Tag Archives: healing

Housebound

Being still and quiet is not my strong suit – never has been. I’m a do-er. Unable to use my arms, this healing season has been my greatest challenge to date, often plunging me into bouts of apathy followed by arbitrary sadness.

The rain and wind have arrived. The lots muddy, pastures soggy, the cottage floors took the worst of it while using a broom or mop is so difficult. Initially I engaged all my creativity cleaning up the mess, but gradually succumbed to going outdoors only when necessary.

Soon I felt the walls beginning to close in on me and my moods swung dark.

Despite physical therapy I see my muscles beginning to shrivel; bicep, triceps, flexor and brachia rubber bands. This concerns me. I don’t spring back as fast as I used to. Still, I flex till it hurts and then stop.

Today the dark dams looming in every corner of the cottage seemed to break open. I could no longer simply sit. I sat on a piece of non-slip drawer liner, arms folded across my middle. Pressing my feet against the sofa I pushed it. Stuttering, and groaning it moved!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

We must re-stain the concrete anyway, so I’ll live with the scrape marks until the weather is more cooperative.

Repeating this with the love seat and recliner I cleared a circular path through the three rooms.

Then I did the math:

One circle through the rooms is 40-42 steps. Times 13 trips every hour 8 times a day, I not only see little things I actually can clean but I’m also burning calories while pumping the creative juices. Since I work an average of 8 to 10 hours a day – that’s about two miles of steps. Sure, I feel like I’m growing hamster hair, but spring’s coming.

I reset the alarms on my laptop and dutifully respond every hour. Shoes laced and dressed in layers I can peel off and put back on, every hour I stayed on task, returning to work with my brain freshly revived.

This is better. Now I’m brain storming how I can buff out the scrape marks standing on buffing pads from the paint shop… I’ll dance. Mashed Potato everyone!

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18 (NLT)

 

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Note to Self: Relax

Kendra recently mentioned she makes ToDo lists. We laughed remembering a meme that declares keeping lists signifies the beginning of the end – essentially of youth. During the conversation I shared my journey from Daytimers, ToDo lists (itemized, color-coded and annotated), alarms in my phones to Post-It notes to myself.

I revisited that conversation today.

While inadvertently avoiding a particularly unpleasant section of my work this morning, I found myself rummaging through old memories. I confess, I became angry. It’s what I want to evoke in readers, but I felt like I was losing too much time over the passage.

Soon I realized I’d been dusting the bike tires. Clearly I’d derailed.

About then it occurred to me, I determine my deadlines. I can do this.

As Hope frequently reminds me, I’m remarkably human. Being human makes each of us unique and we all move at our individual paces – usually forward. Trying to be perfect for the first half of my life, this came as a shock to me. Sure, I often appear to be taking longer growing up than the next person. But now that I’ve given up trying to be like anyone else I deliberately celebrate the liberty to take life as it happens.

For instance, prioritizing tasks is not so unforgiving anymore. On the surface leaving dishes until morning may seem gross. Seriously, I can live with that being my darkest housekeeping secret. And dressing. I practically live in flannels (or jeans) and hoodies. As you gasp with shock also consider that all the amazing information constantly churning around in my head can be exhausting, so I sleep when I’m tired. And I wake when I’m rested. Another perk to being me.

So, to enjoy life more and miss less I use ’em all: I set phone alarms, mark calendars, make lists and write notes to myself; white boards, black boards, and Post-Its everywhere. What’s more, I eventually notice them.

Today, in tribute to Kendra, while I return to my work, I’m sharing some of my Notes to Self from my first months here at home. Alarms not required:

  • Computer reminders while I work:
    • Drink water. (repeats every 2 hours for 8 hours)
    • Use bathroom (also repeats every 2 hours)
    • Stand and move (repeats every 90-minutes after water is consumed)
  • Notes around the cottage:

  

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” Psalm 90:12 (NLT)

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Keep Juggling

A long time ago in a place far away an exceptional human became my friend. Arlene Powers has an infectious passion for living. We met when she picked me from a temp pool to work for her team of professionals. Months later we moved into different departments and then eventually left the Company, but God had glued us together forever.

Scan_20160629 2014 nov 2 bert mac

I don’t recall why we both call each other Bert – it simply works for us. Though she never said it, I suspect Bert recognized I was not your average Accelerati Incredebilis when we met. Always strong, stable, and focused, one would never know she too was familiar with trauma.

I’m frequently thankful most people can’t see feelings and confusion, but Bert does. Pain doesn’t intimidate her, no siree.

Bert recognized the clown in me and patiently coaxed her out. Regardless of my issues, she loved and respected me even when doing so was challenging. In our professional circles our dings were our secret.

Clowning was different from other performing arts I’d ever done, demanding far more work and commitment than I ever imagined. Bert’s passion for it was infectious and I came to love it too.

Scan_20160629 (2)

But not like Bert did. As she typically accomplishes everything she sets her mind to, she designed and hand crafted the most stunningly, beautiful costumes for herself, her daughter and other clowns. Each one unique with lots of hidden pockets and props, they were works of fine, living art. Bert took the art of clowning to a higher level, mastering the craft and then collaborating on books about clowning, costuming and ballooning.

Beenies1 beenies

Fellow Clowns, audiences and charities throughout the Southwest enjoyed Arleenie Beenie’s talents for years.

With Bert’s coaching I went to clown camp, trained, developed and copyrighted my face and costume, created props, helped develop skits and routines, together, solo and with other clowns. Adding pantomime, juggling, face painting and balloon art, we were your basic, all-purpose clowns.

Scan_20160629

Learning to juggle, focusing upon only one thing, was difficult for me. For weeks Bert taught and coached me along patiently, employing an allegory that became my mantra:

A man weighing 190 pounds had to cross a bridge carrying three five-pound boxes. The bridge could hold no more than 200 pounds.

How did the man get all the boxes across in only one trip?

The answer of course, he juggled them.

The bridge is life. The boxes are our struggles, emotions and griefs. The only way across the bridge is to juggle the boxes. We can keep them all within our purview, but we must concentrate on catching each one as it drops. For me the allegory was a game changer.

Though Bert saw what I couldn’t, I’ll never forget the look on my teacher-Bert’s face as I added a third, and then fourth Hackey Sacks to my routine. She radiated the joy of accomplishment for us both.

I imagine that’s how God sees us; laughing with us when we’re just plain silly, and practicing our way through our challenges. Bert also coached me as I juggled my gushing thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

I gave up the Hackey Sacks, Nerf balls and rubber pet fish, but juggling became my personal foundational skill. While I occasionally drop some of my stuff along my way, I keep the boxes moving.

Beenies1

Though I stopped performing publicly after a couple of years, Annie Roo became the biggest part of me. Over the years I became grAnnie Roo. Bert remains the Bertimus Maximus and still creates beautiful art, mostly of birds and she donates all proceeds to Liberty Wildlife and other sanctuaries. She’ll tell you she’s just doing important Bert things.

I have a living example of God’s delight in me, remembering Bert’s face as I jumped the next hurdle, mastered the next challenge.

In loving memory of
my eternal friend, Arleenie “Bert” Beenie/Arlene Powers

Signed, Bert

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

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Benched

Today was a first. Delighted to find I had an internet signal I began exploring Hulu – in the morning.

I’ve been benched.

benched-pixabay

But I regress. In the editing process I cut numerous details from my previous posts; the whining – you’re welcome:

  • hammering axes to the breaking point chopping logs – hard on muscles and tendons,
  • the arabesque leaps generated by snow-covered ice – interrupted by plummets into the same,
  • breaking less graceful falls, straining my arms,
  • learning the easy, shocking way the wire on the pasture fence was hot,
  • wood burning stove: seared, burnt and scalded hands, arms and ankle (don’t ask about the ankle),
  • innumerable bruises and scrapes – my favorite resulting from a log bucking into my shin.

Suffice it to say this body’s taken a beating this winter.

Yesterday I was rapidly approaching my limits with the ongoing cold. I developed a plan. I thought it was ingenious:

remington-limb-trimI’d carefully use my little electric chain saw to cut logs and fill one wood bin. Ambidextrous, I thought surely I could do that without further injuring my right arm. Once prepared for a few more weeks of extreme cold, the weather will certainly warm immediately. Things always seem to go that way. Right?

