"I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!" is how I end up describing a lot of my friends. Old friends, new friends, crazy friends and absurdly inappropriate friends. All of them bring some new facet to my life like a sparkling gem that nobody can quit stealing glances at. There is SO MUCH POWER in seeing them how God wants me to. Sometimes they do odd or uncomfortable things, but the more I see them like they're supposed to be, the more they become that way. Its a gift in me I really don't understand. I just try to go with it. Recently, I've become an overweight, greying 45 year old with an 11 month old baby. I'm a lot younger and more fit in my mind than you might guess from my outward appearances. The last year has not been generous to this figure. I only remember what I really look like when I try to sport a pair of jeans.
A week ago, my conscience reminded me that I needed to fit devotions in. That was actually the umpteenth time my conscience reminded me of it. Even though I was REALLY BUSY I decided I'd better listen. Trying to host an event at my house is like dumping a nest full of teenage squirrels into my living room. There is chaos in every direction. My house is too small for events, but it seems to be the place of choice for many people. There is always people tripping over each other and half the crowd ends up sitting on the floor while small children drop food and fuss in every direction. Its chaos in its purest form. That particular day, strangely reminded me of a few weeks back at the bar. It, too, was another day of chaos - but equally a day to remember. Due to the sensitive subject matter, my husband has disallowed me from blogging on events that happened then so I'm going to tell you about my chaotic bar encounter. I promise you'll never guess how the night ended...……………………
"Co-Dependent No More" has been cycling through Yaak like "Hand Foot and Mouth Virus", except in a better way. Instead of women finding spots on themselves and developing a high fever, we seem to be realizing a new kind of freedom. This freedom finds itself seeing bondage and not quite knowing how to break free from it. Each day, though, we find a new measure of freedom than the day before. This keeps propelling us in the right direction.
My girlfriend, Elasta Woman, had just finished this book and she was ready to put some of it into practice. So was I. We were going to "Ladies Night" at the bar with our girlfriends and not worrying about anything else. It was our night to express ourselves to each other and find freedom through dance, laughter and mirth. Our men were not so sure about this form of self expression seeing as how they are such good protectors of us.
Mostly the women who frequent "Ladies Nights" are the ones in the 60+ age group. They are hilarious fun. There is nothing like dancing with a bunch of wild old ladies abandon on the dance floor. It makes for a scene that you can't stop laughing over. They are always faithful devotees of "Ladies Night" in Yaak. On this particular night, I'd invited 75% of the "below 60" age group.
No sooner did I walk in the doors, but wild Twila, who lives very primitively in the wilds, scooped me up and drug me over to a table. We hadn't caught up in months and she was bouncing off the walls to catch me up on every last detail of her new job tanning hides and preserving animal body parts. As she described every gruesome detail, I couldn't help but remember that it was this very bar where I'd first seen her several years ago. She was dancing like a mad woman and sporting the slightest idea of a dress. At 57, she has a body rippling with muscles and can sport any kind of slight dress she wishes. At the time, it was just a little shocking for me to take in. I looked out there at her dancing and it was like somebody else was seeing her. The still small voice spoke to my heart and said "I want her", and I would be forever linked to her future. I would forever pursue her as my friend and see her how He saw her. So here we were, years later, and she is a different person than the woman I once pursued. She was bubbling over with gratefulness about her new job and proud to tell me. It was like coming home to a long lost friend, but more than that. It was seeing what a rich, generous and gracious woman she'd become. I felt humbled.
As the one man band began his introduction, he asked if anybody had shot anything that day. I was the only one who raised my hand. Everybody thought it was funny that I was at the bar only hours from having shot a 4x4. Only in Yaak do these bizarre mixes of huntress turned dance warrior take place. That is another cool story for another day, but sufficient to say there were some disgusted men involved.
