Thursday, May 31, 2018

Who is Church For? Sinners?

The other day when you asked me why we stayed at the church after people were so unsupportive of Malachi and I said I needed to think about it before I answered.  My first answer was a pop-off answer and I knew it. 

1)      I was tired of changing churches and searching for a place to truly belong and fit in.  But there were even more reasons. 

2)      Malachi was old enough to make his own choice and as much as I wanted, he obviously did not fit in there- this isn’t the worship style and never has been that he likes best

3)      Things went off the rails much before that when Sam was basically run out of the church, and I stayed then, too. 

4)      I have never truly “fit in” to a church I have attended since……, not ever.  I have always been a fringe wierdo and have never really had close friends in church-because me and mine are just to strange to do things outside of church with and that’s honestly where you build relationships-  not actually in services. 

5)      I stayed because it seems now, maybe I’m supposed to try to protect others who don’t fit in what will come along…

I have been asked to leave three church settings over my life. 

The first was when I was 17 and  I told my Sunday school class that I (and my family) have Some kind of telepathic communication thing that is NOT evil as the teacher was saying, because it has never happened in any situation that was not for good.  I was called evil and asked to ot come back because I was scaring people.  I left and didn’t go back to church for about 14 or so years.

I ended up in a marriage that I was pretty much forbidden from attending church, any time and any place.  I could easily have gone but it would have created a fight and I saw no need to fight.  I just figured that he could forbid my corporate worship experience but he couldn’t control what I read when I wasn’t around him and he most certainly couldn’t stop me from praying.  So when our marriage fell apart, I went BACK to that church as one of my friends down the hall at school went there.  The pastor of the church then was contacted by that friend and so he came to visit me.  He sat in my home and told me that he honestly had no idea how to help me through a divorce, he thought I just needed to go back and try harder.  I said, “we are sitting here in my living room, with my two children nearby, and I’m not sure what you are telling me to go back to… I DIDN’T LEAVE>>> ‘Im right here.. HE LEFT not ME.  I did not cheat, I did not desert my children, I did not leave my spouse.. How do I go back?  He stared at me for a few minutes and said I don’t have any idea what to say or how to help you, and he left.   After Jonathan and I got married he wanted to go to church but for obvious reasons afore mentioned I think he was not comfortable at that churchso we changed churches.

When Sam was a toddler, I was teaching the 2-3 year old class in Sunday School at our new church because I had been asked to teach it along with another friend who had a son that was 10 days older than Sam.  One day, after we had moved to Cloudcroft I had a visit from the deacons telling me that they felt they needed to find another teacher for that class because I was failing to teach my children to sit quietly in church and their parents were frustrated and the people who had to sit around them wiggling around were frustrated.  They would find someone else who could do a better job than I was doing.  That’s when we changed churches to Cloudcroft after all that’s where we lived. 

We were part of the inner circle at the church we attended in Cloudcroft for years.  We were committee members, teachers, neck deep in moving and shaking-I can’t tell you how much sleep I made Jonathan miss when he was on rotating shifts for us to be “part of Gods work” That was horrible of me in retrospect because it was mostly to fit in.  Even with all the effort I put in to at least “LOOK NORMAL”, my 4 year old son was shaken by the pastor and taken in front of the congregation to be told what an awful child he was and NO  BOY would mistreat a girl in “HIS CHURCH” (Sam accidentally stepped on a girls hand when she moved her hand , she was sitting on the floor and he had been called to the front of the children’s sermon area by the pastor)  I was too shocked and humiliated at that moment to even move from where I was sitting until after church was over.  I just sat there and hugged him when he came back.  That was one of the last times Max went to church as well.  The pastor and I decided to “work things out between us” Which we did.. the solution was that Sam was not allowed to come forward unless either I or one of the older kids was with him to hold him on their lap.  I WAS however, asked later on to teach a 1-3rd grade Sunday school class because two of the girls in that class had parents who were divorcing and they kept wanting to talk about it in class and the teacher and other parents were upset by that so SURELY I knew (being divorced myself) how to get them to stop talking about their feelings and stresses.  I didn’t make them stop, I just gave them a safe place to do it.

Then a couple of years later, when we had no deacons serving in our church any more and we movers and shakers were concerned about the preacher needing some help, so some of us went to the preacher to see how to solve this problem because we had a number of good solid men ready to step up.  He waited until all the concerned husbands were out of town on various business trips at one time and gave all the wives literature basically explaining how all of us had committed the unforgivable sin of divorce and remarriage and we were all going to hell so that’s why we couldn’t have deacons.  We only had one man other than the pastor who was “qualified” to serve.  I don’t think I stopped crying for 2 solid weeks until Jonathan returned. 

Don’t even ask what happened when one of my daughters went to the hospital by ambulance and was diagnosed as Bi-Polar.  That too was an interesting visit by the deacon and his wife.  So, eventually, we moved to Alamogordo and drove up the mountain as much as possible to go to Our Church and went to either First Assembly from time to time to support my recovering niece who was trying hard to stay clean, or Grace Methodist where Malachi liked the Pomp of the early service.  Until I got the letter in the mail telling me that Jonathan and I had (not the girls, only Jonathan and I) were being taken off the rolls as members because it had come to the attention of the church that we were attending a church of a different faith (GRACE NOT FIRST ASSEMBLY was the problem!!!!!)  I later found out these letters went out to 4 other couples who all eventually landed at Christ Community and wanted to invite us.  That was just before we landed at New Beginnings officially. 

