Grad-geeated

I don’t always spell things korrectly. Or punctuate! “in the right place”. or capitalize. But dammit, I’m a college graduate!!

I have 2 two-year degrees now from Metropolitan Community College. A very liberal arts degree from the 90s. LOL And I’m very proud of this most recent degree–graphic design, an applied science! (sounds so awesome, Imma scientist! lol)

It was hard to go back to school at 36. To be surrounded by people half my age. To relearn art. To move from Photoshop User to Artist. To embrace my creativity and hone my skills.

Everyone gambled on me. And I wanted to succeed.

I finally did.

I got sick just after finishing my classes. I never applied for graduation. I tried to follow up with the school about completion and transferring some classes from UMKC, but trying to find an actual job and getting very sick just left graduation simmering on the stove. For 6 years! UGH!

Embarrassing. But I knew I had my skills. I didn’t need a piece of paper.

Well. Yes. I did. LOL But when you’re sick? Just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Thank you to my prof who helped me grad-geeate. I was sick for so long and to have this is healing. It’s my cap and gown, it’s my walk down the aisle, it’s my handshake. Thank you.

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Party City

Tried this flamingo hat on at Party City the other day. Is this a good look for me? If you can’t wear a bird on your head every once in a while, what’s the point of living?

I remember the day my dad tied two free helium-filled balloons to his ears and walked out of our local department store. I was embarrassed on the outside (because I didn’t understand whether it was funny or not, it was), but learning the internal lesson of standing out for laughter’s sake.

You know, I’m sure someone had a better day because they saw an old, crazy, fat man wearing two balloons on his head. Something to talk about.

Dad was balding, tall and overweight. He wore overalls on most occasions. Typically paired with a short-sleeve western shirt. In a mixed town of country folk and suburbanites, seeing someone in denim overalls at the store was not shocking. What was shocking was seeing a middle-aged man with balloons tied to his balding head and greeting customers in the parking lot.

“Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart! Have a nice day!”

My sister almost cried, threw up or had an anxiety attack at his ridiculous display. I feigned upset, but was cheering on the inside. That took balls.

Dad wanted to become a country singer/guitar player. He infrequently got the steel-string acoustic out and plucked a song or two. He had a good voice, but someone told him, “You got no rhythm.” No one from our family. That would have hurt him deeply and caused years of turmoil. But he definitely wanted to stand out. Be seen. Be creative.

I have always thought that I was a mix of my father and mother. Restrained and refined in some circles, but sometimes, in the right circumstance, not afraid to stand out. I am an actor, creative, designer, artist. I can’t sing, but I have other talents to display. To have a space to shine is, IMO, a required psychological exercise. Anyone who doesn’t have a special thing would feel pretty sad and isolated. Maybe he felt that way sometimes. Unspecial.

I’m thankful for my blog. For acting. For art. It’s kept me sane. Okay, less crazy. 🙂 Art is therapy. So is writing. I worked through much trouble with writing over the last decade. All for free. Thank you, Internets!

Dad would have loved Party City.

Trapped

This is another story my daughter wrote. She won an award for this one. PTA Reflections 2017 awarded her honorable mention at state level for Missouri, junior high division. Really proud.

“What is Your Story?” was the theme this year. Lilli’s story is a little sad, but truthful and daring. Her piece is a great perspective on writing and art creation, in general. A true reflection of how many artists feel about revealing their work. It’s risky to put your heart on the line. But brave to try!

lil award.jpg
Here she is walking across the stage, accepting her award!

“Trapped Inside My Own Mind” by Lillian Maggio

Isn’t it strange? I love to compose music, and I love imagining the way it will sound. I take joy in writing the lyrics and listening to my accompaniment played with clunky digital sounds, but I absolutely detest my own voice. In addition, I can’t play any instrument, so I have hardly any idea how to write music for another person to play. I hate the concept of someone else singing for me, because I know in my heart that they wouldn’t do my song justice. I’m afraid to ask a musician for help because I don’t know if my songs can even be played. So I compose scores which I am proud of and rejoice in, yet no one really ever hears my music but me.

I love thinking up beautiful and magical characters with complex and wonderful designs and personalities, but I hate the style in which I draw, so their appearance remains a mystery. I’m so petrified that I’ll make a mistake or portray them wrong that I can never portray them at all. I long to use my art to bring light and wonder to the world, to tell a story that hasn’t been told before, but I’m so afraid that my story will be incomplete and riddled with flaws. So my characters are never brought to life, never see the light of day.

