All That From A Pancake

Met up with the hubby for some food after church. After perusing the specials board I asked the waitress what “Italian meatloaf” was and upon receiving the answer proceeded to order the short stack of buttermilk pancakes.

THEY. WERE. HUGE.

Two giant pancakes crowded my plate with only an inch of exposed circumference. If I had known how gargantuan their pancakes were I would have only asked for one! I barely ate half when I defeatedly announced my fullness to Rick. Scoffing quickly ensued from across the table with some comment about hungry people in India.

“Really?!?! I’M. FULL. What do you want me to do? Shove them down my throat until I throw up?!?” was my defensive response.

Suddenly childhood memories came flooding back. I could see one enormous pancake dominating my plate and a most irritated woman standing over to the side. Her name was Donna and she was the land lady of the two family home we lived in. Me, Mom, and my two older brothers lived downstairs and Donna, her husband, and their baby lived upstairs. My mom paid Donna to make breakfast for me and my brother, Todd, every morning and then send us off to school. My mother had a full time job and liked to go to this place for coffee before work instead of spending time with me in the morning. Perhaps that belief is skewed from a child’s perspective but I still feel it’s spot on. I mean, she probably did have to be to work by a certain time but that coffee shop was like her second home…or should I call it her respite?

As I sat in my booth looking at my almost half eaten brunch I relayed to my husband about how I used to get myself ready in the morning (I think that was during 2nd and 3rd grade. Maybe 1st, too, but not certain) and then head on upstairs for breakfast. I was so little! I hated having to go upstairs because I always sensed Donna’s dislike for me…a child.  My candidness, my curiosity about things…my many questions seemed to irritate her. I knew she didn’t like me…or maybe she just didn’t like her life. Either way I felt the brunt of it.

But this particular day, the day of the giant pancake, was a day when about two bites was all I could muster before announcing that I just couldn’t eat anymore. That pissed her off. She already had an issue with my small appetite as it was, so she wasn’t too pleased. Off to school I went only to be dropped right back at home again by my grandmother. Yup. Turns out I was sick…threw up in the nurses office (I did make it to the toilet). I still remember the look on Donna’s face when I stepped inside her kitchen. She must not have been notified by anyone because it did not look like she was expecting me home anytime soon. Since my brother Todd was already home sick and on her couch she sent me downstairs to be sick, ALONE, in my bedroom, throwing up in a plastic bin next to my bed. Mom says she felt bad about giving me grief over the wasted pancake but that was news to me…news I heard as a grown person.

Then I started thinking back to how alone I was growing up. I went from babysitter to baby sitter to babysitter…anyone my mother could find to watch me. The worst of the babysitters was when I had to go to my Aunt Mary’s house everyday. I was TERRIFIED of her. She ran an unlicensed home daycare and I had to walk there after school everyday. I recall how angry and unapproachable she was. I recall how I could never say anything right. I recall her shaking me violently by the shoulders because I came inside for water. I recall her forcing me to demonstrate in her kitchen, with one foot in front of the other across her braided rug, just how slow I was walking one day. (Apparently I took way too long to walk “home” from school. Why was that? Because I actually had a friend who was walking my way that day and I was enjoying talking with her which lead to a slower walking pace. God forbid I should have any kind of enjoyment! I mean, I can understand if she had told me she was worried because I wasn’t home when she expected BUT instead she chose to humiliate me which wasn’t helpful to my already low self esteem. I just think she thought I was lying.) I recall sneaking snacks when Aunt Mary was in the basement doing laundry because I was starving. I recall staring out the window towards the end of each work day longing for my mom to finally pick me up and take me home.

My life consisted of school (which I hated),

the dreadful daily walk to Aunt Mary’s,

finally going home at the end of the day only to be dismissed by my mother who was exhausted from working all day and just wanted to read in bed,

being teased by kids everyday for a season of which I cried everyday and which my mom knew nothing about,

…and being alone most of the time…alone with just my thoughts to keep me company. I remember playing alone a lot.

I grew up missing my mother. I remember crying for her when I was home alone. I must have been crying pretty loud because my neighbor from downstairs (we moved…no more Donna) called me to ask if I was OK. I told her I was fine. I was so embarrassed. This was when I apparently no longer needed supervision. (I’m generation X…the “latchkey” generation.)

The best two years of my childhood were spent at Mrs. Fredette’s house everyday after school…oh, and summers, too! Those were the best summers of my life. From the ages of about ten to twelve years old I was cared for by a woman who showed me what a loving, fully functioning family unit looked like. She always had a smile on her face. She never talked down to me. She talked to me AND listened. She took me places. She loved me unconditionally. All 4 foot 10 inches of her tiny Italian frame embraced me and treated me like one of her own…and she had five other kids! Her oldest daughter, Wendy, became my very first BEST friend (until she broke my heart by wanting a new best friend named Anne…but that’s another story). Her house was full of laughter and love and CONSISTENCY. I desperately needed that kind of structure and acceptance and I will be forever grateful to God for placing her in my life.

But alas, it was eventually decided that I was too old to need that sort of “care”. Perhaps there were other factors but that is what I was told. I was devastated. I loved feeling like part of a family so when that came to an end I felt rejected. She still came around for a time and helped me with rides on days I had the cello, but it was still a huge loss for me.

So, YEAH! All that from a pancake!

My husband finished most of it off.

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Facebook…the place where dreams go to die.

So, I’d never even heard of this double-yolked phenomenon until recently…never knew there was such a thing. So imagine my surprise when I cracked open my very first double-yolked egg today! Of course I had to document this rare event. Apparently the odds of finding a double-yolked egg are about one in 1,000. Maybe I should try a lottery ticket next…or did I use up my odds-quota on the egg? DANGIT! STUPID (delicious) EGG!

 

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UPDATE:

Apparently, according to all the facebook comments I got, this is not rare. Facebook “friends” were quick to let me know that they get these ALL THE TIME. So google lied with the one in one thousand bullshit. Unless it wasn’t referring to local, farm-raised eggs (which these are) but was referring to crappy, store-bought eggs. Although, I’ve been getting these eggs for quite some time and this was still my first double-yoker experience.

WHATEVER. No lottery ticket for Mindy.

Facebook…the place where dreams go to die.

UPDATED UPDATE:

Got the lottery ticket…didn’t win. But I did win another double-yoker! It was the second to last egg from the same carton. I took a picture…of course.

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What A Day

‘What A Day’  9/1/2017 

He said he didn’t believe in God.

Didn’t know if I’d heard him right so I was sure to make my brother repeat himself. His words BruceLee-ed me right in the throat.

“I don’t believe there’s a God,” he scoffed.

“When did this happen?” I thought. How can he believe something can come from nothing? It’s so illogical it boggles my mind because he’s quite intelligent. I know it’s because he doesn’t want to believe, like most. He had a response for every point I tried to make, although my lack of articulation did not help matters. My brain tends to shut down when I need it the most. Whenever the topic of God and Jesus come up with someone who doesn’t believe my heart pounds in my chest and I struggle to find just the right words. I panic inside. My life is centered around Jesus so when my deeply held convictions are challenged my heart can’t seem to bear it…and my brain goes on vacation. What’s frustrating is that I quite often listen to some of the best Christian apologists in the world. There is so much solid evidence for our faith. One would think I would be able to relay all that I have learned when opportunity arises. WRONG! …of course, I also knew you can’t reason someone into believing, so there’s that.

