Friday, September 23, 2016

I'll Look Up

If you know me the title of this is kind of funny and a bit ironic because pretty much all of my life I have had the habit of looking down whenever I walk, I used to jokingly say I'll know who you are more by your shoes than your face. I have however gotten better about looking up while I walk who knew I was missing so much?! It's also based on a song by We Are Messengers, although technically the title of that song is I Look Up, but I really like that song and there is a line that goes: So if I wanna catch a glimpse of something bigger than me I have to look up. And can I just tell you I am, finally at the age of thirty two, finally getting that and figuring out who I am, not the lies I've told myself or been told by others, not the walls I've built and hid behind. I recently finished reading In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (good read by the way) and in it she writes about how they went about hiring the regulars and how the studio didn't want her to hire Vicki Lawrence because she was 'rough' and I love Carol's response, 'So is a diamond, at first.' and thankfully Carol stood her ground and hired Vicki. She saw who Vicki was, the person hidden behind what would be labeled as shy exterior and Harvey Korman saw her potential and took her under his wings and helped show her the ropes and well as they say the rest is history, some of televisions best laughs history (the famous elephant story blooper, need I say more...if I do just look it up on YouTube). Point being we all have stories and have all went through stuff that has made us believe lies about ourselves, sometimes we fuel those lies and keep them alive for way longer than they ever should have been. Sometimes we believe we can't do something or we'll never be who we want to be, really the list goes on and on (like the song that will not end!). That is where I am quite thankful and grateful for the Carol Burnett's in my life because sometimes we need help in getting past those lies because they can be hurdles that we think we will never cross or dare I say we believe that we don't deserve to be able to cross them (I'm sure I'm not the only one that has thought that). We're not meant or supposed to walk this road alone we need help be it reminding that we can take that next step or just someone to laugh with sometimes we just need a friend.  I was reading an old blog post from January 2015 I had written about crossing bridges and how I have trouble with that. To be honest for some time I just decided I'm going to quit trying I'll just park myself here behind these walls because I'm not setting myself up for failure yet again because it would seem when I try to cross a bridge or even build one the fear and such would win and I'd run back to the comfort zone side of the bridge. That's just a lie though and again if I'm honest I hate my comfort zone it is has become so unbelievably boring It's funny because oftentimes in my dreams I would be on a bridge and the bridge would collapse. I think subconsciously I started thinking that if I built bridges in real life that they also would collapse so to keep myself safe I just didn't. Just another lie. So starting today I've tore the walls down and I'm going to start building some bridges because the views on the other side look amazing and I got so much I got to do. Because I may just be a diamond in the rough but I'm going to shine.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Walls

Advanced apologies because some of this may be repeats from previous writings. I have so much going through my head that sometimes I can't remember if I really wrote or told someone or if it is still in draft mode in my head. Now that we got that out of the way shall we carry on?

I guess  I'll start with another thought or two that has really stuck with me from my vacation. I was able to climb three lighthouses while on my trip. Ironic I am terrified of heights but love lighthouses, to me they represent a beacon of hope. While climbing the last one, which also happened to be the tallest (Cape Hatteras) there was an older woman and I believe her daughter and son in law. They were ahead of me and I heard the man telling the woman to take her time it wasn't a race, that it didn't matter how long it took for them to get to the top. I ended up catching up to them at the third level where we all ended up needing to rest. The older lady needed to sit on the steps (bless her, she was all worried she'd be in my way and keep me from going. I told her to take her time it wouldn't interfere with me.) As she was sitting she said, 'I have breast cancer and don't have the energy I used to.' At that moment and probably until I take my last breath I was and am in complete awe of her determination to climb that lighthouse. I learned a few things that day. One being life isn't a race, don't think you're less than another if you have to take a rest or don't get to a level as fast as another. Sometimes you got to give yourself a pep talk and sometimes you got to have someone there to give you that reminder and pep talk so you'll take the rest you need and/or so you can take that next step that you just don't think you can take. I also learned we can be like lighthouses. You don't have to be loud sometimes all you have to do is stand tall and let your light shine. You see that day I climbed an 198 feet tall lighthouse but I met a lighthouse on the third landing that day when I met that woman.

