It’s not over until…

21 10 2016

DSCN0353 In the beginning of this Widow’s journey I spent a lot of time on the couch, crying and thinking mostly. Did I do everything right? Did I miss something medically? Was I a comfort to Ed by continuing to work and bring in an income or should I have come home earlier?

Today, more than five years later, I know that I did the best I knew to do. I am still doing the best I know how to do as I continue my journey. I still feel the empty ache in my heart but I also experience something like joy when friends share a good Ed story with me. It is a comfort to remember how honestly funny he was and what a compassionate man he was. He was terrible at telling a joke and yet he made us laugh so hard at his attempt to tell it. Sometimes he would laugh so hard at his own awful jokes that we couldn’t help but laugh with him. God, I loved that man so much. Still do. And I know he loved me as deeply as anyone could.

I have had to learn how to manage my life without my biggest fan and best friend. I will honestly tell you that I do not like it one single bit. However, I am secure in the knowledge that God has more for me.

Ed genuinely loved to hear me sing. He would ask me to sing to him often. After he passed, my song changed. I went through a period of time when I thought I had lost my ear and my voice. Nothing I sang sounded right to me and I finally decided that I just would not sing anymore. I lost my song. I left my beloved praise team and hardly sang out loud in the congregation for quite some time. A couple of people really tried to convince me that I needed to be singing but I thought they were just being kind.

During this time, I was invited to sing in a choir that a dear couple was leading but first I made them promise that they would not let me be the old lady warbling out of tune in the soprano section. They assured me I could trust them to have my back. Every time the choir or praise teams sang worship my heart ached and I cried. I attributed those many tears to grief but I also think that God was cleansing my heart during that time. Music has always spoken to that deepest place in my heart. One step at a time, I began to feel my song again.    I am singing again. From my heart. I am a member of the choir now and sometimes I am asked to lead a song or to sing a special solo. I am honored to worship my Lord and Savior with Psalms and spiritual songs. My heart is healing.

I am blazing a new trail in this Widow’s journey. I am stretching myself beyond the boundaries of only gospel music. I have successfully auditioned for Opera Wilmington out of UNC Wilmington. I also have registered to audition for America’s Got Talent on February 1, 2017, in Charleston, SC. I am ready for new adventures and I want to grow in the journey. Here we go.

 

 

 





Just laugh

23 09 2014

“Write Coni”, she said. “You MUST write.
These are the parting words to me from actress, Sally Hawkins. What a sweet and sensitive, creative soul she is. It was my pleasure to work with her on a television pilot titled, How and When. It filmed here in Wilmington in the spring. Together with the guidance of our director / producer, Charlie Kaufman, we created the hair styles for her character. Her face is pure, child-like and mischievous all at once. Sally brought the story teller out in me. She encouraged me to write my life story and assured me that people would be interested. One day I will try again to do that.

Right now, it is the first day of autumn and I am setting my will to write. It is only fitting that I hold Sally responsible for what comes out in my story telling today.
Laughter is one of my favorite things in this world. There is nothing to compare to a good belly laugh. I am convinced it is good for the soul. My husband’s laugh was one of my favorite sounds. I loved making him laugh or watching a comedy routine with him that would make him laugh until his eyes leaked tears down his cheeks. My daughter, Fawn, laughs all the time. Sometimes I wonder what it is she finds so funny and then I remember, she is my kiddo. She too sees the funny in almost everything.
My secret is that I believe laughter has kept me just this side of the boundaries of insanity for most of my life. Without going into great detail, suffice to say I have been through some crazy stuff. Some of it my own making and some that I had no control over at all. Life is what it is. We all have our “stuff.”
The job I am working on now is on the first season of a television series titled, Secrets and Lies. I am in the hair and make up trailer with three other ladies every day for 12 – 15 hours, five days a week. Our job can be stressful and draining or sweet and uplifting on any given day. One thing for sure is that we are all creative. You better believe I find plenty to laugh at in the environment of these creative crazies. We have been known to have after lunch dance parties in the trailer or craft sessions where we cut out pictures in magazines and put the faces of our cast on them. It is our therapy. No telling what can come of it. We actually have several of our pieces of art hanging up all over our cupboard doors that elicit a chuckle or two from those who enter our makeshift art gallery.

One of our camera operators is a man from Italy who speaks English with a strong accent. I love to hear him talk. Last week he asked me, “how do you always  smile?”

I had to think for a minute before deciding on an answer. I said, I just don’t know any better. And then, I went to my inspiration from the movie Elf. Smiling is my favorite.





twenty years and still having a blast.

19 05 2014

In an unashamed attempt to rebuild my audience, I am posting pictures of some of my film work.

I have found my voice again after being silent for too long. I let my care about what others think of me stagnate my words. That concept is a writing killer.

so, let me say, I love you all but I don’t care if you like what I have to say. I am going to write.

