Thursday, November 02, 2017

Poker Face

Alas, I don't have one. I can't keep my emotions from showing on my face, no matter what I try. If I am happy, everyone knows it. If I am sad, people know that too. Unfortunately, when I am shocked, surprised, and/or sometimes disgusted, that shows too. 

I fear that this lack of inability to hide my feelings more effectively has cost me some friends over the years. I hate this. Usually, the shock, surprise, or whatever go away fairly quickly and I regain my equilibrium. But, sometimes the "damage" seems to be done. I used to be much better at this when I was counseling, but I seem to have lost my touch. I don't know if some of my illnesses or meds are partly to blame, or if some of it is just getting older. I just know that not showing my feelings is not working these days.

Ironically, I spent years myself in counseling learning how NOT to hide all my feelings. 

Maybe it worked too well. 




Monday, October 30, 2017

Shingles

Last Thursday afternoon, I saw a news segment talking about a new shingles booster shot. I made a mental note to ask my doctor about it on my next visit. 

That night, I felt the telltale tingling and saw the beginnings of the rash that indicated that it was too late. I already had shingles. Again. 

I honestly had no idea that I could get them twice. I was wrong. Thankfully, this is a much milder case than I had last time and I caught it earlier. 

So, even if you have had the shingles, I would highly recommend that you go to your doc ASAP. There is a new vaccine called Shingrix that has a success rate of up to 90% for those 50 and older. As soon as I get over this bout, I WILL be getting that shot. If there is any chance of not going through this again, I am going for it. 

If you have had chickenpox or a previous bout of shingles, call your doctor. TODAY. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fifty-eight

I am a little late writing this, as my 58th birthday was actually last week. I am still celebrating. I don't mind turning 58 ONE bit, my mother and grandfather both dying at age 57. I have talked to others who have outlived a parent and they tell me that it is a relief to be past "that" age. Nice to know that this over the hump feeling is not totally uncommon. 

I wanted to make my 57th year special. And, I feel as if I have done just that. I hired a professional organizer to help me really make the best use of my limited spaces. I helped a couple of friends reach for their dreams. I joined some groups and met new people, many of whom share my interests. Maybe the most interesting thing this year brought was my trip to Fauquier and Culpepper Virginia to find look for my roots and visit friends. This was one of the longest solo trips I have ever made and was a bit of a challenge with my limitations. But, I did it!

I am not sure what this year will bring. Hopefully enough health and strength to be there for several friends who are facing challenges. A return of function in my hands and the motivation to try some new forms of artwork would be nice. Making some shorter trips to visit friends and loved ones is also on the list. 

Fifty-eight can be great. 

I'll be working on it!

 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Worldview

When I was counseling, one of the things I used to try to get a sense of early in a client's treatment was his or her view of the world. Many presented as depressed, but I could sense glints of a more optimistic worldview deep down. It was up to me to help the client bring that healthier worldview back into focus. The more difficult to treat were the clients with extremely harsh, punitive, or cynical ways of looking at the world. When I heard their stories, I could often understand where these outlooks came from. Some were able, with therapy, to become happier with themselves and, consequently, the world. 

Others, unfortuately, were not able to pull out of their harsh ways of looking at the world. If damaging behaviors were good enough for thier parents, they were good enough for them, by golly!  The abused sometimes become abusers. There is simply no insight into the damage he or she is perpetuating. No self-awareness. 

I find that when I am around defensive, pessimistic, or rigid people for very long, it becomes harder to keep the more optimistic worldview that I spent years working on to overcome less than positive early experiences. I am having to "double down" to keep from being sucked down into holes I do not wish to revisit. 

That glass is going to be half full!



 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Detachment

 Detachment is an art in which I am not proficient. I tend to invest deeply in people, places, and causes I love and believe in. 

However, lately, I am finding myself in a number of situations where I can't reconcile my core beliefs with those being espoused around me. Love, grace, acceptance, inclusion,  mercy, peace...I can't (and don't want to) change or give up those beliefs. 

