Purpose, Pretty or No

Hey there, dear friends. Still here.

Access ( Budget concerns? Internet is, by practicality, often first to go), time, and inclination are all terribly spotty, but things converged well enough today to try this again.

Just thought I should report things are…well…about status quo.

As much as they can be in this life, that is.

So maybe status quoish is a better description.

My father-in-law is hanging in there pretty well, some rough health issues have developed with my uncle and aunt (my mother’s siblings), my older boys are prepping for their upcoming moves next month, and the nice job we were all set for that would provide stability?

Well, due to some painfully unfair circumstances I care not to go into here, my dear husband recently found the offer very suddenly snatched off the table.

But…we are not wholly without. God always provides, even when it is not the most convenient or pretty picture that we imagined.

Restaurant work has become the main gig now. It was certainly never in my husband’s dreams. The pay and the hours are certainly not the most thrilling. It also is an odd hearkening to the past for me, as this was my first husband’s work prior to the end, where he found the one he was willing to leave me and our kids for.

Now, I am striving to keep proper perspective, lay those triggers at God’s feet, and trust Him with all things.

Trust that one situation is not at all like the other.

It’s hard at times, but so important to both my marriage and my walk with the Lord.

So… that is all to report really. I suppose I could try for profoundness, but my brain is falling short. No message have I save this:

Despite all, in Him, we go on. And all things have purpose, even the ones that are hard to see at present. Gratitude for the way His hand guides must be paramount above all other feelings.

Beyond that…not much to say at present.

I hope you all are doing well.

Blessings and prayers. ❤

Color Drain

Hello there. I just want to first say I appreciate all of you so much, dear friends! Your continued warmth, encouragement, and prayers are treasures to me. I cannot thank you enough.

I have had what I will just call “pit days” for quite some time now and I am realistic enough to know there are likely some pits ahead, but I do feel the fog lifting, praise God. 🙂

Now,  I alluded last time to different ideas I felt God might be downloading for revitalizing this space.

I have even toyed with the dreaded word “monetize” in order to boost our family’s situation, seeing as most other roads seem closed at present, but there is nothing concrete there.

That said, monetizing or no, I have to acknowledge there are inklings…and I am finding myself with a rather interesting problem as a result.🤔

I have several different inklings…and the unusual quandary of which ones He’d have me to follow.

This from the woman who has had her creativity more or less frozen for nearly a year.😏

So…what are these inklings I speak of?

Well, in general, being a creative sort, I have been pondering the ways which stir my creativity most and still keep the necessary “Just a Jesus Girl” component. I mean, I really don’t think that should or ever will change.

Of course, tops is writing. That cannot and must not end (Well, duh. 🙂).

Then, I thought of my baking. I have considered if I might have an avenue for sharing some of the cookie secrets that have had my family and our youth group happily sugared up for so many years…

My passion for oldies- be it movies, music, books, or television- is a little tougher to call a creative pursuit so much as sharing my joy of others‘ creativity, but this fount of trivia inside does cry out for someone else to listen sometimes-besides my poor family. Believe me, they get plenty of my rambling 😁 (Though it has given two of my kiddos the respect of being experts in rare trivia in Scholars’ Bowl, so it has its perks) .

And then, last of all, is the thing I landed on introducing first…

And that is my art.

Ok. Now, if you take a trip in the Wayback machine to the archives, you will occasionally see a hastily scribbled doodle or two from me, but it has been a long while since I shared any or attempted anything in earnest.

Like many things in the winding walk of depression, it dropped off after a time.

And then, one day-down in the pits-the painful scratching sensation deep inside begged to be excised. I picked up a charcoal pencil, a few oil crayons, and began to sketch out what was happening within.

Now, I did it at first with no notion of really showing it to anyone. This sort of art was a far cry from my classroom bulletin board days.

The sort of expression which I guard perhaps even more closely than any other.

For, perhaps, it is a level of raw exposure even beyond the written word.

