Friday, August 26, 2016

Competitive By Nature

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV) “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 

I called my mother the other evening, like I always do every night and twice on Saturday and Sunday, but this time it went to the answering machine as she waited to hear my voice and then pick it up. 

I asked, “Why the machine. You have caller ID?”
She retorted, “Why all the questions, you writing a book?”
I sarcastically replied, “Well yes, yes I am.”

I could tell right away she was in ‘a mood’ the kind I tolerate since my dad has passed and she clings to so much bitterness, for his death and for her being left alive, alone. I just try and be the relief pitcher and comfort her in any way I can. Since I’m the only child of six who talks to her on a daily basis, I take the brunt of her moods from a distance. 

To be honest, I cherish these phone calls to my mother because I know there will come a day when I don’t hear her voice on the other end and I’ll be alone without any communication from the family I once had. I don’t miss my family like I do my mother because we were never really a family in any sense of the word; we were competitors in the field.

You see, when I was born, I was the sixth child of a family all vying for a prize, the prize being the attention of my mother and father. My sister had held the baby position for three years and here I come into the fray as the fresh living competitor baby, the new attention getter, the new baby with a nickname, the baby that would, in her mind, replace the love my parents gave to her, and so she set out my demise from the day I was born. 

I can tell it was a bitter competition to her from the stories she’s told all of her life, I guess in a way to make me feel guilty for being alive? A way for maybe getting me to go far away from the family so she could take her position as the center of attention? I don’t know, I just surmise an intuitive guess. And yes, my writing will hold the story whether they ever see it or not, this is MY story, not theirs; my truth, not their jumbled mess of perception.

Granted I was a tattle-tale brat but I did not deserve, at three-years-old to be pushed on a swing so high that I’d fear for my life and jump off the swing to be caught by a chain link fence, the kind with the barbed-wire looking top? Yes, I have the ugly memory and nasty scar to prove it and over the years my sister vehemently denied it was her doing the pushing but my brother. Gee, that didn’t make me feel any better.

She gave me my first cigarette at eight, my first joint of marijuana at I don’t know what age, the damage is real though, it was young. My first beer, my first jump in a raging river, my first kiss from some boy she set me up with. Also the first voice I overheard whispering when I was sixteen, “She should’ve just had an abortion.”

This was a real competition, not some contrived imagination of my overly drugged mind that went right into my twenties when at the time I was closer to my brother and she wanted that position but he didn’t want a relationship with her. My entire family fought with the battle of Dad loved me more, mother liked you best, neither of them liked me and there I was the baby, the relief pitcher who would try to bring a broken vase to the table and try to glue the pieces back together. And it bled into my late thirties when I finally left home and left all the bad memories behind and never looked back.

While the world is busy bustling with sharing all the beautiful moments of their family, pictures abounding of happy times, I often wonder when people say that they too had a hard life or trying times where are THOSE images? Mine are either in a box somewhere or lost in the portals of time. I understand it though when people aren’t as ready and willing to share their trying times as I am. It’s okay, we all have our own way of healing or hiding behind masks.

People are not willing to share the ugly times, that’s ‘their little secret’ that they’ll carry with them to the grave. Sometimes they’d rather people only see the good and happy posts spread out on Instagram and Facebook so that people visually see the good life they had or have when deep down the pain and hurt comes out in snide remarks.

I myself sometimes use humor to hide my pain but really it doesn’t hide it too well, I think humor, to ME, is just a form of medicine I use to help with my healing. I love to laugh, I love to see people laugh, I love to share my pain and most of all my GROWTH, through smiles and laughter. Some may see it as me letting too many skeletons dance freely out of the closet but hey, we all need to let them free some time or another, I’d rather do it sooner rather than later when they decide to jump out of the closet as regrets. 

It all boiled to a steep head last year in October when my father passed away. I no longer wanted to be the relief pitcher. The last straw was the poem that I wrote for my father to hear on his deathbed since I couldn’t be there for one of the hardest days in my life. My sister held the poem in her hand and withheld reading it, a scar that singes burning hot to this day at just the thought. 

Don’t say I’m mean and unforgiving for not sharing any love for a lost family. Respect me for the forgiveness I HAVE shown and chose to move on from it all, in a healing place for ME! The best thing I carry with me from my past is my son! And I will continue to give him the best part of me and we’ll have our very own memories, good ones that outweigh the bad ones. He said to me this morning, "You're not a phony like everybody else, you lay things out in the open."

