Testing the waters

I have had so many things happen to me in the last couple of weeks I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take a moment to really reflect on it all.  Yesterday after signing my contracts and sending them off I had to work. I don’t mix work with my personal life so I had to jump around in the bathroom and walk around with a Cheshire cat smile on my face all day without anyone knowing why.

My quiet time is on the bus and that’s when it all really hit me- what a bad time! It takes me a while to process things. I have to do it in my own time and in my own way and maybe God knows this. Yesterday the day was perfect, gorgeous weather testing the watersand the sun shining down on me making this moment even more precious- God really knows how to deliver, doesn’t he? Do you believe in signs? Since you are still the couch I don’t expect an answer so I can tell you, I definitely believe in signs. Signs have changed my life; street signs, horoscopes, fortune cookies and the stars in the sky. Yesterday it was the advertisements on the bus; Museum Day is coming up, 1 October bus route changes and Nike’s slogan – Just do it, Now!

I had an A-ha moment. It should have been when I found my biological family, but it wasn’t. It should have been when my family openly talked about my adoption and all the feelings I was harboring since childhood but it wasn’t. It should have been when I was offered my book contract but again, it wasn’t. Fear still holds me back and doubt is still a good part of my life.

Sitting there surrounded by strangers (bus buddies at most) I was touched by the Spirit and it broke through all my reservations and self-doubt. There aren’t many moments in our lives that are like the one I experienced and I was reduced to tears. I was afraid I’d been in the well of fear too long and if the light ever did shine down on me I wouldn’t see it; I’d be blinded by darkness but I saw the light and the promise of all I could have if I just hang on. Have faith.

How many signs does a person need to change their life?!  (I’m sure that’s what God was saying) I need no other sign. This is it! THANK YOU GOD for everything you’ve given me. I won’t waste this chance and I won’t pass up another opportunity, I promise!!

I’m done testing the waters- I’m jumping in!

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DON’T GIVE IN TO fear

alone 5I’m saddened every day by the number of people who feel they are alone. When depression strikes where do you turn? The sad part is most of us turn inward and that’s the dangerous part. If you’re not expressing your feelings then too quickly they become dark and if we can’t stop the flow of negativity it will build until it’s overwhelming. Depression isn’t a problem for most people and how stunned are we to learn that people die every day from it? Gia Allemand from the Bachelor took her own life. She was beautiful, fun, shy with a perfect smile, her smile hid her distress. And how good are we at hiding our distress? Some of us are very good.

I’ve told this story to my children but it serves to remind me of what fear can do if we let it: When I was in high school my friends and I foolishly played with the Ouija board. We thought it was a game but eventually it was freaking us out. Now I’m not going to say that we were talking to a spirit or some wandering entity but we were talking to something and it scared the crap out of me. One night I was asleep in my bed and I woke to find a black darkness spreading across my bedroom, I turned on the light but the light did no good, the darkness kept coming. I remember I woke screaming in the hallway with my Dad shaking me awake. I had awakened the whole house- my sister said it sounded like I was getting murdered. I’m sure she still remembers that night!

My mother knows me very well (no matter how well I think she doesn’t) she asked me what was wrong and it all came out. Talking it out in the bright light of my bedroom it sounded silly to me but my fear was very real. I’m not sure exactly what she said but the gist of it was, there is only one force on earth that feeds on fear and emotions like it (depression, anger and negativity) and that’s the Devil. He’ll use any weapon he can to turn you away from light. Don’t give in to fear, face them.

That lesson back then is the reason I remain resolute in my decision to fight my fears. Listening to that negative voice in your head telling you that no one will understand, no one will listen to you, no one will be there, no one can ever understand what you’re going through- you’re listening to the Devil and as long as he has your ear the Lord does not.

Families were put on this earth for one thing to support each other and when family isn’t there you have another one. Every parent out there knows that children are only home for a short period of time and then they face the world and unfortunately they don’t face the world with you beside them, they go out on their own so they must be prepared by giving them the absolute best chance for survival. Arm them with everything you can so they are strong against the world because we all know the world can be an Ugly place.  Look at what happened at the Navy Yard and murders and abductions that happen every day.  The Church is your other family. Any church in any city will listen if a stranger walks in and needs to pray. That’s what they are there for, for you in your time of need!

You are Not alone! Don’t give in to fear and doubt! You have angels all around you so stop listening to that voice. I’m here and I- will- listen!

What do you see in Silence?

Postal receiptIt is done. I don’t think there are very many times in our lives when we knowingly change our fate. We make decisions willy-nilly often without thinking of the consequences. I think if we really thought about each decision we made before we made it we’d all be very predictable people, Lol.

