Music Monday: Feelin Groovy, Simon and Garfunkel

My banjo teacher used to call me “High Strung.” Some how, I don’t think that was a compliment. I’m always in such a hurry to finish up whatever we are working on and get to the next plateau that I don’t enjoy the moment.

I’m the same way with losing weight, mastering cycling, and my career. My eyes are on the mountain tops. The next gig, the next movie, the next song.

8 months with my leg in a boot has changed that.  8 months of sitting on my front porch overlooking the cove brought such incredible peace. No late night gigs, no rushing to finish projects around the house. no exhaustion. I just got to be.. 100% wholly me and no one else for 8 whole months.

I’m not sure I want to get back in the fray. The mania of striving and networking.

I want to build my garden at the Cove, write poetry, play my banjo on my front porch, go to church, take my time cooking fabulous meals, and spend time with friends. Maybe write my book and sling some jokes here and there when I feel like it.

Rebuilding a “suitable” web page that brings “results” doesn’t have the appeal it did a year ago.

Neither does being a star.

Or chairing yet another board at church.

Sounds crazy to me though.

Meeting Howard this weekend reaffirms that change.

Howard is a luthier. It can take him a year to make ONE violin. He has 10 more he wants to make. It took him a year to rebuild ONE clock from Germany. His father purchased a real log cabin for $20, took it down row by row, transported it back to his house and rebuilt it, row by row.

I’m guessing it took longer than a week.

How is it that at 48, I can still be in as big of a hurry to grow up as I was at eight?

Slowing down is good for sure.

Ya Got Trouble – or do you? A glimpse into the wilderness

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?

 

 

 

 

 

All I Ever Wanted

finding me

I made it to the parking lot.

Then I made it to our car.

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.

Thoughtful Thursdays: If you are cute and you know it, bat your eyes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I’ll be honest, some days I feel more like my old self than I do my new. Some days the old me emerges out of nowhere and I wonder if I’ve grown any at all. Thankfully, feelings aren’t facts.

The old me was really really cute, and man did she know how to work it. I still do and I hate it. As much as I hate how good I am at cute, there was a time when I hated being called out on it even more. And yet, I have a mentor, and a multitude of friends who when seeing my “cute self” try to push her way around, call me out on it. A lot. I am learning to appreciate that even if it hurts. That’s what happens when you hang out around 12 step rooms for too long. You learn to appreciate things you used to resent. – Like the truth. It took me a long time before I ever allowed people to tell me the truth. While I’m selective today about who gets to, I still allow it because I know I need it from time to time.

“I’m cute and I know how to work it!” Said no self-respecting woman, ever! —Tweet This

Playing cute is a lack of trust as well as a lack of respect both for ourselves and our victims.

My cute self got us in a butt load of trouble when I was younger. So much trouble in fact it cost me the respect of my co-workers, friends, and myself. What made me change? A man. An honest one at that.

Do you know what he said to me?

“Don’t get me wrong darlin, I love my wife. I just think we’d be good in bed together.”

I didn’t feel very cute after hearing those words come out of his mouth.  Actually, I never felt more alone, hurt, and ashamed in my life. My cute self had behaved us into a really nasty corner and I felt stuck.  I’d pursued him, if I’m being honest, under the guise of we work together, we should hang out. What’s the harm in that? Not that he wasn’t willing, ready and able, but I digress. Every time we hung out after work was at my invitation, never his. And we rarely hung out in a crowd, it was usually just us and a couple of beers.

My excuse at the time “I thought we were just buds. I never saw that coming, HE’s the jerk, not me.” — It took me a few weeks (okay years plus a few 12 steps, sponsors and finally a flat on my back moment of surrender) to stop lying to myself. Even though I wasn’t willing to admit it at the time, deep down, I didn’t want him to love his wife, I wanted him to love me. Now that the truth was out, I couldn’t lie, I couldn’t pretend and boy did it hurt.

