Archives for posts with tag: acceptance

tape measure on pretty day 002

Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

This morning at Centering Prayer I was reminded of the importance of being tethered to the God of our understanding by our longing to be connected to the love of our Creator. In other words, our willingness to surrender ourselves to attain a connection with the total love that created us and is part of us is crucial in this journey we call life. If we are not willing to surrender our “I-ness,” our ego, if you will, then our own self-will creates a barrier between us and our Higher Power.

What immediately came to my mind was the realization that my surrender of wanting to be in control and to be independent (my “I-ness”) is not a one time, all or nothing occurrence. My surrender of self will is like one of those small round tape measures that let you pull out the tape measure to any length you want and then, at the push of a button, the tape measure is immediately retracted. When I surrender self and connect with God’s love I will eventually allow someone or something  to push my “ego-button” so that my connection  with God is severed and I retract back into my ego-driven isolation.

I have worked so hard and so long at not being dependent or co-dependent on any person, place, or thing that it is difficult for me to realize the God of my choosing cannot be limited to or defined by one of those categories. To not accept my total dependence on God for every breath I take is sheer insanity, but my ego keeps desperately hanging on to that denial.

My ego has been having a denial party ever since my best friend died this summer. I found myself submerged in grief, despair, anger, and the feeling that no matter what I did, I was going to die anyway, so I might as well live for the moment and stop denying myself what gives me pleasure. Fortunately, for me, that did not send me back into practicing my addiction to alcohol. However, I did start eating what I wanted to when I wanted to. Was I suicidal? No, being a diabetic, I still did not eat sugar, flour, bread, or high glycemic fruits and vegetables. But I did over indulge in protein, milk products, fats, and nuts.

Guess what happened? The usual——I gained some weight, food stopped tasting good, and nothing was filling my “emptiness.” It wasn’t until I stopped the denial/self-pity party and started weighing and measuring my foods again, saying please and thank you to God every day, and taking baby steps towards regular exercising that food started tasting good again and I started feeling “okay” again. Of course, my body rebelled and let me know it did not like “detox”—–but, being the “surrender, take it back, surrender again” type person I am, I was used to that  and it didn’t really bother me.

I guess what I am saying is I finally “got my groove back” and was in right-relationship with my Higher Power. It felt good. It felt like, as I heard a friend put it at a meeting recently, “I just stopped fighting the water and turned over and started floating on my back.”

I think I did so just in time because last night I had another medical crisis that kept me awake for several hours and convinced me once again that God is in control when all else fails. I experienced symptoms for several hours that usually either put me in the ER or in the hospital for a week or so or both, and I knew I had to surrender and trust God. I was able to stop fighting the pain,  to accept it, to take my prescribed medicine, and to turn myself, my will,  and my pain over to God with the understanding that I might still need to go to the ER if the medication did not work. God and the medicine worked their magic—–I was able to sleep for a few hours, and when I awoke the pain and nausea were gone.  The relief is indescribable, and I am most grateful for God’s gift of another day of life. God bless and keep you.

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Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

I once heard someone say, “If you work the twelve steps everybody else gets better.” Now, to many that may not make sense. But think about it. Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps are guidelines for living a spiritual life that focuses on bettering one’s attitudes and behaviors.  Often, people learn to stop judging others and to instead focus on changing themselves. In that light, it makes sense that “others get better” as such changes in people often lead to positive changes in those around them.

One aspect of AA’s program focuses on letting go of resentments…..a challenge that may take days, years, or decades.  I recently had something happen that validated my getting better in terms of how I think and react to my ex-husband. What happened was this: During a long drive home from vacation,  I made a rest stop at a rural Wal-Mart. As I got out of my car, I noticed a man in bib overalls bent over the open tailgate of a pickup. He was putting ice into a cooler. He was a dead ringer for my ex—–whom I have not seen or spoken to since our divorce over twelve years ago. Only, if this was really him, he’d gained enough weight to equal that which I’ve lost. I did not want to stare and/or draw attention to myself so I looked the other way and walked by.

