Karma’s Full-time Job is Being a Bitch

Bitch is working overtime.


When I was 21. I was overweight. Over 350 lbs. I think. I didn’t really keep track of my weight. I didn’t care. Everyone else cared. I hated everyone else for caring.

I knew how much I weighed because I used to donate plasma at the local plasma bank and they always weighed me on their very accurate medical scales. I think they wrote 348 one day on my chart. So we’ll just say I was 350 lbs. or more. Anyway.

I went to stay with my brother and his family in Ohio for Christmas that year. I always loved seeing my brother, his wife, and their kids. I was always attentive and ready for fun. I tried to please everyone, laugh, crack jokes and just get along. I was the ultimate get-along girl. I just wanted peace and happiness for everyone around me. That’s when I felt my most happy and secure. When everything was going good for everyone else. It’s my nature as an empath.

We were all sitting around in the dining room one afternoon, watching my brother and his son put together some piece of DIY furniture. Talking, laughing. It was interesting enough. I was sitting on the floor and my 5-year-old niece sits down on my lap.

“Aunt Tina (my nickname was Tina), why are you so fat?”

No salutation. No beating around the bush. No pretense. No shame. Just straight to the fat. I thought for a minute.

“Well, why are you so skinny?”

She wasn’t. She was just a normal 5-year-old girl.

No hesitation. “Because God made me this way.”

Hm. Ok. “Well, God made me this way.”

Then my nephew contradicted me. “No! It’s because you eat too much.” My brother laughed. He didn’t chide his son. He didn’t correct him. He laughed.

This rebuke coming from a self-professed bacon thief. My brother’s wife had to cook a pound of bacon any time bacon was served at breakfast. This was even a topic of conversation during this trip. Of all the people in the room to say I ate too much? My brother and nephew ate more than anyone.

In retrospect, I had a normal appetite. Maybe I had seconds of certain dishes from time to time, but everyone had seconds. I was no different than anyone else at the table. I had always been overweight. Since the age of 5. Just about my niece’s age.

What no one knew, or cared to know, was that I was battling my own body. For years. I was on my way to cancer. Thyroid. And no one cared. I was a joke. I was humiliated for a cheap laugh. I was made to feel that my battle was my own lazy fault. I was gluttonous. Slothful.

I pushed my niece aside. Quietly got up and left. I took a lonely walk that afternoon. Down an isolated back country road. I had no car, no place to stay, no place to go. I just walked. I was so angry. So hurt. I fumed and cried. But I didn’t want to be near anyone from that room. Not one person stood up for me.

My mother eventually drove up, parked the car, and we talked. But.

That day hurt. My relationship with my brother’s family was never the same after that day. Never. We left early the next morning.

Oh well.

Today I weigh 220 lbs. I’ve lost over 293 lbs. after losing my thyroid to cancer, my gall bladder to weight loss surgery and dragging myself through hell and back.

My brother’s family has had to struggle with weight and medical issues as well. I wonder if they still think it’s just a matter of overeating?


Matthew 7:1-3 NASB

Judging Others

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Advertisements

Sloppy Soup

They say a short memory is a blessing.

I feel blessed and cursed to have such a long, vivid memory. I always wanted to just keep the good and forget the bad.

But the brain is hot pot of chemicals and ingredients all sloshing together. All the memories, good and bad, bitter and sweet, cooking down and bubbling up to one tasty, rich soup of love.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have a messy kitchen from time to time. Enter at your own risk. The recipes are lessons to keep and learn and develop.

Splattered or not, enjoy your soup. Soup is medicine.

Dream House

So. One Christmas. Can’t remember how old I was. Some age below puberty. I wanted a Barbie Dream Cottage. The one with the elevator.

My mom had made a dollhouse years ago out of cardboard and leftover scraps. It was amazing! It had furniture and everything. It wasn’t very big, but the time and effort she put into it was much appreciated. We wore it out and tore it up.

But now. A few years later. I wanted a big-girl Barbie Dream Cottage. The real deal. And she got it.

