Tag Archives: maturing

Cultivated

Remembering the women we were at the beginning of our friendship takes some work now. A grade school classmate of my husband, I met AgriGirl and her parents when two of her three children were in primary and pre-school. We bonded immediately.

Only one facet of our friendship ever troubled me; for a time we were the most amiable, personable, but uncontrollable gossips I know – just between the two of us no subject or person were untouchable.

After a couple of years of rehashing many social events together, I grew a conscious about some parts of our conversations – people’s private, intimate details. At that time my husband and I were separating so I wasn’t proud of that season of my life. A good friend, AgriGirl stayed close, doing all she could to lift my spirits and help me through. Even so, I began to wonder; if my kind, sweet, honest friend talked about other people’s deeply intimate, personal lives to me, why wouldn’t she talk about my present mess the same way to others?

Though our dirty little secret was ours alone, that profound revelation pierced my soul. For a while I could barely stand myself. Soon afterward I realized we were friends because we were so much alike and that I never carried our stories any further. Still, we both weeded out topics that weren’t meaningful, pruned and snipped what wasn’t uplifting or helpful. In a heartbeat we would turn a subject from Anyone-Not-Present to finding knanker bulbs,* and the former subject didn’t come up again. The difference made us even closer, better friends.

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26 (NLT)

Recently, thanks to our smart phones, AgriGirl and I caught up with the years since we last lounged away the afternoons on her beautiful, Mid-west deck. We shot photos and Pinterest tags back and forth so that I’m bursting with new ideas, much like old times. She’s talking about coming here to, well, talk and hang out. I can imagine she might need the visual of my life on the ranch to fully get her head around it.

I’m glad for the relationship AgriGirl and I cultivated over the years, that we can still chat for hours. Aside from politics, global events and our families in general we pretty much stick to discussing the two of us, reminiscing, what we’re doing now, comparing our project lists, bucket lists and our few dreams that haven’t come true – yet!.

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7 (NLT)

* Yes, Danny and DBDO readers, I made up the word 😉

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Image

In this new phase of my life I often hear weekday television talk shows from my room. One conversation recently caught my interest so I joined Erin in front of the television for a while.

The co-hosts were talking about Refinery 29, the Take Back the Beach initiative and overall body positivity. I could go on all day on this, but I’ll try to stick to the program:

Logans runThe co-hosts talked about how people seem to be more obsessive than ever with morphing themselves into their ideal self-images. Is it just me or do images of Logan’s Run come to anyone else’s mind?

 

As a co-host I would have pointed out renown art through the ages. We consider even those now in pieces beautifully inspiring. Take Venus Di Milo and Michelangelo’s David for instance.

venus di milo 'David'_by_Michelangelo

Art inspires us, and while the inspiration remains in moderation it’s great. Yet it seems to me much of our global society has taken cosmetic procedures to a whole new level – too close to obsession for my thinking.

While not new on the scene, figureheads like Veruschka von Lehndorff, Dianne Carroll and Christi Brinkley continue to stand out in my mind among the haunting new images of Pia Trivedi, Aneta Pajak and Alisa Ahmann.
All. Painfully. Thin.

More than ever we seem to be morphing humans. Back to the the show again, they also talked about the increase in men having cosmetic procedures including hair implants to be more attractive to a prospective mate.

One host commented that with all this cosmetic manipulating (my paraphrase), When they start having children, they don’t really know what they’re getting; all they know is there’s a new baby. But the baby’s features will be a real surprise! Like, where did that come from?!

Personally speaking, when I was young I did not consider myself comely. I could not see beyond how people treated me; the people who loved me, provided for me, and cared for me. I saw myself as unattractive and fat mostly because that’s mostly what I heard. What’s more I had that hideous red hair people talked about. UGH!

Ultimately I came to understand that my family and loved ones regarded me the same way they saw themselves (not necessarily as they actually are/were). Naturally, they passed on to me what they had – distorted and sad as much of that was. Thanks to God, I am fortunate to have extended family and good friends, so I survived and went on to learn about a better, happier perception of life.

I understand the attitude toward body image and self-esteem. A poor self-perception, over-indulgences and genetics aren’t such a mystery anymore. Personally I experienced how for a season, my self-perception made me somewhat insensitive to others’ feelings and opinions. It happens.

What’s more, like many younger people today, I once took my appearance very seriously – making myself attractive to the opposite sex for sex’s sake. And consistently, the inevitable disappointment, emptiness and loneliness consistently signaled the end to nearly every intimate relationship. I eventually learned I couldn’t hide behind pop culture, fashion, make up and others’ opinions of me . I had to get to know, accept myself and then love ME.