1 Corinthians 2:14

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

I have often heard that we should always share our testimony with the unbeliever because they can’t argue with your own personal experience. Well, I guess that theory is blown. According to Todd, when I felt the Holy Spirit enter into my body at the age of nine it was nothing more than endorphins…or at least that’s what he suggested. But I know the truth. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a child crying out to Jesus with a sincerity that couldn’t have been any purer. I was not expecting to feel anything that night. Didn’t know I COULD expect to feel anything. I didn’t even know about the Holy Spirit! All I knew was that I needed Jesus. I didn’t need any proof of His existence. I just knew that I knew that I knew. I wanted Him in my life. I asked Him to come into my heart. With my face pressed into my pillow I sobbed with a desperation that could have only come from a deep, inner knowing that my heart was incomplete. How could I be aware of such a thing at the tender age of nine? Perhaps because I had not yet been jaded by this fallen world?…I really don’t know. My dad used to tell me a lot of things as a kid. Much of it I discarded for many reasons, but when he simply told me about Jesus I knew it was true. It was the one time he managed to relay something to me in terms I could understand. Imagine my surprise when God literally entered the depths of my heart upon an innocent child’s request. A most pleasant surprise indeed. So sudden! So unexpected! The peace was immediate. Lying on my little belly, crying out to Jesus to come into my heart and then Him responding in the most literal of ways. The energy was immense! It shot right through my back, directly into my heart (just like I had asked) and then spread throughout my entire tiny frame with such warmth and love…well, it’s beyond words. After that I knew without a doubt that Jesus was with me. I had been sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

No big brother, that was not the work of endorphins…especially when one is not expecting to feel anything but the wetness of her tear stained pillow.

His unbelief hurt me more than when he told me my niece is transgender and has a new name. That came up first. We were in a diner at the time and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Never could hide my emotions. Yup. Apparently it was a bomb dropping kind of day over a plate of Eggs Benedict and home fries. Don’t get me wrong, the news of my niece’s on-going struggle with her identity hit hard too. I didn’t feel well. Angst began squeezing my aorta and I can still feel its presence. My appetite vanished. Yet, what seems to be weighing on me even more than that revelation is the fact that my brother, ALL of my brothers, do not believe in the one true God. I had thought (hoped even) that at least Todd still had faith. It does indeed grieve my soul. But I am so thankful for how calm, loving, and patient he was with me. He understood I was learning all of this for the first time and allowed me my natural reaction. It was time well spent in George’s Diner, regardless of the tears. We actually had more time to talk because my motorcycle crapped out on me and I was forced to hop on the back of his bike. We ended up eating much closer than originally planned for our Thursday afternoon, bike riding adventure. Divine intervention? Perhaps. After fussing with the fuel switch (it’s a long story) my bike did get me home on the way back.

Todd & Mindy 8/31/17

Me and my big brother after we ate at the diner. I think this may be the only picture of just the two of us…we need to start taking more pics I think!

I don’t know how to let go of this burden. I’m well aware that I cannot convince anyone of the existence of God yet I still tend to carry the responsibility as if its my own. I’m trying to give it up to my Heavenly Father. I’ve cried out to Him to take this heaviness off of my heart. I was told by one confidant that I’m grieving and I know they are correct in their assumption. It comes in waves. Just when I think I’m all better another bout of sadness overwhelms my soul from deep within. It’s a sadness I don’t want.

This world we live in, these bodies we possess, the spirit we feel deep within our core…a creator cannot be denied. Our bodies are so intricate in detail. Each person so unique to the next. God cannot be denied. Everything has order…from the structure of our DNA to the finely tuned universe…God cannot be denied. This does not happen by chance nor by accident. All men are without excuse when it comes to the rejection of our mighty Creator.

Romans 1:19-20

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

God Keeps a Record of EVERYTHING. He Never Forgets a Single Tear.

Our one true God keeps a record of everything…even when we forget.

He sees all. Even good deeds we’ve done in secret, no matter how small to us, never go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. And He also sees the tears we shed in private. The tears cried into our pillow at night may be unknown to others, but not to Him.

It’s comforting to know that God never forgets a single tear.

You know, I’ve always imagined God keeping every single tear I’ve ever cried and will cry within my very own bottle, labeled “Mindy’s Tears”. I envisioned it sitting upon a heavenly shelf somewhere for safe keeping, along with every one else’s tear-filled bottles. Actually, I pictured my plethora of tears requiring a much larger container such as a water jug, or maybe even a vat. But I now realize I misread that passage. It doesn’t say He keeps all my tears in A bottle…it says He keeps all my tears in His bottle. Huh… That changes everything.

Psalm 56:8 

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?

There’s A Difference

Two days ago marked the one year anniversary of my deliverance from depression (April 22, 2016). It was a long 28 year battle; quite severe at times. I could definitely be happier in my life but there’s a huge difference between unhappiness and depression which I can CLEARLY see. The depression is GONE. I’ve had lots of struggles since this event but I’m certain that’s to be expected since when the enemy loses a battle he tends to attack with something else, but through the trials I’ve learned and grown a lot. I have a long ways to go and I hope I can overcome all the other tiresome struggles that are still holding me back from being the person I truly want to be. God knows what they all are. I pray the Lord will guide me and help me live the life He wants for me…whatever that is. It’s definitely a process and I’m trying to work through it.

And on Friday the 28th it will have been a year since I gave up marijuana. Haven’t touched it since. It was definitely a stronghold in my life and I’m glad to be free from it. I don’t even think about it anymore (that took some time) and my lungs are happier, too.

 

The Shack…See or Shun?

So, after listening to both sides, I think each make legitimate, reasonable points. When I first saw mention of this movie I looked it up to see what it was all about since I’d never read the book. SO MANY of my devoted Christian friends were raving about this movie on Facebook, so I needed to see what all the fuss was about. But once I googled The Shack I quickly became unnerved by all the negative reviews (you know what they say about the internet…It’s where dreams go to die). Then I found some excerpts from the book that troubled me…“How could so many of my Christian peers be so enamored by such heresy?”, I thought to myself. “Where is their discernment?”“Why aren’t alarm bells going off in their heads?!?” I know their love and devotion to the Lord is genuine. I trusted that fact so I decided maybe there was more than meets the eye in this case. I say “in this case” because there are movies I have flat out refused to go see because of their BLATANT heresy. Films such as The Last Temptation of Christ or Exodus: Gods and Kings, or Noah, just to name a few. The bible is amazing all on its own. It does not need help with its narrative. It does not need any changing or add-ons, but Hollywood seems to think otherwise.

For me it is far too painful to watch lies about my Lord on screen so I try to avoid them. I think those movies are quite damaging because so many people who have never read a bible story watch Hollywood’s version and know no other. BUT, after reading someone’s comment about how God can use anything it got me to thinking about these heretical films. “Hmmmmm”, I thought, “How many people, after watching these, actually picked up a bible  to see if what they saw was actually in there?” That’s not to say these films don’t draw more people further away from God than to Him. I’m just pointing out the fact that God CAN use anything. And I’m most certainly not trying to excuse the making of these blasphemous films. But, in my humble opinion, malice intent was behind the making of those films but not so in the making of The Shack. Yes, yes, I know good intentions can fall short and lead to unintended consequences. After all, French philosopher Albert Camus made a good point when he said,

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

Hmmm…So I guess I just refuted my own argument.