We ended up at New Beginnings with two boys who were extremely excited to serve God.  Sam is a rough-cut diamond who needed to see strength and compassion through the manly arts and with other men inside the church setting.  It can be manly and God centered at the same time.  Two things happened.  Tom Rich went to Sam and talked to me AFTERWARD and told Sam he was not to be seen in the nursery again because it was not appropriate for men and boys to be in the nursery and honestly there was no place for a boy of his age to serve unless his dad was with him.---- and then Fred Died----- We lost Sam, and I couldn’t blame him-that was his last straw but hey, he and one of those two little girls from Cloudcroft are together now, go figure. 

Most of the rest of the New Beginnings stuff you know.  And I don’t think I have ever told anyone but Tom was supposed to be at the cemetery the day we were going to take my dads ashes to the cemetery.  Nothing big just part of the immediate family since we had already done his memorial service.  He never showed, no answer on the phone.. that was when everything was unraveling for him and apparently, I now know.. he was drunk in Ruidoso and forgot. We took care of it all ourselves.

So, instead of why did we stay after things went south with Malachi?  I think maybe the real question is why do we go to church AT ALL?????

After a lot of thought and sole searching the only answer I have found is that I understand how churches and church people work—and I have learned not to put my faith in either.

There really isn’t a lot of LOVE there at all.  Not agape love anyway.  But the Triune God loves me and I love God so I do what I can to over come the lack of love from humanity and corporate programs.  I try to learn all I can in the setting of what scripture says and I try to look and act as much “normal” as I can so that in some way I can be a bridge between “the Haves” and “the Have Nots”  and be a model of  what Jesus REALLY meant about ministering to real people, with real problem starting where they are at. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018 Another Day

Well, today is Mothers Day.  I took this weekend and pretty much went in to hiding but not for the reasons most people will think.  I just don't know how to handle everyone else.

Thanks to a passing conversation with some friends, I decided that this was the weekend I just needed to hide  and call it hibernating.   So that's what we did.  Things have just been so fast and furious since the end of January but honestly this has all been ramping up since sometime in August and we were both pretty much at the point of breaking.
In this conversation, my friend reminded me that the thing is that no matter what else has gone on, We have each other.  That is the bottom line.  It was time to take a break and rest and look each other in the eye for a few minutes.

When my alarm went off this morning, I just didn't get up.  I knew that Jonathan had been up and down all night again as usual, sleep is not his friend.   I knew that he was up and had been for hours out in the den, but I just couldn't do it.  I went back to bed, turned my radio ap on and put the pillow back over my head. I didn't get up until about 10 am. That is the longest I have slept since sometime in August probably, but I KNOW the longest I have slept at one stretch since we moved in here in September.  The interesting part is that Jonathan normally has few dreams or at least few that he remembers long enough to discuss.  I have a long history of horrible, horrible nightmares that I don't talk about because they freak people out completely and suggest I get help.  We have changed places some how in all of this.  Jonathan is unable to sleep much because of the nightmares and I don't think I have actually been asleep deeply enough or long enough to even have a dream since probably September or October.  To go that long with out dreaming unpleasant dreams actually scares me to death.  I figure when it happens again, its going to be really bad and I'm pretty nervous.  And I would love to know how to help Jonathan.

One of the first things I did this morning as I was waiting for my tea to brew (yes world, I also had a cup of hot tea this morning, not coffee)  I checked in to Facebook.  Hey, Guess what!!! Facebook Announced to me that it was Mothers Day.  Then I started scrolling... and kept scrolling, and continued scrolling... After a few minutes, I decided it was the day to check out.

As you gasp and begin to feel sorry for me because yes, now you remember something about me loosing my mother back the beginning of February and things getting much more complicated from there with Jonathans mother being found to be very ill as well, I want to tell you that is the reason I checked out.  Between reading through all of my Facebook friends who were wishing good thoughts to their own mothers who would be reading these comments sometime today, and those wishing good thoughts to mothers who are gone.  Then there were the constant reminders to be sensitive today to those women who want desperately to be mothers but are unable or have lost children.  And then there was the comments made to Jonathan, and by Jonathan about his own mother whos loss is much fresher and more painful.  I checked out because I just have no idea what to say, to anyone.
The emotion involved in all of this mess is so very complex.  I have never been a person who feels most things strongly, it seems, or maybe its just that I don't express them the way other people do.  I don't know why that is or isn't but its just me.  It doesn't mean that I don't love deeply, or feel anger greatly, or have any other extreme emotion.  I do, those few people who have seen those things know.  How many times have I heard, "remind me not to tick you off".  My favorite catch phrase at this moment in time is: She isn't fragile like a flower, she is fragile like a bomb.  I think maybe the biggest reason I keep things as low key as possible in my head is that believe it or not, I am a very competitive person.  And I really cannot let any of this turn into a competition.

