Living With BPD

So, I’m sitting quietly in a swivel chair in the lobby at the VA, feeling anxious as usual but nothing to cause the sleeping lion inside me alarm. Hubby was already in his room waiting for the colonoscopy. Neither of us wanted to be there, but since cancer invaded his colon several years ago and he only has a foot of it left, he must keep close tabs on it. Doctor’s orders. And mine.

The mall-like lobby was like a ghost town of vacant chairs except for one all the way across the room. There was no one breathing on me and I wasn’t breathing on anyone else, so I removed my mask and sat minding my own business checking my emails and texting my son.

About twenty minutes into my solitude a young woman from out of nowhere leaned over one of the marked off couches fifty yards away, her face covered with a stark white mask, and scolds, “Ma’am. You’re required to wear a mask.”

Maybe it was due to the stress of our refrigerator conking out and having to buy a new one, or that we had to toss a weeks worth of groceries, or had to use a cooler and being without a fridge for a week. Maybe it was due to Bella, our four-legged greyhound-mix waking me up every thirty minutes barking. Whatever the reasons were, the sleeping lion woke up.

Lions don’t take kindly to being harassed; especially old, irritable ones with anxiety disorders. My hackles raised to the ceiling. I said it didn’t make sense why I had to wear a mask when there was no one around and I’m just sitting here waiting for my husband to come out of his procedure.

Suddenly, her sweetness melted away like cotton candy on a child’s slobbering tongue and scorned, “Either you wear the mask or you will be escorted from the building!”

All right all right, I snorted to myself. I’ll put on the stupid mask! But when she strutted out of sight down the long corridor, her heels kicking up enough dust to choke an elephant, the mask magically came to life and jumped back on my lap.

A whole ten minutes later, she came back more huffy than when she strutted off and even had the audacity to threaten me with calling security.

That did it! The lion jumps on all fours ready to pounce! Who does she think she is telling a woman three times her age what to do? Determined to win the battle of the wills, the lion, roared, “Go ahead! call the whole army! I don’t care!”

I nearly felt sorry for her struggling to keep her balance in her paten leather stilettoes as she stormed off. Great! Now a platoon of security guards are coming to put me in a straight jacket and haul my sassy butt to jail.

I grabbed my pocketbook and hustled to the ladies room; a room colder than Alaska with one toilet, a sink, and a lock on the door. Good! She can’t come in here and drag me out by the hair and in front of a firing squad.

Not wanting anyone to think I died in there, I took some deep breaths, blew my nose, and flushed the toilet a few times before finally opening the door and finding another place to sit hoping she wouldn’t recognize me in my mask.

About fifteen minutes later, a stocky, ruddy-faced security guard invaded my space and planted himself six feet in front of me. At least he was practicing social distancing or I might have been tempted to report him.

Like a stern-faced Gorilla he stared down at me, his navy blues and stripes and badges and patriotic mask as intimating as a gun to my head.

But, he couldn’t arrest me. He couldn’t tar and feather me. He couldn’t even drag me to the gallows because the stupid mask jumped back on my face!

Hubby came through his colonoscopy. The inner lion went back to sleep and the three of us made it out of there alive!

Stand by Your Man

Ephesians 5:22
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

The first time I heard Tammy Wynette sing, Stand by Your Man, I crossed her off my Christmas list.

My marriage had just ended. He was mean and abusive. I was a strong-willed wildcat. He stayed out all night drinking with his buddies. I paced the floors while our three-month-old slept. He told me I was no good. I believed him and cried. A lot. He threatened to leave again and again. I didn’t care anymore. While he was at work I packed his bags, set them outside the door and changed the locks. When he came home his key didn’t work so he busted through the door. The wildcat in me hissed and growled for him to leave. He kissed his son and left. End of story.

So, the lyrics of Tammy’s number one country hit raised my hackles sky high. What woman in her right mind is going to stand by her man when he treats her worse than the neighbor’s dog? What woman is going to spit shine her man’s shoes, wash and iron his lipstick-stained shirts, singing “Oh Happy Day” after he stayed out all night just being a man? And what woman is going to forgive and forget over and over and over again till death do us part?

