I miss my mania


About three years ago I discovered that I have bipolar disorder.

My experience with the condition, prior to realizing what it was, involved weeks and sometimes months of  incredible creative flow, great ideas and an abundance of energy.  I could do amazing things.

I could also get myself lost in a tangle of registrations for this or that on line, or spend money without it registering exactly how far off budget I had gotten…and sometimes it meant that my temper would flair as my mania was about to crash into depression.  I always thought the depression was just guilt over my temper being out of whack.

After the diagnosis and subsequent medication and adjustments, things really became more balanced.  My temper was definitely under control and so was my spending.

Unfortunately what also became “controlled” was my freedom of expression, creative ideas, sharp focus and boundless energy.

I know it is better to be on medication.  But I miss my mania.

This comes to mind because two nights ago I woke up suddenly and felt ready to get up in the middle of the night.  That’s usually the sign that there’s been a “shift in the force”.  I went back to sleep outside on the deck swing and woke blissfully the next morning .  I hadn’t felt “happy” in general for  quite some time. (Our family has been under an enormous load of stress, which I will leave at that) but here I was  enjoying the day!  It wasn’t a meditative exercise in enjoying life…it was just coming to me naturally, and so was energy.

I enjoyed that for about an hour or so until, as I was cleaning up after breakfast, I saw the bottle of lithium on the counter and realized that I had to take my meds.

It’s good to be more stable emotionally.  It’s good for my children and my marriage and other relationships.  But I feel disabled….unable to enjoy the rush of creative bliss and so on.  I still feel enormous satisfaction, joy, love and contentment in being a mother…no medication could ever steal that from me.

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Serendipity


Defined as having good luck or discovering something unexpectedly good by chance, this word is a fun starting place for my blog today.

I don’t believe in luck.  But I like the sound of the word serendipity…don’t you?  What I do believe is that we are never left by Jesus to walk this road alone.  And experience convinces me that, while I may not know what my life needs, He guides my path to find it. That’s what I think about when I see the word serendipity; and, it just sounds like a happy word!

In the Old Testament, Joshua 1:9, we are encouraged to be strong, courageous, and not terrified because the Lord is with us wherever we go.  This is not a matter for debate.  Rather,  the revelation comes through personal experience.  When we seek we will find him… if we seek with our heart.

So often we lose confidence in God, feeling lost because of the weaknesses we see in others.  We all fall short. We all are having a human experience and learning as we go.  We can come to God with our anxieties and cast our cares upon him. It’s a choice for each of us – our greatest gift and responsibility.

Following someone’s leadership when they are making good choices is often a great comfort, until their own feet of clay melt into the burning coals of testing and trial.  However, when we put our hope in Jesus, rather than mankind, we become empowered to love people no matter what choices they make.  With humility comes compassion, and with compassion mercy, and with mercy forgiveness.   And that is how healing enters the picture…for us, for the ones we see stumble,  and for the world.

Serendipity makes me want to skip and smell flowers!  It’s a hopeful word.  My hope in Christ does not disappoint me.  I’ll take that over luck any day!

Be Blessed 😉

Bringing Home Baby


She’s not exactly a baby.  She’s two years old.

My husband, with all of us in tow, are going to rescue his forever friend on a trip to PA this weekend.  I sense a bit of good karma in this (that’s “giving back” for all of you who may roll your eyes at new age terminology).

Alan is looking forward to bonding with his new wilderness companion and all around best friend.  We’ve watched movies like “Marley and Me”, “Turner and Hooch”, and “Hachi” as a way of considering the worst case scenarios with the best aspects of giving home to a larger dog than we’ve been accustomed to.  Our son’s dog is looking forward to a new playmate, but Crash (so named after a cymbal on my son’s drum set) is just a little guy.

We have invested weeks and my husband has invested a great deal of  thoughtful consideration to this venture.  We had one wonderful dog come into our home on a visit; but Alan was heartbroken when he realized that, while he really was falling for her, this was not the best home for her considering that she had some experiences that our teen filled environment might inflame memory of.  A couple of weeks later we’re back on track.

