Thursday, December 2, 2010


Warning: if anyone reading this post considers a certain level of emotional honesty to be unbearable oversharing, then you'd better leave now.

Okay. Here's a picture I painted a day or so ago. It reflects much of who I am right now.

And here's a snapshot of a plant I was given a day or so earlier. The sweet little poinsettia suffered a rude shock leaving the store and being carried to the car on a frightfully cold day. It barely survived those few moments of transition. This picture also reflects how I feel right now.

Over the past few years, I have found tremendous healing in acknowledging painful feelings. It's taken much hard work to find a balance between standing calmly in the feelings and allowing them light and air, versus wallowing in them and sometimes coming near to drowning.

I'm gonna see right now if I can move forward in one particular area of my life by bearing witness to some deep pain I'm feeling. This is not at all easy for me to do. Much shame attaches itself to these feelings. I hope that by being open here I can banish some of that shame.

My father dominated the first portion of my life. My husband put his mark on the next three and one-half decades. Another man affected the few years since the divorce.

My father was a pedophile and I was his six-year-old victim. There's no erasing what he did. But oh, how I wish he had chosen to repent of his actions and apologize to me before he died.

My husband and I each brought serious emotional baggage to our union, and then faced some sharp and painful experiences during the marriage. I used every resource at my disposal to save our marriage. I wish my husband had done the same. Maybe he would have still chosen to end our marriage, but maybe it would have been easier to live with. Easier to get over. Easier to move past. I wish he had not turned to other women during our marriage. I wish I had not been so easily replaced.

I met a man at the time of the divorce who was part of my life for the next three-plus years. He said often that he valued my faith, my sense of humor, my loyalty, my spirituality, my sensuality. Then one day, without warning, he dropped me. No contact at all. No explanation. Just silence. After several letters from me, he finally left a phone message saying he'd "met someone and was moving on with his life."

I am grateful beyond words for so many ways in which I have grown and matured over these past few years. I love my friends, my faith, my family, my home. And yet there remains a raw, ragged hole in my heart, created not just by the fact of these three failed relationships, but by how each of the three men chose to treat me.

I have had to be the one to end some relationships. In so doing, I summoned all the kindness and courage I could and tried to tell the person, gently, why I was doing what I was doing.

Breakups happen. I get that. And even though my particular faith experience fills me with confidence that "with God all things are possible," I also realize that some people do feel as if they have to give up. That the emotional mountain before them is just higher than they can climb.

But can't even giving up be done with some measure of grace? When you have tied yourself to another human being, and your giving up directly affects their life and stability, wouldn't it just be plain ordinary kindness to cushion the breaking up in any way possible?

For my dear friends who are reading this, please know that I am okay. Truly. I've made it this far and I sure as heck am not giving up now. My intimacy with my heavenly Father has grown deeper than I ever thought possible. My home is, bit by slow bit, experiencing a fresh and joyful transformation. Daily I ask God to show me ways I can reach out to others with compassion and kindness.

But my heart is healing far more slowly than I would wish for. I realize that the three men I have mentioned are only three--just a mere trio out of how many millions of men on the planet. But those three men have overshadowed every single year I've been alive on this earth. It isn't being single that is difficult. I'm adjusting to that. It's being left. Dumped. Cut off. Abandoned. Ignored. Forgotten. Unwanted. Replaced. Erased.

I know that each of these three men fought their own demons. They made bad choices. I just wish that even one of them had had the courage to take some measure of responsibility for how their choices affected other people, like me. I wish even one of them had cared enough to bandage the wounds they inflicted on me.

I'll close this post by sharing another floral friend. These geraniums lived outside one summer a few years ago until a hard frost threatened. I didn't mean to be rough, but I had to speed to get them out of the ground and inside, safe and warm. They responded by hanging on.

They are gangly and not terribly attractive, but oh, they bloom with a fierce persistence. Look at them, and you see me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What a joy, on Thanksgiving Day, to host the gathering at my home. Daughter Amanda and husband Jason, son Ben and wife Jodi, son Matt and roommate Dave, Great Aunt Marge and I all shared a precious afternoon and evening.

We didn't lack for desserts!

After the meal, we chatted and played games around the table.

But just a few days before, that same area was completely torn up and "under construction." Many times I wondered what in the world I was doing, ripping up carpet and scrubbing walls, so close to company time.