Elastawoman and I started talking about "Co-Dependency No More" and how free we were feeling and then I just felt compelled to hug her. She started sobbing. It was a new freedom for her and I could just see her running for it with everything she had. Elasta Woman is like that. I did feel the slightest alarm at the idea that my hugging her invoked that kind of reaction. We were there to have fun and I wasn't trying to lead devotions in the bar. We sashayed out to the dance floor and started to "get down".
It wasn't long before a rainbow array of women old and young were moving to the beat and losing themselves. Then I looked across the bar and saw a woman standing by the pool table and I just knew I needed to go over and hug her. She looked fine, but the feeling wouldn't let up. I sighed, left the dance floor and put my arms around her, knowing that I never win out to my conscience. Suddenly she said "I'm so afraid' and started sobbing. I was beginning to get a complex now about the downward effect I was having on people, but I just kept on hugging her. I felt her pain and couldn't imagine what it would be like to try and winter in Yaak as a new widow. She wiped away the tears and we both took to the dance floor dancing our troubles away (or so I thought). I just wasn't getting into the music. I was starting to see a common theme here and unrest seemed to take me.
Thankfully, another wild and unusual woman bought us all a round of some type of fiery shot. Up until then I wasn't really feeling like alcohol, but more mulling over this new freedom busting out here. That's when this heavily intoxicated shot buying woman came up and started talking to me. I had some issues with her and knew we needed to iron some things out. My dear husband had busted onto the scene feeling the need to protect us girls. We sat together by her and I gently asked her, or maybe very gently confronted her. Then things turned south in a hurry. She was about 6 inches from my face yelling loudly. Other women gathered round, wondering if they needed to intervene, stepping closer and closer until there were several invading my personal space. My Honey's face turned grey with fury hearing the intoxicated woman's ideas. Peace kept me still and the wisdom in knowing that reasoning with alcohol is never wise made me chose my words wisely. After I heard what she had to say, Honey pulled me out on the dance floor. I was shaken and frustrated, but I knew the conversation was far from over. Honey walked off outside. I looked over at the woman. She was sitting by herself and the overwhelming urge to hug her came over me. It was again, just what the still small voice wanted. I thought "you've got to be kidding me, I narrowly escaped a brawl", but it persisted. Almost comically, I walked over laughing to myself at my absurd behavior and threw my arms around her. Yep, you guessed it, she stated crying. I gave up on the idea of ever whooping it up that night. She told me about her childhood and I realized we were fighting the same battle just from different standpoints. We came to an agreement.
Not long after that, one of my closest friends, who doesn't believe like me wanted to talk about God. We started having a funny conversation, but felt compelled out to the dance floor feeling the beat. As the beat grabbed us, we got crazier and crazier. That's when Elasta Woman said "wanna dance on the table?!". I looked around at the crazy mix of woman and all things considered said "sure why not?!". Before I knew it, Elasta Woman and I were bringing down the house, dancing on a table. She was free and she knew it. She was becoming "Co-Dependant No More". I was wondering about the sanity of an overweight 45 year old woman dancing on a table at the bar. I felt women around me, restless to express themselves. I wasn't the last woman to dance on a table that night, but I was the first. And strangely, its one of the highlights of my life...………………....
Friday, January 19, 2018
|Hanging Out at the Hospital Campus Fitness Center|
Somehow I found myself riding down the long road to the big city with my daughter Saphira driving me. Saphira, now married with a baby, is all grown up. She’s on maternity leave from her hospital job as an RN and has taken on the job of getting me to my Dr. appointment and moving me into medical housing. This seemed surreal to me. 1. Saphira is all grown up. 2. She has a cute, chubby baby which I was there for the birth of. The baby is no longer a newborn, but the chubbiest and cutest baby girl EVER!! She’s now 10 weeks old. 3. I’m moving to medical housing (ME!!). 4. I’m about to have a baby (what?!?! How did this happen?!?!). 5. I’m high risk for medical problems, so I am stuck with letting the Dr.s intervene though I secretly fantasize about not letting them. In these fantasies, I go through extreme measures to birth naturally even though I’m not really supposed to.