We do well to focus upon

what the Bible says about our image:

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”*

“This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.””**

This says nothing about fashion or outward appearance. It’s about a process – knowing The Great I Am, so we know who He says we all are.

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In photos of much younger me I look fit, stylish and for the most part attractive – until I spoke. It’s funny how a few decades can change things.

 

2016jan30copyToday I don’t think long about clothes (aside from not embarrassing my companions in public) or makeup – since I rarely wear much. The person in the mirror today resembles that younger girl mostly, only with many more wrinkles and utter resignation to gravity. This not only proves the adage, we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but that nothing lasts forever.

 

Now I daily recite the fact that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” “And how well I know it.”# In that truth I tend to focus more upon self-respect, self-perception and health consciousness – the inner me.

I don’t wish my history or my excess baggage upon any other human, and yet I am not that unique. When we feel good about ourselves, we feel better about the world around us. By understanding and accepting that we are formed in God’s image the burden of responsibility for ourselves is as much on God as it is on each individual. To date, I’m very okay with that.

As I age I understand better that we are all accountable for what we do with our image. Now I understand better that God sees past our perceived flaws, through all our faults and some slightly embarrassing secrets, right to our need. As we practice relationship with God, we begin to see ourselves as He sees us – lovely and perfect in His design for our lives. I’m thankful for that.

Our relationships with Him makes us all we can be.

That’s as much as I stick with talk shows  😀

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14 (King James Version)

* Genesis 1:26, 27 (NLT)
** Genesis 5:1,2 (NLT)
# Psalm 139:14 (NLT)

Logan’s Run image courtesy IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3529873408/tt0074812?ref_=ttmd_md_nxt#

Venus Di Milo image courtesy Wikimedia.org: By Unknown – Jastrow (2007), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1999049

Michelangelo’s David image courtesy By Jörg Bittner Unna – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38304758

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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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Environmental Adaptation – Mid-Level Lunacy v. 3.1.1

My days typically start hours before dawn. Note: I did not choose to rise while the rest of the world sleeps (and in our household today that would be everyone but me). It is what it is.

Example: Yesterday began at 3:45 a.m. Particularly exhausted after a full, rich, action-packed day I was ready to sleep by 7:00 pm. At around 8:00 p.m. I heard Opal arrive home from her job, revved and excited. The way we know things by vocal tone in our household amuses me. I could tell Opal was also exhausted. Listening to her stories from the other room I began to doze.

Flash! Literally – a flash of a strobe light jerked me to attention. Since I could still hear the same conversation from the other room, evidently the rapture hadn’t happened.

Embed from Getty Images

I also deduced that, the flash of blinding light came from Opal’s cell. Out of consideration to the rest of the household, Opal disables her ringtones at home. She also has a strobe-type light notification so she doesn’t miss important messages or media posts.

However, the random, sporadic flashes of light began annoying this former health care advocate for the hearing impaired (clients’ strobe lights in every room alert them to phone calls and the doorbell). The strobe flashes work well for the hearing impaired who quickly adjust to them. I never needed to get used to them – until now perhaps.

No worries, I plug in my trusty earbuds diminishing all sound outside my head, set the tv timer and I focused my attention on my program. ‘Works better for me than a sleeping pill, without the morning hangover.

So began the night’s program:

– Flash of light! – Still not the rapture, I tell myself it means nothing to me. I nod.

– Flash! – I’m wide awake – again. Just ignore it. I begin to nod.

– Flash – I’m suddenly astounded that I’m the only one annoyed by the light show. I start to doze.

– Flash – Again, it’s just me. Yet again. I’ll shut my door to block out the lights (I loathe doing that)! I doze.

– Flash – Now fully awake with irritation levels rising to the red zone. I pray: “Lord, give me strength. Kind, gracious words suggesting Opal turn off the strobe light wouldn’t hurt… I slip into euphoric slumber.

– Flash – Now I’m upset and not certain why. I must get up and deal with something. I toss my covers aside…

– Flash – Arrgh! That’s it! I’m up now. Hmm… I didn’t close my blinds. I’ll do that.

– Flash – I remove ear buds and immediately thunder crashes. Oh WOW! We’re experiencing an electrical storm! It’s not Opal’s phone at all.

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– Flash – Never mind. I’ll just watch the storm…

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