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Lenten Musings and March 4

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40 Days.  May I write it out for 40 days?  Will I commit the time and energy?

I started blogging for lent several years ago and have lapsed for several years as well.  What makes this year different?  My 92 year old grandmother, Nanny, died on March 4, and I have spent the better part of every day since writing: writing obit, writing Eulogy, and writing the perfect FaceBook post to announce to friends and family.

In the Facebook post, I punned March 4 as “march forth” as I had seen elsewhere on the internet, but it seemed especially poignant for her.

The 1980s-1990s Nanny was a swiss army knife that could do anything–artistically, professionally, domestically: drawing, crafting, working under 20 Army Commanding Colonels, her fried chicken and potato salad–nuff said!! The late 1990s-millennial Nanny seemed to have forgotten herself and all that she had or could accomplish.  As someone so deeply religious, she held on tooth and nail and displayed a lot of fear and worry in her life.  I only have the eldest grandchild’s point of view–which does not display the complexity and messiness I now know life holds as a 40 something adult.  I’ve decided not to wonder why, but to focus on the fact that Nanny’s worries were soothed and quieted as she “marched forth” into the arms of her Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.  I just know it in my heart.  Honestly, the whole paradox of Nanny’s faith and worry in the same body makes me feel better about having doubts in my faith journey.  It is okay to believe but hold back; to turn it over to God, and take it back; to trust, but doubt.  These things make us human.  God made us, and through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God understands.

Writing someone’s end-of-life summary and being tapped as the designated family member to do so–while a daunting task due to its significance and and magnitude–is an honor and a privilege.  The part I like to laugh about is that no one in the family can cross me because I always have the last word.  The honor is being trusted to craft the narrative of someone’s years.  When I feel unsure that the person would want me to share information or draw conclusions I’ve drawn, I remind myself that funerals are for the living–the dead have gone on to glory–somewhere waaaay less petty than Earth.  The privilege is forcing myself to contemplate the “space between” birth and death.  Does what I am doing matter?  How am I using my time? Am I squandering time?  Am I just sucking wind?  How do I look from outside myself?

I hope blogging again will give me a jump off point for the space between.  I know that God will sanctify my time if I stay focused on God and God’s will for me.

space between

 

The Owl Tattoo

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Ok, I am writing this because I want to make sure I can do it.  I want to give my reply to an educated awesome smart and beautiful woman—the type of woman that intimidates me in an intelligent conversation, much less a philosophical discussion about the being upstairs…

Someone judged her for her owl tattoo.  She comes into contact with a “because I read it, bahhh bahhh because the preacher told me so ” type of Christian that ALWAYS F IT UP and end up beating people up with the God that they claim they love and actually IS Love.  My friend comes into contact with the flambeau that messes it up for gay folks, the ignoramous that messes it up for southerners, the tough skinned rapper who makes little old white ladies afraid of black people.  She came into contact with the caricature Christian.

So, here goes, I have a baby in the next room that needs to be nursed five minutes ago, so my faith distilled in a moment for my friend:

  • I don’t believe in God because of a book, and I don’t believe every word of the book.  (It wasn’t even a single book until after the printing press!!)  My faith isn’t about Jesus dying for our sins, it’s about Jesus living for our sins.  People killed Jesus—people that couldn’t handle radical acceptance, love, and rebalance of power.  People killed Jesus–People that didn’t want someone exposing the marketplace that Church had become (and has become again today).  People killed Jesus–the same ones that push everyone except for themselves away from the church.  For me, the piece that I FEEL and KNOW is that Jesus said “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as he was being subjected to the most radical pain that a human can experience.  Jesus was showing us how to live, what to focus on—GRACE.  Jesus was showing us to bear down through the pain in life so that we might grow to be above it.  To me, His GRACE takes away our sins, not his death: that He can forgive us, so we should forgive (Love) others.  Yes, I have “felt” God at pinnacle and valley moments, but that is when you need your parent: someone bigger than you, someone wiser that you, someone that has the big picture.

