Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Struggle’ Category

Throwing Off The Covers

Migraine Barbie has Snapped!

Mid-life, Migraine Barbie Has Snapped

I wrote the following more than a year ago and thought it would be fun bring it around again for all of you new readers 🙂

Well it’s finally happened. I’m hot. Not like that. The other kind of hot – you know the temperature kind.

It’s been happening for about 3 or 4 years – starting with migraine headaches right out of the blue – sending me to the doctor’s for a shot and vomiting all the way there. Then the really emotional days hit. I have been emotional my whole life – but during this time it was ramped up a bit. I cry at anything. Believe me – you wouldn’t want to test out that theory.

I don’t have to wear jackets outside even when it’s cold – and in the truck or car I need the vent on full blast or the window open or I feel sick,

I am my own personal heating system.

I admit it. I have been in somewhat of a denial over these very troubling ‘signs’ of midlife. It means – I have to give in – can’t excuse it away – it means – my body and emotions are changing and I must realize the sad truth – I’m getting older.

Last week I was at the doctor’s for my yearly exam and she asked me if I feel differently – other than the things I had said above. To me those were vague at best – not really the real thing at all – until she asked me about nighttime. She asked, ‘do you throw the covers off’? And I had to admit that yes, I do.

Last night I not only threw the covers off – but blamed my sweet sleeping husband for NOT opening the window wide enough. I’m like, ‘are you KIDDING ME!!! I’m in midlife here – WORK WITH ME!!’ And I got up and put a short-sleeved shirt on instead of the long-sleeved one I had on to begin with – and Greg opened every window he could find.

We laughed about it this morning – and it’s nice that we can laugh about it. I believe that other than this – I am going to breeze on by this little hiccup in the road of my mental and emotional state. And maybe someday soon I’ll be ‘normal’ and even put a sweater or jacket on again.

Even the commercial and retail world seem to agree with me – as many ‘boomers’ are now in mid-life and beyond. These will give you a good laugh and make your day!

Mid-life Barbie

1.) Bifocals Barbie. Comes with her own set of blended-lens fashion frames in six wild colors (Half-frames too!), neck chain and large-print editions of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living.
2.) Hot Flash Barbie. Press Barbie’s bellybutton and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead. (Comes with tiny hand-held fan and tissues.)
3.) Facial Hair Barbie. As Barbie’s “hormone” levels rise, see her whiskers grow. Available with teensy tweezers and magnifying mirror.
4.) Flabby Arms Barbie. Hide Barbie’s droopy triceps with these new, roomier-sleeved gowns. Also comes with two muu-muus, and tummy support under panties.
5.) Divorced Barbie. Sells for $199.99. Comes with Ken’s house, Ken’s car and Ken’s boat.
6.) No-more-wrinkles-Barbie. Erase those pesky crow’s feet and lip lines that have appeared with a tube of Skin Sparkle-Spackle from Barbie’s very own line of exclusive age-blasting cosmetics.
7.) Soccer Mom Barbie. All that experience as a cheer-leader is really paying off as Barbie dusts off her old high school megaphone to root for Babs and Ken Jr. Comes with minivan in robin-egg blue or white and cooler filled with doughnut holes and fruit punch.
8.) Mid-life Crisis Barbie. It’s time to ditch Ken. Barbie needs a change and Alonzo (her personal trainer) is just what the doctor ordered, along with Prozac.
9.) Bunion Barbie. Years of disco dancing in stiletto heels have taken their toll on Barbie’s dainty arched feet. Sooth her sores with the pumice stone and plasters, then slip on soft terry mules.
10.) Post-Menopausal Barbie. This Barbie wets her pants when she sneezes, forgets where she puts things and cries… a lot. She is sick and tired of Ken sitting on the couch watching the tube, clicking through the channels. Comes with Depends and Kleenex.

Who do you know with any or all of the above symptoms?  Did you ever own a Barbie?

Have a great day – God Bless!

