Friday, April 1, 2016

blue ribbon -- an annual post

every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt. 
the first time I did it, I worried about what people would think/say.
I worried they would ask what it meant.
I worried they wouldn't ask what it meant.
I worried about what I would say.
I worried about what I wouldn't say.
each year that I have worn the blue ribbon it has become a little easier to set aside the worrying -- to expect nothing -- to be happy with a good conversation -- to set aside the discomfort of others.
it hasn't gotten any easier to have them look away though.
as I was having blood drawn at the doctor's office, the technician said, "what's your pin for?"
"april is child abuse awareness month. I am a survivor."
"oh", startled, she looked away, and I felt it again. the guilt and shame. 
what did she think of me now?
should I have kept my mouth shut?
not worn my blue ribbon?
there was no more conversation and little eye contact. she drew my blood, while I dealt with the pain of the needle in my arm and the accusation in her looking away. I was damaged goods all over again. I was at fault. I was less than.
I read a post about seeing people.
all I want is to be seen for who I am. a grown woman who is still 5 years old inside, wishing someone would intercede for me. wishing I didn't feel guilty and ashamed for others' actions.
but every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt.

(this post was originally published April 13, 2012 -- I repost it every April in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

This Time Last Year

Last year about this time I wrote a piece called Scarred. It's interesting to go back see where I was and what I was doing a year ago. I gain some perspective of time and healing. And that is a very good thing.

I stand by all that I said in that post. Emotional scars do smooth over. I can't say I've reached the point where my past doesn't show up every day, but the impact from it is so much lower. It happened. It is fact. It is history.

The present has a way of supplanting the past. That's generally a good thing as moving forward is what I strive for. But sometimes that forward movement requires me to look back and examine how the past is impacting and informing the present.

Right now I'm going through a difficult time. Things are not right in my world, but they are not right in a way I don't feel good writing about. That is problematic for me. I use this space for processing. But here is what I can share I'm 53 years old. My children are grown and practically on their own. My husband is mid-job change, and I don't know what my next phase looks like. 

Maybe I should have planned more for this. Maybe I should have been thinking about this time, but the truth is I'm a live-in-the-moment kind of person. I've never found 5 year plans to be very helpful mostly because life (at least mine) is messy. Plan all you want but be prepared for it to go to hell in a handbasket at the drop of a hat.

I don't think that's negative. I think it's reality. So I'm looking at options. A new career path? A return to the life of a librarian? Part-time? Full-time? A major change or a minor shift? Who knows? I certainly don't.

I recently told a friend I needed God to come down and smite me on the head for clarity. I'm not usually one to wonder and fret over what God wants me to do, but I've been fretting a lot lately and I need that to change.

So if anyone has a good job idea for an undecided former stay at home mom with a masters in libary science who really only wants to work about 20 hours a week and make really good money, could you shoot me an email or just reply to this post? 

Or maybe I should just buy a lottery ticket.

linking up with Writer's Workshop



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 12, 2016

Outside my window . . . it's sunny and cold but not nearly as cold as it was yesterday morning!

I am thinking . . . about changes.

I am thankful . . . for my son's safe return from his travels out west. He got home yesterday afternoon from a 10-day drive from Tennessee to California with stops throughout the west for hiking and climbing. He with his best friend and they had a wonderful time full of great experiences.

In the kitchen . . . last night was crockpot white chicken chili. Perfect for the very cold day we'd had.

I am creating . . . another prayer shawl. I seem to be on a roll but I'm having trouble with some tendonitis in my thumbs. I may have to slow down a bit :)

I am going . . . to get back into some kind of yoga routine. I've fallen off the map on yoga and I'm beginning to feel it in my body.

I am wondering . . . how to handle TV next Sunday night. NFL Playoffs and Downton Abbey. Choices. Choices. (And no I don't have DVR)

I am reading . . . I finished up The Absent One (Afdeling Q #2) by Jussi Adler-Olsen. I borrowed it from the library and had to return it before I finished so then I had to wait for it be available again! Now I'm re-reading B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton as I continue my way through the Kinsey Milhone stories. Next up is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

I am looking forward to . . . going to LB's house tomorrow to help her out with a few things and then taking her out to eat for a belated birthday lunch.

I am hearing . . . my son figuring out his day.

Around the house . . . things are officially undecorated. Yay! Love the holidays, but love having things back to normal as well.

I am praying . . . for clarity and peace.

One of my favorite things . . . is watching old movies. I recently watched "The Inn of Sixth Happiness" (1958).  It is currently on Netflix and I highly recommend it.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . several meetings, fun times with my bestie, a haircut, and then football playoffs this weekend.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
blocking my completed scrappy prayer shawl




linking up with The Simple Woman

Friday, January 8, 2016

First

There is the "first" you feel good about and then there is the "first" you wish had never happened. The one you hope will be an "only".

We've all had them. The first kiss, the first birth, the first anniversary. I'm guessing we've all had the other kind as well -- the first wreck, the first fight, the first major illness. 

Last year (2015) had some of that second kind . . . unfortunately. And 2016 has had some already as well. The thing about those "firsts" is they seem scary and daunting until that first one is behind you. We begin to roll with the punches pretty quickly, for good or bad.

