Well that didn’t go as I planned

I am sometimes accused of only posting fun and exciting adventures on Facebook and Instagram and it can (I suppose) give people the impression that I lead a charmed life, which I don’t. It’s just that when I do post things it’s usually about my comedy adventures or stuff with my church. I leave out the stuff that really should go to my therapist because I don’t want to traumatize anyone.

Well, let me tell you about the day I fell on my butt in front of a woman I admire greatly and just met.

Spoiler alert: We aren’t going to be friends. Ever. Nope. Not gonna happen. I’m pretty sure of that one. I’m not going to be friends with anyone on her team either.

I had this really exciting weekend planned where I was going to hostess a speaking team from California for a woman’s conference for the whole weekend and I was excited. I love her work. I’ve taken women to places just to see her. I guess I’m a bit of a fan girl, without wanting to seem like one perhaps. I’m not sure.

And besides, I rock at this, really I do. I’ve been taking care of speakers since the 90s. Now granted, this is the first time I’ve done that since Mom passed, but no biggie, right? I mean what would be the harm. Going to a woman’s conference the same week that I put Mom’s house on the market and did my final walk through. Oh did I mention we just found out that Dad has leukemia?

 Surely, I’ll be fine.

We found out last minute that there would be four people arriving instead of the normal two, so our director put two of us together to work with the team. That seemed fair. I arrived at the airport early to pick up “Pepper” and when a tall male walked up and introduced himself, I almost didn’t believe him.

Being me, I said out loud, “Oh wow! I was expecting a woman.” I tried to save it with “well, it’s a woman’s conference and all.. I am so sorry.”

He just smiled.

I insulted her director, right out of the gate. Isn’t that awesome?


It just went downhill from there. Really it did. A comedy of errors. Everything I tried to put my hands on fell apart. I wish I was exaggerating. Fortunately for them, there were two hostesses assigned to this team and my counterpart rocked. She’s wonderwoman on steroids. She’s also about 15 years younger than me and can fly around that arena like she’s on roller skates. (I tend to hobble)

When I sat in the stadium waiting to hear my speaker get up and do her thing, I was feeling a little shaky. This first few speakers really get your heart. But I told myself “I got this. It’s going to be okay.” Big deep, calming breaths.

My speaker is a dramatist and she did this sketch that I’ve seen half a dozen times before and I thought nothing of it, until she takes this left turn at the end and her character confronts her alcoholic mother with all the things she wishes she could have said.

I never saw the sucker punch coming. One minute I’m enjoying the sketch, the next I am on the floor sobbing and cannot pull it together.

Thus ending my awesome chance at hostessing one of my favorite speakers.

I turned over the reigns to my counterpart and hid for the rest of the day until it was time to take them back to the hotel. They hid from me as well, so it was a mutual avoidance thing.

I mean really, she’s in a new town, starting a new tour with an event she’s never performed at before. This was the first stop, and she gets the sniveling-grief-stricken-hostess who’s phone texting system isn’t even working correctly and who chose to take offense at something a pastor said to her (he compared me to a rich white party girl from his college) which caused another crying jag (only that one outside).

Can you blame her?

I would have done the same thing.

And I don’t know if they thought I bailed because I was lazy or what, but I didn’t care. 

Grief is a rude child and demands attention when it demands attention.  It’s just a weekend. It’s just grief and not the end of the world. And if this speaker and her team thinks I’m a train wreck, then they think I’m a train wreck. Most likely though — they haven’t given me another thought since they left for the next gig.

I’m much better now. I no longer want to crawl under a rock. But there it is.. I blew that gasket every way possible. And I didn’t die.

And if you are grieving or know someone who is, be compassionate with yourself and with others. It takes time and it’s not a race.

Have a great week peeps.



New York is Not My Home

Three days to spend. Two of them flying. One in and one out. The other to meet with lawyers and put mother’s house up for sale. I’m almost through.

I spent so much time there last year people were beginning to think I was gone for good. My husband even began to wonder.

Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the house since I came home in October. I’ve simply paid people to take care of it. Not sure how I feel about going back.

Okay, I know exactly how I feel…

I’m ready to put this behind me for good.

New York is not my home.

Lyrics/Music: Jim Croce

Well things were spinnin’ round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt
All the things that were me

Been in so many places
You know I’ve run so many races
And looked into the empty faces
Of the people of the night
And something is just not right

And I know that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

Though all the streets are crowded
There’s something strange about it
I lived there ’bout a year
And I never once felt at home

I thought I’d make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick
And now I’m tellin’ you
That they were not the nice kind
And it’s been so long since I have felt fine

That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home


That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

My Back Porch, A Blanket and a Fire to Keep me Warm

Cover of "Laughing in the Dark: A Comedia...
Cover via Amazon

I made a reference yesterday about the year I lost it. Those of you who’ve known me for a while know what I’m talking about, but for the rest let me fill you in a little. Life got crazy from 2003-2004 and while trying to handle everything on my own, I eventually snapped. You might say I went through an 18 month season of sifting, pruning, and deep grief. Some of it was my own making, and some of it was not. Whatever label you want to put on that season, the end result was the same, I was diagnosed with clinical depression in June of 2004. My depression was so deep that I spent the next 12 months in what I call an emotional black out. I functioned, but as my friends would say, “the lights were on, but ain’t nobody home.”