What do I do when almost everywhere I go I am being pounded words and actions that cause such dissonance in my mind that I come away feeling spiritually and emotionally battered? It almost makes me wish I was the type of person who can float through life without the entanglements of deep emotional investment. But, that is not me. 

So, I must find ways to at least temporarily detach from situations that I feel like I cannot physically escape at this time. 

Ideas are welcome. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

No Words

I realized today that I have not posted on my blog in over a month. I go through phases with this thing. I have been doing it for years. Sometimes I have a lot to write about and sometimes, like the photo says, "There are no words." 

This summer has been a time of no words. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings, but others are saying things much better than I can at this moment. They are echoing my thoughts and feelings and I have little to add. 

I am content at this time to let others be my "voice" on a number of subjects, especially on social media. I just don't have the energy to express myself effectively. So, I keep to myself unless I am with my safe people, donate to organizations that can do the things that need to be done, do what little I can personally do to help.

And pray...a lot. 

 

 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

End of an Aria

There comes a time in every singer's life where the voice begins to lower and some notes are no longer reliable. I was always more of a "second soprano" and never had the really high notes. However, there were notes that were reliable and things that I knew I could sing. Until today.

I had been practicing "Come Unto Him" from Handel's Messiah all week. It was not perfect, but did not sound too bad. I was actually taught this song by Joyce Williford about 40 years ago for a tryout piece for voice scholarships which I was offered from the University of Southern Mississippi and Delta State. I have been singing it periodically for all these years. 

Age and illness have caught up with me and this song is simply not reliable enough to keep in the repertoire. The actual performance today came off reasonably well, but the practice was awful! I cracked notes right and left. I was afraid that I was going to humiliate myself in front of the congregation. The heat was a factor (our church does not have AC), but in my heart, I know it is time to let it go. 

It is my hope that I will be wise enough to recognize when something is no longer pleasing to the ear and adjust accordingly. I want grow old vocally with a degree of grace and dignity. 

And, hopefully, I will know when to hush for good. 



 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Fireworks

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of fireworks. I was never one for loud noises. I also was not a fan of that much of my money going up in smoke!  I do have some happy memories of my Daddy and some of the other men in the neighborhood shooting off bottle rockets toward each other's yards. That was fun, pretty safe, and not horrifically noisy. 

However, I know that fireworks are the whole ball of wax for some folks. I get that. I do. 

Everyday I see pictures on Facebook about how we should be eternally grateful to our veterans for their service and sacrifice. I don't post a picture every day, but I am thankful for what they did. I am particularly appreciative of the services of my grandfather, my father, and my husband, none of whom came home irreparably damaged by their military experiences. 

However, all this sentiment seems to go out the window on "fireworks holidays." People protest their RIGHT to shoot any and all fireworks for as long as they wish. And not just on the holiday, but on the days surrounding that as well! 

If you have a combat veteran living nearby, it might be kind to warn him or her when you are about to start your festivities and also to consider quitting at a reasonable time (by midnight at least?). Maybe you could even donate a portion of your fireworks money to organizations who help those who fought for our freedom. 

Have a safe, happy, and considerate 4th! 

 

 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Annual Conference 2017

The 2017 Annual Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church is in the books. 

Conference is physically demanding for me. I get up before 5 AM in order to drive to Jackson and get a handicapped parking space by 7 AM. I do enjoy that quiet few minutes before everyone arrives just to take it all in. One of my favorite people usually comes in early as well and we get a few precious moments to chat. 

This has been a season of some discouragement for me. New health issues, fatigue, feeling the need to make some changes in my life and activities, have left me feeling lost at times. I have questioned aspects of my faith, wondering just where my place is. 

This year's positive, upbeat Conference was a tonic for my tired body and my weary soul. There is just something indescribable about connecting with my fellow United Methodists, some of whom are personal, longtime friends. Many of them, like me, are cradle Methodists of many generations. This photo was taken as people circled around a precious delegate whose church had endured a terrible split, but was still vital and beginning to grow again. They "had her back." 

I came away physically exhausted, but spiritually renewed. Thanks be to God. 


