Tag Archives: mental health

Notably Resounding

Aside from my physical addresses much has changed in my life since I first developed What Next. Other things remain the same.

This goes with some of my friends too. For instance, not only Christi at Feeding on Folly but also K. at The Blackwall Blog both recently blogged about their updates and changes.

Now they have me considering the inordinate amounts of stuff I’ve been hauling around for years. Things like my boxes of notebooks and journals.

With that I revisited my post from September 15, 2014. Again*:

Zoe couldn’t talk yesterday, but this morning we caught up. Unlike many of my friends and family these days, Zoe and I occupy the same time zone, so we don’t miss discussing much.

Fast forward 150 minutes; epic – even for us. We touched all bases; our work, families, mutual friends, political and social concerns. Then, for fun, we skimmed back over my notes from our past year’s conversations.

Yes, I keep notes, chronologically sequential, cross-referenced and color coded – on everything. This not only helps me keep my mind in the present reality and off the stories in my head, but has occasionally proven I heard someone right, long after the fact. I’m amazed at how much more important this becomes the longer I practice aging. Who knew aging well takes considerable practice?

Mostly my notebooks reveal I’m in better shape than I thought.

So… you may be thinking.

So, my thoughts today address perception and how my amazing, adult sons more frequently than ever suggest I’m either confused about statements from previous talks or I wasn’t listening to them. Always me.

How I imagine my boys and me chatting.

In all fairness, from my trusty notebooks, our typical conversations appear compressed into time restraints and are profoundly multi-directional. Still, though the subjects get jumbled a bit, I pen the statements accurately. Days or weeks may lapse between contacts, but when I need to be certain (even if only for my peace of mind), most often I am rectified.

As I am now cresting the peak of mid-life this is a kind of a big deal. More than ever before God draws my attention to details. Perhaps that’s because modern medicine has forced us to monitor ourselves and each other. The especially savvy peri-senior is watchful for symptoms of dementia, senility, disease and unnecessary stress.

Today God hath revealed unto me (okay, according to my notes), both Zoe and I are in good shape; at least between our ears!

Today.

“Blessed are those who keep [God’s] statutes and seek Him with all their heart – they do no wrong but follow His ways.”

Psalm 119: 2&3 (NIV)

 

*I’d already edited and liked today’s repost that includes friends, etc. Then I noticed “(3)” in the Permalink. I think everyone appears better in this version, so I tweaked the title and then ran with it. You be the judge.

Images courtesy Pixabay

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Hit the Brakes

Is it just me or the is it the world around me?

This week we have some major factors working against one another:

  • Time change – do NOT get me started on how ridiculous it is to continue this practice.
  • Files disappear and then reappear again
  • I gave up coffee – Patricia, you’d be proud of me.
  • The back castors fell off my mobile, stand-up work station – they simply fell off within 24 hours of one another. Enter now the 2nd week of dialogue with Houzz customer service reps.
  • Intermittently soggy socks now bring to our attention the fact that last summer’s repair work hasn’t entirely prevented melting snow from trickling across my kitchen and bathroom floors

And finally, with spring 8 (count them, eight) days away,

  • We have an ice storm, followed by even more snow.

Yes folks, Snowmaggedon 2019 Hoodies are selling like hotcakes at Amazon.

So, finally finished dealing with customer service reps while stepping around my desk, I realized I had skipped right over my quiet time with God – a huge faux pas. This practice reminds me I’m not God – we know this because for years I tried to be God, only to prove I suck at it. That valuable life lesson cost me some twenty years of my youth, so I’m shocked when I slip back there again.

So, late into this morning I was feeling a little frustrated, isolated and, I admit, slightly neglected when not one response to this morning’s post appeared anywhere.

I grabbed the only cell device that was not charging and saw I hadn’t received the notification advising me about my most recent scheduled post…

This, friends, is why paper calendars can be problematic. Our phone calendars simply do not mislead us. At that point I was shamefully near panic mode, sprinting around the cottage in search of a pair of good glasses. Passing a mirror I realized I really must stop.

Just stop.

“I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.*”

Yep. I’d scheduled today’s post for tomorrow. What would have been today’s post is now rescheduled. So now I’m going to go make a snow angel. Or maybe something else that doesn’t require keying or more puddles.

The entirely silly point to sharing all this:

My life is good. I can slow down or stop without fear of hurting or harming anyone. And the world will keep going. God has this, so I needn’t try to control it. My loved ones are all well, I have food, a warm home, a car… I’m breathing deeply.

Peace, my friends!

*Isaiah 41:9(b)-10 (NIV)

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Splash Down Time

Recently on Facebook:

Don’t ask me how we managed our lives without our cellular devices – not only the phone, the constant contact with the people involved in our day-to-day lives, but the apps that have replaced calendars, watches, cameras, alarm clocks, news radio, books and the fun of doing simple math. I’m guilty. The frequency with which I use my phone astounds me.