But, for today, PICTURES!!!

image  Here I am in my first film endeavor. I was a featured extra in a movie called RadioLand Murders. I came to my first day of filming with my hair done in finger waves that I did myself and soon after was hired on in the hair department for the remainder of the shoot. Ha, God has a sense of humor.

image  Yep, this is my Eddie. He also worked on the same film as a photo double. When they asked if he would be willing to shave his mustache for it if they gave him a hundred dollars more, his reply was, “for a hundred bucks I will shave my legs too.”

image  Marilyn Manson and the wiener in Eastbound and Down.

Army Wives, Catherine Bell, 1980s hair

Army Wives, Catherine Bell, 1980s hair

this is season one of Army wives. Loved every day of working with this lady.

and…….

Sally Pressman/ Army Wives season 1

Sally Pressman/ Army Wives season 1

This lovely lady too.

I have enjoyed this career for twenty years this year and it has been my pleasure to work with many  kind and nice actors. There have been a few stinkers in the mix but, thankfully, they are few and far between.

These are a few of the good ones…

DSCN0225 L1000759_3 img_0108 dscn0122 img_2017

It takes all kinds to work on a film set. For the most part we are all a little crazy some way or another. I don’t mind crazy. Crazy just adds to the fun.

My favorite films are the ones that have lots of laughter behind the scenes. The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t have to compete with anyone else in my industry. I have my own unique set of skills and so does everyone else on a film set. I have the most fun when I can let go of my fear and my ego and appreciate what each person brings to the table. I am pretty sure this translates to any job. It is in that kind of atmosphere of freedom that a job ceases to feel like work and begins to be a place and time for the creative juices to flow.

well, it appears I found something to say after all.

It would not hurt my feelings at all if you left me indication that you looked at my post today. Thanks for hanging in here with me.





Thursday thoughts

14 05 2014

Redeeming the time
Focus
Wasted days
God has entrusted us with this gift of life
Every day is a gift from God
Pursue talents and dreams
Run with purpose
Value of time
Invest time on things that matter
Every battle is not worth fighting
Don’t waste valuable time waging war against battles that don’t matter
Stop trying to please people who are never going to be happy
My time is limited.
Let it go and trust God to make it right
Night prayer: God I release all the negatives of this day. I trust You to take care of the outcomes.
Disappointments are inevitable but misery is optional
Prune relationships
Do not tolerate mediocrity
If you don’t let go of the old you won’t have time for the new
Evaluate prayerfully who is your inner circle
Do you need to let some people go
Jesus put the mockery and doubters out. Kept His inner circle with Him and raised up the dead girl.
Some peeps, we must love from a distance
What am I doing with the time God has given me? No excuses. Redeem. Be an on purpose person.





I call BS.

26 12 2013
deep thoughts

deep thoughts

 

There are a couple of phrases that are always said with the best of intention in the worst of situations. One of these is, “Forgive and forget“. For years I have allowed myself to feel guilty because I have not forgotten. I think it is time to call BS on this one. I do not think it is possible nor practical to forget. I have forgiven some pretty life changing and heinous events Even when the offender has not asked forgiveness. But I do not forget. For example; At the age of fifteen, my virginity was robbed from me in a brutal act of kidnap and rape. After years of alcoholism and drug addiction and some deep counseling by a Pastor and his wife, I have been able to forgive. Truly forgive, as Christ has forgiven me.
Like most fifteen year old children, I thought I was invincible and I left myself open to many dangers. I was rebellious and arrogant and that permitted me to be with the wrong people, in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I did not know is there is always some sicko lurking and waiting to take advantage of just such an attitude. I have forgiven me for putting myself in that danger. I have forgiven the sick man who robbed me. I have forgiven God for not bursting through the night sky and ripping this pervert off of me. Done and done.
I am sixty one years old and I haven’t had those nightmares or re-lived that event in a very long time. My heart is no longer bound in anger, fear and hatred. But I do not forget.

There is another phrase that irks me of late. “Time heals all wounds.”

I must call BS on this as well. I do not see myself as wounded and bleeding any more although my heart is under going surgery right now. My heart has never been so broken as when Eddie the Baker left me here alone. I miss him every single day and feel somehow incomplete without his words of wisdom in my ears and his daily pledge of love to me. This does not feel like a wound. It feels more like an extraction. A portion of my soul has been torn off and the heart ache is quite literally an ache in my heart. It has been more than two and a half years and I still cry every day. Time is not healing my heart and soul. But God…  I know that God is mending this. Every wound my heart has ever experienced has been healed by God and this is no exception.He has promised never to leave me. He has promised to bind up the broken hearted. He cares for the widows and the orphans. It is God, not time, who heals all wounds.

I have recited both of these phrases to hurting people in the past. That will not happen again. And I will politely nod to those who say these things to me, choosing to see their heart and not just listening to the words. And maybe, on the inside, I will find myself calling “BS.”





