What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. πŸ™‚

The above is the last page from my memoir. Can’t believe I actually dug it out after all this time, opened it up, and actually gave you a glimpse. But, it’s kind of significant to this present circumstance, so…

Anyway…

I wrote that bit about 5 years ago. Ok. Probably closer to 6 or so, when you add the year of shuffling my ambitious thoughts one publisher to the next.

I read it now and it’s just…wow. There was a nice little pocket of hope back there. I forgot I had it in me.

Like this:

Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done. This is only the beginning.”

And:

“Be well and be blessed right where you are for who you are.

Oh, pithy phrases, yes. Somewhere within is still a touch of delight in the flow of the words, honestly.

And, really, it’s nothing I don’t still believe, deep down.

Yet…I look at them now and, frankly, feel a little foolish for all I have to admit I was dreaming then versus where I now sit…

Which is on a secondhand couch with a cover that doesn’t fit quite right in a house yet unfinished.😏

Countless heartaches yet unfinished.

A life…yet…unfinished.

There was a lot more I wanted to be doing now, if I am being honest.

I wanted to be that polished, well-heeled author/speaker, going from one place to the next sharing all the knowledge He’d given me.

Advocating for my autistic beauties.

Reminding others of His truth, His grace, His providence.

(Not to be crass, but seeking a chunk of that providence and, perhaps, even that oft-elusive thing called financial security through fees and sells.)

I had been on the stage for years, after all. I could kind of, sort of public speak.

I’d played everything from a busybody mom (Father of the Bride) to an early 1900’s murderess (A Rose for Emily).

I even got our high school’s version of an Oscar ( coined the Larrys) for supporting actress once.

It was exhilirating and freeing to be up there playing pretend, particularly for one whose confidence had been so diminished over the years by abuse.

( And, yes, part of me wishes I had pictures to show you, too. But, there are a lot of things on the road to divorce from your high school sweetheart/acting partner- one of which is the disposal of artifacts related to your time together. )

At any rate, with that resume, I could potentially sell myself accomplished, right?

Even if, even if…I didn’t feel it all the time?

Or, really, hardly ever? 😏

Ummm…it turns out, no.

For, I discovered the hard way, as most things with me have had to be discovered, that playing a little old lady exposed for poisoning her lover’s lemonade and exposing my own vulnerabilities are much, much different.

For one is a performance and the other is just…not.

The other is life.

My life.

A life, granted, I can call redeemed in Jesus.

Hallelujah for that!

But, still a life I felt protective over.

Still feel protective over.

With kids and events and hurts and joys I felt and still feel protective over.

Things….not for sale.

I quickly found I just could not get up there and share it with anybody.

Nor could I sit smiling behind a tower of fresh books and “hawk my wares”.

Literal agony!

So, as is my tendency when faced with agony, I shut down and dashed away, flinging aside any regrets for the sake of safety.

There weren’t a ton of offers, or something, but I did beg off some opportunities and sure didn’t go pursuing any new ones after I realized how out of my wheelhouse it all was.

It was not long till the faint buzz calmed in this little town and beyond.

And not much after that that it went silent altogether.

So…now, 5 years later, here I am.

Still facing down the same pack of insecurities, if not more.

I have my things I do, my cookies I bake, my youth I talk with and counsel a bit.

Yet, overall, I find myself in further retreat than ever.

And maybe, just maybe, nursing some regrets that got imbedded in spite of my cross-country run away from expectations.

I hate to pull out the word “failure”.

It gives me such an unpleasant, sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And people invariably chide me for using it.

But, for all intents and purposes, according to a lot of standards, that is the word that suits me just now.

For, I ventured out in something big, picturing one thing, and it did not, in fact, become that at all.

It failed.

I failed.

Oh, it’s all right. I need no comfort as I put those words out there.

It’s just an unfortunate necessity as I ponder my life.

Where it’s been, where He wants to take it.

And, in all this midlife crisisy mumbo jumbo I have been serving up so often lately, I have to keep asking myself one key question:

“What’s it all about?”

Writing, sharing, life….

It’s a weighty question, but a worthy one.

For, if my end aim is only to make myself feel good for a while about myself, then it’s all for naught.

A flash-in-the-pan sensation at best.

Such a feeling will never satisfy. Not even worth messing with.

But, if this pursuit is truly about honoring Him with what He has given me alone to honor Him with, then…. it’s invaluable.

For, despite how I let the world and my own massive doubts rail against me some days-too many days,

It really, truly matters not what others think of my offering or what becomes of it.

After all, no deficiencies-real or imagined- can remain where one gives purely of one’s heart to the Father.

The past cannot truly define, the present cannot truly disappoint, and the future cannot truly discourage where His truth exists…

Now, I have to chuckle at myself a bit here as I just looked back on that page once more.

A few sentences above the other quotes I shared, I also said this:

“For the message isn’t how to be a success way down the road or how to be a success at all.”

And a few phrases down, just before the “be blessed” bit:

“Don’t look too far back and don’t strain too far ahead”.