So here I am,  Not sure what it is even that I want to say.  I really am glad that a select few people privately checked in on me today just to make sure. You know how you are and thank you very much.  Those who maybe read this and think Oh my gosh I didn't think to check in, don't stress its not a thing. I really DONT want anyone feeling sorry for me, I am very uncomfortable with that at all.
Know that I'm fine.  I don't know how things would have gone at a different point in time, but because of circumstances all of my feelings and processing the whole event got compressed into about a 2-3 week period of time.  From January 30 to sometime a couple of weeks later in February, and then we had to move on to the next event.   Boom, here we go.  People who care about me say things like, I should work to keep myself busy at this time.  All I can do is say thank you, I will keep that in mind, while inside my brain is laughing.

For me, Life is just what comes my way.  Those things that are unplanned or some how you didn't think would happen to you?  Well, when they happen to me, I just figure I have to put one foot in front of the other and do it, Ill worry about how I feel about it later, then when later comes?  Well its over now so...………. I guess its just a way I trick myself. That doesn't mean sometimes I don't kick and scream and fight the process, but if you notice, those are usually dumb things that really don't matter a hill of beans, like learning how to use the new computer or tv set up. The big things??????? Its just what life is, get out of my way and I will get this done.  By the way, all, this applies to the super good things that happen as well as the bad.

Trust me, I'm not a fan of all the things I have to take care of, learn to do, get taken care of all alone now, but it has to be done so (sorry Jonathan) It is.... what it is.. because, yes, this is part of life I have absolutely no control over but I have to do it anyway.  I have already made decisions since 2009 and taken care of things that I didn't want to have anything to do with but there was no one else to do it.  Most of those decisions were way harder than hey, what should I wear today.  And they will continue to be very hard for probably another year or so with just THIS part of life. Who knows what's next.

But now the most important thing I have to do, besides all the paperwork and financial related stuff, is figure out how to support Jonathan and his family.  I am learning how to just listen, and not try to fix.. (yeah I know guys... I get how hard this is for you, Im there.)  I cant fix this, I cant make anything any better for them.  All I can do is try to direct them to the place or person who CAN help them.  And then its up to them.  

So a little rest and relaxation so that we can regroup and hit it running again tomorrow.  Ramping up to the next phase of all of this.  

I'm never good at ending these things.  

So Happy Mother's Day to all who choose to celebrate, and Happy Sunday to those who don't.  Me?  its time for bed.  Love you all.   

Saturday, March 24, 2018

I Got This, (and You Can Have It Too)

There have been some events that have happened in and around my life lately that have made me try to figure out where I came from, how I got here, what makes my world view different from so many others and why.   I started to put some things together in my own head.

Am I telling any of this story for sympathy?  No, I'm not.  Have I had a hard life?  not at all.  I had a wonderfully Blissful, blessed and amazing life.  but I have a little thing on my desk that Jonathan bought for me because I ask a lot of questions and hate to make mistakes so I have this stupid need to understand before I try on things that I am afraid might disappoint someone if I make mistakes.  I think that asking the questions may be just as disappointing to those people as if I just made the mistakes..  but I digress, It says "I can explain it to you, but I cant understand it for you" The though has occurred to me that there are people who are looking at me and not sure they understand how I do what I do.  
I also keep telling people that they should be REALLY Proud of me for the things that I DONT say. (which is the gods honest truth, it people only saw what does NOT come out of there, it might frighten them)  
But maybe its time to share a few of the things inside there that have in part of making me who I am.

It all started on February 4, 2018 sometime around midnight as I stood beside my mothers hospital bed.  The words she spoke to me were " I don't want to do this amore, I don't want to be here, this hurts too much."  I said the only thing I could say in this moment.  "Don't stick around here for me, go do what you need to do, I got this. "  What else could I say?  (Inside, my head was screaming, how am I going to do all this myself>)
Hummmm no that isn't where it all began.  I think we need to back up a few days.  When she entered the hospital and kept telling me to not worry about her and go on to the office, the hospital people would take care of her.  "No, really, everything is fine with work, phones are forwarded to me and I can do what I need to do from my laptop right here and anything else we will take care of later, its fine."   Hummm nope, that isn't it, lets back up some more.

I think it was 3 years ago in January, (correct me if I'm wrong)  We were sitting at a house in El Paso having a wonderful time with one of our drivers who we were becoming friends with.  The phone rang and Jonathan answered it.  His face went white, we all saw it.  Darla asked me if everything was ok and I told her I had no idea what was going on but No it was definitely NOT alright.  An hour later we drove across town to the airport and put him on a plane to San Antonio with nothing but the clothes on his back because his father had collapsed in the yard, required resuscitation and was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and we didn't know what was going to happen.  For the next month, while Jonathan was there to take care of his dad and get him to and from Drs appointments and therapy and help his sister out as best he could, I said nearly every day,  "Don't worry about what's happening here, I know that your hands are full with what you are doing,  Do what you need to do, I got this."  (truth is, I had NO IDEA what I was doing for the most part,  I cant believe how many problems I caused, ended up loosing that driver shortly after because of my mistakes but over all things stayed afloat)