I relish the times when I’m in town and my phone runs at cyber-speed (as compared to the unreliable signal at home).  The phone connects me to my shopping list, coupons, product reviews as well as social media to research things that might streamline life… As if we aren’t already going fast enough, doing enough, cramming more and more into each hour of every day.

So, after my phone clanked off the porcelain and thudded onto the rug for the third time today I, well, gasped – again.

And then I stopped.

I realized I’d been inundated with tasks and going too fast for too long. So fast I’d overlooked removing the phone from my back pocket before stopping for a moment in the bathroom. Again. We’re talking about the phone I cannot afford to replace (even with insurance). At one time putting the phone on the counter was as instinctive as washing hands before leaving the room.

Every aspect of my life is moving at cyber-speed. As I checked off the To-Do list in my mind, I realized I could hear my pulse in my head.

Enough.

*

I must lower my blood pressure, breathe more intentionally, recover my spontaneity and channel my endorphins toward an exotic retreat. I’m thankful I didn’t miss anything important as I charged ahead, leaving God in the dust. I don’t need to deep clean (again) before spring arrives, I don’t want any more stuff to fill my space and my arm is healing as expected. And yet I race around as if time is running out.

Silly human. God’s got this.

Today I gave myself the day off. Not for any particular occasion or event, but because I need to intentionally slow down and hang out with the best friend ever – the Holy Spirit.

I might do it again tomorrow.

I want God to run my life instead of life running me.

I’ll text you how we’re doing tomorrow in a few days.

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)

 

*Image courtesy Jennifer Caravalho via Unsplash

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Reality Still

Shadow MLK
*

I’m not always the brightest bulb on the string. Sometimes I grope and grovel around to realize I must tighten my seat in the socket.

I occasionally misjudge – especially myself. Okay, I do that a lot, and can make myself fairly miserable in the process. Still working on NOT overthinking. My problem today is, again, fear – seeming like cowardice.

The latest shocker:

Meekness, non-violence is still often mistaken for weakness or cowardice. I recently confirmed this after yet another harsh self-judgement.

Digging into it I found the source of this particular fear; shame. I am sometimes ashamed for having occasionally responded to bullies and abusers ferociously.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.“*1

Today me having to continuously confront my potential for violence may surprise some. It’s true. Preferring to avoid confrontations developed from those fears.

Constantly developing my trust in God helps me overcome that reality as I practice the way of the cross – strength through nonviolence.

Horrifying world events, and like many others, being “one paycheck away from becoming homeless,” I too could be steps away from crossing the line into madness, committing atrocities, and make deadly mistakes. Daily I must carefully consider and choose my way.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” *2

That’s my reality today. More than ever before I thank God, the Source of strength I easily take for granted.

Gandhi strong

**

I can live with appearing cowardly. Being slower than many people I admire is okay. Sure, to be a great thinker of stuff like many of my friends would be wonderful. I’m not. But I’m not alone either. God uses flawed humans, our friends, our heroes to shine into our lives. So once in a while, I have bright moments too. We are continuously faced with choices. Today I choose to make friends with my fear.

lincoln enemy friend

Practice makes perfect.

 

Reblogged (edited) from What Next 2016/07/21

*1 Romans 8:1 (NLT)

*2 Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

Images courtesy *FreeNeoWallpapers **Gandhi and Lincoln Images courtesy

 

 

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Squirrely

So, for the third time since fall CableCompany is telling us demon squirrels have destroyed the FIFTEEN-OR-SO-YEAR-OLD lines. Now they say they are replacing all the cables in our entire area.

Whatever.

What this means to us:

Our strongest INTERMITTENT speeds have been even less than our usual sub-standard (1.29MPS down/1.08MPS up) all week. So, I’ll be taking a long weekend to continue working my mobility and dexterity. I’m glad to realize improvement over last week. I also want to say that if I was sure 60% is God’s will I’d accept this as my new normal.

Not. Feeling. That.

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

 

Image courtesy Pinterest

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Mistaken

It’s not something I prefer to talk about, but I may have mentioned I deal with some tremendous sadness. Now and then it can seem like too much for me. Sometimes I like to say, “Hey, let’s stop the pain train.” Even when I’m trying to be funny, I’m usually serious about that.

I hate to admit it (but hey, it’s just us here), sometimes I want to just quit – though that mostly happens before coffee.

The trouble with quitting is

1. I still don’t know how, and
2. I can’t imagine explaining to God how I couldn’t trust Him any more.

My life’s main accomplishment has been to prove how easy it is to drift off-course, to lose sight of even the nearest, biggest, most important goal.

Seriously, from the time I was about three for thirty-odd years, I often felt I was a mistake.
Circumstances and developments can seem like too much, but at least now we recognize and understand PTSD.

