Saturday, November 29, 2008

Retraction and disclosure

I made a post yesterday that was riddled with hurt and frustration and anger and bitterness and dare I say it 'poor me' attitudes. I removed the post not because I am wanting people to only see me in a positive way - but rather because I need to bring these things before God and allow His love and support to heal me. Depression is a strange force.

I do want the few readers I have to know that on the outside I appear just fine. I am strong, supportive, caring, amusing even. But right now (and for some time now) there has been a dark cloud over my spirit which tries to consume me.

I know I will rise above this and I know that God will be the one who raises me high above all this.

I miss the close relationship I once had with God. I am doing all I can (reading and praying) to restore my faith. I dare to reach out to His faithful people which is not easy for me as I do suffer from the crippling belief that I am only going to be rejected when they see me in my vulnerable state.

This post is not a pity party - it is (and I say it with all of my heart) and honest testimony to where I am.

I long for His presence to consume me so there is no room for my own inadequacies to make me stumble and fall out of His grace.

For those who read my post yesterday - please no that I am regretful for any offense I caused.

This is hard for me to do but I am asking you to pray me - for healing. My past hurts still fester within my heart and try to define me. Most of the time I am able to stay one step ahead of depression.

Depression - there I have said it.

We are all complex people.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a little dizziness

Woke up this morning - nothing new or exciting about that seeing as I wake up almost every morning (can't remember the last time I woke and it was past noon). So, I woke up and felt just dandy. It would appear that I really don't require a lot of sleep. The night before I was chit chatting to a friend until - well let's say late - past midnight. I was having a great time - probably would have kept that lovely lady chatting for ever and ever had she not booted me off line.

But I digress! So, I chatted till late (midnight) then I did the dishes and then I went and had a little debate with Max and before you know it - it was 2am. Wide awake and feeling like I still had things I needed to get off my chest or heart I had a little informal share time with God. I say informal because I was struggling to stay completely focused on the topic/s. I am so grateful that God knows and speaks many languages - cause by the time I was done I was ranting complete gibberish.

So, about 3'ish I turned off the light, checked that the alarm was set for 6am, and immediately landed in snooze land.

Woke up this morning feeling just dandy. I even beat the alarm - true.

I rolled out of bed and started to make my way to the door. It was then that I realised something was not quite right. Firstly the door would not keep still. I walked straight into the edge of the bed and then jammed my shoulder on the door frame. It was as I was moving into the passageway I noticed our delusional cat doing that horrible regurgitation dance. I tried to bend down to scoop her up hoping to get her to the yard before the contents (hairball) was projected onto the floor. I swear I had her in my sights - but when I got to floor level I was out by a mile.

I have a complete new empathy for anyone who suffers from balance issues - or drunks even for that matter.

I could not wak a straight line. I tried talking myself into it but to no avail. The best I could manage was a pretty pathetic rendition of the vienna waltz as I swooped and swooned my way to the kitchen.

I managed to steady myself up and the dizziness passed. So, forgetting where I was up to in my morning routine I grabbed the clothes out of the machine (I had pre set it to wash during my sleep) and attempted to walk through the side door to the clothes line. I have the bruises to prove my pathetic attempts. One minute the door was there and so I proceeded to walk through it. Next thing you know it was a little to the left, then a little to the right.

I gave up and staggered to the kitchen, put the kettle on, and against better judegemnt, made myself a cup of tea (I wish I could describe adequately the whole pouring of boiling water into a cup that was on some sort of moving shelf).

So, with a lot of skill and a little paranoia (I was just beginning to feel a little apprehensive in case it was the old blood pressure) I sipped away at the cuppa. I plonked myself on the couch and waited for the waltz to conclude.

It was then, from my bedroom, (which was all the way back down the passageT that I heard the alarm go off. I am really proud of how I was able to negotiate my way around the precious cats deposit of fur ball (and various other contents).

By the time I got to my bedroom it made perfect sense to plonk back down on the bed.

The crazy sensation passed and I managed to get ready for school (on time).

I shared my wonderful experience with the principal - maybe hoping that she would say go home. Alas, all I got was her version of her own dizzy spell several years ago!!!!