Hold it, maybe we should back up a little further.  I'm not really even sure what year it was but I KNOW it was April 11 and I THINK the year was 2012.  That was the night we put Jonathan first in an ambulance then a helicopter for Las Cruces in the middle of having a heart attack.  The storm was coming in so they had to hurry and get him across the missle range before the weather shut down that possibility.  The boys and I stared at his deathly gray face in the back of the ambulance while he in turn told each of us that he loved us and to not forget that and asked Malachi to pray for us.  As the ambulance doors closed the three of us looked at him and said the only thing we could say... Do what you need to do here and don't worry about us, We got this." and we all sped off for the hospital.  By the time we got up there they had cleared the flight and he was already in the chopper.  The boys and I were headed that way in the pickup when Sam told me to stop the truck, he had to get out.  Mom I CANT do this.. I just cant.... and it was very obvious that he was having a panic attack.  I had a split second to decide whether I stayed there and took care of my son and got him through this or drove the 70 miles as fast as humanly and mechanically possible to see if my husband was even still alive when I got there.  I did the only thing I could do.  I left him on the side of the road at the top of Indian Wells to walk home and hopefully be ok and drove like hell. I called my nephew and asked him to go find Sam and make sure he was ok.  (My head was screaming, is this for real????? Can the world slow down and let me breathe for 5 minutes?, NO? )

Malachi and I got there just in time to hug him and kiss him and tell him we loved him before they took him in to surgery.  He was already drugged up and has no memory of any of that.  I'm not even sure at this point how Malachi got back to Alamogordo during time or really if he did.  Abby and Aaron were in Las Cruces at that point and they came and got me and took me to get some food and go buy a change of clothes and underwear.... They stayed at the hospital while I went to my aunt and uncles house to take a shower and change clothes.  Then back to the hospital.  We were there a week, in ICU because the doctor was not sure what had happened.  Jonathan had had a stress test 3 weeks before that he passed with flying colors and now we were in ICU.  Jonathan slept most of the time we were in icu.  Max ran the store and we talked on the phone and made decisions as we needed to make them.  Some of the Border Patrol agents that came by to check on us brought me in food from time to time.  I'm pretty sure I ate at least once a day but I honestly didn't really care.  We left the hospital from ICU and drove to Alamogordo a week later.  That day Jim and Layne were driving in to see him.  The doctor had given me very strict instructions for Jonathan on the need for further rest, for things he needed to eat and things he DIDNT need to eat and that he really MUST MUST MUST quit the tobacco.  I told the family that we would be at the house.  They told me they were too tired after the drive to come to the house so we needed to come see them at their hotel..... AND WE DID.  Sat there in the lobby "visiting" for several hours and ordered in Pizza before we went home and put Jonathan to bed for a while.  The next morning, jonathan rented a car... and I watched him get in the drivers seat to make the trip to San Antonio to see his mother.  Yes, he was driving because his dad and brother had back problems and couldn't do it.  Yep the guy who was a day out of ICU got to drive because the others "just couldn't"  I did the only thing I could do.... I hugged him, I smiled and said Don't worry, do what ever you need to do... I got this.  (I was dying  a little inside) But jonathan was right, it all worked out just fine.  Hummm nope lets back up a little further

The year is 2009. Summer, life is wonderful.. until the diagnosis.  My dad is diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable lung cancer.  he smoked most of his life was around many carcinogenic  chemicals, work on things with asbestos... how could he have gotten lung cancer?????   Well, chemo and radiation was possible but it was going to take a few weeks to get set up so Jim and Jeanne did the thing they did best while waiting... ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!  Off to Branson with his brothers and their wives they went.  I waved them off.  Don't worry, do what ever you need to do... I got this.  
So back they come and then off to Albuquerque for 2.5 months of chemo and radiation.  That was the somewhere in September.  On October 6, Leah calls me at somewhere around 4 in the morning asking me to come take care of the kids while they take Max to the hospital by ambulance with back spasams so bad he cant get up off the bathroom floor... that began 6 months of him being off work to repair that.  That's ok.  Do what you need to do to get healthy, I got this.  Ma and Pa came back from Albuquerque the first week in November and life was going to go back to normal, well normal ish... he was still recovering but things had gone pretty well.
The next week, Jonathan got the opportunity to go to Nogales Arizona to help guard the border there. The detail was for 6 weeks, no problem.  We will miss you for Thanksgiving, but you will be back in time for Christmas, its great to get to do something different and exciting and that has always been our deal.  I'm a yucca and live in New Mexico but you can go on any detail to any place in the United States that you want to go.
so, Don't worry, carreer calls, and I got this.....

I get a call one day asking me how I would feel about him extending his time out there another detail round.  Sure, that's fine.  Its good be needed and I know that they need you.  So, Christmas passes and that weekend the boys and I go out to visit.  First time I have ever gone to a place where jonathan was on detail.  The place he was living was far nicer than any place I have ever lived and it was spotless, now I know why you do this........ We had a great time and then came home.  The next weekend, of course, was New Years... I get a call from him about 10:00 on New Years Eve.  Jontahn tells me that he is having some chest pains and is going to drive himself up to the medical center in tuscon to get checked out.  Ummm ok well its going to take me a  wile to get there.. Long story there (yeah I say that NOW?)  I get the kids organize, someone to look after them, get the store closed down, pack a bag and start toward Tucson.  They have already told me not to rush because being New Years eve they were going to have to work him in for a heart cath anyway and it was going to be a matter of fitting him in at the end so we were probably not looking at anything before 9-10 that night and I had plenty of time to get there.  Then my phone rings in Las Cruces.. guess what, they are taking him in as soon as they can....... Interesting bit of trivia.. the cruise control on a 2004 Dodge 1 ton truck doesn't work over 90 MPH.  I get another phone call between Lordsburg and the state line somewhere.. My heart stops for a minute.  It is the border patrol agent who has been assigned to be at the hospital with him since I was not there.  Telling me he is out of surgery, things went fine and I could talk to him... We talked for about 3 mintues but he is still drugged and has no memory of that conversation.. or for that matter of knowing I was there sleeping in the chair next to his bed until he woke up when the sun came up in his room.  The doctors told me that he was pretty much ok.  this happened because some of his meds were probably interacting with each other and they made some changes to that and he should be ok to go back to work and finish his tour in Nogales just fine.. so after a day or two there, back to Alamogordo I go and back to life.