Not this woman!

If my man wants me to love and trust and respect him plus fulfill his every desire then he better give me plenty of good reasons. Love and commitment is a two way street. At least that’s what I thought I heard when we exchanged our wedding vows.

I tell people that it took a real man to love me. And that man is the man I’ve been married to for the past forty-nine years. With his stubborn love he tore down the barbed wire fence tangled around my bleeding, unbelieving heart. With his patience he broke through the fortress of fear and distrust. With his integrity, he pried my eyes open and helped me to see that his love for me is as real as the sky above. He adopted my son and raised him as his own. He taught him how to become a real man. And finally, because of his unconditional love for me, I surrender my heart and soul to him. Even through the ups and down’s he keeps loving me with a Christ-like love. He doesn’t always like the strong-willed wildcat in me, but he’s the only man on God’s green earth who could ever make it purr.

He’s a real man.

A real man protects his woman, fights for his woman, loves and encourages and respects his woman. A real man never ever beats his woman into submission or forces his will on her because he’s bigger and stronger. Only weak, insecure little boys in a man’s body does that to a woman.

It angers me when I hear of preachers expecting women to stay with their man no matter what. That she should be the stronger Christian because after all, her man is just a man. Baloney! Preachers that preach that lie need to go back and read the rest of the scripture where the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”

It also angers me when a woman allows a man to beat her. And The more she allows it the harder it becomes to take back the power she fearfully gave away. And the beatings go on and on and on till someone ends up dead.

Yes, I’m a fighter for people’s rights, and especially for women’s rights. We’ve been through hell and high water to be recognized as human beings with brains as well as arms and legs and other stuff to allow any man to kick us around. So yes, I take offense when my kindred sisters are being abused and if I’m anywhere near, I will unleash the wildcat in me and it won’t be pretty!

Man-Time

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

My son wrote this article for a news letter and gave me permission to post it.

I can’t wait for Thursday nights. Like a child on Christmas eve, I’m excited, I’m antsy. All day long I’m watching the clock hands move at a snail’s pace, inching their way ever so slowly towards 7:30 PM.

Finally 7:30 arrives and my home is invaded by warriors. Like a dynamic entry, flashbangs of noise and commotion fill my entire home. No, it’s not my tactical team; warriors of another kind, Another breed. Another tribe has flooded my home.

These warriors are my three sons, my son-in-love, my dad, my dad-in-love and soon- to-be part of this tribe, my seven grandsons. And the occasion? What’s all the excitement about?

Man-time!

Every Thursday we gather around the firepit, light up a cigar, and unfold our thoughts into conversations that drift deep into and out of our souls. Organic conversations free from judgement, condemnation and shame. We laugh, we cry, we share, we confess.

Our conversations are laid upon the anvil of transparency intentionally making ourselves vulnerable to one another. Rather than feeling the hammer of judgement, we feel the power of acceptance, love, and the value of belonging to a tribe of real manly men . . . warriors who grow stronger through the willingness to share sins, flaws, struggles, temptations, weaknesses, victories, and successes. We feel safe amongst our tribe. We belong to a brotherhood of real. authentic, manly men. This is my tribe.

How different would our world be and look like if men were living out of who they were meant to be through Christ, rather than the flesh? I believe as a Christian man it is my role and duty to follow Godly men and to lead other men. How many men long to be free from destructive behaviors but don’t feel they can share their struggles without being condemned? So many men who belong to a church family feel alone. They have some dark things they struggle with, but there’s no safe firepit for them to gather around, pull up a chair and unfold the depths of their souls with other men.

They are tribeless.

Man-Time. That sacred time together has the power to rescue and restore a man. And when men are rescued and restored, women and children will be protected.

Man-time can save lives!

https://www.google.com/search?q=joy%20international#:~:text=JOY%20International-,www.joy.org,-JOY%20International%20is

Why God? Why?