On Saturday I got the chance to go to the Rock the Smokies event at Dollywood. And I am so glad that I did because I was reminded of a couple things, actually encouraged may be more appropriate. I just went thinking I was going to see a few artists I really enjoy hearing but got so much more out if it. I was able to see 7eventh Time Down, a band I have wanted to see for awhile. Twice during that show the singer said, Today let's tear those walls down we have built around our hearts. Twice. I was like dude I'm working on it. After that show ended I had planned on going to wait to see another band but I just felt like I needed to walk to the church (my favorite place at Dollywood). As I'm walking I hear We Are Messengers, I'm super excited cause I wanted to see him but I thought for sure I had missed the whole show. So I go lean against a post to listen to what is left of the show. Two things happened during this show. The first was before he started another sing he was talking (he is from Ireland if you aren't familiar with the band) and he says something along the lines of, 'Jesus wants to take that sorrow, shame and condemnation that you've been carrying.' At this point I'm having an Okay I think you're trying to tell me something God moment. Anyway, next thing, later on in his set he had everyone hold hands (I conviently hid by that pole that was holding me up). And he talks about how people need love, they sometimes need that pat on the back or hug that touch to remind them they aren't alone. Then he asks ,'If you're lonely would you just raise your hand.' Which several did and one has to wonder how many were lonely but didn't raise their hand. Then he says, 'That's okay that you're lonely. And basically he didn't have the perfect answer to to make them not lonely anymore but to know they are loved and it's okay to not be okay. This one hit me because I often do wonder is the person I'm sitting next to, do they know how much they matter? Are they really okay when you ask how they are or did they put on that mask with the smile and inside are crying. I saw a thing on Facebook that went something like this:

Person: How are things with you?
Me: things are good
Narrator: things were not good

(Please tell me I'm not the only one that imagines the narrator in Morgan Freeman's voice?)

And sadly sometimes I think tjis happens more than it should because we believe the lie that we are a bother, that no one really cares and/or that we always have to be strong. You don't, as that guy said it's okay to not be okay. You know apparently I need to learn this cause I keep going back to you (nor I) have to ride this life by ourselves. It's okay to let people in and help carry a load. I'm not the best at having the right words to say and may not be the best at giving hugs when needed (I'm getting there and it's not cause I don't want to give or receive hugs), but I try my best to be there for people. I'll sit there and cry, laugh (or both), listen or just sit in silence with you. Because I've felt lonely a lot and I want to do all I can to let people know they matter. I don't have all the answers most of the time I don't have any answer but I know it's okay if you're not okay, you aren't alone and you matter.

So today I'm taking a few more pieces away from these walls built up, trying to destroy these masks society has tried to tell me I have to wear to be normal and fit in because it's time for some giants to fall because those lies and fears have blocked my view and road to long. 