In all truth, I somehow avoided processing the last 9 months in my mind. I ran from one thing to the next, never slowing down. I was always greedily trying to conquer the next big thing in front of me with a strange sensation that I was about to fall off the face of the earth. As the medical reports seemed grim from the beginning, I could never quite allow myself to dwell on the fact that I was actually pregnant. I’d lost 3 babies of my last 4 and with the grim reports I’d been given, along with a big load of grief I seem to often flounder in, I just couldn’t indulge in baby thoughts. But, here I was, riding down the road and it seemed like some kind of weird dream that I was going to wake up from. Nothing about it seemed like it fit. For one thing, I always take care of people. People do not take care of me. In this case, Saphira called her dad and told him that I would not be left alone and she arranged for people to stay with me until he was able to come. That is another thing that seemed weird – Saphira taking charge of a family situation. And how did it come to be that Saphira, Ali Cat and I would all be having babies in a relatively short time of each other? I am for sure one odd woman. Some people shake their heads and don’t know what I’m thinking (actually I don’t know what I’m thinking either). Others think its great and go along with the joyous, momentous occurrence. Only a few tried to discuss birth control options with me.
At the medical appointment, Saphira and Miss Moonbeamer along with Saphiras Chub-A-Muffin saw my new baby girl on ultrasound. She is 6 lbs and 2 oz already. I tried to pay attention to the specialist, but mostly fantasized about ways to avoid him. I smiled blankly and nodded my head obediently. I hoped I was putting on a good show. Saphira thought my behavior rather suspicious. This was part of the reason that she insisted that I not be alone this last leg of the journey.
Then we met the “hospitality” lady from the hospital who guided us into this apartment. Staying in an apartment in the city seemed crazy to me, but so did going into labor in Yaak in the middle of winter. What seemed worse was the potential for life threatening complications in Yaak in the middle of winter. I knew that being here was sensible and decided to try and see it as a long awaited vacation from life as I know it. There would be no responsibility for me here – just resting, shopping, lounging on the internet, taking advantage of the pool and fitness center. I would have to leave my OCD behind as well as my other mental hang ups. I would truly be forced to REST. In some ways it was the falling off the earth feeling I’d predicted.
The hospitality lady pleasantly told me that I was HUGE, which I already had observed in the mirror earlier. I waddled along, contracting every so often. She also told me that there are 3 other people here from Yaak. My neighbor is a feisty 90 year old - once Yaak bar owner when Yaak was a wilder less civilized place to live. I laugh every time I talk to him because he cracks me up. Not long ago, I marched some of my behavioral school girls over to his house to check on him. I knew he was in chemo and driving back and forth. I had been worried about him. We knocked on his door and announced we were there to see how he was doing. He sauntered up, threw his arms out dramatically and said “well here I am!” Then he just looked at us like “and what the heck would you think you’d find?!” It was pretty hilarious. Now the dear old man was my next door neighbor. That in itself seemed comical that we would both find ourselves here at the same time.
Since I’m here now, this has been a good introduction to an adventure in my life that I’m yet to live. How I’ll survive medical housing, I’m not sure. I am betting I am about to embark on many adventures here. Probably many of them will be rather comical. I am not used to living in the city and am prone to getting into trouble. I continually revert back to wondering why I’m here and then feel shocked that I am about to have a baby. Contractions hit and I remember all over again “oh yeah that’s why I’m here”.
Art Dog also suffered a moment of panic this morning when it occurred to him that he and Super Cat man would be cooking their own meals for the next several weeks. He roamed through the cupboards not seeing their contents. He called Saphira in a panic telling her “we don’t have anything to cook”. “Whats the last thing you made?!?” “What did you make before that?!?!” He felt ill prepared and the idea of grocery shopping was monumental. He was able to convince his adult sister to pick him up some “easy stuff to make” and paid her for it. She and I had a good laugh about it on the way to town. It would be a good adventure for her younger brothers too.