My internal dialogue went something like this: “I could speak to him and know for sure if it is him. But then after all this time, what is there left to say? ‘Gee, you’ve gained weight. How are you?’ No, I’ve let go of most of my resentment so I do not need to do that. I could stop and say something friendly about the weather.  On the other hand, I need to take care of myself in this situation and just keep walking.” I kept walking.

It felt good not to act on residual resentment, and it felt even better to take action that protected myself. I do not know if it was really my  ex or,  if it was, if he was really “better” or not. That is not important. What is important is my attitude and action. Without the step work and “resentment work” I’ve done I would have probably reacted differently—–perhaps in a way that triggered a negative response from another human being. I still have resentment work to do, but I am pleased with my progress. Thanks for letting me “free associate” about my Wal-Mart parking lot escapade.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy fourth of July. My two rescue dogs are in thunder shirts; the sounds of fireworks in the neighborhood are driving them crazy. Sometimes, all that works to calm them is to stack all four of my dogs on top of me in my recliner. We will be happy when the celebrating is over. Alas, I have grown up and lost the sense of fun and magic the fourth of July held for me as a child.  That does not, however, keep me from wanting  others to experience that fun and magic. May God bless and keep you.

Church Earring

Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

I’ve been working this week on practicing making earrings—-a artisan skill two good friends of mine have been trying to teach me. I’m finding my vision, depth perception, and making my fingers work on small, precise tasks quite challenging.   Fine motor skills is something I do not have; I think crocheting is as close as I will get.

Working on practicing making earrings has been a good lesson for me in accepting humility and the fact that I will never make a perfect pair of earrings. It won’t be that hard to leave an intentional glitch in the finished product so that the “Great Spirit” will not be offended.  Through the years I have had lots of experience being forced to realize I am not God, and this is an excellent way to “hammer that message home” to my “wanna be” ego.

I am having the most trouble mastering the technique of wire wrapping—-you know, those coils of wire that go from the top of your “bead” to the place where the earring fastens on to ear wire. Probably because that is precisely the point  in the earring making process where hand and eye coordination are the most important.  My left thumb is full of small puncture wounds from “wire pressing.”  So much so that  I had to take  a break and not try to wire wrap yesterday.

I am fighting allergies and asthma today, so I am not attending church this morning. I decided to try making another pair of earrings. This time what happened was kind of different. I found myself placing the gem stones in an order representative of a church, steeple, and cross. My mind kept remembering how proud I was of myself when I learned how to do the “hand trick” that went with the words, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open up, and there’s all the people.” You place your hands together with the first, second, and third fingers intertwined  and bent inward  while your thumbs held together at the front become “the door” and your “pinky fingers” stick up and meet at a point to make the steeple.  When you open your hands up, your hidden fingers are the “people” spoken of in the rhyme.

When I was four, things were, for the most part simple. I found joy and pleasure in the smallest of things; there were no digital toys to play with, no television, and no elaborate toys. Pounding piano keys  was fun,  lying on your back in the yard looking up at the shapes made by clouds in the sky was fun, and blowing soap bubbles through a empty wooden thread spool was fun.  The plastic “deep sea divers” that came “free in the cereal boxes” that were fun because if you filled the kitchen sink up with water, packed baking soda into the base of the plastic figures and placed them on the bottom of the sink, the figures “miraculously”  came straight up to the top of the water.

The church game signified what would become the pivotal point of my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but my spiritual evolution would end up strongly anchored in just such a church. Granted, I had to find a church that would accept my liberal way of thinking and living.  Now I spend  part of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday  at my church doing various things that I hope will make a positive difference.  One of the things I have learned along the way is that “church” is not confined to being inside a building; in fact, in my opinion, “church” is occurring less and less in the confines of a building and, hopefully, more and more in the hearts and actions of people outside the walls of the church.

Enough rambling. Wherever you are I hope you experience love and peace. I hope that you can have a rest from “heavy and deep thinking” so that you can exercise your imagination and find joy in simple things. The good news is we don’t have to be children to do so. All of God’s creation is waiting for you, and you don’t want to miss it. God bless and keep you.

