Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Just because you know the truth does not mean you don't believe. At first glance that doesn't sound like an affirmation of faith, but that is exactly what it is. My son is blessed with autism. He was in middle school and still believed in Santa. After all, he knew that every year the things on his Christmas list appeared under the tree. He knew that his single Mom couldn't afford those things, so he knew that there was a Santa Claus. He was now being teased at school because he was excited that he was going to visit Santa at the mall. So sometime during the following summer Mom told him about Santa. I told him that the gifts really came from God's, sometimes miraculous, provision. He was a boy with a strong faith, and he knew that we trusted God to provide for us, so he understood about Santa Claus.
We talked about it a couple of times that summer, each time he seemed to understand. Then, months later as the holidays approached he became concerned about going to visit Santa Claus. I reminded him about our conversations, and told him that I didn't think he would want to visit Santa this year. "MOM" he said, "Just because you know the truth does not mean you don't believe." Turns out, he is right. We kept believing in a God that provides. That summer  Mom got a better job, we met the man who would become my husband and the only dad my son has ever known.
Thirteen years later, I look at the our circumstances and I see the truth of how dire things are right now. I see the less than $100 dollars in our bank account, and I know that is the truth. I look at the empty side of the bed where my husband used to sleep and I know the truth. The autumn before last he was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work. His way home from his first night on a new job. I look at hard times we have gone through since he was killed and I see the truth. In the year after my husband was killed we went from crisis to crisis. My son could not articulate his grief and stress and so he internalized it all and became seriously ill with an intestinal obstruction.  The holidays slipped past us quietly that winter. My son said it best when I asked him about one of our traditions and he said "No, we're just not feeling festive this year." By the end of January his health was improved, and we were struggling with being a single income family with a two income mortgage. I missed a payment. Then in February I fell at work and tore my biceps tendon and rotator cuff. I ended up having to have surgery to repair the rotator cuff and reattach the biceps tendon. While I was struggling with that our house went into foreclosure. Scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps on June 12. I FINALLY got things straightened out on June 10. Then on June 14th, the day before I would start physical therapy for my shoulder I slipped in my kitchen and broke my knee. I was in hospital for 4 days, then sent to a "Rehabilitation Center". The only one my insurance would pay for. Trouble was I have had a rare neurological disease since 2001. The pain is excruciating, but with my doctors I can manage it with the appropriate meds. BUT my meds were not on the list of meds the rehab center uses, so I could not get them. My disease flared, then went into full body crisis, and still they would not give me the medication. I had to check myself out and come home  with my leg in an immobilizer from hip to toes. I was released by the shoulder surgeon to go back to work, of course I couldn't and had to take medical leave. My knee healed extremely well, but extremely slowly. I was terminated from my job. Seems you only get 6 months to heal.
But, in all of this my faith is strong. Most High has continued to bless us, and we are continuing to trust for that provision. Right now I am waiting for the Workers Comp insurance company to release the funds they owe me. It is taking longer than promised, so we are penniless for the moment. But, we have the promises of God to sustain us, and I have my prayer times to keep me balanced and thankful. See, just because you know the truth-even when that truth looks pretty scary-does not mean you don't believe.