There has been a lot of firsts for me this pregnancy. 1. First time picking up dog poop from a public location. Yes, I am actually becoming a responsible pet owner by picking up my dogs poop from public locations. 2. First time having “just us girls” for several days. Saphira took good care of me the first stint of my stay. She patiently waited while I pushed the cart e v e r so s l o w l y…… Waddling along and pausing to contract…. And beginning to understand how a little old lady might feel. Why does everybody walk so fast anyway?! Besides patiently transporting me to multiple assorted shopping locations, and waiting, Saphira cooked really really good for me. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t rushing around and she was very purposefully reminding me of nutrition strategies I’d forgotten along the way. She even censored my shopping cart and there was no out running her to check out. At night we had girls sleep over, pushing mattresses together to form a gigantic bed on the floor. It was really a lot of fun and I will always be thankful for that time with her. Of course baby Astrid was a good distraction for me too.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
|Camping by this Creek!|
|Denver and His Nephew|
|Miss Moonbeam and Cousins|
|Moonbeam Decides to Jump!|
|All the kids helping get wood!|
|Thankful for my Ali Cat!! Best Daughter in Law EVER!!!|
How I found myself hiking up a mountain with 3 girls from our local behavioral school, I'll never know, but sure enough that's what I was doing. I also found myself to be 23 weeks pregnant. No, it wasn't a strange dream. No, I wasn't delusional, nor was I intoxicated. I was just plain hiking up a mountain, unarmed, with 3 that I was in charge of and pregnant as all get out........................
As you may notice, its been a long time since I've written. So long in fact, that I forgot how much I love writing. Busyness, perpetual grief and maybe a little temporary insanity kept me away for a very long time, but I am hoping to be back now.
Some how, the local behavioral school never got the memo that I'm seriously immature and very imaginative. They hired me under the guise of being a seasoned emergency RN. My boss over there still puts up with me too, even though she knows better. They've all kind of accepted that I have a different way of seeing things. How I've kept that job for so long, I don't know. I think its more of a God ordained position. I do miss my "working mom blues stories" mostly written there during long nights and in between patients. With this new job, they don't really know me yet. I think they were thinking of hiring a frowny faced, stuffy school nurse when they recruited me. Unknowns to them, my husband calls me "a troubled adult" and claims that I should have attended the behavioral boarding school as a child. I couldn't bear the thought of being a stuffy school nurse alone, so I negotiated to have them let me do a few hours a week doing "girls athletics" at a lower rate of pay. Somehow they agreed.
Since then, every time we go out, I dawn the giggles and laugh hysterically that they trust me to take girls out of the facility. I attempted to train a reluctant bunch of girls to run "The Sasquatch
Race". That involved a lot of ups and downs and learning curves for me. A lot of these girls have come from big cities and even across the world. They've never lived the kind of life that I so often take for granted. Some of them had truly never run. Some never have hiked in the woods. Some had a lot of emotional challenges preventing them from believing that they could. In the end, my bedraggled crew ran the race and were proud of their accomplishment.
After that, I did "open water swim training" with them. Again, it was a new learning curve. I pushed them hard in the water and made them swim distances they never dreamt they could. Most of them improved their form, but I would have liked them to improve it even more. At the end of that season, as usual, I found myself in a bizarre position. I had arranged for a big ice cream sundae party. As we gorged on multiple bowls of varied ice creams and toppings in a near by bunk house, the rest of the kids were in a discipline mode for some trouble. There was a strange and eerie silence about the campus, which we didn't discover until we were all finished. Here we were being silly and chocolaty while every body else was in trouble.
