For The Honor of Grayskull! I am Enough.

I feel like I’m getting back into my joy groove.

I’m feeling a bit like Princess Adora, transmogrifying into She-Ra.

Shedding that tentative, innately female need to be pleasing. Opening my eyes, getting stronger.

I’m standing proud and speaking up in my life.

In 1985, I worshipped She-Ra! And Swift Wind, her airborne steed with the macho voice.

“He Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword,” is still one of my favorite movies. Princess Adora wakes up and sees that she can rebel against what’s she’s been taught to believe. She realizes she can defend Etheria, without anyone’s help. She learns to fight, to lead, to claim her identity.

She gains confidence that she can make it on her own. I’m getting there!

The cold air is making me smile, I chopped my hair recently, and I’m rockin’ my flannel!

I trust my gut. I’m feeling decisive and powerful. Moving forward and making small but important changes.

Fall is here and I had a wonderfully wholesome girls’ night in last weekend with three friends. We drank apple cider and got to know each other. I’m the neweset one to the group. Our friend Sharon invited us to her home and the plan was to watch “Frozen,” but we had so much fun with girltalk we never even watched it! It was just background music.

We took pictures and told stories. The cider was perfect and it was just what we all needed! We made plans for next time.

The best thing about being single is spending more time with your female friends.

And I’ve got some really great ones! Can’t complain.

Psalms, Common Sense and The Story

At work yesterday, an older man and I were talking. He had bought some of my product and it was slow, so I figured I’d just enjoy the conversation for awhile. We talked quite a long time! He told me all about his life.

He’s a veteran and a theologian as well, and I told him that I am a seeker myself.

A truth seeker. A faith seeker! I like the way that sounds.

And the coolest thing happened– he gave me two specific Psalms to read! He asked if I say The Lord’s Prayer everyday, and I admitted that I don’t. He gently chided me, like a grandfather would. Today, I’m going to say that prayer.

And when I got home, I opened up my Bible (one that my friend gave me last year)– it’s an NIV version- The Journey: The Study Bible for Spiritual Seekers. My friend Leslie gave it to me. She wrote that I’m her “Sister-in-Christ,” and I love it!

So anyway, I’m reading the Bible she gave me– and I enjoy it even more because this one has special meaning.

And I’m shocked to find that the passages he gave me directly related to and answered my questions from the conversation!

I also decided to tell him about my blog, something I rarely do with strangers. But since it’s mostly about faith and religion, why not? As I wrote it down, he began analyzing my handwriting. And he pointed out that the way I cross my “t” is very strong– I think he identified “the cross” in it– as in Jesus’ cross. If I understood him correctly, he said that was an indicator of my faith. My hearing-aids are broken right now so I didn’t quite get everything.

But I love the idea that even my handwriting somehow testifies my faith. And I think it’s so cool that he knows The Bible well enough that he can just give me specific verses to read– almost like a prescription.

I’m beginning to understand evangelizing. It doesn’t have to be something off-putting.

I always thought of it as so obnoxious– and it certainly can be, many are aggressive and too righteous about it.

But this man did it right! We had a conversation and he just brought up something relevant.

And when I did read those Psalms later, I was dumbfounded by how directly the answered the questions I asked him!!

I’m starting to feel less intimidated by the Bible and more drawn to it. It’s a very complicated text, obviously.

I think that I’m honestly just avoiding it– the intimacy. The Bible is as personal as it gets with your faith. Am I ready to go there? I feel that I’m becoming more confident, more curious.

If I could handle Alexander Pope in college, why shouldn’t I be able to tackle The Word?

I know I can do it!

I told him that I had struck a compromise, by getting a novel form of The Bible. I found it at Barnes & Noble was so excited!

I got the King James Version of “The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People.”

I thought, “Perfect! A novel version will be more palatable. If I can get through this first, then I’ll be ready for the real thing.”

To be honest, it’s a bit boring starting off. There are so many names and it’s hard to keep track of the plot. I feel like I need to be taking notes like in high school, just to keep all this straight!

The Story is broken into chapters. Plus, it’s a long book at 469 pages.

But I can do it. I’m on chapter five right now. It’s got rad words like, “shew,” “subtil,” “wroth,” “wast.”

I’m hooked.

I’m going to say The Lord’s Prayer today, and I’m going to commit to finishing the Bible in novelized form.

I may keep reading my others books, I’m usually reading more than one at a time.

But I’m not giving up on this!

The Faith Cup

An Atheist friend of mine had a brilliant analogy about faith once. 

He said it was like a cup with liquid inside– the liquid being the faith. And if no one refills your cup at times, it gets emptier and you feel terrible and start to lose hope and then have an emotional crisis. He was struggling, as well do, to balance his life.

“My faith cup has a splash in it,” he said. 

I agreed, and was impressed.

I was just happy to hear him talking about faith at all! He’s come a long way from his young iconoclast days. He’s kinder.

However, I have something to add. 

