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.

 

 

 





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.

 





Who is that missionary?

4 03 2013

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Here we go!!!

From left to right is, Yours Truly, Coni; Peggy Laney and Margo Talton. We traveled together from Wilmington and met Naomi Tepper in Spain. Naomi flew in from NY the day after the blizzard. The original plan was for us to fly the day of the storm from ILM to NJ to Madrid but all flights got cancelled due to the storm. So, the travel agent got on it immediately and we were able to fly out the next day with an added stop to our route. We lost the first day but rehearsal and blocking with power point and sound and translators started right on time on Monday morning.

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Margo, script supervisor. Peggy, interviewer. Naomi as Ruth, interviewee. Becca, awesome translator and friend.

After our morning of work, we were blessed with a trip into Madrid with the very best ever tour guide, Elliott Tepper. He also happens to be the founder and CEO of Betel ministries. Elliott has a mind that retains an incredible amount of data and our visit was resplendent with pointing and facts. I will attempt to remember some of what he showed us by stating it under the pictures.

2013-02-11_16-05-16_989A beautiful street we walked on the way to a square filled with restaurants and shops. Hey, hostal macarena!! Love the wrought iron patios.

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This is an inner wall in the shopping square. The right of the wall is covered with fresco paintings that we thought quaint and beautiful. Elliott was amused to inform us that we were taking pictures of pornography as the men and women displayed were naked. No close up people!!!!

Last trip here we ate in one of the restaurants in this square. This time we ate a very late lunch in a cave!

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Naomi Tepper, Margo Talton, Coni Andress, Peggy Laney. And, Fernando!

We ate some lovely meals in between ministry and travel. Okay, the bowl of baby eels was not so lovely!!

2013-02-14_14-28-28_998yeah! I thought it was noodles at first. I did eat ONE, just to say I did it. Even with all the garlic, it was not delicious to me.

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This paella was pretty amazing though! This trip was not all about the food but I must show you one more place that we stopped to eat along the road from Madrid to Malaga, a six hour drive through the mountains and acres of olive trees.

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2013-02-13_15-11-23_261This is our host, founder and CEO of Betel ministries, Elliott Tepper.

2013-02-13_15-13-06_271A lovely lunch that we all shared on the mountainside patio. Lots of bread and olive oil too.

I hope I have not bored you with pictures of food and scenery. There is still so much more to tell you. I cannot promise you that the next post will not have another picture of food and fellowship because Spaniards know how to treat their guests. We came to be a blessing and we were so blessed by Betel.





contract vs covenant

28 01 2013

I hate learning things the hard way! The new lesson, which is just an old one revisited, is to get it in writing! This film business is just that. A business. Networks do not care about your (or my) personal problems. If you are not smart enough to protect yourself they will take advantage.

Case in point:

Last September I was working on Ironman 3. My union contract was good and the production company was respectful. My health insurance and my retirement fund were being paid into each day, plus my hourly rate plus over time plus rental of the equipment in my kit. My boss lady was a hoot and I enjoyed every day of work with her. All in all, I would say it was an excellent job. And getting to watch Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Kingsley acting…. what is not to love??

While working this good job, I got a call from another production that needed some rather urgent help. Their actors were going to do a satellite interview the next day and they had no one to do hair and make up for them. I was scheduled to work on IM3 but my boss lady agreed to let me off for the day so I could help my friends out. Talk of money ensued and I agreed to be paid half of the going rate for this job as a favor to them and because it would cover my expenses. Frankly, I was also hoping to get some more work on their show when IM3 finished filming. Here is the lesson… all the money promises were verbal!!! DUH! At the end of the work day, I turned my invoice in to the production manager and she  promptly told me that my rate was not in their budget and they never negotiated such a rate with anyone. During the conversation, she changed the, so called, budgeted amount twice! Hmm.

I have called my union and I have prayed but it appears that I am going to have to learn this lesson the hard way. I still have not been paid because it turns my stomach to accept the amount they have “budgeted”. ( 1/3 of my already discounted wage) By the way, this is a major television network. I can not tell you which one but you can probably figure it out. And, this in no way reflects the hair and make up department on this production. Their hands are tied as tightly as mine by the lack of a written agreement.

Lesson learned. Again. Producers are not my friends. They are business associates. My jobs are the means by which I earn the money to do the things that life is made of! My bills are paid. My mission trip to Spain is covered. I have food in my pantry and clothes on my back.

I am still blessed and highly favored. God has my back and He meets all my needs according to His riches. He has NEVER devalued me! He paid it all and He made a covenant with me that is irrevocable. He has a plan for my life and no man can alter that plan.

Thanks for listening. Moving on. Oh, and get it in writing!!





The Voice

13 10 2012

There! Did you feel that? A soft, subtle nudge, directing my steps.

“That’s right, this way. One foot in front of the other. Follow Me.”

His voice sounds a little like my own voice in my head.
This is a calling I have grown to trust. Under the shadow of His wing, I find peace and rest.
The further I lean into His bosom the clearer my mind grows.
Past the grief. Past the sense of isolation.
Gaining the courage to let go of the life I knew as Ed’s wife.
In my widowhood, I am not alone.
Listen, there it is again. The Voice of my Shepherd.
“This is the way. Walk in it. I will never leave you or forsake you.
There is more for you to do. You are not finished yet. I will be with you.
Every step of the way. Follow me.”




Looking for the rainbow with a crushed heart

18 09 2012

After the war the term, passive aggressive, found its way into civilian psychiatric practice and for many years was listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the bible of the mental health trade. According to the revised third edition (DSM-III-R, 1987), someone had PAPD if he displayed five or more of the following behaviors:

(1) procrastinates, (2) sulks or argues when asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, (3) works inefficiently on unwanted tasks, (4) complains without justification of unreasonable demands, (5) “forgets” obligations, (6) believes he is doing a much better job than others think, (7) resents useful suggestions, (8) fails to do his share, or (9) unreasonably criticizes authority figures.

This term sparked my interest about a year ago when a co-worker called me passive aggressive. I truly thought it was humorous when I called her “princess” after she had verbally attacked me and was acting like a spoiled brat. It was my way of jabbing her without actually knocking her block off, which is what I really wanted to do. Hmm, sounds passive aggressive to me.

Although her behavior after that remark got her fired by the producers of my show and put a possible irreparable rift in our relationship, she did me a favor. I took her name calling to heart and decided to take inventory of myself concerning my attitudes. I discovered I was often, indeed, P.A. I do not like this character trait and so I have purposed to change it. I am learning to say what I mean but still keep the balance of respecting the person I am speaking to. Respect and dignity are extremely important in any relationship. The lack of respect for me is what has put the rift in my relationship with this person. There was a lot of behind the back, negative talk coming from this “princess”. (I still think that is funny.)

This past week, I had to put some words to a very uncomfortable situation. I had to forgo any P.A. vocabulary and talk straight in an eye to eye conversation. It has been gut wrenching for me but I spoke in truth and love. It did not result in an acceptable solution, but I was as honest as I know how to be.

Since my husband passed away in April of 2011, I have been forced to re-invent myself. I no longer have the safe covering of a husband who had only my best interest at heart but I have the assurance that God is my covering and my protector. I am learning how to listen for His voice in my spirit. He gives me the courage and the dignity I need to keep moving forward. He has given me a stern warning that has raised up in me the courage to obey, no matter the cost.

I am reminded that He alone is my safe place. He has promised to never forsake me. He gave up everything to come and rescue me. He is my hero. I am still looking for the rainbow even though my heart is crushed.