I love to write, and I would love even more to be recognized for my talent. I write based on my own experiences, sometimes even making up fantastical worlds all by myself. Still, I can never bring myself to actually try and publish any of my works. I tell myself that I don’t have a chance, that I’ll never become popular and that no one will ever read, let alone care about, what I have to say. Or, even worse, that someone will see my work and copy it, claiming my creation as their own while I can do nothing. So I hide everything I do, far from where anyone could see or hear it.

I’m trapped inside my own mind. My worst adversary is, in reality, myself; my own fear. I can’t show everyone all the amazing stories I’ve been dying to tell. And it’s because I’m holding myself back, preventing myself from sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world.

So I can’t tell my story. I’m far too afraid.

Only Dogs Like to Eat Alone

My mom told me not to pet the cat or dog when they were eating.

“Why?”

“They don’t like it,” she summed up. “They’re territorial.”

Whatever that meant. I was only 5 or so. Just don’t do it. Got it.

I never really had a pet that I took care of. Our family had dogs and cats of the outside variety. No perfectly-quaffed poodles or sofa Shih Tzus. We had one indoor cat and one indoor dog before I turned 7. But Tiger ran away and Kelly the Collie up and died. The other animals?

We had a stray named Frisky. He was a tan, lean mutt from our country neighborhood. He stayed outside and my parents fed him scraps. He stuck around, occasionally let us pet him and hooked up with another pup. She was a mutt as well with doberman coloring. Black with brown brows and tips. She gave birth to over 27 puppies during her short life and we had an unintentional puppy mill under our porch.

The dogs got sick, some came down with Parvo (or that’s what I was told), some were shot because they teased our horses (One was caught nibbling at a run-down horse, meaning-some dog(s) or coyote had run the horse to death and then one of our dogs gnawed at its carcass. True!), some ran off. And at some point, we no longer had any dogs. I don’t know what happened to all of them. I really don’t.

We lived on a small farm. Dogs were expendable and unconsidered. Just a fact of life. I didn’t start caring for animals until I met my husband’s cats for the first time. I don’t mean to write so callously about these dogs, but I was a child and nobody asked my opinion as to the condition, well-being or healthcare of said animals. I can see now, it was a problem.

However, for their brief life, they ate well. Mom and Dad threw leftovers, scraps, meat, bones, gravy, dog food in their bowl on the hill. Also, there was an all-you-can-eat mouse buffet under the house for our cats; the occasional rabbit for the dogs. I didn’t understand or research the eating habits of domesticated beasts. That was above my paygrade. And in the 80s? No interwebs. Even if there had been, my parents wouldn’t have sprung for the luxury of computer connectivity.


Do you like to eat alone?


When it comes to eating, I get it, dogs and cats are in it to win it. The biggest mouth gets most of the food. And everybody knows it. You better be cool with that or risk a fight over vittles. Big dog on the porch always wins.

But thankfully, people are not territorial. We don’t push each other away from the bowl. We don’t have to eat shoulder-to-shoulder in a trough of slop. We all get our own individual portion of the beautifully-baked pie. But after weight loss surgery, my pie’s a little different.

Fixing dinner for your family after weight loss surgery kinda sucks. Knowing that you can’t enjoy what you’re preparing because you’re nervous about the outcome makes eating not as enjoyable as it once was. Whipping up a dinner or meal for others isn’t much fun if you can’t really taste it.

I try to make healthy meals, but it’s difficult. The flavor can suffer sometimes from a lack of salt or sugar or calories. That’s okay, but it is an unsatisfying task to cook for others and only provide a hot meal, not a delicious one.

I’m learning to accept it, but it’s so ingrained in my sex and culture. I am learning to eat on my own. Not share in indulgences. Eat my own menu. Savor my healthy cooking. Walk away in the middle of dinner. Allow others to prepare their own choices. Find recipes that satisfy taste and health. But it’s a lonely road to walk sometimes. I miss shared meals and food experiences. I miss connecting over food. It was a large part of my life. The biggest. Sad, but true.

Cooking and eating have been my favorite things. Food and taste and savory meals, those are my bedrock of love. My husband agreed to marry me mainly for my ability to bake an authentic Italian lasagna. Ricotta, not cottage cheese. LOL

My meatloaf was once described as crack. Highly addictive. But I can’t make meatloaf like I used to. Secret ingredient: Dale’s Seasoning. Which has twice the amount of sodium found in regular table salt. Two times more sodium than SALT, which is sodium!

Bad, Meatloaf! Bad!

Salt is toxic. Salt lead to my first round of heart failure. Salt is consumed at 2 to 3 times the amount we should have daily. With my surgery, I am eating significantly less of everything, including salt. So I’m able to put back in some of the sodium I reduced over the years. But I don’t want my family to have it either.

How do I love my family without food?

I have to release the burden/blessing of providing food and find my worth as a mother or wife by providing other things. What are those things though?? LOL I am trying to allow my daughter to have some control over food choice and prep. That’s hard, but she’s ready and able. I have to let go of her apron strings because she long ago dropped mine. I can provide her with self-sufficiency and independence. Those things are much more valuable than meatloaf.

My worth is found in another bowl. A water dish of my own. The one with my name on it. And I don’t have to share it with anyone.

I know there’s a balance to strike. I know that. I’m learning. I’m finding that balance. It’s just hard to change your whole lifestyle on a dime. But I am learning to eat like a dog. By myself. From my own special dish of value and worth.

Grumpy Cat!

WARNING: SOME FOUL LANGUAGE AHEAD (Little bit, and a little ugly spew, much like a cat’s hairball, about doctors. Sorry! If you need sunshine, keep scrolling. It has a happy ending though.)

I am a blonde (yes, I am, shut up!), blue-eyed, suburban, white housewife/mother of 1. Nonviolent, mostly. Soft and squishy around the edges. Sheltered and meek, having no upper body strength and bad knees. Kind to most strangers, frequent smiler. Helper of lost cats, dogs, children, poor people and domestic violence victims. I’m not a superhero (at all!), but if I was, I would want to use my powers to punch all the doctors in all the throats! At once!

Not all. But most.

My weight loss surgeon and his team have been awesome. They saved my life. (Even they couldn’t find my diseased gall bladder, though. I had to whine and squeal about it for weeks before they fished it out.) But all other doctors can go straight to…the ER, IMO. That would be hell.

I went to the endocrinologist yesterday. I would have rather had emergency rectal surgery. Every time I go to a bleeding endocrinologist, they are the worst. I don’t know why, but they are the snootiest, most ill-mannered doctors I have ever encountered. And I’ve encountered several doctors, of all kinds, lately.

I have lost a total of 166 lbs. Some on my own, some from my weight loss surgery. I went to the doctor yesterday and she wanted to argue about how much weight I’ve lost. I told her that I lost 109 lbs. since surgery.

“Actually, according to our records, you’ve only lost 96 lbs.”

I wanted to kill her. “Why argue with me? You’re not my weight loss surgeon. You’re not my magical talking digital scale from home. You’re nobody!! You have no idea what you’re talking about, what my journey is/was, what I’ve been through or the challenges that I face/have faced. Shut your bloody mouth!” is what I wanted to say.

But I just kept quiet and silently stewed. Mousy housewife that I am. Mousewife. There was no point in even engaging this ignorant, self-righteous She-doct-whore. (Sorry.) She also didn’t listen to me when I told her about my thyroid removal, gall bladder removal, medicine fluctuations, the other obstacles I’ve faced as an overweight patient, medical literature I’ve read about my condition because doctors didn’t know what was happening with me (I diagnosed my own G-D GB failure! for Christ’s sake), and countless other beneficial pieces of medical history. Didn’t want to hear it. She wanted me to answer her inane, predetermined questions.

The nurse asked me all those questions that nurses ask you:
Pregnancies, family history, illnesses, surgeries.
Then the bloody doctor asked the same stupid questions, all over again.
How many times do I have to answer? And how many times will you ignore my history? It didn’t matter that I answered those questions TWICE! because she didn’t even consider the answers!

I can tell you this right now, I will never answer two sets of questions again! Never! For any doctor. I will simply say, “Asked and answered!” It’s so friggin’ stupid. I’m intelligent, honest and consistent. I shouldn’t have to pass a security clearance to get medical help or be seen by a doctor.

BTW, she kept me waiting in the lobby for over an hour and saw me for only 15 minutes. I was a new patient. They will charge me over $400 for that shit. AND I was early for my appointment! I was early for my ass reaming. Gah!

“Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork!”

Not seeing this doctor ever again. Disgusted!!