Wow! Thank you, son. Not only does he see the real me, YOU see the real me too! Nothing phony or fake here, people!  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sail On, Joni

Lam. 3:24-25 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Time heals all wounds

That is one of the biggest lies I’ve ever heard. Time might heal the part of you that was wounded but as proof the hurt existed, you’re left with a scar. I have a scar on my left wrist with a whole lot of stitches and the scar nor the memory of the three-year-old that incurred the scar has ever healed and went away. 

I always joke and say that my sister had it in for me from birth when I took her place as being the ‘baby’ of the family but more and more as time and years pass, it’s no longer the funny that I thought it was back then. As my past comes back to haunt me and the wounds resurface as the scars metaphorically reopen to leak blood onto the written page, the anguish along the lines come with the broken path.

The choppy waves are hurtling me so to speak, in a way I had not anticipated. You see, when you’re finding healing, you move forward and help others like you to move on in life. Sharing the same hurts and pains with another is just a way of being in tune and picking up the spiritual channels that drew you, as friends, together on the same wavelength in the first place. 

I have a circle of friends that I met, maybe at first it was writing that drew us together but as the years go on I tend to learn more about the people and the common thread that ties us all together. More times than not it was God and His mighty power that drew us all together in one way or another because He knew we’d need and rely on one another for support to get us through those choppy waves where we felt all alone out on the sea.

A man came to my rescue thirteen years ago and as the sea began moving to and fro the waves crashed all around leaving me with somewhat of a disillusionment until we both reached a shore where we could be at peace with one another and grow. Any lesser of a man would have dumped me a long time ago with all of my insecurities, paranoia and anxiety-filled world but my now husband is still here, holding my hand through all of this. While I accept his quirks and unsavory characteristics, I find we are a scale that has balanced one another nicely. 

God placed new people, a new life, a new beginning in front of me that I embraced and soared with so as not to look back, only occasionally look down at the scars and remember from whence they came. All too often the scars are from the family I left behind. And when I hear people say things like, ‘it is the only family you’ll ever have.’ I’ll have to disagree because it may be the only blood family I have but my new loving family that God placed me with doesn’t leave scars of abuse in their trails to be reckoned with. 

Sure, my friends can be blunt and unknowingly hurt my feelings but that is okay because I learn from them and find healing in their spoken words whereas my blood family cuts to the bone of my existence and holds no shame or offers anything that remotely looks like an apology. I can’t help the family I was put into but I can embrace the family I have now as a blessing and THIS is why I will remain an optimist because I have HOPE in every tomorrow. A wobbled walk or not, I’m alive and I breathe in each new sunrise and thank the Lord for the friends I call my spiritual family that I have surrounding me here in my later years. (later to me) This is the childhood I yearned for, the one that will walk with me to my death and mourn the me that they’ve grown with and have come to love and respect.

My long lost friend who called me did say something that I found to be true. He said, “You were never allowed to be a child. You were made to grow up too soon.” 

While the wound seeped open I remembered with loving care the family of friends I have now who will comfort me during this seepage. While God is my Rock, they are the sand that this mighty wave crashes onto to find relief.  

Lam. 3:26-29 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Heal Today...Gone Tomorrow

Fort McHenry cannon looking toward
the Francis Scott Key bridge
where my uncle took his life

Pss. 30:2  “O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.”

Heels today… gone tomorrow

You ever have one of those days where everything is going along fine. Then you see something and reality smacks you upside the head? We’re doing some fall cleaning here; we get to the cluttered closet and there sits a box of shoes. Heels that I’ve never worn. 

I said, “I have to get rid of that entire box.” 
He replied, “Well when you can walk again, we’ll pull them back out of the box.”  

Tears filled my eyes and kept on filling. The reality is…I’ll never be able to walk normal again. Just thought I’d share that with you all as I release some of this anguish I’m lugging around.

I used to love wearing high heels, not real high, just a classy kind of heel with jeans or a skirt; then about four years ago, with too many Omaha trips (eight hours round trip) high-heel wearing came to a screeching halt. I remember going to the doctor and she sent me to the hospital for some x-rays and a day later it was explained that I had lower lumbar facet joint arthritis. Sure, some meds and a highly paid chiropractor could offer some relief, but that's just it, a false relief, not a healing plan.

