Monday, August 29, 2011


Lately life is like the lyrics to that old song...

Detour, there's a muddy road ahead, detour
Paid no mind to what it said
Detour, oh these bitter things I find,
Should have read
That detour sign

This week, the words really hit home as we are planning our healing road trip. There really are detours because large sections of the highway we would usually zip north on are closed due to flooding along the Missouri river. Now this flooding started months ago, and really should be clear by  now, but of course, the waters are taking their time to recede.Even after they recede, the road will need extensive repair. So, detour will be the theme of our first day on the road.

But, you know, it kind of seems a fitting way to start the trip. Life has been just one big detour after another for us.Just this morning, my son and I were checking maps and planning our route. Since we love road trips, we came to the conclusion that the worst thing that will happen is that we will see some places we have never seen before. Not an unpleasant outcome.

Last year, we inadvertently became part of a Homecoming celebration in a small southern town because of a detour. It was great fun actually, people were lining the street waiting for the parade to start, and everyone waved as we drove through. Pretty cool detour.

Now, in life, some of the detours aren't that pleasant, but as long as you keep heading forward, you manage to get through them, or around them. That is actually why we are taking this trip, one more step forward in our healing process. In my experience healing has never been a direct route to begin with. How many times have we had the flu and thought we were over it to be sick again a few hours later. Healing is a process. Not always a pleasant process. The fever that indicates our body is attempting to heal itself is often more uncomfortable than the original problem. But, it is something that has to happen, just like the inevitable detours along life's road.

Detours often make you think that you can't get there from here, but that is never true. Detours only mean you can't get there the way you originally planned. The original route has been compromised somehow, the road is underwater, or being constructed, but there is always an alternate route.Will it feel unfamiliar? Yes. Will it take you over roads you haven't previously traveled? Probably. But, as long as you follow the signs it will get you where you need to go, and once in a while you may find yourself being welcomed as part of a celebration you didn't know was taking place, along a road not to nowhere, but a road to recovery.

Just make sure you heed that detour sign!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pride Goeth before!

Not long ago my bank called,no not one of those auto-mated calls, my bank vice president called.She left a message on my machine, "Hey, EB, this is Penny*,I'm concerned about you, give me a call."  Now, not only is my bank Vice President a she, but we have known each other for years, and call each other by our first names, or in my case initials.This is what comes from banking in a small community, with a small bank (up until 5 years ago 2 branches, now 4). Truth is I should have called her at least 2 weeks ago, but pride being one of the issues I struggle with, I kept thinking 'tomorrow'.Then after so many tomorrows had passed I was too embarrassed. Well we all know how that works! Pride is a hard place to be when life is kicking you in the backside over and over.

So, this morning when she went through her list of overdrawn accounts she saw mine there, and gave me a call. When I called her back a few minutes after she left her message, she didn't mention the bank balance until after she asked how I was, how my son was, etc. Then I said, "I know I am overdrawn" and before I could finish my thought she said, oh good, I was worried something had happened and just called to check on you. We discussed my situation, and the conversation ended with her assuring me that my overdraft protection had kicked in, and  telling me to take care and keep in touch. Never once did she mention how overdrawn I was, or give me an ultimatum to come up with the finds. Just relief that I was working on it, and take care.

So, I hung up the phone feeling stupid for not having called sooner, an thankful that I bank there instead of one of the BIG banks. I felt stupid because I know that this is how my bank handles things. This is the bank that gave a single Mom with a handicapped child and a part-time job a car loan, then when the Mom got sick a few months later the bank President stopped by my house to pick up my deposits and payments. So, it was just pride that kept me from calling them.

Pride, now there is an enigma if there ever was. We should all be proud of our accomplishments, have pride in who we are. I was trying to figure out where the line is between good healthy pride and the pride that becomes unhealthy, and keeps us mired in shame and embarrassment when neither is called for. I have no problems telling you that I am a proud woman. I have had an amazing blessed life. I have accomplished many things that I have every right to be proud of. I was just remembering a few days ago a story from my life where I was very proud-the healthy kind, and someone else embarrassed herself because of pride-the unhealthy kind.