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Fighting Fair

Erma Bombeck

Image by Ujwala Prabhu via Flickr

Greg and I had an interesting verbal “sparring match” this morning.  It is very healthy to have these – as I have in recent years, discovered – and yet it is still somewhat foreign soil to venture in to the murky dark abyss of this type of “healthy exchange”.  We are still pretty new to resolving our differences this way.  Even after all the years we’ve been married.  It’s easier to say nothing than to deal with some things.

We’ve been reading one of Erma Bombeck’s hilarious books on relationships and in one chapter she writes about a very humorous exchange between she and her husband where she asks him, ‘Linda and Joe have meaningful conversations – why don’t we have any meaningful conversations’?  To which they both agreed, finally that surface conversations were safer in the long run.

Sometimes meaningful conversations between men and women are at crossed purposes and it seems easier to keep it simple.    I mean, since a man is NOT a woman – by any stretch of the imagination – it is difficult to get him to THINK like one.  I believe a meaningful conversation for my husband or any other guy friend of mine would be full of facts and information – sparring about this and that – displaying and ‘peacocking’ ambitions and accomplishments – news issues or politics – or for the Christian man – a debate on scripture or strategy on church leadership and such.

But women would rather talk about how they feel about issues – relationships and don’t care so much about the facts and figures.  And if it’s a news-worthy topic – it’s usually how people feel that are being affected – world events that talk about people and not just strategy and politics for strategy and politic’s sake.  Arguing or debating is not high on our list of ‘fun things’ to do.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good sparring match – when it’s fun and harmless – debating about this or that – when it’s done right with no personal ‘shots’ or humiliating comments from the other party – and I can usually hold my own with any man on many topics – but it is difficult finding the balance in the sparring – when it’s your husband.

For some strange reason – over time, at least for us – we know how to do the “dance” of our relationship.  The things and words that push all of our buttons – and then have a hard time knowing how to defuse a situation after it IS into more than just a “healthy discussion”.  We know it’s important to not accuse and say things like, “YOU always says this” or “YOU make me feel lousy about myself when you do or say that” – instead we know to say, “I feel like bad when you say this” or “I am not liking what I think you are meaning by that” but alas.  Often times a discussion can turn south WAY before the intentions for saying the right thing is properly communicated.

I have learned how to have healthy and “meaningful conversations” with my husband out of necessity and out of survival – but sometimes we are not always successful – and occasionally – even we blow it.

Today I did not “stuff” my feelings as I would have done in years gone by – I spoke it right out!  It was a pretty stupid meaningless thing – nothing earth-shaking at all.  But it did have repercussions – as any discussion like this will.  And in frustration I heard myself saying these words, “Why can’t you be more like a WOMAN”?  Yeah right.  Really clever.  The problem is this:  Greg is my best friend – and he’s clearly NOT a woman.   He is a man.  He is also my husband.  So many problems with this arrangement – so much potential ammunition to want to KILL HIM at times – because he is A DUMB GUY!!

And so our dance continues.  I am learning to speak out when things bother me (this is so NOT like me in the past) and he is learning to dial it back a pinch when he has that incredible little imp that sits on his shoulder.  The Brat.  It’s not perfect – but it’s a life-long journey that we call marriage.

I suppose this is what they call “fighting fair” – having a healthy and meaningful exchange of words – really listening to what the other person is saying – learning what to say and what NOT to say to diffuse a situation and most of all – to remember to show a lot of love a grace when personal ego and pride are affected.  When your husband is a man and also your best friend – it’s worth the dance.

God Bless

The Devil Made Me Do It

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Image via Wikipedia

Our pastor had a great message yesterday.  The subject was “Why do bad things happen?” – a very timely topic in light of the recent events in Japan.

As he spoke and listed the possible reasons why things happen – I was reminded of the journey that I have been on – and the many people who I have encountered along the way who have also had bad things happen to them.

Sometimes bad things DO happen to good people.  It’s called LIFE.  We live in a fallen world where things are going to happen.