What a morning!!!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm well thanks

I raced home from work and dived onto the computer to check if anyone had been on my site. Unfortunately two people had. I say unfortunately because I was going to delete the stupid picture. Oh well!

Pleasant evening here in our home. Jenna just walked through the door - I am fairly sure she was cursing (maybe a swear word even passed her lips). She is not a happy camper!!!! What is she so cross about? Well, you see when we went to Sydney she passed me her PSP and it slipped through my hands and broke. She was not happy then, trust me. If that plane had windows that opened - I was a gonna!!! Anyway I rang the insurance and put in a claim. Took them for ever to get her a new one. However, she was a little happier because they gave her the upgraded version.

So, why the cussing and cursing now? Oops, she dropped the PSP!!!!! Meltdown. Where can I hide? Dare I ring the insurance again? I am nervous - I have this feeling I will utter the wrong words to my precious.

What? Could it be?

She is out of the room. Yes, she is Ok! All is well! The world can keep turning!!!

Oh thank you Lord - The Sony PSP is not broken.

Now as for the son. Well he bought a car. He bought a car in spite of both parents advising him to be cautious, careful, have it checked etc etc. He bought a car knowing best. It was a lemon!!! Seized up two days after. Took it back to previous owner (happens to own a wreckers - very sus!!!). Four weeks later after a whole lot of mucking around, lies, etc etc he got the car back (not before A Current Affairs rang them and suggested they were coming for a visit). Three weeks later car seized up again. Son would like to be rescued. Wants to float a loan to get the car fixed - STAT. Thing is he owes his father like $900 for the last fix. Whoa! I say. I think you need to take some responsibility here, son. Pay back your dad and then we will talk about another loan. Meantime catch a bus like thousands of other workers.

Am I his favorite mother right now? I think not!!!!!

Eldest daughter has got her self some work where her friends dad works. Deal breaker is she now has to sleep over at her friends every night cause she has no transport and she starts at 6am - the friend is also doing it. I am not happy (as it is) with all the time she spends there. "Well!" she whined, " if you loaned me some money to get a car I wouldn't need to be reliant on your car and its availability!". What?

Clearly they need to be reminded of the traumatic births each of them put me through :) That and the fact I am not a bleedin bank!!!!!

I'm well thanks!

Phew! Got back here before anyone came and read. I just wanted to be sure you understood that I love my kids very much. Excellent. I am very proud of them. Excellent. Oh yes, I also wanted you to know that their births were really, really traumatic!!! They owe me BIG time ;)

Well that's that then.

Felt a bit tired after work today so I am in my Pj's - must go and quickly drag in the bins - hoping neighbours are bust cooking their tea (It's ok Linds, I have fastened the waist band nice and tight).

Spot the differences!

Apart from the poor quality of the photo (Son has my camera and daughter - who I woke to take this - was not happy photographer) and besides the fact I could not afford to fly over to Sydney for the reenactment - can you spot the differences?

P.S I have truly woken up to the fact that this is not, nor ever was, nor ever will be a flattering top! Still, it's what I was wearing and so it will show the differences, right?

Hint: 7kg

Add on - Don't mean to be crude but my right bust is out of control. You can see it in the face - right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A weekend getaway

I took off for a three day weekend break. I went armed with my laptop (I managed to reclaim it from son) in order to work through some end of year school reports. I also went armed with a bag of books (visions of comfortable chair, long, tall drink, Mama Mia CD?) and of course a new, but dear friend of mine (you may know him), Max Lucado.

My girls didn't really think I would do it. I am always saying I am taking off for the weekend - but never do. Responsibilities (let's not forget my girls are now 20 and 23!!), house chores ( do they ever really get to the end of the list?)., an invitation to have coffee (talk about timing????). Endless excuses. Not to mention that I like company - and I was going alone.

The girls went to Uni and work (respectively) and confidently chorused, ' See ya this arvo, mum ;)'.

No way! I got on the internet, booked a cabin at Goolwa (about a 2 hour drive) - close enough to get back should an emergency happen, but far enough away to make me stay when I got bored, through as much into the car as I could fit (including my portable TV/DVD and groovy camera and hit the road.