She put it in her closet. In plain sight. The box was so big that you could just walk in their room and see the bright-white box gleaming from the closet shelf. Even if she would have wrapped it, I would have known what I was getting. Subtlety had been
prison-stabbed a long time ago in this family.

So. I saw it. Probably a week or more before Christmas. When I saw it, I immediately started begging my mother to let me open it early.

Please, please, please. *Heavy breathing and groaning*

I just had this deep, deep anxiety, anticipation, worry, eagerness. If I didn’t get the cottage now, I will have wasted all of this Christmas vacation play time.

Kids have several days off before Christmas. Sitting at home. Waiting for Christmas to arrive. Swallowing their excitement over and over like big gulps of air until they hyperventilate on Christmas. It’s completely and totally insane.

While adults are preparing the food, and the tree, and the food, and the presents, the food and the food, and the nog, and the food. Kids are watching TV, filling their gobs with bon-bons, hopefully running in and out of the snow and shaking presents like Polaroid pictures.

What did she expect? From me? Slobberbox McWhiny-Pants?

Please. Please. Pleeeeease.

She relinquished.

I could tell she was upset and very disappointed. Frustrated. Mad. She hated my lack of self-control in that moment. I know she did.

But she left me have it. (LOL, oh boy, did she left me have it) On one condition. No, and I mean no, help in putting it together.

Crap!

I ran to the closet. I tore that box open like a box of Twinkies. Laid out all the parts and started assembling. I looked at the instructions briefly, but intuitively knew what went where. Mostly. I got to a point where something had to be screwed.

Crap!

I knew where the screwdriver was and I ran to get it. I started screwing that Barbie cottage up. Royally.

Something went wrong and I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole or screwed it too far or something. I warped the heavy plastic on the roof and it turned a lighter shade of orange. Some parts had to be taped. Scotch tape. But I put it together.

I was mildly disappointed. But at the same time thrilled and slightly proud of myself for wrestling my mother into a rarely-achieved coup, putting together a complex gift, and to be immediately playing with my new toy before Christmas. I was the only one with a gift! Ha!

That pride and newness quickly waned. When Christmas finally arrived, I had lost any thrill and was jealous of those receiving presents and I had none to open.

Crap!

I learned a hard lesson that day. One that my mother was willing to teach me. Best to wait. Wait for help. Wait for others. Enjoy each moment, with or without a gift. Wait for joy. It’s better when you wait. Or! Joy is not in receiving a gift, joy is found in obedience, patience and self-control. Restraint is its own reward.

But I had that Barbie Dream Cottage until I was 15? I hadn’t played with it for years, but I held on to it. It was the most expensive thing I owned, to that point. Ha. Then I gave it to another little girl.

Merry Christmas.

Thankful for Unreasonable Love

It’s hard for me to write these days. I don’t have extra time. But with Thanksgiving breathing down our wattles, I wanted to say a quick thank you to my husband.

My husband, Guy. He’s a rock. I know all women say that about their husbands. And some are referring to the stony outcropping of a lump that inhabits their sectional, but this man. This man is my rock.

He is the stone that I have built my adult life on. Over and over, my “home” has been torn down, ripped to the studs, overwhelmed by the storm and waves of PTSD, anxiety and mental/physical illness/addiction. My whole life seems like a chaotic whirl of emotion and pain. But in the middle of that whirl, the lighthouse I fix my course on, is Guy.

He’s brought me to Christ. He wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t know that.

My mom taught me church, the Bible, what it meant to be a Christian, but my husband has drawn me to my knees in reliance on Christ.

We’ve had turmoil. We’ve had horrible fights. We’ve had almost 20 years of anger, bitterness and rage to conquer. But we’ve done that mostly hand in hand.

He’s supporting me in this crazy idea of mine, to go to Israel and help little children and elderly who use wheelchairs. He’s so excited for me. He has been my cheerleader throughout this whole process.

I’m so lucky and thankful to have such a passionate, caring, loving husband who desires me, cheers me, loves me and forgives me. A man who cares about my spiritual well-being as much as my physical and mental well-being. A man who cares about my being at all.