Sunday, August 28, 2016

Seasons

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven....
Ecclesiastes 3:1

In a few weeks we'll be going into a new season and one of my favorites at that. I love Spring because to me it represents renewal, the plants and trees growing and blooming once again after winters brutal cold.  I love Fall because the leaves changing just before they make the last journey to the ground as the trees prepare to rest is almost a reminder that, well for everything there is a season and remember these beautiful colors during those days when it may not be the most beautiful of days. Life is like that. We all have seasons, I daresay you are in one right now. Some seasons are like your favorite season of weather and some are like your least favorite (winter for me) and those seasons seem like they'll never end don't they. I've been thinking a lot lately about seasons and what season I am in now. I recently was fortunate enough to go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. At a park I was walking by myself and as I was leaving this little boy about five or six and his little sister began running just ahead of their parents into the park. The little boy saw me, stopped and looked at me quite concerned and said, " You shouldn't be walking by yourself." I smiled and said, "No, I shouldn't, should I?" I thought about that and at first was like I totally just got in trouble by a kid and he was right I shouldn't walk in certain places by myself. I think he is onto something else. I am the worst at trying to walk this ride called life by myself. I'll be thee to help you out any time any day but to let others in to help me with my walk, the struggle is real. But that little boy reminded me one shouldn't walk this ride called life by yourself. We all have seasons, those we need to have someone help us carry these burdens, help us stay on the path and just know we're not alone. Than we have seasons we will do those things for someone else. I think I'm finally getting that, or I'm trying more than I ever have to get it and apply it to my life. I've always thought everyone in your life and even the strangers you pass are put in your path for a reason. As Tyler Perry put it some are leaves, some branches and some are roots but all serve a purpose. The season I'm in now I've been in to some degree for way to long. However, just like in a few weeks it will be a new season, Idon't know when it will happen but I'm about to enter a new season in my life. You know how a window will fog up sometimes and you know what is outside but you can't see the clear picture due to the foggy window. Sometimes life has felt like that to me and I've often forgot all I had to do was wipe away the fog and I could see clearly. And that is why we need to not walk alone because sometimes we forget, sometimes we just don't have the strength and sometimes we just need the company whether we know it or not. So whatever season you are in or about to enter into I hope you remember to not walk alone and you have some roots kind of people in your life to walk with you. I have my hoodies ready and waiting to wear in the fall and my camera ready as we get closer and closer to fall and I have my head held up  thankful for the people that have been placed in my life to help make sure I don't walk by myself as I'm about to enter a new season in my life.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Vines

If I kept a count of my random thoughts I wonder which number this one would be? Probably one I would get tired of saying before I finished the ridiculously astronomical number. Earlier I got thinking about thoughts and how amazing it is that what seemingly is nothing but a simple thought can help or hinder you. Where I live there is this vine, not a clue what it is called, but it is a pain. It is nearly impossible to get rid of and just when you think you have here it comes back again. It was at this point in my thinking I had the light bulb come on and well here I am writing what I saw when the light came on. This particular writing is going to focus on the thoughts that hinder, mostly anyway. I'm going to assume it's safe to say we all have our times where we battle thoughts that hinder us, that take us to a place that isn't good for us, and/or we have fears and doubts that we face. Perhaps you're like me and sometimes have battles with all three, most of the time they all three gang up on me and I feel outnumbered and overwhelmed in the fight. Those thoughts, fears and doubts all to often become like that vine. See that vine didn't really serve a purpose but to take up room and prevent anything else from growing in its place. Growing up on occasion I would see a spot where these vines had taken over and decide I was going to pull up the vine so maybe something else could grow there. At least once while doing this there would be some pieces of the vine that I could pull up and remove with ease and there was some I just wasn't strong enough to pull even though I put every ounce of strength I had in me at the time. Usually it started out the big pieces were really easy to get rid of and I thought oh this is going to be easy I'll get this taken care of and rid of in no time. I was wrong. Once I got the big pieces out of the way I had to try to get rid of the smaller pieces. Those were more difficult to get a grasp on, more difficult to get much pulled up besides what was on the surface. Some of the vines I just couldn't make any progress on without help. Did I mention the blisters I got from trying to get rid of these vines? I think thoughts, fears and doubts can be like those vines. Some can be easy to face and vanquish. Some you really got to fight to get a good grip on and use every ounce of strength to conquer. There are those doubts and fears you may have carried for years, maybe your whole life, I think those are like those little pieces of vines. It can be those pieces that you not only have to sit down and take your time at even being able to get a hold of but those are sometimes the ones you need help with getting rid of them and not just on the surface but destroying the roots from which the lies grow. Just like those vines would look like they were gone and I would think they had been overthrown sometimes they would come back as do the thoughts, fears and doubts of life. This can be discouraging, I daresay even overwhelming even. Don't let it be water to the lies of those thoughts, doubts and fears so that you think you'll never beat these things but instead hopefully you can see it as it doesn't have the hold on you that it once did and every bit you pull up, every time you face those fears and doubts and every time you conquer that thought you have pulled a bit more of the root and ultimately you will overcome this vine or battle. I recently had a really, really, I mean absolutely terrible day. It was one of those I'm still not sure if it was a panic attack, breakdown or both, I'm leaning towards both because well I'll just say I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Because I couldn't breathe among other things I ended up messaging someone to ask if they would pray for me. To be honest I felt stupid about it after I did so (I tend to do that any time I open up, not sure why). Anyway the other day they asked how I was I said okay (again who ever answers that question honestly) and I said I felt stupid for saying that and I shouldn't have bothered her and she said something along the lines of it's only bad not to ask or talk. I guess I'm slowly learning that but Lord have mercy it's difficult for me to do so. I leave you with this when you go to pull those vines of hindering thoughts, fears and doubts make sure you have a good pair of gloves and as much as those thoughts, fears and doubts may try to convince you not to it is okay to ask for help. And it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get the vines destroyed just because others may say you aren't making as much or quick of a progress as they did. Please always remember you aren't going to run the race at the same pace or with the same abilities as others and that is great because you have something that will help someone just like you'll meet others that will help you. I think that's what often makes this life bearable.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sail Away