My personal game-changer happened when I was thirty-something. I rediscovered that I love God. I’m not talking about sitting in sanctuaries where my family met every Sunday, First Friday or Holy Day, nor the beautiful buildings filled with art that I fawned over as a child. I mean I cried out to the Creator of the Universe, God. He answered me and He showed me He had never actually left me.

He stayed with me and since then God consistently proved to me that relationship with Him is the best way through this world.

Today I’m all about appreciating that God does not make mistakes. Not even the devil (evil, et. al.) was a mistake. (How else would we appreciate God’s goodness?)

More than ever before I appreciate that I’m actually co-piloting my journey. Like most everyone else I know, I will likely continue to diverge – occasionally often. Yet, I can unreservedly trust that God, my Pilot will continue to make continuous adjustments, redirecting me back to His intended route. And He does it constantly for me and innumerable other souls, all the time.

So, I can sum up my whole point today in three words:

I’m. No. Mistake.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NIV)

 

 

Video, Mistakes by Influence Music  

Images courtesy Pixabay

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Humbly Humane

When summer began Hero, the 18-month-old steer was essentially wild.

One of his first encounters with man was to be roped and his testicles cut off. Back with his mother he likely forgot about his loss that day. He never seemed to forget about the evil ropes of doom and wanted no part of the upright beings at the ends of the ropes.

If he wasn’t already bigger than me I could still easily imagine how he felt, so I respected his space.

Before long he connected the rope creatures with food and water. During the next winter he would come running to the gate at feeding time.

Come spring his mother, “auntie” and “cousin” went away “to live on a farm” leaving him alone in the pasture. Afterwards he gradually became more open to humans.

After hanging around the vegetable garden fence all summer Hero became so comfortable with me he would gingerly nibble from my hand. I came to laugh at how he intimidated me the first time I power-walked the pastures. He pranced along with me, as if coaxing me to frolic with him.

Not long into summer the steer started begging for attention while I groomed the horses. The day Hero literally nosed my arm so I’d brush him too my internal red flags went up.

Hero is not a pet. Cole actually fussed at me for naming him (yeah, he didn’t read that post either). Unlike the horses who summer with us and then return to their people’s pastures for the winter, the steer will relocate to the freezer this year.

For two years I have recited the rule daily: never get attached to the livestock. Even so, something endears me to these bigger beings. I now feel sad when the lonely steer runs to the gate every time he sees me – too much like an 1800-pound puppy.

There were times in my life when I could relate to that steer. People hurt me, separated me from my loved ones and then left me alone and lonely. For a long time I too was very careful of upright beings.

Like the steer and most people I too learned that not all humans will hurt or harm us. Still we must watch for ropes – the things that can bind or hurt us.

Jesus knew about ropes – ignorance, fear, intimidation, greed and plain ol’ meanness. He knew about suffering for someone else’s sakes. With His life He demonstrated the best way to live is to forgive those who hurt us.

I want to use my life like that.

Oh, and thank You, God, that I’m not a steer.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37, 38 (NIV)

 

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Faceplant

Kyle Idleman’s book Not a Fan seriously tripped me up at first.

This kind of trip is good – challenging our attitudes. With multiple media pushing and pulling us in so many directions, regular neck up check ups are invaluable.

So on that particular morning what I expected to be an elegant swan dive into the book at the top of my stack became a shocking face plant instead.

“Here’s my point: many of us are quick to say, “Yes I’m a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure we really understand what we are saying.*” 

**

Thinking about it I suddenly wanted to explain myself to Jesus.

Maybe you navigate through life effortlessly. I don’t. And typically me getting out of sync with Jesus guarantees a sudden, cringeworthy stumble.

Immediately I realized that by racing to get caught up I had been forfeiting one-on-one time with God. Yet again. (Audible, heavy sigh.)

I suppose that makes me a fan.

I have been a Cubs fan as long as I can remember. Over the years as I moved around the country I half-halfheartedly followed other local teams. Still, I didn’t lose sight of my Cubbies.

So maybe I’m that kind of Jesus Fan.

But then again, Not A Fan later suggested I might be a marginal follower. As I read on my follower rating improved – some. And dropped again. And rose.

I don’t walk around with a Bible under my arm or interject Book, chapter and verse into every conversation. Okay, maybe sometimes, silently to myself. I use a Bible app most every day. But that’s not because I’m so religious (lost in church world or in Mosaic law). It’s because I LOVE people so very much I easily stray into their lives, lose sight of my own course and sometimes wind up offending someone.

Most important, while I maintain that connection with Jesus, I’m good. He sends the alerts I need. As I listen carefully He helps me hear myself, keeping me on track. He encourages me onward constantly, faithfully leading me right where He wants me – with or without my smart phone.