And gosh darn it, I just think he’s so handsome. That doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. And some ladies might think I’m legally insane to swoon over this rock, but he’s just so gosh-darn kissable. His humor and charm make him irresistible to many.

I’m thankful that God made such a wonderful man, a man after my own heart, to pair me with. To make a child with. To grow up and old with. I’m so very lucky to have honesty, loyalty and love in my life.

Thank you, God. I rejoice this Thanksgiving for friends, family and my forever friend and partner, Guy. :*

#Metoo

Pussytrap.

I was caught in a pussytrap once. That’s what my friend and I called it. We laughed about it later. Because it was so horrific and nothing to be done. No agency to report it to and no officer to tell.

Plus, when you’re young? You think the world is the way it is. And to squawk about it? Is unnecessary and useless. So laugh. So you don’t cry.

My friends and I went to a dance club in a university town. It was on a street with other clubs. Alcohol was served, but only to those with the over-21 stamp. I had the under-21 stamp.

We went to the bar to dance. Not to drink. We loved listening to music, dancing and laughing.

About 20 minutes in, we lined up to use the bathroom. The line stretched back to the bar and two young men started chatting us up.

We were young. Naive. We were friendly, inviting, charming, silly, laughing. We wanted boys to think we were cute. We wanted attention.

After a few moments, the line was going nowhere, and the boys started grabbing. First, my friend.

I was always the protector. The NO-sayer. The “Hey, watch it!” girl. So, I was laughing, but I said, “Hey! No!” Then they grabbed me.

First, my breasts. Quick, pinching, playful swipes and pokes. Then, my crotch. You can imagine that when someone grabs your breasts or tries to, you pull back. But that only presents your lower body for them to grab.

While all this was happening, another young man had positioned himself behind us. He would grab our butts when we tried to move away. Thus, the pussytrap. No way out. A vicious game of unwanted touching.

After a few moments of arms and punches and shuffling and finally just leaving without the use of the bathroom, we got away. We weren’t laughing any more. Just wide eyes and nothing to say.

That was it.

“Hey, why you leavin’?” They called after us.

No one ever taught me to stand up for myself. In fact, the lesson I learned was, “Take it.” But to be fair, my mother didn’t grow up in a time when young men acted this way. She didn’t know. And everyone else acted like it was no big deal. That this behavior was just “boys being boys”. Or locker room antics. Isn’t that what the president said to excuse his own behavior?

That should never happen. To anyone. It’s humilating. Not titillating. It’s meant to objectify and demean. It’s not foreplay. It’s degradation.

Especially to an actress. Especially to anyone who ever worked for or with the current POTUS.

These are your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your fellow human beings. Your equals. Keep your hands to yourself. Or when we grab you back, you won’t like it.

If any man or boy ever touched my daughter like that, he’d be sorry. So would his balls.

Have I ever told you about the balltrap? LOL I’m older and wiser now.

Time for Christ: Carol in my heart

Carola folksong with religious meaning usually sung at Christmas, a familiar tune to welcome and celebrate the spirit of Christmastime


My friend Carol. She’s a wonderful lady. I met her several years ago, before 2012, at Shoal Creek Community Church, back in Missouri. Carol is soft in voice and features, hard to know. Blonde. Statuesque. She could be a secret, delicate ballerina that only dances for God. Full of passion. A deep river of heart and love, running fast, yet soundless. And at the bottom of all, a Christ-centered human. She is generous of spirit, kind and, in a way, mysterious. If she were a song (carol)–Silent Night. Awe-filled, yet restrained and humble. I admire her quiet dignity, beauty, strength and grace.

After I mentioned (several times online, sorry!) about my upcoming trip to Israel, I recently discovered that Carol volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and I couldn’t wait to interview her about her service. Thank you, Carol, for answering my questions with such thoughtful responses! Thank you for sharing your heart and being comfortable enough to do that! You’re a good writer, Lady!


What is the name of the organization that you volunteer with?

Habitat for Humanity RV Care-a-Vanners

What is their mission?

It supports Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

How long have you been serving with this group?

3 years

Where did you go this summer on your mission?

Brookings, SD

What did you do on this mission?