Let’s see what the bible has to say. I’m no biblical scholar and I have so much to learn, but I kept hearing a passage in my head from Romans 14…so I read the entire chapter and feel its meaning goes well beyond food. I think it relates to what someone was trying to say in a comment I mentioned earlier…Those that are confident enough in their faith to go see this movie and gain some sort of beneficial understanding from it which does not conflict with God’s truth should not be condemned or shamed by those who aren’t comfortable with this film. God blesses both. 

Was The Shack perfect? No. But after excessive researching of different reviews and comments from both sides of the aisle and a self-defense piece by the actual co-author (don’t forget to check out the comments section, too), I decided to go see the film for myself. After all, how can I make judgments based only on others’ opinions? As my husband loves to quote, “I’ll know my song well before I start singing”. And, like I said, after all of my studying of this film it did not seem to fall into the same category as the others (for me). I still had my doubts and worries about how God’s character would be portrayed but I also went in knowing that this movie was having a positive effect on people. I can’t say the same for those OTHER films nor did any of my fellow Christians endorse those films. Ope! But since those movies were OBVIOUSLY disingenuous I can already hear the arguments now…“but deception comes wrapped up in truth! That’s far more dangerous!” Yes. That is true. Deception works best when it’s disguised with truth. But I didn’t see anything in this film that would cause someone to lose their soul to the dark side. But yeah, there were some key elements in this film that I didn’t like.

I’m not into a fictionalized idea/portrayal of two parts of the Trinity appearing as people, but that’s just me. It felt wrong. I also didn’t like the watering down of sin and its consequences. When I heard her (Papa) say, “Sin is its own punishment” I immediately said out loud, “WHAT?!?!” I don’t even know what that means! Most sin is enjoyable or no one would be doing it. How can sin be its own punishment? That would mean Jesus didn’t have to die for our sins if there’s no danger of punishment. We all have to face judgment one day. That’s why believing in Jesus and what He did for us at the cross is so important. We are redeemed through His blood. I didn’t feel the complete message of the cross was presented well, if at all. It was hard for me to move past that scene. It was basically implied that there is no such thing as the wrath of God. Well, tell me that after reading the book of Revelation. Let’s just say this is why I don’t like to watch these movies…I feel safer (and calmer) learning and reading about God’s will and character straight from God’s Holy Word because from there I KNOW for sure, without a doubt, that what I read is true and accurate. But that’s not to say God can’t reveal Himself through other avenues. He does it all the time.

I do understand the thought behind these fictional characters (and that’s just what it is, FICTION) and the reasoning of why God the Father appears to the character, Mack, in such a way. And the reasoning was also explained to the audience. Just because I don’t like that concept doesn’t make it wrong for others who do (again, refer back to Romans 14), but then again…does it?

So this is where my struggle/inner conflict comes in… 

I tend to think something is either wrong or it isn’t…it’s either scriptural or it isn’t. I’m really confused since so many believers don’t seem to have any qualms with these portrayals, yet I do.  Is there something wrong with ME? Am I too closed-minded? Are they too open-minded? I tend to think if something portrays God’s truth then there shouldn’t be confusion attached. And I understand there are those of you who believe the mere fictionalized portrayal of God the Father as a woman is blasphemous. I’m not so sure I disagree but I don’t believe this portrayal was meant to imply that God is a woman. Besides, later in the movie God the Father changes form and appears as a man as well and we were all created in His image, male and female, soooo…I just keep going back to the fact that this is someone’s fictitious narrative.

So, again, this movie is based on a work of fiction from someone’s imagination. They had an idea and tried to fit scripture into it. Is that wrong? I don’t know. God seems to be using it regardless. Who am I to say it’s bad to watch this movie? In this case, and I already explained what I mean by, “in this case”, there was more meat than bones. So, as a believer rooted with a solid foundation of truth, I chewed the meat and spit out the bones. And, as a believer, I can now have a discussion about this film if it ever comes up because I saw it. Others who don’t have as solid a foundation or none at all should be able to be fed by the rest of us who do. If we choose to view this film we can then explain the truth to those who don’t know or understand. This film presents opportunity.

I didn’t want to assume I knew what this film was all about without seeing it. So that’s why I chose to go see it. We shouldn’t judge, condemn, or shame our fellow believers for being excited about a movie that seems to be encouraging them in THEIR walk and helping those who are struggling with grief and forgiveness. After watching this film I don’t see it as a deterrent to knowing the One True God. I’m hoping it will pique one’s curiosity and lead them to do some seeking of their own. And if in their earnest seeking they are sincere, God will meet them.

It’s OK to lovingly express our concerns and remind our brothers and sisters about using discernment and being alert to the possibility of hidden deception. I think it’s important and we should do that, but then it is in their hands. The choice is their’s to make and we must trust that Holy Spirit is at work. Who am I to judge something that has touched so many? I’m willing to admit that I don’t know it all. Just because it didn’t impact me doesn’t mean it can’t be encouraging for someone else. Granted, I did go into the movie knowing what was coming in many places and that may have ruined the element of surprise, but that’s what I needed to do “in this case“…but there was a time in my walk, as a believer, when I DIDN’T always test everything…and yet somehow I turned out alright. Imagine that. Holy Spirit must be doing something right.

Would I recommend this movie to others? No. Probably not because of my own lingering doubts and concerns. Would I watch it again? Sure…if it happens to be showing during a free DIRECTV movie preview at home…Sure. Maybe I’ll get more out of it the second time around, and since I’ll be at home, I won’t be tempted to buy that overly priced, buttered popcorn that goes straight to me butt.

FINAL CONCLUSION:

After reading through all that I wrote above it is clear to me I was in conflict with myself; trying to justify why the movie is OK for others but not for me while still struggling with the fact that this story is not based on 100% biblical truth. I wrote above, “They had an idea and tried to fit scripture into it. Is that wrong?”…Yes. It’s wrong to try and contort God’s Word to fit your own ideas of “truth”.  I’m not OK with a movie conflicting or distorting any aspect of God’s true nature. This film left me with an uneasiness deep within my gut because its theology is clashing with the Holy Spirit who lives in me. I should not have to struggle to justify something if it’s message is in alignment with the bible; this story is not. And one should note that the author, William Paul Young, does not believe in the One True God of the bible. His latest book, “Lies We Believe About God” proves that. He believes in universalism, where everyone is saved. That is not biblical. And I did see universalism suggested in this movie. Even though this book’s co-author does not support this falsehood, the very fact that both authors have conflicting beliefs should raise red flags. 

I spoke of deception being disguised with truth and upon further reflection I DO believe this movie is veiled in deception. What I wrote was me basically arguing it all out with myself…Pros and cons…But, for me, I don’t like anything that is just far too questionable and that can mislead someone into thinking that true repentance and having a healthy fear of God are not necessary, because that’s part of this movie’s message whether one wants to agree with it or not. I can’t support something that takes away from the very essence of why Jesus Christ died on the cross.  I cannot and will not try to justify this film any further…Is God a loving God? Yes. But He is also Holy and deserves reverence. I get people’s arguments that this movie reaches those that think God is unloving and unreachable, but this movie watered down certain truths to appease those who don’t want to know about the reality of eternal consequence to sin by rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That, to me, is the most important message and did not need to be excluded…but after learning what the main author’s theology is I’m not surprised. Not sure this movie would lead one to salvation even though I did say God CAN use anything, but it could lead one to believe all paths lead to the One True God…and that’s a travesty.