So, now compensating for my gimpy right arm I’ve stressed my left arm and both hurt.

Later, shaking her head at me, Doctor Kendra simply said, “Stop. Doing. Everything.” And then brought me her sling that belts to the waist.

Note to self; texting and keying also involve the biceps.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”*

After doing only the most basic chores today, Kindle being uncooperative and books actually being too heavy, videos are my last hope for resting and allow the healing to happen.

The up sides:

  • Jogging in place during the many, many advertisements, my legs and lower torso will be in remarkable shape for spring,
  • I’m inspired with new story lines – spin-off ideas from trailers,
  • I’m now nearly an expert at processing wood and survivalist heating,
  • I saved enough money to buy a couple of cords of wood to repay Cole and the neighbor,
  • Though I feel vastly accomplished for having done it, I’m done cutting wood myself.
  • As I rest I can plan to make candle/pottery space heaters to keep me snug till spring.

Oh, and I’m refining my cell’s Speech-to-Text vocabulary.

Happy blogging, friends!

“Come to me, all you who work and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

* Psalm 62:5 (NLT)

Images courtesy Pixabay and Home Depot

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Big Two

2nd-anniversary

A two year blog anniversary isn’t exactly breaking news. For me it is a considerable milestone. Often I feel like giving up, at least take a break, but writing alone doesn’t afford me a living (yet). Writing completes me. Though blogging comes with more deadlines, I get to set them. Blogging flexes my writing muscles and the community is a marvelous perk I would never have imagined before I discovered the blogosphere.

Months before my target launch date, life took some more unexpected turns. As my deadline drew closer Sister and I grasped the reality that we were on our own. Instead of postponing the launch, I downshifted. Tires smoking, I slid in sideways right under the wire.

After moving two more times Roo’s Ruse met a second milestone, 300 followers. My goal was 100 readers per year.

There’s much one couldn’t initially see in my blog. If we’re grading on a curve I appear normal. I can conduct myself much the same as anybody else, but I actually am more unique than most.

In my mid-twenties professionals diagnosed me with dyslexia. That explained a lot. Some years later a specialist suggested I had bipolar disorder. I had four boys to raise and no “time for that crap.” Two divorces later another specialist did a comprehensive history, more tests and exams. He diagnosed complex trauma (C-PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. Finally. Nailed. It.

I researched every shred of information available to Jane Q. Citizen, worked harder, longer and was more determined than ever before. Over the next few years I eventually realized God wants me to simply do my best and let Him do the rest. He is still faithful.

The hand dealt me wasn’t the best and I made some bad plays. But I’m here today because God lifted me from what some wouldn’t have survived. Aside from occasionally late or lame posts, my uniqueness is not usually obvious. I’m thankful for that.

My guys grew into great men despite their parents, so my history doesn’t concern me much anymore. The stories will be available soon enough.

Today my sites are set on What’s Next.

“…“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

 

Image courtesy Pixabay

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Juggle

A long time ago in a place far away an exceptional human became my friend. Arlene Powers has an infectious passion for living. We met when she picked me from a temp pool to work for her team of professionals. Months later we moved into different departments and then eventually left the Company, but God had glued us together forever.

Scan_20160629 2014 nov 2 bert mac

I don’t recall why we both call each other Bert – it simply works for us. Though she never named it, I suspect Bert recognized I was not your average Accelerati Incredebilis. Though always strong, stable, and focused, she too was familiar with trauma.

Bert recognized the performing artist in me. She spotted the clown in me and gradually coaxed her out into the open. Regardless of my issues, she loved and respected me even when doing so was challenging. In our professional circles fractures were our secret.

Clowning was a different kind of performing art I’d ever done. Demanding far more work and commitment than I ever imagined myself getting into, but Bert was an exceptional friend – so I came to love it too.

Scan_20160629 (2)

But not like Bert did. As she typically accomplishes everything she sets her mind to, she designed and hand crafted the most stunningly, beautiful costumes for herself, her daughter and other clowns. Each one unique with lots of hidden pockets and props, they were works of fine, living art. Bert took the art of clowning to a higher level, mastering the craft and then collaborating for books about clowning, costuming and ballooning.

