Happy Thanksgiving-November 24, 2011

Hello everyone! I am sorry I haven’t had time to write much lately. I have been working a lot and spending my spare time working on crafts for Christmas gifts. It is that time of year, when we all get so busy and stretched so thin. It is also the hardest time for me because I really miss my family and friends that are so far away. I was looking forward to co-hosting Thanksgiving today for my husband’s family and then I was suddenly out in the cold when plans were changed. I am not even baking a single pie or making my here-to-fore requested candied sweet potatoes or stuffing.

To top that off, I just found out I don’t even get Friday off work so I can’t even cook and bake tomorrow for my own Thanksgiving festivity with my husband. All these things together have left me a little depressed and lonely in spite of the happiness I have with my husband now. But this isn’t a day to whine or feel low. It is a day to be grateful and give thanks. I am thankful for my husband, his family, and our home. I am thankful I was able to visit both of my sons this year even if I can’t be cooking for them today. I am thankful for having a job even if it is only 35% of my prior income and with no benefits. I am thankful for regaining my health. I am grateful I have more years to live.

I do wonder though, what is my purpose now? What is the point of my life? I am not a mother anymore. My boys are all grown up and don’t need me anymore. I am not a driven ambitious business woman anymore, I just don’t have the hope or drive left after the downturn in the economy and the loss of my career. I have no hopes of owning that home I have always dreamed about. I have even less hope of becoming the writer I always imagined I would become. There is not a glimmer of a career ahead for me even though I give myself to my work.

It is a very personal thing to me regardless of the title or role I am performing. I am a creative soul and thereby try to be just as creative with my work. Creativity comes from deep inside and puts a piece of me into the work I do. I am disappointed that though I give my soul to my work, my employers always remind me that I am only a second or third class person as a clerk or accountant. I am not as important as the sales people who “make us the money”. Funny thing is, that two sales people left in the past two months and it wasn’t even a blip on the radar, but if I or either of the other two operations staff members were to leave the entire company would be in a tail spin and scrambling and it would take weeks or even months to recover and train a replacement. So why are we lowly underpaid support staff the ones that are treated as second or third class citizens unworthy of time off to be with family in spite of being the lowest paid employees? It is so unfair and yet we have no recourse. Almost all American companies treat us the same way. So I give up my time with family and give a piece of my soul away for a pittance because I lost my edge and forward mobility when I gave up my job, my home, and my family for my husband five years ago.

Yes, I am grateful for my husband, his family and our home; but, I have a certainty in my heart that we should have stayed in California five years ago. If we had we would not be buried under a mountain of debt without any hope of ever paying it off. I would have my career still and be earning at least three times what I am now. We would have been able to buy ourselves a home on a short sale with this housing burst. And we would be able to invite family and friends to our home and host a warm Thanksgiving celebration like I used to do.

Now, I feel like my life as I knew it is over. And the life I am left with is merely existing and aging toward death. No goals remain, no dreams remain, no hopes remain. It just is a day to day grind. Is this all there is? We live the first half of our life full of hopes and dreams and ambitions followed by years of realizing our ship never came in, we never did find our bliss or achieve those goals and now it is too late. What do I do now? Where do I go from here?

I don’t know the answer to what my tomorrows will bring. I do know that today, I will stay home and meditate and bake. I just don’t have it in me to be a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving Dinner. I will cook and bake for a special dinner for two for tomorrow after work, while my husband visits his family today. I will have my own Thanksgiving Day creating yummy goodies as though my family and friends were here. I am grateful for the option to choose the way I want to spend my day.

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Creativity Blossoms

My Ceramics Center

My Husband's Art Center

As our renewed life continues we are beginning to fully develop our creativity. Mark is painting an oil of Rod and Reel Pier. I am painting my ceramics projects, knitting, crocheting and we are growing a garden together. It is so freeing to have our home evolving into an artist studio. This is what I have always wanted for my marriage and home.

I am also digging working with the wonderful group of women at the Thursday afternoon ceramics class at the First Baptist Church. We spend 3-4 hours per week exploring our creative muse and comforting one another with fellowship, encouragement and spiritual support. This is another reconnection for me to a life long past.

My path in life has meandered here and there, but at my core my only desire has been to live life in love and peace within a partnership of love. I have always wanted to have my home be a place of love and beauty with creativity at the center. We are getting there together while also freely expressing our independent creativity. So the house is full of art projects under construction and the aroma of fresh homemade meals simmering on the stove blended with the scent of oil paint and cinnamon potpouri in an autumn colored leaf shaped bowl.

