“Way Maker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness…..”

Purging the darkness,
a journey’s long death.

Pilfering through
all the loss and the despair,
of a past filled with nightmares in real life.

Reiterating it happened,
trying to move through it,
forward.
Discovering!
There was right and good sprinkled within.

The light that saved me.
That stack of “Forever Homes”
drove me through the darkness,
created by hopelessness and despair,
not just my own, but theirs too.
How many faces,

whiskers,
treat beggars,
unplaceables,

it took to bring me back
to the Promise Keeper.
How many parvo puppies,
sick kittens,
abandoned lives
left to starve,
not just for food
but for love too.

How many did it take to save me?
How many times did
“it’s just one more”,
save 2 lives?

I can’t count them.
But I am sure He knows.
He brought them.
And I despaired,
they were there.

He made the Way.
The Way Maker,
knows,
Just how many HE sent.
To save just me.
About this post: If you have never been homeless, you are a truly blessed individual. But if you have… if you’ve slept in a van,
or a drainpipe,
or been dumped in a disgusting, disease filled, animal containment facility,
or panhandled for enough money to eat,
seen the “looks”…
heard the comments…
or cleaned bathrooms so you could keep a campsite…
if you have been the “loser” living in your mom’s basement, then you know what it might feel like to finally have a place to go that no one can take, that no one helped you get, and that you can take anywhere! Finally. I have a place to call home. It’s not what I had, instead it’s what God had in mind. We finally have a home. When you pass the next beggar on the corner, in a parking lot, sleeping on that bench,  just remember Who went before him or her. Think that, first, before you think about the loser.

Now that I have a place to call my own, the work of sifting through my past begins. I have found things that profoundly changed how I saw the world as a whole. And the documentation of the abuse and the certainty that it happened, has been driven home, once again. The survivorship it takes for people who have lived through that nightmare, to come through it and prosper, and thrive. The loneliness is the only detritus left. This level of abuse leaves a mark, scars both visible with a shaved head, and invisible. It takes the ability to connect on a deeper level and turns it to survivorship. Just getting through that stage is the hardest work a person ever does. Because literally every single day is spent in it. Its my “Why”. Why I work, Why I live the way I do, why I bought a motorhome, no one can take, why living in a drainpipe was preferable to living in that situation. Why going back to the carefree person, I was, is still just a dream. You are always just on the edge, forever after. There can be no intimacy without trust. And there can never be trust, when someone says, “I love you” and tries to destroy you, all the while. I have One person to answer to, and He is now my Why, my “Way Maker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness”.
I have the Light, now, and the darkness is in the trash can, waiting to be shredded.

It’s taken me a good long time, to let it go.
All I can say is
BUH-BYE!

WAR

War
Everyday
Is a battlefield.
Every night,
Is the reclamation
For the days win.
Isolation,
In a room filled with people
The consummate enemy.
My heart.Sneaky, insidious, liar,
Depression waits
For no special moment to steal,
It tries to steal them all.
My brain.
Thief of joyfully laughing with abandon,
Smiles,
hearts filled with love,
Nowhere to go.
Never the star, the winner,
The friend,
Included, heard, needed, loved,
Or so it feels.
Daily,
The battle is
Knowing these things,
Aren’t true.
The brain, 
liar to the heart.
Finding ways to connect,
Drowning out the noise
Dragging you into the abyss,
Sloughing,
The dead weight of depression
Daily
Is the battle.
Beating off the judgment,
of the critics,
the ignorance,
the familial looks, 
disrespect.
Surviving the lies.
Learning to not open yourself,
so you become cruelty’s target.
Winning,
Is everything,
Every day.
I Win,
Every day I live!
own it
About this…
Mental health has to be a choice. Those who live with it, truly have to make a choice whether to believe the hype, or believe the reality. They have to believe in themselves, and the ability to beat the crap out of the stereotype. There are many who would have you continuously believe that having a mental illness is a “choice” you make. Indeed, thats what some actually believe! Thats angering. It’s not a damn choice to have it. The choice is to continue to live with it, despite the rhetoric.That happiness is a choice, that depression is a choice. Who the fuck would chose that??
The truth is, the choice is to fight those stereotypes and the willful ignorance, with the choice to live your best life, despite the illness is surviving. To beat it. We live with a competitive assault, every single day. Every day we chose life, we win. We have to choose life every day. But some days, thats hard. Loneliness, is the therapist, that advises and keeps the separate houses of the heart and the brain. Chemicals are the brains’ Satan, no one understands, except the heart of the vessel. 

