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25 Apr

Sometimes I peg a post here as being Unspoken. Those things we don’t talk about. The hidden thoughts, the pictures that evoke emotion too deep for words. Today’s blog (ah, this A to Z Challenge is difficult…and deep sometimes) comes from an overheard conversation.

I won’t tell who the players were, only that I’m sad it was said.

“I feel guilty sometimes.” The pause was painful. “I don’t feel happiness in my marriage.”

There should have been a hesitation. Maybe if the words had been thought about they never would have been voiced. But in a rush they tumbled out, shocking speaker and listener alike. “I don’t understand. What does happiness have to do with marriage?”

Is everyone hiding a secret pain?

Picture taken from Wikimedia Commons. Tiago Lima photographer.


O is for…Overtired

18 Apr

Oh, this is another cheating post tonight, but several days of pain in a row have taken their toll. Even with my attempting to pace myself.

It’s been a good week so far though. I’ve been getting a lot of work done even if it’s from bed. Paperwork mostly. For a moment this week I was tempted to put a filing cabinet in the bedroom to make things a little simpler.

Then I realized that some rest was in order. The home office does NOT belong in the bedroom.


So…on that note, I’m running off to bed and hoping you all have pleasant dreams. (Hey, maybe that’s something I could write about tomorrow for the letter “P”?)

Good night everyone!

N is for…No More

17 Apr

Today is one of those days where the pain from the fibromyalgia is so intense that I’m in tears and curled in bed trying to remember how to breathe. It’s not conducive for thinking or writing blog entries and the only thing I could think to go for N was “No More” because quite honestly I want the pain to stop and I’m tired of having this awful disease.

Which of course led to this song from the fabulous musical “Into the Woods” because Yes, this is EXACTLY how I feel. I WANT to run away. But the things we want to run from, you can never really leave behind.

Especially when those things include this kind of physical pain.

So for today…a song. This is my favorite version with Chip Zien as the Baker and Tom Aldredge as the Mysterious Man.


And wait…what? Disney is doing a movie adaptation of the musical Into the Woods????

M is for…Ministry

16 Apr

I’ve taken a long time today to post. It’s almost midnight and then I’ll be two days behind instead of one. But maybe it’s worth the wait to become more sure of my words.

Prayer begins my day. Ends it. Winds through. I’m so conscious of God of late, not always in a good way. Oh, I argue with Him frequently. Even been known to swear and throw things at him (figuratively throwing at any rate) because I don’t always like the answers I’m given. I don’t know if anyone fights God as hard or as frequently as I do.

The thing is, years ago I prayed for Him to use me. To guide me. To set my feet on a better path than the one I was chosen. I figured that it was my job at that point to pick up whatever was given me to do, to take it and move with it and tend it until it was time to let it go.

Ministry starts in funny ways. I started out in publishing in a backwards sort of way. I never intended to be a publisher, an editor, an agent…any of the things I was or am now. I was going to be a writer. Plain and simple. These other things…all just came along.

It’s hard when you have no idea where you’re going. It takes a whole lot more trust than I have, or ever had. You see, trust was always my biggest issue (don’t we all have one area that we’re weakest?) So to step out in faith and do…whatever…is a Big Awful Scary thing.

But four years ago God placed an idea in my head, a way to minister to writers. Build markets, he seemed to say. Let them be heard. 

The problem with a publishing house that’s a ministry that happens to be a business is that…well…we don’t always do the things that make practical sense. And sometimes you have to release the things that make financial sense in favor of doing what’s “right.”

In the last several months while I’ve been on sabbatical I’ve questioned a lot just what my ministry is. Has it changed? Am I still called to do what I am with the bookstore, with the publishing house? Am I still where God wants me to be.

Turns out I’m not. Because when I laid it all at God’s feet, the answer came back in a much more terrifying way than I’d expected. Right now I feel like I’m standing up here all by myself, trying to do it all alone. And what’s more, the place I’m standing is on the edge of a very big cliff.

And God told me, “Leap!”

Trust. Ministry comes down to that doesn’t it?

I asked God why everything was so difficult right now, why now, when my health is still precarious, why I’m where I am.

He answered with a question of his own. “Do you trust Me?”

Perhaps I needed to be weak and alone so that I would see only Him.

Whatever the case I’m pressing on, in the best way I can. Taking the plunge again, knowing that alone as I feel, I’m not completely on my own. After all there are some mighty awesome arms out there waiting to catch me.

Picture by Kandil1 and taken from the Wikimedia Commons

L is for…Life

15 Apr

Years ago I could have been accused of going through the motions. Every morning I woke up, went to work, came home, watched TV, went to bed. The next day was more of the same. The odd day off was reserved for errands. Library. Shopping. Reading. Maybe seeing a movie.

Then I got married and traded that life for…more of the same. Except my day involved waking up, taking care of babies and then toddlers with the TV blaring in the background. Errands, teaching, Church every Sunday, and never enough sleep, never enough LIFE.