But the desire for reconstruction of my home was too powerful to deny, or, evidently, even to delay.

The deconstruction part was nitty and gritty.

Housecleaning has taken a back seat in my life the last few years (or longer!), but even I was surprised at the amount of dust (allright--let's call it what it was: DIRT!) uncovered.

Dust. Dirt. Whatever you want to call it, every speck had to be uncovered, faced, cleaned up.

Into the bucket went every bent, rusty nail. Every scrap of worn-out, shredded wood.
Every old and broken dream. Every abandoned and outgrown hope.
No shortcuts. No easy way. Just inch-by-inch, slow and steady. Out with the old, to make way for the new.
Deconstruction. Reconstruction. Not necessarily easy, but oh my . . . how healing. How good for the soul.
For all this, and more to come, I give thanks.
[this is the end of the post. For some reason, I have a h-u-g-e amount of black space before the post ends. Sorry about that. I'm at the limit of my knowledge of how to fix it.]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Once Again, Ouch

Well, golly darn and gee whiz. I'm in Ouchland again. After my last post, I was intending for the next one to be upbeat. Jolly. Full of joy.

Oops. Didn't quite make it. That's why I put in this oh-so-lovely picture of the last bouquet of California poppies of the season. I'm trying to make myself smile. It's nearly impossible for me to be sad, when I look at these beauties.

Along with some hard work on my house, like ripping up carpet, moving heavy furniture . . . .
. . . and painting walls . . .
I'm also doing some renovation of the soul. Some reconstruction of the heart. And it's hard. I pricked my fingers on some carpet tacks earlier this evening. I can handle that. What really hurts is the follow-up email I just sent in which my bruised heart spoke.
In my half-century so far, I have not accumulated a very good track record with men. I do my best to give honesty and kindness, love and compassion. But so far, that sort of offering has pretty much backfired.
I won't give up. That's just not in me. But I do wish I could learn more of what I'm doing wrong.
In the meantime, I'll pull up some more nasty old carpet.

What are you working on in YOUR life?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I searched through my photos for a shot I was sure I'd taken a week or so ago. My gorgeous sunflowers had finally given up their last blossoms. The tangled brown mess of naked stalks and empty seedheads spoke of the end of a luxuriant growing season.

I was gonna post that here, to mirror the way my heart feels right now. Empty. Blossomless. Unbeautiful. But I can't find it. Maybe I just dreamed I took it.

And maybe I shouldn't be posting these thoughts. Maybe I should be digging deep for something inspirational. Usually, no matter what, I hang in there until I can see daylight. Hope. But not right now. Not tonight.

I had yet one more hearthurting time with a man tonight. I know that, the way I'm made, I am unable to do anything but keep my heart open to love. But that also means being open to hurt. And boy howdy, I've had a lot of that lately. Actually, for as long as I can remember.

No, I'm not giving up. I can't. Probably would if I could. But I can't. My faith in God, Love, is too deep and strong. I've learned from sad experience that a sore soul does heal.

I know that soon, maybe tomorrow, maybe even sooner, perhaps in the dark before dawn, I will feel the pulse of hope restarting my heart. I will review all there is to be grateful for. I will find something outside myself, something to do for someone else.

But for tonight, I hurt.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Come Walk with Me

In my little neck of the woods, we are being blessed with a glorious fall. My sweet daughter Amanda and I have gone out several days this past week and just reveled in the softly warm temps, the angled light, and oh, the brilliant washes of color.
We walked down a road near her house, stopped on a street bisecting town, tramped along Mt. Roosevelt Trail near Deadwood, hiked in Spearfish Canyon, and wound our way past Iron Creek Lake, in the shadow of Crow Peak. Never were we more than 30 miles from my front door. All the beauty I'm about to share with you (and these 3 dozen snapshots came from 3 hundred I took) is that near, just waiting to be seen and appreciated.
I'm not gonna add any more details. In one photo, my house is in the distance, but it's no bigger in the photo than an ant's leg, so why point it out? And the only human in any of the shots is my sweet companion in adventure, Amanda, and you'll know who she is, precisely because I have just told you she is the only human you will see :)
So, come walk with me, and open your heart to incredible beauty.

Wow. Wasn't that something?? Doesn't God do GREAT work????
I'd love to see any photos any of you have of the beauty where YOU live . . .
Have a blessed day.