I found a clip of Ravi Zacharias answering someone’s question and he speaks of Paul Young in a very loving way but puts into words exactly how I feel but wasn’t able to express…

“…Doctrinally if you come close to that which can become quite aberrant you risk the pristine nature of the doctrine and can run the risk of fouling it up…”

I also agree with Steven Bancarz’s take on this movie as well…

Not My March

They call it a “Women’s March” as if to imply ALL women are welcome, yet forget to mention pro-lifers and those with traditionally held values need not apply.  They complain about vulgarity from Trump yet don homemade vulvas atop their heads. Some spat at pro-life protesters and tore up their signs whilst others shouted profanities with middle fingers ablaze. Go figure. Dumbest. March. Ever… in my opinion.

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They have vaginas and they are very proud of them.

 

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Oh. Wow.

 

Exactly what rights were they fighting for anyway?!?! Nobody could give a clear answer. Any excuse to get together and dress up as lady bits, I guess. I have no doubt many were enticed by the feeling of camaraderie that comes with women getting together and chanting.

What I saw (from what I could see from my couch, mind you) was an array of vulgar, hand-crafted costumes, a sea of pink pussy hats, and a hodgepodge of hand-painted signs that didn’t seem to lead to any singular, unifying goal. The only common theme I saw in this march was love for abortion and hate for Trump. Granted, the fraction of protesters that were viewed from my living room do not speak for EVERYONE that attended. I am aware of that. I am also aware that many of the women marching had their own personal reasons for doing so and that’s great, but what came across didn’t impress me and the facts speak for themselves. Just look at the many links provided on the Women’s March on Washington website and you will find a common theme of anti-Trump press coverage. There was even a link for eleven anti-Trump inauguration protests you can join around the country. How helpful, thanks! All generously provided to you by the event’s official website. And many women will attest to the fact that they did not feel welcome because their particular views did not match up to the views all women are apparently supposed to have.

And if that’s not enough to convince you of its “underlying” agenda then just listen to the many speeches given from the stage that day. This was hardly a nonpartisan event (although they insist it was) but an event advocating abortion and denouncing the new President.

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The agenda was clear and the event quite hypocritical in fact, considering one of its organizers, Linda Sarsour, supports Sharia Law. This wasn’t about women’s rights. Besides the fact that we already won those some time ago, how on Earth does President Trump threaten any of our rights as women? He’s only married to a strong, independent woman who’s done quite well for herself in business AND as a devoted mother. He only has amazing, well mannered and articulate children who adore him. His eldest daughter is even a trusted adviser! How does he not support women again?!?! No. This march was strictly about expressing hatred for the new President and defending the right to murder unborn children. That’s it.

So, I ask again, what rights will President Trump be taking away from you ladies?!?! The “right” to kill the LIFE in your womb due to its inconvenience to YOUR precious life? (Don’t worry, if Roe vs Wade ever gets overturned I’m sure you can still find a state willing to take care of your inconvenience.) He hadn’t even been in office a full day before you all felt the need to crowd the streets as walking labia, demanding to be heard. Well, I heard you. I heard your hate speech loud and clear, Madonna. I heard your man hating vitriol and twisted “facts”, Ashley Judd.

I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t need to wear pink pussy hats or parade around with my face encased within a fake female crotch to prove it. 

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Ummm….

 

Way to represent, ladies, but I think your message of

Way to represent, ladies, but I think your message of “Can’t touch this” may be sending mixed signals.

 

While all you walking labia were defending rights that WE ALREADY HAVE there were actual women crying ALL OVER THE WORLD with REAL problems and REAL oppression. This march did not create any positive change but it most certainly incited more divisiveness, hate, and intolerance.

Here’s a funny piece written by Katie Hopkins who actually WAS there…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4144242/KATIE-HOPKINS-Having-vagina-biology-not-argument.html#ixzz4WW3F9Tl2

Perfect Cold Open for SNL Following Inauguration

So Rick and I were watching President Trump signing his first executive orders today.

“He could be signing anything,” my husband joked…

“He’s not even reading them first. What if someone snuck something into the pile that says Hillary is now President?”

I laughed along, “Yeah! …I resign as President of the United States…Donald Trump.”

“Ha, ha, ha!” we laughed together.

Then we thought that would make a funny Saturday Night Live skit since the show loves to bash on Trump anyways… I mean, have you SEEN Weekend Update?!?! Majority of that segment seems dedicated to Trump-bashing…no surprise considering the mentality of one of its writers. And I’m so over Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression. Darrell Hammond was way better.

But I digress.

I can almost see it now…Kate McKinnon as Hillary (incognito, of course), sneakily sliding an order (of her own devious creation) into the pile from within the crowd that’s standing all around President Trump as he signs away at the desk. One last desperate attempt to make her dreams of becoming the first woman President a reality.

Let’s see if the SNL writer’s thought up the same scenario. That would be funny…or sad since I wouldn’t see a dime.

Side Note: The best Donald Trump impersonator that I’ve come across thus far is a comedian by the name of Anthony Atamanuik. I think he nails it…but you be the judge…

Another One Gone Too Soon

This came up as a memory on Facebook from January 9, 2015. I was struggling, yet again, with another bout of depression.

 I’m not the greatest example when it comes to people seeing Jesus through my life…but I can’t stop believing in him. I just can’t help it. Maybe it’s because I’ve believed since I was about 9 so it’s a part of me? Maybe it’s because of the supernatural experiences I’ve had? Maybe it’s because of all the evidence I keep discovering through apologetics? I don’t know anymore. There are so many questions that I can’t answer. So many questions and hurts and disappointments that keep people from believing and I don’t understand why it has to be so hard if God wants us all to come to him. If we can’t believe unless God allows it how is that free will? I just don’t get it but, still, I can’t stop believing. Guess that’s why they call it faith. The fact that I’m so damn miserable doesn’t exactly help my cause, but Jesus is the only hope I have for when this shitty life comes to an end…and it will come to an end…it’s inevitable. I should be out there trying to help and encourage others but how can I when I feel like this? I’d only be a hypocrite. Now I understand why the bible speaks of perseverance and steadfastness when it comes to our faith in Christ…because it’s hard to stay positive in such a depressing world. Hopefully the joy will return to me soon because I seem to have lost it……AGAIN. If I had the money and a passport I’d go on a missions trip to fix my perspective, but I’m not sure seeing even more misery would help or just make it worse. Instead I guess I’ll just go wrap myself up in blankets and watch movies to temporarily forget about myself. I suppose I’m thankful that I can do that….some people don’t even have a cardboard box to call home. So I should shut up now.