Ahem. Well, then, Lord. Using my own words to set me right, huh?

He has a real way with that….πŸ™‚

You know, all this, and I still have not a notion really what He has for me next, but I am learning, with His patient reminders, not to fret on it.

Ok. So, thanks for riding along with me a ways, dear friends. I pray wherever you find yourselves at, you are feeling His presence guiding you into all He has for you. Blessings! ❀

In the Light

Hello, there, dear friends! I have been continuing on, digging deep into my heart, searching the Word, searching my soul.

Listening to a lot of tunes, one of which I will share below when I am done rambling. πŸ˜‰

Anyway….really, essentially, I am working a lot on who I am in Him and what He has for me…

I turned 43 last month…and I feel it-if not significantly more.

No…you didn’t miss it.

I purposefully did not disclose the day here or with many in my offline world. No offense, but I just didn’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a tragedy or anything. It’s a testament to how far He has brought me, really.

Yet…I have found myself less than thrilled with it.😏

Now, I hestitate to deem this a typical “midlife” crisis though it has many of the earmarks.

I find myself wondering often if I’m enough.

Am I doing enough?

Am I being enough?

Despite my rep for cooking for and hanging out with our little youth group, I am also famously reclusive here in my little town.

A big part of that is due to the physical limitations…

And other parts?

Mentally, emotionally, socially?

It’s just…who I am.

I dearly, dearly love people. I care from the depths of my soul.

Empathy is a major component He has placed on my heart, as is intercessory prayer.

Yet…I really intensely struggle to be around many people for very long. Some folks I feel downright uncharitable about. And it’s getting more profound the more years I add.

And that is just being around them. Forget engaging in conversation!

It’s disconcerting. I waffle between feeling the need to apologize for myself and to defend my oft-noted, very introverted territory.

And, sadly, I am just as well known for the list of “I can’ts” or “can’t anymores”, as the case may be.

Driving.

Traditional employment.

Being on my feet too long or on any uncertain terrain.

Climbing.

Running.

Dancing.

Lifting things of any significant weight.

Opening jars.

Sit-ups.

Being in a crowd.

Holding an infant in my arms.

Wrangling toddlers.

Selling books.

Selling myself. πŸ™„

And that is but a partial list.

I’d write more, but that’d belabor the point.

It can be a tad depressing to read, to be sure.

And, yet…lately, I have begun to ask myself: do I use it as a crutch?

Oof.

Dare I admit it can become an… excuse?

A way to not have to push myself beyond comfortable bounds?

I don’t know.

Perhaps.

Can lingering on my fears and tucking myself in tight to my limitations become an actual…sin?

Oh, dangerous territory indeed, especially to an ex-charismaniac!

So much of the belief system prescribed in the name-it-and-claim-it crowd depends on only talking positivity over oneself and calling all sorts of things that are not as though they are. As if the power rests alone in my little, feeble hands!

I don’t want to go back to those places in my mind that displace a sovereign God. Ever.

Too often did I browbeat myself for not “stepping out” in some things-certain it proved a severe “lack of faith” not to believe I was going to be absolutely in divine health and prosperity because God told me to declare it so.

Never mind some thorns in our sides are not necessarily meant to be removed.😏

But, in that, Paul still went out and did what God had for him to do.

So…it stands to reason God asks me to do so, too.

But exactly what?

There were times in my life I thought I knew.Now? Everything, every wheel turning in my brain, every joint in my body feels…rusty.

So…the search for the what goes on, if a bit slowly. I have ideas in baby form, but are they mine or are they God’s?

Well…

I guess I’ll know it when I land on it.

But, to land on it, I will have to keep venturing, even with the protest choir crying in the back of my head.😏

Because if there is one thing I want, it’s to pull away from these hinderances that bog me down in sin and self-loathing.

I want to be in the light, as He is in the light.

And I have to learn to accept the thorn in my side at the same time as I seek the ways He has for me to live in His light.

And this introduces to the promised song, straight from another beloved 90’s Christian Band, DC Talk.

Oh, how many days did they inspire my soul!

Would that I could just share their entire catalog.

So, so many of their songs resonate from The Hard Way to Jesus Freak, from What if I Stumble? (That long, long ago in a galaxy far away I sang as a duet at churchπŸ™‚) to Consume Me.

But, this week, In the Light and its raw, powerful lyrics stir me in particular. This is my heart’s cry, in fact. May it be all of ours. Have a listen and draw near to His light. Blessings and prayers. And I thank you for yours. ❀

Updates

Hey, friends. A quick update. Our little community has finally felt the effects of this virus and we are back in remote land at least through the beginning of next year-all except our IEPers, including my sweet daughter. She will be able to continue on site with her para so she can get that personal attention that helps her succeed. Very grateful-as is she!

My college boy for his part has continued to do so well, constantly defying the stereotypes around his autism. He also has been able to continue in person, a rather important consequence of the hands-on learning in his engineering studies (can’t transfer use of 3-D printers to online schooling, for example.😏).

This leaves two at-home kiddos for me. One 16-going-on-42-year old boy who will likely regale me on his breaks with the latest oldie he’s learned on the bass guitar and one infinitely creative 8-year-old boy who could spend all day building and drawing me cool stuff, but will likely need a lot of mama coaxing on the paperwork side of things. So…there’s that. Again. Sigh.

In addition to that, we have been consumed with a lot of tough family business.

This prevailing illness finally hit not just our community but also brought my husband’s grandmother’s time on earth to a close.

She was 93, with a scrappy reputation for so long, but, in the last year or so, had been descending into a dementia we’d anticipated would take her soon as it was.

Where I would never dream to call such a thing as dementia a positive, it amazingly proved the way God could reach her heart.

How, if her mind was going? some might rightfully ask.

Well, you see, she spent most of her life not merely scrappy, but also bitterly anti-faith. A church had burned her once long ago and that had effectively shut down any thoughts of God.

Yet, as her mind had begun to slip, something in her countenance changed.

She became receptive to the family’s “Jesus Talk” as she once disdainfully called it.

She talked of the joys of being a child and remembered better Sunday School days learning of scriptures and salvation.

She became that child again in lots of ways and, in so doing, the door opened so she could receive Jesus as such, the resistance she harbored all those years melting away in recognition of His infinite goodness to her. I truly believe she was resting in that truth as she went.

We are no less sad to have lost her to this world, yet…

Now, we know we have not lost her for good. We will see her on the other side. The comfort of this lifts the sorrow and reminds us of the joy to come.

And that we should never stop praying for our loved ones to come to salvation!

His ways are so far above ours it defies description!

I guess that about sums it up at this point as far updates go.

I tend to come and go as able these days, anyway, but fair warning-I will be fairly silent on here for an extended time as I place my energies into guiding my youngest.

As well as helping my husband with the business, which has hit some huge time crunches in the last few weeks. That could certainly use some prayer…not only that we can see the work to completion, but also that a) my body stays cooperative to the task and b) I can be of some level of use to him.

It is safe to say being married to a handyman has expanded my vocabulary enough that I know what a flange and flashing are, but it really hasn’t changed my aptitude. 😏

Still…I can always hand tools as long as I know which doohickey he is after. 😁

Well…hope this finds you all well in your respective worlds, my friends. Keep the faith! Much love and many prayers! ❀

Newsboys – Joy

Hi, friends! I have been sitting here waiting on deeper inspiration again.

So…in the meantime, an update, a song, and perhaps a bit of a ramble. πŸ™‚

Things are progressing pretty nicely on most all fronts in our world.

School has thus far remained a safe and happy go-to for my younger ones as the pursuit of music, performance, and friends tops their list. And for one, a big shocker is added-cross country! (Seriously, folks…athleticism is not in the genes. At all. So, the fact my 16 year old boy has determination to push through majorly sore ankles to try this is awesome.😊 )

And my college boy? Well, he is stepping forward in self-management and relationships, each step precious proof autism has become his fuel (As well as increasing evidence I’m getting older! Acck! πŸ˜³πŸ™‚).

Let’s see…what else?

Business is busy. Right now, my husband is on the remodel that never ends, but hey, that is job security right there! 😏

Oh, and Community Youth Group has begun again as of last Wednesday! I was thrilled to make cookies and spend some time in worship and study with our dear kiddos! ❀😊

And, beyond the usual allergy invasion and the nose-blowing fest that naturally follows, I am actually finding some fairly decent days physically speaking- between the creaky joints, of course. πŸ™‚

Life is still with its various shades of differences and challenges, no doubt, but there is a joy that rises…and not just because things are well at present.

Don’t get me wrong-it’s great things are well at present!

I’m so grateful.

But, joy is not found in whether all’s well or not-so-well.

No…rather, it is found in waking up and abiding with Jesus.

Every day I get to roll out of bed and know my sweet Lord is right beside me, ready to help me face whatever comes.

And that bubbles up in me a song that has been one of my go-to’s-from another band that has long been a go-to in of themselves…

Newsboys-in particular, their earlier years.

Hmmm…maybe it’s the 90’s-early 2000’s kid in me. πŸ˜‰

Don’t get me wrong. I still love what the newer incarnation of the group does now, but, oh, my…the exultant bounce to this one!

The effervescent, intricate lyrics!

It really takes me back.

I can’t help but rejoice with this one….

Have a listen and see if you don’t rejoice with me. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❀

Unmasking Kindness

Ok. I am about to burst. I just have to do this.

It’s tough to venture to in this current situation, but (deep breath) let me just out with it:

I. Hate. Masks!!!

Ahhh. That is better. Not unlike when you get home from being out in polite society and (carefully) yank off said mask. 😏

Oh, let me reassure you, I am not saying this to be a political activist or a fist-shaking rebel.

Longtime readers know I am not your typical fan-the-political-flames or rebellious sort.

