What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.๐Ÿ˜

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? ๐Ÿ˜

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….๐Ÿ™‚

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! โค

The Before and After Tag

Thanks to Robert for the thoughtful tag. I so appreciate your blog. It is full of wisdom that blesses me daily!

Photo courtesy of the Canva App.

Now, the idea here is to discuss befores and afters through a series of questions.

For me, that means before the Lord redeemed my critically wounded soul and after that transformative work. I love the way the above photo communicates that! ๐Ÿ˜Š

So, on to the questions…

1. Who was family for you growing up?

Well, that is actually a weightier question to begin with than one would think! At least, for an (overly) introspective sort like me!๐Ÿ˜

So, I had a mom, dad, and one older brother, but, in between dealing with childhood abuse via my mother and a father that was rarely present, I would call my brother the most consistent form of family then. He was my safe place. My maternal grandmother also figures highly in there, though our visits were mostly during holidays. Those were among the happiest times of my younger years. Oh, and I shouldn’t neglect to note the occasional cats ( this was in the days I was blissfully unaware my constant sneezing and itchiness meant I was allergic! ๐Ÿ˜) and two funny little cockaboogle dogs ( My granny’s made-up term for Cocker Spaniel/Beagle/Poodle mixes ๐Ÿ™‚).

2. Who is family for you now?

Now, my family is my second chance at love, my husband of 8 years come March, our four kids, three of whom he adopted upon marrying me, the fourth my bonus boy from our union. And two rescue dogs, a Dachshund/Mini Lab mix and a Dutch Shepherd ( as best as we can estimate) . Also, much, much family added via my husband’s massive group of relatives, only some of which I have met. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ And, lest I forget, the family of God at large, many of whom I enjoy through fellowship in church and here on WP. โ˜บ

3. Where did you grow up?

I was born in Oklahoma, spent a few grade school years in southern Texas in various rental homes as my dad’s work prospects shifted. Then, after moving to Kansas at age 9, I stayed more put, only living in two different residences, the second of which was a crackerbox rental dubbed “the hot house” for its distinct lack of cooling capabilities. ๐Ÿ˜

4. Where do you live now?

I am now out of the city in a tiny township still in Kansas in a hundred years+ house we are in a perpetual process of renovating. It’s quite a lot nicer than its dilapidated beginnings, though.๐Ÿ˜

5. What did you want to be when you were older?

I dreamed of a few things, such as acting and various types of art, but writing has been the most constant ever since I figured out how to string phrases. I use to lean heavily towards fiction until I realized my truth was stranger. ๐Ÿ˜

6. What do you do now?

I taught preschool for a lot of years. Life and physical pain intervened, however. So, now, I stay home, fend for my kiddos, which takes up quite a bit of time, especially with two on the autism spectrum, and do lots of secretarial stuff for my husband’s repair/remodeling business. Oh, and I had a memoir published a few years ago. It was less than a roaring success in a worldly sense, but it has been a witness to those God intends. In that way, I guess you could say it’s a dream fulfilled.

7. Whatโ€™s your earliest memory?

Hmm… probably playing in the mud out behind our house with my brother when I was around 2. I remember it was a warm and peaceful day, a rare commodity even then. ๐Ÿ™‚

8. Whatโ€™s one of your most recent memories?

Sitting here sorting out phrases to type while my youngest and his school buddies play superheroes on this very snowy snow day. ๐Ÿ™‚

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Most people would say my book, but, eh, that’s too pat a response. I’d say it’s making it through all the struggles set before me with sanity intact. But, truly, that’s owed to the Lord who carried me and carries me still.

10. What is your biggest hope in this life?

That I will see my children live for Christ and fulfill all He has instilled in them.

So, that’s it. Thanks again, Robert! Good questions!

So, on to tagging. You know, I am never sure on this point, so I think I will leave it open to any reading this that are game to try. Just answer the above questions, remember to use the image in your post, and give me a tag so I know it’s out there to read! Blessings and prayers to you, friends!

And P.S. I break out in hives when it comes to selling. ๐Ÿ˜ But, I do occasionally find myself being asked more about this book I allude to off and on. So, for any who want the fuller scoop on pieces of my testimony, here’s a link: