It is the goofiest things really that give me courage; like that time I discovered that Bob Goff (Love Does) and I were wearing the same socks at a conference and I so badly wanted a selfie of our feet but didn’t ask because that would be weird and I got a hug instead.
The Random Dude I met on the airplane last year who flirted with a housewife and reminded me that I’ve still got it. Whatever “it” is.
Meeting Donald Miller and taking a photograph during his book signing for Scary Close at the Storyline Conference in Chicago. And then publishing said photo even if I’m thinking, “not my best.” (I’ll write more about that later.)
A chance meeting with Howard (an old time blues musician) while walking down the streets of Broken Arrow and making a new friend. Howard not only sold me his old banjo, he gave me all of his books as well. “Don’t worry about playing like Scruggs, play like you.”
I didn’t run away from home like you think. Truth is, I ran away a lot. Just not like you think.
I ran away in my dreams and to the lake where I could learn banjo undisturbed. I ran away from the noise to find my voice. I ran away to Nashville and to the stage. I ran away from old lies that were holding me back. I ran away from things whispered in the dark, “you aren’t enough.”
I ran away from people who would dare tell me I wasn’t a real Christian because I wasn’t raised in the church like were.
I can’t leave God. My name is written in His hand and nothing can snatch me away.
I have been on a journey and it’s been glorious.
I found authors who dare tell the truth.
Friends who see and know ME.
I found my best friend, or she found me. Either way.
I’m still married by the way and we love each other now, more than ever.
There is a saying in my circles that drives me absolutely crazy some times.
“This Too Shall Pass.”
Honestly, when I’m in the middle of THIS, whatever it is, I’m not all that keen on seeing the temporary of my situation. All I can see is the now and the now stinketh much sometimes.
Take my right now for instance. I am 30 weeks into what started as a simple ankle replacement. I am still in part one of that. My tibia is still broken and we haven’t even gotten to the ankle part. People have commented about my positive attitude and I want to tell you, there are days where my prayers sound like King David’s “How long Oh Lord?”
Now I do know that my leg is going to heal and that life will pick up again and that like the saying goes this will pass. I know this because 10 years ago, it was my heart that was broken instead of my leg.
10-years ago, I didn’t believe this would pass. I felt stuck in a never-ending cycle of hurt and disappointment.
While I was still depressed over my circumstances, I chose to trust God with a single step. Nothing major, just make my bed. Then it was get dressed. Then take a walk. Quit my job. And then the scariest of all – make a new friend. And another. And another.
Over time things changed. I started doing things that scared me to death for a moment and produced wonderful results. (I failed at a lot of things as well, but you know… I kept going anyway)
So beloved – where ever you are, whatever season you are in, know that things do pass, life does change, and if you take one small step of faith and courage great things will happen.
Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.
That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.
That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.
I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.
I’m not much for hiding really.
Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.
I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.
I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.
I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.
Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.
What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.
That wasn’t the problem.
I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.
I’m kind of egotistical like that.
I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.
Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.
The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:
They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.
That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.
If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.
Charisma is a turn off to me today.
As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.
Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.
I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.
Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:
1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain. Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.
2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.
3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.
4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did. I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,
While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.
I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.
I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.
The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.
Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.
*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.
So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?
I’ll never forget getting my first beeper — granted I’m dating myself by admitting that. Do they even still use beepers?
I just remember working at Sprint Communications. I was in charge of the data room in Chicago. I needed a beeper in case something happened and they needed me at the office. I was on call 24/7. I loved it at first and then grew to hate it. I swore I never again wanted to be at the mercy of a little electronic device and the whims of my boss.
Fast forward 20 years.
Instead of beepers we have pocket cell phones – we can access email, text messages, Facebook, twitter, 24/7 and if we aren’t careful – we can become a slave to technology. One little buzz, beep, or vibration can send the most resilient of us scrambling for our phones lest we miss an important message. For some reason, that did not seem to bug me nearly as much as my beeper.
I’m not sure when it happened exactly or which moment pushed me over the edge.
Was it looking up from my iPhone long enough to see my family seated around the table nose deep in their phones?
Was it having my backpack of electronics stolen from my car and realizing I can live without my iPad after all?
Was it the fact that I was beginning to forget that my husband has brown eyes that turn green sometimes? Or was it the long lines at the Apple store for the much coveted iPhone 5?
Maybe it was just the realization that my online “friends” were starting to replace my real friends.
I’m not really sure, and frankly it doesn’t matter. The week everyone else was waiting in line to get their newest phone is the week my husband I went to Best Buy to replace my iPad. It was then that I discovered I can get a tablet for half the price and get an internet hub for the same price as my iPhone data plan.