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Ever have one of those days when it seems like things just are not going right? Yesterday, I walked into my house  after being gone for a few hours and was greeted by my dogs with love and affections as per usual. However, all of the sudden there was a different sound in the house. The dogs started barking, and I started walking around trying to locate the sound. It sounded like rushing water at times and at others like a cutting, buzzing sort of sound. It would quiet; then it would start up again.  It was quite loud, and it was loudest in my bathroom. It seemed to be coming from the wall behind my bathroom sink. I checked the faucets—they worked, water flowed. I checked under sink and found no leak. I checked my toilet’s functioning,  and it was fine.  I walked down into the basement to make sure everything there was okay, and there were no leaks dripping down into the basement. In desperation, I finally called a friend who helps me out with hand man jobs around my house and let him listen to the “racket” over my speaker phone. He told me not to worry; that it sounded like calcium was probably blocking the flow of water due to recent rain. I had visions of water damming up behind my bathroom wall ready to explode out and flood everything.

I tried to ignore the noise, and I even worked on fixing an office chair. It had a loose arm-rest that needed screwed on tighter with a small Phillip’s screwdriver. I turned the chair over on its side and tightened up the screw. Then I tried to lift the chair back up on its legs. Of course, I used the arm rest to lift the chair, and the entire arm rest, tightened screws, and all broke off in my hand.  I was halfway ready to entertain the idea of Gremlins running amuck in my house trying to do whatever mischief they could just to irritate me.

The noise continued to be bothersome.  It was like having a dentist’s drill constantly drilling in my bathroom. I tried drowning the noise out with television. That didn’t work. Then, I finally got the great idea of shutting the bathroom door. That made the sound at least bearable, and, lucky for me, the door managed to stay on its hinges.

A friend came over to help me work on setting up my  “Kathy’s Warm Fuzzies” website (https://sites.google.com/site/kathyswarmfuzzies/) where I will be selling items I crochet (shawls, cowls, hats, doilies, mandalas, scarves, afghans, etc.) as well as earrings I make.  We were able to work with the background noise, but when we finished, my friend helped me, once again, to try to find the source of the noise that had been going on for at least three hours by that time.

She found a plastic tray that was up against my bathroom wall, and, in the tray, she found a battery-operated toothbrush I had even forgot I had.  And, yes, it was the toothbrush buzzing away and vibrating everything on the tray up against the wall that was making all the racket. I am pretty sure God got a good laugh out of that one——He and the ghost who turned the toothbrush on in the first place.

What’s the spiritual point of all this? Well, when I feel on edge, and, yes, anxious, and am unable to ascertain the reason, it is important that I “keep on keeping on”—–and that I let friends help me as they can often notice what I don’t. I think that is how God works. When I turn things over to him in prayer, the “solution” to whatever is bothering me, identified or not, occurs. And it usually occurs when I get myself and my stubbornness out of the way and become receptive to help from God and others. Oh, yes, it helps to have a sense of humor too! God bless and keep you.

Walk the Walk

Photo by K. Farwell

I’ve been going through this weird thing where all I want to do is crochet. Reading and typing seem more like a chore than anything else. On top of that I’ve continued to have headaches and upper leg and hip muscle pain. I chalked it all up to just growing old and started to get on with my life. Then, Friday, I went to my annual eye appointment, and, after my eyes  were examined,  I was told “You just made it by a thin margin—-you are just one point above not being able to drive legally.” I did not realize how worried the doctor was until he dilated my eyes, checked my right eye, and said, “The good news is you’ve not bled into your right eye.”