We ourselves are fallen creatures – capable of making choices that are not always the best.  Many things we do to ourselves – and although the Lord forgives us – people aren’t always so kind – and worse than that – there is the fall-out and carnage from those choices that can follow us for the rest of our lives.

Our choices, therefore – can lead us down a path of unresolved issues, guilt, despair, hurt and frustration, separation from loved ones and good friends.  Or they can lead us to reconciliation, understanding, forgiveness and love.  I want to be in the later group – and I want all those that I have wronged to also be in that group.  Ah – but that is not always possible.  My husband Greg – calls this, “Cindy Land”.

And of course when touching on this subject – my childhood teachings come in to play.  Certain scripture verses come to light when talking about ‘temptation’ – or ‘failing’ or just simply  a ‘mess-up’.   Scriptures that would cite the Devil or at least demonic activity as the culprit for why we mess-up – why we are tempted to do wrong – or get involved with wrong people and wrong choices.  Things like, “The Devil is crouching at the door”  or “The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy”.   And although I buy into some of that to a certain extent – (I cannot argue with scripture after all) – I also have to accept responsibility for my own choices. I do know people who blame the Devil for everything saying, “The Devil made me do it” – instead of accepting personal responsibility for their own actions.  And almost always, those same people point fingers and blame others – instead of looking inside of themselves and taking the responsibility for themselves.  This makes me sad – because I know they will never heal properly while trying to “run from the devil” or run from those “bad people” who tempt them into doing wrong.  The answer is almost always inside ourselves and  has to do with our own heart.  Can the Devil take advantage of us when we are weak? – Yes.  Does he tempt us?  Yes.  I do believe that.  But he cannot force us to do anything – we are capable of making those bad choices without any help.  The heart of man is deceitfully wicked and prone to wander – without any help at all.  “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”

I know for myself – that I am almost always aware when I make a choice – good or bad.  There comes a point of ‘no return’ – where I blow past all the red flags – and intentionally do something – because I want to. I can admit that.  I think everyone would be better and healthier if they could just admit it too.

Like my pastor, Stephen – I do not believe that the earthquake and tsunami of Japan and a couple of years ago the earthquake in Haiti – is the result of God’s judgment.

I believe that the world is fallen – it has been fallen since sin entered the garden through Adam and Eve.  And yet despite this fact – I believe that God is good.  He sent His son Jesus to rescue me from myself, to validate and identify with me.  I believe that He loves me.  He came – He got involved.  He forgives and He is with me through bad things that happen to me.  He walks with me and gives me the ability to get through it.  He is very aware that I am fragile and that I blow it.  He is slow to anger and covers me with love and mercy.  And one day – things will be perfect again – when He returns and we see Him as He is.

Until then – we are here – living with fallen people – and in a fallen world.

When you have had something bad happen to you – either by a mistake and wrong choices that you have made – or just because you’re living in a fallen world with fallen people – I believe that you have a choice – just like I do.  A choice to quit and say, “I’m done” – or you can take that bad thing and use it to help other people – becoming a softer and more compassionate person who understands God’s amazing grace.  Someone whom others will come to when in trouble – who need an understanding hug and word of encouragement.

Be that person today.

As we journey together…

God Bless

Here is a little Flip Wilson – enjoy!

My Neti Pot

Ceramic neti pot; neti pots can also be made f...

Image via Wikipedia

Yes I use a Neti Pot.  It has been a life-saver with this bad cold that I developed this last week – after being run down, tired, off my normal schedule and yes – exposed to the virus from other students and parents because of the close quarters doing a theater production.  Cold’s usually stay clear away from me – and normally I am prepared for them – or rather, usually I have better defense against them coming.

When students come into my home each week I am ready for them with my anti-bacterial gel and I unapologetically squeeze some their hands and make them rub it in – it protects both them and me. This has kept me and my family safe from outside germs quite successfully for years – in fact I can’t even remember the last time I even had a head cold!