I started using Centering prayer almost 20 years ago. I was having trouble finding a church home for my son and myself. Yes, my son could be difficult. As a result, we were asked to leave several churches. Sometimes after we had gotten comfortable and made friends there. I started feeling like the church was rejecting us, but I knew that God was always there and that if I can be quiet I can hear the Voice that I have known since I was a small child. The Voice that comforts me, that sends me out into the world, that keeps me sane. I use Centering prayer  as a means to be quiet. I am so thankful that as I have spent more and more time in prayer it has become true for me that to breathe is to pray. I can pray with every inhale and exhale, every breath can be a prayer. Every prayer teaches me more about my Creator.
So, I listen and hope and rejoice  with that Voice. I know the promises and I am thankful that "Blessed are they who mourn" because my grief is deep. There are no words to tell you the hurt of losing my husband. Widow is a hard word to hear-even harder to type. There are those who do not understand that I was able to forgive the young woman who drove drunk that night. In my life I have come to understand that unforgiveness is about wanting to be right, and to forgive means that you let go of the need to be right and let God have that honor. Unforgiveness is tantamount to telling God that I am not grateful for the forgiveness that I receive on a daily basis. So I forgive and move forward without the burden of bitterness. Grief is hard enough without that! So, even though I know the truth-my husband will not be coming home from work-it does not mean that I don't believe.
I believe in a God that  I can  trust  will provide. Now, I am not sitting around doing nothing. I am working on the book that I started before my husband was killed. He was so proud of me. He had pushed me to write about my faith and my life for years, and then it seemed as if the words just begged to be written. I was about half way through when he was killed. The grief meant I couldn't hear those words anymore. But, I keep centering myself and listening and recently I have started hearing those words again, faintly now, but growing stronger every day. So, I try to work on the book every morning. That is part of what this blog is about, learning to write again.
 I have  a lawyer helping me with the Worker's Comp situation. My hands don't work well, it takes me a very long time to type anything as I am back to one finger typing.  I no longer walk unassisted as I deal with the neurological disease!. But I am becoming more mobile every day thanks to my purple walker. My purple walker and I can make it around our neighborhood  praying as I breathe.
There is my son, who matures a little more every day as he strives to learn the lessons that his dad left him with.  With the lessons he has from Dad and the lessons he learns from his obsession with NASCAR and the St. Louis Blues hockey team he is becoming a fine young man. We have every hope that he will be able to live independently and earn a living some day. I have swallowed my pride and we are applying for disability for the both of us. I will try to keep my house. My husband wanted to have a house for Our son. He wanted to be able to leave him someplace to live. Of course, that was when we thought we would grow old together and have the mortgage paid off.
We had hopes and dreams like every couple. In fact, the morning before he was killed, my husband and I talked about our dreams for the future. We knew that my health issues would someday keep me from working on my feet. So we had a plan for me to take classes and build a business as a life coach before that happened. With the writing and the classes we felt confident that I could transition to a wheelchair more easily. Our dreams have been on hold, but I will find a way to pay for the classes and I will continue to write. Just because I know the truth does not mean I do not still believe in those dreams. Those dreams aren't gone, they have only been deferred a bit.
Faith is how I get through every day. I know that My Creator has a plan for me. I may not be privy to all of the details, but I know there is a plan. I know that there is a plan for my son, and I see him moving forward  a little bit more every day. We were blessed with the opportunity to take a vacation a few months ago. It felt like a sign that we were moving into a new place, that the grief was becoming lighter. We will never be able to get back to normal, but we will be able to create a new normal. I know this is true. My faith and my knowledge and trust in my God all tell me that. When it all comes down to it, may faith and my integrity are all I own. That's the truth. and I still believe!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Choose to Hope

The quote for today is...
There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them.~~Clare Booth Luce

Now, the definition of hope as a noun includes-desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, but turn hope into a verb, an action word and  that definition becomes-to cherish a desire with anticipation. So when do we slip from having hope, having a desire that we believe will be fulfilled, from cherishing that desire, to a place of hopelessness,having no expectation of good or success,incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment? I think we slip into that place when we forget that hope is an action word. When we forget that to have hope should include cherishing that desire enough to do the things that we need to do to bring about the outcomes that we are desiring. We let go of hoping when we start to believe the untrue things we hear from people around us, or replaying the old tapes in our heads that tell us we are not good enough, or worthy of accomplishing our dreams and desires. As Ms. Luce reminds us, there are no hopeless situations, only those of us who have given away our hopefulness.
Whatever you are dreaming of, be that working towards a healthier lifestyle, or going back to school, or letting go of a destructive habit, there is always hope. But you have to remember that hope is an action word, and that if you perform the action of hope, you will be taking the steps toward reaching the desires of your heart. Doesn't matter how big or small those steps are, it only matters that you continue to take those steps.Now some of those steps you will have to take over and over, but that's OK. Every step you take is a step away from where you used to be. If you have to take a step over, you are never taking that step from the same place you took it the first time. So, for today have hope. Have hope and take a step, any step toward making that hope a reality. The first step is to stop listening to anyone who tells you that you can't achieve the things you are hoping for. Stop believing that you do not deserve to hope for success. Stop believing that, especially if you are the one telling yourself that. Have hope, take a step, you deserve to cherish your desires, and if you don't no one else will.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feed the Hunger