As I get more and more pregnant, I can do less and less. Instead of running in the fall, I shifted over to trying some hikes. On this particular day, I found myself hiking up to a local mountain summit with 3 charges. Two of the girls ran and swam with me but one of them was new. She'd never done anything like this before and she was struggling. Up higher and higher we hiked. The trail got narrower and steeper. We took more and more breaks. At one point, the new girl went into meltdown mode, and we'd gotten her back up hiking. Suddenly we were surprised by crashing in the bushes!! I told her it was probably just a deer. It was directly below us. Then we heard deep guttural roaring growls. The terror echoed over the mountain side. The new girl started a high pitched crying sound. I shushed her quickly and pushed her up the mountain and away from the terrifying sounds. After a while, she was so overcome with exhaustion that she laid down on the trail and told me to let it eat her. With the urgency of wanting to distance us from the beast, I got very firm and pushed her harder to head upward. Finally in the last leg of our journey, I was ready to give up ever getting to the very top. We were both exhausted and ready to rest. There was a distance between us and the tree line now. I could see nothing on the hill side pursuing us. I was ready to sit down and pray. The other two girls had made it to the top and insisted we were very close. One of my favorites went back and helped the new girl to the top. Here we were, on top of a beautiful mountain. We stopped and fervently prayed for Gods protection. The girls could feel the power in our prayers. I slowly started feeling the assurance that everything would be okay. I was unarmed and had no way of protecting them except for trusting God to do it. The peace came that He would. We ate our lunch as the girls marveled over the rich scenery of mountains upon mountains spread out as far as we could see. They'd never seen anything like this, and the terror of getting up there was starting to lose its grip to the vastness of Gods creation. We took a lot of fun pictures and hoped the beast had moved on. I was fairly sure that our new girl wouldn't hold her footing trying to go down a different direction. We would have to trust that God could get us down and He did. The hike seemed dreamy and euphoric. It was such a beautiful day. I felt thankful
Saturday, April 29, 2017
|"My One and Only"|
Elasta Woman wasn't going to take "no" for an answer easily and so I agreed to be there, even though I was already plotting my head how I could get out of actually painting. The fantasy went something like this : I would stand there in front of a blank canvas. Craftily, I would excuse myself to the bathroom, along with my canvas, paints, brush, easel and other assorted art type stuff. Art Dog, my son, would meet me in the bathroom, where he would secretly and hurriedly paint a master piece. Art Dog wasn't nick named "art dog" for nothing. He's a serious artist. Then I would yawn as I put a few finishing touches on my new painting. The girls would "oooh" and "ahhhh" a bit. Elasta Woman, clever as she is, might think something was fishy, but she could not prove a thing. The ramifications of moving all that crap unnoticed into the bathroom left some room for imagination, but I will spare you of my ideas, because that's just not how it ended up happening................
As usual, we were late. My popcorn popper broke midpop leaving me with a mess of sauces and no corn. I felt anxious and flustered as I noticed easels were already up and dinner was for all practical purposes over. A shocking array of gourmet Mexican was spread across the garage. People were greeting one another and laughing. Children were running around outdoors playing. Music made the whole thing feel festive. One of our girlfriends, who has been through more than any woman should go through, busted out dancing. Here was something I could relate to. I busted out dancing too. I started relaxing, maybe just a little.
I moved stealthily from woman to woman examining the pieces of art carefully. Every painting was starting out fantastic. After about my 3rd round, the women became suspicious. "Go get a canvas" they kept encouraging me. I avoided the subject until it could be avoided no longer. I told one of them I was going to go pop popcorn. She rolled her eyes and told me to go get a canvas. Fear struck. I knew it was now or never. Art Dog had refused to participate in my cockamamie plan. I was on my own. I considered going off and playing with the kids. I considered popping popcorn. I considered hiding in the bathroom or holding a lively conversation with the men. Then, just as a gazillion thoughts merged through my mind, the still small voice suggested I go get a canvas.......