Here I was, still enjoying my youth and am told that I have arthritis and as many of you know, that is a chronic disability that doesn’t just go away. I had tried to wear my lower heels and even they were awkward to walk in and the limp in my stride didn’t sync with a low heel. I was relinquished to tennis shoes and even they were getting uncomfortable mainly in the summertime heat. I did buy some comfy sandals by Earth Spirit (yes, WalMart brand) but don’t ya know, I can’t wear them in the winter now can I? 

I have my up and down days where I feel sorry for myself and the me I once was but have to learn to accept that this is the new me and whom God created.  But when we were cleaning out the closet and the box with my heels in it passed me by, I cried. I admit it, it hurt to see a part of myself shoved in the basement never to be seen again. I think my husband was trying to make me feel good when he said the words, “When you walk again.” The reality was and is, I’ll never walk normal again.

My dear friends try to comfort me, “there is Hope,” they say. My first thought was yeah when I get to heaven and can run free! They mean well, they really do and I won’t for one minute minimize the love I feel for them or from them, and the comfort they bring to my life but understand, I was one on the go woman all of my life. You don’t fit into the same jeans you wore twenty years ago by NOT being an overly active woman. Then yesterday…

Heal today… gone tomorrow.

I don’t know what the universe is trying to tell me when yesterday I answered my phone, thinking for one idiotic moment it was my sister calling to tell me about her daughter. No, it wasn’t her, it was an old friend who called me last year some time (he got the number from my mother) and wanted to rehash the past just like he did last year when I stopped answering my phone because I AM NOT ABOUT MY PAST!

I told him last year that I didn’t want to talk about that stuff but he just kept going on and on, “Do you remember…” You name the memory, I remember it with all its hurts and pains that I let go of, in vivid painstaking detail. His call started that way this time in asking where my ex-husband lived (they were friends) and talking about my abuse until I finally said, “I’m really busy right now.” (Joni is a terrible liar! Luckily I WAS busy!)

He said, “I better let you go or I’ll keep talking and talking.”
My instant reply was, “yes you will but call me when I have FREE minutes, like the weekend.” I seriously was trying to hang up without hurting his feelings because that’s just the way I am, then and now, I don’t like to hurt ANYONE. I just wish he had shown me the same consideration because I know I won’t be answering the phone this weekend. 

For thirteen years I wrestled with my pained past. When I first left Baltimore and left my family and past behind, I got caught up in a tornado of healing as memories whizzed passed and choked me into anxiety attacks where running off alone in the rain on darkened streets were my only solace. I would lie in bed cradling my pillow as tears soaked the very sheets where I slept. I was in a better place but it was a place of healing that had to be measured by agonizing sickened memories of the past.

Haunting is the only way to describe the lingering past. A ghost that would appear out of nowhere when I least expected it and scare me into a non-drug induced panic attack. I don’t take drugs for my pain and dealing with what I’m dealt in a meditative God loving fashion is all I’ve ever known to do. 

A close friend once told me that I needed to just let go of those memories and the people who hold those memories if all they’re there for is to hurt me, why hold on? Yes, that meant family and old friends who think rehashing an excruciating pain-filled past is what the future is all about. 

My now and my future is all about healing. My pain is washed away with every rainfall and I release the past as if it never existed into a tornadic funnel to be released wherever it may go. I will not allow thirteen years of healing to be scrubbed by one phone call of the bitter past. I face my tomorrows with the prayerful meditation that I have known to grow me into a hopeful tomorrow.

I woke this morning only to be hit with news of an earthquake where a dear friend lives. I prayed. The universe will leave something in my life called HOPE, LOVE and COMPASSION; he arrived to let me know he and his family are well. 

Praise be to God!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Poetry Sunday ~ Seasons in the Sand

Matt. 19: 24 "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

Seasons in the Sand

On wayward sand, I stretch my hand
as frothy water flows
on the solid Rock, I stand
relieved of passing woes.

The seasons of my mind are lit
with every wistful shower.
The Spirit’s here where I sit
to fill my every hour.

 Morning comes He breathes in me
the dawn of a new day.
He gives me sight so I can see
the path I went astray.

On wayward sand, I stretch my hand
granules in my clutch
I'm taken by the wavy band
the grains I dare not touch.

It's much easier for the camel
to pass through the needle's eye
Than you who’s merely mortal
to seek answers in the sky.

The seasons of my mind unfold
His Word for me to preach
As ribbons of the Truth be told
like footprints on the beach.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Quotation Saturday ~ Seasons - Changes

Pss. 55:19 “God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.”