When I scrolled through all of the comments I received from friends who wanted to reach out to me, I came across this one and it stung a bit. Why? Because he’s dead now. He was a cousin I had recently reunited with at my brother’s house. It was a Cantalupo family reunion of sorts.  Honestly, I didn’t know who Mike was but I liked him instantly. Here’s what he said to me on Facebook…

Mindy so sorry to hear that you are feeling so down…remember that a lot of people love you and care about how you feel and that we are all with you. Maybe you need a few days on Miami Beach to clear your head and if so you are welcome and have a place to stay. Also keep in mind your relationship with your doctor and that there are many new medications that can help you feel a lot better. I love you and you can call 24/7 (305) 479-7849.

The fact that he’s dead isn’t really the whole reason it stung a bit when I came across his comment. It’s HOW he died. You see, Mike killed himself. How ironic. He was trying to comfort me in a time of darkness and all the while I had no idea he had struggles of his own. I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know how he did it. All I know is I never called him. I never reached out to him. And now those opportunities are gone because he is gone.

I just wrote this on his timeline…

You tried to reach out to me on this day, 2 years ago. I was in a dark place and blurted it all out on Facebook for everyone to see. You responded with the sweetest heart. We had just met at the ‘Cantalupo Reunion’ and I liked you instantly. I want to thank you for trying to pull me up out of the pit I call depression. You invited me to come down to Miami and visit you…even gave me your number but I never called. If only I had known you had struggles of your own. Came across your comment of encouragement through the memories feed. It stung a bit because of the subject matter. It struck me a bit ironic minus the humor. I think we had more in common than I ever knew. Wish we could talk about it but, alas, you are gone. I hope we meet again someday. And I love you, too.

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Mike is the one in the mustard colored sweater. Next to him is my husband, Rick, and next to Rick is me.

 

Don’t Do It!

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FAIL.

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I posted this on Facebook last year. This was my state of mind a year ago. Was feeling really depressed and negative. This year I want to do better for myself. Problem is, in order to do better for myself I actually have to DO BETTER FOR MYSELF. No one else is going to do it for me so I need to let go of that pipe dream.

Why the hell is self-discipline so effing difficult for me?!?! I can see the person I want to be in my mind’s eye but actually BECOMING that person has yet to become my reality.

This New Year’s Day started on a Sunday. I thought starting my new year off by going to church would be a really good start. What did I do? I slept 20 minutes too late and felt I didn’t have enough time to get ready so I slept in instead.

F A I L.

I can’t let that set the tone for the rest of the year. I just can’t. I have to choose to make better choices from here on out. I’m going to try. I’ve entered the fourth decade of my life and I feel as if this is it…like if I don’t do something NOW the window is going to shut forever. I don’t want to pass the point of no return. I want my 26 year old body back, DAMNIT!! OK, maybe that’s not very realistic but I know I can still look good if I do the right things. I need to get into serious shape to prove to myself I still have what it takes. I’ve always wanted that for myself but was never able to hold onto it. I was in amazing shape when I was 26. Had abs you could wash clothes off of. Then I got married and stopped working out. Well, it didn’t happen all at once but it didn’t take long before I lost whatever small amount of discipline I had managed to attain. I want my abs back. And with good health and a tight ass confidence is sure to follow. And with confidence comes a much more positive attitude which, in turn, will help me become the successful artist I know I can be.

So I gots tah to push through the “I don’t feel like it” BULLSHIT and just DO. IT. And if I slip up every now and again I need to not dwell on that fact…to not beat myself up over it and move on…to dust myself off and get right back up. I know becoming the person I want to be requires discomfort in the beginning, but I know I can do this. I have to. Otherwise I’m gonna end up a resentful, fat, bitter old woman with a zillion cats who complains about how I could have been someone. That would suck. And I already have 6 cats and a jiggly midsection. Shit.

Stay On The Vine

All of my heart wrenching inner struggles were recently spewed out through my fingertips in a desperate attempt to get some secret sufferings out of my insides. It’s all saved in a draft and that’s where it will stay. No need to publish ALL my dirty laundry.

I’ve been crying out to Jesus in an urgent plea to “Tell me what to do”…and I knew this meant hearing something I may not want to hear. It’s His will I want, not my own. And as difficult as it is to say that to the One True Creator (because I have my own ideas of how my life should go down), I know His way is far better than my way and I think He just gave me my answer (now if I could just feel good about the answer). I was reading someone’s Facebook post about the fruits of the Spirit when one in particular stuck out like a sore thumb and almost poked me in the eye.

…longsuffering…

That’s a fruit?!?! Really?!? Wow. I had never thought about it before. In my ESV it’s translated as patience. But longsuffering struck a chord. It never occurred to me that THAT is what patience means. So I googled ‘longsuffering, fruits of the Spirit’ and my eyes almost immediately fell on this heading…

Never Give Up! The Fruit of Longsuffering

So, naturally, I clicked on it. This article pretty much addressed what I’ve been struggling with for a very long time. After reading it I walked away with the realization that this is all part of God’s pruning process. If I walk away and give up, if I give in to ‘self’, I feel as though I’m forfeiting the game. I want my Heavenly Father’s promises in my life and it seems to me that in order to receive His promises I must be willing to go through the pruning and not give up. I want to be Spirit-driven, not flesh-driven. And let me tell you, this is not an easy task. But I don’t want to miss out on something because I gave in to my own selfish wants and needs.  This life is short and eternity is, well, FOREVER. I need to hold on to this eternal perspective. I’m going to “Stay on the vine” as it says in this article and remember this verse…

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, `We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'”

When I stay on the vine I will find all I need to persevere. God will give me the strength and in doing so I will become all that He has intended me to be. I’m hoping the days that seem too heavy to bear will visit me less and less until they are a thing of the past. I know that I’m a work in progress if I don’t give up. My prayers have been problem-centered instead of God-centered. I learned that from Dr. Charles Stanley’s ‘Solving Problems Through Prayer’. Funny, I came across that on Facebook, too! It was in my memories feed. I had sent it to a friend to try and encourage her. Little did I know it was really meant for me to be seen years later. Of course, I do believe it’s OK to cry out to God with our problems. He wants us to tell Him how we are feeling because He truly cares for us, but our problems shouldn’t be the main focus day in and day out. I’ve been doing just that and let me tell you, it has become a burden far too heavy to carry and when you do this you run the risk of making yourself sick with grief. This very well may be why I’m experiencing the worst break-out of eczema on my face, EVER. Focusing on the problem will get you no where FAST and I’m sure it’s a tactic of the enemy. I’m going to try and listen to Jesus on this one. He said in Matthew 11: 28-3028 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

…Solving Problems Through Prayer…

  1. God is interested in your problem.

  2. God is greater than your problem.

  3. Our first response should be to seek the Lord.

  4. God may want to involve other people.

  5. God will give us the solution.

  6. Our prayers should be God-centered, not problem-centered.

  7. God’s solution usually requires an act of faith.

  8. God’s solution is always best. 

A Deep Longing

God is interested in my problem…God is bigger than my problem…God will give me the solution…God’s solution is better than my own…That’s what I keep telling myself…I know it’s true but I’m afraid I’m doomed regardless. Not everyone gets to have the fairy tale.

It’s Gonna Be A Long Night

On the way out of the polls a girl holding a cardboard sign with the words “Do you need a hug?” asked us if we needed a hug. So I gave her a big ol’ bear hug…

Rick said he’d let her know tomorrow.

