Category Archives: Words of Encouragement

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Phones and Dumb People

‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.

Featuring Louise Ludlam & Stuart Darnley.
Original score by New Desert Blues.
Sound engineering by Daniel Cobb.
Filmed and edited by Gary Turk.

http://www.garyturk.com
http://www.twitter.com/gary_turk
http://www.newdesertblues.com

Standing Witness

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Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.

Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.

Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.

Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.

Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.

I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.

In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.

A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.

Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.

My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.

“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”

“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”

“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”

“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”

“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”

If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.

Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.

How often can we say that?

Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.

Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.

Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.

I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.

Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.

A Subversive Revolution

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This is my last resolve quote. I’ve sat on it for quite a long time. I looked up subversive and it doesn’t sound like a nice person at all. It sound’s rebellious. I’m not rebellious. (okay so that’s a total lie.) And then I remembered, I said “tits” on a Facebook Post and I’m a Christian. That’s pretty subversive if you ask me. Granted it was totally in context of the point I was trying to make even if it is shocking.

I’ve sat here at my desk for well over a week trying to come up with my end of year blog. Every year I take inventory of my life. I write what went well, what didn’t and ponder where I want to go next year. Something ate at me though.

All I saw for days was what I didn’t do in 2013. 

I didn’t ride with the Tulsa Diva’s like I said I would.

I didn’t walk the Rt 66 Marathon or run in a 5K

and I still stink at banjo. I didn’t practice enough so I have no one to blame but myself.

Now the fact that I had a physical limitation that took most of that off the table did not matter to me, all I could see was I failed my physical goals for the year. I couldn’t see my successes at all.

You know what?

As I wrap up 2013, I’ve decided that the most subversive thing I can do, for today, is to tell my broken brain to shut the heck up and start agreeing with God that I am who He says I am. I’ll admit that I do sometimes struggle with that.

2013 rocked!

I began 2013 with one word on my mind, Resolve. Every week I’d look up quotes that spoke to me and focus on them. It’s interesting to me to see the theme now.

  • Dare to be powerful.
  • Be my own best friend.
  • Get outdoors.
  • Free myself from criticism, fear, negative self-talk, and discouragement.
  • Push myself to my limits
  • challenge myself
  • be fabulous
  • don’t give up
  • trust my courage.
  • Remember who you are.

Wow, what a list. I did all that. While it’s true I didn’t do it all perfectly every day, I did do it to the best of my abilities. That’s an accomplishment. I also allowed myself to go on a four day vacation with some friends – only the second time I’ve ever done that in my life. That’s pretty cool.

  1. I gave up my IPhone in order to reconnect with real people face to face instead of online.
  2. I got a ton of stage time performing locally. While it was exhausting, it was fun.
  3. I met some personal heroes like Anne Lammot, Mark Lowry and Jennifer Rothschild (we sat next to each other on a plane. It was awesome)
  4. My humor piece about never having met Mark before is the most shared story of the year. He’s read it, I’m embarrassed, but I am allowing myself to admit it is funny and besides now that I’ve met him I’m a little less embarrassed that he read it. oh and thank you thank you thank you for that! You guys are awesome.
  5. I drove 15 hours by myself to podunk Indiana to compete in a clean comedy challenge next to comics who’ve been doing this for years and in front of national celebrities — AND I allowed myself to be critiqued by them. HOLY CANOLLIES — that woman – the one brave enough to do that did not exist five years ago — I’m just saying – we’re talking full on miracle here.
  6. I graduated from Thelma Well’s Daughters of Zion mentoring program and was awarded 30 college credit hours from the seminary she teaches at in Indiana. How cool is that?

Why do I get the feeling that I’ve spent 2013 being subversive and revolutionary and I didn’t even realize it?

I’m presently in a boot, recovering from surgery on my tibia. One of my goals for 2014 will involve physical therapy and learning how to walk again. Beyond that though, I’m still stuck. I don’t have my word or a scripture verse. Somehow, I’m okay with that.

Maybe all I need to do in 2014 is show up and leave the rest up to God.

What do you think?

So, you survived Christmas, let’s celebrate!

HurrayIt is the day after Christmas. It’s 12:30 and I am still in my PJs. Why? I survived Christmas and I’m celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great Christmas. Both of my boys are home and even my Dad spent the night. While we didn’t do a lot of the things we normally do because of my broken leg, we still enjoyed the day. I even survived listening to how great Fox news is, the war on Christmas (that doesn’t really exist), and sentences that started with “not that I’m racists but…” and get this..

NO

ONE

DIED!

My youngest son did interject a random, “How about them Jets?” at one point which of course made everyone laugh.

Let’s face it, Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Alcoholism, divorce, death, illness, singleness, and a myriad of familial dysfunction can make the day beyond stressful for many people.

My parents got divorced when I was four. Between the ages of nine and twelve, the day after Christmas was spent on an airplane on my way to visit my father and his new family in New York. My mother hated the fact that she had to share me with him and we would invariably argue the week leading up to these visits. Honestly, I was really too young to understand what was going on, I just wanted to see my Dad. She didn’t think he deserved it. I only saw my father three times between the ages of four and nine for  various reasons.

He made lots of plans to see me after the divorce, but 90% of them fell through and she was the one left to pick up the pieces of a broken-hearted kid. I would stress so badly over the tension that by the time the trip arrived, I’d be sick and still insist on going anyway. It would be at that point that she would threaten to pack my bags and send me off to live with him for good if I was so insistent on seeing him.

Instead of anticipation, family and joy, Christmas for me, came with fear and trepidation as a kid. Forget Santa. All I wanted for Christmas was parents who knew how to behave.

Would he cancel the visit last-minute? Again.

Would she really send me away for good? (She never did)

It’s not like the trips were all that great anyway – I left one drunk household for another. One set of problems for another.