I am not predictable. I wish I was….sometimes, but more often than not I am content to be just a little off.  If I was twenty years older the term might correctly be ‘eccentric’ but for now I prefer weird. I gripe so often of rigid, narrow-minded, inflexible people that I think I’ve become one without even knowing it.

I’m hard on people and I don’t meant to be. I pray a lot on my own weakness and I try to follow my mother’s advice, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. I find myself quiet A LOT.

I do try to fit in. I do lunch dates with friends and night at the movies, attend church- you know, all the usual stuff people usually do but then I withdraw. I like going to the movies alone. I don’t mind staying at home and skipping lunch and sometimes I do play hookie from church (btw, it never fails when I do skip church my Mom calls me – sheesh!)  When I was younger, I was never alone.  Is being alone so bad, so taboo that you absolutely need someone with you all the time in order to do things?

I found out something about myself recently, I don’t mind eating alone. I’ve been opposed to eating alone all my life. When you eat alone you look lonely and pathetic. Who wants to be that? But lately I’ve shed a new skin; I am officially one of those people. Why should I miss a good meal just because I don’t have anyone to join me? So Sunday afternoon after not going to church I went to Ruby Tuesday’s and ate alone. It felt good like I’d accomplished something I didn’t even know I was trying to achieve. Was it a test? I don’t know but I sat there and ate a very nice meal.

For me, my life has been a blur. I’ve been going non-stop for so many years that complete silence turned out to be a good thing. The silence put me in tune with the off things I needed to see in myself (and it’s an ongoing process. No one is perfect). Now I have no trouble sitting quietly reading, writing or just drinking a cup of coffee out on the balcony. Silence was a nice change of pace for me from the drama of the last few years.

But I guess I’m made for drama because I’ve done something again that will cause the waters to stir. I just mailed my court order to OKDHS to open my adoption records with the sole purpose of obtaining my original birth certificate. If I don’t do it, I’ll never know and I need to know everything now. It might shed some light on who my father is but for sure I need it to become a member of the Quapaw tribe.

Have you found yourself in the silence? or does the silence hold secrets even you don’t want to hear?

‘Silence might be a foreign land to you but sometimes it is good to leap into the unknown. Practice leaping’- Macrina Wiederkehr

Fear and the Well

rock bottomIt’s amazing to me how much fear holds us back. Fear of not fitting in, fear of being viewed as different, fear of rejection, fear of failure and fear that someone else’s opinion will change who you are. I think I lost my fear when my life hit the dirt.

Being in a well of depression is just that, it’s a well and you’re down there all alone (it feels like it). I think depression is the number one silent killer. No one knows you’re suffering until it’s too late. I also think that the things that define us are also the things that separate us from others– No one could understand what I’m going through so why bother trying to explain it or if they knew the ‘real me’ they wouldn’t like me anymore. I have every reason in the world why I don’t share my feelings with others but the truth is it’s an Excuse. I can keep punishing myself and keep trying to make that well my home. I was afraid to hope. I was afraid to try.

Some people don’t want to leave the well. They are content to be alone with their pain and misery and honestly don’t want people intruding on their very own, private space. They’ve grown comfortable in the gloom and walking topside no longer appeals to them. They look at others in resentment and view life in bitter jealousy. A very small part probably wishes they could leave but it’s overshadowed by the dark they’ve grown used to. You can’t help these people because they don’t want help. When I closed my eyes and said, Lead and I will follow they laughed because the very idea of shedding their despair is ridiculous. Their pain makes them who they are and that’s their biggest fear. That underneath the pain and sorrow, underneath the anger on why this happened to them in the first place, and underneath hurt they’re just like everybody else. No longer separated by their despair, no longer special, no longer different.

I am happy to leave the well. Sometimes I’m not sure I trust what I see– did something good really just happen to me? But each step I take I grow more confident. On my journey I lost everything but I found something too, I find ME.

I don’t have your answers the only answers I have are my own. Where ever you are– in twilight or down in that dark hole- I hope you have the courage to try. I hope when the sun burns away your last tears of anguish you’ll see what we’ve seen all along. We see you……and we like what we see!

Deciding to Live

I attended the White House Medal of Honor ceremony yesterday where we honored SSG Ty Carter.  He risked his life to rescue another soldier.  Not everyone would have done that but in a split second he made the decision to go for it.  Not everyone has that kind of courage. I’m not sure I do. Half my life I’ve crippled myself with indecision and the other half in rash decision. Ever since I knew I was adopted I’ve lived believing I was a mistake. I was unwanted by my mother and given away. I never felt ‘chosen’ or ‘special’, I felt abandoned and unable to express those feelings with anyone else I mainly felt alone.