I’ve rearranged my breakables, getting the house ready for the new arrival.  The kids have been great about gettomg on board with this idea, even the ones who weren’t enthusiastic about more pets. (Isn’t that a parent’s mindset?)  I attribute this to how wonderful a father my husband is and how well he has communicated his soul’s need to find this mate.  I have made the commitment to support and encourage him and his new friend in their relationship while delivering the famous speech (tongue in cheek) given by mothers everywhere…”This is your dog.  You have to feed it and bathe it and clean up after it”…yadayadayada.  It’s fun to tease him.

I did remind him just this morning that the drive out to get Makita and the initial bringing home baby experience will flood his tender heart with those happy hormones which carry one through an initial adjustment like this. (I’ve given birth five times…I’m a professional)

The  experience can be likened to settling into a ride in one of those luxury minivans.  It stirs your nurturing instincts, floods your head with dreams of soccer games and dance classes, and lulls you as the speed increases, the terrain becomes more challenging and then BAM!  you find yourself flung from the vehicle at full speed rolling across the road, trying to stop the spinning and regain your sense of balance….trying to find a new sense of normal while continuing your long journey on foot.  I do think that somewhere down the road a nice retirement home transport vehicle picks you up and carries you to a charming countryside village, but we haven’t gotten that far yet.  I can dream.

For now, better fasten those seat belts!  We’re bringing baby home!  Stay tuned.

Pen the Memory on the Lifeline


Mental processes are all about connections.  Like the daily commuter, one traveling down  memory lane depends on each thought transfer being at its assigned destination on time.  I used to use mass transit to make the connections from one moment to the next.   I have  jauntily sauntered over hill and dale, able to recall anything on demand…like the cable television service.  At one point in my family it was almost like a party game…pen the memory on the lifeline.  The kids would ask about some random experience or even where anything in the house could be located, down to the smallest item,  and I could astound and amaze with great dexterity and deftness  that may have rivaled the process of rifling through a file cabinet.  (Alright, it wasn’t at light speed but, I got there before they gave up and walked away)

Today my brain synapses are a little run down and the drivers don’t show up for work on time.  If a household member wants to know where something is, they have to don a spunky cap and cape, clenched pipe in teeth and investigate.  I don’t get invited to those parties much anymore, either.   However, one thing remains…the value of writing our memories, our family heritage, our heart’s hopes and dreams across the lifespan of our children and their children.

My grandfather endured Alzheimer’s for over a decade before he passed away.  I didn’t understand what was happening to him.  I was in my thirties, busy raising five children and could only acknowledge that he was losing his memory.  The emotional nuances of that experience, the impact on his own sense of getting up each day and going to sleep each night…that I couldn’t fathom.   At times he could remember.   I wonder now if he realized that he would also again forget.  With each memory that slips from my own recollection, I stand at the edge of his experience astounded by how much he prevailed, even in the midst of succumbing.

My grandfather, Poppy (as I named him – being the oldest grandchild),  represented all that was wise and profound about the world.  He seemed to understand life and his opinions, to me, were always right.  It is, as I wander across the landscape of my own memories, difficult to find a time when his perspective didn’t take the high view.  Maybe that was what seemed so magical to me about him…his sense of perspective and intuition.  They say that seeing is believing, but with Poppy and I…well, maybe believing was seeing.  He was right because I believed in him.  He had hopes and dreams, triumphs and tragedies, travels and travails the likes of which made life’s expansive terrain rise up as the sun on the horizon.

While many people found my Poppy to be stubborn and opinionated, which he was, I’m not always sure that they fully realized what virtue was wrought upon the earth by his presence.  Even his faults couldn’t overshadow the creativity and proclivity for invention that blew through the boughs of my life like a spring breeze.  He lit my imagination on fire from the time I was a little girl.  I can see where I bear his genetic markers.  They are the pens with which I have written so much of my own experience and perspective upon the lives of my family, even though they be tossed with more zeal than aim from the hand of the news carrier at times.