Feeling angry, discouraged, and hopeless concerning what’s happening in our nation today, a friend asked, “Why doesn’t God stop it? He has the power. He can do anything.”

I don’t know. How can I or anyone else possibly know the mind of God? Why He allows children to suffer. Why He allows women to be raped. Why He allows a loving, hard-working family-man to get killed by a drunken driver. Why all the drive-by shootings, why human trafficking. Why? Why? Why?

The only thing I know is, we live in a fallen world. Because of Adam and Eve’s blatant disobedience in the garden, we are living under the curse of sin laced with pain and suffering and death. Didn’t God warn Adam what would happen if he ate the forbidden fruit? Did Adam think God was kidding? Did he think He would change His mind? Did he think He would forget?

I can’t answer for God. Who am I anyway but a sinner saved by grace living in a fallen world? Who am I but a Christian filled with my own doubts and confusion and a bottomless pit of why’s? I don’t have a special connection with God other than through the Holy Spirit the same as other Christians have. And He alone tells me what God wants me to know. And He tells me to trust and believe. Have faith. Let go of the reigns and let Him lead me through these harrowing times. It’s not for me to question. It’s not for me to know all the answers. It’s for me to keep trusting and believing all the way to eternity.

Yes, it’s tough! Yes, it’s frustrating! Yes, it makes me want to scream my head off and jerk every mask off people’s faces for blindly following the demands of fools stripping away our constitutional rights as American citizens. I want God to stop the mayhem dead in its tracks!

And He will.

Maybe not today or tomorrow or a trillion tomorrow’s, but He will. Until then, I will be strong. I will trust. I will follow Him to the grave. Maybe then I’ll have all the answers. Maybe then, it won’t even matter. Maybe then I’ll just be happy in my eternal, indestructible home in heaven where no sin is allowed. EVER!

Genesis 2: 16-17
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

America is Crying

Before COVID-19, shopping and eating out used to be a fun thing. We didn’t have to rush around before the stores closed, or wonder how many empty shelves we would find once we got there. We weren’t afraid to cough or sneeze in public or even rub shoulders with our fellow humans.

Strange how swiftly things can change within a short period of time . . . 

The once upon a time buzzing restaurant was a ghost town of empty tables spaced twenty miles apart and rows of empty, sad-looking booths. Even the music lacked its normal vim and vigor.

It was Friday, the day we set aside each week to spend with my husband’s uncle and aunt. We look forward to our time together and laughing at the darnedest things, like the jacked-up prices on the menu, the cold bowl of soup the waitress served, and coffee with a meaner kick than a raging bull. But the dirty plate the waitress put on the table? Not so funny.

The last time we ate there we had the privilege of drinking from real glasses and eating with real tableware, so I wasn’t expecting plastic cups, knives, and forks. Feeling slightly irritated, considering the cost of an arm and a leg to eat there, I was tempted to ask where the ants and checkered table cloth were.

But the thing that really got my blood boiling was walking into the restroom.

I cleaned toilets for a living, on my hands and knees, agonizing over every speck of dirt and grime in every nook and cranny, cleaning and scrubbing around the commodes and baseboards till every stinking germ was gone. Everyday. Five days a week. For fourteen long, agonizing years. I was the Queen of clean. When germs saw me coming, they dropped dead on the spot!

So, you can imagine my disgust when toilets in every stall hadn’t been flushed, one of which was totally clogged with who knows what. Toilet lids were splattered with pee, toilet bowls and baseboards were filthy black, and there was hardly any toilet paper anywhere. I’ve been in cleaner outhouses! But wait! There was a cleaning spray bottle hanging on the handicap door and a dirty cleaning rag laying on the nasty floor.

Feeling like I’d just waded through an underground sewer, I washed and dried my hands, hurried out the door, and headed straight toward the young masked man propped lazily against the desk. Not wanting to butt him too violently into the here and now, I pulled in my horns, and politely asked, “Did someone forget to clean the ladies room?”