I have long searched for a home, and now have one. It isn’t what I always dreamed, but it ticks off all the boxes anyway. I am content with my life here and now. I know there are past trials still to overcome and who knows what future is awaiting us, but here and now I have serenity.

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Celebration of Life

As my year ends and a new one begins, I am focused on celebrating the victories over the challenges I have faced this past year. I have lost eight friends and family members to death. I have traveled all over America to visit with and/or help family and friends. I discovered my own failing health and found renewed health through a change in my lifestyle. I have lost 80 pounds, lowered my blood sugar to normal, lowered my blood pressure to normal. My husband and I nearly lost and have renewed our marriage. Love really does conquer all, except death. Unfortunately, it can not bring back any of my friends or family members. I will always remember you Kelly Brinker, Jay Spell, Granny Bogart, Steve Aaberg, Shirley Erickson, Uncle Ed, Don LaSalle and Jeb Bruns.

So now I begin again to build a life for myself here with Mark and Jacob. I am looking for work and praying for guidance as to what form that work should take. I have applied for the very few jobs available and had two interviews, but have not been hired yet. I have a great amount of financial debt to recover from and hope that the way will reveal itself. I trust the Lord to provide for all my needs including relief from this debt. I have changed my priorities. I want to be here now with Mark and keep being healthy and creative. That is as far as it goes for now.

So Happy Birthday to me!!! Here are my resolutions for age 54.

Resolved:

I will exercise some everyday. [Take a walk, go for a swim, ride a bike, clean the house, work in garden].
I will plant and grow a garden.
I will watch less television.
I will listen to music more.
I will read more.
I will cultivate friendships.
I will attend health and ceramics and other art classes.
I will paint an oil painting [got to start with at least one–good bad or whatever].
I will continue growing in my creativity.
I will develop and grow Crooked Creek Crafts-Blog, Etsy, etc.
I will continue to monitor and maintain healthy living, breathing, eating, being.
I will respect myself and others.
I will listen. I will hear.
I will watch. I will see.
I will be debt free.
I am released from poverty.
I will give generously.
I will find a good church, attend, and participate.
In Jesus Name!!! Amen.

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Reflections

We all do it, we look in the mirror but what do we see. Do we see ourselves as we really are? Are we too critical and notice only the flaws? Do we see ourselves only on the dark side like The Portrait of Dorian Grey? Or, do we see ourselves vainly as Snow White’s evil stepmother “the fairest of them all”? How can we see ourselves as we really are and love that person? Accept that person?

It is hard. My mother just gave me some photos of when I was younger and I was amazed at how I looked. I remember thinking back then of all the things I didn’t like about my looks. I look in the mirror now and I am still so overweight, I do get sad by how different the outside looks than the inside feels. But I accept that it is a process. I am improving my health and the healthy weight will come. In the mean time I have to accept that I have the wrinkles of a 53 year old and I have the stretch marks earned by the years of not taking care of myself. So, I see me as I am and accept me as I am and love me as I am.

If I love myself for who I am and where I am in my life today then tomorrow will be brighter. I know this now. I have a lot of regrets from the past and have wished to go back and erase some of the mistakes I made and thereby the lines I have earned, but I don’t wish this now. I made my choices then the best I could in the circumstances. This acceptance is acceptance of all the good and the ill that has resulted from these decisions. As popeye wisely says,”I am who I am and that’s all that I am.” This doesn’t mean I stop trying to improve my choices or taking care of myself, this means I accept all the parts of myself and let go of regrets. I must channel these regrets into better choice making for the future.

I can’t make up to my family for choosing work over time with them. I can’t make up to them for having times when I was partying and hanging with friends. And I can’t make up to them for moving them back and forth across country. It is what it is and I hate that saying, but I did what I did and all that I did is now a part of them. For good or bad, they are who they are. And actually, my children are incredible young men, and therefore I didn’t do all bad.

I love my sons and the men they have become. I hope they appreciate how special they are and the good lives they have carved out for themselves. Perhaps my ill choices guided them to be more stable, thereby saving them from a life of wandering like their mother. If so, then my bad choices as well as my good ones have helped to make them stronger. Having the experience of living in many locations helped to make them appreciate stability. Did it make it hard for them to make true and lasting friendships? Perhaps it has, and I hope they will overcome this as well.

I hope I will overcome this too. I hope my sons will forgive me my past and love me for who I am now and where I am going from this day forward. I am doing the best I can and I have never stopped loving and caring for them from the moment they were conceived. For all my friends and family I hope they know that in all my decisions I have always tried to do what was best, just sometimes the choices were not clear to me at the time. We all have the limited scope of our own perceptions with which to make our choices. So I am trying to accept me now and be here now and love my life here now with my husband.

