Already and Not Yet

reading_carefully_by_nymphetamine291289-d46ta3r
Reading Carefully by nymphetamine | deviantart.com

“When Dorothy pointed out a problem, she also offered several solutions, and she always showed up when it was time to do the hard work of implementation” (Jennings & Stahl-Wert, 2004, p. 25).

This is bullshit! was my exact thought. My eyes narrowed as I read the lines again. I was simultaneously enthralled and furious.

Continue reading Already and Not Yet

Learning to Me

This post is literally a month in the making, so please bear with the random turns it takes…

My dad paid good money awhile back for a series of audio recordings and a workbook to help someone setup a blog. The problem with his plan was that he never listened to the recordings or went through the workbook.

At the end of my four-day Thanksgiving vacation, mentally well-armed with having washed, dried, folded, and put away every article of dirty clothing in the house, I cracked the workbook.

Continue reading Learning to Me

Reorganization Update

Simplicity by kuzy62 | DeviantArt.com

The reorganization of my over-abundant systems of organization is well underway. I hit a bit of a snag with all the synchronizing needed to compile an accurate task list and my calendar. I’ve nearly scrapped the whole thing a couple times because it seems more complicated than it should be, but there is something very powerful about breaking a task down into steps, which is what Toodledo can give me with Subtasks. I needs it in my life!

Continue reading Reorganization Update

Chicken Wrangling and the Art of Caregiving

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Mentor Me

In my third year of marriage my husband and I started going to a church that offered to match-up older couples with younger couples in the hope of sparking mentoring relationships between the wives and husbands. We met with the couple who were teachers and had three teenage kids. They were tall, both over six feet, and they towered over little five-foot-four me in stature and in wisdom. I was excited to get to know them. I’d never had a mentor before, and I was out of my depth to know how to be a good wife in the middle of dealing with infertility.

Vivian was a role model from the start. She cooked from scratch, she maintained a vegetable garden, and she kept chickens. She must have honed her no no-nonsense, get-to-the-point approach from her years in the classroom, but she was kind too. She lead much more than she pushed, but I didn’t find all that out until I moved in with her and her family.

My husband and I only met with our mentors once before a blind-siding day just before Christmas when the shit hit the fan and we separated. (Yes, this was my first husband.) Vivian’s family welcomed me with more than open arms. They asked me what color I liked and painted my room sage green to make it more my own. They invited me to eat dinner with them and watch “The Middle,” but they didn’t expect me to act like part of the family. They didn’t even ask me to pay rent.

I took care of their chickens while they were away one weekend, not very well. I didn’t “click” the door behind me when I went in to feed them and bunch of them got out. I swear, I was just like Link on Zelda’s Ocarina of Time trying to pick up chickens and throw them back in the pen. There I was, top of my class and I couldn’t figure out how to trap a bunch of flightless birds. It ended up being a lot more complicated than I though because, unlike Link, I couldn’t catch them!

The story of my chicken wrangling hour made everyone laugh. They needed to laugh, and I needed to hear it. I needed to know that I wouldn’t be a weepy wreck of a human being forever. And I wasn’t. Vivian and her family taught me that in the middle of a crisis, I could still be a functioning human being. I woke up early and went to the gym before work. I made pesto from scratch. I baked bread. And I cried as often as I needed to.

No one ever disturbed me when I was in my room. For three months it was my sanctuary. It was the time and place I needed to get a grip. Vivian taught me that sometimes people just need space to figure things out, and the most kind thing you can do for them is to invite them into a time and space that’s warm, welcoming, and nurturing.

Although they may not appreciate it at the time, that time and space should also have a light counter-weight of expectation. Notice I said counter-weight and not balance. Expectation is good for someone you’re caring for, but only as much as is needed to keep them from slipping away into depression. It should be enough to give them purpose, but not so much that they feel like they’re paying you back for your kindness.

I never felt indebted to Vivian and her family, which is possibly the greatest gift I ever received during that time of my life.

Lack of Rumination

Bliss by elisadelatorre | DeviantArt.com

I’m almost hesitant to post this on April Fool’s, but since I loathe practical jokes (when they’re played on me), I’m going to pretend it’s yesterday, which is when I started considering this post.

Continue reading Lack of Rumination

Three Gold Stars

I had an amazing appointment with my naturopath yesterday. Let’s start off with the fact that he gave me a homeopathic remedy for my allergies that blew my socks off (or my nose out? that’s gross). He gave me the little bottle at the beginning of the appointment. My ears were itching, throat was raspy, and eyes were watering. A dropper-full of that formula and half-way through the appointment, I felt 90% better! He said continued use will make even more effective. Signed up for that!