No knee-jerk offerings here. πŸ™‚

For, where I will most unapologetically say as a Christian, I don’t think we should be wallowing in panic, I neither presume to know best on this or just how to sort through the maze of confusing information, conspiracy theory du jours, and what have you.

Because, doggone it, Jim, to flip what Bones always said:

I am a mom. Not a doctor.😏

And, yet, being a mom-a mom of special needs as well as one with her own neurological and physical differences, I just can’t help it.

I hate masks.

For what they do to my children and I physically.

Emotionally.

Socially.

Oh, yes, I know we ought to be above it all for others’ sake.

Kids are resilient (And, in many ways, they actually are. This is not news to me!).

You get “used” to it. They’ll get “used” to it.

It’s for the good of our fellow man.

If you struggle that much, just shut yourself in your home 24/7.

I have heard it all.

Yet, it’s not so simple for some of us and I wish others would acknowledge this without talking it down.

You see, it’s been a rather painful period in our little community.

We are at a dismayingly cold war over this issue.

Between balancing caution and compassion as school begins again.

Frankly, there are no easy choices. I get that.

Firstly, I know this point without a doubt:

Online education cannot replicate everything.

My kids did all right in the spring, praise God, but we all know there are things they love and thrive on that I just cannot provide o solo mio.

Yet, we mustn’t be careless in the process of reopening. I do believe in Godly wisdom. We can’t be wily-nily on this and expect good results.

And, yet…we are all becoming so sharply opinionated around here, we are forgetting what our small town has always shared.

Namely, friendship. Or so I thought from my admittedly, nearly perpetually, introverted distance. πŸ˜”

But, then, maybe, this highlighted to me what is disconcerting to realize is still true- that I really don’t get that word, “friend”.

For, what is a “friend”, really?

I use the term often here and I want to be clear-I genuinely mean it in referring to each of you I interact with.

You are each very dear to me. I have felt your fellowship on an authentically personal level.

Yet, I fear to broach the question, but feel I must for the sake of my honesty-is it easier for me to do here because it’s not in person?

Hmmm…

Probably, to be frank.

The written word is my forte.

In person, I am a gangly-mouthed mess (Add a mask and, boy, howdy!).

Shoot, even the phone is not much better.

I have to practice basic conversation.

Seriously.

It’s rather embarrassing, folks. πŸ™„

Anyway, moving on…

A further thought on this-

We sometimes sing at church, “What a friend we have in Jesus…”.

And I love and believe and embrace that fact in Him.

No doubt there.

And, yet, there is a persistent lack of truly knowing that word “friend” well in my heart or life experience.

So much so that I don’t know that I really know sometimes what it even feels like-in person, anyway.

Whenever everybody was pairing off on the grade school playground, I was off in a corner, gathering sticks or wandering the perimeter, eyes downcast, affecting an unconcern that I most definitely did not feel.

For, those eyes were fixed down out of abject fear.

Fear they’d collide with another’s.

Fear they’d see into my soul.

Fear the pain of that and the sure judgment to follow was just more than I could bear.

I could sometimes bear a swift glance in the vicinity, though it was more likely to be a nose or mouth I was comfortable fixing on.

Especially the mouth. For, there I could at least discern frown or smirk or smile.

I wasn’t always sure if what I saw was genuine, but it was easier to interpret for the most part.

And, now, all these decades, two marriages, four kids, a career, autism acknowledgement and, most importantly a life decision for Christ later, I am still so often that little girl on the perimeter.

Even here in everybody-knows-everybodyville.

Oh, I have found my ways and my niches, facilitated my kids in the same.

Yet, my longing remains both to be a part and yet to steal away.

Of the aching to trust and the anxiety of whether I really can.

So…needless to say, in this current climate of bickering over social distance and masks everywhere you go, I am experiencing a lot of inner turmoil.

There are those whose faces my kids and I cannot read.

Literally.

I love the clear masks and pray more and more have access to them. They are great for more than just those who lip read.

In fact, as soon as I discovered them, I got onboard and bought some.

But, even that boils down largely to choice. And most are still choosing coverings that conceal the vast majority of their face.

The best we can do with most is a fleeting look into the eyes.

And what we see there is often the disapproving and the fearful if my kids or I happen to be having a hard day with the enforced coverings, compliant though we are trying to be.

Then, there are those whose faces are uncovered save their bright red spots of anger that any would be attempting a mask at all.

And neither is good.

Both strive to seem holy.

One the pious do-gooder.

The other filled with “righteous” indignation.

Yet, neither truly trying to understand the other.

Or, for many, remember they are supposed to be family in Christ.

It’s disheartening, always feeling caught in between.

Wanting to see peace between opposing forces.

To do right somehow by all simultaneously.

And still kindly advocate for my dear ones and myself in the process.

Hoping somewhere out there is a friend in the midst of this mess, knowing we mean well, yet also acknowledging what we are daily up against is much more multifaceted than the mere fight against a virus.

