He Was There All the Time

He was there at conception, knitting me together in my mother’s womb, watching me grow, delighted with His handiwork. And He smiled.

He was there when I took my first breath, beaming with joy as my mother held me to her breast and kissed my downy head. And He smiled.

He was there when I took my first step, picked my first flower, and chased my first butterfly through hills of green. And He smiled.

He was there when I grew up, fell in love, got married and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. And He smiled.

He was there when my body was slammed against the wall and vice-like fingers squeezing my neck. And He cried.

He was there when anger consumed my heart, hatred ravaged my soul, and darkness flooded my mind. And He cried.

He was there when I sobbed in the darkness searching for His face, questioning His love, cursing the day I was born. And He cried.

He was there when I ran away, far from His beckoning call, ignoring the thorns and choking vines along the foreboding path. And He cried.

He was there when my heart was shackled by fear when my eyes were filled with tears when my lonely soul was shivering in the bitter cold. And He cried.

He was there when I fell on my knees calling His name, surrendering my stubborn will; deeply grieved that I made Him cry. And He smiled.

He was there all the time patiently waiting to set me free, to prove His love, to draw me back to Him. And we smiled.

No More Hiding Behind a Mask

For me, writing is like eating a big piece of chocolate pie. Okay, I lied. It’s like eating cow manure.

I sit at my computer, staring at a blank screen wondering where to start. And that’s really tough because most of the time I don’t even know what I want to write about. So I sit fidgeting at the computer, smear vaseline on my lips, blow my nose, clip my nails, paint my toenails, jump up and let the dogs out, trying to squeeze words from my tiny brain that’s as dry as a sponge. Finally, I plop back into my chair and a word or two trickles out and I begin typing before they evaporate and disappear. But, they’re senseless; utterly stupid.

Frustrated, I get up from my chair and holler, “Coffee time!” at my husband snoring so loud I tell him the neighbours are complaining. Like a drunk on a three-day binge, he roles over and mumbles, “What time is it.”

“It’s way past time you be getting up, that’s what time it is,” I snort.

We drink our coffee on the back porch watching the birds at the bird feeder and yell at the dogs for pushing out the screen when a squirrel gets too close. We talk about old people stuff, like how kids today are nothing like the kids were in our day. Instead of sitting around like zombies texting or playing video games, we played with normal things, like frogs and lizards and rode our bikes for miles getting sunshine and exercise. And kids are so rude and disrespectful these days.

After three cups of coffee and solving the world’s problems, my bladder is screaming. Besides, it’s too hot by now sitting on the back porch. Between the heat and humidity, I feel like crawling inside the refrigerator, which is what the house feels like compared to outside. But that’s early summer North Carolina weather for ya.

I pour another cup of coffee, hubby gets on his computer checking his mail and visiting friends on Facebook, and I drag my butt back to my lonely computer chair and take up where I left off a few hours ago.

Finally, a story pops into my head. Waite. I don’t want to write about that! Besides, it’s way too personal. And I don’t like spilling my guts all over the place; too much like self-sabotage.

And if not for my family and friends encouragement, I’d either wear a mask when I write or not write at all.

And speaking of masks, I wore many of them growing up, trying to be what other people wanted me to be; in school, at home, in church. Like a chameleon, I’d change my thoughts and ideas to blend in with people’s likes and dislikes, pretending that I was calm and collect when my insides were blowing up. No one liked the real me, and neither did I. Then I wondered why I felt so anxious all the time. Why I was so confused, why I felt like a tattered rag doll tossed at the bottom of a garbage bin.

Then I went through a series of agonizing events that gave me glimpses of the battered child within trying desperately to get out; clawing her way through the rubble of lies and deceit and anger and rage, being what other people wanted her to be.

Like an onion, I began peeling off the masks, one protective mask at a time; feeling naked, vulnerable and shaking with fear inside my skin. Some people didn’t like that I arose from the dead. I started speaking out, expressing my hurt and anger at being emotionally bullied just to make others happy. And I admit, after years and years of holding back the furries of Hell, I turn into Adolph Hitler when the words start gushing out.

So, yes. Writing for me is like eating cow manure. I have to pry the words out of my brain, weigh them on the scales of truth and justice, swim against the tide of my anxieties, and agonize over whether or not to post what I spent hours, sometimes days writing. But the yearning deep inside my soul to write what I feel won’t allow me to write any other way.

 

 

 

 

It’s Funny, But Not Funny Ha, Ha

I’m not the only one with this neurotic disorder. I know because I went online to see if there was even a name for it. And there it was. Trichotemnomania, a disorder characterized by compulsive hair cutting or shaving. It is often triggered by intrusive ideas or stressful experiences.

It’s scary having a disorder I can’t even pronounce but at the same time, I’m relieved knowing that I’m not crazy all by myself.

And for me It goes way back; as far back as the time that I made all my Barbie dolls look like Ken and our neighbor’s ten-year-old look like a skinned cat after cutting his hair with the electric clippers. I watched mom cut my brothers’ and daddy’s hair so much that I was sure I knew how. I did okay till I removed the attachment to get it just a little closer. I should have stopped while I was ahead. But his dad liked it, so it was all good.

Then I began bugging mom to cut my long, red hair; an absolute no-no according to my grandmother who only had her hair cut once in her entire seventy-something years.

Finally, to shut me up, mom got out her big silver shears and cut it. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my scrawny shoulders.

From there it escalated from mom cutting my hair to me cutting my hair. After all, I had plenty of experience.