Well something is going to happen with this post just for the sole reason that I came up with the title before I even typed this first sentence. I have been thinking and trying to figure out how to type what I want to say and have been pondering on for a few days now. I'm still honestly not sure or to terribly confident I'll get it wrote the way I want to but I suppose it's time to quit procrastinating and just type. As with most of my posts they are courteous of a song and/or a book that in turn produces a list of thoughts mostly over thinking probably but still certain things just seem to have a way to bring things out and help thoughts and/or situations make just a smidgen more sense. And I'm sure somewhere in the past I've written something similar to this thought but maybe, albeit a slim maybe, I haven't. Shall we move on with the show.

Recently I was listening to a song and in part some of the lines were, 'Call me to the ocean but all I see are winds and waves...My ship is in the harbor but You're calling me much farther...' Am I the only one that seems to notice themes or patterns in things, for instance the current theme that seems to be popping up quite frequently for me is dealing with ships and water but I digress. These lines in particular stuck out to me and it got me thinking 1) Wow that's how I feel right now and 2) people are like a ship. I really have quit trying to figure out how my brain gets to these routes I just go along for the ride nowadays. So there is this quote and I'm not sure who said it but it goes like this: A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for. I won't be able to write it all to tie it together but I promise at least in my head it is all tied together and makes sense and if it does make sense awesome. A ship is usually in harbor for a rest if you will but it's not built to live out its days in the harbor. Can you imagine? A ship is built and someone looks at it and thinks, ' That is to pretty of a ship to risk sailing it into the rough waters or to let anyone on it to put scuff marks on the wood or to have it carry cargo only for it to spill and damage this masterpiece.' and the person leaves the ship in harbor and doesn't allow anyone on it thus the ship doesn't get to serve its purpose and wastes away in the harbor. Here's why I keep saying people are like ships. We're not meant to stay in the harbor, or comfort zone, all of our lives. Sometimes we need to stay in harbor for a rest or to come back to harbor to restock our supplies be that our rest, energy, strength, faith, etc. My problem isn't getting to the harbor my problem is leaving it. Because you see I to often only see waves and winds when I look out into the ocean, or this life and I get rather intimidated and think who am I there's no way I can make it through that. I think I'll just stay in harbor for a little bit longer. The bad thing with that is 1) that storm may be way out, in fact that storm may not even cross my path if I ever left the harbor 2) just like a ship can endure the winds and waves I can endure more than I think I can. Funny how a crashing wave can look like a mighty mountain sometimes and my mind goes straight to, 'nope can't do it.' Another thing is the anchor, now the anchor is meant to help the ship not to hinder it but you got to be careful what you are using as an anchor. I'll be honest I think I use fear as my anchor more times than not and it has hindered in so many ways. See when fear is my anchor it keeps me in the harbor for way longer than I was ever supposed to stay there. It causes me to tuck tail and run at the slightest sign of a storm without even thinking how to avoid it or if I can even get through it with minimal damage. Storms aren't always bad not always fun either but I think the storms make the ship stronger just like the storms of life can make us stronger. We realize what looked like a storm that was going to destroy us might have knocked us down or caused us to stumble but we just made it part of the dance and are better for it. Some ships use sails here's how we can be like those sails. Say we're in the harbor and looking around at the other ships sails. Some of them have that brand new look, some made out of the best material, some may have intricate patterns or details on them and than we look up at our own sails. What is this there is some stains on my sail and is that, it can't be, oh no it's a small tear and let's not even talk about how faded the sails look. Comparing where we are in our walk with where others are only helps us see our faults and hinders us from seeing how far we have made it. We forget the strength and way we faced our fears to go through the storm that caused that small tear. Furthermore, we most likely don't know the whole story of where those other ships have been and how much longer they have been on these sails to get where they are. Judy Garland said, ' Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.' and I absolutely love that because when you are first rate version of yourself that just magnifies the amazing person that is you and what is awesome is that version of yourself could be the very thing that could help someone else get out of the harbor or through a storm. So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't let fear be your anchor to keep you in the harbor and don't think because your ship may be smaller or what some may call less majestic that it can't make a difference in carrying that cargo wherever it is supposed to go or that it won't make it through the storm. And it's okay to let others on your ship to help out. So go to the harbor and rest if you need to but don't forget you were made for so much more so pull the anchor up, raise up the sails and let's sail away because there are some amazing adventures to be had.