I was a Zombie.

I blamed it on the motherhood. After all, who had time or even more important, ENERGY, for anything else.

This constant routine, the blur of days, the passage of years eroded me as surely as wind upon a rock. I was lacking meaning, and as a result I found out just how far down a person could travel emotionally. Cutting, watching the blood well up on my skin scared me enough to look for meaning wherever I could find it. Nights filled with fatigue and too much time alone left me as a seeker online, falling in and out of relationships. Cheating, sex, adultery. Name it what you will but this frantic burst of motion was no more living than endless hours in front of the television and ended in suicidal fantasy followed by suicidal action…

Yeah, not my best time.

After coming to the startling realization that you can hit bottom not just once, but it’s a place you can visit time and again if you’re not careful, if you’re not alive enough to even CARE, I knew something had to change.

Starting with me.

A lot of prayer was involved. A lot of time of reading the Bible, and screaming to God why didn’t HE just fix things and I felt the first glimmerings of life. I really didn’t want to die deep down, so much as I wanted the meaningless monotony to end, I wanted to feel…alive. No. I wanted to BE alive.

Counseling pointed me in the right directions. I began to pray daily to ask God my direction. To show me where I could find my myself. Where I could perhaps…minister. The answer came in Written World Communications.

Oh it wasn’t easy. Living after being dead inside so long never is. And the scars…not just the ones upon my arms, but the ones upon my heart, upon my soul would take years to heal.

But oh it felt good to be ALIVE.

At this point I’ve spent four years trying to build something, to do something that MATTERS. To reach out to writers and give them voice, give them platform, give them LIFE because I know how it feels to be silenced. Yet it’s a struggle. Every single day. The money issues are horrendous (we’ve put $67,000 into this so far…every penny a miracle) and the spiritual toll is worse.

Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that the field of Christian publishing doesn’t bring down a storm of spiritual warfare on a daily basis.

My health has suffered.

But inside…inside I’m alive.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. It’s a fight every day to continue. But I’m not going to give up just yet.

Life…is too precious for that.

H is for the Hard Things

10 Apr

It’s been a rough week. Discovering that the thing I’d swept under the rug has created a PTSD panic in my life, waiting to erupt when least expected.

So like any sensible person, when that happened, I shoved down the emotions, endured the aching feeling in the pit of my stomach for several days until finally today I could spend some quality time with my SD.

SD stands for Stupid Doc because it’s an easier tag to give this individual than “Psychologist” or “Shrink” – as if putting her down with acronyms would somehow make me that much more sane than other people who don’t go to counseling once a week regular as clockwork. (I would never admit to being that regular. After all, some weeks I see her on Tuesdays and on the others on Wednesdays).

We hide that kind of thing in our society. No one likes to talk about getting help because that seems to imply that you need help after all. That there’s something wrong, and you weren’t big enough, strong enough, smart enough, or SOMETHING enough to handle it on your own like everyone else in the world.

The truth is I’ve got issues and I do need help and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Much. Ok, a lot. This is a hard post to type.

But I’m brave enough to make the effort to speak up. It’s when we hide things that everything spirals out of control and the bad stuff happens. You know THAT stuff. The person you read about in the newspaper that did a Terrible Thing. That story in your prayer group…you know the one…you were horrified when it was told when deep down you knew, KNEW that at one point in your life it could have been you. Or someone you love.

I was there too. Several years ago I suffered in silence and finally reached the point where the cutting wasn’t enough and I was going to end my life on the last night of a Writer’s Conference I was attending. Because after all, I couldn’t do that at home. And everyone would be so busy with packing up and leaving that I wouldn’t have disrupted a thing.

Yeah. Right.

Those were hard days back then. And the truth is, for those of us for suffer from depression it’s not something that goes away completely. Not always. Too many grey days, too much stress, too little sleep and not enough of the right kinds of foods…all that can trigger the sadness.

A crises can trigger a catastrophe in your thinking.

Thankfully I realized something not that long ago. I’ve learned something in all these years. I don’t have to deal with the bad thoughts alone. And honestly? That there’s nothing wrong with admitting you need help. And then seeking it out.

Yeah, today was a hard topic, but it needs to be talked about. You’re not less of a wife, mother, son, Christian, father, grandparent, whatever if you ask for help.

Honestly? To my way of thinking it makes you one awesome and amazing person.

Hold onto that thought, ok? As Red Green says, “Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”

D is for…

4 Apr

Not sure which D to go with on this. Maybe at the end of this post you can tell me.

1977 JCPenny Christmas page001

Back when I was a kid, the highlight of the year had to be the arrival of the JCPenney Christmas Catalog. Every year I would flip very first to the dolls. Oh, they had all kinds. Big and small, hard bodies or soft cloth. Eyes that were stitched in a friendly open expression, or eyes that would close when you laid her down to sleep at night.