Doctors think they can take advantage. I know you went to medical school, Doc. But you never seem to know what’s wrong with me. You got your medical degree, but you failed bedside manner.

Not feeling very thankful today. Working on it. :/ I got a new hat for my daughter’s field day at school tomorrow. I think Grumpy Cat is leaking through my skull. :<

grumpy cat hat 2.jpg

I AM SO SORRY, WORLD! When I frown, I look like my Grumpy Grandma. (Remind me to write about that sometime. She also criticized my weight loss for not having lost enough when I was 18, weird!) Attitude adjustment achieved. I like the way I look when I’m smiling.

martha bw dress half.jpgSo I can let anything roll off my whiskers.

Calliope Calls

Oh, wonderful writers
With your passion and fire.
Oh, winsome word-lovers,
Lay your fingers on the lyre.

Build a song without tune.
Call wild to the moon.

Change the Earth into Sea.
Set sacred Calliope free.

Words can plant an invisible field.
A book can launch a billion minds.
Poems unlock heart-shaped doors.
When the world is lost; a story finds.

Summon the magic for us now.
Flourish of cape and take a bow.

Tip of the hat, toss of a rose
For those who risk all to compose.

Not a soul can imagine
What miracles you bear.
Oh, giver of life,
Creator from air.

Woven words loom done.
Golden threads you have spun.

So think. Reach. Write. Give birth.
Thank you for sharing all of your worth.

Rich with Lovers

Katharine Clifton (played by Kristin Scott Thomas, from The English Patient):
My darling. I’m waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in-like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.


Rich with lovers. I love that line. It is so full in one’s mouth and mind. It plays on the tongue and exercises all manner of lip movement and physical speech. I hope you have tried to say it. Out loud. You pretend kiss when forming the word rich. And the word with. It is a line for all time.

Rich with lovers. I think we all die rich with lovers. You may have only known your husband or wife, intimately. But we have all fashion of lovers. My family loves me. My friends love me. Strangers love me. And we love many. Sexually or not.

I have never been closer to another human being as I have been to my husband. I am so thankful for that. He knows everything about me and still loves me unconditionally. Even when he’s mad at me. He may not admit it. Or realize it. But if pressed, he loves me still. That–is nothing short of a miracle and nothing to take for granted.

My husband with all his faults and flaws is the most generous, kind and passionate lover I have ever known. And I have had my share. But I would trade my share for this one love. I count myself lucky to have found the one person who could fulfill my every desire and do it so well. He is smart, funny and oh-so lavish in his physical love for me. Some might look at my husband and wonder what I see in him, but he is a world-class lover. He’s Italian. Whatta ya gonna do? You can’t fight city hall.

I say all this, not to boast, but to demonstrate. Even with a rich, lavish love life? A love life beyond earthly compare? It cannot come close to my growing addiction to Christ.

If my love life with my husband was compared to the Earth-to-Moon distance (I love you to the moon and back), then my relationship with Christ would be the distance from the Earth to the Sun (Son). I love my husband with everything I have. And I truly believe after 17 years of marriage, he loves me the same way. But it doesn’t even touch how Christ and God feel for me. Not even my relationship with my daughter can come close to how God feels for me.

The Bible compares our relationship to Christ as a marriage and sometimes our relationship to God as parent and child. And those are wonderful examples of how He loves. But I don’t think we can perceive with our small minds how big God’s love is.

I hear people often scoff. (Scofften? LOL) Why would God create the universe, as vast as it is, for just our world? Why would a great God in heaven care about me? Why would God create man and play this simulation of Love?

Quite simply, God is love.

Not that He simply loves, but that He is the Love-being. We are built in His image. He is relationship. We are love as well. Love is not just a word or an act. It is a continuous chosen action, verb, noun, state of mind. Sacrifice.

He built us for love. To have relationship and fellowship with Him. We do life with the intention of being loved. We are born with a burning desire to be seen, to be loved, to be lavished. I see it in my daughter. I see her burning desire to be noticed and praised. But she has never known a day without love. We have heaped praise and love on her head and she still yearns to be known so intimately. She raises her voice, speaking her opinions into existence and wants so much to be heard. I pray that she learns at some point, God is listening. And if we listen back? He will reveal such profound love and understanding. If we can just quiet our minds enough to know, we are being loved so completely. So lavishly. So richly. So permanently.

The question in my mind is this: if God did create the universe and we do not acknowledge him in this, how can he feel loved? Even God wants praise for all that He has given, created, sacrificed. And he deserves it. What has Man ever done to compare with what God has done? Aren’t we born wanting praise?