But I was the life of the party. I was a free spirit, carefree and fun. You never would have guessed I had problems with my identity and self-esteem unless you took a moment to look past my smile. I was like a magician distracting you with one hand so you didn’t see what was going on in the other. A lot of relationships didn’t work out for me because I never let anyone in.  I needed to change.

I ended my marriage because I was living a lie. I was living someone elses dream; the house, the car, the clothes.  Some women will endure anything to have that kind of security but I walked away. Whatever dream I had in my heart, I felt now was the chance to live it.  I struck out on my own hoping to find what I was looking for and through hard work I am where I am today.  But what about my mother?

In 2010, when I found out my mother’s name, indecision hit me like truck. Fear kept me from finding her. I wanted to go to her but all my failures held me back.

I learned something through all my trials and tribulations, never give up. The road is long and the road is hard but it’s my road. My mother gave me life so I could live it and I have. I feel like that woman in Titanic when the boy she loves dies in the water. He tells her to live and at the end of the movie you see her surrounded by all her pictures. Proof of the split second decision she made to live and she did it gloriously.

Making that split second decision to change things is where courage comes in and the strength lies in the determination not to give up. I may die tomorrow but I can tell you this, Mom, beautiful mother, I- have- lived!

 

Fiction

puppetsI love my job.  I kinda of have to because aside from my work, I have no life. Literally, no life – okay, not literally, but you get the idea. I write about my woes as a divorced mother of two in my book, One Step Closer. And if you like whining with a little bit of mystery you can check out my second novel, Through the Darkness – that was an unabashed solicitation to read my books.

http://dmlvanheest.wordpress.com/

I relate my life to a fast car in a big city. Seeing all the glorious opportunities pass me by like an array of lights dancing across my windshield. It goes by so fast. I did get out of my car a time or two and someone should have taken that opportunity and run me over! Maybe then I wouldn’t be where I am today. And where am I, you might ask? On a couch, writing not living. Maybe writing is another way of hiding from life. My character finds love and happiness – heck, I can make her take over the world but its fiction, complete fabrication. My life is non-fiction. It’s not pretty and it’s not easy and the truth is, I’m still in the dark. I’m like playing shadow puppets on my wall it’s so freakin’ dark where I am and my fear is, what if that’s all there ever will be? Faith is a choice. Waiting is the hard part.

 

That’s what you do

broken dreamsThere shouldn’t be a difference

In what you say

And haven’t said.

 

The ties of past yon on unfettered

A promise of something new

But what you say or haven’t said

I fear nothing you say is true.

 

There shouldn’t be a difference

In what you do

And haven’t done.

 

A boast of friend and friendship

Alludes to loyalty and truth

But what you say or haven’t said

Speaks more of what you do.

 

On the bus

BusI’m an observer. I recently read a post online that said we observers are called “Noticers”. The blogger called us beautiful gifts to a frenzied world. I’m not to sure about that but each morning I get on the bus I notice the people around me.

First, my insane mind immediately attempts to pick out the leaders on the bus. Who did I think would step up and take action if the bus was suddenly attacked by terrorists. The movie “Speed” comes to mind and I know I would snatch the wheel and try to keep us going. Hopefully, the police send Keanu Reeves or the whole thing is just not worth it! (I don’t know why my mind goes to the worst case scenario, it just does.)

Secondly, I wonder where each of us on the bus are going.

Where was the  man to my left going with his thick, brown leather watch, his crew cut, brown glasses and too serious eyes? He had an incessant need to pop the gum he was chewing. He got dirty looks from the woman riding beside him.

Or the blind woman. She rode at the front and talked nonstop to her partner. They knew each other, he helped her on and off the bus. I’ve sat by them a time or two and she talks about her work. I think they work together. While she talks she moves her head, tipped up and back, true Stevie Wonder style and smiles while she talks. She has a great smile. Her partner sits stoically listening, interjecting at times, his back rigid and his briefcase in his lap. She talks with her tennis shoes barely touching the ground.

This morning at the traffic light there was a man on the sidewalk. For a minute I thought was talking to the bus driver. He was looking toward us, nodded, then waved his hand. He smiled, waved again and turned to the left. He had something in his hand, two little boxes, the size of a box of Dominos or cards. Maybe they were Dominos. He set the box down, stepped around it, stopped and bowed. I realized then this man wasn’t quite right. A quick glance at the big mirror above the bus driver’s head confirmed he was not conversing with the man on the street.

He didn’t look homeless, other than the two little boxes, he didn’t carry any bags. He wore tan shorts and a button down shirt. He looked unkempt. Just then he set one of the boxes down on the sidewalk and jumped into the grass, like the walkway was a river. He hunkered down sitting on his feet with his knees facing forward and stared at his box. What was he thinking? What was he doing? He stood up made a left turn and bowed again.