It’s Getting Worse

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It would be nice if this idea were true (the clearing up part, that is…not the permanent agitation). I mean, it’s been like sixteen months of constant, in-your-face election madness. A girl can only take so much.

I hate going out in public like this. I’ve even been avoiding church because I don’t want to be around people. Feeling extremely self-conscious. (OK, so I MAY have exaggerated the redness for effect in the above meme. Wanted to get the point across, but mentally that’s how red I think it looks when I’m out in public) img_0862

I ordered some milk thistle supplements and some E45 cream online. It’s been suggested to me that it might be a liver issue, so maybe the milk thistle will help detox my liver and clear up this crap. It could be diet, too. I also suffer from allergies so I just don’t know. It’s probably a combination of things.

Milk thistle should be arriving on election day…how ironic.

For The Grammar Nazis

 

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Couldn’t decide which one I liked better…..

 

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Make. It. Stop.

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After doing a little research, I think the actual medical term might be Periorificial Dermatitis? First developed this when I was twelve. Dermatologist told me it was eczema and that I would always have it (real encouraging). It was only around my nose and under my ears at that time. Then it went away during my teen years and didn’t rear its’ ugly head again until my late thirties. Now it has spread and is forming around my eyes which has never happened before. Just want it to go away.

I was free and clear for the last three years but here we are again. They say stress can be a factor and this ridiculously long-ass election can’t be over soon enough! If this crap on my face doesn’t start to clear up on the 9th then it will be due to the outcome following this damn nightmare of an election…or it’s just due to my life in general.

Sigh.

 

His Gratitude Still Shows

 

Gilbert loves his daddy soooo much! ❤

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Click to read Gilbert’s backstory.

I Know That You Know That I Know That You Know

Just sharing a Facebook memory from one year ago today…

To the woman standing in the Vista parking lot…. I honestly thought you were waiting for me to pass by so you could cross. But as I went by I heard you say, “Yeah. Speed up, asshole!” I know you know I heard you. I know you saw the look of shock on my face as I slowed down to look at you in disbelief. It was hurtful and I may have even shed a couple tears, but I forgive you. I even prayed for you because you looked extremely miserable and angry with life in general. Know that I would never deliberately be an “asshole” to anyone. Actually, I would like to thank you for showing me just how much I have grown. Normally, that would have set my mood for the rest of the day. I would have worn it like a badge of shame for angering a complete stranger. And being able to tell Lisa (my neighbor downstairs) about the mean lady right when I got home helped too. Thanks Lisa! And praise God for all the healing I’ve experienced over this last year and a half!

Dead To Self, Alive In Christ

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Lake Opechee…August 14, 2016

My first baptism was as a baby so I don’t count that one. After all, I had no idea what was going on at the time. You could say that the dribbling of water over my tiny noggin was for my parents’ benefit, not my own. I’m a firm believer in one getting baptized when one is aware of its meaning and symbolism. And years later I turned down confirmation because I knew I didn’t belong in the Catholic church. The priest actually agreed with me! It was my mother who was disappointed.

So my first true baptism was twenty years ago. I was twenty-one years old and felt I should get baptized because I knew, as a believer, I was called to do so. It was the same type of setting as seen above, but instead of a lake it was a small pond at the local park of my hometown. A lot of people turned up for it which I did not expect. I don’t recall inviting anyone but I must have because it turned into a big thing which kind of left me feeling awkward and on the spot. I remember holding a permanent smile on my face to show my family how “good” I now was. I tried so hard to appear as though I finally had it all together. I even hugged the two gentlemen who dunked me because I had seen the kid before me do it so I thought it was a good idea. Had zero clue on how to be myself  because I hadn’t a clue on who I was to begin with. But I knew getting baptized was the right thing to do and I’m glad I did it.

I know getting baptized isn’t some magical act that causes one to suddenly become perfect, but at that time in my life I think I may have looked at it that way…as if it meant a do-over where I could start all fresh and new and never mess up again. So when I almost immediately started screwing up and making MAJOR life mistakes…well, to say I felt like a failure would be an understatement. I have a better understanding of God’s forgiveness now but I still don’t fully grasp its meaning. Logically I know that every time I sincerely confess my sins and ask the Lord for His forgiveness I am washed white as snow. My slate is wiped clean. As far as the east is from the west God remembers my sins no more. He forgets. Wish I could!

During the first ten years after my baptism I experienced a lot of pain…a lot of hurt. Major heart ache and struggles. It’s taken me many, many years to let a lot of it go. Some feelings of resentment still haunt me but God knows I’m genuinely trying to forgive. Thank God Almighty for His grace. The second half of the twenty year span wasn’t as bad because I had my husband, but I still experienced major bouts of severe depression and it was a difficult time. It’s been a long process of healing but I was finally delivered of depression in April, as I have shared in previous posts. SO, since it had been twenty years since my first public profession of faith, I felt it was a good time for a renewal. I love what the water baptism symbolizes. As we go under we die to self…we even stop breathing! Then when we rise up out of our watery grave we are a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

I’ve experienced so many changes over the last two decades…so many changes. I have grown a lot, especially over these last two years. I may not be where I want to be but THANK GOD I’m not where I used to be! I’m closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been and look forward to getting even closer to Him and gaining a deeper understanding of who He is and how much He loves me. I want more.

I’ll Take Them All Please

So, after expressing concern about our limited funds and what I should or shouldn’t buy, my husband sort of convincingly (but not really) says, “Get whatever you want!”

Hmmm…     (long pause)

Hmmmmmmm…    (some more thinking ensues)

Ah yeah, feels like a trap. Tempting though.

 

Smoke and Mirrors

Some people have the best lives. I almost get jealous…then I remember it’s just Facebook.

Facebook-Induced Insomnia

When someone posts a politically slanted article that you feel compelled to comment on and then you can’t sleep from anxiety of anticipated negative/rude responses that are sure to follow said comment so you get up at 3:44 am to delete it because you just don’t want to deal with backlash. Just don’t want to deal. Period.

Where I’m At Today…Tomorrow I May Feel Differently

DISCLAIMER:

I was clearly feeling extremely negative when I wrote this. I tend to write what I feel when I’m feelin’ it. I don’t currently believe I’m a “horrible person” (but that could once again change…hence the title of this post) and I’m still not worried about the whole speaking in tongues thing as I have said in previous posts…even though, in this piece, it seems I am concerned. Was just feeling down in general.

Hebrews 11:6   And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Does this mean I’m not seeking God hard enough? Or is the reward he’s speaking of a heavenly one? I must not be seeking God properly, because I feel like things are never going to change in my life. Getting into the new place seems impossible as I look at another year in this apartment. What was supposed to be one year in this place has turned into seven. I have no goals or hopes in life anymore. Any zeal or ambition or dreams I once had are all but distant memories now. And I feel like I have no purpose. I thought I’d be a successful artist but instead I just take up space. I feel fat, my looks have faded and my joints and hands ache. I have no desire to create.

I’ve prayed plenty and feel it pointless to continue repeating myself. God heard me the first time, I’m sure. I’m trying to be thankful for what I do have but it’s just not helping. I’m a horrible person. I was thinking to myself today that most of the world’s population doesn’t have the life they hoped for so why should I be any different? I said, “Get over yourself, Mindy!” I live in a fallen world so why should I expect to be prosperous in anything? What makes me different from any Christian in a third world country? This reward spoken of in Hebrews must be speaking of a heavenly one, otherwise every earnestly seeking believer would be prosperous. And Joel Osteen doesn’t help this inner struggle AT ALL. He only frustrates it more!