And, Owlly—

I have some feminist issues with the God set up, and without a doubt, I KNOW that the Holy Spirit is female.  Who else can take our babbling-ass prayers and make them acceptable, “What she had meant to say was…” and take God’s inconceivable answers to our questions and transform them into a feeling “everything is gonna be alright.”

Letting it “Do what it Do”

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Whenever I am in the midst of a creative project, I am notorious for letting the medium “do what it does.”  I am in a dialogue with the paint, canvas, and sometimes even my hands–who don’t always draw the foundation sketch I have in my mind’s eye.

Many times I have happy accidents that take the piece in a direction I never dreamed of.  Sometimes I struggle with experimentation in the middle of a painting.  What happens to this if I move that?  What if the paint dries, what if it drips, what if I’m out of a color I need–AND all the colors it takes to mix it up?  This isn’t working–that isn’t “right.”

Does it make me less of an artist to surrender some control?  When I start a piece, I usually allow for the idea that it may not turn out like the original vision, and I am okay with that.  In fact, I enjoy it.  Somehow, some way, I feel like God painted it with me.  I like letting the flow “in” to paint.

Such is my life, full of unexpected wonderfulness that turned out way better than I could have planned.

I’m all for some planning–it’s necessary to organize life and cover the basics.  I don’t ever want to be unwilling to flex if something cool shows up, though.

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Modern Day Lullaby

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So, I understand that my unborn child can now hear me singing, talking.  I’ve been thinking about what to sing.  Cheesy, but I really like this song right now.

My mom’s favorite modern day lullaby (for the time) was “Cotton Fields” by Credence Clearwater.

Valentwined

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One of my best original quotes ever was made off the cuff in 2006 while being interviewed for a women’s weekly magazine in Birthtown.  I was all excited about being highlighted in the magazine only to discover the caption on the cover underneath my portrait read “Valentine’s Day for the Romantically Challenged.”  OOOOh geeez, can’t I catch a break?  I was single at the time and going through some really craptacular relationship stuff.

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So here is my quote.  When asked why celebrate Valentine’s Day, I replied, “We need a holiday that reminds us to love each other for the same reason that all public restrooms have a sign posted that says ’employees must wash hands before returning to work.'”

So, for posting my own quote, I probably relegate myself to the group of people who laugh at their own jokes and fawn over their own reflections.  Oh well.

For some of us, telling others how we feel is natural, but for others, not so much.  Some of us need to hear that stuff and understand exactly what kind of waves are undulating from our loved ones’ grey matter.

Last night, Hubbs had a little truth serum and revealed some of his deepest darkest about our upcoming life transition (into parenthood) and its effects on his plans for business and our future.  As he went on, I realized that he’d been consumed with these thoughts for days on end.  Since he was mentally spent already, he asked me point blank what I’d like for Valentine’s Day.  I told him my wishes–exactly.  (Romantic, huh?)  He’s followed my suggestions beautifully so far, but the real gift was the meandering conversation that flowed into the wee hours of this special day: his profession of how our lives joined together and how he prepared for me before he found me.  LOVE.

P.S.  In two hours, we pursue the reservations for our candlelight dinner at WAFFLE HOUSE–novel, different, and fitting my cravings for all things potato.

Egg Heart

Scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked,

Me

Lentin Blog, Take 2: 2013

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Lent

So, apparently, I have to make a deal with God in order to find the discipline to write regularly.  I DO believe that we must take turns living and writing about living so that we don’t get too into one so much that the other suffers (life vs. inner dialogue)…so, back to the pen (or the keyboard).

Just two and a half months after the April miscarriage, I found myself expectant (Mama) again.  Wow.  This one stuck.  I’m seven months prego, and it’s getting really really real up in here!  Having two miscarriages back to back will make the next pregnancy go by in warp speed.  By the time you admit to yourself that you might actually have a viable thing going on, it’s already time to find out the sex and see moving pictures.  The whole thing has a surreal feeling about it, but this parenting adventure we are about to embark on–it’s heavy stuff–if you really think about it.  Any friends who ask me why I am so scared to become a parent get the same reply, “Anyone who’s been to therapy knows how much parents affect who you are, who you become.”

Yes, we all have free will, but doesn’t the free will come into play once you realize that maybe how WE do it isn’t how everyone else does?

