Category Archives: Jesus Knows Me

Do You See What I See? Sometimes it really is about the shoes

20141021_180724 Check it out peeps! No boot!

I asked my friends on Facebook what they saw. Some saw the missing boot – one friend saw a tanned leg vs an untanned leg, and another friend saw two shoes on the wrong feet. What a group. I see a swollen leg, a brutal scar, and no boot.

NO BOOT!

I have been in a boot since I got back from the Bahama’s in early October, 2013. I chipped my tibia on the beach, remember? I even wrote a story about coming back with a broken ankle (unknown to me) and how  I accidentally gave my real phone number to some cute surgeon I met on the airplane because he asked for it. He had it at “You’re a comic? I LOVE comedy.” Went right for the ego. SMH. I’m just happy he didn’t turn out to be some kind of slasher or something because I couldn’t pick him out of a line-up if my life depended on it. Besides, I’m fairly certain he didn’t even give me his real name.

I had surgery on October 24, 2013 in order to straighten my tibia and I’ve been in the boot ever since.

20140829_12394613 months I’ve worn this boot and our love relationship wore out after about week two. My pretty yellow wrist bracelet though says it all, “Fall Risk.”

YEP! That’s me all right.

I’ll be honest this has been hard for me. It hasn’t been easy for my husband either. It didn’t take him long to figure out the answer to the question, “So what exactly do you do all day?” Turns out, I do a lot. Now he knows.

I spent an entire year sitting on my front porch watching the seasons change from Fall to Winter, to Spring, to Summer and back to Fall again with absolutely no help from me. That was both inspiring and frustrating.

I had to learn how to deal with life without running away from it. No more running to the Cove, or the Stables, or the club to tell jokes, or even banjo lessons. I just had to sit still and let life unfold. This took work. Huge work.

10447740_461306537337250_7610490709735420961_nI had to depend on my husband for almost everything. I don’t do that well. I wasn’t allowed to walk for over 6 months. I spent three months in an electric scooter and three months on a knee scooter. I didn’t get released to walk in my boot until July of this year. Driving was out of the question.  I couldn’t even take a shower by myself for several weeks.

I also found several restaurants in Tulsa that are not handicap friendly. I couldn’t get in the front door with my scooter. Not being able to eat at my favorite restaurant  was frustrating, however my husband and I did find a new favorite restaurant in Broken Arrow. So there is that.

Being laid up made my blog challenging as well. No races. No traveling. No adventures after kids.  But isn’t that life? We have our ups and downs. Not everything is a mountain top experience. I did get to try a new thing.

I learned how to be still.

And I made it to level 327 in Candy Crush.

Impressive, right?

Okay, not really.

I did, however, read every book I could get my hands on, some brag worthy, others purely for entertainment purposes. I’m okay with that.

And I practiced banjo. A LOT!

I panicked for months about being forgotten as both a writer and a comic if I wasn’t out there doing the deal. I even panicked about banjo lessons. “What if my teacher doesn’t have any openings once I come back? What if after a year on my own, I still suck at banjo?” What if. What if. What if.

I spent a lot more time living in the fear-based world of “what if” than I like to admit.

We did join a new church last winter and all they’ve known is the handicapped version of me. The woman who can’t walk and has to rely on her husband to take her everywhere. The woman who can’t volunteer yet, because she can’t drive. I had to simply be a member and meet and get to know people without giving anything in return.

I even get felt up by TSA this year when the metal in my leg set off their alarms. That was fun.

I had to find value in me without the “stuff.”

I was hoping to hit the ground running, but no such luck. I’ve been walking with a crooked leg since I was 12. It’s going to take time — lots and lots of time — learning how to walk properly. It hurts more often than not.

I find that interesting. My leg is straight for the first time in 35 years, my hips are finally even and my body is screaming. My back, my hips, my leg all want to stay bent and crooked. Everything is out of alignment and it doesn’t know what to do with this new order of things. Allowing things to find their new place is going to take time. Yes, I’m sure there is a spiritual connotation here. I’m still working on finding that.