None of us knows what this year will bring. That's the good news/bad news of the future. What we do know is that God is with us in all things. He will guide us and sustain us if we allow Him to. We are the only things that keep God from being the centerpiece -- our touchstone. 

I don't know what other firsts may show up this year. God is the original miracle worker. What I do know is whatever "firsts" He has in store for me, He will use to bring me closer to Him if I will let him.

Blessings.


linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Changed

Things have changed in my world. It wasn't overnight, but they are big changes. And we're not finished. I don't know what the end result is going to look like, but going backwards is not an option.

Some of the changes were predictable. My kids have grown up. My daughter is out on her own living life as an adult, and doing quite well, thank you very much. If you'd told me just a few years ago that's where we'd be I would never have believed you.

My son is about to start is final semester in college. He's away right now on his first "adult" trip -- he planned and organized the whole thing and is driving across the country with his best friend seeing the sights and experiencing the great outdoors the way he loves. 

Those little babies I worried over have changed. They are grown-ups. Fully functional, "I can take care of myself" adults. I am so very proud of both of them. It also means I've done my job. Not that I'm no longer a mom because I'll always be that, but there's a fundamental shift in the relationship once you reach this point. I'm a touchstone for my kids. They know I'm here. They know I'll listen, talk, advise, and empathize, but they have their own lives to live now, and that's a good thing. (As long as they stay in touch regularly!)

So whether I like it or not, it's time for a change in my job description. It's unrealistic to limit myself to stay-at-home-mom at this point as I don't have any kids to be at home with anymore. I'm just not sure what I want that new job description to say. 

I've looked at some part-time opportunities and applied for a couple of full-time positions that didn't pan out. I'm not really sorry the full-time didn't happen. I don't really want a 9-to-5 job if I don't have to have one. But I'm noticing the truth in something I was told a long time ago. It's pretty hard for a 53-year-old woman to compete with all those 20-somethings searching for jobs. I'm fully qualified. I have a masters degree in my field from a good university. But I have a feeling that on paper I don't look very impressive with those longs breaks from employment. It's difficult to get credit for being a SAHM in the workplace. Most people just don't realize what good training that can be for almost any job.

I'm not complaining. I don't HAVE to get a job right now. No one is going to starve or go without anything if I don't go to work, and I have absolute faith that God will provide whatever I need. I'm just wondering out loud about this point in my life. There is a lot of change going on, which leads to a lot of uncertainty, which means I'm trusting in God more and more.

And that is a good thing.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 5, 2016

Outside my window . . . it's sunny and cold with a heavy frost sitting on the ground.

I am thinking . . . several meetings today and what I will discover.

I am thankful . . . the prayers of faithful friends.

In the kitchen . . . we've had Inside Out Ravioli, Honey Baked Ham and Bean Soup, and Chicken Pot Pie recently. I'm not sure what tonight will be.

I am creating . . . a prayer shawl made from all those left over bits and pieces. Kind of like a crazy quilt.

I am going . . . continue praying and talking and having faith that things will get better around here.

I am wondering . . . how long it will take me to get back into a routine following the holidays.

I am reading . . . well, really re-reading A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton. I'm not sure how many times I've read the Kinsey Milhone novels, but it seemed like a good time to revisit them.

I am looking forward to . . . my next day of crafting with my bestie.

I am hearing . . . Squeaker's nails tap-tap-tapping on the floor. It's incredible to me that she 16 years old and still so active.

Around the house . . . undecorating from Christmas . . . SLOWLY!

I am praying . . . for my relationship with my husband; for peace; and for many friends who are having struggles right now.

One of my favorite things . . . doing my blog.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . lots of meetings and errands this week. Hoping for some time for quiet thought and meditation.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .






linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sacred Authenticity

It's 2016. Not sure how that happened as I fell off the blogging wagon back in 2015, but I'm back today. I'm not sure what's happening in 2016, but I suppose that's true for everyone.

I could talk about organizing and resolutions. Or I could talk about moving from one day to the next as best as I can. The reality is, that right now, in this moment, I only have this moment. That's it. And this moment has enough for me to handle.

Things have been rocky in my world lately. I won't go into all the details for a variety of reasons. I'm unclear on my future and whether or not there may be some big changes. I foolishly thought that by the time I was 53 I'd everything fairly settled and organized. I was wrong.

But I'm learning it's not unusual for me to be wrong. And I'm not alone. 

We all live with a certain false sense of security. I frequently believe that I'm the only one who doesn't have all her ducks in a row. The only one whose life isn't going just the way I dreamed it would. Why is it so difficult for us to admit how hard life can be? Why are we all (or maybe it's just some of us) so compelled to make comparisons?

I've worked hard to be able to live an authentic life. To be true to who I am. To accept the reality of my life and not play games or put up walls. But it's still really difficult to say, "No. I'm just sailing along on a stiff wind hoping and praying that I end up where God intends." Not because I don't trust Him, but because of the vagaries of life. 

I'm not sure what this place will look like in the coming months because I'm not sure what my life is going to look like in the coming months. But this much I do know. This place is important to me. I found a lot of myself in this place. I spoke truth here many times before I could literally speak it to another person in real life. And so I will continue to use this place as a testing ground. To recognize the gift it has been for me. A sacred place where I bared my soul to myself and others and learned it was okay to be who I really am.

Blessings to all of us in 2016.