I further hope we can unmask kindness, be it in their eyes or the whole face. πŸ™‚

I have no answers here save the knowledge that even if I still struggle at times with the concept of friendship, what a friend we have in Jesus.

And I know He is the friend that is always here to help us bear it all…

Thank you for reading, you whom I also feel I can always call friends! I love and appreciate each of you. So much I know I can request your prayers as I extend my own to you. These are challenging days and I know we are going to need much strength. Blessings to each of you! ❀

These Are Big Days

Hello, my friends! It’s been a few again, hasn’t it?

I confess I have had somewhat a lack of inspiration lately-at least for my favorite deep, poetic word-painting.

Sigh.

It’ll return, I know. It always does.

But, just now, my mind is too stuffed to do more than simply unload.

Forgive me. πŸ™‚

A major part of that, I guess, is the busyness that has steadily crept up in my family of late.

These are big days in our corner of the world. Big days indeed.

Beautifully, dauntingly BIG.

For starters, our middle boy turned 16 late last month and the youngest turned 8 the other day.

Our fanfare may’ve been somewhat more limited than usual due to our country’s current circumstances, but both celebrations had their share of joy, pizza, and giant birthday cookie sugar rushes.😊

Now, we are poised for our only daughter’s 8th grade promotion-a tradition in our community that was delayed along with so much else, but, now, allowed to continue as a safe, masked affair. Grateful for creative minds making something important still possible for our kiddos.

And, perhaps the biggest of all, we recently got to have a safe, socially distanced high school graduation for my oldest.

He will be off to college this very weekend, as it’s rather pertinent his engineering studies remain actually hands-on in classroom.

I am certainly feeling the emotions of this poem I shared earlier this year, let me tell you!

We have actually seen shifts in venue, shifts in decisions, shifts in circumstances even since then, but with equal measures nerves and excitement, ready he is to walk through the doors God has opened.

Ready are they all for various launches and changes.

And my husband and I?

Ah, jury’s still out, honestly! πŸ˜‰

Hard to believe so much is happening so swiftly!

My adorable bonus baby born of my second chance is now only two short years from double digits!

My sweet consolation prize autistic beauty is heading for high school!

My middle boy, my astonishingly mature little rock, is two short years from a graduation of his own!

And my eldest-this brilliant, oft-baffling one who started this whole crazy, amazing journey into motherhood in general and on the autism spectrum specifically, is fully adult and preparing to fly. 😒

It takes the breath and any attempt at adequate words, my friends.

I am by turns proud and terrified.

The wheels in my brain roll to this concern and that thrill.

This hope and that fear.

This coming into their owns in this turbulent season alone is enough to set the mind reeling. 😳

At times, it even momentarily paralyzes me with a dozen tasks yet in hand!

But, then, in the midst of that comes the gentle reminder from the Father to place my reliance on Him.

He who wraps us all in His hands.

And I can push forward with that knowledge, then, keeping my step in time with His, trusting that He who began a good work in each of my dear ones will be faithful to complete it…

He can do no less, after all. He’s God. πŸ™‚

And, so He will do the same for us all, friends, when we rest in Him. Thanks for letting me unload a bit about our big days. Blessings and prayers! ❀

Thought I’d share a few photos for a change…

P.S. Something else big- I noted I have made it past the one year mark with this particular blogging effort and have yet to want to close up shop and run. 😊 Believe me when I say that is HUGE for me! Thank you so much for being an integral reason I have had this breakthrough, dear friends! I pray we can continue to have many years of fellowship to come!❀❀❀

When God Makes a Match Out of Our Mess, or the How Marisa Met Joe Story, Part One

And now, for something totally different…

Inspired by my sweet blogging friend, Tina, over at Pippi’s Poetry and her recent wonderful posts on how she met her husband. Hello, friend! 😊

Also, honestly, further fueled by the struggles mentioned here.

I think it’s safe to say I could really do with some sharing of this piece of my story at this particular point in time.

To be reminded of His unparalleled goodness to us.

For those who have travelled with me one blog to another or read my book, this all might not be exactly different. My apologies.

Still, with each writing, there are fresh insights to be had. So…there’s that. 😏

Anyway…I have alluded in a lot of posts to having been married before.

It all figures into where I am now. Therefore, this portion impresses upon me to be told first, like it or not.

So…onto to laying the groundwork…

Husband #1 was my high school sweetheart.

The only guy I thought would ever stick around the likes of shy, dorky me.

The one I honestly assumed a lot of my identity through, as I had never felt much of my own.

I had grown up in the confusing atmosphere of a series of charismatic churches.

I had said a prayer to accept Jesus at age 5 that I didn’t really understand. No one truly helped fill in the gaps with anything more than to introduce the concept of being separately filled with the Spirit.

It was indicated such a “baptism” would bring me the “benefits” I witnessed weekly: supernatural healing, speaking a “heavenly language”, and the ability to worship in a “freer” (read: frenzied) fashion. Maybe even prophesy.

I could never figure out why none of that stuff came to me despite my sincere longing. I wilted in rejection.