Gingerly, I took a canvas from the pile. My girlfriends eagerly shared beautiful colors of paints, sizes of brushes and accepting smiles. The music played and even though I'd have rather been dancing, something strange captured my heart. The creator reminded me that He was my artist and that I was His canvas. He reminded me, as with the proverbial potter and clay that I was what He created. As girls laughed, painted and danced, I picked up the brush shakily and started to feel the life giver quietly guiding my imagination. Before long, I was mixing colors, even though I didn't know how. Slowly, a flower emerged and then a sun and then water. The flower was me, growing. The sun was God. The more time I sat in the sun, the more that I reflected God's image. The Holy Spirit was the water. Bari gave me some coppery brown that seemed very earthy. Soon the sun looked like it was sending fiery rays right into the flower. The flower, vibrant reflected the sun. I realized the art was kind of prophetic.
That's when, amidst the laughing and wine and crazy music that God really spoke to my heart and said He was going to heal me. It was clear and distinct. It was just like 9 years ago when God told me he would give me a baby when the flowers bloomed again, the promise of my littlest, Miss Moonbeam. Something in me changed. I knew it was true, that He really was going to heal me. I was tired of waking up grieving and afraid. I was tired of loss altogether. I was ready to be well again and up until then never knew if I ever would be. Too many things had been stolen from me and I'd spent too much time feeling broken. The more I painted, the more I knew that the painting really wasn't of my own talent. Several friends came up and complimented me on my work. Each time I told them about the prophetic meaning in it. They all liked it.
As the party wore on, people got a bit rowdier..... One of my most favorite friends ever, came up, too silly to realize what she was doing and dipped my brush in the blackest paint. I watched with horror as she spread the black directly across the blazing sunbeams, right through the middle of the flower. I gasped and collected my thoughts. I grabbed the painting and traded her for a pad of paper. I started washing off the black, but it created a permanent, eerie shadow. I knew the painting still spoke. The black shadow was a kind of "unpredictable" thing that happened. Sometimes things out of our control, bad things happen. The black shadow was like sin and evil. Its there and sometimes we can't stop its presence from messing up things in our lives. We are hurt by the choices and actions of others. Deep down, though, God still continues to do his work in us. We still reflect His image. He is still causing us to bloom despite the death in our lives. I kept trying to fix the shadow and the more I tried to fix it, the more distorted it appeared.
I hid back behind the table and painted on it until Matthew decided to start breaking his old dining room chairs on the cement floor. He had never liked his chairs and decided that tonight was the night to express yourself by smashing them. Soon everyone was busting up chairs on the concrete. Matthew can and does usually make a crazy game out of everything. He has the unique ability to get people on board with his crazy antics. Pieces of wood hit my painting and I knew that I'd better stop. I looked at it again. I also realized that in every death I died, new life and new fields would grow. Its just how God created it. Deep in the swirls of the dark shadow new life multiplied and rose up. And so, we can laugh, when our giddy friend does something a bit unpredictable. We can laugh because in it God is working all along. All along, He intends to heal us and bring forth more life. All along, He's there in the midst of our suffering and torment. He is the great painter, the great potter, the great Creator of our very souls......
I laid down my brush for the last time, and still loved my painting. Despite the good and the bad, the life and the death, God would make me bloom and he would heal me. My husband was now smashing a chair and looked rather proud of himself. We started dancing with pieces of broken chair. The party seemed to be taking a new turn. Elastawoman was moving art supplies and paintings to safer locations. I was dancing with my husband like there was no tomorrow. I ignored the fear and told myself to enjoy the moment and I did.......
A couple of weeks later, Belle and I signed up run "Bloomsday". I would be starting a new job soon. Spring was here. There was no telling what adventures might be ahead. The past lies behind, but not very far, beckoning from a watery grave. Its the dark shadow across the painting of my life, but its just a shadow. Its not the whole picture. No black can ever darken the Sun's reflection in our lives.