Neither of them were sober back then, I had learned how to be the adult for all of us and I was really bad at it. But that didn’t keep me from trying. There are some things kids just aren’t supposed to be able to fix.

Then Mom got sober and the trips back and forth stopped. Instead of NY, Dad now lived in Chicago and even though it was only four hours away, he was too busy to see me. While I was hurt by that, I was also relieved by no longer being stuck in the middle.

Flash forward ten years or so, now married with my own children and fueled by my own painful memories of Christmas past, this broken child turned into the Queen of Christmas. We were going to have the PERFECT Christmas come hell or high water even if it killed me and everyone around me.

We did Christmas on our own in Oklahoma. We did it all, lights, Church pageants, decorations, presents and food galore. There was no Christmas at Grandma’s house because both sets of parents had downsized and there wasn’t room for us and neither set wanted to travel. Only my Dad came. He was harmless enough, drinking himself into a quiet stupor in the recliner. Besides he had nowhere else to go and I picked up my old hat of saving the world.

Did everyone have a perfect Christmas? I don’t know. By the time the holiday actually arrived my martyr hat was glued on so tightly that I’m pretty sure it impacted the blood flow to my brain and affected my judgement. Fortunately for me, (and thankful for my own 12 step program) I did eventually learn how to give up the ghost and stop trying so hard and believe it or not, my boys (now grown) actually have good memories about Christmas.

I have a broken leg this year – I could not have been the queen of Christmas even if I wanted. My husband had to take over the decorating, shopping, cleaning and a good part of the cooking and you know what? It was great! He did a wonderful job and I learned Christmas doesn’t have to rest completely on my shoulders.

I don’t know what your Christmas was like. Maybe it was spectacular. Maybe you had to sit through dinner with a Republican. Or a Democrat. Maybe you lost a parent or loved one. Maybe it was your spouse’s turn to have the kids and you were alone. The bottom line is, not matter how Christmas went, today is a new day.

You got through it, no matter what it was, therefore I suggest we celebrate. Stay in your jammies if you want. Call a friend and tell them “I did it!” I did this hard thing – let the kids see their dad, missed my Mom, survived the family dinner, stayed sober — what ever it is you did. Celebrate it. Take a bubble bath – go for a run, ride a bike. Do what ever it is you do when you celebrate. Give yourself a pat on the back. It’s okay — I give you permission.

Listening to my heart.

“Writing is cutting open your chest, pulling out your own trembling heart, plopping it down in front of someone and asking if they can feel you. I keep on doing it because every now and then, they can.” — Lori Houston Eizinga

It has been a while since I’ve allowed myself to just free flow blog. I’m not entirely sure why really. Part of it is because I’ve been busy and, part of it is fear. Two of my stories went viral this year, well viral for me anyway, and while I do think that’s cool part of me freaked out a little.

Neurotic thoughts of “how do I top that?” abounded in my brain. And then it happened, someone posted a rant in the comment section. A hateful nasty snarky rant aimed at me and my alleged stupidity. It was personal. But it was a stranger and even though it stings it is okay. And then someone misunderstood my heart in a different post. I’d shared a story from The Elephant Journal, Can We Be Lovers Without Having Sex, and while I love the whole premise of human connection and how we’ve lost that today, some people only see the sex part Oh well

I have at times been unfriended, blocked, rebuked, and prayed for, not by strangers mind you, but people who know me. That hurts my feelings. And that comes with the territory.

The same thing happens with comedy. One person’s clean is another person’s edge. Then someone writes and says thank you, I thought I was the only one, and it’s worth it.

And that’s the writer’s life. We will be loved. We will be hated. We will be misunderstood. And we will do it again tomorrow, because if we don’t, a piece of us dies.

fall at the coveI am currently at my cove recovering from the first of two surgeries on my right ankle. My leg is a little crooked and I am getting it fixed. They took out a piece of my tibia and grafted it back somewhere else. It’s being held together with a metal plate and screws. Once this heals, they will go back and add a castor hinge and more screws. It will be at least March of next year before I’ll be able to walk. That means no traveling unless it’s a family emergency, and no stand up. and so I rest on my front porch, read a ton, write even more and practice my banjo.

I really ran myself ragged  last year what with all my have-to-accomplish-now goals. I hit the ground hard when my youngest graduated high school in 2012; Teaching, speaking, writing, 30 college credit hours, stand up comedy (with strong internal pressure to master that over night) banjo lessons (ditto), art classes, acting classes, auditions, contests, building a platform, and becoming a cyclist (that one never really took off). Three weeks of staring at water at my cove revealed a moment of “duh!” I am exhausted. That so far has been my greatest epiphany. Well that and metal inside your leg really hurts when it’s cold outside.

Funny thing is, I entered this recovery/sabbatical with a to do list as well. I scratched everything out and simply wrote : listen to your heart.

Slowing down is good. Being present in the moment is even better.

This Black Woman’s SNL Experience

Deana:

Beautiful.

Originally posted on Saturdays with Sylvia:

My name is Sylvia Traymore Morrison.  I wanted to share my personal Saturday Night Live experience, considering there is so much controversy and conversation taking place regarding the Black Women issue.

I am America’s first renowned Black Female Impressionist.  I did my first professional show in 1969 at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.  At that time I was singing and doing impressions.  Shortly after that, in the early 70s, I entered the Miss Black America pageant (Black women at that time had no chance whatsoever of even thinking of becoming Miss America so a Black pageant was created by J. Morris Anderson.  I missed Oprah Winfrey by one year, who was Miss Black Tennessee the year before).  I ended up placing as 2nd Runner-up and going to Europe to entertain the American troops.  The reception was magnificent.  Apparently, they had never seen a Black Woman who did impressions.  The day I returned to the…

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