 

 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Aquapolypse2017

At 11:00 AM last Wednesday, the water went off in Vicksburg. 

My husband and I made it through Day 1. we keep both jugs and bottles of water here at all times. However, we were not prepared for the prolonged outage that this promised to be. We had plenty of drinking water, but flushing...well that was another matter! I am unable to lift very much at one time and weakened further by bronchitis, trying to collect enough water was just not going to happen. We evacuated to Clinton. 

I kept up with what was going on via social media. I was proud of the city for pulling together to weather the crisis. A few comments were discouraging. Any mayor expected to be able to correct years of infrastructure neglect singlehandedly is simply an unfair judgment.  Apparently, he is also supposed to somehow stop trees from falling on power lines during a storm as well! As it was, the repair was done about as quickly as was humanly possible and water was restored in the city. Sorry, Culkin friends. I hate that your generosity has caused hardship for you. 

It was also ironic that some of the nastiest posts came after water was being restored. People who do not understand the process of restoring water to small communities who buy water from the city were complaining about the use of water by those who are in the main part of the city. I will always remember the name of one person in particular and hope I never run into her!

I waited to come home until the pressure had been restored.  Ironically, the power went out 2 1/2 hours later! Entergy has done a lot of tree trimming, but they can't control straight line winds that can level entire trees in seconds. 

Right now, I have power and water. I consider myself fortunate. If any of my friends reading this need access to either, I am here. Come on. 



 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Roots

Before I went to look for my roots in Virginia, I decided to bite the bullet and do one of those Family Tree DNA things. Due to delays with the company, I was not able to get my results before I went. 

Even before I sent in the sample, I was pretty sure of what the results would be. The only surprise is that there is not more of a concentration in the British Isles. 

I was never really into this genealogy stuff until fairly recently, but I find that the more I dig up, the more I want to keep digging. Ironic analogy since I come from a long line of planters and I am the one who can kill a plant in record time. 

Now I just have to figure out where that rogue Spaniard came from. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bronchitis...again.

It looks as if this is the time for my annual bout of bronchitis. I am thankful that it at least waited until after Easter to hit this time. I got to enjoy singing for Hermanville, Porter's Chapel UMC, and St. Alban's this year. It did not hit me during my vacation, for which I am also thankful. 

I know what I have to do to get through this. I have to temporarily shut down. Rest, both physical and vocal are crucial. I have medications. I have my vocal rest badge. I have fancy teas. I just have to have patience. This is not one of my prime virtues. 

I have been strugglings with making some decisions about life changes (nothing drastic!) and this may be my opportunity to reflect on what needs to be happening in my life at this point. 

TTYL

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Unhappy Mother's Day

After 26 years of being without my mom, Mother's Day no longer holds the sting it once did. I am blessed with other "mother figures" in my life. I can now look at the ads and commercials and not get teary eyed. 

I know several people who are facing that first Mother's Day without their moms this year. That first one is especially tough. it gets easier, but that does nothing to make you feel better NOW. (((Hugs))) to you.

I also know a number of folks who have mothers who are physically here but are estranged for a variety of reasons. Some mothers are simply too ill, addicted, or abusive (both physically and emotionally) for their children to remain in touch and stay mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy themselves. Some of my friends have "adopted" mother figures who help fill the void, but I don't imagine anything can help completely.

Whatever your situation, I hope you have the best day possible. 

 

 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Sabbatical

Driving thousands of miles alone on my recent trip to Virginia gave me a lot of time for reflection. 

Since I had to retire from full-time work due to health issues, I have filled my time with volunteer work. Church activities, teaching watercolor, singing for nursing homes, and maintaining an art space at The Warehouse to benefit Lifting Lives Ministries have kept me busy. Too busy.

So, for the summer, I have decided to step back from one of my most rewarding, but time and energy consuming activities. I am taking a break from teaching watercolor at the Senior Center. I have been doing this for 8 years without a significant break that did not involve illness or surgery! 

So, I am taking a break. Time to relax, reflect, and reassess.