How sweet it is

15 08 2016

 

August 15 is a special day. It has been since 1982 when I married my soul mate. Ed has not been here to celebrate with me since April of 2011. This makes me sad and every August 15th I feel the ache in my heart and I cry a little, usually a couple of times throughout the day. I have come to accept that it is normal to miss someone so much that it can cause tears. What was surprising to me is the actually ache in my heart. I used to think the term “heartache” was a metaphor but my heart physically hurts when I think of how much I miss him and still love him. This all sounds a bit morbid but if you can stick with me, you will see I am going in another direction with this. I believe all the actions I just described are normal parts of grief. Grief is not a dirty word. I have had to give myself permission to express my sorrow. It only means I have loved deeply.
I have loved deeply. What an honor that is. What a gift to be able to grow and mature in that love and learn to trust another human being. I had that one person that I could count on through all of life’s winding roads. One person who knew I was filled with insecurities, imperfection and inconsistency and he loved me anyway. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could turn my love for him off. We were both far from perfect and we accepted that in each other. If I was mad at him, yes, it happened, he learned to leave me alone for a while until my hot Italian temper had time to cool off. Before the day was through he would put his arms around me and remind me that I couldn’t stay mad at him. He was so stinking cute, and he was right. We practiced the Biblical principal of not letting the sun go down on our anger. There is a free wisdom tidbit for you. it is important to the life of a relationship. Do not leave things unresolved.

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Today is a special day. I have felt the familiar ache in my heart and I have shed some tears because I miss my Eddie. But sorrow and grief will not define this special day. I have washed my face, brushed my teeth and put a little mascara on. I have called the florist and ordered flowers to be sent to the house. I will celebrate that fact that I have loved so deeply that I am still in love with one man. I am celebrating the fact that I have been fortunate enough to be loved and understood by a soul mate. I honor my husband today and I feel a touch of pride that I was Eddie the baker’s wife until death parted us. This is a joyous day.





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.





Ponderations

14 05 2014

Every step brings us closer and closer. Even the steps backwards. Sometimes, the backwards steps reveal as much as the steps forward. They cause us to look at a short coming in a new way. We grow more honest with ourselves. Or they give us new insight to the path we should be traveling. If you have ever looked closely at a Monet painting you will most likely agree that his brush strokes can be mesmerizing. Then, we step back a few paces and we see the most glorious water lilies floating, as it seems, on a peaceful pond. That is a new perspective and so worth the backward step.

There have been many times on this life journey that it has become necessary for me to back up and see things differently. I am certainly not all that I will be one day. This widow’s journey has revealed many things to me over the past three years.

I have described my journey as “re-inventing myself”.  I would change that statement now. I am not re-inventing but I am becoming. And wether you know it or not, so are you. We fail. We succeed. We celebrate. We mourn. But we keep moving and changing, growing ever closer to who we are becoming. Every step along the journey is the real us. We may try to hide it under a character default that makes us feel momentarily safe, but the real us is still the one shivering under the disguise.

Okay, hang with me while I reel (real) it in.  I want to share a few ideas with my friends and readers who may feel stuck at the moment. Some of you have shared this sentiment with me recently and it has caused me to ponder. So, here are some of my ponderations.

1. Let’s give ourselves a break. Stop expecting to be perfect. We have never lived this day before, we have no prior experience with it so stop beating ourselves up over mis-steps. Forgive ourselves and keep moving.

2. Let’s give someone else a break today. Who has been insensitive to our needs? Can we just accept it, forgive them for being short sighted and move on? I am talking about the surface things that we let get to us, like being snubbed or getting a rude response to a question. Let’s not let that make or break our day. It almost happened to me yesterday in the super market and I had to ask myself why I would allow a snarky butcher at the meat counter to cause me to feel bad for asking for the fresh chicken breast. I just spent more money on a facial than this person makes in a day. Okay, that  was a mean thought but it made me smile and realize that this person is also on his journey. The little….. nope… not going there again.

3. Do something. Get off the couch, turn off the tv, wash your face and for the love of monkeys, brush your teeth! DO something. Suggestions are: take a walk, call a friend, write a letter (not email… a real letter on paper). DO anything that will change the perspective of looking over your feet in the recliner. DO something different than your normal routine.

4. Take time to appreciate the whole picture. Look at the successes as well as the failures. Surely we have done something right in the past week or so. (permission granted to go as far back in time as we need to find that one right thing). Celebrate the success and learn from the failure. Then forgive the failure. My friend Jennifer taught me to do it something like this: “Well that didn’t work out well. let”s not do it that way again.” Done; move on.

I hope I have made you reflect and smile today. It is not as bad as we think. Keep breathing and keep moving.

Give yourself permission to love yourself today.