I think that WE are the cup– how we feel about ourselves. And at some point, we have to realize that it’s impossible to expect others to keep our cup full. They just won’t. They have things to deal with in their own life, or they have wrong reaction or dissuade us from something we want. They fail to believe in us in a crucial moment or area of our life. They may love and support us, but just not know how to express it the right way.

Our cup will always feel empty if we expect others to fill it. 

But I’m starting to feel that maybe we do have a way to keep it fuller– at least from becoming empty.

Prayer. 

As hokey as that sounds… I believe it. 

I’ve always been preoccupied with God and matters of faith.

We can’t depend on others. But if we pray and try to do well by Him, I think it helps. If we think about others, do our best to help them, to forgive and make others happy, to not judge. Do your best to fill the cups of others, especially when they don’t believe in themselves.

People who are surrounded by torment somehow survive. Their sheer force of will seems to keep something in their cup.

I’m beginning to read Scripture more, even if it’s just in bits and pieces and not a formal study. 

My cup is feeling more full lately.

I love that Atheists are always teaching something, even if they don’t believe themselves.

And I love when sometimes I break through to them, even for moments– that God is not an enemy or a void. When you are friends with a person who doesn’t believe, it can feel so frustrating. I never judge them or try to convert them. I just accept them as they are and I keep being myself. I let them know their faith or lack of is not a condition of my acceptance or friendship. I still see them and I tell them why I think they’re awesome, what about them I admire. 

Don’t forget, God is in that cup! Even though you can’t see Him. And no one can knock him over or drain him away. 

Maybe He’s lonely too. Maybe if we talk to him more, he’ll help us feel less alone, less unsure. 

Maybe God needs our prayers to fill his own faith cup. If you think about it, he’s just a ghost– though a powerful one. 

He needs us, humanity, to do his work and help him connect with us. 

And I Went Home

I went out tonight, briefly. 

I went to a church picnic, but it was ending. Then I went to see a band, but they were delayed in starting. 

One person was complaining about how she was sick but was staying out anyway though she had to work at 8 a.m. Kept coughing. “Go home and sleep! I said. “You should take care of yourself.” She laughed and went back to coughing. 

Another woman walked up and declared, “I need a girl to make out with.” I looked down– not my scene. She laughed at my reaction and walked off, looking for a new target. Everyone was dressed sexy and rock and roll, and I’m standing there in my long skirt with boots and 3/4 sleeve top like a librarian! I had finished my cherry coke and didn’t feel like ordering another one.

I just felt old. It was hot, dark, boring. 

I glanced at the set list and realized, I’m not up to standing crushed against the stage anyway. I’ve got Mass in the morning– I was more excited about that! 

And I left, and felt relief. 

Then I rented “Beaches.”  Still one of my favorite movies. It’s about half-way through, and I pretty much can recite much of it by heart.

And now I’m blogging from my place in the quiet, enjoying my own company.

Perfect Saturday night. :) 

Elusive Anger, Regained Self-Esteem

I can’t hold on to anger these days.

Is that a sign of enlightenment? I suspect not.

Rather, I think I’ve finally just realized that I have no control over others. It’s scary at first, until you realize it’s liberating. 

Anger and envy are beautiful ways to squander your life. I know. 

I used to be so focused on what everyone else had and I didn’t– I was one sour lady.

I’d rather control myself– and that I can do. So I’m redirecting my energy. 

And THAT is exciting. I have more respect for myself. 

Change is happening in my life, because I’m making better decisions. 

I have less to say about it, and more to do. 

I’m feeling powerful and unapologetic. 

I know my worth, and I determine it.

My Father’s Call

My dad calls me every day. I can count on him. I look forward to it. 

He called this afternoon and I didn’t call him back until this evening. I thought he was just asking me something trivial.

But when I did return his call, it turned out a lifelong friend of his is dying, Larry. Not expected to make it past tomorrow, if that. Larry is a wonderful man and a devoted father, husband, and Catholic as well. He lives in Kansas, where we’re from. My dad won’t get to see Larry to tell him goodbye. Larry is sarcastic and blunt, he either likes you or he doesn’t. But he’s a wonderful man– we’ve stayed with him and his wife, Jan, several times when visiting home. Please pray for them as they struggle through this impending loss. 

I felt terrible. I selfishly assumed he wanted something– when in fact, he needed something. My support. He was just calling to tell me about Larry. I waited five hours to call him back. He’s usually in a wonderful mood, but he sounded tired, sad.

One day, my dad won’t call anymore. One day, he may lose his health. There’s Alzheimer’s in his family, his last remaining brother, Jim, was stolen that way. I  pray that it never infects my father’s gentle and unrelenting spirit. I hope he’s with me another 20 years.

My dad is such a warrior. He’s the youngest, and only remaining sibling of seven. So many people in his life have died– and he just soldiers on. Gets up every morning, prays, goes to work. Mass every Sunday, or Saturday if he can’t make it. He never breaks the rules– he always does what’s right. He loves routine. 