Faith… and the “Way Maker”

Chance encounter with a radio station,
I don’t think so.
A forever broken heart,
looking for a place to go,
Faith,
Faking it,
somewhere at the bottom of the list
of places to rest.
One song,
one Stanza,
“You are not alone”
An insistent brain,
“Yes I am”
Refusing the hearts request,
“Believe!” He cired.
Begging.
A small seed of Hope,
trauma pile chains,
hopeless pain,
Loneliness,
griefs constant companion,
Broken,
Slain, with a way,
by a small seed,
planted in a searching heart.
BELIEVE!!!
Listen to the words,
sing them,
joyously and without abandon
even if it’s just in your head,
or your car.
A small seed, a radio station, a stanza, and
Faith, becomes more than an idea.
It becomes a lifestyle,
a revelation,
not by chance,
by the love
of the “Way Maker.”

About this poem:
I have spent a lifetime sad. Always alone. Staying caught in a cycle of grief with no real chance to shine. And one day, literally by chance I hit a button on my moms car driving to work, and heard this song: https://youtu.be/bfveawSAHJA By Kari Jobe, “I am not Alone”.
It changed my perspective about being alone. I can’t imagine how deep and full ones faith is to be able to write songs that change people. With the random touch of a button. Was it random? I don’t think so.
I heard 4 songs that day, on my way to work the other 3 were “Oh My Soul” https://youtu.be/Tn5aq54yu8A, which touched me deeply, as I was just 1 day out from my first try at showing my art.
And then I heard “Point to You” By We Are Messengers, https://youtu.be/V1YLe2-tmKY and I knew that there was so much more than chance at play here. I needed “a miracle to put my past to death.”
Then I heard Zach Williams “Chain Breaker” https://youtu.be/cd_xxmXdQz4, I was so lost. Truly. I have been so lost and faking it for a long, long time. You cannot know where I was, until you hear these 4 songs.
And so many more, so, so many more, that speak to my heart, daily. My faith is little but my heart is strong. Its hearing what my brain can’t. I am loved. I am known. My heart is known. All of me is known and loved. I don’t have to go back and relive any days of my life, He knew me, and my life, before I was. He makes me forgiven, perfect, and clean. He alone, keeps me straight, clean, and moving more towards His plan for my life.
I am never alone.
And to Him goes the glory of the gifts He shares through my eyes and hands.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Thomas Merton

Thank You God, for this beautiful day,
for Music, that feeds lost souls and opens hearts.
Thank You for this forum that allows me to share the JOY you bring to my heart.
Thank you for the gift of art.

 

CRUSHED IT!!!!

pink shoesSo….
Last weekend I traveled to Chicago, to meet friends I have never met, but have known for years, accept a challenge I never believed I could meet, and live to write about, and to just spend some time elsewhere. Somewhere, out of the drama and sadness that my life has been for the last 6 years. I threw the negativity out the window, somewhere in Indiana. I love to drive, so I drove. I love to meet and talk to people, even if it’s just for a few seconds. I like to think that’s all it takes to make an impact on someone. A kind word, a compassionate hug, a shared tear. So I was going to meet these people I had been friends with, virtually, for the first time. The friends I met, have been my friends from a distance, for a long time, some of them. I met some on Catster, ( http://www.catster.com/) back when it was the social media outlet for cat lovers and before Facebook was even a twinkle in Zuckerberg’s, daddy’s eye. We all met there, and on Facebook, and on FDMB (https://www.facebook.com/groups/felinediabetes/) too, where we shared our love and knowledge with people who were new to the diabetic cat world. We had these connections, and they grew, and its is the most amazing and wonderful experience to have met them, in person.
The whole weekend was about walking, talking and connecting. Not just to them, but to the person I was before I lost my world, and my deep self. I was a dynamic speaker, a brave and fearless advocate for the rescue cause. I believed in myself and that what I was doing, was my calling in life. I still feel that way, but when it all fell so terribly apart, I lost that dynamic energy, and the fear set in and took hold of the courage I had. I have lost a lot of very significant things and people in my life, and loss is something I know a lot about. People have take, take, taken from me and I let, let, let them, to the point that I, at some point completely lost me. It wasn’t really a choice, It just happened.
Literally.