The truth is, they always love their wives and you and I deserve better than meaningless table scraps. We deserve the whole banquet and yet due to moments of extreme stupidity, loneliness, lack of self-esteem or what ever you want to blame we are easily tempted to settle for so much less.

Instead of being the kind of woman that brings out the whole man, we play the cute little girl who can manipulate boys and nobody wins.

“I love my wife…” I heard these words more than two decades ago, and I have never forgotten them.  My life changed that night.

Yes, I turned him down. Just in case you were wondering. Not that it matters really. It still cost me my job eventually. I also cried for weeks. Cute stopped being fun. It stopped working. Cute wanted love, not a cheap one night stand with a married co-worker. I had to kick her to the curb if I was ever going to get what I really wanted and kick her to the curb I did.

The problem I have with Miss Cute Self is she likes to make an appearance every once in a while just to see if she’s still got it. That’s when my brain kicks in and tries to tell me that I will never change.

I have a news flash, my brain lies. For one thing the committee that meets are a bunch of drunks, misfits, co-dependents, floozies, and stone throwers. They are the nay-sayers of life and live to prove that I’ll wind up homeless and rejected tomorrow if I’m not careful. They like to wring their hands and show slides from the past. They like to try to prove that what tripped me up yesterday will surely trip me up today and I need to stay in my little cocoon and keep up my old tricks in order to survive.

Every time my brain rehearses the past to take away my present reality, I lose the chance to grow.  Committees are just dementiated liars. (I made that word up – my committee suffers from memory loss and warped perceptions of reality.) I don’t care how many times I hit replay on that DVR’d memory, it’s going to be foggy. Did I say this or that? What did they really say? When did that really happen? All I get are sound bites and nothing more. Just enough really to want to cling to my old habit, old hurts, old resentments, old anger, whatever.

I miss out on so much when I let the committee have its way with me. When I get lost in my mind as I’m prone to do, I need a referee. I need an advocate. I need Christ to take over and set things straight. Once I have that, I can ignore them when they call. Unlike my committee, God doesn’t keep score. I’m told in psalm 130 that he keeps no record of our sins.  I think that’s fantastic. He’s not some boogie man in the sky waiting to strike me dead or hold me to account for my past — he covered that with the cross.

There are still old habits, old behaviors, and old memories that trip me up from time to time even today. That doesn’t mean I haven’t changed or grown. It doesn’t mean I have to keep doing those things either. When I catch myself in an old behavior (or have an old behavior pointed out by a friend) I can choose to react and behave differently right this minute. Yep, I’m back to choices.

I have friends who believe in me enough to tell me the truth. Sometimes it’s a “yeah you, you so got this!” and sometimes it’s things like, grow up, quit being a victim, don’t manipulate me, and take responsibility for your choices.

I don’t have to crumble when someone points out something I know to be an old behavior surfacing. It’s not the end of the world. I don’t have to allow the committee to take over with their doctored evidence. I can own it, apologize and move on. And it’s over and done with. I love that.

Sometimes there are tears because it hurts. Hurts is okay. It means I’m alive. Allowing myself to be open enough to these friends is a good thing – and a somewhat new thing. Ken Davis said it well in his book Fully Alive, If you choose to move forward in your quest to live fully alive, you will fall, it will hurt…and it will be worth it.

I have friends who love me enough to help me kick her to the curb when they see her and I love that. I don’t need to be cute with them. I just need to be me.

Contrary to what the committee says, I don’t need my cute self in order to survive anymore nor do I have to stare at my past and believe I’m never going to change. I have changed and that is good news.

What old habits trip you up? Do you let them define your day? How do you change?

It’s About Choices

From Elements of Your Life on Facebook

My word for the year is breathe. My word for September and October is choices.

Everything I do is a choice. Owning my choices is a sign of being a grown-up. I’m not always a great grown-up.  Some days, I would rather shift blame than face myself.  That’s a choice too, though not a productive one. We don’t have to grow up. We can choose to blame our past, blame others or circumstances and stay stuck as a victim OR.. we can find freedom. That too is a choice.