Here's the song that started this whole train of thoughts...


And here is another song that I've hit replay on a few times....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I Wish I Had A Good Title For This

As I am writing this I am sitting in church, no there is no service going on at the moment, just me sitting here. I live an hour-ish (an hour or less if I break speed limits, a bit more if I drive right) from where I go to church so sometimes I just hang out at the church between services on Sunday. I'm weird I know God knows I've gotten all kinds of looks because of how far I drive to church and because I sit in an empty church between services. I don't get why. There is something peaceful about sitting in a church. I love sitting in the little church at Dollywood and going in the little churches through Cades Cove in Tennessee. It may just be a building but there is just something about it that calms me and gives me a bit of peace. And in those churches they just have the simple wooden pews, no cushions, no air conditioning but I never really notice. Don't get me wrong I am all about the cushioned pew or chair and A.C. but there is something so simple yet powerful getting to take a step back in time and sit in little country churches of old (or replicas as is the case at the church in Dollywood). Moving on...have you ever seen someone and you can just tell, even feel, that they are not okay, that they have something on their mind. I do that sometimes and other times i'm completely blind to it. I'm not sure which is worse cause when I see the person and/or feel that hurt I don't know what i'm supposed to do, if I should even do anything. I ask how they are but that question causes people to lie more than any other question around, I am convinced of that. And back to the hugging thing I saw someone and thought I should give them a hug...I didn't, couldn't make myself but at least someone did give them a hug. Maybe that was the answer and I ignored or fought with it to long and I missed the chance to help in a very small way. Maybe I think I have to have the right words and don't say anything because I just know I'll stumble over my words, repeat things and it just not make any sense but maybe i'm wrong. I don't always have to say anything and when I do does it matter if I stumble over my words or it takes me a bit longer to get a simple i'm here if you need to talk said. Sometimes I think I am a rather selfish person, more concerned about things I shouldn't be instead of just being...being present, being there for others, being there for myself. Because really in allof the times people have been there for me when I said I was okay but really wasn't I don't remember if they stumbled over their words I remember that they cared enough to say and/or show they were there for me by simply saying they were there if I ever needed to talk or just giving me a hug and the looks! I say the looks part mostly joking but I'm fairly certain I have gotten a look from those i'm closest to or been around. You know the look, the you want to try that again cause you and I both know that's a lie. Maybe that's why I don't do well with the whole eye contact while talking I ain't looking at you I can't see the looks you're given me. That and if you can't see my eyes you can't as easily see any hurt or anything else I try to hide. You know it's funny we seem to think we have to do such elaborate things to show people we care but oh how much a simple you doing okay, did you make it home safely, be careful, can prove just how much you mean to someone. I don't have a good quote or video to end this with so I'll just say I hope you are doing okay, have a good week and be safe whatever you do.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Current Title Missing