My ankle should be able to finally bend properly, but it doesn’t know how. It’s partially frozen from lack of proper use. My right foot automatically turns out and my ankle wants to bend on an angle like it always did. I have to consciously turn my leg inward and force myself to walk heel-toe. The simple act of walking has become a practice in Zen philosophy. It requires total focus of mind and body. The only way to stop the pain is to walk it out and teach my leg how to work properly.

If I don’t do that, then the surgery was for nothing.

10527706_476379962496574_150535725174127207_n Even though I’m only allowed to walk in sneakers that look like they are on the wrong feet and use a cane for balance — I have a dream. One day soon, I’ll get to walk in these again and I cannot wait!

 A full year came and went without my help.

I made friends based on who I am and not what I can do for them.

I learned how to receive.

My husband learned a new way of loving.

My boys learned how to spread their wings and do for themselves.

Without having me at his beck and call, even my Dad (75) learned how to do some things for himself.

Healing can still be an adventure if you let it. 

As for cycling. I’m still grounded, however I am allowed to ride my trainer this winter. I’m out for 2015 for any competition. I’m not allowed on trails or streets for at least another six months. Hills are a big no no for at least a year.

That’s okay. I’m not what I do. Seasons still change if I give it enough time. I’m starting to be okay with that.

Cat Stevens, On the road to find out… For Chris.

She’s lost it.

Did you hear she’s a Democrat?

She left our church!

I bet she left God too.

Nope…

I didn’t lose it.

I didn’t run away from home like you think. Truth is, I ran away a lot. Just not like you think.

I ran away in my dreams and to the lake where I could learn banjo undisturbed. I ran away from the noise to find my voice. I ran away to Nashville and to the stage. I ran away from old lies that were holding me back. I ran away from things whispered in the dark, “you aren’t enough.”

I ran away from people who would dare tell me I wasn’t a real Christian because I wasn’t raised in the church like were.

I can’t leave God. My name is written in His hand and nothing can snatch me away.

I have been on a journey and it’s been glorious.

I found authors who dare tell the truth.

Friends who see and know ME.

I found my best friend, or she found me. Either way.

I’m still married by the way and we love each other now, more than ever.

I Am Indeed Homeward Bound

storyI have a new writing coach and together we are exploring voice. If you recall, I had a coach for poetry a couple of years back and shared my assignments. I did the same thing when I was working through my Women’s Issues classes last year. This is not that much different. We all have stories. We find connection in those stories. Through owning our stories we learn to own ourselves and we show up to live authentic lives. In sharing our stories, we find out that we are not alone. I’ll be adding these writing assignments here from time to time.

there-is-beauty-and-strength

“You will always be welcome here.”

Fat chance,  I thought. Just wait till you get to know me. You’ll regret those words. Even as I thought that, I giggled like a little girl. Does he really mean that? I have no idea. I mean he meant it innocently enough – nothing weird or anything like that. They just aren’t in my life at the present moment because I can’t drive. And yet, those words still ring in the back of my mind.

I had to travel once and told him that I would be gone for a while.

“I’ll still be here.” he said.

I hang onto that, now that I have a broken leg and life has kept me away. It doesn’t matter if he’s ever back in my life. Those words were a healing balm to a very hungry soul. I hang on to them when I’m feeling adrift. They anchor me, if that makes sense. The timing melted my soul a little. My cold, angry, shaking, and fearful heart saw light. I smiled, put on my sunglasses so he wouldn’t see the tear and left the store.

Welcome is not a word I heard a lot.  I’m still in awe of it some days really. I used to hunger for it. I looked for it in all the wrong places when I was younger and settled for far less. I am careful of it so as not to over stay my welcome. I’m learning as well that for the right people, there is no such thing. I just didn’t know that.

I learned that at a very young age I’m sure. Truth is I wore out my welcome at home when I was 12.

“Fine, if you want to see your father so badly, how about I pack your bags and you can stay there! Not that he’ll take you either.”

She tried to kill herself while I was gone, and wound up in treatment for alcoholism.