It’s usually a two-week period of helping to build a house. We do whatever we are capable of doing, at whatever stage of building they are when we arrive. We have started from slab, framing walls and have gotten there at the stage of putting on siding, putting in windows and painting.

How do you feel you’ve grown as a Christian or person after this trip?

As a person, I’ve learned skills I never thought I would ever know. People are willing to teach. All you have to do is ask. Also, I’ve become more aware and accepting of other cultures and religions. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, but they don’t discriminate on the basis of religion, age, gender or lifestyle. Morning devotionals are a regular part of every site build. It helps us keep our minds focused on why we do what we do. It doesn’t have to be a prayer. It can be a story or poem or quotes to inspire. We do usually close with a prayer and then hold hands and speak the Habitat motto:

“Habitat’s not a hand out but a hand UP!”

I now feel more comfortable sharing about my faith than I used to, so I feel I’ve grown some in that regard.

Why do you serve?

We like it because we love to travel, camp, meet new people and share God’s love by giving to those who are less fortunate. It’s a way we can do all of that and also work on keeping ourselves somewhat fit in our retirement. We love the camaraderie and being part of a group of like-minded individuals coming together to work towards a goal for the betterment of a family’s life. The thankfulness of the family shines through to return God’s love back to us.

Additional details:

Once you join the group you can go online to sign up. There is a schedule of locations and dates and number of spots available. Usually it’s free or reduced cost camping for the two-week period of the build.


Thank you, Carol! For your service to H for H! And for donating to my trip. I truly value our friendship, even if we can’t sip coffee together. Wouldn’t that be great?! If you’re ever in SW Florida, please do stay a while and we’d love to entertain you. I hope to serve one day with you and Steve! That would be so fun. H for H is a wonderful organization and it’s so inspiring to see our former president, Mr. Carter, still such an active participant. The organization and people like you give families dignity and hope. I admire you and your husband. You’re good, good folks with big hearts! ❤

Prayers for you and your family!

I get to do some Carol-ing of my own soon in Israel. 😀

Habitat for Humanity has many opportunities for those who own an RV or anyone who just wants to help, even locally. The have ReStore (local donation centers, maybe even in your town or nearby) and countless ways to serve. H for H is a nationwide organization that focuses on providing housing for all, no matter who they are or what they believe.

Good Advice

Some of the best advice I ever heard was indirectly. That’s the best kind. Simply an illustration, manifestation, of good sense. Or proverbial wisdom. Sharing an overlooked or misunderstood or obscure nugget without harsh or pointed intent.

It came through our friends, Richard and Tracy Potter. Haven’t seen or talked to them in quite a while. I hope Richard sees this and nods.

Their child had a tough choice. A good, tough choice. Go to a local prestigious university or halfway across state? The child was bright, talented and earned her way to either school. The differences in benefits of each school were minute. It was pretty much an equal choice aside from distance. So they asked this incredibly bright child, with no other information to weigh, “Which choice will make you more dependent on God?”

Woah.

I didn’t even think to ask that. My question would have been, “Which one’s easier?” My question for my daughter? No question. You’re living with Mommie until you’re 37. LOL

But this is the question, the one they asked of their girl, we should be asking of our children, of our spouses, our family, ourselves. What choice is going to make me focus on God the most?

I have to say, I feel somewhat guilty, leaving on a missions trip. I’m going to help others, but those motherly/wifey twinges of paranoia-guilt tug at my emotional heart. Will they survive without me? Will things, bodies, hearts be the same when I come back in two weeks? Will they feel forsaken?

But when I ask the Potters’ question, “What will make us depend most on God?” Going to Israel will bring all of us to the foot of the cross. Lilli will have to pray more. Guy will have to ask for help. They will have to seek each other for comfort and necessity. I will be completely alone emotionally and have to turn to God through all of it. That’s a good place to be.

I’m sure our family does much codepending all too often. We can’t help it. We like each other.

So I guess going is okay. I don’t have to feel guilty. I just have to trust God. And talk to him. Lift my family up to him. Make room to grow.