From my grandmother I learned the balance.  NanNan (so named by me because she was too young at heart to be called grandmother), the rose in the garden of Poppy’s world, has written  journals of quotations and thoughts about choosing a positive attitude and reflecting on the value which could be derived from all of life’s moments.  She has pasted clipped pictures and sayings from magazines like a road map for my future.  Repeatedly she has told me that I put her on an undeserved pedestal.  She has never wanted to injure me when she would, inevitably, fall off.  I remember standing in her kitchen the first time she made that bold statement.  My mind’s eye saw her standing statuesque on the wheeled kitchen stool I upon which I so often entertained myself  as she cooked.  At her revelation I saw her tumble to the floor, having lost her balance, and felt only compassion rather than judgment or disillusionment.  My reply continues to be that it is in her very real humanity that I find my hope to encourage others as she has encouraged me.

Consequently, the library of my own life contains volumes of experience and perspective from which I leave my version of Cliffs Notes for my own children and grandchildren.  I’ve never written that which would harm them, but I have included the full range of experience, hopefully pointing out the view from different vantage points along the topography of our lives.  As they grow, so will their understanding and ability to decode my messages.  I just pray they don’t bury me with the decoder ring still on my finger.

We have to engage our own process, become part of the world wide life long web that connects us.  We take clues from that which others write upon the papyrus of our lives.  A beautiful story unfolds as we do and perhaps, as we get older, we even remember  where we last saw that very item someone is looking for.  The most important items lie safe within each heart.

Self Portrait

Wish Upon A Memory


Longing


I close my eyes and center myself. When I awaken, opening my inner eyes, I am lying on a warm beach, gazing up at a star filled night, feeling the tide wash over my body like a lover’s caress. Where is the one with whom I could share the silent touches and sparkling gazes…insights at a glance, comforted and aroused by the wholeness of our beings…experiencing the silent synergy…

My Thoughts on Christians Proclaiming “Truth”


In recent days I have been enjoying a new social site based on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, which is why I categorize certain ideas under the heading The Jesus Journals…no brainer, right?   The label of “Christian” was one I wrestled with for awhile.  There has been so much damage done through hypocrisy and just plain harsh critical conversation.  I want people to experience my heart and not be put off by my label.   At this stage of the journey the burden of trying to stay unlabeled is just as great as being labeled so…as the doctor in the television series  Becker remarks (something to the effect of),” it is alright for you to choose not to like me.  Just do it for the right reasons” —not predisposed because of a label.

That ranting behind me, I’ll get to the core of my thought process.  I’ve read a few things about various  “New Age” stuff put out on instructional forums, and while the historical information given can sometimes even be admirably respectful  and unbiased….when it comes time to present the answer of whether something is permissible for the follower of Christ things start to get dicey because judgment and divisive bias enter stage right.

Since this is a very personal thing, I’m not always sure that we can give people the limits of our understanding of truth…becoming judgmental towards those who don’t live inside the box.  We’re really not supposed to squabble over doctrines.  We are to encourage one another with love by the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control) and live according to the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 12.

Even without these instructions…we are to love our neighbors (those we like and those we don’t) as we love ourselves and do unto others as we’d have them do unto us (not as they actually do unto us).   That along with loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, etc. fulfills the intent of the law.  All the do’s and don’ts of law are summed up and remedied by these concise exhortations.  Yet I, like every human being, fall short of this goal frequently.  That’s why it’s important to be humble and repent.

So why do those who preach the good news and try to share this love keep ranting about how everyone besides their flavor of Christian system is doing it wrong?  I think it’s pretty straight forward…are we following the example of Jesus…all other documents filtered through His life’s example and teaching, or are we adding our own control mechanisms and agendas to the mix?  Of course we want to bring the healing and heart rebirth that results from giving our lives to Jesus in an act of faith.  That’s like delicate surgery though.  It’s open heart surgery.  Yet we treat it as though it’s a deconstruction and reconstruction process.

In everything it is important to find our common ground and work toward understanding one another, and then to begin the dialogue.  Laying out criticism and schism produces negative results.  Even those who may follow out of fear often wind up following after other things eventually because they’ve been hurt so badly when they expected to be loved.