She never did pack my bags either, and it’s just as well. He only wanted me on his terms and only when it was convenient. I was his inconvenient truth most days.

I didn’t visit him again until I was 19.

The poets Simon and Garfunkel sing about being homeward bound. Musicians on the road, wishing they were home. Lovely song really. Sweet sentiment anyway.

I’ve lived in over 20 different cities and two countries. Home is an elusive term to me. I used to travel for business but back then home was an empty apartment in Hoffman Estates IL. There was no love waiting silently for me. Or was there?

What if, you were that lover waiting silently? Not for me, that would be weird. And awkward since I’m married and all.

But what if… you were that lover waiting for your truest self to return? Possible? We journey far from home some times. We try on personalities, beliefs, careers, relationships in season and out of season. That’s not necessarily a bad thing mind you.

But sooner or later, that small secret place inside all of us beacons us back.

dont let goMy friend David went “home” this week. That’s Christian code for heaven. He passed rather unexpectedly due to multiple embolisms. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance. He was young too. A writer, a husband, a father, a son, a friend. A great guy really. He always wrote of adventure and about finding out who he is and what he is made of.  He’s the reason I want to climb Pikes Peak and why I dared take my boys swimming with sharks. I’m going to miss him. I wonder if he ever found his truest self this side of heaven? I’d like to think so. Now that he is there, I’m guessing he knows even more so how dearly loved he is.

I bet he heard the words “welcome home.” And “You are always welcome here.”

I have lots of thoughts on the word “home.”

  • We can be running away from home.
  • Heading home.
  • Be at home in our own skin
  • Hit a home run.
  • or even “Walking each other home” as Rumi says.

But what is home? I have ideas on what it should be.

Home should be a safe place.

Some place in our lives where we are welcomed with open arms.

Loved.

At Peace.

A place where you are filled up with great things and released back into the world, happy and whole.

I try very hard to create such a place for my boys and my husband.

I’m only now learning how to create such a place for myself. I deserve a home as well. A place where I am happy and whole. A place where I am still enough to be loved. 

But that definition of home isn’t true for everyone. Home is sometimes filled with strife, and disappointment. Abuse. Anger. Silence. Home for many people (yours truly included at times) is a place of judgment, anger, unmet expectations and needs. A dumping ground for other people’s baggage.

Not the home I live in mind you, just the one I go back to sometimes. The one I feel obligated to visit.

“She is your mother after all. You need to treat her with respect. She raised you. She deserves that much.”

And I do. I have learned how to give her what she is incapable of giving me. The one thing, she’s never been able to receive. I love her completely, unconditionally, and with as much grace as possible. I stink at it some days. But I still try.

I’ve returned from those trips at times, broken, hurting, questioning my value in the universe.  But I still go back. Why? I believe in making choices I can live with. That is one of those choices.

The chance to love my mother – for fun and for free, no strings attached. I do it every chance I get.  Not because I have to really, but because I want to. This broken alcoholic who hates Christians, who told me if abortions were legal, she’d have had one in 1965 is in as much need of love as the next person. Maybe more. I don’t know. Took me years to land there. Who knows, once she’s gone I may believe something different. Just not today.

No. I won’t believe differently. She doesn’t know what love looks like, therefore receiving it is painful for her. She doesn’t trust it. And that’s okay. It’s not my job to make her trust it. It’s just my hope to love her no matter what.

Do you know she told me once told me that I should never wear long skirts because I am short and chubby and they make me look like a hobbit? She did. Then she called me a few months later to give me the great news. Doc has her on steroids and now she’s just as fat as I am. Isn’t that a hoot?

My mom is mentally ill if you haven’t caught that. Home is something I’ve had to create for myself outside of my birth family. Some people write off homes like that. I choose not to.

Home is some place I was never allowed to return to once I married a Christian and moved to Oklahoma. There were no family gatherings. No Christmas with the grandparents or Easter either. Only annual visits on her schedule when she chose to visit and always for her birthday. My boys grew up without cousins, or aunts or uncles. They did however have a grandmother who came to see them. Who made them cards from scratch and loved them completely. She does Grandma very well. I do love that about her.