Then in July of 2010 the cancer is back with a vengeance and things become very short.  A fall in Sept breaks a femur, intubation in the hospital for the surgery, Things at the hospital there that I still really don't want to talk about... and a funeral.  No problem Jim, do what ever you need to do.. don't worry about me, I got this.. I will make sure Mom has everything she needs, I will take care of the businesses, I will take care of all of it... I got this.....

Then there was that time in 1994 that Mom had breast cancer, they had just changed insurance so we didn't know if either company was going to cover the surgery and treatment so my dad did what he knew to do.. he had the opportunity to work a very good job that would pay for at least most of the medical expenses if that is what they needed to do.  Its ok do what you need to do.. I got this here.
Mom was NOT happy about him leaving and I did my best to explain in a way that she could understand that he WAS taking care of her.. he just left me and Max to do the daily grind work and that is what we did.. We HAD this.

We an even back up if we want to the summer of 1990 when divorce happened.  Elizabeth was 4 and Abby was less than a year old and Cliff "wasn't sure if I want to be a husband or father at all, and I need to go out there in the world for a year or so and find myself"  Ummm yep, if you haven't been here for the last 10 years, you probably better look somewhere else... but hey, don't worry, I got this.. do what you need to do... (and frankly I AM pretty proud of how the girls turned out!!!!!!!!)  but at the time.. yeah my head was screaming.. how am I going to do this, I cant do this.. But I did.

We can go back before even 1990 to my college days.  I wanted to go to college to be a teacher.  I knew that paying for that was going to be a hardship on my family... so Don't worry, I had it.  Yes, I worked on weekends and summers in the family business earning much of the money there, but I worked my tail off.  I also always had a job during the year to pay my expenses, no loans, no grants, no scholarships.... one of the biggest fights my parents and I ever had was over them wanting to help me pay for a semester of school that they knew I was coming up short on.  NO WAY!!!!!! I GOT THIS!!!!!!!  And I did.

A car payment, a loan at the bank to buy my flute, neither in my name because I was underage... but I made every payment on both....

There are things clear back to childhood but this is far enough.

So, the moral of this story is, no matter what was floating around in my head, over my life time I have just learned to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking forward, to stay in my circle and just do the Next Thing.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Moving On Beyond.

What is the appropriate time of mourning these days? At one point in history it was appropriate to mourn a parent for a year.   If you read Facebook you will continuously see that there is never a time it goes away, Grief never ends, it just changes,  how everyone grieves in their own time and the hole in your heart never mends.  All of those things.  For years reading those things has made me feel like a cold hearted or maybe even NO hearted person, because, as we put it in our world today, MY Truth is different..  I truly have a hard time with grief over all believe it or not so for me, its past time to move on. I hope that does not offend anyone reading.    So here goes.....a new series.

You learn a great deal when you clean out someone's personal effects, if you slow down and look at items and look for patterns etc.
I learned when going through my grandparents life time of existence that nothing could be taken for granted,  every single envelope, box, drawer and pocket had to be checked.  Such a valuable lesson.

So here we are living in my parents house.. trying to make room for our things.  We moved in, little by little, I think back in September.  For a while we just kind of co-existed like we were just visiting and then it became evident that we were her for the duration so it was time to start getting comfortable. Now, its my home.

One of the weekends I realized that I HAD to find a way to consolidate all the cleaning products in this house and just find out what was here.  I had gotten some of my FAVORITE 31 bags.. and I was putting one together to go under each bathroom sink so you could just grab it out and clean the bathroom in less than 15 minutes and put it back... and then I figured I could have one for cleaning supplies for the rest of the house in the utility closet. You know, like with dusting supplies and window cleaner and things like that... and there has been a wooden box under the kitchen sink for many years that was full of kitchen cleaning supplies and pods for the dishwasher and things like that.  But as I started looking around, it became apparent that we had WWWAAAYYYYY more cleaning supplies than we needed. WAY more.... I began to wonder, can you be a cleaning product addict?  If you could, my mother was.... I even found cleaning supplies in the top back of her closet, things that were completely irrelevant to cleaning a bedroom..... Hummm it could be true.  Jonathan spent an entire day pulling things out of cabinets, boxes, closets, under sinks, in places you wouldn't imagine and sorting them.  There were things we couldn't even identify the label on any more. What do we do with this? is it safe to throw away? Would it be considered toxic waste?  We cant even tell what it is.  HOW OLD are these things, are they still useful?  Did they loose their potency, did it GROW?

I counted them up as I went through the house as well, there were more than 50 febreze small spaces air fresheners through out this 3 bedroom 2 bath house.

