Needing a break

I spent the evening just breathing while sitting on my bed in the camper. I find the smallness of the camper to be soothing like that machine Temple Grandin used to squeeze her body. I don’t have that machine but the embryonic roundness of my aluminum cocoon is what I curl up in when the world is too much with me.

The world is too much with me these days. The news happens so fast and its always negative. I shut it off and I can’t keep up anyway. Theres a feeling of desperation in the air I can’t describe; a bitter metallic taste of fear and anger and frustration. I become embroiled by it if I succumb to anger and fear. I feel like we are living Yeats’s The Second Coming.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I need quiet. I crave quiet. I’m tired of the anger and divisiveness and cacophony of voices all shouting at each other drowning out reason.

People fighting for their party like it’s a life and death thing. People disowning family over this. People hurting others because they believe what they are told about teachers and immigrants and protesters and Republicans and Democrats. I fear there is nothing to be saved and that we are lost as a nation. The divide between rich and poor is a chasm. We work more and earn less. Every day a new scandal and new denials and more anger and injustice ugh!! Today our president announced that protesting which is a 1st Amendment right should be illegal. This isn’t really a surprise, because Republicans have been trying to get rid of protesting by passing laws to curtail it for the last year-and-a-half. This in a country that used to be about freedom and used to stand up against the Putins and Dutertes of the world. No, now we admire dictators. It is a brave new world in which we hate diplomacy and pull out of human rights councils. It is a brave new world in which we deride our allies and embrace despots as friends. Upside down. Alice in the rabbit hole. I wonder when the madness ends. My life is looped into the life of the nation. I love my country and I’m terrified at what I see. The opposite of freedom is happening . Praise of Putin and autocrats by Trump and his followers even before he was in the White House let alone now is even scaring those conservatives left who are actually conservative.

I sit and breathe. Politics affects everything now. Its affecting friendships and relationships. Its personal. It didn’t used to be this way. You could live separately from the goings on in Washington and do all right. Not anymore. Its been a slow creeping infection this division and hate.

Its killing America. Its killing freedom and people will die because of this disease of nationalism and populism.

I fear for my country.

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Lola, a hot day up north, the lighthouse clock, and the contact paper that saved my world

I had a day off. I tried not to look at the bench bed that needs fixing. Instead I took a deep breath and went outside. I went out to a place with Wi-Fi and I did some of my contracted writing that I do for a blog a friend of mine has for his business. Four hours later, work completed, I went to my storage and put some items up for sale. When I was finished with that, I got some corn starch so I could thicken the chicken chili I had thrown together in the Crock Pot the night before. I got some contact paper for a dollar at the dollar store because the wall behind the stove in my tiny camper was old paneling and it had little screw holes in it and I didn’t feel like tearing it out from behind the hood and having to buy a whole new piece of paneling. I don’t have a lot of money. Getting back on my feet and all.

I then vacuumed out Lola. I named the camper Lola. Lola needs love. Not huge amounts. Just little loves as we all do. She was all clean and spic and span when I got done vacuuming and wiping down the cupboards. She seemed like she felt better. So did I. I had felt cluttered and flustered about that bench framing project and about not getting the big stuff accomplished like the skirting.

I was still looking at that big construction project in the corner and worried that I wasn’t getting anything done. As I’m cleaning.

Here’s the chicken chili.

So my mind was taken up by that bench bed I needed to frame most of the day. I went and got another curtain for the window that didn’t have a curtain.

I put the contact paper up on that plain white paneling behind the stove. Bought a battery for my lighthouse clock. Its Lake Superior. Lighthouses are a thing here. I love them. I drove to the cemetery to visit someone I love and cleaned off his headstone.

This is the after shot of the wall behind the stove after I put the contact paper up. Plain white wall before.

Then I realized how wrapped up I’d been on the big project I hadn’t noticed what a big difference the little things I’d done all day made. I got a lot done. I got work done. I got work done on my home….a few improvements that to me made a big difference. What do you think of what I’ve done?