This story takes place before EB was the Fat Lady, she was still just the Fat Girl.I am not putting myself down, I really will write a post someday about why I call myself this and it's a good thing. But you will have to wait for that. This story takes pace my junior year of high school, back in the 1960's in a rural area of the midwest. If you have ever seen a movie from the 50's or 60's portraying high school in small town America, you have a good idea of our high school. Now every school has slightly different traditions, and the tradition at this school was for the Junior class to give the prom to the Senior class as a gift.It was more than a dance, it  was a grand soiree, a party given in honor of the Senors.The Junior class raised money and paid for the prom. The Seniors got to go to prom for free, and there was a buffet dinner and the dance. It really was a lovely tradition.

In small town America the Prom is often a very big deal, and in this town everyone showed up for the beginning of the evening. The Senior couples lined up in the front of the school in all of their finery and had the Promenade.All of their parents and grandparents and uncles and cousins were there, pictures were taken, and everyone got to see how beautiful everyone looked in their finery.

 There was a Senior Prom King and Queen, but there was one other highly sought after role and that was Junior Prom Hostess.  Every student in school voted for Senior Prom Queen, but only the Junior class voted for Hostess. Being chosen Junior class Hostess was a very big deal.The Senior Queen and King weren't announced until later in the evening, about halfway through the dance, but the Junior Hostess was announced a day before the dance. The young woman chosen by the Junior class became the Official Hostess for the party.As the Senor Class Promenade made it's way to the ballroom they were announced and presented to the Hostess. It was like a scene out of Victorian times, the Seniors were guests at a ball given in their honor and the hostess received them like she was a great Lady or Duchess. Junior class hostess was a very coveted position.

So, there we were sitting in homeroom, and the announcements were being made over the PA. Because of our place in the alphabet I sat in front of the most 'popular' girl in school. Key Club Sweetheart, Homecoming Queen, etc., etc., etc. Barbie doll cute and Blonde. The announcements conclude with the proclamation of Junior Class Hostess...drum roll please...The Fat Girl-OK they announced me by name, but that is who I was!!! Well, behind me, Miss Barbie Doll fell out of her desk. Literally, when they started the announcement she had assumed it was one more feather in her cap and started to stand up, and was halfway there when my name came over the PA. She gasped and fell backwards. Fortunately she wasn't hurt except for her pride. Me, I was shocked,to say the least, but very touched that my peers thought highly of me.

Pride, when and where does it cross that line? How do we keep our pride healthy enough that we don't cross over into the place where it can keep us from being the best we can be? I think we have to remind ourselves every day that we are worthy individuals. In this day and age that is sometimes so very hard to do. Seems like everyone is trying to make themselves feel better by marginalizing, demonizing someone else. How very sad is that.

But how did I get so tired that I allowed old behaviors, old fears to surface and let pride cross over the line. I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who said "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it." With everythign that has been going wrong in my life, I occasionally give in to some old fears. The important thing is for me to recognise them as soon as possible so that I may return to living in the moment.When we are in the midst of a life situation that incolves pain or suffering, it seems  as if the pain and suffering is all there is, and we get weary.So I need to remember to rest, and to not feel guilt, or shame, or embarassment because my life has handed me nothing but lemons. I need to fight the battle, no matter how many times it rears its ugly head.

I admit that when things are going badly, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed.Believe me, I know! I know that when in the midst of troubles we are often at a loss as to how this could possibly turn out good. But I also know that we have the choice to believe that it will. I know that it is all too easy to believe that my life is harder than anyone else, that I am the only one I know going thruogh this much hardship. But the truth is every person you meet is struggling with something. Life is not easy for any of us. So we must remember to choose to live in the moment, to choose in this moment to have healthy pride in our choices and accomplishments and not let old fears and behaviors cause us to trip over the line into the unhealthy kind of pride. Because we all know what 'pride goeth before...' and I choose to stay on my feet!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


LOOK, I have redecorated!!

