Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Rambles About Love

I'm supposed to be soldering necklaces right now.
I have a million things to do today, but you know when something hits you between the eyes (besides grief or guilt) sometimes you just have to get it out.

A little background:
I'm working on vulnerability right now. Things like trust, perfection, and making sure others around me are o.k. at the cost of me and who I am are something I have done a good job on all my life.

 The thought of letting go is terrifying. The thought of not doing something right is terrifying. The thought of living with my hands open is something I desperately want, but am afraid of. I'm afraid a lot in my life, and have much anxiety. I do a fabulous job of hiding it, and much of life we have to just face wether we want to or not and life happens anyway, which is why my body has rebelled and decided emotions are to be voiced and felt and when they are not, in my case, I developed Ulcerative Colitis when I was 40.

Fast forward to last night.
I was at a Bible study last night with Brenna. It's a pretty cool group. Lots of younger people (I'm facing it. I'm not as young as the college age group.) Just being there with Brenna was a kick. Watching her soak up the energy and loving to meet new people is just up her alley. She is so brave. We were singing Oh How He Loves by David Crowder, and Brenna tends to get fairly emotional during worship. I stepped over to the couch she was sitting on to see if she was doing o.k. and she was fine...so I continued to sit there, listening to the words and watching Brenna snuggle into her newest friend, a gorgeous Japanese exchange student with a sweet heart, and it was like I was struck by lightening.
God loves me.
He loves me enough to send me this GIFT in a child with disabilities. 

To show me through her my vulnerabilities are not going to stop the rotation of the earth. To show through my child how kind, how gracious He is to provide. 
As I look at her and see what she supposed to not be able to do, but does anyway, I see what He does through her. I see how she reaches people in ways I would never dream of. How brave she is to walk through this life with such joy, so much trust.

 I can think I have to somehow pull it together on my own, think that I'm not really worthy, not really. Not worth the attention, the grace, the love. Those doubts that come when I'm trying so hard to figure something out and realize I'm not perfect. Those are the ones that want to slice away any shred of what I'm hanging onto to believe that He really loves me enough to give a rip about my day, let alone my life.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way...

He loves us
Oh How He Loves-David Crowder

This morning, I read this from Jesus calling:
"In this age of independence, people find it hard to acknowledge their neediness. However, I (Jesus) have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weaknesses were glaringly evident.....You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work."

After reading this, I looked at my email and found that a friend shared this song-God Speaking, by Mandisa.
I'm paying attention now.

Brenna and I continued through the Bible study, and sure enough, like clockwork, at 7:45, she let out a huge yawn and looked at me across the room and while someone was talking, she whispered quite loudly, "Can we go now?"
The girl knows how to communicate and get her needs met, yes?
Yet another life lesson to learn. 

I was embarrassed to leave in the middle of things, but I knew time was up, so I made apologies at a lull in conversation and thought we would just slip out the door.
Miss I Love Everyone gave hugs all the way out the door, giving out as much as she was soaking up.
Oh, she was so happy. It was just enough for her. Meeting, loving, singing, leaving. That's all. 
So, home we went, got in our jammies, the dog jumped on the bed and we read a story and snuggled some more and I drank it up. The sweet, pure love and happiness from such simple things.  

Thanks for listening.
I'm going to go solder now..

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Declaration Of Being Intentional

I have said it before, but it's coming up over and over and in full force. 
Grief is confusing.
One minute I'm realizing I don't have my mother at Christmas and thinking my chest will break.
The next minute, I'm realizing I don't have my mother at Christmas and a small wave of relief whispers over me and the guilt hits me between the eyes.
Therefore, I'm resurrecting my "word of the year" from 2011.


"The act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result."

I'm declaring December to be a month of intention for myself in the form of journaling and thinking.
The words need to go somewhere, the thoughts need to be released. What better way than an art journal? I have been working on a meditative way to journal and am enjoying it.

 Lots of repetition is used, focusing on a word or phrase, and as the repetition progresses, the thought process flows. 
I'm also using free writing on a couple of pages and going back over the words and circling different words that keep cropping up, or outlining words with the most passion. 

I'm also being intentional about giving my dog her medicine and walking her. The family is rallying and so far no doors have been harmed in the process.

Along with Intention, Christmas is happening in baby steps.
It started with a candle this last weekend. It seemed doable to put this pretty candle from Anthropologie out and maybe, sort of, think about decorating. 

Baby step number two:

I have had some each day and it is a good thing.

Baby step number three:

I added my favorite Christmas mug.

This always helps:

If you are journaling this month,
leave a link in the comments so we can come and see!!
We can encourage each other through this time to see the joy and goodness and HOPE for the season and that we are not alone in our progress.


I have two art shows coming up this weekend-one Saturday, December 1 in Santa Ana for the Santa Ana Art Walk. I'll be in Studio Crescendoh from 7-10:00 p.m. 

The second one is Artists in the Alley on Sunday, December 2 from 12-7:00 p.m. It is located next to Augie's Coffee House...in the alley!

If you are in the area for either show, please stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pre-Friday Ramble Concerning Dogs.