With everyone so up in arms about COVID-19 and wearing masks for protection, you’d think restaurants would be more diligent about keeping their restrooms clean! It seems that, when the mask goes on, common sense gets smothered to death; like eating out for instance. No one can eat with a mask over their mouth, so what happens to the germs then? Are they frozen because you wore a mask to the table? Are they in suspended animation? Or do they just curl up and take a little nap somewhere?

In my little pea brain, this mask thing is as ludicrous as taking a bath in a cesspool. And the more I read and understand, the more I realize there is a whole lot more to this pandemic than meets the eye. It’s a political ploy to induce panic and fear in the American people and I refuse to play the game. I refuse to cave in to a government that no longer operates for the good of the American people. A government that has turned its back on God. A government that murders innocent lives, cheats, lies and steals for its own personal gain, and wallows in the lap of luxury at the expense of the American people. A government that protects criminals and punishes victims. A government that sits back and allows cities and homes and businesses to be vandalized and burned to the ground.

In all my 74 years, I never ever thought our nation could be brought down as low as it is today. I never imagined this mighty tower of freedom and justice disintegrating right before my eyes. I love my country and it rips my heart out seeing it ravaged by a greedy, power-hungry democracy gone mad. My only comfort is knowing that God is still in control and that one day, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is God!

If God doesn’t intervene and the American people don’t soon wake up, America as we once knew her will be gone forever. No more freedom. No more justice. No place to run.

I’m Just an Old Soul

I love old, rusty abandoned trucks overgrown with weeds and wildflowers.

I love weathered, broken fences, rusty, galvanized buckets, cast iron pots and pans, and vintage bowls.

I love dirt roads, streams in the woods, bullfrogs and tadpoles.

I love fireflies, and salamanders and a swing hanging from a tree limb.

I love classical music.

I love joking and cutting up.

I love plain and simple people.

I love honesty and truth.

I love talking and listening.

I love sitting outside in the dark.

I love hearing it rain.

I love mountains and hills and valleys.

I love God, the Great Creator of all the things that I love.

 

Family Isn’t All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Family is everything to me. But, the family I grew up in was just a tad screwed up. Okay, a lot.

My dad was a man of fewer than a few words. He rarely got involved in my life and preferred to be left alone. Completely. Don’t talk, don’t cause a ruckus, just sit and be quiet . . . in another room, or better yet, in another house.

My mom was stuck in the twilight zone of her abusive childhood and jerked me in there with her. She yelled a lot, picked her fingers till they bled, and consumed me with her fears and anxieties and worries and sorrow and pain. I was not the perpetrator of her abuse, yet I felt responsible and powerless to fix it. So I sacrificed my stubborn will on the altar of compliance to calm the raging beast within her. But, the inner, strong-willed child refused to die. Thus began a never-ending battle of the wills, a constant fight against her power and control over every corner of my life.

Two of my brothers escaped the madness through substance abuse, the youngest of which spent the majority of his life either in prison or homeless and living on the streets. He traded his wife and kids for the thrills and chills of crime. When his kids grew up, they walked down the same wayward path.

My older brother, whom I never met, suffered severe brain damage caused by encephalitis and was institutionalized when he was three. And my oldest brother drifted here and there, searching for his special place in this world. He was the oldest son of my mother’s first marriage. When my mom married my dad, he didn’t want a snotty-nosed five-year-old so they left him crying under his grandmother’s bed and moved to another state nine-hundred miles away. Till the day he died, he was searching for love in all the wrong places.

My sister ran away from home when she was fifteen, got pregnant, then got married at the ripe old age of sixteen. When her husband died at the age of forty-one, she found solace in the bottle. After finally admitting she had a serious problem, she went to rehab, joined AA, and turned her life around. Sadly, she died of breast cancer at the age of fifty-seven.

Me? I didn’t do drugs or alcohol. I was picky about who I dated and was squeaky clean when I got married. I was nineteen. Still wet behind the ears. Naive as a kitten. I believed in God. Went to church, and tried to live a good, clean Christian life in spite of my short-lived, abusive marriage. In spite of being a single mom at the age of twenty-one and barely making ends meet. In spite of sickness and hospital stays. Even in spite of my X-husband’s constant slurs and put-downs and his lack of parenting skills and child support.