We can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  (The bath water being those habits that harm ourselves and others) When it comes to this New Age title that I hear tossed about like it was a hot potato that no one wants to be stuck with in the Christian conversation,  lets remember that God is communicating through every way possible, especially in these times.  Quantum science is discovering things about God’s creation that was boundless mystery before.  We share things in common with people, whether they believe as we do to the letter or not.   Hello Christians…we share with every religious system the reality of being loved by our Creator.   Experience (and please avoid jumping to the phrase “relativity”) is part of the relationship process.  Everyone’s journey is relative to their proximity to whatever intimacy (or lack thereof)  they have in relationship with God.   Being in meaningful relationship with Jesus (he’s not dead)is possible relative to the heart’s disposition.  Let’s use language to help us make progress rather than slaughter that which we might not understand or have had narrowly focused training in.  The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is already in us.  I think that may be one reason the Bible encourages us to come and reason together rather than come and condemn others together.  We’re saved to share love by the power of the blood of Christ…blood shed as a sacrifice for our sin.  We are saved to share mercy, compassion, respect and genuine love with everyone, that we might be a light in darkeness which envelopes the human condition.

BTW, a note on living in the light…I was reading yesterday in Ephesians about the Armour of God and found passages exhorting me to turn from works of darkness and be in the light.  Having heard that used in sermons as an ax to slaughter the “pagans”, I went to the original Greek for better understanding, listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I found, quite notably, that it is speaking of us living with integrity…personal integrity…being the love of Christ inwardly and in relation to the world and people around us without displaying  hypocrisy.  (Obviously that’s my own way of wording it).  So before we preach to remove the splinter from the other guy’s eye, we need to make sure that the log in our own is gone…that we see and believe and respond with integrity…after the example of Jesus.

Many men very connected to this world’s system have had their hands all over the translations and distributions of the scriptures.  That’s one good reason to weigh and consider as we read scripture.  It’s also important to remember, as we read our translations, that Jesus didn’t speak English and languages translate strangely at times.  Sometimes it’s man’s best guess as to what the ancient bits and pieces of recovered documents were written to mean.  Even the red letter version of the gospels (although I like that style) can’t convince me that we can, without doubt, know that Jesus said every word verbatim in English.  Let’s reason together.  Let’s let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does best…guide us into all truth.

YoYo Mom


My first statement should be that I love being a mother. It’s my first and favorite thing about my life.
My second statement is, that along with the joy, there is pain.
My teenage daughter doesn’t hand in her makeup work (after being reminded three times by a patient teacher), and suddenly I am not even acknowledged as a living presence in the house because I had to bring it to her attention.
The fact is, I wasn’t the only one talking to her about it. My husband actually received the email and together he and I spoke with her about it. Together, we arrived at a reasonable response…so to whom did she speak for the duration of that morning?  Her father, of course.
My older daughters weren’t living with me during their high school years. One stayed in Texas to finish high school with her friends while we had to move back home. The other is my step daughter who lived with her mother. So this is my first full immersion.

The labor pains of birth are very difficult. I gave birth five time, only twice with anesthesia. So, I know a bit about this. Guiding one’s child through high school and into their life beyond is like a long arduous labor. It’s giving birth all over again.

In conclusion, I will state firmly that it is in every way a worthwhile and valuable experience. And even if my emotions are treated like someone’s personal yoyo from time to time…motherhood is still the favorite thing I love about life.

Where is forgiveness in the world? (a personal rant)


Has it ever occurred to anyone that we all make mistakes? Errors in judgment caused by fear, ignorance, or just plain stubbornness, or even hurt feelings…

Owning up to one’s lapses in integrity is certainly a step in the right direction for anyone. And can’t we all find compassion to help us forgive, based on recollections of our own weakness and human frailty?

Humility is key to reconciliation and love is a choice we make. Listening to (or reading about) people criticizing and nitpicking one another’s posts and comments makes me wonder, at times, if there’s hope of getting through to anyone.

Then, from time to time, one runs across someone who seems to get it. Who seems to understand the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” idea…even when that means one has to remember that one’s neighbor isn’t as perfect as we might think we are. Because we’re not really perfect…any of us.

If we love those who love us and show mercy to those who show mercy to us than we’re like everyone else. The one of true virtue will extend such consideration to strangers and enemies and those who, in their humanity, goofed it up.

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