Some choices I’ve made this month.

  • Remembering not to do something permanently stupid because I’m temporarily upset. (I have a temper, I need to staple this one to my forehead)
  • Being happy no matter what mood someone else is in.
  • Not letting people lie to me.
  • Allowing  people in my life who tell me the truth, even if it hurts my feelings.
  • Being real and honest with my mentor.
  • Investing in my career and buying my own banjo stand and taking lessons instead of going to the State Fair.
  • Facing my feelings and not wasting anymore time playing Facebook games and other things just to zone out.
  • Increasing my practice time from 30 minutes a day to at least an hour if not two.
  • Moving for an hour a day.
  • Eating what my nutritionist tells me to eat so that the pain in my stomach doesn’t return rather than turn to comfort food and old habits which does cause pain.*
  • Performing Stand Up twice a month at open mics.
  • Listening to God when he tells me NO! I’m at the point in my walk where his expectations of how I live my life are crystal clear. I’ve learned how to walk, it’s my responsibility to walk in what I’ve learned.

I’ve made some private choices as well and rather than discuss those, I’ll simply carry them out. Every day is a choice. We can choose to stay stuck, or we can choose to grow and move forward. What choices are you making today?

 

*Old habits that cause pain – sounds like a great blog topic for later this week.

Thought for today: Cowboy Wisdom

 Cowboys and “whine” do not mix.

I fell off a horse nine years ago, figuratively speaking anyway.  And then while I was still on the ground a whole stampede ran through and about did me in.

Nine years is a long time to be afraid of horses.

If you want to get over this fear, I suggest telling the truth to a cowboy. I’m not sure you’ll like the answer, I know I didn’t, but it will be the right answer. Like it or not.

Me: “I’m tired of this, am I ever going to learn how to trust again?”

Him: “You know what I’m going to tell you right?”

Me: “Yeah, yeah, I know cowgirl up and ride, right?”

Him: “Not this time darlin. This time I’m telling you to grow up and stop making people responsible for what happened in your past. You don’t get to decide for them which end of the horse they are going to be. Trust the rider, trust the horse. If you fall off, get back on, find your seat and ride. You don’t take it out on the horse if you fall off, right?”

Me: “Right.”

Him: “So quit taking it out on people. Once you learn that trick, then you can cowgirl up and ride all you want.”

Either I’ve lived in Oklahoma far to long, or he made perfect sense. He hurt my feelings, like a real friend will from time to time, but he’s right. You can’t ride if you can’t find your seat.

Trust the rider (me)

Trust the horse (them)

find your seat and ride. 

When you fall off (not if)

Pick yourself up

Dust off the dirt

and start again.

And whatever you do, don’t take it out on the horse.

Life After Kids, Cowgirls ‘n Angels

One of my biggest fears is having my children grow up, move out and leave me behind. Marriage and parenting can take our all, every day, every week, every year. And then poof, just like that it seems they are grown, gone and testing their wings.

What then?

A lot of women fall apart at this stage in life. So do a lot of marriages.

I made a choice a few years ago.  I do not want those things happening to me. I do not want to wake up six months from now without a clue of who I am. Or worse yet – I do not want to wake up six months from now, look at my husband and think “who are you and what are you doing in my bed?”

Just like weening a baby off the breast, I have to ween myself off the “mom roll” and come back to the woman.

It’s not easy to do. Actually it is very painful at times.

It takes soul-searching work, bravery, and conviction.

There is a fun side to testing my own wings and seeing what I’m made of beneath the sweat suit and pony-tail.

One of the fun things is watching this movie trailer and seeing myself in the crowd scenes during the trick riding. – I even got paid to be there when they filmed last summer.

A release date has not yet been set, but I can’t wait to go see it.

Life doesn’t have to end when our kids grow up. We can begin to prepare by getting to know that woman in the mirror again today.

Take some time and get to know her, who knows maybe she’ll surprise you.

Love you guys!