goal too minuscule. Be the wonderfully awesome Titan and Titaness that you are. Be the lightening in the window that awakens a sleeping soul...whether it be someone else's or your very own.
God bless and I pray for you all today. You are loved. Dearly and deeply. :)
Monday, October 29, 2012
I am diligently praying for all of those in the path of Hurricane Sandy. My thoughts and wishes for your safety are abundant in my heart today...
This past weekend was frustrating in many ways but little hiccups in the road only serve to make us stronger. Knowing this seems to make the sting of disappointment a LITTLE easier to take. But, I've realized, as well, you cannot "make" someone eat healthier because you want them to, that the choice for change has to come from within them. I'm not saying I am perfect by no means. It took me a very long to get where I am and some days I struggle mightily. Weight loss has made me more confident and feel healthier but it is also tempting to revert to old habits some days. I find myself thinking, "One piece of fudge will not undo all that I've accomplished..." but I know that it is only the beginning of MANY of those thoughts and I am back to where I started from with blinding speed...
I also have to be wary of losing too much weight. I tend to have a problem with an "all or nothing" attitude and at one point I was down to 109 pounds, looking to lose more. I thought I looked fine, I felt fine, but people were talking, family and friends, expressing concern that I was losing too much weight. So I have to find that balance that will sustain me close to where I am now. I am not happy with the "flabbiness" of my skin. The answer here, I've realized, is time...it tends to bounce back after awhile after weight loss. What does not can usually be treated with firming up in those areas so I am beginning with free weights instead of throwing myself at the BowFlex. I've learned from the past that I have to start slow. And if that doesn't work, if the "flabbiness" persists, then that is just my body. Yet, I'm proud of what I have accomplished to date.
I am still waiting to start work. For all who don't know, who just knew that I started a pharmacy tech position awhile back, I am no longer there due to unfortunate events. I didn't blog about them because I would have came across as a raging ranter and wanted to allow myself to calm down before bringing it up. I left of my own choosing, not because the work was daunting, but working with closed-minded people was painful. I was ridiculed for my lupus rash on several occasions. The environment was highly unprofessional and my mental health was taking a beating. (I found out a few weeks ago, my replacement left in one week in tears.) Now the "establishment" is under investigation. I am hopeful. However, my new job, although the process is taking entirely too long for my liking, pays much more than what I was making and advancement in the company is highly probable. I am excited. It's like those sweet little butterflies in your stomach that tells you something good is about to happen...
This weekend I took a couple of my paintings to that little motorcycle shop I told you about a few weekends ago. The shop owner seemed pleased and allowed me to place them on the wall where I wanted them. :) It's a start. I've learned that Craigslist and online art sites are not for me and are highly questionable, lol. Dealing with real live people is best. I've also gotten a couple of requests from people I used to work with to do their kids. It's picking back up again!
I just have to keep looking forward and find a balancing act of sorts. I'm thinking I am heading to good places now. Allow me to rephrase...I've learned mental encouragement is instrumental in my journey...I KNOW I am heading to good places now. It's amazing when you don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, when you realize you don't have to do it all because, well, you just CAN'T. You just have to do what you CAN, with the right attitude, and everything else will just fall into place...
By the way, Brian has made a few changes in his eating habits after finding out he is diabetic but there is a lot of room for improvement. He knows the risks. Just continue to pray that he will eventually do it for him because, just short of tying him up and forcing him into a healthy lifestyle, there is nothing more I can do. Prayer. Gentle encouragement. But the desire to change has to come from within. At some point you just have to let go because you are not them and they are not you...
I send you all good thoughts and prayers for a wonderful week ahead. And please be careful out there, all of you on the east coast. I pray God and all of His angels watch over and build a hedge of protection around you and all of your families...
God bless. You are loved.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Today was laid-back. Just wanted to switch it up a little.
1. What song do you love to dance to?
I will pretty much dance to just about anything but if I had to choose, it would be Alejandro by Lady Gaga. It moves my groove.
2. If you could have a drink with someone from history who would it be?
3. If you were assigned a seat on a plane beside your favorite celebrity, what would you do?
Most likely choke on the peanuts and pass out on him.
4. What is the funniest thing you have heard a child say?
A five-year-old at work one day was sitting on the bench where his grandfather had placed him and told him not to move. He waited on his grandfather to get out of sight, looked at me and said, "I got his keys. Let's go to McDonald's."
5. What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
Follow Bre around campus. I refuse to believe that she stays in her room and studies as much as she says she does.
6. What major company would you like to work for?
The people who make Reese's Cups.
7. What is the most beautiful language?
Spanish. Es la lengua más hermosa en el mundo.
8. What was your last "brush" with the law?
1993. Did a "55" in a "40." I actually had to pay the ticket that time. :(
9. What animals make you smile?
Penguins and squirrels.
10. What "redneck" activity do you like to do?
11. When have you embarrassed yourself in public?
When DON'T I embarrass myself????
12. If you could go any place right now where would you go?
13. Do you still watch cartoons and which ones?
No. Used to love Scooby Doo when I was a kid. And Ren and Stimpy. :)
14. What kind of smoothie sounds really good right now?
One I mix...yogurt, banana, strawberries and blueberries, topped with granola.
15. It's 2 a.m. and you get a text message...what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
"Bre's at the Hookah Bar again."