I know that part of the reason for these things came from a great fear that she had of  at some point "smelling like an old person"  I knew enough to know what she was talking about.  As a small child I remember going to her older relatives houses, which I dearly loved to do, but some of them DID have a particular smell.  The houses were old and generally uninsulated, they used either wood or gas heat in the winter,  I even remember wood cook stoves in some of the houses.  We have none of the things that would cause many of the smells in our houses today, but she never could get that thought out of her head.  Also, she had a fear of smelling like an old person, herself.  Again, we have much better bathing situations and even nutritional situations so that was not going to happen, but if we have thoughts in our heads.

I also know that she forever compared herself to those around her.  Well, not really that, more she was afraid that those people were comparing her to themselves.  She never felt like anything she did was of any remote importance, or in any way special, therefore nothing she HAD was of any importance, nor was special.  She just knew that anyone who came in her house was looking down on her for what she perceived as pretty meager surroundings compared to others she knew.  Instead I think those same people were seeing a house filled with love, and comfort and kindness over seen by a woman who was truly concerned about their welfare and wellbeing.  I think they saw the artwork that hung on the walls, much of which SHE had done herself.  Her creativity was something to behold in so many areas. They just saw comfort and mostly, LOVE.

 She always said that she had no idea how to decorate a home like all of her sisters in law did.  I believe that all of them would disagree with her on that subject as well.  Again, her house was decorated with LOVE.

But that leads me back to the original though of this edition.  Neatness, tidiness, and over all cleanliness were very important to her for many reasons.  I'm not saying in any way that she should not have concerned herself with these things but I certainly say that one of her blessings on me is that I will not have to buy cleaning supplies beyond a few items for at least the next year or so.

Thank you so much, I am trying hard to live up to your standards.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The ironic month of posessions 7 experiment

Well, I didn't get up as early today as my alarm went off but I'm up and moving now anyway.  I am trying very hard this month to stick to the goal of our 7 experiment program and not to deviate away. I wanted to do this program again for a reason so I'm trying to stick with the reason.  I am also sort of trying to catch up on the clothing month.  With my mothers passing and moving in to her house there will be many things to purge as they don't matter to me so I almost feel like I'm cheating in some way on this path but that's ok too I think. 
Our church is getting ready to have a yard sale to help fund our kids going to summer camp so this is the perfect time for me to do this.  I have a place for many of the things to go that will benefit someone else and maybe help raise some money for the kids as well.  I'm not sure how far I will get in this month either as now my mother in law is in the hospital with pneumonia.  She has advanced COPD as well so I'm afraid this is going to be rough.  My husband is in San Antonio with her while I am here taking care of all the businesses, beginning the legal stuff on my mothers affairs and just keeping the home fires burning.  Over the weekend I hauled out 2 garbage bags of things that were just trash.  Most of one of them to be fair was flowers that people sent us at my moms funeral.  They were beautiful and I loved walking in to the livingroom in the morning and smelling them, but time passes. 
There are so many things that need another home here in this house and in the Aloha House that it seems crazy and overwhelming to even think about it but I think that what I need to do to get over the overwhelm is to look at what Jen Hatmaker set out to do.  Her idea was to purge 7 items a day so I think that is going to work for me and then maybe I can also do more on days I have time.  I can then decide whether those 7 items go into the generic yard sale boxes or if they go in to the I have someone special in mind for these things boxes.  My goal will be to get those things out of my sight quickly before I decide that for what ever reason they need to be kept and I put them back away. 
So todays 7 purge has been completed.  4 vases from flowers that came.  I kept 2 of them that will be nice to have for future flowers. (I am going to do my best to keep fresh flowers in my house as they make me happy)  and 4 books that I don't care to read so that makes 8.  Now off to work and find 7 items there to purge as well. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

7 Project week 1 Hash and Rehash

The first week of this project has been a very interesting start.  Things have not gone anywhere close to the order I originally numbered them but that is ok.  There are things that almost HAD to happen first and GOD saw that before I did and took care of reorganizing my thoughts.

So here at the end of week one I have some plans and some observations to share.

I will start with plans.

How am I doing on each of my items.
1) Eat in, not out.  I have set myself a limit of 7 times out this month and in the first week the challenge that slapped me was 2 meals out in one day because I was out of town.  I had planned for one but not both so I felt very annoyed by that.  On Saturday, I was given the opportunity to again "just grab some take out" for lunch so you don't have to come home and cook.  Nope, I want to fix food because I don't want restaurant food.  Whew, I made it. 22 CAN SHE DO IT?!?!?!

2) Pare down the kitchen and get it ready to be what I need it to be.  I wasn't really sure that this was something that might fit with the idea of a "food fast"  because technically it should fit more with possessions but after my daughter and I talked about it for a while, I came to realize that it really DOES fit in for mine.  I need a space to work in that is conducive to preparing meals at home that will have few to no preservatives, chemicals, be salt and sugar controlled, cost effective  and easy to make on a tight schedule.  So, along comes the God thing.  I post a video of organizing ones pantry that I found interesting, my friend commented that she missed that kind of thing, I offered to let her get her "fix" at my house, she took me up on the offer and PPPPPOOOFFF  TODAY WAS THE DAY.  I will later post before and after photos, this even involved hubby getting in there and hanging some shelves and reworking a freestanding cabinet to make a baking area!!!!!  He is even going to put the cabinet on castors so I can move it around the kitchen.  We emptied every single cabinet in the kitchen, cleaned it and put the stuff back.  We also eliminated a bunch of broken, unnecessary, old, scary things.  Again, photos forth coming, maybe.  We have a little bit to do still on the cabinet but over all I will have counter space to do food prep and our plan is also to start getting up earlier in the morning because of business.  I figure that I can prep food for the whole day at that time myself.
That way we will eat all three meals and will eat them at home.