The camper smelled good from my chicken chili bubbling in the pot. My floor was clean. My clock was ticking away in a homey fashion. My curtains made the place look more like the gypsy caravan I was going for, and I felt good being in my Lola camper. I felt at home. Home.

Simplifying isn’t just about letting go of things but also people

I start with these ten points because I am still learning them myself. I am learning to let go of shame and procrastination and expectation and excuses and as I have been growing in the letting go of all these things holding me back, I’ve found also that I’ve been having to let go of people I love. A person I love. This is not an easy thing for me but I have seen that the time is not right for us nor seems ever right and i live the adage that good things come to those who wait. Instead of seeing the shedding of people as a disappointment I understand that this happens for the following reasons:

  • They no longer fit who you are becoming
  • They need to live their life without you so that they can learn their own lessons that maybe you would keep them from learning
  • They need space to figure out what they really want or need.
  • Knowing this I always wonder if their retreat out of my life was because of something I did wrong. It is unknowable really and I am letting go of torturing myself about what I did wrong or if I should have done this or that or the other thing. Loss isn’t about me. It is all about them, their best outcome and all I can do is love them anyway. And I do. Things seem emptier without them. I am faced with myself entirely and so I turn to writing as I have always done, to process life and loss and who I am becoming as my life becomes more about independence, minimalism, positivity and less about weighing myself down with guilt and shame and dread and the illusion I have power to change much of anything or anyone. It is better that I don’t. I can control my responses to things that happen. I can’t control people, nor would I want to. The people who I matter to will remain in my life, whether they retreat a while or remain actively engaged with me.
  • Sometimes the wrong people have to be cleared away so that the right people can enter. It doesn’t mean you don’t mourn the loss for a while. I do and I don’t deny or bury my feelings.
  • Loss doesn’t mean getting over having love for someone. It means learning there is a bridge over what we have lost and that nothing is ever really lost in the end. Love is that bridge. I love enough to let go and not control and show the respect and compassion we deserve in the letting go.
  • The ones who are meant to stay and support my growth will come into my life and stay and go perhaps; gain and loss is a circular thing that helps us learn about ourselves if we are open to the lessons people teach us as we live this journey.
  • I have gone where I feel most alive. I am home, by my Lake and gulls and boats, living how I want to live with a minimum of what I need experiencing life more fully, being more present, authentic and loving without reservation. Thank you for all of the people who taught me about who I am.
  • Nothing is ever lost.

DIY empowered: Women, if I got this you got this!

I set myself a goal that I would improve one thing a day in my camper. I got three little things done that make a big difference. I had a broken cupboard door.

The door was lying inside the cupboard hole. I took off the old hardware attached to the door which was comprised of broken spring that used to help it snap back against the board when it shut. As it turned out I didn’t need to replace it because it shuts and stays shut just fine. Just needed a Phillips screwdriver and a couple of screws and it was a two minute job. I present to you a fixed cupboard!

Next was the ceiling vent. The screen was dirty and full of bugs. The whole screen will have to go along with the vent molding but for now I cleaned it out with the ShopVac. (I tell you what ladies, that ShopVac is the best thing I ever got. Get it for your tool arsenal. You won’t regret it).

I also bought a hose for five bucks and put it on my water pipe outside and now I have a ready and handy source of water to fill my jugs with. And wash my hair!

Bought a socket set for eight bucks and took off the remnants of an old first aid kit that had six locking screws fixing it to the wall. Excellent purchase! Now I have six locking screws I can use elsewhere if I need to!

I am learning to use tools which is funny because my dad was a mechanic so I grew up washing parts in the garage—but Dad had views about a woman’s place so he wouldn’t teach me to use the tools–just wash parts. I feel so good when I can fix something and not have to depend on anyone. I love men and I think they are amazing, but a self sufficient woman who isn’t afraid to learn is an empowering thing, particularly if one is single with no man around anywhere. I hit up my men friends and coworkers and ask them to teach me things about tools and how to best fix something and they have been so supportive of my learning and so happy to teach me.