16. What do you do when (you think) no one is looking?
Pluck my nose hairs.
17. What did you get into trouble for most when you were a kid?
Between the ages of 5 and 8 I had a fascination with the grape fields that surrounded our house. I would climb out my window and hide in them, eating the grapes that the winery used to make its white wine. Other than that, I was perfect. Cough, cough...
18. How often do you go the speed limit?
19. Were you considered popular in high school?
With the teachers. Other than that, I was pretty quiet and didn't socialize much, keeping my head in the books.
20. If you have to choose a movie title for your life story, what would that be?
"It Isn't Over Yet...There's Fun To Be Done!"
God bless you all today. You are loved.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
There is a song by the Rolling Stones that says, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need." I'm pretty sure he was meaning it in a different context than what I am about to use here, but the premise is still the same.
I was very excited Thursday about finalizing my plans for Bridge Day in Fayetteville, West Virginia at the New River Gorge. It is a place for BASE jumpers, rappellers, and zipliners to exhibit their abundant love and appreciation for the open air and streak of dare devil that runs through their veins. I have enjoyed the thrill of ziplining yet seriously considered the thought of rappelling this time, maybe even doing a tandem jump. The organization that runs this event was offering ten tandems this year. Knowing my chances of getting one of those would be slim, I still entertained the notion that I might be one of them and spent the night in breathless wishful thinking...
Friday's forecast was not promising. No, they would not cancel the event unless the winds were horrendous but I was more worried about whether Brian would let me go. The temperature was not budging out of the low 50s, the rain was slamming our area and the winds were quick. I knew that riding my Harley down would probably be out of the question. Late Friday evening I received a text from Brian that made my heart drop. "Sorry, honey, I'm not letting you go. Maybe next year." I asked if we could drive. "No. Not this year. I'll make it up to you."
Saturday morning I was stiff-lipped but broken-hearted. Tears stinging my eyes I folded laundry and swept the kitchen. Brian entered the room and told me to get dressed, that he was taking me out for lunch. I gussied up with dress pants, did my hair and put on some make-up. Then he told me I was overdressed. "Slap on your jeans, throw the hair up and put some tennis shoes on. You're not going to meet the Queen."
Thirty miles into Chillicothe we neared Tumbleweeds, one of our favorite spots. He drove past it, a slight smile on his face. We neared Olive Garden where, once again, he whizzed by. Another 20 miles up the road and I noticed that we were entering Lancaster. What? That is where my son, whom I haven't seen in eight months, worked and lived. I looked at him quizzically and he glanced over, smiling broadly. "Don't say anything, Michelle, just go with the flow."
He pulled into the place where my son was employed, told me to stay in the car while he went in to see if he was there. A few minutes later he returned...with my son. I fell out of the seat with tears streaming down my face and into the arms of my boy. He looked so well, so handsome, so happy. This man-child, who has been to hell and back so many times, finally looked content and well-adjusted. A few weeks ago he and I had reconciled, presenting me with a new grandchild whom he named after me. Her middle name was mine. Nicole. We couldn't visit long, ten minutes at best and I asked if I could go see Sabrina and the baby but she was out of town at her mother's. We hurriedly made plans to meet again in a few weeks when we could all be together.
But that was not all. That would have been enough, but the day yielded more surprises. Brian made his way down the winding highway to Hocking Hills. It is well-known for its trails and rustic outdoor activities. That is where I've ziplined before, explored its many caves and beautiful landscapes. We got out of the car and Brian exclaimed, "Race you to the trail..." and took off with blinding speed. I beat the old man to the mouth of the trail and we breathlessly viewed the colorful neon leaves, encountered other hikers and breathed in the crisply scented air. Three hours. Three hours of us, exploration, climbing, fellowship with others. He was severely winded by the time we finished...but in-between gasps he stated, "Now I know why you do this... it's beautiful."
We ran into a little 50's diner, one of those round ones enclosed in aluminum and metal and took our meal there. Then we toured the flea markets, trading posts and craft barns. It was then we saw a little motorcycle shop nestled just off the wooded area and we both ran over top of each other to get there! (He said I kicked him in the shin to put him a few steps behind me but he lies so don't believe him. Seriously. He's bad news.) We were there a half hour when I realized Brian was gone but I found him quickly, cozied up at the counter talking to a woman. They were forehead to forehead, looking at something Brian had in his hand. Eyeing his butt up, I determined where my foot was going to land when I heard him say, "And this is one she did when she came back from Florida." He was showing her pictures of my paintings on his camera. Face turning red I approached them and smiled. The redheaded beauty smiled back broadly.
"Sweetie, I was just telling your husband that I have a proposal for you. Would you be interested in putting your paintings on my wall? I would, of course, take a commission on whatever you sell, but my rates are rock bottom. Just price them a little higher than what you normally sell them for...I want your business."
Yes? Yes, yes, yes!!
Returning to the car and beginning the drive back home Brian asked, "So how was your day?"
"It was wonderful. Thank you. So much."
"Still wish you had went to Bridge Day??"
"What's Bridge Day?"
Smiling he reached over and took my hand.
No, you can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need. And sometimes, just sometimes, you'll find it is what your heart wanted in the first place.
Photo of a region nestled in Old Man's Cave, Hocking Hills. For more beautiful amazing pictures of this area, please visit: www.citrusmilo.com/hockinghills/hock
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