I was sugar and spice, and everything nice, a pillar of strength and unshakable faith . . . as happy as a circus clown. That’s what I pretended to be on the outside because that’s what everyone wanted me to be and heaven forbid I be anything less. And no one cared what I really felt anyway, so it was easier to live a lie than to let people see the ugly, naked truth.

And the ugly, naked truth is, on the inside, I was an erupting volcano of hurt and anger and boiling rage. A prisoner, bound in chains and living among the tombs of fear and hopelessness, striking out against God and the world and my parents and my siblings and everyone who should have been there for me but never were. On the inside, I was a river of knowledge of how I was supposed to live but as dry as a desert about how to do it.

Then one day, I snapped and I fell to my knees before God. That’s when I saw Him clearly for the first time; when I felt His love and mercy and forgiveness as He washed my sinful heart clean. He changed my wayward direction and put me on the heavenly path leading to my eternal home in heaven where I will be completely free at last.  

When you allow God into your life, He blesses and restores it. He makes it better than you can ever imagine. Although my immediate family relationships never improved, and all but one sibling is dead, God has blessed me through my second marriage and his family. And He continues blessing me through my son and his beautiful, growing family. We have each other’s backs. We love and encourage one another. We allow each other the freedom to be our crazy selves without judgment and ridicule. We don’t bicker and fight. We laugh and have fun. We talk and we listen. We are the family I always wanted growing up. The family I needed to help me grow strong and healthy and to be what God created me to be.

Family is important to God, too. That’s why Satan works so hard to rip it to shreds, beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden. Weaken the family and we weaken the world. Stir up anger and resentment in the family and we stir up anger and resentment in the world. Someone has to stop the insanity, the deadly sinful disease from spreading from generation to generation. Someone has to stand up and say, “Enough!”

The majority of the world has never had a healthy family life. But we can all create one by loving our kids and doing everything within our power to make them feel loved and protected and safe from a world gone mad. We can teach them to spread their wings and fly. We can encourage their dreams rather than crushing them in our hands. We can teach them about God the right way rather than the twisted way we once perceived Him.

I loved my family. As messed up as it was, it wasn’t all bad. My parents were good people, they just didn’t know how to be good parents. They didn’t know how to teach their brood to fly so they broke their wings instead. Hopefully, though, as we get older we can forgive and move on with our lives. None of us are perfect parents. We just have to keep moving past our own junk and be the best parents and grandparents and great-grandparents we can be.

I’m in this parenting thing for the long haul, learning and growing as I go.


Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

 

 

The Lord is My Shepard . . .

I used to think that God only loved me when I was good, that He only answered my prayers when I followed all the rules, that His standards were so lofty and steep that I couldn’t do anything but fail.

Then I think of a stupid sheep, always looking for greener pastures, always timid and afraid, always wandering away from the flock and getting injured or cast down and getting their fleece infected with parasites. I think of how they graze on inferior pastures that eventually cause sickness and death. Yet, the good shephard drops everything to find it.

That’s what God does for me and for you. He hunts us down, he binds up our wounds, He picks us up in His arms and carries us back home. No condemnation, no being grounded for a month, no shunning till we can straighten up and do better. None of that garbage that we receive from others when we screw up.

I am a stupid sheep. I wander and stray. I get lost. I get wounded. I get cast down. I don’t have sense enough to take care of myself. If the Good Shepard didn’t love me, He wouldn’t waste His time on me. He wouldn’t dry my tears. He wouldn’t cover my filthy nakedness with His mercy and grace. If He didn’t love me He’d let me die and rot in my sins.

Freedom is Slipping Through Our Fingers

So, we went to krispy Kreme last evening. They said to wear a mask. I said I can’t eat with a mask on. They said I wouldn’t get served unless I wore one. I said either serve us or not. They said not. So, we walked out.