3) Eliminate as many chemicals blah blah blah.  Food prep, lack of processed foods, use of instant pot, crockpot, and  good old fashioned stove and oven and here we go!  Pretty good for week 1

4) Shop as infrequently as possible is off to a good start.  Partly because I already had food here and want to use as much as I can with out shopping for more of the same, and partly becuause I knew that today was happening and wanted as little in the way as possible.  I do still have to do some reorganizing on the pull outs that contain the canned goods and such but that will happen in the next weeks as I do shop.  Oh, I also plan to get 3x5 cards and lable everything that goes in each place on the inside of the door so that we wont just go back to "the old ways" and we can keep things where they belong.

5-6, Menus, and Portion control, those have not happened yet but now that I have the kitchen out mostly out of the way I can get to work on those two things.  I keep trying to remind myself that this is a work in progress for me, a marathon, not a sprint, because what I am trying to do is changes that will last years, not the sprint of the moment.

Some where in here I combine a couple of my items too so this week I am reporting 6 instead of 7.  I am too tired tonight to go back and figure out where that happened and I am thinking it really does not matter to the long run.  If this ever gets published into a book, me editor can make me reevaluate and change it.  Until the, I think we are all safe.

Now for the observation part.  Everyone that I have followed through this seems to be finding out that what ever their major focus seems to have thrown them a curve ball this week.  For me, it was being faced with the eating out thing right off the bat, then having to make the decision of when NOT to just run to the store for something and telling the family, nope we are out of that I will get it the next time I make a major run, just write it on the list.  That has annoyed the others around me more than me it seems, but still annoyance is in the air.

The second observation has been that we have all (or at least a lot in our group have mentioned) that our spouses have in some way been more annoying than usual.  Hummm, I am wondering if this fast is bringing out some inconsistencies in the way we each view life?  Maybe because we are being denied something ( at least deep in our heads) those that are closest to us are standing out more than usual?  I don't know, maybe you all out there in TV land can help me figure that one out.  Why would we want to take out our frustrations on the one who is closest to us.. our other half, the one we walk beside?  When I began seeing  a pattern here, I can say it did pretty much stop me in my tracks and make me spend some time in prayer to evaluate my own behavior.  I came to the conclusion that God has put 3 people in front of me this week that I should very specifically be praying for.  The first and foremost of those people is my husband.  So, when I feel the urge to be frustrated about anything dealing with this time of fasting, I am going to attempt to remember to stop, drop and pray for him, and the other 2 situations that have jumped right in front of me.

The third thing I have observed is that in my own thought life, I am struggling with , get this one, feeling superior to people who are NOT doing this along with us.. I'm still working on where that is coming from, and why on earth I would WANT to feel superior to someone at all much less someone who doesn't even know what is going on.. Isnt that the strangest?  So, I know that the obvious solution to that problem is also prayer.. but NOT prayer as the guy who was thanking God that he was NOT like that poor beggar over there.........

So now, to bed to prepare for week 2.  Tuesday will again probably include a restaurant meal as I have to go out of town again but it will just be meal 3 and because we have a doctors appointment out of town.  A logical reason.

Goals for week 2, Menus beginning to happen, portion control beginning to happen, keep my "happy place" happy!!!!! Then the rest fall in place as well.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The 7 Project Sherry Style

Hello, My name is Sherry and I'm a stuff and things junkie. I'm not sure what "sobriety" will look like in this process but I'm getting ready to start trip 2 through it.

Understanding that I need to make it through this journey again started  in June, really .  My mother is 84 and in June started having some health problems that we did not understand.  After several months of tests and poking and prodding and seeing one doctor after another she was diagnosed with primarily a liver condition.  During this time she became very weak and unsure of staying alone in her house so, POOF.  Over night Jonathan and I moved in to her house.  By move in, I mean we put sheets on the bed in the "spare room" took enough clothes to get through the week and our pillows.  Since then I have moved a few cooking utensils that I rely on, cleaned out another bedroom to set up as my craft room which has actually gone no where else..., brought my rocking chair and sewing table and that is as far as I have gotten since somewhere in September.  At some point my brain just shut down on me because all I could do was look around me at all the things from over 60 years of living in THIS house.... walking back in to the hoarder like filth in the house that has my name on the deed... and looking around at the business property that has been collecting clutter on almost 6 acres for almost 59 years.  What am I supposed to DO with all this stuff?  It nearly all cost SOMEONE money, isn't that like throwing away money?  Couldn't someone benefit from something?  You know the whole idea of your trash may be someone elses treasure... how do I KNOW what is someone elses treasure?  I could spend the next 10 years picking an item around here and then finding someone else who needs it... I am not even kidding, folks, it is THAT BAD around here.  Not to mention there are things that, if I could sell them, would pay off a bill or two that would declutter that part of all 3 of my lives as well.  (yes, I live basically three lives... 1) my business world where I manage three businesses, care for all that stuff that is burying me alive.....2) The life I live here in my mom's house trying to keep her as healthy as possible and keep Jonathan as healthy as possible with the resourses that I am in control of.  My Mom  is much more concerned about "neat and tidy" than I have ever been since I found out perfection does Not exist and I gave up trying... somewhere around 10 or 11 and Jonathan is far less concerned about anything related to neat and tidy other than clean socks and underware.  Our cleaning styles have ALWAYS been at odds with each other so as you can imagine this is creating added stress in my head, plus no one in this house sleeps... well at least not at NIGHT. 
Stop action and move on.......and 3)  My life, and where my stuff is actually at.. all my crafting stuff,  ( I had finally gotten to the point that I could have a place to do my crafts... I had made curtains for that room that fit my bizzare personality was waiting to hang them.. and then I moved.  I'm not a big shoe person.. but all but 2 pair of shoes and one pair of boots are at that house.... I think I only have 3 more pair there and obviously have made it through months with out them... but...... My jewelry is there,  I don't wear much but from time to time it just speaks to me to get me through the day.  And somewhat MOST importantly to me, books, and my essential oils... (I have the MOST ESSENTIAL ones with me.. hahahaha) but the rest are calling my name but I really don't have room for them anywhere here.  And being able to just have time OFF DUTY.... That place represents off duty to me.  Just Sunday afternoon.. but enough.

Hummm, Ok that short explanation turned in to a total Brain Dump.....

Back to our regularly scheduled program.......
The short version is that there is just too much in my life at this point and something has to give, bug there is nothing that can give.  I cannot loose track of my Savior in all of this messy life I live and I'm having a harder and harder time hearing.

I tend to be a lot like how Jen Hatmaker describes her self.... ALL IN or All out.  My tendency on anything is to over complicate things to get where I want to go, therefore I cant keep up and I quit... Hummmm Old Testament?  I love systems it seems, I tend toward the OCD that way.. Systems and knowing what I am doing and what my long term goal is makes me comfortable and happy,.......... until the people who are also involved fail to see the importance to me of following those systems and either fail to do so or simply tell me it is completely unnecessary and they are not going to do it.... Until the crisis comes.  Then I crash and burn and give up and feel fairly certain that nothing is EVER going to change or be different or not simply lead from one crisis to the next... when if they would just see the need for that system, we would NOT HAVE TO HAVE these adrenaline rush based crises every other day and life would be much more present.  But trying to remember that this journey is mine alone, I have to figure out how to include those around me with out including them... Make sense?  Anyone wonder why I don't LIKE riding Rollercoasters?  Because my head is enough of a rollercoaster on an every day minute by minute basis... who needs a mechanical version????
Does anyone ELSE wonder how I even get ANYTHING done?

Man this first part is turning in to a book.

so again, Back to our regularly scheduled program.  Food month.

I have for about 2 weeks now tried to figure out what my end goal was going to be.  I have changed my goal about 5 times after listening to other people who are jumping on board with me, I MUST figure out the RIGHT, most ACCEPTABLE goal and then I started actually reading the BOOK of Jens, not just the Bible Study... OH NO, I'm not doing this because I am adopting or feel a special burden for a third world country at this moment.. Whats wrong with me?????  Panic set in.... If I'm not doing this for the "RIGHT REASON" then why am I doing it... Should I do this.. or that.. or that thing over there.... Lack of sleep crept in.... (I'm not even kidding, it has been that dramatic in my head)
So this morning.. it came to me.  (that still small voice when I had a chance to hear it)  "You know how last week you were totally distressed over throwing an entire trash can full of food away?  Hey, maybe your goal should be to figure out how to NOT throw out food"  Just that. And ALL of that.... how simple yet how complex.   Yesterday, I went to Walmart and bought a food sealer.  I had been planning to do that anyway because of the food loss around here. ( I figured out that no matter what we say, we really don't eat left overs.... I mean, if I cook something and I can reserve it either in the same form or an altered form one more time in the week but that is it.  so enter the food sealer)  We also purchased an instant pot right after Thanksgiving that I am loving.  

So after a LONG I'm sure less than entertaining build up.. (for anyone who is still here) Here are my goals for Chapter 1, Food

1)  Plan Menus ahead of time and be able to mix and match recipes for the next months of "winter" plan 4 sets of menus for each season of the year to be able to shop as seasonally as possible.

2) Eliminate as many chemicals and preservatives as possible from our diet.  This is necessary for the health conditions that are in this house besides the fact that one of us needs to not loose any more weight and the rest of us very much need to.

3) Learn Portion Control.. Excess means excess...... eat too much, weigh too much, hurt too much, etc.

4) Shop as infrequently as possible.  Because the title of this is the 7 experiment, I'm thinking I have to include something with that number so it makes sense to say that I want to go to the grocery store 7 or fewer times in the month instead of almost daily like I have been doing.. that is where the planning ahead must come in.

5) Eat out fewer than 7 times in the month

6) Use the tools that I have at my command to eliminate food waste.  By using those tools I can freeze more that can just be dropped in a pot of boiling water  in controlled portions to be happier, healthier and spend my time doing other things.

and of course it has to be because I really kinda am OCD

7)  Get this kitchen pared down and organized to produce all the other goals to get us to a happier, healthier point that is sustainable.

Too much?  Probably so I'm sure it will change over the month but honestly, health and sustainability are the things I must reach.

These are MY plans this month.. Lets see that Gods are..... shall we?