I have chased all forms of pleasure my entire life. Food, love, sex, comfort, pain-relief. And it does not satisfy. It does not sustain. It does not last. In a moment, the satisfying fullness of achievement is lost in the pulses of light from the universe. No fullness lasts when relying on worldly things. But when I achieve some level of understanding or testament of love, or ability to withstand temptation, or fulfillment of biblical beatitude, it lasts. It is a taste rich with loving. A meal that brings wholeness, fullness.

All of my life’s true happiness and peace has come from obedience. Understanding and accepting those gifts that are set aside just for me. We must embrace what we are given, not envy what we can never have.

Mark Twain and B. Basinger

An empty chair. A row of books. My teacher is gone, but her story and Mark Twain’s tales remain.

From Twain’s Life on the Mississippi:

I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating, black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the sombre shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unobstructed splendor that was flowing from the sun.

There were graceful curves, reflected images, woody heights, soft distances; and over the whole scene, far and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing moment, with new marvels of coloring.

I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home.

Also, from Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer:

Barley-corn, Barly corn, Injun meal shorts,
Spunk-water, spunk-water, swaller these warts! (LOL)

Twain was/is fun, clever, morally and politically forward-thinking. Still! I love Jumping Frog and Huck Finn. I love the things he said and the wisdom he conveyed through innocent eyes. He gave me pride for my home state instead of disdain for its bumpkins and isolation. Twain is a bright spot in Missouri history and Billie Basinger gave me Twain.

My junior high English teacher, Billie Basinger, died a few years ago. I posted this picture for those who knew her as a memorial of the lives she touched.

mark twain books 2.jpg

I only knew Ms. Basinger for two years. I knew nothing about her personal life or how she died. I only know she passed from cancer. But this intelligent woman, this great teacher, gave me an island of words and ideas in a sea of wheat fields.

If we can’t thank our teachers, if we can’t show them or others how much they make a difference, then we will stop having teachers. People who work for less for longer than any other important people-saving profession.

In other countries, teachers are paid at the same rate as doctors and lawyers. Teachers care just as much or more and they do it for not as much money. At least, at the very least, thank them every chance you get.

Ms. Basinger taught in a small district, in a rural area. She definitely did it because she cared.

Thanks, Ms. B. You made a difference in so many lives. I’m a writer today because a few people like you cared.

Bear Fruit

No. Not bear (growling animal) fruit. That would look like this.

bear fruit
Lillian Maggio, age 13-My daughter drew this. LOL

No. As fun as that is, today, I get to bear fruit.

Patience fruit.

I am a budding tree and this is the spring of my seasons. The time for flowers and growth and fruit.

There are several fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, loyalty, gentleness and self-control. Galations 5:22 These fruits are from Jesus’ spirit that he left on Earth to help us. As a kid, I never understood that the Spirit was Jesus’ spirit. I didn’t make the connection. Now I get it. I mean, I understood the trinity, but I just thought that God and Jesus were related and then they have a good friend, Holy Spirit. I mean, I knew that they were all one, but…yeah. Now, I got it.

So, after Jesus ascended, when He went to heaven for the final time (I know it sounds weird, Non-christians!), after a few days, He sent the Spirit. To help us. He promised His followers that He would send the Spirit because Jesus knew we would need help. ‘Cause we are so screwed up. He paid the price for our sins and now lives at the right hand of God. That’s His reward. We are separate now, as He has fulfilled His purpose. When we fulfill our purpose, we can be together. Yes?

I have this strange imagination and when I think of Jesus at the right hand of God, I picture God turning to Jesus and talking about me. They probably do this telepathically. Just FYI. I mean, it’s 2/3 of the trinity. Well. They probably conference-in the Holy Spirit, or something.

“So, tell me more about Martha.”

And what Jesus says is so sweet and kind and generous. Undeserved grace. He tells God,

“Well, Dad, she’s really smart, loving, loyal and caring. But. She’s been hurt. Like, you know, everyone on the planet. She gets angry, impatient, rude, ungrateful and downright hateful.”

God, “Yeah. Got it.”

“But! She really wants to be different. When she prays, she usually means it. And she does love Us.”

God, “Cool.”

God is a lot like former President Barack Obama in my God/Jesus fantasy. lol Idk why.