Well, when I say I have, I mean to say that I won a blog makeover many months ago from my dear friend Paige's blog The Nurse Mommy The contest was for a makeover from Virtual Serendipity So the lovely folks at Virtual Serendipity hooked me up with Margaret   , VOILA, I have a new look!!! Well, it wasn't exactly voila, Margaret was EXTREMELY patient with me, and so easy to work with. When we started the process last weekend, I had no idea what I wanted, but eventually it hit me, and Margaret got it right immediately!! THANK YOU Margaret!!
Thank you Paige for running really cool contests on your really cool blog, Thank you Visual Serendipity for hooking me up with Margaret!

The clay piece pictured in the header is the storyteller sculpture that my son did in elementary school. It represents who I am these days and it reminds me of how incredible his mind and imagination have always been!

So, hopefully, working on the design has reminded me that I enjoy sharing my stories here, and will give me the kick in the backside I need to get back to doing it regularly!

Peace and Blessings,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Has it really been a Month?

Wow, has it really been that long since I wrote a blog post? Where have the days gone?

So much keeping my mind occupied, and just can't seem to find the muse these days. I love to write, I love putting words together in a way that makes people glad they read them. So, why am I blocked now.

Well, there was the depression that set in around my 10th wedding anniversary. I miss my husband so much, and I managed to grovel in my grief for weeks. I am starting to feel better, the anniversary of his being killed is in a few days, and I will muddle through. My therapist says I am normal, that there isn't an instruction book for how long it takes to grieve. I love my therapist!

Then there have been the ongoing health issues. My son is feeling better, but I am really struggling. But as my favorite quote reads...Shame on the body for breaking down while the spirit perseveres~John Dryden.

Of course we add in the financial struggles, a house in foreclosure. very limited resources, and the worry that accompanies all of that. Being poor seems to be a full time job these days. Trying to find a way to bring the mortgage current, and a way to save our house-which is a wonderful home in a very safe neighborhood-all of these things require way more energy than I seem to have at my disposal these days. But, we struggle on.Wish I could think of a fundraiser to pay off the house!! Hey, a girl can dream can't she?

I really don't have a point with any of this. Just thought I would update folks on why I haven't been blogging. Whining doesn't get me anywhere, but every now and then I seem to be indulging in it for a bit. Need to get my self in hand!!

I am so blessed, with all of the problems in life, I have so much to be grateful for. I have an incredible son, the most amazing person I have ever met. Autism has truly been more of a blessing than a challenge these days.

I have wonderful friends, who care about me, and encourage and support me,and would do so even more  if I would share my troubles with them more often. I tend to be a very independent person, and admitting to my problems is hard for me. Maybe that is what the point is today, a way for me to admit that I am a mess and I need help. That is hard for me, and most people. Admitting that we need help, then the next step, seeking help and accepting help. Why is that so hard? If I had the answer to that I wouldn't be in the doldrums this month!!

So I will srew up my courage, and accept the enCOURAGEment of my friends!

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.~~Ambrose Redmoon

We are each of us some of the most courageous people I know. We get up every day and judge that no matter what we may fear we have the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty- so we set forth on our day. What? you may be saying. I don't do that , I just get up and get ready for work, or to take care of my family. Well, when we choose to get up when the alarm goes off we are preparing to VENTURE forth into a new day.We have no idea what that day will bring, perhaps it will be a routine day, or perhaps we will stumble into a grand and glorious miracle or a difficult obstacle, and yet we Venture forth.
Each of us has some challenge in our lives, and we never know what challenges the people we are interacting with through the day are dealing with, and yet we PERSEVERE in the face of those challenges. Whether we are dealing with health issues, mind issues, or spirit issues, we choose to go about our day and accomplish what needs to be accomplished we are persevering in the face of difficulty.

Off to persevere!
Peace and Blessings,