“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]” 
― George Eliot

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” 
― Lewis Carroll

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” 
― Yoko Ono

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

[Meditations Divine and Moral]” 
― Anne Bradstreet

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on C├ęzanne

 “The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” 
― Henry Beston


Sometimes I fall
And feel myself slowly wilt and die,
But then I suddenly spring back on my feet
To go play in the sun outside.
I am no different than the weather,
The planets or the trees;
For there do not always have to be reasons
For the seasons turning inside of me.
The magnetism that swirls
In the sky, land, and sea
Are the exact same currents found twirling
In the electric ocean within me.
I am a moving vessel of energy.
And if my emotions do not
Flow up, down,
Within and around,
Then I am not alive.” 
― Suzy Kassem


“Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.” 
― Joss Whedon

“Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy. I crave solitude yet also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self-care and go gently. I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate. This is the messiness of life - that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding. Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open. Wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough.” 
― Victoria Erickson

“The purest form of faith happens when you reach the bottom of your reasoning and find there is nothing that you can do that will make sense out of what you have been through.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

“Sacred blessings and divine opportunities appear in your life disguised as unforeseen changes and challenging circumstances.” 
― Miya Yamanouchi

“When you receive God's love, it means you're getting close to Him, spending time in His presence, opening your heart to Him, seeking to know Him, and desiring to be more like Him. Remember that choosing to receive God's love changes your life.” 
― Stormie Omartian

Friday, August 19, 2016

Refiners Fire ~ Perfection

Zech 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

I’m Not Perfect!

I sometimes feel like I come across as a miss-know-it-all. Let me stop you right there in that thought, I am the farthest thing from known perfection since my son was born. To me, he was the most perfect thing I’d ever seen!

Guess what, he grew up and is not perfect either! Wow, how did something so perfect, reshape and transform into an imperfect being? Life, that’s how. Life happens to all of us and instead of being perfect we are refined. We are but grains of sand in a shell waiting to become the perfect pearl.

We are an imperfect species and as we grow we, in all of our instabilities, try to refine ourselves to become the most perfect beings possible. To me, there is only one way to achieving such status and that is to allow the Holy Spirit to live in me and take up a residence in my soul.

Only through the storms are we going to find the refiners fire to go through the hailstorm and shape our inner beings into something of perfection. Maybe not what perfection is to you but what perfection is to me. Since we’re all on different paths leading to different places we will all achieve our own perfection in our own time. Maybe not even in the time that we want or expect but by the Holy Spirits time. 

As I woke today and encountered a double rainbow I knew right then that there was a beauty that was going to encompass my entire day. If I were to allow negativity to drive my day it would have wiped the slate clean of such beauty so early in the morning.  The sun was struggling to peek through heavy clouds in the east while I was facing west and there it was a double-arced rainbow alight in wondrous color right before my eyes. 

I tried with all my might to see the beginning and the end of the rainbow and what I saw was myself, standing midway underneath the joyous arc. I smiled taking in all the beauty and became one with the luminous shape, so much so, I stood in the quiet coolness of the morning and allowed the aroma of the crisp air to shape my day.

As the day progressed the clouds swallowed the rainbow; lightning crashed as thunder erupted in a calamity of rumbles unleashing a torrent of rain that washed over the parched fields. I sat in the stillness of the darkness that had blanketed the room. The rain, calling me to write…I embraced my inner peace of perfection and sat to write today’s blog. 

No, no one is perfect and judging people for their imperfections makes you even less perfect than the Holy One had intended when he refined the pot of gold He shaped you into. He never left you alone to sort out this thing we call life. He never once made you feel that you had to achieve perfection because one thing I’ve learned, He loves us the way we are, only because in his perfection He created you! You ARE perfect in His eyes.

When my son drove off today to go to work in the rain, my maternal instincts wanted to worry about the muddy roads, the nighttime driving when he comes home and all the worries a mother faces but the words ‘I love you, mom’ as he drove off, was like a rainbow of peace washing over my soul. I thought of him going off in his own direction perfecting what his soul means to him. 

Peace has completed my day!

May the Light of the Lord wash over you all and bless you on your individual journey.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Isa. 28:12 “To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”


Do you want to know how I come up with my blog topics? Believe it or not, I pray. I wake in the morning and pray for all the sick on my prayer list, then I ask God’s guidance on what to write for the day. I don’t always get a reply on what I’m to write about so I might skip that day as I wait, patiently!