The drive down was pleasant enough. The cabin was okay! The tourist centre were very chatty (and helpful) and by 4 O'clock I was bored. I sat in front of the laptop and tried really hard to get motivated to write positive comments - failed! I grabbed a book and tried to read - failed! I went for a walk with my camera - failed! I had another cup of soup - I am so over this soup! I got on the mobile phone and checked in on the girls - they were fine. I rang a friend who lives an hour away from Goolwa. Bingo! She invited herself to come down Saturday for a couple of hours - (what a life saver - and how clever was I to sound like it was a lovely idea - if that is what she would like to do!!!!). God bless her.

Knowing that someone was on there way the next day I was able to surrender a little more into this self appointed retreat.

I had a little one on one with Max and then grabbed the camera again.

Ah, that's better - what a difference an attitude makes.

Each scene was whispering a new and refreshing message.

On Sunday I decided to book myself on a river cruise down the Coorong (part of the Murray River).

Oh My Lord! And I mean 'Oh My Lord' - glorious, so glorious. I took Max with me and finished the 'Traveling Light' book. I will be making my final post on what I have discovered soon. For now let me share with you the setting which allowed Max and God to do their stirring of my heart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The prison of want - The burden of discontent

The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want.

Max has started to break the 23rd Psalm down. I like the way he punctuates his message with lots and lots of metaphors - analogies - parables. But more of that later.

The question pounding in my head (over and over and over again) - therefore demanding some serious reflection is - Am I in want? Is there something - that I want, that I crave, that I feel I do not have that may be the missing link to my happiness?

Am I in want? Let's flip it around a minute and ask - Do I have everything I need that will bring me peace, joy, happiness?

My friends, the resounding response needs to be - I am in want!

Remember, I am reflecting and looking at this want issue within the context of things that will bring me peace, joy and happiness. Of course there are things that I have. I have a roof over my head, a car, food in the cupboard, a job (for now), internet (P.T.L), clothes, a few dollars spare for the minor (very minor) crisis, etc etc. I also have three children who have made it through to young adulthood without being lured into alcohol, drugs, promiscuous behavior or a nasty nature. Oh yes, I do have things - and for these I am grateful.

Still, there is no hiding the truth - when it comes to my spiritual well being - I am in want.

Max sets an exercise up - he asks the reader to write down what they think they need to make them happy ( he actually calls it meddling - sweet man). In essence what he is asking is - What do I think I am in want of? What is separating me fromjoy?

Here goes -

I will be happy when I ...

Actually I need to change this a little . I know what I need for spiritual well being. I also know that gaining material things will not be the answer - in the long run. I need to acknowledge the things that make me happy and bring a sense of joy.

I am happy when I am acknowledged.

I am happy when I share with my friends (joy or hardships).

I am happy when I am slimmer.

I am happy when I feel financially more secure.

I am happy when I sing.

I am happy when my children nurture a relationship with me.

As I was thinking of the things that make me happy it was easier when I considered what made me feel sad, or disappointed, or hurt. Many of the things that make me happy , I noticed where dependent on other people. Not quite a revelation - but ...... I need to get this addressed.

Of course the solution is presented nicely, in the scriptures. The Lord is My shepherd.... I Shall Not Want. I get it Max, I get it! When you really consider (and live it) that the Lord is your shepherd then and only then can you feel that you have everything you need - you are wanting for nothing.

So, I must conclude that one of the things I am in want of is a conviction that the Lord is my shepherd. Again I find myself intellectually 'getting it' - but- clearly not 'living it'. There is a block there, for sure.

But why?

Oh, I'm sure that I know the answer - simply put - TRUST.

I find it hard to trust God. I know, that's a pretty big confession (brave move Mary!).

Sure, I trust on a superficial level - but I realize that when you have been expected (from a very young age) to be strong, to be a survivor, to be a leader, then it is quite a challenge to really submit your will to another - even if that 'other' is God himself - you know - the Creator!

Needing some spiritual intervention on this one.

Maybe chapter by chapter - as I read more about the shepherd - I will discover a way to live a life without want. The shepherd being all I need.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Travelling light

I am reflecting my way through a book by Max Lucado titled 'Traveling Light - Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear."