Not to mention the tastes on this particular medium are so very much in the eye of the beholder…

And I am so often reluctant of my oddities being under the observation of said beholder. 🙂

But, I have been stirred in my heart of late and encouraged by friends there is worth in opening the door a little further.

So…in the spirit of sucking up courage, taking another mincing step in trust, screwing my eyes shut and pushing the publish button, I present my first piece in a long while, along with a poem inspired by it…

“Color Drain”- done in charcoal pencil and oil crayon

Minutes drag in snagged up lines,

Yet years seem to swallow the hours on a dime…

Heart was once a brimming palette of hues

Yet emptied now of any power I can deduce.

All the color feels drained from my being

And harshest winds hiss a hideous refrain:

“Nothing is true. Nothing is freeing…”

I know it’s not so.

It cannot be.

I was sure there was a time

Someone set me free.

But something in the mad swirl

Of watching my joys cast themselves off

In this bleak downturn of my world

Steals at the strength of my resolve,

Makes me forget He on whom it should revolve.

Oh, Lord, help me gather these scattered pieces of my soul!

Remind me that, even in these draining days,

You and Your truth alone remain in control…

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! ❤ May we each remember He alone remains in control.

What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. 🙂

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….🙂

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! ❤

When It Feels Like No one is Listening

I have been in this place before.

Or, at least, places like it.

The halls are long and narrow.

The pictures austere compositions.

And the acoustics echo lonely heel clicks as I wander the cold square tiles.

I come to places like this when spirits sag, excessive words grow empty, or I honestly wonder what good l am actually doing.

Oh, but this isn’t necessarily the same as in the past.

It doesn’t feel like the usual precursor to a depressive episode.

Nor the drag of a lowering self-esteem.

Or even the melancholy I used to experience when I’d write my heart out and no one but the crickets were there to receive it.

No… rather, it is a deeper pondering of what I’m saying, whether it truly lines up with what God wants me to say, and how to proceed with it, especially when the listeners just don’t seem to be there.

I have to wonder if the Old Testament prophets had these moments.

Did they ever fear their messages were useless, or would be without an audience?

Not to mention did the thought of should there even be a desire for an audience ever enter in?

When does it become vanity, for example?

Well, I’m fairly sure they wanted someone to hear them in their lonely existence. I can’t imagine just how hard it was to deliver the messages they did to a largely hard-hearted nation.

I don’t exactly deal with that on the level they did, even with the state of our nation.

But, in order to share Jesus with others, I suppose I should hope someone is out there reading.

And to feel a camaraderie with my brothers and sisters in Christ here, there is nothing wrong with a desire for conversation through this avenue.

After all, He did call me back to blogging for the nth time in my stubborn little life.

It can’t be for nothing.

Can it?🤔

Yet, looking around here, I do have to ask God what this is all for?

I really do. I feel like one of those Old Testament prophets. Not that I could ever, ever presume to be on that level…

But, in that sense of feeling like I’m doing nothing more than shouting into a vacuum, I relate.

For the nth time in my blogging life, no less.

When will it not feel this way? Will it ever not feel this way?

Oh, not that I’m really torn up over it anymore. Too aware of how some of my own choices have affected my writing ventures for that.

But, Lord, really, isn’t it a waste of time, always asking me to write for…

Well, for next to no one?!

Nothing but my breathing in this skinny corridor answers for a moment.

And, then, comes the reminder right between the eyes:

Never. God says. There’s no waste where My glory is lifted high. No vacuums where higher purpose prevails.

And your purpose?

Like those who came before you, to take the words I’ve planted within you and give them back to Me.

Beyond that, what I do with them isn’t your concern.

Ah. That knocks the wind right out of me. I stop all the pacing down these eerily silent halls, arrested suddenly by the remembrance I am hardly alone in them.

Those seemingly austere pictures?

Portraits of those gone before, those who wrote what He directed without ever fully seeing the fruition of them.

And, more than that, He meets me there in the midst of it all, listening even when no one else seems to.