In the light of it being Black Friday this week, I'm getting a jump on my Friday Ramble. No, I will not be out at o-dark thirty shopping. I will be snuggled in my bed, wondering what those of you that have braved the Black Friday madness have scored......

I'm thinking I might have some parental/pet owner advice for you.
When you have a dog that is prone to separation anxiety in a rather large way, it is good to be proactive and have the vet prescribe some doggie prozac. It is good to have the vet prescribe said prozac before the work is done on your house as it takes about three weeks for the desired effect to kick in. Being the smart pet owner that you are, you have now preempted door chewing on the newly repaired door frames (please note the plural in door frameS)  by your rather anxious dog whenever you leave your home.
But wait. Your husband is appalled at the cost of the doggie prozac!!! He says to cut the dose in half!!! When you protest, he pulls the "I am a doctor" card and knows how to dose this medication. So, you acquiesce and spend the next three weeks giving your pet half the dose.
Here is what happens.

You bite your tongue. You actually are too horrified to begin thinking of saying "I TOLD you so's"  You turn miserably toward your husband and say, "What on earth do we DO?? Find her a new home???"

Herein lies your greatest mistake. 
By this I don't mean giving your dog just half the dose of prozac.
Mass havoc will reign. Lots of tears will come forth. ESPECIALLY when your child thinks you have said, "What on earth do we DO? Put her down??"
You will feel like a worm and promise your child almost anything to make her stop crying. Heaven help you, but you are desperate enough to entertain frantic thoughts of promising her a puppy to make her stop crying.

Once you have your child convinced you will not kill your dog on the spot and have stopped the flood of tears without promising a puppy, you will then go downstairs, and being the good pet owner you are, grab the jar of peanut butter and give your dog the other half of the pill. The next morning, you will give your dog more peanut butter and the entire pill, and you will repeat this for the next two days.
Here is where you will quite possibly doubt if you are really a good pet owner because you will find your dog is standing on the dresser at the foot of your bed, stoned out of her mind, and not really sure of where she is.
You pray a lot these days, and as you gently get your dog off of the dresser and onto the floor, you pray you haven't overdosed your beloved (?) pet.

There is redemption to this ramble.
The dog ends up tolerating the full dose and you don't have to pay an exorbitant vet bill to pump her stomach. The dog seems to have mellowed out just a tad. Hopefully, enough to make her stop chewing the door frames. (Probably not, but we will pull a Scarlette and think about this tomorrow.) Your child allows the dog to sleep on her bed for the first time in eight years. The family agrees to take turns making sure the dog gets some form of exercise every day. (The family doesn't know this yet, but the Come to Jesus Meeting is going to happen.)

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, full of joy and un-chewed door frames. I am thankful for each and everyone of you that stops by!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Ramblings

Just wow.

So, I'm realizing it's been two weeks since I did a Friday Ramble..
which is way too long.

We have had an election and the paint guys are finished. I have done an art show and am getting ready for two more. Part of the house is actually finished.

So far, we know the employees at Lowe's Hardware by name.
Oh, and here's a fun part of remodeling. Your husband calls and doesn't ask if you need him to pick up milk at the store, he calls to ask if you need anything picked up at Lowe's.

Of course, just when you think it's almost done, someone comes in and tears something up again. Like today.
When our house was built, I am totally convinced the builders were stone drunk. Either that, or it was built by a couple of three year olds. 
Our walls bow out, the windows aren't square, the flashing was never installed, and the stairs were never properly built. You could put your hand in between the carpet and stairs...a big, gaping hole. Kinda creepy, but NOT ANY MORE. Nosireebob. We have proper stairs now. 

I still haven't gotten to use a nail gun yet. 
Hopefully that will change soon.

There is something life changing about remodeling.
In our case, it's cabinet locks on the cupboard where the trash goes.

Miss Party is not happy, however.

I promise pictures of the house. As soon as I find my camera.

Is your area being bombarded with Christmas advertisements? I think the marketing industry is making up for lost time. I am so not ready. It's a little crazy around here. Some businesses can't make up their mind.
In one day, I went from this:

Thanks for the reminder so I won't forget the date...

to this:

Do you listen to an "oldie" station on the radio? My eldest does, and sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't like to be reminded just how old I have become. Sometimes it is a fun flashback. Like this weekend, for example.
 "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive came on when 
I was in the car with Lauren and Brenna. Immediately, I was transferred back in time.
"TWO WORDS, LAUREN. TWO WORDS!!!" I yell.  Lauren says, "Ohhh-kaaay. What two words, Mom?"
Roller Rink.
"Wow, mom. I bet you tore that rink up."
My child knows me too well. I could never quite let go of the ledge, but in my mind, I was flying in circles around the rink. In my dittos. 
Google it if you are too young.

We tore it up on the merry go round this weekend.
Much easier than a roller rink.

Let's change to the subject of grief, shall we?
It's our first Holiday Season without our mom.
I found myself at Trader Joe's yesterday, actually grocery shopping to actually cook, which is not something you do a lot when the house is covered in plastic and men are painting until 8 p.m. (Yet another plus of remodeling.)
I was in the frozen food isle, and I looked up at the shelves. 
Rows and rows of Holiday Cookies. 
I thought someone had punched me in the chest.
My mom loved sweets. Holiday cookies were the best. Stars, shortbread, chocolate, my sister's gum drop cookies, little sugar santas, cupcakes with the little plastic bells stuck into the frosting...you name it, she bought it over the years.
I walked away, blinking back tears.
Unfortunately, I had to go back through the frozen isle and I found myself staring at the boxes of stars and peanut brittle as if they could give me an answer as to why grief is so confusing.
I ended up locked in the bathroom for a big boo-hoo.
At the check out, the nice man asked me, "How are you doing today?" I contemplated telling him that my day began by the battery in my car dying and I was locked in the bathroom of his store by 10:00 in the morning, crying over Christmas cookies. 
However, I refrained and instead, told him I was "fine." Which I basically was, thanks to the lock on the bathroom door.

How about that time change?
Brenna and I are starving at 5:00 and she wants her pajamas on. I think it's time to go to bed by 7:00.
It's also not good for cooking dinner on the BBQ. I do this as far into the year as I can. But I just can't start the meat by 4:00, so the end result was putting on my husband's head light he uses for biking.

Brenna thinks I have lost my mind. 
Maybe so...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Ramblings

I thought I had hit my limit for chaos this week. 
When one waves a white flag, doesn't that mean it gets better?

Like being on a roller coaster and knowing you have hit the peak and you are screaming all the way down and the end is just around the corner.

Not so much.
Especially when your new painter-friends look at you like you are talking out of your ears because they thought this would be a spray one color and be done job. I reminded him that I had told him what I wanted and then asked if he really wanted the job. He said yes, of course! But it will take "many days." Apparently they are behind all ready. Then one painter-man tells me he is a trainer for cage fighters. Did he really need to tell me this just because he saw we have a chin up bar in the house? I really don't want to make a cage-fighter upset, would you?

Let me back track just a bit.
Coming from the crazy household I grew up in, needs were not on the top of the priority list. Raging was. Working out a problem, not so much. Drinking was also a priority, and it really didn't lend itself to a healthy way of learning how to make your needs known. I did learn to make others happy and make everything o.k. and clean up messes and to be quiet and meet my own needs. I learned exceptionally well to just put my head down and get 'er done. No problem and no worries were my mantra. Ya'll just do what you need to do and I'll come in after you and quietly make it the way it should be to make everyone  happy. 

This doesn't work after a while. It doesn't work after about a day, but I got really, really good at it and soon after having Brenna,  I realized it wasn't helping me at ALL and I couldn't make everything o.k. for everyone else AND take care of a special needs child.

I have sought lots and L.O.T.S. of help for this and other anxieties in my life and continue to do so. It's a life long process, this life.

Back to my painter-friends. 

They finished the kitchen and family room yesterday and I hate the colors. My husband says it looks like a baby boy's room and needs white puffy clouds painted on the ceiling. For me, the colors are too jarring and I'm completely unsettled and I feel like I'm in a church's nursery room and need to fill the room with plastic toys.

It needs to be changed. I need to tell my new painter-friends they have to re-paint. This would be confrontation to me, or at least the possibility of it. It also has the great potential for making them upset. Especially the cage fighter.
 I work this out by waking up at 2:45 a.m. and obsessing how I will get my needs known to my new friends without a huge argument and little to no confrontation.  This also includes working out every single scenario possible in my head. 

Have you ever noticed working this out at 3 a.m. is NOT the best time of the day to work out a problem?
My sweet husband told me, (at 3:00) "It's a room. It's not like something major has been broken. If we need to, I'll paint it this weekend." Why this didn't comfort me to go right back to sleep is beyond me.
I got up and went downstairs to contemplate my new toy room. Maybe I could live with it.

I can't. I hate it. How will I approach my painter-friends?
(Insert various scenarios again and again working through my head here.)
After watching nothing on T.V. for a distraction I managed to back asleep in the middle of praying around 4:30.

I am happy to report today that I talked to my new friends. I told them what a fabulous job they have done in painting but I just don't like the color. No drinking needed before hand and no raging afterward. Pretty cool.
 Their response?  "Ohhhh. The whole room? Ohhhh. O.K."
No confrontation.
It will take more time and they do have a job to get to after my house, so I said maybe they could come back after finishing that job and repaint.

The cage fighter guy? He didn't like the color either, but didn't want to say anything.
O.K., THAT scenario definitely did not make it on my playlist at 3:00 a.m.
I'll have to remember it for next time.

 Then he went on to tell me that they painted for a lady who didn't like the color of her room either. FOUR TIMES. He said, "You don't like it, we re-do it. We take a deep breath and repaint." Then he asked me if it would possibly be o.k. to use my microwave to re heat his coffee. By then, I was ready to go buy him new coffee. 

Some days, I want a refund on all the therapy I've had. Some days it really, really pays off.

The best part????
I have nowhere to land in my house, so I went to our Corner Bakery to write this. I read my Jesus Calling devotional first. Here's a stand out sentence:
"Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help. Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you."
I'll have to add this to my 3:00 a.m. playlist as well.

New day. New mercies.