I’m frustrated with how other Christians seem to have conversations with God. Are they really experiencing this dialogue or are they just imagining it? I don’t even speak in tongues…what does that mean? I’ve been a Christian for 32 years now. Paul says we should all desire this gift, which to me means that we all can receive this gift. And this gift seems to imply a closer relationship to God is achieved through it, so why don’t I have it?!?!

I want to get baptized again because it’s been 20 years but I feel like I don’t deserve to renew my profession of faith because I’m such a failure. I don’t think I’m pleasing to God or anyone for that matter. Hopefully I get through this slump soon. Just when I seem to be feeling really good I end up crashing. This all started when my father made some negative comments about something I posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago. It had to do with a particular preacher I had recently discovered whose particular message had lifted my spirits which, within seconds, my father managed to pound into the ground. I really need to stop letting others rob me of my joy.

Just Me Grumbling

First written July 15, 2016…

Lord, forgive me for my negative attitude. Just when I think I’m behaving rather well my flesh takes over and grumbles about what I don’t have…or rather, what I used to have but had to give up.

It all started with me trying to pull into my driveway today only to find someone parked halfway up it and to the far left leaving me barely any room to squeeeeze into my space. Was incredibly annoyed because this has happened more than once. My mistake was not realizing the driver was still in the car as I pulled in complaining OUT LOUD…. Bet she heard me asking if they were retarded because, as I walked to my door, she was nothing but apologies about how she was “Just dropping him off.” I knew I had done a bad thing and told her to not mind me because I was hot. Duh. I should’ve just told her that I’m an ass for allowing myself to be so easily irritated and then I could’ve politely asked her to make a point of parking farther to the right next time.

But instead, the second  I was behind closed doors, I vented out,”Just dropping him off?!? Just pull up! Just pull up! Just pull up!” Which lead myself into complaining about how much I miss having my house to myself. How I hate that I had to give up 75% of my house to renters so we wouldn’t lose said house. I miss my kitchen, my dishwasher, my backyard, my bathtub, and most importantly, MY LAUNDRY ROOM which contained my very own washer and dryer. My tenants get to use all of that now. The car positioning especially irritated me because I had planned to park close to my door in order to more easily load up my car with laundry since I’m forced to go to the laundromat…hence, missing my laundry room downstairs. But I couldn’t do that because there was no room. Not that I had much farther to walk, I just wanted to be pissed about it.

My husband and I have been squished in the upstairs of this house for about six or seven years now….it was supposed to be temporary, like a year. The upstairs is equipped with a makeshift kitchen that only one person can cook in at a time and a bathroom with only a shower stall…no bathtub. Oh, and did I mention we have SIX CATS?!!?  You know, because the neighborhood is FULL of free cats (strays) that I just can’t turn away. OK, OK…only two were the result of strays, another two were adopted when I worked at the shelter, and the others are because I can’t say no to free kittens….I may have a slight addiction to felines. Even the cats are restless and fat after so many years of this tiny space.

Before this, we lived in a run down cabin with no plumbing. cabinI had to shit and piss in a bucket. That was for fifteen months (well, we got a toilet after ten months so I shouldn’t complain…Yes, that was sarcasm). Once the upstairs tenants moved out of our house I insisted we move into the upstairs. I just couldn’t take “living” in the cabin anymore . Plus, I was sick a lot of the time due to the mold and mouse shit. I appreciated the upstairs of the house for a while…IMMENSELY, actually. But after a long struggle with severe depression and financial and marital stresses, I lost pride in my home. I stopped caring about a lot of things, including house keeping. It’s now to the point where I just can’t keep the place nice. I let it go too far. But mostly I think it’s because we don’t have a whole lotta space and after too many years things start to clutter up. I don’t let anyone over because I don’t want them to see my place and how gross it is. It’s cramped and messy and full of cat hair. It’s not a home…it’s just a tiny place where we exist.

Our temporary plan has backfired. We’ve been trying to build our own home for the last ten years. We dug the foundation in July of 2006. We’ve been trying to do most of it ourselves…paying cash as we go. The plan was to have a place where we could live and work out of but the lack of funds have really put a damper on said plans. The house we currently “own” and rent the majority to was originally supposed to be a free place for us to stay while we built the other place. We were going to stay in the upstairs for free which, ironically, we miserably live in now. But those plans abruptly changed when the owner (Rick’s best friend’s mother) had to sell in order to follow Rick’s best friend to North Carolina. It’s a long story that I’m sure none of you care to hear. Bottom line…we ended up buying the house instead, back when the banks gave everyone and anyone mortgages.

My husband works so hard every single day but can never seem to get out of the hole. It’s like he’s just chasing his tail round and around, with MS, mind you. He works full time for someone else and is also doing his own jobs after hours and on the weekends. Mostly body work. We used to have our own business called Phantom Phenders. Well, technically it still exists, but I haven’t painted anything in over two years. You see, I’m an airbrush artist but I had a few nervous breakdowns due to the stress and lack of proper space to do my work (typical crazy artist). Struggles with depression didn’t help matters, either. I tried for so long to work with what I had…to share the same garage space with my husband, but I got fed up with not being able to work on a project straight through from start to finish. I would have to stop the creative flow so Rick could move whatever bike or trike I was working on out of the way. He often needed the space to spray a car or work on whatever project it was he needed space for at the time. It was frustrating finding new spiderwebs all over my paint bottles or a newly laid layer of bondo dust on my desk and tanks and fenders. Yes, I would try to cover everything as best I could but to no avail. My work was considered “high end” so I’m sure you can understand my level of frustration…or  maybe you can’t.

I had no privacy. I couldn’t handle dealing with customers breathing down my neck. Bikers can be that way, especially in New England where there’s only about three months of good riding time. But most times it was because I couldn’t deliver quickly enough and to the best of my ability because of current circumstances…which just made being creative far more difficult. I began hating painting. I think that’s why I haven’t painted or drawn anything in about two years.

Still waiting for my art studio to be completed. Actually, I’m desperate for us to make the upstairs above the garage we built livable. We have water and a running toilet and bathtub now, thanks to the major generosity of someone who wanted to help. But no wiring, kitchen, insulation, sheet-rock, and floors…basically, everything. I don’t even care about the house part anymore. We have a basement which is capped. The garage was framed in 2008 and we managed to get the floors poured from some good ol’ fashioned bartering. That’s how we got the roof, too. So Rick can work in the garage but I still don’t have my studio yet. The garage ended up being much larger than we realized so there would be plenty of room to live upstairs. I would be thrilled to finally get into this place and start making a home for me and my husband and our cats. Plenty of catwalks galore for our fur babies. He even said I could get a puppy once we’re in there…something I’ve wanted my whole life. I think we’ve been living a pipe dream.

UPDATE: We have no water. The well has run dry. Just another issue to add to the list.

Well, at least the birds are enjoying the place. Glad someone gets to live there.

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Cows Ain’t Comin’ Home…EVER.