I follow the rules. Jesus said to obey the laws of the land. But, He didn’t say I had to wear a mask to order a donut. That’s a stupid rule when I just have to take it back off to eat. Besides, it was so cold in there no germ could survive, anyway.

When rules make sense to me, I follow them. But, when they are biased and twisted way out of proportion and are actually causing more harm than good, I rock the boat. I make it thunder and lightning. I make it rain cats and dogs.

I know, I know. Wearing a mask is the new norm these days. Mask-wearers feel justified spitting in non-mask-wearers faces. They feel justified screaming insults and causing bodily harm to those who don’t think and feel as they do. Non-mask-wearers are the culprit for what ails mask-wearers and must be shot down.

Wearing a mask in public is no longer a choice but a requirement if you want to be treated like a “normal” human being in this abnormal world.

I’m not afraid of COVID-19. I’m not afraid of spreading it because I don’t have it. But, I am afraid. I’m afraid of losing my freedom. I’m afraid of getting shot or beat up while walking through the mall because I’m old or not the right color. I’m afraid of socialism. I’m afraid for my grand-kids and great grand-kids. I’m afraid of living in a country that curses God and places a crown on Satan’s head.

Wearing a mask doesn’t prevent the disease that’s sweeping across our nation.

Yes, COVID-19 is horrible. It’s turned our world upside-down. Going out in public is like walking into the twilight zone. People don’t even look like people anymore. When they smile, I can’t see it. When they talk, I can’t understand them. The whole going-out-in-public-thing is so depressing that I’d rather just stay home.

Maybe COVID-19 will end. Maybe it won’t. One thing for certain, it has changed our world forever.

My brain isn’t geared toward politics. I don’t like politics. I don’t trust politics. But, as I look around and see what is happening in our country and what our politicians are allowing to happen, I’m paying more attention. And what I’m seeing and hearing doesn’t take a political genius to know that our government wants to be king over our great nation. Woe to us if it succeeds. Shame on us if we allow it.

What does COVID-19 and wearing a mask have to do with it?

Everything. 

 

Six Reasons Why I Shave My Head

I felt really stressed this morning, so I shaved my head. I feel so much better now . . .

Okay. There’s a method to my madness. It may not work for you, but it works for me.

1. I don’t like long hair on me. As a kid, I pestered my mother to death to cut off my long, red hair. Kids made fun of me in school and yanked on my ponytail or pigtails till my head hurt.

2. Growing up I lived under the dictatorship of lofty rules and regulations; enslaved to the convictions of others and was rarely allowed to think and choose for myself. Unable to tame my wild, independent spirit, they tried breaking it with the hammer of guilt and shame.    

3. I was a slave to curling, teasing, perming, and burning my scalp with a curling iron. I’d spend hours fixing my hair only to brush it all out and do it again. And again.

4. After years of trying and failing to fit in, I became a hoarder of guilt and anger and rage and stuffed those feelings deep inside so no one would know my dirty little secrets. Then one day something happened; the straw that broke the camel’s back and I snapped and there was no place for all that garbage to go but out. Thankfully, Jesus was there with a big box of bandaids before I bled to death!

5. Like a snake shedding its skin, shaving my head is my proclamation of freedom and growth. I’ve outgrown my old skin of doing it someone else’s way, now I’m doing it my way regardless of what anyone thinks. I’m shedding my old skin and growing a new one just for me. I don’t care if I raise a few eyebrows when I enter a room or walk through the mall. I don’t care that people walk up to me and blatantly ask me if I’m sick. I just don’t care!

6. And last but not least, I can ride in the car with the windows down. I can look in the mirror and every little hair is right where it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t frizz, it doesn’t fall flat, it doesn’t move! Best of all, it’s my choice to shave my head. I’ve allowed too many people to bend and twist and pull me out of shape and it’s been a long, painful struggle to straighten it all back out. I’ve earned the right to live in peace in my own skin whether anyone likes it or not.

Conclusion:
A shaved head is not for everyone and I would never recommend doing it unless you really want to. It will grow back, but not as quickly as you shaved it off! 

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.