Chapter one - The luggage of life.

Here Max uses an analogy of being over prepared when his is going on a holiday or a trip. He says that, due to habit and a need to be always prepared for every outcome, he throws into his bag all sorts of unnecessary this and thats - hence making his burden heavier than it needs to be. "I've never been one to travel light", says Max.

Max goes on to say that he should listen to the voice that says "Set that stuff down! You're carrying burdens you don't need to bear." The voice goes on to say " Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)

Max next goes on to reveal how we can let the voice (God) lessen our load - Psalm 23 - here are some of the verses that jumped out at me (after the second read).
  • He makes me to lie down in green pastures - lying down equals rest - green pastures equals life.
  • He leads me beside still waters - Peaceful - no hazards - welcoming.
  • He restores my soul - when you think of what can be restored these days with the latest technology - old photos made into new etc - just think what God can do to the shattered, disillusioned, damaged or neglected souls.
  • He leads me in the path of righteousness - It's not all take - I need to walk the walk. I need to talk the talk. I need to be willing to be led into Godliness. This is my choice. He leads. He does not shove or push or drag or demand - He leads.
  • For Thou are with me - I confess to being a victim from the classic case of ' who really is going to be there for ME?'. Well, He says, He will be!
The verses go on to remind me that when I place my trust in Him and when I allow His peace to restore my soul then - my cup will run over, goodness and mercy will follow me - ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE! That's not bad a promise to hold onto in this disposable world we now live in.
  • And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever - this may mean heaven for some - it may even be the intent of the author - but for me it says that if I dwell (linger, hang out) in His presence then I will never be alone (in the here and now). Forever would indicate that it lasts for infinity but it starts right here, right now.
Max also uses another analogy of a bride and groom entering their wedding day with bags (burdens) and tags plastered all over them. The tags are defining the baggage that they are both bringing into this new relationship. I really liked the analogy but have chosen not to reflect on it too much as it hits pretty close to the bone. I think Max is suggesting through this analogy that if we are carrying too many extra bags then we loose the capacity to carry the ones we are meant to be carrying .

"Set them down", he says. "How do you embrace someone if your arms are full?". This point required a little more thinking. I certainly carry excess baggage (emotional burdens) but I have always found that if I come across someone who needs to be embraced (physically, financially, mentally or emotionally) I find a way to carry that load as well. In fact, sometimes I think that my burdens seem much lighter when I am carrying someone else's. Hah! As I type this justification I am starting to get a little niggle of a thought that perhaps, just maybe, there lies the problem. I suspect God (through Max's writings) will cover that a little later.

At the beginning of the chapter Max shared why he always needing to be over prepared - which in turn led him to carrying stuff he didn't need to carry. For Max it was going back to his memories of the old Scouts salute - 'BE PREPARED'.

I have a clear memory as a child of stealing a pound note from my dad's wage money. I had no idea what the value of that note was - but I now know that it was a considerable portion of his wage. I took the money and went and bought a whole lot of sweets. I then took these treasures to school and gave one to all my friends and all the children who looked like they could do with a treat ( kind of me, right?). Of course, after school all the children walked past our house and said hello to my mum. They also excitedly told her how generous I had been that day. Mum figured out I was the culprit. I was sent out to the backyard to wait until dad got home.

I remember it began to snow and I was freezing. I stayed outside for hours. When dad got home he took me upstairs and belted me with his army belt. Outcome -A bit drastic, but I learnt a great lesson and vowed never to steal again.

A little while later some more money went missing. This time it was my sister ( who is one year older than me). Mum was really worried at what dad would do to my sister. Apparently I was dad's favorite (did not feel that way when I was getting the strap!) and mum was convinced that if I got the belting I did then surely dad would kill my sister. Mum begged me to pretend it was me who had stolen the money and confess to dad on behalf of my sister. What did I do? I carried her load, that's what!This time my belting was done with the buckle side of the belt.The damage to my behind was pretty ugly. Dad had been drinking and kind of lost it.