Waiting for my husband to apologize is like waiting for Hillary Clinton to tell the truth.

It.   Ain’t.    Happenin’.

Facebook Faux Pas

Ever comment on someone’s post only to read it back to yourself the next day and realize it came off a bit condescending, arrogant, and rude so you delete it and hope this person doesn’t now secretly dislike you?

Um yeah, me neither…Ahem.

Jesus Loves a Good Deal

Was feeling frustrated, as usual, when trying to find a summer dress. It’s not often that I buy myself something new, but my husband had given me a $40 gift card to Kohl’s for our twelfth wedding anniversary. As I was leaving the dressing room I was thinking to myself….or maybe I muttered it under my breath, “What’s a girl gotta do to find a decent dress around here?” Then I started to think back to the time when I saw a really pretty skirt in this very same store almost a year ago. It wasn’t something I would usually be interested in but it left an impression. It was ankle length and off white at the waist which faded into a soft pink towards the bottom. It was layered with the outer layer being a sort of tulle type fabric. It even had a bit of weight to it, which I like. It was very “princessy” and I thought to myself how lovely it would be to wear to someone’s wedding one day. But the $78 price tag stopped me right in my tracks and the fantasy abruptly ended. As all of this was racing through my mind in the short span of a few seconds my eyes were suddenly directed, guided, steered towards the clearance rack. And what do you think I saw peeking out from behind some other clothing but that very skirt I had longed for so long ago! And it was a size 6 to boot! OK…so it was tricky zipping it up but that’s just more incentive to lose the weight 😉

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Guess how much it was…go ahead…guess!

…I’ll wait…

$7.80! It was marked down NINETY PERCENT!!

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I knew it was God showing me that he hears me even when I’m not technically “praying” to Him. It may sound like a silly, insignificant thing. I mean, it’s just a stupid skirt, right?!? Who cares?!? But the odds of that skirt being there and my eyes falling right onto it as I was reminiscing about it is a total “God thing”. I walked around that store, skirt draped over my arm, with a big ol’ smile across my face because I knew Jesus was with me and was enjoying the moment right alongside me. He took pleasure in that moment, as did I.

Chicken Ritual

Whenever I get honey stung drummies from Market Basket I always eat one in my car before leaving. Well, I didn’t realize I was being watched! Don’t know what he said but he sure did startle me! I looked to my left to see an older gentlemen in his motorized scooter about ready to get into his van. He was admiring my chicken so I asked if he wanted a piece.

“Sure!” he exclaimed…”Thank you!” What a smile this guy had! He seemed so happy to be acknowledged….

“Your welcome!” I said, as I dug into the bag for just the right piece. Gave him a big ol’ drumstick.

“You just made my day! You want some of my salami?”

“Oh, no but thanks!”

“God bless you” I said as I slowly began backing out of my space…

“And God bless you, too!”

“Jesus loves you” I said and he immediately says back to me….

“And you know what? Jesus loves you too!”

“Oh, I know.”

“And you know that if you talk to Him he’ll answer you”…now of course I had to pull back into my space.

I was surprised at the response I got, honestly. I wasn’t expecting him to be a fellow believer. Most times I feel as though we are few and far between. Thought I’d say God bless and that would be that. He introduced himself at that point. We shared names and shook hands. His name was Tommy. Oh, and he complimented me on my eyebrows…told him I did them myself and that made him laugh pretty hard. And he was right about Jesus speaking to us. Jesus was speaking through Tommy just for me today. And perhaps Jesus was speaking through me for Tommy.

“Well, I won’t hold you up” he said. He mentioned again how I just made his day. It’s amazing how one little drumstick can make someone’s day. I know it was more than that, but it really is the little things in life that we, more times than not, tend to overlook because we are too caught up in ourselves.

Striving.

It’s 5 years ago today that Jill left this world. I wrote this 4 years ago….

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I declare June 26 to be “Honoring Your Jilly B Day”. There is no need to have known her to celebrate this day. If you have lost someone very dear to you then you have a Jilly B all your own. Make it a point to honor your loved one’s memory on this day……

Today I got three loads of clothes and shoes ready to go to Goodwill. Jill was so excited about getting that job at Goodwill. She told me all about it during our last visit together. And besides, it’s kinda dumb to leave clothes in a closet for YEARS when there is probably someone out there who needs them.

And, in honor of Jill, I inquired about a part time job today. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. No more fear and self-doubt. I’m not letting fear dictate my life anymore and that’s in thanks to Jill. I’m just sorry it had to take losing my friend and fellow auntie to finally get a grip on who I am and what kind of life I want. But the way I see it, it was her time to go so I could either waste the rest of my life crying for her or I could follow her example and carry on her legacy by being true to myself.

I love you Jill

Still trying to “get a grip on who I am.” Not so focused on getting the life I want anymore. Not sure if I ever really knew what I wanted; self-sabotage was evidence of that. Fear and self-doubt are still struggles, but I do believe they are diminishing…. SLOWLY. Fear of success, fear of the responsibility that comes along with success have been a thorn in my side.

I’ve been focused more on where I’m at, RIGHT NOW. I’m trying to live in the present and stop looking to the past (Philippians 3:13-14). It’s not always easy but I’m trying. God has allowed me to end up where I currently am and I trust in that…who am I to question God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?!? As if I know better than He?!? I’m done fighting it…I surrender. God is righteous, just, holy, and worthy of praise. God is love. God cannot contradict His own character and once you gain an understanding of who He is, it is easier to put your trust in Him. So I trust Him. I want what God wants for me, and since He knows me better than I know myself I’m allowing Him to show me what areas of my life need work.

We tend to blame God for things He has not done. We want Him to give us what we want but never seek a relationship with Him first… Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We must also not forget what Jesus told us were the two most important COMMANDMENTS. How many of us TRULY seek God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)? Have we ever stopped to think about what that means? How many of us love our neighbor as ourselves? How many of us hate ourselves and therefore lack the ability to love our neighbor properly? I know I’ve been guilty of that and I still struggle with seeing myself the way Jesus sees me.

God can work ALL THINGS for the good of those who truly love Him and follow Him (Romans 8:28). So when shit happens, and it will because we live in a fallen world until Jesus comes back to judge all humanity, we can trust that He can turn ugliness into a thing of beauty. Jesus never promised that this life would be easy (John 16:3), but He did promise that He would always be with me, never leaving me nor forsaking me (Hebrews 13:5).

Five years into this quest and I’m finding out that Papa God’s timing is far different than my own; that His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8). I am now open to HIS will and have let go of my own skewed will. Jill’s death (which is a perfect example of Romans 8:28) kick-started my journey of inner-healing so that Jesus’ will for my life can come to fruition…whatever that may be. The journey has been painful. Growth hurts but is necessary. I am allowing Jesus to lay the foundation in my heart so that I may be equipped and prepared to handle all that He has for me, for what good is success (which can mean many different things) without the tools to handle and maintain it? No matter how long it takes, I’m allowing Jesus to help me become who He always intended for me to be before the creation of the world. Before He formed me He knew me. I find that amazing.

I no longer need a specific day to honor Jill’s memory. Every day that I choose to strive is another day that honors her memory, because she never stopped striving, no matter what that may have looked like on any given day. But more importantly, each day that I choose to strive is another day of honoring my Heavenly Father.