When I question my own faith, my father is the example I reach toward of what religion can do for a person. He has endured so much loss and tragedy in his life– but his faith is what keeps him strong. My father is a wonderful man, a doting father and husband, a lifelong business man.

If my father believes in God, I do. That’s how much I esteem his judgement. Sometimes I disagree, I still rebel sometimes, because he’s conservative. We may not vote the same. 

But I’ve never met a human with a bigger heart than my dad. Hearing news like this scares me.  I’m crying as I type this. 

He’s just my favorite person. He tells me, “I’m always proud of you– just some days more than others.”

I’m an only child. My mother died when I was young. My dad is nearly 40 years older than me– much older than most parents my friends’ age. For this reason, I feel a need to do things faster. I want to accomplish things– to be able to share them with my dad, before he’s gone. 

I pray that he’ll be with me– fully mentally and physically able– until the day I hope he can walk me down the aisle. Until the day I hope he lives to be a grandfather. Until I can begin to repay the love and patience and belief he’s bestowed on me. Until I can pay off my debt and hopefully take care of my dad the way he’s always taken care of me. 

I’ve tried to be a devoted daughter the way he’s been such a devoted father. 

My father embodies the concept of grace. I don’t always deserve his love or approval, but I know I always have it. 

He doesn’t love me because of what I’ve accomplished– but merely because I’m his daughter. 

I see him whenever I can. 

Today I was reminded that whatever faults my dad have possess, I should never ever take his love or health for granted. 

And that he deserves for me to answer whenever possible and to call him back, right away. 

I’m so lucky to have a dad WANTS to call me–  not everyone does. He’s always telling me I’m so smart, though I don’t always believe it. He’s always encouraging me to keep writing– to not give up on newspapers. To not give up a career as professional, to believe I’m worthy of it. 

Please pray for his friend, Larry, and his family. And please say a prayer for my dad, too. He grew up a farmer, and many men on his side of the family live to be 80 or even in their 90’s. Farm life instills a rock solid work ethic in you that keeps you healthy for many years beyond what most people achieve.

My father doesn’t smoke. I’ve never seen him drunk in my life. He’s proof that a life of clean living is possible and worth it.

Thank you, God, for my father. 

BLOGGING in the Void: 200 Followers!!

I’m at TWO HUNDRED FOLLOWERS!!*Doing Bloggy dance!* 

First: THANK YOU!

I’m starting to feel like a marathon runner hitting my stride. Still going since 2011, though I almost deleted this! I stopped and realized that was a mistake– that it wouldn’t solve anything to delete the archives. That I didn’t want to give this up.

This blog is certainly an evolution. And a testament to my stubbornness.

A quiet refusal to give up my identity as a writer. A way to publish on my own terms. I’ve accumulated readers and followers without promotion. I don’t want to be one of those obnoxious people who talks to everyone I meet about my blog. 

It’s also a slow and measured transition to accepting the pitfalls of writing. There’s danger as well as glory. 

It’s changed the way people treat me. Some pitch me story ideas or clearly suck up to me because they see me as a PR opportunity, a convenient friend who may get them some publicity. I’ve learned to recognize these sycophants and retain my integrity. 

I’ve had some rude awakenings in refusing to cave on this, but it’s been worth it. I always find my true friends. 

I’ve been surprised and grateful for friends and family who staked their devotion and support by becoming subscribers and commenters. I’ve learned that people I never imagined are reading this– people to whom I didn’t consider myself close and who may not comment, but they would contact me individually, a tremendous comfort.

I’ve learned to not be intimidated by who may or may not be reading this. Or worried about its effect on my job prospects. Or to be bothered by subscribers who I told I wanted to detach from, who are still reading for reasons I don’t understand. They stopped commenting, but they continue reading, and I’ll never know if it’s because they enjoy my writing that much, or they just want to keep tabs on me.

It no longer matters. I’ve learned to keep living my life and moving forward. I’ve dealt with stalkers. I’ve dealt with danger in my personal life from those who may have used things I’ve posted to gain my trust and then exploit it. 

I’ve learned to trust others less, and myself more. I’ve learned not to be silenced. 

This blog as brought a shocking assortment of old acquaintances back into my life. Some which I embrace, others which I denied. But regardless, it’s given me awareness that more people remember me than I would have assumed.

Lately I’ve been thinking, why am I still doing this? 

And I realized it’s not for the feedback– although I enjoy it! Keep those likes, comments and shares coming. It’s not for notoriety, either. In fact, I cherish my privacy– my fundamental conflict with writing remains.

I blog because writing is powerful. Whatever changes occur in my life, this blog is mine. I enjoy the conversations I sometimes have with people because of it. I enjoy complimenting my friends when I feel they deserve it, preserving memories and details of my life. 

At it’s most basic, this blog is me declaring myself. Putting it all out there into the universe. Connecting with other writers, interacting with readers, connecting with what I need to say. 

It’s my choice to be heard.