Beenies1 beenies

She is truly the Bertimus Maximus. The title probably only means something to those within the Beenie Sub-Troupe, but audiences and charities throughout the Southwest enjoyed her talents for years.

With Bert’s coaxing and coaching I went to clown camp, training, developed and copyrighted my face and costume, created props, helped develop skits and routines both solo and with other clowns. Add pantomime, juggling, face painting techniques and balloon art, we were your basic, all-purpose clowns.

Scan_20160629

Learning to juggle, focusing upon only one thing, was difficult for me. For weeks Bert taught and coached me along patiently, employing an allegory that became my mantra:

A man weighing 190 pounds had to cross a bridge carrying three five-pound boxes. The bridge could hold no more than 200 pounds.

How did the man get all the boxes across in only one trip?

The answer of course, he juggled them.

For me the allegory was a life changer:

The bridge is life. The boxes are our struggles, emotions and griefs. The only way across the bridge is to juggle the boxes. We can keep them all within our purview, but we must concentrate on catching each one as it drops.

Though Bert saw what I couldn’t, I’ll never forget the look on my teacher-Bert’s face as I added a third, and then fourth Hackey Sacks to my routine. She radiated the joy of accomplishment for us both.

I imagine that’s how God sees us; laughing with us when we’re just plain silly, and practicing our way through our challenges. Bert also coached me as I juggled my gushing thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

I gave up the Hackey Sacks, Nerf balls and rubber pet fish, but juggling became my personal foundational skill. While I occasionally drop some of my stuff along my way, I learned to keep the boxes moving.

Beenies1

I’m frequently thankful most people can’t see feelings and confusion, but Bert can.

Though I stopped performing publicly after a couple of years, Annie Roo became the biggest part of me. Over the years I became grAnnie Roo to my nieces and grandchildren. Bert remains the Bertimus Maximus and still creates beautiful art, mostly of birds and donates all proceeds to bird sanctuaries. She’ll tell you she’s just doing important Bert things.

I have a living example of God’s delight in me, illustrated in Bert’s face as I jump the next hurdle, master the next challenge.

To my eternal friend, Arleenie “Bert” Beenie.

Signed, Bert

The Lord hears his people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:17, 18 (NLT)

 

 

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Again; That Guy: Part II

Again I saw that guy. It’s like everywhere I go either he was nearby or I couldn’t help overhear someone that was obviously talking about him or something else he’d done.

jerusalem crowd

I couldn’t forget the priests in the temple among the debris; the still shot was stuck in my mind. It’s like that song that sticks with you until it’s nettlesome. I hated the way the image made me fearful, and I’m annoyed with myself that it bothers me. I’m exasperated that I haven’t found my friend that told me we’d meet at the Temple Gate. All I want is to tend to my business and be ready for the Passover.

I couldn’t go a block without hearing someone talking about the incident at the temple. People seemed obsessed; both excited and upset. I couldn’t believe I heard someone say that guy touched some blind, crippled and terminally sick people who afterward could suddenly see, walk and are no longer sick at all. How could that be? But hey, it’s none of my business.

Shortly after eating, I was walking off my meal when I saw the guy again – coming toward me. I wanted to turn and walk the other way – where that guy went there was trouble. But as if the air between us was charged with some peculiar energy that drained me of my will, I couldn’t move.

The guy was not exceptionally tall, but as he moved closer he looked straight through the crowd surrounding him, right into my eyes. All motion seemed to stop as I looked back into his visually unremarkable face. A heartbeat later I again wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. I suddenly felt as if the guy saw my entire history, knew my unspoken thoughts. Distinctively unnerved, I wanted protection from him. For an instant a notion to call for a guard briefly flitted across my mind – I am such a hypocrite.

Moments seemed like hours until he continued moving on with his group. Like an idiot I stood there until I realized people were bumping into me as they passed in every direction. I checked for my bag and feeling it there I started walking again.

Later, making my way back to the temple, I heard people saying, “Heaven… wind… light… and Jesus.” I don’t know why, but my skin seemed to crawl. Feeling drained, exposed, and remarkably uneasy, I longed to find my friend and secure a place to stay the night.