Because one thing is for sure:

Don’t be afraid to try something new ladies. You can do it!!

Vision of what is to come

all is black and I am

moved forward by voices a cacophony if voices quiet then growing louder confused

I cannot make out the words but they slipside around me washing me like water drowning me rough seas

for we have known fear all of us unable to get traction on the world in front of us moving at light speed all of us crying in bewilderment at what we have created this great evil destroying us by degrees

I get alone and rock back and forth on the shore of this big inland sea and my prayers are carried by birds on the wind dipping and wheeling over waves crashing then

I see eagles in flight glowing in the black

I have seen them every day for a week so they announced themselves and these are giant birds who have voices of thunder

those thunder voices carry them forward they know the people need them

there is a blue warrior

A red warrior

A yellow warrior

A black warrior

a white sky and cloud people usher them and the growing dawn erases the black and people are no longer blind

Oh the horses, black and brown and red and bays and white all flowing manes and tails

the thunder of their hooves is astounding and I cower in front of them waiting

To be crushed

they leap over me and the wind of them blows the sun across the sky

those warriors follow behind them and then I see a beautiful woman

all is hushed

This woman carries a pipe and a buffalo walks beside her and behind her and becomes her and she is woman old and young and buffalo and calf all at once shimmering in the wake of horses

she speaks in the ancient language and it does not matter I do not understand I understand she has come

To save us

she sang the world into being and she sings again to save it her song erasing those who would destroy her mother her mother no longer old and sick on a cot but rising to destroy the ones who are death

rising the people rise the people know the people rainbow people rising

I open my eyes and the sun is almost gone

I get up and now I write

to tell

To remember

This is what will be what will happen the eagles have told me an

In which I ponder the lies we tell ourselves and how I am learning to speak my truth even if my voice shakes

We like lies.

We claim not to like liars but we do.

We like the people who butter us up. We like feeling validated. We fall for it and then wonder how the carpet got pulled out from under us when these types take advantage of us.

We like politicians who tell us what we want to hear. We all say we know politicians are liars. None of them keep campaign promises which are usually do gooder crap about how they’re going to feed hungry children and then don’t do it. We vote for the one with the best lines in the end. Politicians are like bad boyfriends we know are bad for us but we fall for the lines (read lies) every time.

I get tired of lies and the lying liars who tell them. They need to be called out but calling out self aggrandizing liars for what they are requires us to recognize we fell for their crap in the first place and we don’t like to admit we can be wrong. When our politics possesses us like Satan himself and we’d rather vote for the team so we can one up the “competition” or the “enemy” and “win,” rather than vote for the good of the country (that means the good of all, even the people you don’t like. This is a democratic republic after all. Other people than you live here and deserve the same rights and freedoms you enjoy). It takes recognizing some groups in our society are historically oppressed and this oppression goes on today. It means recognizing the truth of racism and misogyny and not trying to deny that real people get hurt when one group dictates for everyone else.

Lies. Liars. It is because of the liars in my own life I learned and am learning to stand up and speak up. This is what I think of the whole buzz around the possible peace deal between North and South Korea.

Big Liar

Kim Jong Un is the biggest liar of them all. He is fooling everyone. He is a dictator who kills and imprisons his own people and he has been sidelined and sanctioned for good reason. His human rights abuses are shocking. He engages in human trafficking of North Korean girls to China to make money. If they come back pregnant by Chinese men, they are forced to get an abortion. No one is free in North Korea. Those who resist, die.Human Rights Watch notes that North Korea’s human rights violations are unparalleled in the world:

They include extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence. North Korea operates secretive prison camps where perceived opponents of the government are sent to face torture and abuse, starvation rations, and forced labor. Fear of collective punishment is used to silence dissent. There is no independent media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom.