At age 13, a lot of years of that later plus the abuse my mother administered at home, and I was back at the altar crying out to God to take my heart and change it.

To make me worthy. Because I sure didn’t feel much of that.

I did feel a change then, though again, there was a bundle of confusion handed to me with it when camp sponsors attempted to force me to speak in tongues.

However, older and a bit wiser, I tried to brush that aside this time and place my focus on that change I was feeling Him make within me.

I needed that change within me. I knew it was there.

Yet, I was still so unsure of His love in this process. Of any love, for that matter.

That was something, after all, so often given only to be snatched away when I proved less than pleasing, or so I thought.

I think that rampant insecurity as much as anything made it easy for me to latch onto this guy in my Drama 1 class.

He was funny. He was friendly. He said he believed in God, went to a church that was a lot simpler to understand.

And he seemed to like me.

But, it was never really what I could term as healthy. Lots of overattachment, plenty of push and pull.

Yet, I convinced myself we were destiny, as was the ministry we would unite in.

We married a year out of high school.

It proved a lot harder than anticipated. Neither of us was mature enough to sustain the necessaries of a God-centered relationship.

Children were born, responsibilities weighed, depression haunted.

And…we collapsed. Studies were abandoned and his dreams shifted another direction, with another person.

And the kids and I?

Well, we were left largely to fend for ourselves, beyond the very occasional visit, the very occasional financial contribution.

I was dangerously near suicide, saved by the love of my children and their need for me.

And…for a long while, the foolhardy hope he’d somehow come to his senses and come home, if only I behaved dutifully and prayed hard enough.

I really thought I was hearing from God on this, even.

In the meantime, I took up a new way of life:

Raising kids, discovering their autism and developmental delays, teaching a class of toddlers, learning to lean on God as my husband in that season, drawing my strength from Him.

It was brimming with opportunities for wisdom and fraught with fountains of tears.

New ways to find His joy were latched onto.

Yet, I also held onto my hope for a restored marriage-so tight the fabric of it grew frayed.

And on that fabric was written my mantra: Just waiting on a miracle here. I neither need nor want any other man.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the abandonment, I had found myself vulnerable to the teachings of my childhood and began to swallow the charismatic line whole.

However, as time and circumstance wore on without a glimmer, the words blurred to an unrecognizable blob in my hand, the fabric I carried like a security blanket long since past its use.

Until, finally, one day, I just decided.

I looked around and admitted it. I was lonely. Desperately lonely.

And quite fed up.

He wasn’t coming home because that wasn’t God’s answer to my many prayers.

The answer was I was a fool to believe God was speaking this false hope to me!

I had wasted six years of my life in unrequited longing.

I was done.

And, so, in this moment of revelation, where I wish I could say I had laid it all at His feet, I instead snatched a major chunk of it up for myself, pulled out my mobile phone, and signed myself up for something I never imagined I would do in a million years:

Online Dating. 😳😬

And….whew. That took a lot more words than I anticipated, though I should know my tendency towards windy phrasology by now.😊

That said, I think I shall have to stop there. Seems like a good spot, anyway.

All right. So, I know it is titled, at least partially: “The How Marisa Met Joe Story”. And…we aren’t even to anyone named Joe yet. For any dangling, I am sorry.

But, I promise, he is coming!πŸ˜‰

Stay tuned. I will likely have Part Two for you by Friday. 😊

Thanks for reading! Blessings and prayers, friends! ❀

Crafting Changes


Hello, my friends! It feels like another longish stretch since I have been here! I hope no one feels too neglected. Though my days have taken a different shape in some ways, my heart and my prayers are ever with you. ☺ Hoping this finds you well and seeking the Lord.

I am striving ever for that myself in the midst of crafting a new way to do school, but, I think I am due for some stark honesty here.

It’s funny, really…

Despite my longing to craft other things-to write, to inspire and to be inspired, I am finding it much more taxing to gather my words when I finally do find a moment.

Perhaps it’s just circumstantial.

Circumstances are admittedly…unorthodox, shall we say?- at this stage of our lives.

For all, of course, but, I think especially of us impromptu home schooling parents right now. πŸ˜‰

Now, I am in the somewhat unique position of being accustomed to the life of a relative recluse for a variety of reasons ranging from my physical struggles to my carefully guarded, incredibly introverted nature. πŸ˜’

Not to mention, frankly, long years of the instinctual limitations that often come of parenting special needs.

I do miss church in-person-even if I was frequently the quietest one in the place- as well as cooking for and listening to the banter of our youth group.

Not to mention the simplicity of just strolling into a store on one of my good days with a modicum of abandon.

I am also finding it a bit deflating currently that our technology is too old and creaky to participate in many of the neat things others are doing virtually, as well as the fact my pocketbook isn’t too giving for the updates (Yet, for our actual needs, what we possess suffices, so, I feel gratitude should have its way over such complaints, really. ).