So, the point of that is, I get that Jesus died for me. He would have died for me even if I was the only person on the planet. That’s pretty specific. I don’t deserve it, I don’t have to earn it, I just inherit the kingdom of God. Boom. Done. Crown. Thanks. Forever.

And I bring this up because the rest of the verse concerning the fruits of the Spirit is this:
Galations 5
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The last line gets me.
No. 1–I belong to Jesus. (D’aw!!)
No. 2–I have crucified my flesh by belonging to Jesus!

I have hung my sin and flesh on the cross and it has died! I have nailed my desire and passion to the blood-soaked wood and it has passed. Through Jesus, through His spirit.

I get that when God looks at me, because Jesus died in my place, that all God sees is Perfect Martha. Martha scattered/smothered/covered in Jesus. He sees a perfect child. The best Martha I can be. That makes me happy. And much more able to be patient. I mean, Jesus died so that I could be impatient about how long the stoplight takes? No.

Anyway, how long did Christ wait on me? Still waits on me?

I’ve been waiting today. Waiting on everything. Waiting on my husband for 2 hours while he’s getting an eye exam. Waiting on sales clerks, recycling attendants, stoplights, scanners, waitresses, phone chargers, emails, post office employees (grr! <<–there’s that bear fruit again) and endless lists of things and people.

I tried to be patient. But I usually failed.

I mean, I didn’t go crazy on anyone. And I didn’t rag on my husband all day. And I didn’t complain to a manager, call an 800 number or even give someone an obscene look, word or gesture. I certainly didn’t ram my car into the plate-glass window of Discover Vision Center.

I just had impatience circling above my head. Dark and brooding. Hovering and swooping. Preying on my thoughts. Scavenging my kindness. Vulturous and hungry. Sitting on my heart like a black crow. Waiting for me to drop my joy. Picking at my left-over love. Choking down my generosity, leaving bitter bones of resentment. Impatience stole my fruit.

I should be grateful for people, phones and cars. I should be thankful for husband, money and luxury. I should chug down a large glass of gratitude and get on with my day.

I’m trying to remember that I’m not patient. The Holy Spirit is patient. And if I ever successfully exercise the ability to be patient, it is not through my own power.

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

It is because I allow the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. For Christ to live inside of me. That’s how Christ lives. Through us.

I know some Non-christians don’t understand the living Christ. (I get it, this is another weird one.) But He lives in us. His Spirit continues through us. When we love each other and help each other and do unto each other, we make Jesus live again. That’s the living Christ.

But how many Xians do you know that channel Jesus?

Although. His spirit has lingered for over 2,000 years. Swell and ebb, live and die. The church (# of true Christ followers) and the Spirit, in this world, are like the tides in the sea. High and low, at any given moment. But the ocean remains. His teachings and mark and LOVE remain.

Paul said:
Galatians 5:14 NIV
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

And Jesus said:
John 13:35 NIV
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

I don’t see much love every day, neighbor to neighbor. Can I just say that I love seeing my nasty neighbor picking up her dog’s crap when I arrive home? See. That’s not nice.

I do see love at home though. I see it online. I see it in some of our leaders. I see it around the world. I find it in unexpected places. Sometimes, I don’t find it where I think I should or will. I see people trying though.

Love is still there. The ocean remains.

I will be patient.

No. The Spirit will be patient. I will submit to the Spirit. And I will bear fruit.

What Hurts

Lots of things hurt.
Or I wouldn’t be a writer.

Have you met many writers?

But lots of things don’t hurt.
I am easily overwhelmed or amazed.

You like sunsets.
That sunset is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I love sunsets. Where’s my camera??!

You like writing.
I can’t stop writing because I’ve never had a voice and this is the only chance I have to say all the things I’m feeling before I die. And if I write every day that I have left, I still won’t have said all I need to say to the world.

You had a bad day.
I had the worst day in my entire life and I have to find the will to continue.

You have issues.
I have mental illness coupled with anxiety from complex PTSD that makes good days rare and bad days merely survivable.

I feel things deeply. Maybe too much. But thank God for deep feelings. Or I wouldn’t be a writer, artist, actor, designer, photographer, caretaker, sunset-lover. Thank God for my sensitivity. Or I would be just: average. I’d rather feel too much than nothing at all.

Oh good.
You get me.
Thanks.
This isn’t a competition.
Sorry.
And if you think I’m too hard on myself?
Some people aren’t hard enough.
The truth is out there.
We just have to be willing to say it.