A big hello and how goes it to the two people that read these posts! Hopefully life is treating you kindly. I sometimes feel most of my life is spent turning in circles scratching my head while trying to figure out how I got to that spot and/or how I can get to another spot. But life is still treating me kindly, I have deemed 2016 the year to go to concerts which works out since I again haven't gotten to travel very far or have any decent getaways. This past week I was able to see Martina McBride which was a fantastic show and she had been on my singers to see in concert bucket list. I have to say though that my favorite part may have actually been before the show started. More repeat stories if we're friends on Facebook and you saw this status...but while sitting on a bench this older couple came up and the man asked if I was saving the seat for him and I said yeah and he said you're alright kid. Me and his wife talked for a bit too, apparently the west side of Michigan is prettier than the East side FYI. I absolutely love older people. One, they have fantastic stories and the wisdom they have is better than any self help book one could buy (no offense if you like those kinds of books). And not to mention they just make you want to hug them. That's a bit ironic since I am utterly backwards about hugs, people should probably be glad about that cause I have a feeling I would be a hugger if not so awkward, backwards, what have you. I realize how bad it is when people say i'm going to hug you. I feel I should apologize because any of those people I really am okay if they hug me I don't mean to be so whatever it is that I am. And truth be told there are a couple people that give those good hugs where it just makes you feel better, hugs like my grandma gave, it's rare but those people I don't mind at all when they just give me a hug. I have no idea why I went on so long about that, didn't mean to! Anyway, I do cherish those times I get to hear any bit of someone's story or a nugget of wisdom they share. But my next concert will be getting to see Wynonna and I wasn't even trying but somehow I got a front row seat, super excited I am. So it's no secret I love to read I don't love how I really haven't been able to read like I love to. Not due to any books to read but I have trouble staying focused and it seems sleep decides that's a perfect time to show up, sleep truly hates me. Sometimes I just don't enjoy reading like I normally do, which is quite sad but luckily a book does come around to help end that. I don't know you ever feel like you're on a roller coaster ride of emotions? My ride stops at the worst places and sometimes takes forever to get moving again. Back to the books, I try to stay away from certain story lines, they just hit to close, almost open doors I try to keep closed. But I bought one of those books the other day. I just started reading it tonight, still not sure I will like it or be able to finish it. I'm having trouble getting into the story but not sure if it's just due to me not liking that kind of story anymore or cause I know part of the storyline and I just don't want to get there. Speaking of opening doors I try to keep closed I realize how I probably need to do that and how much that scares me when a few weeks ago something happened and I suddenly felt like I was in a time machine back to events I don't like to think or talk about. I have also decided I am fat due to all of the stuff I keep bottled up! That and I found every fat gene, not to mention every curly haired gene, in my blood line. I swear there was something about that dream I had about going through those briars, weeds, etc to get where I was supposed to go for whatever reason, or not i don't know. So my  absolute favorite show is Call the Midwife and I think I will end this with a quote from an episode I just watched (i'm still playing catch up and am just starting season four, tear jerker warning if you haven't seen season three finale)...

Invisible wounds are the hardest to heal, for their closure depends on the love of others, on patience, understanding and the tender gift of time. - Jenny (Call The Midwife)