And, much as I am adoring this gift of extended hours with my dear children, I do find moments of longing for the few quiet chunks of the day I had formerly possessed, naturally.

But, all that aside, I can really chuckle to myself that I was born to “stay at home” and scarcely needed an order to do so. πŸ˜‰

So…it isn’t truly these aspects draining me of creative juices. Not really.

Maybe…maybe it’s just time in of itself that has me thrown- paradoxical thing that it is.

Such a precious commodity.

So daunting yet interesting to be presented a drastic reordering of it.

I am cheering on those who are and praying others will be able to capture the silver lining gleaming in the clouds here.

Yet, it’s also consternating how oddly the hands of the clock move these days.

Meandering down unfamiliar paths yet still remaining swift as ever.

Routines upended and rearranged. Things to be let go of, new things to be embraced.

I have to say management in our family of all such has been remarkably blessed by God’s ever-guiding hand.

In any household, that’s something to rejoice in.

In an autism household? Truly miraculous.☺

We are poised for our last three weeks of school already and in pretty good stead with all that it entails.

Yet, all that it entails adds up to… well, an awful lot of this baffling time thing we speak of, leaving little room for expanding thoughts to the avenues once enjoyed.

Words have been fading away from something to skip in a field of flowers with.

Words, rather, have morphed into something to teach how to sound out and how to spell.

To write neatly on the line and to properly define.

Perhaps inserted into a bit of essay coaching for flavor.

Which can have its own brand of satisfaction-don’t get me wrong.

It’s a rare joy to shape my kids in this way.

But, delight in shaping words unto the Lord?

The thirst remains, but time seems to be sapping the wherewithal lately.

Even writing all this, my mind is so…back and forth. It’s not coming in the flurry of phrases that I typically enjoy.

This is certainly not the big revelation I hoped for in time away, nor the encouragement I wanted to be able to give.

But, then, the time away is not really the time away in the sense of sabbatical.

At least, not in traditional sense.

Ah, but He reminds-when was anything ever traditional with me? 😊

So…I am left with this, as I have ever been left with this in my very interior yet very demanding world…

Shaking off the whiny, first-world-woes and grabbing hold of God, where I can, as I can, surrendering to the fact He is resident Keeper of the times, even these seemingly crazy ones.

And I rest in knowing He is ever there, smiling down on me in His infinite love, whether I am crafting an intricate poem to Him or just a shiny aluminium foil robot costume with my youngest for art time. ☺

When our hearts are right, they each honor Him, after all.

I am so selective on sharing pictures of my kiddos. But this one begged to be shared. Literally. πŸ˜€

Blessings and prayers, dear friends!Appreciate the read! Keep resting in Him!

Shades of Motherhood

Reflections as we take another step closer to our eldest son’s future. The college of his choice seems nearly set, praise God. A mama’s heart soars with pride, especially as this boy is continuing to bust autistic stereotypes right and left. Yet, the letting go part a parent is supposed to do? Well…😏

Only a blink ago,

I think,

You were that lively little thing,

Popping up to greet me,

Meeting me with the sunniest of

Grins,

Wholly unperturbed by drooly chin,

Chubby hands outstretched on cue,

Looking to be fetched

From crib’s depth,

Always ready to give the new

A hearty spin.

Yet, it also feels a hundred

Countless lifetimes,

A thousand layers of soul-aging

Climbs

Since our hours were spent

On a child’s carefree explores

Just beyond the nursery door.

We’ve seen so much, you and I

Sometimes, too much, I cannot deny…

Enough to tug a heart’s string

To tendrils strained taut.

Oh, when I remember the raging

Wars we’ve fought!

For understanding,

For soft landings,

For clarity to bind,

For sanity of mind…

Now, here we sit,

Some days, rather spent,

Putting the fatigue

In our battle fatigues- more than just a bit. πŸ˜‰

Yet, there’s also a hint of a gleam,

A fresh sheen glimmering on the old dream.

And, I admit, I love the new light in your eyes

As the adult begins emerging,

Shockingly wise,

Gently choosing which childish ways to nudge aside,

Judiciously picking

Youthful character traits

And new responsibilities to begin merging.

Yet, it’s sometimes hard to see

How my part in all this seems to be…

Fading.

And I wonder where my role

Pencils in best now,

Just what spaces are still light

And which are meant to become

More subtle shading.

Ah, but, then I stumble yet on the moments

I catch the searching wobble

Hidden in your grown man’s voice.

And I see there are areas

Where there lends yet a tint

Of mother’s Godly guidance as

You survey your many, often

Overwhelming choices.

The becoming is hard, I know.

I’ve done it.

Still doing it, as life takes me to and fro. 😏

But, I am here, battle-fatigue ready,

Hoping all the best for you, son,

Praying on Him you’ll stand steady,

Prepared for a long and beautiful run.

And, in that, I am reminded how true

It is that roles don’t actually diminish;

They only change shape and hue.

For, we mothers never truly finish,

We only step back from the crib

And, in the Lord’s strength,

Learn to await His ever reliable cues.