As a teen I wanted everyone’s hair but my own. Every Sunday at church I sat behind Freda, drooling over her short, dark wavy hair neatly combed back into a drake’s tail. She was beautiful, like a China doll, with big brown eyes, thick dark lashes and porcelain complexion.

And I’d sit there thinking if my hair looked like hers, I would be transformed from an awkward, ugly duckling to a beautiful, graceful swan. My freckles would disappear, my straight, unruly red hair would become dark and wavy, and I would finally like the gawky kid looking back at me in the mirror.

Thus began my full-blown hair obsession. I’d cut it, color it, curl it, tease it, and spray it. Some mornings I’d spend hours doing and redoing my hair till it was perfect. Other days I’d get so angry and frustrated that I’d throw my hairbrush across the room and cry. And yes, most mornings I was late for work in spite of getting up at four in the morning to be at work by seven.

I bought wigs to cover the shame of cutting my hair too short. But, even my wigs weren’t safe with a pair of scissors in my hand.

Beauty School taught me the do’s and don’ts of cutting hair, but I taught myself how to use the electric clippers.

That’s when I really got crazy. There’s just something about the sound and smell and feel of the clippers in my hand, especially when I’m feeling stressed and anxious. A coworker once told me that she knew how stressed I was by the length of my hair. So when I’d come to work wearing a ball cap, she was tempted to call the Mental Health Hot Line.

One time my husband hid my clippers, but I found them.

I could go on and on telling you how I’d stay up all night cutting my hair, but that would really make me look stupid. And I could tell you that I like wearing my hair short, and laugh when strangers ask me if I have cancer and little kids asking me if I’m a girl, but I’m afraid you’ll think I belong in the loony bin.

But I can tell you that I’m okay with cutting and wearing my hair short and that when I screw it up I slap on a ball cap till it grows out and I begin the madness again. And I don’t mind telling you that my family laughs at me cause I laugh right along with them.

So yes, I admit to having OCD. But believe it or not, I’m dealing with it. I take medication, which sometimes isn’t enough and I feel like getting good and drunk. But I did that once and got so sick I swore I’d NEVER do it again! Besides, I can’t stand the stuff.

OCD is painful. It messes with my brain. It cripples and enslaves and makes me feel like I belong in a freak show. I’m restless, my mind races, my insides feel like a bomb exploding. I question God’s love. I question my sanity. I wonder why I was even born.

Medication helps, I think. I’m really not sure any more.

But God helps me through it. I couldn’t sail this tumultuous sea without Him and my family and friends. They’ve been there, helping me, loving me, encouraging me, and seeing me through my darkest episodes. They help keeping me on the right road.

So does that mean I’m throwing away my clippers?

Are you crazy?

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Fur Babies

Meet Pepper, our dachshund lab mix. She’s cute and lovable and charming. When people come to the house they want to take her home with them. And some days I’m tempted to let them.

She’s a jumper; a straight-up, five-foot jumper! I’m not kidding, she can jump as high as my head and I’m 5’3”. I swear she has springs for legs. She’s hilarious and entertaining for our company but a real pain in the neck for me at times. When I let her out of her crate in the mornings she jumps up and down beside me, behind me and all over my feet to her food bowl, to the back door when I let her out, and when I let her back in. I can’t move without her jumping sky-high like a crazed kangaroo.

Now she’s learned she can jump on the dining room table. And if that’s not bad enough, I caught her on top of the counter the other night eating Bojangles’ biscuits we were saving for later. So much for that! I ran her off and put her in her crate, thinking that would teach her not to do it again.

Well, she’s a slow learner, too. After a few minutes of letting her back out of her crate, I heard a thump. I snuck into the kitchen and found her walking and sniffing on top of the stove! Never had a dog that did that. Never even knew dogs would do that.

Good grief! I have a cute little dog with a neck like a giraffe, that jumps like a kangaroo, eats like a pig and thinks she’s a cat.

Meet Bella, our greyhound mix. She’s tough as pig iron and just as hard-headed. When she’s focused on something, especially a squirrel or a bug, she becomes stone-deaf. You can yell your head off to come here and she won’t hear you.

She’s sweet and loving but on her own terms. Where Pepper is all over people when they come into the house, Bella barks and sniffs them to death before she’s half-way sure she wants them on her turf. She doesn’t bite, but she wants people to think she will. So I tell our guests to ignore her and let her make up to them on her own. And when she finally does, she suddenly becomes a clumsy, overgrown lap dog.

When we first adopted Bella she was skin and bones and preferred her crate to being with people. She was so timid and skittish that We felt she had been abused. I wasn’t sure she would ever learn to trust her new home and the people in it. But after a few months of gentle coaxing and giving her space, she became less jumpy when we tried to pet her. Now we can say, “Let’s cuddle,” and she’ll back up against us or between our legs to be hugged and petted.

And something new we learned about Bella a few weeks ago. She is extremely protective of babies. When kids, as well as adults, got too close to our one-year-old great-grandson, she began barking and herding everyone away; even his mother!

Both dogs are a joy; they love us and they love each other. And although they get on my nerves at times, I’m so glad we rescued them from who knows what and are willing and able to give the love and protection they need.

Animals always give back far more than they get. They are loyal and devoted and quick to forgive. They fill the void of loneliness. they are more entertaining than a sitcom. And in their own language, they tell us how much they love us and how thrilled they are to spend the rest of their lives making us happy.

So no. You can’t take Pepper or Bella home with you, no matter how much you beg.

 

 

 

 

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Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.

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