The point of this story is not to share some miserable childhood drama but to really begin to identify and resolve why it is I tend to hold onto burdens allowing them to weigh me down when I am feeling vulnerable. After all, Max identified his training. I was trained to be the burden carrier. I don't think you can really disregard or underestimate the influence of childhood experiences. And although that particular incident rarely reaches my conscious state any more, I think it would be fair to say that it has remained in my subconscious and jumps out (usually in some disguise) when I am feeling particularly vulnerable or disappointed.

Intellectually I know that I can lay down my burdens at His feet. As Max quoted - to conclude chapter one - "Unload all your worries onto Him, since He is looking after you." (1 Peter 5:7).

For the sake of those you love, travel light.
For the sake of the God you serve, travel light.
For the sake of your own joy, travel light.

Dear God, help me move from head knowledge to heart experience. Amen

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's in a name?

"Sticks and stones may break by bones but names will never hurt me!"

Well that statement is definitely debatable. I read that name calling is intended to wound one's self respect. Name calling is personal. Hurt occurs when you don't see yourself in that light.

I heard a group of students getting into a bit of name calling today. The recipients of the names were laughing nervously, I thought, and were flat out trying to make claim, by their behavior, to the above statement that names do not hurt. They failed miserably. With trained eyes, I could see the, barely hidden, hurt. Admittedly, most of the names were said in 'jest'. However, many had a little edge to them.

It got me thinking about the power of name calling or adjective titles that are bestowed on us. That of course got me thinking of some of the names / titles I have been called at various times. Many of them hurt, many of them uplifted me, many were spot on and many were so far off the mark they were laughable.

So, some names (or titles) that I have been called are;

Creative, Tenacious, Loyal. Bossy, Best Teacher, Bitch, Stupid, Clever, Industrious, Obsessive, Needy, Dramatic, Control Freak, Loser, Darling, Honest, Fatty, (Wolf whistle), Liar, Leader, Friend, Ugly, Mummy, Loyal, Flirt and many , many more.

As you can see - some names are not that bad - easy to embrace - uplifting. Some names are insulting and designed to offend.

Which names stick?

As I was thinking of the best way to talk to my students on the affects (positive or negative) that name calling can have, I remembered the story Wemmicks. This is a beautiful story - with a powerful message.

"Why don't the stickers stay on her?"

"Because she has decided thatwhat I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them."


"The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers."

"I"m not sure I understand."

"You will, but it will take time. You've got a lot of marks. For now, just come to see me every day and let me remind you how much I care."

"Remember. you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."

Punchinello didn't stop but in his heart he thought, 'I think He really means it."

And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.

Names may hurt - but this I know - I have been created in His Image. I am a child of God.


P.S. A truly heartfelt thank you to everyone who prayed me through my last post. - blessings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

paddling on the inside

I went to bed last night with a lot of things on my mind. There are so many things that I am trying to bring before God in prayer - things that are about me and affecting me - disappointments, betrayals, finances, friendships, job prospects, weight, loneliness, parched spirit. I say 'trying' because although I know how to pray and although I definitely know the power of prayer (having experienced it on many 0ccassions - in the past) and although I believe in prayer - I am struggling to really connect in prayer - I feel like I am operating on such a superficial level - I have the words; I reflect; I praise His name; I ... there are a few "I" statements in there - I know!. So I try to rest in His arms. I bring other people's needs before Him - there are so many people (even here in blog land that are in need of prayer) - somehow praying for others is so much easier.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I heard was a great big (very big - very close) clap of thunder. I snuggled into my doona and enjoyed the experience. Then, the dark cloud ascended on me. Something was rumbling in the depths of my soul. Was it fear? Dissapointment (in self) ?

This is me right now

We all know the metaphor - right?

For all intents and purposes I am keeping above the surface. I am meeting my childrens needs, I will be there for a friend if they need me (sincerely), I will write my school reports, I will go and celebrate a friends birthday, I will prepare my lessons for next week, I will go for a walk and enjoy this new day, I will continue to eat soup for one more day, I will stay off the scales for one more day, I will look like I am doing well - if anyone should Iask, I will say- I am doing well!

And, I'll be paddling furiously underneath it all.

Draw me nearer, precious lord - to your side - Amen.