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! And, look- comment box! 😁Thanks, WP, for at least giving me a new trick to outwit this bug messing with my discussion settings! 😊

Reconnections

I have had some interesting conversations on here lately about my differing comfort levels with people online versus in person. (Hi, Eclectic Contrarian, my fellow introvert! 😊) So…for the following to have happened to me is kind of a wow thing…

Something interesting occurred recently.

We were at a live Nativity someone in our community puts on every year.

It was the first time we have been able to make it. In the past, weather has been a concern for some of us with major cold sensitivities!

It still wasn’t warm by my tastes, but, it was doable. 😏

Besides, our intrepid 15-year-old son was going to be Joseph leading a heavily pregnant Mary to shelter.

On a live donkey, no less. ( Which he wryly called Eddie Murphy in tribute to the Shrek character. Love my boy. 😁)

He’d never done that before, so, being the excited sort of parents we are, we had to see him in action.

He didn’t dissapoint.☺

But, that was nothing compared to what else the Lord had in store for me.

I was in the barn where people congregated for the tour when I heard a voice call my name. A familiar one, yet I couldn’t quite identify it.

It was like a call from the past, a description which made sense once I turned around.

Because I found myself face to face with someone I’d not seen since shortly after high school-one of the few from those days I really did not mind encountering again!

She’d been a year behind me, an up–and-comer in drama class as I was winding up my time on the stage.

In a time I was especially uncertain of every move, yet longing to be pleasing to the Lord, this girl became a dear and kindred spirit in many ways, a kind of younger sister to encourage and teach.

There were few who professed a Christian faith in that circle, so it was so nice to know at least one I could interact with on that level as well as in theater.

After graduation, I remember going back to see her play the lead in “Once Upon a Mattress”. What a joy to see how her talent had blossomed!

I remember telling her something to that effect and the way her face lit up, like it really meant something to her.

I think she was at my first wedding later that spring, she wished us well, and, then, that was pretty much it.

She went off to college to study, I played at the married lady, and contact fell away, as it will.

And, then, about a lifetime later, there we were again.

I apparently was still recognizable, right down to my ever-present beret. A comfort to one feeling her age and then some! πŸ˜‰

She definitely was recognizable, down to that same effusive glow. Time had scarcely etched but a few lines around her youthful eyes.

I learned she’d become a missionary, as she often wished for, married a Spanish pastor, and had three beautiful brown-eyed boys, all of whom were in tow.

It was fascinating to listen to her translate me to her brood with such skill!

To think she was once sort of under my wing…

So…we did that for a bit, and then, we found opportunity to get off to ourselves for deeper conversation.

The part I feared would be tougher was my side of things. In addition to my natural reticence, there was the fact she had also known my first husband quite well. We’d all shared a stage and student-led Bible study. She’d witnessed our oh-so-young, wholly untried promises to each other.

Yet, there was still that something of a friend in her expression.

So…in I plunged, hoping not to scare her off.

I tumbled through the high (and low) lights of my long journey from potential youth minister’s wife to struggling single mom of three, two diagnosed autistic, wrangling a class of toddlers and a dark depression alike.

And, then, to the better part-my God-given second chance at love and marriage, complete with my bonus boy.

I didn’t delve into the many adventures of restoring an ancient, Green Acres-style house or the roller coaster ride of assisting my husband in running a business.

I was a little breathless by then and conscious of possibly dominating the whole shebang!

So…I just aw,shucksed my way through the fact I was a published author if she was interested in the full breakdown of said journey.

Talk about your awkward salesperson. Shades of one I remember from Andy Griffith who “didn’t want to be pushy”. 😏

She was so sweet and enthusiastic about that fact, though, insisting on how to find and purchase my memoir, refusing one of my several free copies I had back home collecting dust…😊

But, it really wasn’t the unexpected possible sale that marvelled me.

Sales are done and gone in my ambitions. People are not about sales, after all.

No…rather, it was her utter kindness and warmth, the genuinely glad-to-see-me manner, the deep understanding of the road I wound up on and the shared joy in the way God redeemed my life.

Apparently, she had even been thinking about me recently after a chance sighting of my ex-mother-in-law at the church I attended in my teen years.

She was wondering where I was, hoping, praying to see me somehow somewhere.

And, she had this readiness that God would move as a result that I admire a great deal. I have had spurts of such in my life, but, honestly, it’s grown a bit…rusty.

I could really do with a resurgence of that eager expectation!

In the end, we hugged and reiterated how wonderful it was to see each other again, how awesome God is, exchanging phone numbers and the hopes to find time for future visits.

It was a blessed reconnecting of sisterhood I had not been anticipating or even realizing would be nourishment to this shy little soul.

Or that seeing me could be such to someone else.

Yet, obviously, God knew, as He always does, being the unparalleled composer behind the scenes that He is.

I don’t know yet what else He has in store for this reconnection, but I pray I can have that quality of readiness.

May we all find room for such in our hearts! Blessings and prayers, my friends!