This would still give me internet access on the road if needed. And it would also give me something else – intention.
I am no longer a slave to my iPhone. I down graded to a simple “dumb phone” if you will. No internet, just voicemail, cell service and texting. And while it took some getting used to, I’m happy with the change.
Now when I’m somewhere, I have to intentionally turn on the hub to access the net.
This makes me more more productive and it has also made me aware of how much time I spent mindlessly searching the net for connection all under the guise of “work.”
I will admit I went through withdrawals. Not having immediate access to Google was rough. Instead of relying on the net to tell me what something meant or where something was I had to think for myself again. I had no idea how reliant I’d actually become to that little gadget in my hand.
Contrary to my initial belief that I would lose my productivity, I find I am more productive online when my activity is intentional. We still have internet at home and my tablet does have WiFi. I’m not totally unplugged. I still find out about upcoming gigs and auditions. I still write and I discovered that I’m less likely to post a knee jerk status update or twitter announcement, which is a good thing really.
Being unplugged in this way helps me see more of life, to notice the trees and remember the color of my children’s eyes. I’m really starting to like not having my iPhone and iPad for that matter. And by the time I went on my cruise with some girlfriends (where you cannot connect without exorbitant fees) I didn’t miss it at all.
I’m curious — if you could unplug from one piece of equipment in order to improve your relationships, what would it be?
The minute my hand touched the door handle, I collapsed into tears.
Dropping our oldest off to college for the first time knocked the wind out of me and I cried the entire way home.
All I ever wanted when I was younger was to be someone’s wife, and somebody’s mother. I never dreamed of any other life really. Oh sure, maybe the occasional wish to be an actress or run away and be a circus clown but mostly I just wanted to be married. I thought being married would complete me in a way nothing else could. I was totally wrong in that assessment by the way, but that’s a story for later.
That kind of vibe sorta sticks and makes dating difficult to say the least. I have been looking for my MRS Degree since I could walk and talk. Guys know it and steer clear for the most part. Somehow or other though I met this really cute guy who picked up on the vibe and didn’t care. Seems he wanted the same things. Well, he didn’t want to be a wife, but he didn’t exactly mind having one – even one who lacked certain domestic skills like ironing and cooking.
My identity was always wrapped up in who I was dating. Codependancy and I are old roommies. You think Bella was nauseating? I was worse, trust me. When my high school sweetheart joined the navy I dreamed of being an officer’s wife and when that didn’t work out, it was the science teacher’s wife, the movie star’s wife, the … well you get the picture.
Being Deana, just wasn’t in my solar system of a brain. Every time I dated a new guy, I altered my personality to fit his. Manipulative? Yep. I tried on personalities and life styles like women try on clothes in a department store.
If I want to shift blame, I could easily place it on how I was raised. “act right or move out” was the motto in my home growing up. I lived in constant fear that I would wake up one day and my bags would be packed and I would be on my own. Truthfully though, where my chameleon came from is irrelevant. I own my adult choices today – even if it took 25 years to face them.
That’s what this blog is about you know. Owning choices. Life after kids. I’ve gotten away from that lately, and I’m sorry. I’ve been busy.
I am the quintessential mom. PTA president, Youth Group Leader, Home Room Mom, Office Volunteer, Substitute teacher, soccer coach. I did it all, gladly by the way. I thought I was going to die when they grew up. I didn’t.
My children are grown now. I joke about that regularly. My opening introduction is “My children are grown and my gardens are dead. Boy, are they happy I got it in that order.”
It’s been four years since my oldest left for college and one year since my youngest did the same.
In that time I have discovered:
I love horses and even rode through the jungle’s of Belize on horseback.
I’m funny and started doing stand up.
I competed in a Clean Comedy Challenge in Indiana against pros who’ve been doing this for 10-20 years and while I didn’t win or place, I had a blast!
I took my very first vacation ever – one that did not include visiting family.
I also took my first vacation (gasp) without my husband.
I left the Lutheran church and found a tradition that is more supportive of outreach and ministry.
I started playing the banjo.
I started serving dinner in a homeless shelter
I sponsored my first child through Cups of Cold Water Ministries in the Dominican Republic
I swam with sharks in Cancun
I snorkeled a barrier reef.
I love blue grass. Who knew?
I come from a long line of farmers and ranchers (both sides of my family) — Instead of living in the suburbs, I want to own a ranch. My husband does not share that dream and so we compromise – I ride at a friends ranch instead. compromise is good.
I’m going to learn how to rope, chase cans, and pen cattle for fun. All on horseback.
I’m leaving for my second ever vacation next month and this time, I’m going to ride along the ocean and IN the ocean bareback on a horse. (How freaking cool is that?)