 





A gift of rejection

15 01 2014

This ADD brain has spiked off the charts in the past few years. Whenever I sit down to write, my brain explodes into a million shards of brilliant ideas. I reach out and grab one, just one, to write about.

I tell myself, “You can do this, Coni. It will be intelligent and interesting. Make this idea into a short story. Maybe turn it into a poem. Nah, that is easier said than done.  Just make a cup of coffee first in the Keurig. It only takes a minute and then you can settle in and create. Who ever thought up the premise for a Keurig Coffee maker? Oh look, I am almost out of Columbian Fair Trade pods. Better put that on the shopping list then I can just wash these breakfast dishes while I wait for the coffee to brew. Hey! Oh no you don’t ADD. You are not gong to take me down a rabbit trail today. Whatever a rabbit trail is. Where do we come up with these sayings? Oh, hahaha. Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall. I get it.” *sips coffee while staring out window*

I finished my last job, Sleepy Hollow, on December 30. Since then, I have been catching up on my rest, re-connecting with friends that are not in the movie business and re-decorating my house. That means, I need to go back to work soon. I am going to leave this for a minute and shoot out a resume right now. Don’t go away.

Resume sent! Now, where were we? Oh yeah, jobs.

I received an unusual gift a few months ago. A low budget movie came to my town and I would have liked to head up the hair department. I sent my resume upon request of the make up artist who had interviewed for her position. I was informed that my resume was “not very impressive.” I was shocked, insulted and horrified. The body of work that I have been blessed to perform over the past 19 + years looked pretty impressive to me. So, how is this a gift?, you ask.

I had a choice to make. Do I just blow them off or do I need to re-evaluate how I am presenting my work? I chose the latter. The most helpful thing I did was to show my resume to a fellow hair stylist, (she actually got the job I was seeking) who was gracious enough to give me some wonderful advice. I spent about a week putting together a good amount of information and I used a completely different format. I even contacted a couple of producers that I  have worked with over the years and asked their permission to use them as a reference. The result was humbling and fulfilling. I double dog dare someone to look at my body of work and label it as unimpressive again. Thanks go out to the un-named production who gave me a wake up call. I can not just rest on my laurels. I am still in the game and must put my best self out there.

Here is one iota of what I get to do for a living and a shameless use of celebrity photo to get your attention.

Marilyn Manson , wigged to look like the 1970s

Marilyn Manson , wigged to look like the 1970s





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.”





I blame it on EastBound and Down

1 11 2013

Sometimes, I end up doing things that I don’t care to do. It does not usually turn out well. I am discovering a delightful freedom in learning to say “no” to things like this. I am trying to be as honest as possible about things. Gone are the days when I make decisions based on what I think you want me to do. I really have no idea what you want.

Having said all that, I find myself in a dilemma that I am trying to work out right now. I am going to blame it on EastBound and Down. But, let me get to the point.

I really enjoy this little gig that I am working right now. It is a day or two each week out of town, which doesn’t really bother me. The paycheck is paying my bills and contributing my health insurance and for that, I am very grateful. The work itself is fun. I am doing hair for the back ground artists on a television series. I enjoy the folks I am working with on set. I still love what I get to do for a living.

The company pays for my hotel stay and here is where it gets sticky for me. I realize that the film industry is all the about the mighty dollar and a good production manager will cut costs wherever possible across the boards. I further understand that my particular position on this production is quite low on the totem pole. I am okay with all of that. That, however, is no reason for me to allow myself to be placed in a situation that is unhealthy or unsafe. The hotels this company puts me in are low budget and dirty at best. I travel with my own cleaning supplies (as many of my co-workers know). I am always thrilled when I don’t have to use them. That has not happened so far on this job. So far, I have asked to be moved from one hotel (a filthy health hazard)

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(this is a sample of what this room had to offer. This is just from the carpet and floor. I can’t even tell you about the bathroom.)

and refused to stay in one in which the doors open to the outside (unsafe). I know that the fellow in charge of booking hotel arrangements is sick of me but it is not my fault that they give us poor accommodations.

Below are pics from the last hotel I was put up in. I was on the first floor and the windows did not lock. This is how they “fixed” the problem for me.

mail-2

mail-1

(this is where they put me after I refused to stay in the unsafe hotel)

In order to maintain my self respect, I am going to have to refuse the work on this production and that makes me very sad. I know they will do just fine without me. There is always someone waiting in the wings to take over a position in this business.

Darn you EastBound and Down!!! And thank you for always treating me with dignity and respect, for making every work day an opportunity to raise my game and to improve my craft. Thank you for teaching me that I am worth saying NO to some things. Can’t wait to work with you all again.

BTW, I am available right now. 😉





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.