Today's quote...
There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives--the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them.
~~Mother Teresa~~

It is the day before Thanksgiving. Many of my friends are also members of Weight Watchers. In fact the WW message boards is where I met most of my closest friends.As we come up against the dreaded holiday season I want to talk about hunger.
Sounds a little crazy to address hunger the day before the biggest eating holiday of the year. In fact for many, food and football are all that count tomorrow. But it is a minefield for those of us with eating/weight issues. We can learn to deal with tomorrow in a healthy sensible way,planning ahead, making the best choices we can- or we can let tomorrow happen and start down a slippery slope that only ends in January with shame and guilt.
It is always about choices. I am a strange creature. When my life is stressful and i am dealing with so many crisis situations, it is sometimes easier for me to be in control of my eating. It feels very good to be in control of something.
I love the Mother Teresa quote. I find in my life the times I am most hungry, the hunger is very rarely for food. Have you identified what you are hungry for? It may very well not be food. Those of us with weight issues have long confused the hunger we feel, trying day after day to satisfy the hunger gnawing at us with food, and more food, and we are not successful because food is not the hunger we need to learn to deal with. Perhaps we need to learn to discern between the types of hunger that we are prone to feel. Is there a hunger for love? Is it learning to love and value our self that is creating the emptiness?
Is the lesson we need to learn about loving our selves, valuing our self, taking care of our body, our minds and our spirits so that the correct hunger is being fed in our lives with the correct nourishment? If we are confusing hunger for love and validation with hunger for food, no amount of overfeeding will assuage the hunger.

Learn to listen to your body, and your spirit. Discern what hunger needs fed. Are you physically hungry? Choose healthy, nutritious food to nourish your body. Make the best choices you can make. Is it emotional hunger? Choose to nourish your emotions by seeking out those who will love you enough to tell you how worthy you are. Is it spiritual hunger? Seek times to spend in prayer, meditation, praise and worship of your Higher Power.

Feed the hunger, but make sure you are feeding the right hunger with the right type of nourishment!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First post

First, before I get any flack about the title of my blog. The sayings "church ain't out till the fat lady sings..." or "the opera ain't over till the fat lady sings" are not negative sayings. They are popular colloquialisms that are used when a team is down by a lot and looks to be destined to lose or when it seems that a situation is destined to end badly. The sayings are used to say Hey, wait, this could turn around and you would hate it if you missed the ending.

I chose it as the title for my blog because it has always seemed to be appropriate to my life. Also, I just love the sound. I am using Thinks instead of sings. With all honor and respect to the late Dr. John Mizell (voice teacher extraordinaire) no one wants to hear me sing. But i think a lot about a lot of things. My late husband, Mr. Bill, used to laugh (yes, I know some men who are alive) at me. I thought a boutique geared toward items for women of size was a possible business idea. I wanted to name it "The Fat Lady's Things" because i thought it would be a great advertising slogan to have ads that said "The shopping ain't over until...The Fat Lady's Things". Mr. Bill didn't think it was clever.

Yes, I consider myself the fat lady. Yes, i know that sounds negative. But, to me it makes me think of the fat ladies in the opera, most famously Brunhilde from Gotterdammerung. The soprano singing the part is usually a strong, buxom, woman of size because they need the lungs to sing a 20 minute aria. In Norse mythology the Valkyries were a band of beautiful women warriors sent from Odin. The rode on winged horses, and they came to the battlefield to claim the bravest of the dead soldiers to become warriors for Odin.

So, yes, I am the Fat Lady, always have been. My situation seems to be desperate right now, but It ain't over til the fat lady thinks...