I’m not sure when I snapped exactly. The downward spiral began in 2003. Within roughly 14 months from March of 2003 to May of 2004, I ruptured my ACL,  buried 10 of my closest friends, lost the only school my kids had ever known, among other more personal issues I won’t bore you with here, and I erroneously believed the “cure” for my grief was to take on more responsibility. Pretty arrogant hunh?

By the time my brain and denial collided, I had already spent months sitting on my back porch every night. I’ll never forget being wrapped in a blanket, chain-smoking, and staring into the blankness,  for hours at time. In the morning, I’d wake up, pull up my bootstraps and drive to work across town.  As soon as work ended, I would go back on the porch and shut down.

When I finally did see a doctor, I was pretty deep and he was ready to put me in the hospital. This is how depression lied to me, I was blaming someone for mine. A few someones actually and my response to my doctor was “I’ll be jacked if I’m going to give him the satisfaction of putting me in the nut house. I’m stronger than he is.” As if I was the center of some evil plot to drive me insane. Depression lies to us, big time. For some strange reason my doctor didn’t force the issue and we settled out-patient therapy instead.

My pride and ego got in the way from allowing myself to be hospitalized. I should have listened to my doctor — I would have recovered much more quickly.

The good news though, is I did recover. I spent three plus years in therapy, both group and private, and on medication. I learned how to be more authentic and honest with my thoughts and feelings and I learned what to watch for in case it happens again. In my case, I have not needed meds for roughly three years, but if I ever spiral again I’ll be on them for life.

Several of my friends and acquaintances have experienced depression in their lives.  I met Chonda Pierce during my downward spiral. She is a sweetheart and she writes about her own experiences in Laughing In The Dark.  There is a blogger on my page, Pastor Todd Peppercorn (You can see him listed under Pastor Blogs). He writes When I Trust My Dark Road and I read him from time to time.

I could rattle off a few more names of people I like who have been through depression, but I hope you get my point. While I was never suicidal, a lot of my friends who experienced depression were. I lost a friend to depression ten years ago, and that breaks my heart. Depression kills.

 It was during this dark season that I did in my old blogs and threw away a lot of my writings. I did that because I believed at the time that I’d never be a writer or speaker or of any worth to God or anyone else ever again.

Wow was I wrong.

I’m bringing this up today because a friend of mine posted a plea on her Facebook page — she said “You’re too blessed to be depressed is bs. Don’t say that to anyone. Ever. Please.” She’s right. It’s not true and it’s not helpful. Depression is real. It’s not self-pity. Depression hurts. It debilitates and it lies.

A local pastor and part-time mentor is seeking in patient treatment for his depression and burn out. While my heart hurts for him and his family, I admire his humility and his willingness to seek treatment. 

I do know that while I was depressed I sought God in the things of God, in myself, other people, and my work. In seeking him in the wrong places, I missed him along the way. It was only after I fell apart that I found his healing and his Grace. Today I know the hope and the healing that comes on the other side. I pray the same for for anyone else suffering today.

 I found my voice, my courage and my king in my dark night — getting help is not a sign of weakness, it’s sign of strength.

Thank you for letting me share.


The Higher Road to liturgical literacy

Funerals denied.  Ashes held for ransom. Heirlooms stolen by angry family member. An old friend suddenly dies.The meanest pastor in the world is layed to rest. And I don’t have the faintest clue which road to travel.

Hearts are still tender today. It’s been a long strange road this past week and we aren’t finished walking it yet. Mom’s estate will not be settled until the 19 of February. And on that day a small few will gather to spread Mom’s ashes in Tampa Bay. Another memorial service will be held in Chicago at a later date.

There have been many opportunities to walk the low roads this week. Chances to fight fire with fire. Bark out orders, smack down the arrogant, and have our way. Lucky for me I married my opposite. While he may have the same less than sanctified thoughts that I can have, he chooses not to act on them. I like that about him.

My nemesis passed this week and once again my feelings are raw as I remember his words and actions over the years. He was the first person I ever met in my life who openly and publically hated me and called me names. I’ve been disliked, avoided even – but to be hated and called names? That was new.  I probably would not have minded  so much, if I hadn’t adored him and his wife as much as I did. We chose not to attend his funeral. I’m not sure if that was the right choice or not, but it was the best choice for us this weekend.

Having said that, I really feel I have little to offer just yet. Jeff hasn’t been able to play praise music all week – which is rough when you lead worship, kwim? And I haven’t been able to write.

It’s all part of the grieving processes. Before we know it, our words will once again flow. Until then, I’d like to offer up this blog post by Pastor Beecroft. I can come up with a funny here – if you really must know, I read it because I thought it was a sermon on sex. Which is not my fault — he wrote all over facebook that this was Sex Sunday.

This is what happens when you are liturgically illiterate.


Sexegesima 2010 — The Parable of the Sower