Talk about a kick in the stomach that wasn’t expected! My deteriorating vision explains why typing, reading, and driving are no longer enjoyable. Crocheting I can hold up close to my eyes. My  right eye is usually my good eye, and, indeed, it is the left eye that most needs cataract surgery. The doctor and I both couldn’t understand why the right eye got so much worse all of the sudden. But he decided it was because I am a diabetic. He pulled the “shaming authority” gig on me, and proceeded to lecture me on how I couldn’t ignore being a diabetic, how I always needed to check my blood sugars even if my A1-Cs were all good, etc……that if I didn’t I could go blind before I figured out something was wrong. Talk about a bummer.

My first response was denial——I told him I’d just renewed my driver’s license after passing the vision test. He said that didn’t matter because if I were to be in an accident any good lawyer would go to my medical record. The doctor gave me two choices—-I could opt to have cataract surgery right away or I could wait a couple of weeks, take my blood sugar levels twice a day, and keep a food diary and then come back to have my vision re-checked.  I opted for the two week choice because I watch my diet fairly closely and I don’t think diabetes is causing the rapid eyesight loss. If it is diabetes, it will need to be “under control” before any surgery to promote healing after the surgery. Besides, while I  am waiting  I can hang on to the fantasy that Friday’s “readings” were just a fluke and I’ll pass the vision test with flying colors in a couple of weeks.

Now that a couple of days have passed I can ask myself what is God trying to tell me. Obviously, I need to focus on acceptance of my own mortality and medical conditions. But maybe God is trying to tell me something more. Maybe he is trying to tell me to be careful before I hurt someone when I am driving. I am going to stop driving at night—–especially in the rain. And, now that I know why I hate driving in traffic, I am going to stay out of it as much as I can. I will drive more slowly.

All this time I thought floaters” were intermittently messing up my vision, but now I know it  is actually cataracts and some unknown factor. It is the unknown factor that scares me. What I am realizing as I write this is I am being given yet another opportunity to trust God and have faith——you know, to walk the walk and not just talk it. God bless and keep you.

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Ah, the winding down of the hectic holiday rhythms our culture perpetuates year after year. Slowly re-storing Christmas decorations, trees, etc. to their “usual place.” Time to take a deep breath, relax.  So I thought.

Friday night, stomach acid erupted up my esophagus and rudely wakened me in the middle of the night. I assumed it was acid reflux and I quickly downed a couple of TUMs. That wasn’t enough to calm things down, so I forced myself to swallow pink gooey Pepto. Then I was able to sleep a couple of hours before I was jolted wide awake with projectile vomiting. For you non-medical folks, that is the kind of vomiting that is so forceful it travels across the room as in the movie “The Exorcist.”

This meant I had to get in my car and drive to the local ER because the last time this happened it threw my heart into a “tizzy.” I was immediately wheeled into the ER where they started giving me  IV fluids. For most, this is a somewhat simple procedure, but for someone with “poor veins” who is dehydrated this is sometimes next to impossible. Oh yes, bloods were drawn. Again. And Again. When one is dehydrated, this almost becomes a form of torture. What these medical folks were calling “a Rainbow” suddenly gave a whole new meaning to what had, until then, been my almost magical concept of “rainbow.”

When IVs were finally started and all bloods drawn,  I was rolled on my gurney to x-ray for abdominal x-rays and chest x-ray and returned to my cubicle.  After a few hours and several trips in to check my IV—–the IV fluids were moving R..E…A…L…L…Y  slowly—–it became clear I would remain on my back in my own little cubicle of life-saving grace until the IV bag was empty. Thankfully, my priest came and  stayed with me during part of this ER experience, and her presence, prayer, and support were very comforting. She helped make everything “endurable.”

Finally, the doctor came in to discuss my x-rays with me. If I hadn’t felt so bad, I would have laughed. This had to be one of the most comical x-ray result discussions on record.

In the past,  when I have experienced this type of vomiting and dehydration it was due to a partial obstruction of my gastro-intestinal system that, in turn, usually sent me via  ambulance to an advanced metropolitan medical center in St. Louis where I would stay for at least a week under the always looming threat of emergency abdominal surgery. My x-rays, thank God, did not show a partial bowel obstruction this time.

