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.





Did you just judge me?

6 10 2014

I am a Christian. That means I have come to believe that God, in His mercy, sent a Way for me to get back into a pure relationship with Him. That Way is Jesus Christ. Without getting all preachy, suffice to say that I have decided to follow Jesus. I am a Christ follower.
Chances are, you have just made a judgement about me based on what you know about others. One of your judgements is probably that I am judgmental. The pot calls the kettle black.
Relax. Breath. Open your mind for a minute.
Do you want to know what I really think it means to be a Christ follower?

A-Christian

  • love God with all my heart
  • if I truly love God, I will love His people
  • love without hypocrisy
  • give and it will be given unto you
  • includes helping others
  • when you refresh others you will be refreshed
  • true religion gets dirty, goes where the needs are
  • closest to the heart of God is helping others
  • widows and orphans
  • God did not call me to judge people, he called me to love them
  • I need to judge myself, search my own soul. Not yours
  • I am full of miracles
  • miracles don’t always come with a fireworks display
  • a hug, a gentle word brings healing
  • encourage
  • help others and your life will break forth like the dawn and your healing will come

Now that I have revealed some of my inner thoughts, judge away.

In my over six decades on this planet, I have learned that we are all seekers. Every one of us are trying to find our way through this thing called life. We are not all on the same path. Each of us must find our own way. I believe that I have found mine and I TRY to walk it out every day. I am not interested in convincing you that my Way is right and yours is wrong. I welcome anyone to join me and the many others who are following Jesus, but it must be your own revelation that puts that desire in your own heart. If I truly believe that God speaks to the heart, I must believe that He has you in the palm of His hand and He will direct you. I respect your choice to walk where you feel led. We are not immortal. One day we will draw our last breath and then we will know in truth. Until then, my prayer for each of my friends is that God will lead us to the truth and help us to be true to what we believe.





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.





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.

 





This one is pretty churchy, read at your own risk.

30 03 2014

Have you noticed how many churches have adopted the moniker of being Seeker Friendly? The nearest I can come to a definition of a seeker friendly church is; a comfortable environment in which to seek spiritual development. This definition is not all encompassing but I think it describes, in a nut shell, the direction of a seeker church.

I find that in attempting to become “seeker friendly”, the church has become more like a the seeker than like the Bride of Christ.

The problem I see with this idea is that we do not give the, so called, seeker enough credit. Seekers are already uncomfrotable and discontented with what they presently believe. That is what propels people to seek something else. People who are brave enough to search for something different are seeking the Truth. They are not satisfied to believe that what they know now is all there is.

I was seeking when I finally made the step to go to an AA meeting. I was confused, depressed, suicidal and of a very fragile mind. The only thing I was absolutely certain of was that I was going to die if something did not change. No one in AA was concerned with my “comfort”. I was desperate for my life and they had the answer. No one babied me. On the contrary, they said things to me like; “sit down, shut up and listen; go to 90 meetings in 90 days; you have nothing of value to add to a meeting until you have spent 90 days listening and learning.”

I had ADD before anyone had a name for it. I would get up for coffee a half dozen times in 90 minutes. I would try to sneak outside for a cigarette and to socialize with other people who had ducked out for their own reasons. My sponsor grabbed me on one of my wandering excursions and asked me what I was doing outside. “Your sobriety is not out here. Get your a$$ inside, sit down in the front row, shut your mouth and open your ears.” As angry and humiliated as those words made me feel, they were truth! Not what I wanted to hear, what I needed to hear. It takes a deep love and a certain courage to speak the truth. I am grateful for those who spoke truth to me, especially when I didn’t want to hear it. It did not chase me away from AA. It did not force the brakes on my journey for a different way of life. I was sick and tired of my old way of life and I became willing to grasp onto this new way of life.

So, back to the church and the seeker. My concern is that we are pointing the seeker in the wrong direction. Are we trying so hard to make the unbeliever comfortable that we are presenting the church as a party place? Honestly, some worship services look to me like a bar room band concert minus the alcohol. And, sometimes it is not minus the alcohol because I can smell the previous night’s activities on the stage. Sometimes, the musicians are still high or hungover. Is this the worship that our God deserves? Are we pointing to the lights and the fog machines and the musicians? Are we teaching by our behavior that we are no different than the rest of the world? What used to be a Bible study time has been turned into “fellowship” and sometimes they just happen to meet in a bar. Is it really okay to have one beer? As long as you invoke the name of God somewhere in the conversation, is that what makes it a “Christian” get together? Oh yeah, and if so and so, you know, the alcoholic, shows up then no one should have a drink. Does that make it okay? Are we teaching new believers more about freedom in Christ than about making sacrifice to remain Holy? Do we even know anymore what God meant when He said, “Be Holy because I am Holy”? What does the word sanctified mean? What am I supposed to set myself apart from? What did Jesus mean when He said, “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.”? These are all valid questions that arise.

And here is the BIG question. Are we using the notion of being seeker friendly to justify living in a way that allows us to practice our creature comforts?

The seeker already knows what the world has to offer. Show them Jesus. Show them their own worth because God left Heaven and took a beating and was tortured and murdered to save them from their sin. Act like we know this to be true. Then, and only then, do we begin to do the seeker a service. Seekers deserve to know the truth.

 

 





Bullies and a senior citizen

19 01 2014

On one of my frequent driving excursions for work, I enjoyed a lunch break in front of the fireplace at Cracker Barrel. The first thing the smiling waitress said as she came to take my order was, “I love your hair!” During my lunch, a woman somewhat older than me made it a point to stop on her way by my table to say, “I love your hair. You go girl.” I am not a stranger to comments like these. In fact, if a couple of days go by where no one compliments my hair, I know it is time to touch up my hair color. Purple fades very quickly. If I were not a hair stylist and able to do my own hair color in between salon visits I would never attempt to pull off this color. I love my fabulous, short, mohawk haircut by Paula at  Elsewhere Salon in Wilmington, NC and I love the Pimpin’ Purple hair color we use to make my mohawk POP.

Photo 104

There is another side to this coin of many compliments. After my lunch on that day, I was leaving the restaurant and heading to my car when I noticed two men entering the restaurant were staring at me. I kept them in my line of vision with a side glance and this is what I saw. They were both smiling. Not the kind and friendly sort of smile but that ridiculing, half smirky, bullying type of smile. One elbowed the other and nodded his head in my direction, which was not really necessary since they were both staring at me already. Then, they looked at each other and burst out laughing, loud and mean spirited. I turned my head to make eye contact with one of the big shots, gave him my most charming smile, tilted my head and winked at him. They both smiled a much kinder smile and then stumbled over each other on the way in the door. I had to giggle when they both, still looking at me, shrugged their shoulders at the same time. I shrugged back at them and proceeded to giggle all the way to my car.

As I got back onto the highway, I replayed that scene and realized a couple of things. First of all, it is true what they say; mean people really do suck. Grown men bullies act pretty much the same as junior high bullies. Bullies are cowards. They band together with like minded creeps to give each other validation. What a boring and non-creative way to spend a life.

Second, I have grown into a confident woman. There was a day when something like that would have completely devastated my day. I am quite happy to know that is not the case, most times, anymore. I can still fall into that pit on occasion but, after a mere six decades, I have grown comfortable with some things about me. I have a quirky sense of style for myself. My world is not rocked anymore when I discover that someone has completely missed seeing what an awesome woman I am. I like the color purple, I like to smile, I like to make people laugh and I like to see people smile. I am not afraid of bullies. I am glad I made the two nice ladies smile. I am glad I made the bullies laugh. And I am glad they made me giggle… all the way to the car.