There have been numerous warnings by North Korean experts and those who have defected not to be taken in by Kim Jong Un’s sudden wish for peace. He recognizes that he is the linch pin of the whole peace process and his self importance pleases him for he is as narcissistic as they come. He is charming and funny and he is using it to charm the world so that he gets what he wants. He recognizes that there is a US president who not only publicly admires dictators, but who is deluding himself with daydreams of all the accolades his troubled presidency will get if this comes together. Kim Jong Un knows the President of the United States will look the other way while he kills and imprisons and takes the rights away of his own people. So he is bowing and kissing in order to win freedom for himself to rule his country without the interference (sanctions) of the world, open his markets to the world to bring money into North Korea.

South Korea’s leader is no better. He wants peace so badly so he can look good to his people that he has removed the propaganda speakers at the border so as to appease Kim Jong Un. To make it look as if North Korea is also interested in peace, North Korea has been said to appear to be doing the same on their side.

The freedom to be a murderous dictator is the price of peace between the Koreas. And we are so enamored of the lie, we are failing to ask ourselves why now? Why is Kim Jong Un so suddenly interested in peace now after blustering and threatening Japan and the US and Korea all last year?

The appeasing by Kim Jong Un is not new. He and his father before him have repeated this cycle for years. Usually it is so they can get something they want–sanctions lifted, funding, armaments, etc. Joel Wit, a North Korea expert who has been involved with negotiations with North Korea since the Clinton administrationin an interview on National Public Radio yesterday says he feels North Korea has come to the end of their nuclear weapons development program which accounts for some of the sudden change in attitude:

But I also think the North Koreans may have reached the end of their development programs for nuclear weapons and missiles and may have decided that now is the time to shift gear – gears and to improve their economy. And so that means improving the external security environment so they can build up their economy.

KELLY: Oh, that’s interesting. So you’re arguing that maybe North Korea is thinking they wouldn’t have that much to lose by freezing their nuclear program for a bit.

WIT: You know, the North Koreans think months ahead, and I think they’re very different from us. So they probably had a number of game plans in place. And, you know, this was probably part of their game plan, and they’d been thinking about it for a while now. And I’ve heard things like this in private discussions with the North Koreans but certainly not having a meeting at the level of Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

Professor Robert E Kelly, an Australian at Pusan University in South Korea takes it one step further in a recent interview:

ROBERT E. KELLY: Well… (laughs) It’s probably in the middle…I don’t actually think that the ‘maximum pressure campaign’ really resulted in this opening. I think this is because the North Koreans now feel that they have nuclear deterrence with the United States, which is to say, they can strike the United States with a nuclear weapon. That means America cannot attack North Korea, because they might nuke us in return. And therefore, that gives North Korea room to negotiate.

I think that’s what this sort of ‘spring of summitry’ is, because the North Koreans aren’t just meeting with Americans, but with the South Koreans; with the Chinese; probably the Japanese and the Russians. They met the IOC (International Olympic Committee). And what they’re doing, basically, to my mind, is shopping around their program. So I don’t think that they are coming to the table to capitulate, as the President has intimated.

I think they are coming, basically, looking for a deal. And if we don’t give them something, if we don’t get some kind of deal out of them, they will just go back to the defensive crouch they have been in for years.

PT Barnum says a sucker is born every minute. We need to watch that we aren’t the suckers in a grand charade. Kim Jong Un plays chess. Our president does not. He shakes hands with dictators, praises dictators and legitimizes them instead of asking himself in the face if the horrific things Kim Jong Un does to his own people why no American president has ever visited with a leader of North Korea. Kim Jong Un lies about his human rights abuses daily, presents a face to the world that is a lie and lies to his own people with impunity and forces them to lie so they don’t die. He knows how to flatter and smile and joke.

Which one is wise? I will leave that to you to answer.

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Kim Jong Un is lovebombing is for a reason. Just like a narcissist does. We should be asking ourselves why.

If the leaders of the world have no conscience, it is up to us, the people of the world, to stand up for the oppressed and brutalized people of North Korea. Unification of the Koreas will not change life for them. In the end we will be selling our soul to appease a monster who has no intention of handing over any power and democratizing North Korea.