Good news! I’m going! I reached my immediate goal of $500 and then some. Thanks to all who helped. Now I will tackle those big Venetian fish and ask local churches if they have any discretionary mission funds. Pray, if you’re the praying kind. 😉 Or give if you can.

This World Is Not My Home

This World Is Not My Home (Statler Bros version!)
gospel song by Jim Reeves

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passin’ through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world any more


This was a song at my dad’s funeral. A friend played it on guitar live at the funeral home. I still love it. At the time it meant, my dad’s journey was over and he gets to go home. That was hope. It means something different now though. But still hope.

I don’t feel at home in this world. I have taken the red pill and I’m awake. I’ve been flushed out of my Matrix pod and I want to go back. Except. I can’t. After having been convinced of the need I see around the world, I can’t sit at home any more. I have to serve in some way. I can’t complain about injustice, I have to change it.

I give to the needy. Except I don’t tell you every time I do because you’re not supposed to, right? I buy or try to buy homeless guys tacos. I donate my very expensive bike to charity so that they can fix it up and sell it to benefit homeless vets. I give where I can. I give to local theaters. I volunteer my time at the local community theatre when they need hands. I am kind to children, small animals and jerks. I take care of neighbor dogs when the family goes to Disney World or to the opera (yes, I said the opera, I can’t pick neighbors’ activities). I remind myself to be patient when I’m stuck behind Grandpa Trumpsticker. I treat old people with dignity and kindness and slow down to remember their gifts. I open my eyes to those around me.

I walked into an assisted living facility one day to collect labs. I was walking down a long narrow, winding passageway and I heard the most beautiful piano music waving through the hall. I couldn’t tell if it was a fancy player piano in the lobby or an actual pianist. As I saw the piano and the old woman sitting at it, I was filled with emotion.

As I passed her, I said, “That is beautiful. Thank you.” And her face was shining from droopy lobe to droopy lobe. What I wanted to say, but didn’t, was, “I hear you. You’re beautiful. Thank you. Keep going!”

I had a job to do. I couldn’t stop and talk with her. But I wanted to.

I see you, Grandma. I see you. I long for the day that I can sit and watch you. Listen to you. Love you. Wait on you.

I have to love others. I have to provide for need when I see it. I have to reach out for poor people, dirty people, hard-to-love people who are entitled and snippy. I have to call out beauty when I see it. I have to love my enemies because if I can’t do that, God can have no part of me. I can have no part of him. I must live by grace.

Jesus loves us. Even when we don’t deserve it. Because we never deserve it. We mess up all the time and constantly need forgiveness. He has told us to go and love the people of the world and help where we can. To show his spirit.

“The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door.” But they are beckoning me to help now. Here. In this place. On this earth. To love the hardest to love.

That’s why I’m going to Israel. I am convinced of the need. I hope you will be, too.

GAiN for Martha Maggio


Many people of different ethnicity and faiths will benefit by the support provided. I am serving at a wheelchair and eyeglass clinic in several different ways. Please consider giving.

Crazy White Lady

I am a middle-aged white woman who has every advantage a person could have. I was born in America. I’m white. I’ve never hungered a day in my life. In fact, I was super morbidly obese for 10 years of my life. Just morbidly obese for the other 35.

I’ve never been so poor that I couldn’t buy food. Only one day did I wonder about dinner. No food. No paycheck. And the long weekend to make it to money. And even at that low point, my husband went to our local food pantry and got enough to fix dinner for a few days. A friendly, benevolent nun gave us pasta and sauce. Humiliating as that was, we ate dinner with our school-age daughter. And we were so very thankful. We were full on grace.

I’ve been struggling this week. Last Friday, I was accepted for a mission trip to Israel. I rejoiced at being chosen, but immediately became worried after the joy subsided. I would have to raise the money for my trip.

I’ve never been good about asking others for money. I struggled with paying my medical bills, but hesitated in asking others outside of my family for help. So crowdfunding made me squeamish, but missions are something that I’ve wanted to do since I was 16. Go to another part of the world and help those in need.