If I have learned one thing it is this, let it go. Stop carrying around your past and your past choices. They are still a part of you whether you like it or not. So just love yourself for who you are and appreciate that you survived that past. Go forward stronger, smarter, and not looking back but forward. And don’t look too far forward either. Enjoy today, not wishes and dreams of a different tomorrow. If you are wanting to erase the past and fantasize about the future, you are again making bad choices in the now and missing out on your life while messing up the future as well. Just try being happy to be here today.

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Getting Healthier

When it comes down to it, we learn our Lessons in Love from our relationships to our parents. This has to do with all of our relationships. I have rediscovered a sense of where I came from and how some of my emotional tendencies evolved by having some recent times with my two mothers. It has opened my eyes to see how I came to be the way I am. Somethings I took right from them and incorporated into my being, others I rebelled against and thus incorporated an opposition to them into my being.

I also see why some of my reactions and my husband’s reactions to one another have nothing to do with our true feelings but have to do with our learned behaviors in relationships due to our parents. We both have a certain history to overcome with childhood traumas and changes we never fully understood. My husband, additionally, has being hearing impaired to overcome in all he does in this very loud hearing world. We now realize we are so similar in our insecurities that it was hard for us to recognize these short falls and understand one another. Fear grows in the insecurities. I mean if I am insecure about the love in my life due to a fear of abondonement, then it is understandable that I would want to run before being abandoned by my love. I have now come to terms with the losses in love at early ages in my life. I am also having to come to terms with how my behaviors have affected my sons personalities and relationships as well.

Can we grow past the fears and insecurities that drove us apart? I Hope so. Though we have been through so many hard struggles as a couple, we have maintained our deep love for one another. It was necessary to take this journey of separation to learn about our own hearts and minds and those of our family. I have seen the things I took in that were negative and positive from my parents and I am working to overpower these to BE Love and to Live in Peace and Harmony with a renewed Faith and Hope to continue my growth toward a fully healthy life.

Have we burned down too many bridges in the past? Can we rebuild on the ashes of our past life together? I think so. Mark is working to strip our home clean and make it ready for our new beginning. His family has removed some of the excess furniture that made our house not really feel like ours. It was not our choice or style so it is a good choice for it to go.

We are going to work to make our house our home and fully filled with our style. So I am working my way back home and soon will be there for this fresh start together. I am getting healthier in everyway, emotional, mental and physical. I am coming home to me.

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Overcoming Fear with Love and Faith and Hope

Yesterday my husband and I were talking about my return to him and our Florida home. We have committed to better communication and to setting long term goals for saving money. We have a few more years in Florida while his son grows then we will go to Colorado. My vision of that home is true and we will be there soon. Time flys really and so there is no time limit on this dream. There is a time limit on Jacob’s childhood so we are there for him. He is a great kid and as all children are, he is deserving of having both his parents in his life.

We have been confronting the tough issues, but none is as tough as fear. Allowing ourself to be vulnerable and to trust another person is so scary it can lead to us pushing away the other person with untrusting words. My husband is trying to help me get the money to come home, but he was afraid I would use the money for something else. This told me that he doesn’t know me, understand me or trust me. I was so angry and hurt by this that I was wondering whether I should even consider going back to that kind of a relationship. I felt so hurt by the lack of trust and the feeling that someone finds me untrustworthy I just wanted to run away to the mountains or eat a cake. I just don’t understand how anyone would think of me as untrustworthy. It must be some vibe I put out?

I in fear thought it will never work, he doesn’t really love me, he can’t even trust me, he thinks I would lie and cheat him? Mark and I were both scared and angry back and forth worried for our little ego and not really living in Faith, Hope and Love. We are now. We apologized and are ready to talk things out calmly and rationally when these fears attack us again.

Then I said God will provide. I don’t need to depend on my husband or his family to provide though God may provide through them. It was like I was treating God as untrustworthy. I had a lack of belief in HIS ability to provide for my needs and to get me home. I was in fear of being stuck here and ending up homeless and unable to get home to my life there. I felt God’s pain at our unbelief. It is like a knife to the heart, a wound to the soul. I can not do that to my God. He has always been there for me through all my yo-yo living. He has picked me up when I fall. He has clothed, sheltered and provided for me no matter what. I may have been homeless or living in a tent, but He was there with me while I was growing in the lesson of that situation. I am willing to do whatever He wants to get on the path to righteousness and healing. I know when I trust him in FAITH then HE never fails, falters or stumbles.