The Girl with Special Knowledge of God and other tales

Today I wasn’t feeling so hot. I somehow got a sinus infection so I went to get my medicine and decided to stop off at Target for some organic snack stuff because I didn’t feel like cooking.

I should tell you that I love pens. I’m an office supply freak. I couldn’t just walk by the stationery aisle without looking at the pens and Sharpie markers and other colorful delights. Like neon colored Post-It notes. That aisle of temptation is where I met my stalker walking opposite towards me.

She was merely a girl. A young girl. I should have known better than to make eye contact. I did. I thought she wanted to get by me.

Nope. She glowed with the aura of a True Believer. She smiled at me. I couldn’t stop my face from smiling back. There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. That is when she pounced.

I should preface this by saying my longtime readers will understand I have my own faith that I am quite secure in. I also have two degrees in English Literature and Theology, with a concentration in Religious Studies. While education may not be the sum of faith it sure helps to know your Bible. Which came in handy because this girl was about to drop some Secret, Special Knowledge on me.

“Do you know about the Bible as the Word of God?” she asked beaming with a positively beatific expression on her face.

“Why yes. I am quite familiar with the Bible,” I responded. It was like pouring gasoline onto a fire.

“Oh…well…I’m sure you don’t know about the hidden Word of God in the creation of Man,” she replied smugly.

Hidden word of God? I thought. Now I was intrigued. Let’s see where this goes.

Noting my interested expression she proceeded to enlighten me that theology schools didn’t have the Secret Special Knowledge (herein known as SSK). Neither did any church. “Except mine,” she finished triumphantly.

Uh oh. Now I knew we were in for it. Only her church has this SSK. Hm. Cult? Red flag No 1.

“God gave our pastor and only our pastor this SSK. Would you like to see it?

Oh boy would I! She opened her Bible app to Genesis 1:26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

With a conspiratorial look she got very close to me and she whispered “Let US. US. God wasn’t alone in creating man! Nobody knows this! Nobody teaches this! Who is us?

I suggested “Angels?” She scoffed. “Do you really think God let angels help Him create man?”

I didn’t see why not and this is something scholars debate but as I had tossed that out there for fun, I thought it wise to not respond. I took another stab at it.

“Us is God and the Trinity? At this she started.

“How did you know that?”

“I learned that in theology school,” I said gently.

“No! Impossible! ” She started grilling me on Bible Knowledge and trying to correct me by saying I was not as familiar with the Bible as I thought because God frowns on education and only teaches through the Holy Spirit. And only her church had this Secret Special Knowledge, remember. Suddenly she said I didn’t know the Bible in the same way she did. The girl was trying to spiritually gaslight me to make me doubt myself and my faith.

Nope.

By this time I’d had enough and politely excused myself.

It is to me rude to try to convert somebody when they are minding their own business but I get that these types are trying to follow the Great Commission so I can forgive that. But nobody and nobody has Secret Special Knowledge and shouldn’t claim to in order to take advantage of someone else’s ignorance of Scripture and theology.

I spent the rest of the time in the store dodging the Girl with the Special Knowledge and her friend who tried very hard to corral others to share this Secret Special Knowledge and no doubt try to strongarm somebody to come to church.

I don’t think I’m the only one who gets annoyed with this and annoyed with the idea that someone else couldn’t possibly be happy with their faith and they must be converted to yours. God likes us to be an example to others to show Him to others. He doesn’t expect us to weasel or wrassle people to the ground and smack them with the Bible over and over as if you are a child who knows nothing. Scripturally He most certainly does not want people to offend others to the point they want nothing to do with Him or Christians.

Be ever mindful of how you approach people, how you bring the Word to others. Please.

The world is a big place. There are other faiths. Let’s respect one another and love one another.