But that was before this last week’s production and MANY sick people all in the same place – breathing the same air.  And it is impractical to go around insisting on everyone using anti-bacterial gel on their hands – although I’m sure we could have posted a few students around the lobby with the gel in their hands – willing and able to squirt a little into each hand that came in.  But even then, it may have been too late.  Can’t you just see it?  “Here’s your program and a little squirt of gel so you won’t infect us – now enjoy the show!”

So with this cold I have been using my Neti Pot (a little pot of warm salt water) to flush out any and all clinging mucus from my nasal cavities – and prevent it from getting too happy up there and starting a sinus infection.

I’m almost sure that there is a practical application regarding Neti Pots – to flush out the bad, harmful or sinful inclinations that we all posses.  But I am at a loss.  And since one has to be pretty sick – and realize that they are sick to use one – the application might fall short anyway.

You see spiritually – the battle is with ourselves – understanding and admitting that we are unable, and inadequate to help ourselves.  We need the help of our Great Physician – the one who made us.  We need His help to purge us and go deep into the areas of our heart and soul – cleansing us from those things that linger and make us spiritually sick.

In Psalm 147:3 the psalmist says, “He makes the broken-hearted well and puts oil on their wounds”

So I guess you might say – He is our Neti Pot – and He offers a warm healing balm of oil over our soul – to all who are broken and sadweary and lostsick and dying.  Jesus is the only healing balm you need.

Do you feel lost?  Run down?  Weary and exhausted?  Rest in Him today and allow Him to pour out that oil of loving kindness and strength today.  His healing is permanent – it is for your sick soul – the part of you that lives forever and never dies. Won’t you have a little talk with Him today?

God Bless

Fragile Like A Tree

Redwood grove on north flank of Sonoma Mountai...

Image via Wikipedia

Our pastor used a great illustration several months ago.   He told about the redwood trees found in Northern California.  Greg and I know all about the redwoods because this is  where Greg and I pastored a small church for 3 1/2 years in the early 90’s.

Redwood trees are the largest trees in the world.  So large that you can drive a car through them – and in fact there is a tree with a hole cut out of it where a car COULD drive through – we’ve been there to see it.  But something very strange about these trees – their roots are actually very shallow – only a couple of meters deep. You would think that for trees this size – the root system would wind down for hundreds of feet and they would be very strong and invincible.  But they are not.  They are very vulnerable by themselves.  Their real strength comes from the other trees.   They act as a barrier and protection when close together.

We have much to learn from these massive beautiful trees.  They appear so strong and stable.  But they have a weakness.  And like the trees, so do we.  We cannot stand alone.  Oh I guess we CAN – but we SHOULD not.  We need each other.  We are fragile – like these trees.

Who are you close to?  Do you have anyone in your life that acts as a barrier and protection?  Who has your back?

We started a small group in our home with other like-minded and fragile people.  As we share our stories of joy and pain – it is good to know that we were never meant to do life alone.  We need each other.  I need support and help from my brothers and sisters – those who can share my everyday battles, opportunities and  circumstances – but who also have my back when life goes sideways – giving support and holding me close,  offering assistance and encouragement to keep me from giving up – or from falling over – like a tree.

I’m thankful for the people who God has placed in my life and along my journey to help to encourage me, lift me up and be there to protect and love me – when I mess up, get it wrong and need a little extra grace.  My friends – the trees in my life.

God Bless

Heaven’s Rain

The best thing one can do when it's raining is...

Image by Krikit ♥ via Flickr

Tonight, Greg and I watched the incredible true story as told on ‘Dateline’ about the horrific murders in October of 1979 of an Oklahoma Baptist pastor and his wife – while their two teenage children watched and amazingly – although wounded themselves – survived.

It is incredible and heart wrenching.  It is also a story of forgiveness. Some 15 years after the murders – the older of the two children, Brooks Douglass faced the  man who had shot his parents, serving life in prison at the time.  As he told the story on Dateline – he was very emotional when he told this part of the story.  He said he made a decision to forgive the man.  When he did – something inside of him broke – and all the years of pent-up anger and emotion – were released.  All because of being willing to forgive.  He did it for his parents, his sister – but mostly he did it for him.

It is powerful.  Raw and Gritty.  And I was amazed at his courage – and the courage of his young teenage sister who repeatedly had to testify in court over the next 15 years to have the men put away for good.

Brooks eventually ran for Oklahoma senate – and won – passing a bill that would usher in new ‘victim’s rights’.  And he began to write his story – and  eventually wrote the screen play for the movie of these events called ‘Heaven’s Rain’ – due to come out in February.

The subject of forgiveness is a difficult one.  Especially when we have been wronged.  I have a difficult time with it – and I have never had anything so hideous done to me personally or any of my family members.  But it doesn’t matter.  If we withhold forgiveness from another person who has wronged us – it is like poison and will eat us up inside.  The bible says to ‘forgive’ – not for them – but for us.  And showing mercy and grace to others is so necessary for our own personal healing – that’s why there is so much emphasis on this in scripture.

I encourage you to watch the special about this amazing true story as told on Dateline.

Below is the movie trailer in which Brooks – now in his 40’s plays the role of his father.  Very moving.

God Bless

With God’s Help, I Shall Be Myself

Cover of "Funny Faces"

Cover of Funny Faces

‎”Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that…Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
–Galatians 6:4-5 The Message

 

Found this passage of scripture yesterday on a page that I subscribe to on facebook.  I love The Message Bible because it speaks with everyday language that I can understand and more easily, apply to my life.

With life’s cares, burdens, stresses and other things – it becomes difficult to even remember who I am – what my calling is – and just how to do it.  And yet I am instructed to – BE WHO I AM.

Being who I am is difficult.  Not so much in my own head – although that can be a problem too after years of masking who I am – in order to fit it – get along with – or remain with the status quo.  Mostly it is hard because the image I project is sometimes very different from who I really am.  And my responses are carefully guarded after so long of being careful not to offend – and not to be rejected for being different.

But in this scripture I am encouraged to be me.  To do a thorough inventory of myself. Not what others see me as – or want me to be.  Not what I have carefully tried to conceal from people and even myself – but to break free from other thoughts and ideas that others would try to project on me – and just be me.

I have many stories from past ministry life that would raise the hair on the back of your neck – how others tried to muzzle me or tell me what was right for me – how to act – what to say – how to dress etc. etc.  It made me very cautious – it made me very conflicted inside.  I wasn’t sure for many years – who I was – or even if I was satisfied with being different.  Even as recent as two years ago I had a situation where again I felt free to be me – only to be blasted because I was expressing that part of me that had been shut up for so long.  I was once again muzzled and felt humiliated for my words  – by someone I thought understood and encouraged me to be me!  What a concept.  I was wrong – and my attempt at being myself and breaking free was met in the end with lack of understanding and rejection.  But the last couple of years have taught me something.  I like who I am.  I like being free to say and do what I like – without having to fit in to anyone else’s agenda or protocol.  And I have lost my fear.  Others cannot hurt me anymore in the same way.  Or silence me.  I have found myself.

And once I was satisfied with who that someone was – something great happened – the most truthful and honest me came out – I then began to evaluate my gifting according to what I had been equipped for and possess – and I began to sink into that work.

When I think about sinking into something – I think about my nice comfortable bed.  Settling in, making myself comfortable and staying a while.  In the same way – I am encouraged to settle in and make myself comfortable – stay for a while with the things and gifts that God has equipped and given to me.

Being an artist and musician – I love the next part of the verse.  I am instructed to do my ‘creative best’ with my own life – the responsibility rests inside of me.

Thank you Lord for creating me with unique abilities and gifts.  Help me find the courage to be myself – lose the fear of rejection, betrayal, and disregard from those who did not like – or did not agree – with who I am.  Help me find the freedom and safety in your warm and loving regard.  Knowing that you are smiling and cheering me on!  As I come closer and closer to being the one who you created with your purpose running through me.

With God’s help – I shall be myself.

 

God Bless

 

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