I don’t think my parents understood what I was looking for in a doll very well. Christmas would come either with the ubiquitous Barbie or else a pudgy cheeked baby doll, of hard molded rubbed that had plenty to say if you just pulled the string.

I was looking for a friend.

1977 JCPenny Christmas page454

A little poking around today and I found one of those pages I’d probably circled in red magic marker before Christmas. The doll I never got though plenty of her older and younger sisters graced my bedroom. I think I was looking for someone just like me.

This longing for a doll seems silly now – I’m a grown woman of 43. But for years I’ve stared with that same delight every time the mailman brings me a new catalog from American Girl. You see, years ago American Girl came along to tempt our ¬†youngsters with beautiful (and expensive!) historical themed dolls. That yes, come with equally expensive and beautiful clothing. Because, you know, half the fun is in putting her in a fresh and pretty new outfit for the day.

American Girl Dolls

My girls are fortunate. Their grandmother has treated them with a handful of these dolls during the holidays. It even became a rite of passage of sorts, when they reached an age to care for her properly.

A rite of passage that always left me a feeling a little like I wanted to say, “Hey, Mom…where’s MY doll?”

Recently I made a decision. Enough already. If I still want a doll, why shouldn’t I have one? So this year I’ve started putting aside a few dollars each month with the intent of getting me my very OWN doll someday. One of the American Girl dolls that I love so much, though I’m having a hard time deciding just which one to get – Do I get Molly? Or Emily? Or Julie? So many to choose from…so many to LOVE! I’ll admit it, I want them all. My girls have quite a head start on me.

I have plenty of time to decide – that bank account doesn’t have near enough in it just yet. But I’m hoping…and waiting.

She looks like I did back then!

She looks like I did back then!

So does D stand for DOLL…or DREAMS?

C is for….comfort food

3 Apr

Because today was one of THOSE days….dinner out at a favorite restaurant…

Fajitas from Pueblo Viejo

Followed by dessert at home. Really wishing I could have eaten a few of these….my girls are excellent bakers. I miss stuff with gluten!!!

Cookies compliments of my girls


What is your favorite comfort food?


25 Mar

I can’t sleep tonight. Moving back and forth between things, between people, between books. It’s one of those nights where I feel like I SHOULD be doing something (at this hour, sleep maybe?) but I can’t put my finger on quite what it should be.

Do you ever get restless nights like this? This odd anxiety that pushes you to stay up when the rest of the house is slowly going quiet…what is this? What is it that’s pulling at me….?

I think sometimes that I’m supposed to start writing again. I used to write all the time, back in the day when I thought I was meant to be an author and not all these things I am now. This is as good a time as any to begin, but I have no idea what to write, and no characters are calling my name.

So here I am.



Palm Sunday

24 Mar

When I was a child I think that Palm Sunday had to be one of my favorite days. We would dress up special because when we arrived at church, every child was given a palm frond to wave and was ushered into a line that became a grand procession up to the front of the church. I had little understanding of what it all meant, but it was fun to wave the frond and feel like I was part of the service, even if for only a few minutes at the start of things.

The congregation would sing as we walked. Looking back I wonder now what the hymn was that sounded so magnificent. I haven’t been to that church in years, and in adulthood I haven’t attended a church that had the same pomp and ceremony for Palm Sunday. Which seems something of a shame. I think it’s more of a Catholic tradition that my ELCA Lutheran church had held onto. Maybe someone reading this here could post in the comments in regards to other Palm Sunday traditions in other churches.

Of course Palm Sunday never ended peacefully, the fronds being used to good effect for my sister and I to beat each other with during the remainder of the service until red-faced my mother would confiscate the weapons of mass destruction and that would be the end of them. Eventually we would be relegated to positions on either side of mom and dad, the bulk of BOTH parents between us to keep us “good.” If we did it right, most of the service would be over by then anyway.

I think any religious significance might have been lost on both of us.

Today I find myself thinking more of the meaning. That Palm Sunday wasn’t just a day that ushered in spring (as it did – my mother would dress us in our Easter best for the sake of the procession and thereby gaining more wear out of over-ruffled skirts that had no earthly use the rest of the year) but the beginning of something of something else. Of a journey more deep and meaningful that impacts our lives as Christians. Without Palm Sunday there can be no Holy Week, no Easter Sunday. No resurrection. No hope for the world that comes after.

I hated that today I missed it.

This last year I’ve a sporadic relationship with the church – meaning that I attend very little, mostly as pain allows. The effort of rising and dressing and driving and herding children is more than I can handle, and with a husband at work Sunday mornings, all of that falls upon me.

So how do you begin this journey when traveling it alone, at home. A shut in that’s not really a shut in, because there are times, random sporadic times when I DO get out.

The journey then becomes my own. One of reading and praying in solitude. One of gentle reminders to the children of what this time of year means. One that lacks the fellowship of the Christian community but at least holds that measure of fellowship to be gained within my own four walls.

I wish I had palm fronds and processions to illustrate to them Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

I will settle for the quieter entry of Him into my heart.