I was so relieved to hear I  did not have a partial obstruction this time that it took me a while to realize the doctor was telling me my x-rays revealed I was absolutely, totally, “full of a LOT of shit.” Evidently, I have a “redundant colon.” I was told a redundant colon means that back in my size 5X days my colon expanded to a super large size—–and when I finally lost weight my colon had lost its elasticity and stayed stretched out. Now, because of that and numerous surgeries I lack nerve stimulation and intestinal elasticity/peristalsis to “move my feces” along and out of my body in a timely fashion. Of course, a bit keeps moving through, and since “daily evacuation” occurs, I have no clue things are “building up.” Evidently, my body only knows it is “filled to capacity” when there is “no room in the inn” —-at which time it reverts to projectile vomiting to remove fluids out the other end of my body.

Due to this x-ray finding  I was then treated to a VERY hot old-fashioned 1000 cc soap suds enema. And yes, it worked. I completely filled a portable bedside commode. My recommended discharge prescription was daily use of multiple laxatives accompanied by the use of rectal suppositories three-four times per week. Then, to top it off, I was told to give myself a couple of enemas every week whether I think I needed them or not.

The whiny kid in me wanted to complain, but being alive and living with all this anal fixation is better than dying or having to have surgery and having a colostomy to tend. To be honest, this is not the way I wanted to spend my post-holiday wind-down or even the rest of my life, but I am grateful for medical intervention and thankful God continues to let me live one day at a time in spite of the damage I have inflicted upon my body through the years due to “self-will run riot.”

 

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Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

Reality Bite

Well, today is turning out to be a bit different than the routine Monday I expected. First, I paid mid-month bills, and read, yet again, the reminder that my car’s license tags needed to be renewed. So, I decided to be different this year and get all that “stuff” done early rather than at the last minute. For a change, I was able to find proof of having paid county property tax for the past two years. That meant all I had to do was get a vehicle inspection done. So, off I went to get the inspection. As inspections go, it was relatively quick and painless.

So, I found myself standing in line and get my license plate renewed. While I am waiting, I decided I’d better check my driver’s license while I was there. Sure enough, in a couple of months it was due to expire. I decided to get my driver’s license renewed while I was there.  That meant I got to stand in another line. I am “vision challenged” so I always try to listen to those standing in front of me “reading the letters” for the eye exam. I don’t think of it as cheating. I rationalize that I am “studying for my exam.”

I have another trick I always use when having my eyes tested by the state. Since my eyes do not like to work together and my right eye is my “good eye” I always shut my left eye and take the test with my right eye. To my dismay, that didn’t work this time. I read the line I saw, and was asked to read the letters in the column on the far left. I said there was a column at the far left with numbers in it, and the person testing me said, “No, the column to the right of that.” I said that column was blank. She said, “No, it is not blank.” So I said a quick prayer and  opened my left eye. Magically, letters appeared in the column that had been blank,  and I had no trouble reading them with both eyes open.  Thankfully, they decided I could see well enough to drive .

Next,  I got to have my photo taken. I had not planned on having my photo taken when I left the house, so I was dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt—-and I hadn’t combed my hair since I got up.  I had washed my face, but I had done nothing to enhance my appearance makeup wise.

I posed for my “photo, ”  and the camera  flash “went off” early—at the count of two rather than three. Consequently,  I knew this photo would be one I would not like because I would look a bit startled. But that expectation did not prepare me for the shock I got when I looked at the copy of the photo that would be on my new driver’s license. They had handed me a picture of my mother. I wanted to give it back to them and tell them they’d made a mistake.

I am trying to consider this morning as an excursion into “reality therapy.” My program of recovery tells me acceptance is the answer. I need to accept I look exactly like my mother looked at this age, and, yes, I am “that age.”  I need to be grateful that I am alive. My ego needs to get over itself. I always think of myself as an evolving elder——and today I realized my mind has emphasized the word evolving and neglected to acknowledge and accept the “elder” part. Hopefully, today I have made progress in combating my character defect of “procrastination” and in acknowledging my character defect  of false pride. God bless and keep you.