 

“…A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” John 3:27 (NLT)

Featured Image courtesy ABSFreePic

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My Circus, My Monkey

If you haven’t discovered Michelle Malone yet, I recommend you take a look. A Middle School Assistant Principal, she helps humans at their most influential stage of life – your basic everyday hero.

Michelle’s article, I Got 99 Problems got me thinking about my circus.

Gabriela Kucerova orangutang

Most times I enjoy being me. I’ve literally worked hard toward that goal. Typically I’m a better person interacting with the wonderful beings around me. Occasionally, not so much. In my particular circus, my area of responsibility, I am learning to own my feelings as they happen – without derailing.

You probably don’t go through a wide spectrum of changes like I do, often minute-to-minute depending upon prevalent events or circumstances. Still, I empathize with those who do. Suddenly the senior member of our household, my feelings are a troublesome monkey.

Throughout my early years, how I felt was literally the least of my concerns. I deliberately emulated Mr. Spock’s logic (okay, mostly my dad’s). Like most everything else, that’s fine as long as it’s in moderation. Yeah, balance was never my strong suit.

Somewhat recently I realized I sometimes made my life harder, more complicated than it had to be, dismissing or at the very least minimizing my emotions. I sometimes shot myself in the foot for the greater good, excluding myself from equations, mostly because I didn’t trust my feelings.

After years of considerable self-restoration work, I am now more aware how my feelings influence my attitude and my choices. While I’ve learned to not sacrifice my legitimate needs, my feelings sometimes seem puerile and confusing. I’m becoming okay feeling silly sometimes.

So, being comparatively new at owning my feelings, in the moment when they happen, my heart should be in prime condition for all the ups and downs, lifts and crashes I experience. Whether we are in a hormonal influx, under intense personal pressure, or bearing the weight of life’s milestones, our feelings (including mine) matter to God, so they must matter to each of us.

Thank God my circus is marvelous, lively and mostly entertaining. I usually enjoy all the monkeys and how they interact with each other; the sweet ones, the lively ones, the dramatic ones and the hurt or broken ones. Even though I don’t always recognize my monkey immediately, I can cage them when I need to.

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2014 March 18

EVA Lambert
2001 Space Odyssey Way
Temporal, TX 70000
USA, Earth

18 March 2014

Dear Roo,

You know who I am and that I must take over now. This will be easier for you and everyone else if you simply let me do it. No matter what, I’ve got this.

Forget about your plans for the coming years. That has all changed. An amazing, and seemingly impossible journey began a few hours ago. Go with it.

Don’t even start to try; you can not fix this. You have only practiced this your whole life. You will do well because surviving is what you do.

Regardless of what your heart tells you, the rest of your family needs your strength, your kindness and your patience – more than ever before. You might screw up here and there, but no matter how hard it gets, regardless of how they fight, or how they behave, they are grieving too. Let them.

Remember you are not God. Like me, He is actually really good at what He does. Do your best to simply let God do His thing.

One last note: Sheagh is very well and good with Jesus now and forever.

I’ll see you soon enough,
Love Always

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Gross: The New Cool

Today, for about a minute, I worried I may have discovered a new depth of depravity.

I discovered a streak of blood on the white sheer curtain panel in my room. At the time, I quickly deduced it must have somehow come from my leg immediately after a fresh excision of skin – 5 weeks ago. Gross. Right?

sheers

I noticed the same streak again this morning. Initially I marveled at the changes in color and shape – and that it’s still there. A dab or two with a couple of sponges and some diluted hydrogen peroxide would have removed it altogether when I first noticed it.

But no… Not this time. Three more excisions later and physical therapy twice each week, that streak has become my visual touchstone.

I’m in a storm. It’s not a hurricane, a tornado or even a squall. And yet, since the cancers are easily excised and forgotten – granted, every few months – I’m blessed.

Reality check: The streak reminds me every time I see it, that while so many of my dear friends have and continue to undergo the many miseries that come with chemo and radiation therapy, I am indeed blessed.

Today I sincerely hope that anyone unable to appreciate the new cool, never actually experience it.

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