Photo and artwork courtesy of Kathy Cary

Photo and artwork courtesy of Kathy Cary

I had no idea who I am. Or who I was. Me was gone. Truly.
Past tense.
I hate the saying “life is about choices” as if there is some magical ball I can look into and it will let me know the man I am about to marry will someday be an alcoholic and a cheater and cost me everything, from my home to my animals, and finally cost me myself. I am pretty sure being raped and pregnant wasn’t a choice either. I want that damn ball, so I can get the lottery numbers from it. I despise the smugness with which people use it, on people who have been dropped to the ground by the uncontrollable circumstances in their life. It makes me want to be violent, so they can see how little, choices actually have to do with life, for some of us. I hate the way people make that statement, all confident that their life will never have that kind of circumstance. I despise it most, because I don’t know anyone who has not had the rug jerked out from under them at least once in their lifetime. I can’t tolerate smug. Humility is a hard lesson. Kindness is lacking, and compassion disappears with that one statement.
But I digress. Sorry.
This weekend was an awakening in me. I accepted this challenge on a few different levels, one was to raise funds to promote the AVON 39, which is the good part of AVON in my eyes. They use their brand name for a good purpose.
You can find out more about it here… ( http://www.avon39.org/about/ )
Not that others don’t, I just chose AVON because it represented a challenge on a lot of different levels. Thanks to all the people who donated to my walk, I met that challenge. No one does this alone. It made me a part of a team, a bigger picture, not alone.

The POWER of BeliEVEing!

The POWER of BeliEVEing!

It was also a challenge for me to step outside that comfort zone of doing nothing, and into the zone of doing Something! Becoming a part of the solution, again. All of the trash piles and losses took that part of me and added it to the pile. The trash pile of losses.
You have to understand the things I lost, that were me, to understand what I found on that walk.
Losses:
*Myself, the person I was.
*My passion for the promotion of good.
*My deep confidence that I could make good choices. Because after all, “life is about choices”.
*The abandon I used to feel when speaking to people. There was a caution, an indifference there.
*The knowledge that I could do anything I set my mind to do. It disappeared when I realized I could not save a marriage, that really never existed. Commitment in a marriage takes 2. I made that mistake twice.
*Most significant though, in the loss of myself, was the loss of belonging somewhere. I fit nowhere. I was alone, and because as you all know by now, “life is about your choices” and “you cant focus on the past” and you need to “pull yourself up by the boot straps” ( imagine the most sarcastic person you know, saying those things, angrily), I stayed alone. Isolated.
The rest of the “things” I lost, the house, the job, the useless liar I married, the “best” friend, paled in comparison to the loss of my beloved rescue and the animals still caught in it. That was what really destroyed parts of me I could not link to. I still cannot talk about that without losing my composure. I cant even write about it, without tears. It was truly my dream come true to be a part of the solution, on some small, bandaidy, level. To make a difference, a real tangible difference in 2 lives, not just in the saving of the animals, but to bring together those animals, with the people who wanted them, who would love and cherish them and never toss them aside like so much trash. Those smiles on those faces, mostly the kids, were the single most joyful part of rescue. The chance meetings at the adoption events were my social outlet.
Losing my dream, seeing the hurt and confusion and fear in my animal’s’ eyes crushed my entire spirit. IMG_1085goinghomeLiterally.
CRUSHED IT!
So, for the last few years I have been in this limbo of nothingness. No friends I could physically link to, no social life, no home that wasn’t someone elses’ space, no privacy to grieve, in essence, just nowhere safe. All I had was Facebook, and family functions as a social outlet. I was lonely, tired, fat and worthless, to myself anyway. I have a job, it pays the bills, but not enough to live on my own. I have people I associate with there, but I am not part of their outside of work, groups. I am old. And alone, except for family. I love my family, but it’s not enough.
But…
Somewhere, somehow I connected with this group of dynamic women, mostly on Facebook, that all have their own stories, who also have the same love of cats that I have, and who also have a purpose. They are all part of a Facebook page and movement, called “Sugar Rub” (https://www.facebook.com/Sugar-Rub-587437321283860/?fref=ts) with a common, passionate, purpose. To raise awareness among pet owners of all kinds, that “PETS GET BREAST CANCER TOO!” Jeanette Cereske started this movement after the loss of her beautiful Sugar, to feline mammary cancer. We came together to raise awareness on a 39.3 mile walk, for AVON to raise funds for humans, and also to share our message to check your pets monthly, every time you check yourself. We walked a marathon and a half, in Chicago, sharing that message with anyone who would listen. So many people came to Jeanette with her Sugar sign and asked about it. We all carried many reasons for walking, but for all of us, we carried two in particular. Justice for Joey, and Sugar Rub. We had those two heart purposes, with us all the way.