Even so, we’ve had to create a second family for them. I have had to create a new home for myself. Home is now my husband, my two boys, my new church, my friends, my life in Oklahoma.

Home is my swing on the hill overlooking the water at the cove.

Home is that place of peace inside of me that nothing can touch. White velvet. The hand of God. Unblemished by abuse.

Everyone has that by the way, we just don’t always see it, neither in ourselves nor always in others.

I think the person who told me I was always welcome, he saw it. He chose to show it to me over time through his kindness and his gentle caring.

When I tell people I am going home, meaning the other home – I’m braced. I’m ready for the insults. The anger, and the disappointment.  I am covered in prayer, released of expectation and take with me the only traveling companions I have, the God who loves me and the prayers of my husband.

I have absolutely no idea what it feels like to be loved unconditionally by a parent. That has never been part of my reality.

My mother was my abuser. That’s probably why I have such a hard time getting along with women and why I sometimes prefer the company of men. Less drama really  – and I have daddy issues on top of that, so wow that’s a mouthful. And yet, she is my mother. No less a child of the universe than I.

My best friend from grade school is back in my life – (cyber wave). She is the one who gave me this writing challenge and while it took me forever to write it out, I appreciate her. She is part of my “home.” The truest self of who I was and who I’ve yet to become. Having her back in my life give me roots. I think I understand their song now – I wasn’t born broken. I was born beautiful. Whole. Innocent.

Then life happened and now I journey. I think. I get lost. And yet, I don’t have to wish anymore.

I am finding my way home.

Where the music plays.

And my lover (me) waits I am indeed

Homeward Bound.

And it is glorious!

(excerpt from a writing assignment: What does it mean to be homeward bound?)

Proof that Banjo Is Cool: Neil Young

“There is music you never hear unless you play it yourself.”
― Marty Rubin

banjo neil youngIf I could sum up the feel that I go for when playing banjo, this picture would be it. It’s Neil Young, circa 1970’s playing sitting quietly under a tree.

People usually make fun of banjo. My thoughts are if Neil Young plays, it must be cool.

Having a broken leg has it’s advantages. I was so busy last year that practicing my banjo was usually an after thought.  My teacher can probably attest to that. I’m pretty sure I annoyed the snot out of him many times by showing up without the songs memorized.

I’m presently on week 30 of my “12 week vacation” and I’ve found a lot of time to practice.

Go figure.

Today, I spend a whole lot of my day sitting and picking and learning and I love it.

I especially love the fact that I can pick up my banjo and create something that didn’t exist five minutes ago.

That is too cool.

 

Ya Got Trouble – or do you? A glimpse into the wilderness

Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.

That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.

That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.

I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.

I’m not much for hiding really.

Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.

I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.

I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.

I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.

Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.

What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.

That wasn’t the problem.

I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.

I’m kind of egotistical like that.

I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.

Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.

The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:

They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.

That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.

If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.

Charisma is a turn off to me today.

As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.

Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.

I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.

Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:

1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain.  Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.

2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.

3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.

4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did.  I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,

While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.

I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.

I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.

The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.

Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.

*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.

So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?

 

 

 

 

 

The Cove at Rock Creek

I’m not going to lie. I’m kind of digging this slower life-style that I’ve had to become accustomed to while I get my leg fixed. No more crazy deadlines, being out half the night at the club, driving people places, rushing to the store or lessons. Just being me.

Last Fall I got the chance to watch the season come and go as winter arrived and this time, I get to watch Spring arrive in all of her glory and might. I miss working in the dirt. I haven’t figured out how to do that and not put weight on my leg and that’s okay. If I don’t have my garden this year, there is always the Farmer’s Market.

For now, I get to read, play my banjo, write to my heart’s content, spend time with friends, talk on the phone, love my family, and when opportunity strikes – take pictures.

All in all. It’s really not a bad life.

This slowing down thing.

You can click on the photos if you want to see them better. If you choose to share them that is fine, so long as you link back here. Thanks for reading.

rainbow at rock creek

woodpecker 2014 cove

to have faith