Other developments include losing my job just before Thanksgiving.  It was a blow to the ego (to pack up my shizzle and get the Hell outta there), but I’m pretty sure it was a blessing.  Former Company was most masterful with mixed messages–better with mixed messages than its own product.  There were trumped up (false) accusations followed by a reasonable severance and opportunity for government cheese for a while.  Perhaps they felt poorly putting a pregnant gal out on the street with a COBRA and a smile.  Oh well.  As I said before the whole separation took place, “I would work for Satan himself if I could work from home.”

I think God got me outta there and set me on a different path.  So, here I am, back at Spiral Sketchbook, exploring again.

Happy Lent.

My ATM

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Special thanks to www.creativewritingprompts.com for today’s entry.  I’m playing catch-up as I often do for my Lentin writing commitment.  God knows I’m a mess.  Spent lots of time today preparing for and executing a phone interview that I’m pretty sure will be fruitless.  Even if I get an in-person interview, how will they realistically deal with my 7.5 month baby bump???  I mean, REALLY.

Anywhooooo, on to prompt 182: If an ATM  could be custom created for you, what would it spew out instead of money?

If an ATM could be custom created for me, it would spew affirmations.  My love language is definitely “words of affirmation.”  Hopefully, those affirmations would be so personal that I would believe them!  I’ve had a tough go lately being jobless and feeling less-than-beautiful.  All the women say I glow, but I’ve had to convince Hubbs to focus on my beautiful hair…

Empty Tomb

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The resurrection is incredibly hard to believe…but it’s even more difficult to believe that those closest to Jesus would not crack under pressure and torture–that they would agree to face horrible horrible deaths in order to propagate a lie.

That Peter, the one who denied him three times before the rooster crowed, would be hung on the cross upside down–because he had SEEN the risen Lord.

That James, who didn’t believe his brother was the son of God, would change his mind and believe.  (Thanks pastor, great new insight today.)

The twelve could have avoided horrible deaths if they would only admit that Jesus didn’t rise and appear to them….and UNSEE what they had SEEN.

I have hope due to the empty tomb.  That empty tomb fills me when I am empty.  I pray that I can be a light to others’ lives.

 

 

 

Cornerstone

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The cornerstone of my faith is:

While Jesus was hanging on the cross in excruciating pain (created by humans) he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34

This is truly Amazing Grace, and it makes me want to follow.

Redemption and resurrection are available to all.

Happy Easter.

The Emo Pendulum and Canine Wisdom

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I am swinging back in the “okay” direction, thank God.  Birthday celebration with Hubs was really nice.  Sushi and saki preceded by a ride in a convertible and an adorable card did the body (and mind) good.

I know I’m still going to have difficult days, but I think the hormones are easing out of the equation.

Today, I find peace thinking that there is nothing I (or my doctor) could have done to save the baby at eight weeks (or even less, maybe death was sooner than I thought).  I find peace in realizing that nothing I can do, think, say, or pray will bring that baby back.  All I can do is live here and now, learn, be patient, and be kind to others (whose circumstances I don’t know).

In some ways, I continue to have an inner dialogue with Little One.  Thanking Little One for the growth and eye-opening ideas that he/she and his/her predecessor set into motion.  I’ve made many surprising decisions in preparation, and I think those decisions will benefit the One that Comes and Stays.

I guess it’s normal to continue to have a dialogue with a spirit passed.

  • I still mentally call and email ‘Cita, who passed in January.
  • I still hold my BBull dog who passed two years ago (and mentally walk him through my old neighborhood).

There was nothing I could have done to bring ‘Cita or BBull back.  I can only move forward from here and honor the things they taught me.  Neither of them would want me to stop–they didn’t.  They moved on to experience the fullness of God.

And, yes, I think dogs experience the fullness of God.  In my mind, it’s likely they are on a higher spiritual level on the Other Side (like the angels).  They deserve God’s fullness as a job well done for demonstrating unconditional love, forgiveness, joy in the now, and dependence on a higher power for providence….to us, the “rulers” of the world.

I think I’ll let my two Spirit Guides take me for a walk…..