A widow’s journey. Year 2.

15 09 2013

Photo 97yep< i am still wearing the rings. I just don’t see any point in removing them. I am not interested in a relationship because, well, I am still in love with my husband. I tried taking them off once and it felt weird. Plus, it didn’t make me think of Ed any less. So… they are a piece of me and they remain.

I am learning to trust my decisions more. This last year has been filled with some pretty tough ones.

I fired my family physician of twenty years! I have been uncomfortable with him and his office staff for a few years but I thought it was just me being particular. It wasn’t. Got a new doctor and I am much happier.

I left my church of 10 years. They have been an amazing family to me and it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. I still love the Rock church and it’s members. This whole seeker friendly thing has become a thorn in my side. I just can not reconcile myself to it. The best thing for me to do is get out of the way. I have prayed HARD about all of this and God has given me some clarity on my situation. My choice is not right for everyone. It is right for me. I am patiently waiting for God to put me where He wants to use me for His glory again. In the meanwhile, I am quite busy praying for those precious people God puts in my path in my marketplace. So many folks need prayer and encouragement right now. It is my honor to touch Heaven with requests on their behalf.

God is teaching me hard lessons. He has stripped away most of the people that I thought would be with me through thick and thin. Some of that stripping has been excruciatingly painful. I have mourned the losses that I do not comprehend. Sometimes, I ask myself if I have done something to offend or if I am being judged… but, through it all He has spoken to my heart over and over again. “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

He is teaching me that He alone is my source and He is well able to handle my every need. As I depend on Him for my support and even the breath I take some days, He puts people in my life. Not to depend on but to lean on. I am reminded that even Moses needed help from people. Life can be demanding and hard. It is okay to lean on people some times but… they better be the people that God has placed in my life for this purpose.  God knows exactly what I need.

God knows who needs me too. It is a challenge to stay alert and aware of who God is putting in my life and what I can do for them. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile. Amazing how many people need to be smiled at. Sometimes I am called upon to just listen. It is amazing how many people feel unheard. I have become very good at keeping things told me in confidence too. My secret is simple. I bring the matter to God right away, before it has time to take up residence in my mind and make me think it is MY problem to solve. Then, I walk away and most of the time, forget. I am not sure if that last step is a gift or just a very bad memory. LOL. Either way, it seems right.

I still weep when I stop to feel the longing in my heart for my Eddie. I am not generally a weepy person, so I fight this a lot. Wet face, runny nose, puffy eyes. These are not pretty things and I like things to be pretty. But, alas, these are some of the things that make up life. So, I dry, blow and apply make up, pull up my big girl panties and march on.

 





Serving in Spain through the arts

24 02 2013

The message we are carrying to the women of Betel International is this: Live the Lord’s Prayer. Forgive those who have hurt you and walk into your new life without yesterday’s baggage.

It sounds like a simple message but, I promise you, more people than we think get stuck in sorrow and unforgiving. I know this from experience.

The women here have been through a lot. They have been on both sides of the fence; needing to forgive and needing to be forgiven. It is often so overwhelming to be in this position that people can not find the beginning of the road to healing and freedom.

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We are using the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Old Testament, an old widow and her daughter in law who is also a widow, to put into pictures how to move forward. This is the basis for the conference that we built to bring to the women. We call it Victorious Warriors because it takes a warrior to battle through the sorrow, shame, anger, and humiliation that has been heaped upon us over the years. We are survivors, and that is a good thing but a survivor can still remain a victim. It takes more to be victorious. It is a battle of the mind to stop believing the lies of an enemy who tells us we are worthless and doomed to fail at every endeavor. It takes a warrior’s courage to find the strength to try; to move forward; to believe that God has a better plan and He is not mad at us. It takes tremendous strength to take that first step toward HOPE.

When the women first enter Betel Ministries, they are broken and defeated. It sounds like a bad place to be but, in truth, it is the best place to surrender from. Sometimes the warrior must surrender in order to win the battle. We surrender the lies, the escape paths through alcohol and drugs and we surrender our wills. It is from that place of brokenness that we can begin again. We lay down the running and squarely face our failures and stop making excuses for them. We stop lying to people. We lay down the lies we believed for so long and accept the fact that God loves us and no one is worthless. And we lay down our self will and begin to learn how to embrace God’s will for our lives. It is good, His will for us. We have made a mess of things and He is waiting to restore us to sanity and a good life.

I read a lot of Facebook posts and some of things that crack me up end with the words, “said no one ever”. I have one that fits here. I want my old life back of lying, stealing, disrespecting myself, being drunk enough to pee my pants and high enough to puke on the police officer’s shoes… said NO ONE EVER.

Betel ministries all over the world provide refuge and a place to begin again. The people of Betel are courageous warriors. I am grateful for an opportunity to serve them.