After prayer, I open the news of the day, open facebook also, to find a plethora of topics but usually one topic will stand out a few times and God lets me know, write about THIS!

I so wanted to write about my niece getting her purse returned, after losing it somewhere sometime during her day, by a young black gentleman after he had found the purse on his way work, and returned it to my niece at ten thirty in the evening when he returned home.

My niece cried because she was so happy to not have to renew her license and cancel all her credit cards and she thanked the young man profusely! She even gave him twenty dollars of the fifty that had been inside. I’d also like to add that this was in Baltimore, Maryland. The place you only hear bad stuff about and never the good stuff. 

As I continued searching for a blog  post, a few things stuck out and THAT is what God wanted me to write about, while my nieces story is a beautiful one God wanted me to know that there is something more important to write about at this time and maybe, all of the stories will mesh together? I’ll have to finish this before I know. 

Getting it right with God is a struggle all Christians go through and at times I never feel worthy enough of His love. I’ve already blogged about that one in a feeling unworthy post. But let me say this first and foremost, I AM WORTHY of God and that is all that matters to me. 

I loosely call myself Christian because all Christians are not the same. These days they are drinkers, self-righteous, judges of all. I do understand that we are ALL different and on different paths. Jesus (NT) himself didn’t choose perfect people to carry his ministry, and God (OT) certainly didn’t pick perfect people that He created to do His work. Nope, He picked the most imperfect people He could find; maybe that is why He chose ME to be a writer. For some reason He had faith in me and that I’d carry my testimony/His ministry to His people. 

Ecc. 9:7 “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.” 

Ephesians 5:18 ESV “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,”

Proverbs 20:1 ESV “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

You see, God has called us ALL to carry His ministry. Not to drink, get drunk, whoop it up and praise God or claim to be His all in the same stinking drunken breath. 

We justify what we do so we don’t feel so bad but the only one who is going to judge us for allowing ourselves to be led astray is our One and Only Savior. We ALL walk a dimly lit path, we find the Light but then get led astray by all the inhumanity in the world that gets us unsettled so we turn to drink to justify the reason we’re sitting alone in the dark with a bottle in our hand. Some find the Lighted path only to continue on struggling to stay on the very straight and extremely narrow path.

As I walk the path, for ME, I do not believe in the drink and be merry babble. For one, you’re not drinking to be merry, you’re drinking to get drunk, bottom line. It makes you feel good, it unfurls your twisted tongue, it has you allowing your loose lips to sink ships. Thoughts are free to roam the wilderness and usually, the wild is not a place to be alone because you’re bound to get bit.

When a person comes to Christ, he (or she) is new to Christ and struggles daily to get it right with God. I understand that they’ll still drink it up, curse like a sailor, call themselves Christian just so they fit into a society over running with Christians but they have yet to learn the true meaning of the word, Christ-like. Christ was not a drunk, and I think He knew the right words to use so as not to come across as a liar and hypocrite. 

I often think about what it must have been like back in Jesus’ day. Here He was gathered around a table with His twelve chosen, knowing He was going to His death. When they took a drink of wine, did they all yell out, “Let’s finish off the bottle.”??? I seriously don’t think so; it was not a merry event to celebrate.

In the course of the Last Supper, Jesus divides up some bread, says a prayer, and hands the pieces of bread to his disciples, saying "this is my body."[metaphor] He then takes a cup of wine, offers another prayer, and hands it around, saying "this is my blood [metaphor] of the everlasting covenant, which is poured for many." ~ source Wikipedia

The church is the way it is today because people divided up what was right and what was wrong; what was/is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Some churches look down on the homeless and only reach out to the parishioners in need, not everyone in need. Some churches look down on homosexuals by judging them and letting them know they are not right with God because you know, God made them judge and jury of the people. Divided the churches are.

Eph. 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

I myself CHOSE to get my life right with God and follow His Son to the cross and weep prayerfully at His feet. We are not called to judge others because we feel they are beneath us, we should judge ourselves, our actions, our ways, our character, and virtues, only then should we call ourselves Christ-like. 

This post didn’t end the way I intended but it did help me see that there are good people out in the world trying to do what is right, whether FOR God or because of God. Goodness is all around and as soon as we stop justifying our negative actions and living the way WE want, we’ll see the good in the world or the world will never change.

God bless you all!

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award