I know you might say, “Martha, we have need in this country.” And I would say yes. But we also have overweight poor people. The need in this country is real. But even our poor people live better than most in other parts of the world. Even our poor people are among the 1 percent. THAT’s the truth. Being poor in America doesn’t automatically mean death. Being poor in other countries can mean starvation. Being poor can mean a violent or untimely death.

I need to raise ~$3500. The supplies for this trip are already provided for, but I need to get myself there, to help. But first, by Monday, I need to raise $500 to reserve my spot. GAiN is supporting me and encouraging me to keep trying, they want and need me there. I can serve in so many ways on this trip. But I need that $500 to reserve my travel. If I don’t have it, this journey ends here.

At 4:10 am, Tuesday morning, just this past week, I woke up in a NyQuil/Benadryl-induced fog because I’ve been very sick. Trying to write, work and raise money for a trip has been tricky. At 4:10 am, I didn’t want to be awake, but my eyes popped open. And a realization washed over me. It was God’s voice because there’s no way that I would have this thought.

God, carefully pulling me close, grasping my attention and pajama collars, whispered softly into my stinging eyes, “Martha. You’ve been worried. Terrified. About money. You don’t know how you will provide for this trip halfway around the world. You’re scared. You feel alone. You feel forgotten. Forsaken. You’ve only experienced that for a few days. NOW, my dear child, you have some small understanding of what these people I want you to care about face every single day of their lives.”

And I fell back into my dreamy, warm covers. Broken and blown away.

I can’t tell you why this crazy white lady wants to go to the Holy Land. I can’t justify it. Other than to say, I’m following God’s heart. And that plane is going with or without me.

If this trip dies here, it dies here. I don’t want it to though.

God, if you want it to happen, you will provide. I know that. Thank you for opening my tired, sick American eyes, at the very least. I’m going to run after you, every chance I get.


Please consider giving. GAiN for Martha Maggio. There’s more info about my trip and who we’ll be serving. If every one of my followers gave even $1, I could meet my immediate goal. Thanks!

The Kindness of Karen

Karen. Aunt Karen. She’s not even my aunt by blood, but I think of her as family. I’ve only known her for just over a year. She’s one of the nicest women I’ve ever met. Gentle, kind, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for sure. She was my husband’s saving grace when he was a child.

My husband grew up in a strange home. Don’t we all.

He lost his parents when he was very young. His mother died when he was still an infant and his father died when he was a toddler, too young to even form a memory of his face. He was orphaned.

He was raised by his paternal grandparents. His Uncle Guy and Aunt Karen were there for those formative years as well, living just next door.

I’ve known Karen for years, without the benefit of meeting her in person, because my husband described her so vividly. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel of mercy in a chaotic world. A calming influence on an energetic boy. He would tell me about her rubbing his back for naptime. (He still likes to have his back rubbed. Who doesn’t?) He was certainly enamored with his Aunt Karen.

He talked about how Aunt Karen could show discipline, not humiliation, in behavior correction. His grandmother and uncle often resorted to yelling and intimidation. But Karen. She was different.

Karen was the mother he needed. Tender. Patient. Feminine. She was the female ideal. The compassion he required as an extremely sensitive child. A soft place to land.

I finally met Karen just over a year ago. She was so warm and welcoming. Immediate hugs and she accepted me totally from the first moment. She was every bit of the angel Guy recalled to me. Karen has a generous spirit. She always asks questions and she lavished our daughter with so much attention.

She lives in Colorado, so we don’t get to see her much, but we have Facebook (thank God) and she’s so supportive of my blog. Thank you, Karen!

Aunt Karen just made the first donation for my trip. An extremely generous one. Thank you for believing in me and this journey.

I truly appreciate your kindness, generosity and the immediate acceptance as a member of your family. I’m just sorry we hadn’t met until just over a year ago. You’re a beautiful person. Inside and out. You changed my husband’s life and offered him grace when he absolutely needed it. You saved him from a harsh life just by being kind and showing him nice people exist. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for the kindness you showed him. Thank you for being a mother to him, even if for a short time. It stayed with him all through the years. You ARE an angel. I know he thinks that, too. xoxo