Gratitude

I used to be bogged down in lack. I was always wishing for what I did not have, and feeling as if I were not enough in myself. I felt I was always found lacking. What that thinking did was create endless lack. I never had enough time, enough money, and I felt always that I was not pretty enough, not good enough.

Lack created more lack. Years of failure in finding a good paying job, failure in relationships including the most important ones with God and myself, because I’d get angry at God for all the hardship I experienced, and I have to tell you, this negative thought pattern makes a person depressed, tired all of the time and even despairing.

I think going through bad times for what feels like endless spans of time did bring me closer to God so there was purpose in it I did not see. I don’t know what brought my mind around to a position of gratitude. I hope it was God. I think it may be God. I got one of those free gratitude journal apps, and every day I had to write down three things that happened I was grateful for.

Change your story from lack to abundance! Change your thinking!

Then my life started to change for the better. Little by little abundance started flowing in. Not money necessarily. More love for God translated to more caring for others and more love for myself in that I started caring about taking care of me physically, mentally and spiritually. Exercise. Doing little nice things for me. I started doing more to be of service to others while setting firm boundaries so that people might respect me. The ones who respected me respected my boundaries. This curious thing happened where people who no longer served my highest good, friends who weren’t really friends, who did not respect my boundaries or me, started showing themselves for who they were and gradually fell away. In so doing I felt sad and disillusioned, but over a short time I began to understand I felt better mentally not having these people around to drag me down and make me codependent and an enabler as a result of codependency. I felt less taken advantage of and more self confident in my own decision making and in voicing my needs and desires, which had not happened consistently before. Because I felt better in myself I felt ever more grateful to God for feeling better, and even though materially nothing had changed, I began to feel content with what I had. I stopped wanting more stuff. I started praying differently too. I used to ask God for this and that and please could You fix this and that. I found myself spending a lot of time thanking Him for all I had and for my kids, my health, my mom, my family, for whatever blessings I’d received that day whether it be the ten bucks my mom sent me or the free turkey from work. God wants us to live in gratitude and in abundance. Abundant peace, abundant joy, love, kindness, gentleness, faith. He supplies our needs and He starts us out with little so that we might grow to be thankful for much. No matter how little you have, be grateful. Someone is always worse off than you. Even they have much to be thankful for. Look for the blessings. They are there always, the silver lining during our darkest hours.

Get a gratitude app!

I keep doing the gratitude journal app. If you do nothing else for yourself please download one. Most are free and it trains your mind to be more thankful and more positive. Thankfulness changes your entire outlook and perception to one of plenty instead of one of lack. It makes every day more sacred to be thankful to God for all you have no matter how poor or rich you may be.

Gratitude will change your life. I promise.

Forgiveness

I have many people to forgive and I suppose

there are many more who must forgive me. I do not know if

they have for

forgiveness is a one way street in which one walks blindly

as a theologian

i must know everything about

forgiveness

must know how to do it

such as surely I know

I must forgive seventy times seven and before I pray I

must forgive them so that God may forgive me and if I confess

my sins

God will forgive them and if

I do not forgive

then God wont forgive

me.

I am unproficient.

what does forgiveness feel like?

is it to be found in the forgetting of hurts or

when you can talk about betrayal without emotion

in a conversational tone

over coffee or

cake perhaps or

is forgiveness in the remembering of only good

about the person who insulted you betrayed you or neglected you or who

used you or

forgot you existed at all

you may never know if they forgive

you for whatever you may have

done that you do not know

anything about or did

in ignorance

forgiveness may be in the going forward

or the moving on from

it is the flower found in

pardon and

absolution exoneration

dispensation

indulgence

clemency mercy

amnesty.

is forgiveness a warm feeling does

it bring a smile or

does it happen without you

trying or

thinking it into being

are there boundaries in

forgiving when somebody does

the same hurt over

and over

and over

again is it in the walkingaway forever the

letting go

or

perhaps it is in the deer

i see in the backlit morning mist

by the side of the road

gazing wide eyed wonderingly at

my

heart

dove

(photo from Experience Life)