SUGAR RUB!

SUGAR RUB!

Surprisingly to me, very few people I spoke to realized that their pet could get breast cancer too! I was shocked, really.
Jeanette, Tomi, Laura who is a breast cancer Previvor ((bilateral mastectomy after BRCA 2+ diagnosis), Sue Lyn, Jeff, Andrea, Julia, and I WALKED 39.3 miles, over 2 days, and raised awareness about pets and breast cancer. The world’s best crew, Missy, Lori and Angie, Barry and Heather and John were our personal cheerleaders and kept us safe and fed. But it was SO much more than that. It was connection with friends, I had only known from a distance, and virtually for a lot of years. We have shared and laughed and cried with each other through the losses of our beloved cats, through the Pet Cancer support page
( https://www.facebook.com/groups/1382110318689049/) that Jeanette also started. Some of us were friends, long before Facebook, on Catster, which is where MY link to all of these wonderful women started. We also met some of the members of that group and connected with them as well.
It was AMAZING!!! Chicago is amazing, the artwork, IMG_0475 1the architecture and the public transportation all rock! We walked 7+ miles all around Chi-town the day before we walked a marathon. We got to know one another, and we laughed a lot! And we cried too. I spent a lot of time crying. My friends brought me a box, made from love, in Princeton’s memory. Inside it, are cards I have not read yet, a soft, beautiful memento, hand made with love by one of the members of our group, and the most beautiful necklace, also made in their shared love of Princeton, and ME! I cried. A LOT!

Princeton

Princeton

For those of you who don’t know Princeton, he was my kitty I lost to lymphoma, 2 weeks before the walk. I felt very alone after his loss. He was my constant reminder that life is fragile, be kind to it. Having the weight of being alone lifted, was like no other feeling I can describe. If you know me, you know I tried a thousand ways and times to talk myself out of this trip. It’s been my MO for the last few years, and it comes with the worthlessness territory, and is very common among survivors of some of the things I have been through, in my life. Trash piles, piled up and fermented into a brew of believing I was worthless, and could do nothing. SO not true, but it was what I was left with, believing it without knowing I was believing it. Worthlessness is an insidious monster, that permeates life’s trash piles.
Walking 39.3 miles, connecting with confident, beautiful, passionate, women cures that. Connecting with friends, in person, was a gift beyond description. I just cannot explain it, you just have to feel it to understand what that does to a person with zero self esteem. And having them BELIEVE you, CAN walk 39 miles, with them, as a team. We built each other up, laughed, cried, talked and walked! We spread the word about people’s pets, and we connected. Most of all we connected, or I connected, to their group. I was a part of them, I fit, I found a place to belong. It doesn’t matter that they are from all over the country, from Maryland to San Francisco, it doesn’t matter, we all met in Chicago and the connection was profound and words cannot describe how beautiful it was to me.
So, if you went to the AVON 39 page, and checked it out,
you will see the link to that statement: CRUSHED IT!
I CRUSHED that worthlessness, CRUSHED that trash pile, and purged that part of it, from my life. Now, if I can just keep that feeling of positive energy, and healing and use that momentum to move me forward, I will have my purpose back! I CRUSHED so much more than those 39.3 miles. And I invited positive, powerful, purposeful energy and women back into my life. You don’t undo the trash piles, but you can climb them and walk past them.
You can CRUSH them!
THAT’S a choice!

 

FIERCE IS FOREVER

 

A Celebration of Life and An Empty Bowl

bowlHis bowl is now empty,
clean as a whistle.
His eyes closed,
his heart still.
He lived with his quiet love,
springing from every beat.
I know when he got to heaven,
he jumped up on Jesus’ bed,
and purred with impatience
“where’s my nom’s? Good God let’s EAT!”good god lets eat

I know he was sad to leave,
I was tortured letting him go.
We had such a good, last night,
the morning brought hope.
But cancer is an insidious liar,
and an xray dashed that Joy.