I’ve taken command of my health and I’m learning about genetically modified foods and how they impact my body.
I’ve become and advocate against Monsanto.
I came out as a democrat.
And I went back in the closet over that because I couldn’t handle the rejection and pushback. (I’m working on that)
I’m learning how to voice my opinions with respect and ask for the same in return.
I let go of old friendships that require me to stay a chameleon and feed my fears of abandonment.
I’m making new friends.
I started writing poetry.
I wrote my first novel (unpublished, but written at least)
And I’m getting ready to write my first non-fiction book.
I am free.
Life doesn’t end when our kids move out. It simply opens a new chapter and a new opportunity to meet the woman in the mirror. Have you met her lately? Have you listened to her? Are you free?
For some of you, this is your first year on your own. Your child has left for college and you are wondering what’s next. I’m here to tell you there is a lot of awesomeness next. Find one thing you want to learn this year and try it. You may like it, you may not. But either way — enjoy the ride.
I’ll be honest, when my friend shared this video (via his blog – Save a Cactus Hugger) with me last week, I sat down and cried.
I didn’t cry because I’m such a fan of these two men. I am (and you my readers know that, probably ad nauseum I’m sure.) but that’s not the point. I think this video shows courage, and great humility. Robert Downey Jr has proven himself to be a class act all the way around.
I’m not sure why it made me cry really. My reaction was so strong emotionally that I’m forced to look at it and find out. Yeah me, another Fantastic Growth Opportunity. (AFGO as my friend calls it) – I know that I’ve had many periods in my life where I’ve been overcome with a severe case of dumb-butt and have needed to face that in myself. And while I’ve been blacklisted for serious infractions like admitting I’m a more of a Ben and Jerry’s Fan than a Dairy Queen Gal, I have fortunately been spared the limelight of these two men’s lives.
Not that I haven’t necessarily done worse.
I just never got caught. Or if I did, it never made the nightly news or cover of People Magazine.
Maybe I cried because I’m one of those women who loves alcoholics to death — literally sometimes. (To point, if our eyes meet across a crowded room and my heart starts doing 280, chances are pretty good they either have a flask in their pocket or a criminal record. Which is in all honesty how I landed up in a 12 step room to begin with. I was raised to believe that I am personally responsible for other people’s bologna and it took a few years to let go of that responsibility, one clutched controlling finger at a time.)
Maybe I cried out of self pity? I have several alcoholics in my life who have yet to accomplish (on a personal level) what I witnessed here.
Maybe I cried because I know so many who left the room before reaching this place of hope and real forgiveness.
Or maybe I cried because I’ve been around 12 step rooms for so long and I honesty wish church were more like this and it isn’t always.
No matter, I love the video and believe that Robert’s actions show great class, love, and humility – not to mention courage and so do Mel’s. These men are a great example of true friendship — we should all be so blessed.
They really need to fix that whole REPLY ALL function in email by adding some kind of warning like “you are about to copy the universe with your opinion, are you sure you wish to do this?” type feature or something.
That would simplify my life a whole heck of a lot.
Granted, so would self-control.
But I digress.
I heard a story one time about a man seeking the wisdom of the Shaman at the top of the mountain. The shaman took a feather pillow, tore it open and released the feathers. “Go and gather every feather.” He said.
The man raced around the mountain trying to catch every feather that fell and returned dejected.
“I tried my best, but I cannot catch every feather that you released. The wind is too strong.” he said.
The Shaman smiled. “And so it is with our words. Choose them wisely because once released, we cannot get them all back.”
I tend to be that man (or woman rather) running the mountain side trying to catch back every feather, every lie, every word, spoken and released at the top of the mountain by well-meaning, and perhaps not so well-meaning, Christians and atheists alike.
I want to snatch it away before it lands on someone’s head and they believe it.
So many responses have come out in light of the events of December 14th. My mail box and Facebook pages are full of what if this and what if that — I get it, we want answers. Lying about God isn’t the answer. Much better blogs have been written on this subject than I can write.
I snapped today — someone sent me yet another “Where was God” post. This one a Mike Huckabee video. I watched the video and immediately responded with “This Crap! This isn’t my God.” — without checking who was on the original list, I started chasing feathers — my response was rather lengthy and I’ll spare you the details. It seems I replied to everyone in this poor man’s mail box. Our church, our district and several national directors of Christian Education.
I’ll be apologizing to the man the next time I see him. I wasn’t trying to discount his motive, just Mike’s Message. Sometimes I wind up chasing my own feathers and that is never fun. Self control would have been prudent. It’s not my place to defend God. I’m learning however, it is my place and my call — to tell the truth about God.