What’s more, He lets me think that I made good stuff happen! Good or bad, when we get together Jesus first shows me how He loves me. Then He shows me how much He loves me. He shows me what I blew up when I veered off course toward my understanding – and where He steered me right back.

And He shows me he’ll make it okay, I should try again.

Maybe without the faceplant.

Have you experienced what a wonderful God He is lately?

“… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

 

 

Music video courtesy YouTube

*Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus

**image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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Proclamation

One of my top 10 favorite bloggers recently posted about What Your Bookshelf Says About You. Without thinking I boldly went where no Roo has admitted to going before.  Yeah, I put myself out there to risk being examined. It’s all good. Another one of the beauties I especially appreciate about this blogging community is how it attracts polite, kind-hearted people (my personal favorite).

However, doing this was not always like me. Former Me would also have participated because, well, books – what’s not to love. But rather than simply looking around, I would have created a list certain to impress others. What’s more I would likely have spent hours gathering titles in the list or creating binder images of the books I borrowed. It’s okay to laugh. It’s no secret I can still be a very silly girl.

So now, if this post goes awry I’ll obviously blame it on CJ. She started it by sighting what is now also one of my favorite recent reads, My Ideal Bookshelf.  Well, that and The Right Wrong Man thanks to Jacqui Murray.

 

Left Nightstand

 

Right Nightstand (notice books much nearer bed than the tv/dvd remotes)

 

The Book Exchange Club shelf

What my book collection today doesn’t say:

– Christi’s post brought to my attention I no longer possess my first editions and books of special interest collection. Slightly sad Roo.

    • But then again, you can’t take it with you and my space here in the cottage is limited. The texts are readily available when I want them, so I’m fine.

– I’ve been reading more digital media (ya gotta love Libby) and enjoying it more.

– After years of coaxing, Erin is now on Fb. We have years of photographs to catch up on. This justifies the craft table that’s covered with boxes of photographs in various stages of being sorted. This has been taking up a quarter of my living room (and gathering dust) since, ahem, early summer. My new challenge is to not begin another book until I complete that project.

Most notable – I either:

    • no longer care about dust, (okay fine,) I’m way too busy to care if anyone notices dust,
    • realize I am astoundingly confident in God and therefore real good with the Present Me He created. I no longer rarely feel the need to meet anybody’s standard but God’s to feel good about myself. I shot without staging – that includes dusting,
    • life is better on a need-to-see basis – too bad humans must age significantly to appreciate this fact,

OR:

  • I (finally) actually do have my priorities in their proper order.

I’m not positive, but thanks to God, annnd after many a long series of trials and errors I’m quite comfortable going with option #4 today.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

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Second Hand Rosie

Every thing in my cottage is mismatched, piece worked, and mostly vintage. Aside from a few family items, I acquired most everything I own in estate sales, antique stores, flea markets, etc. Like Second Hand Rose, “I rarely get a thing that ain’t been used.” Only I don’t feel abused.

I like the stories that my stuff generate. At this point in my journey it’s fun. This wasn’t always so.

Waiting for the microwave to announce my latte is ready, I wash the dishes in the sink. Memories flow from when I acquired a mug, a plate, a spoon. I remember buying the new sheers now covering my windows – and when my kitten chewed those pin pricks in the selvage.

Not that long ago household items, or rather the stories behind them used to send me into an emotional tailspin. A little further back household stuff could set me running, usually sceamin’ like the banshee, arms flailing as if swatting away a flock of crows – Hitchcock’s The Birds style.

*

When I arrived here at the ranch, this sort of behavior upset the livestock. It was time I put all I learned over the years into practice.

Long ago, before I learned to run from the memories (figuratively speaking – mostly) I’d pretend them away. Eventually fear and anguish bound and locked away much of my memory. Modern medicine calls it Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (CPTSD).

By mid-adulthood I realized this skill had robbed me of much of the joys of my life. Since I clearly hadn’t gotten over it, I got help.

I worked for years with professionals that specialize in helping people with my symptoms. Finding the right help nor the work were easy.

I wanted to quit often. But I missed out on too many good times simply because I didn’t want to remember. I knew if I really wanted to experience “normal” I mustn’t stop the work.

**

I haven’t arrived yet. But instead of the memories dragging me away like an undertow, I can now stop them in place, sort of freeze the frame. At my age eccentric behavior isn’t unusual, so it’s all good. Most of the time I can now reason that what happened didn’t kill me and obviously it won’t stop me – without veering off course.

***

By the time I’d replaced nearly everything I ever owned I realized I had been surviving, not actually living. That’s not the life God wants for me. Sure, our early life was rough for my siblings and me. Sometimes it feels a little sad that I seem to be alone. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe I’m leading the pack.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 

*Header, The Birds image courtesy San Francisco Chronicle

***The Bird image courtesy Google

**Hitchcock image courtesy Jason Bovberg 

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