As his soul left his body,
my heart shattered and broke,
its sad and tired, full of missing pieces.
It will heal, and another will come calling,
Like Princeton did long ago.
I will answer the call,
that missing piece will fill,
with another’s need and love.
There will always be room for one more.
pinny

Godspeed my sweet friend,
tell the rest hello.
Your joy was a gift,
and I will miss you so.
my silly little nommy lover,
PinnyPin snuggle bug.

Trauma Piles

Trauma Piles
A big hand covers my mouth and nose,
from behind, fear traps my 5 year old self.
Belts and mouths, screaming against hearts and skin,
hurt equally at 6
The only thing that loved me,
dies at 7, I’m too sensitive, “it’s just a guinea pig”

1964, Guinea and me.

1964, Guinea and me.

The neighbor discovers me at 8
no one to tell, help is nowhere,
Safety does not exist in my 9 year old world,
except on the back of my horse,
10 is more of that sick neighbor,
and now his friends, death would be welcome, the first time I wish for it.
11 finds my horse and I, alone with books and other worlds.
places where kids are safe.

12 is ridicule, finger pointing and much laughter
sent home from school, where I went as a child and left as a woman
13 is hell caught between hate and that neighbor, a gun fixed that, finally, because now I know that violence and fear work. Learned that at home. Bruises no one sees.
More school and hell called home, 14 finds me in others homes, unmissed.
15-18 are the most peaceful years I remember, except for the boyfriend that beats the hell out of me regularly. I am used to that. I hit back now.
Senior pictures, with a black eye and makeup, 3 fractured ribs, and a broken hand. My brothers fixed that.
20 brings pregnancy, hiding this terrible mistake I love so beyond anything, this bringing a child into the world, loving the new, soft, small life and feeling her grow, I learn that love means letting go, I would not make a good mother, I had no role model.

22 crashes around me like a volcano, raped, beaten and left to die, on the cold, dark, dirt barn Me and hermans luckfloor. Saved for the first time, by my friend.
23 brings pregnancy and denial, hate and discrimination, “what were you wearing”?  Living on the streets of Tampa, hiding from the scrutiny, sheltering the new life I love, and want, but have no tools to provide for. Letting go, again. Breaks me, for good.

1984

1984

24-26 showered me in drugs that took me to places I never knew, where happiness is available, even if it’s just for a short time, feeling good about yourself is a mirage that disappears with sobriety, knowing you are dying slowly.
28 takes me to a new place, new people new job, new playground. No drugs, taking back my life from those who have stolen it, and struggling to figure out why I can’t fit in.

Any clues?

Molly

Molly

30 -35 married to a pathological liar and alcoholic, more crap to shovel out the door, my youngest sister is killed, see how the pile grows?

 

I was frightened, you taught me to trust.I was frightened, you taught me to trust.

36-50 Married to another pathological liar alcoholic, with a psychopathic need to crush and hurt. Unknowingly I allowed that piece of trash to hurt the most innocent of beings, the ones who loved me, and him, regardless of his level of hate and evil.  I know how to fix that, I did it once before. Colorado becomes my break.

53 The best days of my life. My oldest daughter finds me. I am a grandmother. I have a new role. After 31 years, I get to hold her, for the first time again. Fear so deep, will I be enough, will she be disappointed, will she forgive me, will she believe I have always loved her beyond words?

Red River Gorge, the place I felt love
for the first time,
again.

54. She meets the rest of her biological family at Christmas, and we meet my newest grandson. Not much has changed, but I have a new connectedness. More hope. My Daughter is an AWESOME mom! Thank you God for answering my prayers.

60. Still homeless. Lonely but not alone. Hopeful. Tired. Still can’t find that kid in me, but                                      I have a helluva garden and a 7 foot avocado tree in Ohio!
Shit makes great compost!
I got enough of that to plant the world!

Trauma piles are meant to be climbed and conquered, dug up, and replanted to grow something made of love, fertilized with care, and watered with joy and compassion. Kathy‘s picture struck a serious place in me today, as I embark on a new type of therapy thats meant to help me take this pile of mine out to plant. To try to find happy with what’s left of my life. I am so tired of sad, fights, insults, and misunderstanding.