The light changed colors and we started to move but I kept my eyes on the box. My curiosity was in overdrive. What could be in the box? But we turned the corner and he was out of sight, I would never know. So I did what I normally do in those situations, I invented an ending to his story.

Like in the movie “Cast Away”, at the end Tom Hanks stands at the crossroads, what ends up happening? They leave it up to you. In my mind, he goes back to the artist and tells her his story and they end up falling in love. He definitely deserved love, pining for a woman who loved him but could never be with him so I thought my ending was fitting.

The man on the street was obviously lost. He inadvertently slipped out of the care unit and was wondering around with the only two things he could take from the psychiatric ward, two boxes of Dominos. An orderly, driving passed on his way to hospital, recognizes Phil, the unkempt man with the chia-pet hair in tan pants. He pulls over and drives the confused man back to the hospital.

Feeling better, I go back to noticing the people around me and no one notices me, the crazy lady in grey dress pants and the silk blouse lost in her thoughts. Where am I going? Who really knows. Aren’t we all a little crazy dealing with life and sidestepping the issues that make us who we are? I think we are.

The only thing is we’re not out on the sidewalk, we’re on the bus. The crazy bus. Lol

Another Time

zombies runDo you ever feel you were born for a different age and another life? I feel that a lot. My grandmother, if she were still alive, lived from the time they had no electricity in their home to everyone owning computers and cell phones. I don’t know that I could handle the concept of time in that aspect. Seeing the passage of time like she did must seem overwhelming. My early years, I remember Atari and color TVs and can’t imagine not having running water. I’ve experienced not having running water but that was only for a day or so and let me tell you, it was inconvenient. I couldn’t take a shower, wash the dishes or even brush my teeth and if I did, it took a lot of preparation not to mention a bunch of heavy lifting (water jugs are heavy).

I couldn’t live in the past. I love my computer and my cell phone and the ability to instantly know how my best friend is doing when she lives 800 miles away from me. Getting a text or shooting an email is second nature for me and again, I can’t imagine what it will be like my children when they grow up. What astronomical feat will science/technology create for them? They’ll probably have clones when my daughter is my age and I’ll be old, hobbling about. I can say, back in my day we didn’t have clones. Lol

I’m not made for that time either although I would be one to travel to the moon or volunteer to terra-form another planet but I don’t think that will be within my lifetime. So what will be within my lifetime?  Zombies. I will kick ass when the zombies come. That’s the time I’m suite for, a time that doesn’t and may never exist. When society breaks down and you no longer have to conform to the norms of the day, that’s when I’ll shine. I’m made for living on my own, fighting for food, traveling great distances and I have no  problem with not speaking to anyone for long periods of time. Of course I haven’t tested this theory. Work requires me to speak and family requires me to stay but one day…….

I’m not one of those survivalist who spend all their money on guns and water and I have my shelter in place. Everything I’ll need to survive if I’m forced out in the night. You think it’s funny but how is preparing for zombies any different from preparing for a terrorist attack or a viral infection or an earthquake that devastates everything you know? Any of those scenarios could happen, so why not zombies?

So zombie don’t attack. I will live out my days completely prepared to do battle with a baseball bat and a machete. It beats pretending I’m a normal, every day citizen. While I’m riding the bus to work or attending my local church, in my head, I’m a zombie hunter. A potential renegade for another time. Who’s with me?!…more than you think.

Celebrate your Geek

NerdI am constantly amazed at how talented and creative the people around me are. I have a lady at church writing her courageous story of survival, I have another friend dealing with cancer determined to help those around her, I have another friend who sends half her money to charities and another raising her son’s children. I include those outside the scope of creativity because they are truly gifted and giving people. They might not draw or write or paint or sculpt but they are inspiring and that’s the gift everyone should be aspiring to.

People have gifts that they don’t even realize are gifts. How about the gift of listening? You don’t know how many times I prayed for someone to just listen to me when I was trapped in that dark hole of depression. Listening is a gift. How about the gift of compassion? Let me tell you, not everyone has that gift. Some people I know have no concept of sympathy or empathy. They see the world in black and white and my world varying shades of grey (no pun intended for those of you who have read “Fifty Shades of Grey” – definitely not my world, LOL).

Today you’re not the couch. You are you, in all your wonderful colors (and yes, black, if you feel black today, black is a color). Whether you have talent or simply surrounded by it like I am, you are unique. There is only one of you so as I deal with my issues, which I will give a rest today – go out and see the world with news eyes. Try and spot the gifted around you; those making a different in their own way. They’re there, you’re there and I see you.