After talking about the life changes I’ve experienced over the last few months he said he was going to do something he’s only done a handful of times in the last ten years of his practice.

He gave me three gold stars.

Three Gold Stars  |  Earned March 20, 2015
Three Gold Stars | Earned March 20, 2015

It sounds like a ridiculous, juvenile reward, but he was so proud to give them to me! I was just as proud to receive them.

The first star was for the fact that I admitted to needing help. I didn’t accept that clinical depression was simply my lot in life, as it is in my lives of my family members, and I should just get used to the idea. I didn’t throw in the towel and continue to watch myself slide deeper into depression and malnutrition and obesity.

The second star was for recognizing the unforgiveness in my life and not brushing it off as something that didn’t affect me. He said many Christians may see that forgiveness is needed, but they only pay it lip service. “I’m saved. I’ve forgiven. It’s done,” but when they’re in the same room with the person they “forgave” or they hear their voice, their physical reaction gives away their insincerity. Their hearts pound, their eyes narrow, their chests tense. They may have spoken the “magic words,” but their spirit is still starving for forgiveness, and their body is paying the price.

The third gold star was for taking steps to alter the course of my life. Three months ago I had barely enough weepy motivation to get through the day. Today I’m waiting on an acceptance letter to a university to finish my bachelor’s degree, I have a hearing date to gain Legal Guardianship of my goddaughters, I’m on the warpath to make a career move, and I’ve naturally stopped overeating (which, I don’t think I’ve mentioned before).

My heart sings more sincerely. I am transformed. I am mighty.

Three gold stars, justly won.

Women, Respect Your Men

I didn’t mean for this to get so out of hand, but apparently I have an opinion about this.


 

I woke up, wide-awake, at 6:00 this morning. I made some coffee and cleaned the kitchen. Spike came out and joined me at about 6:30. He usually gets up about that time, but he doesn’t usually speak. I don’t either, but I was somewhat chatty this morning, talking about the book my friends and I are reading: The Scarlet Thread. I like Francine Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, but I’m having a hard time with this one. It’s 300 pages of terrible marriage followed by 75 pages of all you need is Jesus. I’m not knocking the power of Christ, but really? The heroine has a revelation that she’s been a bitch and her marriage gets to go back to normal after all the horrifying things she slung at him for three years? I don’t buy it. I guess that’s why it’s a romance: a completely unrealistic portrayal of real life.

If I sound pessimistic, I am. Marriage might be able to recover from that kind of communication breakdown. Anything is possible, but I’m passed the point of encouraging anyone to think they will be the exception to the rule. You cannot disrespect your husband and expect to stay happily married. You cannot dump on his dreams and his goals and his vision and his desire to provide and protect and expect him to lovingly wrap you in his arms. You can have one or the other. Your husband is not a robot. He hears the shit you say and he isn’t likely to forget it!

I am speaking from a position of judgment and observation and also from first-hand experience. I don’t speak in absolutes very often, but I am absolutely convinced of this. The moment a wife turns down a path of disrespect for her husband, it marks the start of her journey toward divorce. Sometimes the loss of respect is warranted, but if she cannot regain it, the marriage is doomed.

If you haven’t read Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, I would highly recommend you do before you even think about marriage, especially if you’re a woman. Our culture trains boys to love their mothers and their girlfriends and their wives. It puts the pressure on them to buy flowers and sign greeting cards and be sappy in order to let women know they’re loved. But the other side of that equation is what the man gets out of it. Men want to be loved, of course, but never as much as they need to be respected. A man needs to know he’s respected more than anything, and our culture does a piss-poor job at showing women how to do that.

The traditional father figure in Modern Family is a joke. The guy that tried to stay married and have kids in Friends is a joke. Women who manipulate and condescend and judge and harp are heroes in the media! Voicing your opinion and putting a man in his place is heralded as a sign of a strong and independent woman – but she is not likely to make a relationship last.

Hear my heart, women – you probably don’t have any idea what kind of damage you’re doing. Until reading this, you have been innocent and oblivious of your crimes against men. But I have to say it, because our men never will. The don’t dare. The moment they say they need respect we will nail them to the wall as chauvinist pigs. They know we will, so they suffer in silence. They absorb every emasculating comment and tone and spirit because they love us. God help them, they love us! Do your part, and respect them! If you do not or cannot respect them, for God’s sake, don’t marry them in the first place.

[End ranting and raving.]

The Mother Ship

Oh. My. Gawd. It’s been a long time since I went completely geek-crazy, and this time I’ve gone off the reservation. I stumbled across this blog post last night and ended up watching videos and making my own Bullet Journal until the wee hours of the morning.

Continue reading The Mother Ship