So I asked God for forgiveness for hurting him so. I have renewed my faith and I am trusting HIM to provide the way home. If it comes from his family or if it comes from another source I know it is from HIM. I already received a phone call this morning with a job offer in Bradenton. I am ready to head home. I have a couple of opportunities to explore there.

I saw that fear and dejection lead to bad behaviors like wanting to eat or drink or smoke it away. It is only through FAITH in God believing in HOPE and knowing in LOVE that it will all work out according to HIS plan (which is way beyond anything I could dream or envision on my own) that all things become possible. My life is a mess the world is a mess and the economy is a mess. If we return to FAITH in God and stop focusing on our fears and doubts and anger, we will see the amazing power of God to heal the Earth and all who dwell here.

And anyone of you that is saying oh God is just another crutch, you are wrong. When I leaned on a crutch for a broken foot, it supported me somewhat but was not comfortable or fully supporting. When I leaned on food or smoking to calm my nervous fearful feelings, they helped somewhat temporarily but led to other health issues ultimately making me feel worse. If I say there is no God this is all there is, I feel hopelessness and despair. It is the downword spiral that leads to early death and hell.

If I believe in God I am not partially supported like a crutch, I am fully supported and enlivened with Hope and Faith and Love. I am energized to well being and health and fitness in every area of my life spiraling upward to Heaven. So the devil wants us to think he and God do not exist so we will drown in the whirlpool and be sucked into the dark depths of hell. God says believe in me and I will make you a whirlwind clearing a path of destruction through the damaging forces in your life leading to a bright new life of open sky and fresh air and sunshine. Be a whirlwind not a whirlpool….

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A Time of Healing

I ran to California for a chance to start again away from the painful loss of love I felt in my marriage. I found instead that the loss of me really awakened my husband’s understanding of our mutual needs and painful abuses over the years of struggles. I am now planning my next step of the journey. Will it be back to Florida for a few more years or on to Colorado where I know I really want to be? I am not certain right now. My life in Florida would be changed if I returned, but would some of the things I learned about my Florida life make it more difficult as well? We still have some struggles to confront–child rearing, the ex, family dramas, work, friendships, commitments and financial issues. So we patiently talk it out as we try to find the right path of togetherness or separateness. We want togetherness, but we want to be happy together and no more painful feelings in our love. So we are talking and forgiving and planning together.

As Crosby, Stills, and Nash sang “So much time to make up everywhere we go, time we have wasted on the way. So much water runnning underneath the bridge, let the water come and carry us away.” I feel we are floating between two worlds not quite together not quite apart. We are wasting time apart, but not really as we are both learning about our true natures and desires. Will those things meet somewhere in the middle? Will we have to be apart longer than we want because of differences in dreams?

One song leads to another….Dreams by Fleetwood Mac always used to remind me fondly of my times in Florida when I was young and of my good friend and sisterhood with her. That has gone now, so I sicken at the sound of it. That change is one that will make returning to Florida difficult. Maybe that is why she did it? Did she want to make sure I would never come back? Did she do it selflessly because she thinks I will be better off if I stay away for good? Or did she decide I am no good for her brother? Or is she just a little looney or unable to deal with the emotional situation presented her between all of us? Who knows. It is time to let this person go and this song but not its title.

I still have dreams. I had a visionary dream last week as soon as we got everything moved into our new place here in San Gabriel. I was driving through a ranch gateway in the mountains, all green and lush with snow capped rocky mountains in the background. As I drove through the gate I knew I was driving home. I was entering my gate. Finally my home. I am clinging to this beautiful vision and claiming it by all the power we have to make our life what we choose. I choose this mountain home, a ranch beautiful home in the rockies where I can grow my gardens, hunt fresh game and fish in fresh rivers and streams. A place I will make completely self-sufficient with Solar, Wind and passive solar energy.

Even if my son can’t help me come there, I will be there. Even if my husband isn’t ready, I will be there. It is a place for me and anyone who will be with me will need to have the same dream…that is what I know for sure this is my dream and vision and I am creating it for my life.

The only question remaining is will it be this year or in two to four years. I don’t want to waste any more time along the way. Is it a waste being away from my love or my dream? Which is most important for my true self fulfillment. Can my love be my true love if we don’t share the same goals or dreams? Do I just go for my dreams and encourage him to go for his then see if those lead us back to each other? I do know I don’t want to give up my dreams for anyone any longer.

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