Photo and artwork courtesy of Kathy Cary

Photo and artwork courtesy of Kathy Cary

On Forgiveness, Love, and Miracles

Forgiveness, Love and Miracles.

All week, I have had this sudden peace. It came to me, when I said something to someone, with regards to getting your “pound of flesh”.  I said I wasn’t all that proud of that, any more. That taking of a pound of flesh. I didn’t know that the statement was just another notch in the miles I have traveled on the road of forgiving the person I took it from. For so many years, he has not “deserved” forgiveness, not so much because of what happened to me (I told myself this, justification?), but because of the heinous acts he perpetrated on 2 children. I held on to that reasoning for my anger and hate of this person for almost 33 years. It has made me angry and bitter, for most of my life. 
Today, while in God’s presence at church, it came to me. The Holy Spirit reached down into my heart and touched that hate and drove it out.
Forgiveness.
It came in a release of this man’s acts, to the one who is destined to provide that man’s final justice. It’s not my job, it’s God’s job to decide that person’s worthiness. Its his job to judge his life. God has simply asked us to forgive. So today,   I forgive you.
I forgive what you did to me.
I am grateful for the beautiful child that came of this one mean act. She is a gift. The real gift, the one you don’t know about. I am grateful for the way this shaped my life, the compassion, the sensitivity. I am grateful for those things.artful-s-peace-sign
I am letting go of my anger at you, so that I can allow my heart to heal, and to maybe open it up to love as opposed to hate. With God’s help, maybe one day I will be free from the things your attack have left me with. I have hope that those things will dissipate, with the healing power of forgiveness.

I said a prayer for you today, for God to forgive you too. Untitled-4 I know he knows what’s in your heart.  And I begged for his forgiveness of me, too. I need that, too.
Today I prayed for you, and I gave thanks that finally I am able to feel at peace, in this moment, for the things that have shaped my life and brought me to this place.  I am sure my journey is not over, because hate is a habit. Because it’s not a virtue, it’s nothing more than a habit to break.
Today, instead of hate, I choose love. hearts
Our gospel at church was fitting.
Corinthians 1;13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Yet another miracle today, Forgiveness.
God Bless,
Thanks for reading.

God. Alone, Part 1

 A Journey Back to A Loving Life.

Molly

Molly

Losing things and the ones you love, sucks.
Getting over the trauma of losing a home, a husband, a job, a friend, a sister, a daughter, can take someone the rest of their life. For sure, it changes the way you look at and value what you have left. For a long time, my losses didn’t really register, some I just didn’t give any thought to. I didn’t dare spend time there.

A miscarriage, being raped, losing my first pet, giving up my children. These losses, and this is just a small sample, the mistakes and tragedies, I put out of my mind, I thought I moved on. For a long time, I moved, but not on.
Slowly, over the last year, my focus really shifted, twice, once in a good way, and then in the totally opposite way of good. Losing my husband, my best friend, my home, my job, and so much more than just those physical things, all in less than a years time, these are the losses I focused on, and grieved. They brought all the rest of those significant losses to the surface again.
Grief, hate, anger, ungratefulness, pride and darkness stole my principles, my moral compass, my compassion.  I became angry, mean, and unforgiving.
Cold. icestorm09 138_1
I got sucked into every negative thing I read or saw. I lost my hearts music, my joy, my love for this life, and my compassion for humans. I forgot how to be happy, to find joy in a moment, to trust that there could always be joy in my life, if I just let it back into my heart. My heart was the one that really suffered. I made it suffer. I punished it for the love it felt, for the compassion it displayed, for the foolish gifts it gave to undeserving people. For the trust it gave to those who were evil. For its gullibility. My heart had ruled my life, for all of my life, and I punished it for that, tried to change that about me. I hated the hurt that allowing it to rule me, caused me to be able to feel, and have to live with. I can’t unsee the things I have seen, and I cant unfeel the hurt and despair I have felt, at the hate and cruelty I have seen and experienced, because I have a heart that projects me in to those situations. I cannot undo the last 20 years of lost time. But it’s not really all that black and white.

Artwork courtesy of Patrick Johnson, my talented, loving, older brother. I love you, Pat!

Artwork courtesy of Patrick Johnson, my talented, loving, older brother. I love you, Pat!

 I also can’t make my heart believe that one person can’t make a change, a difference, start a chain of change that leads to better things, less cruelty, new ways of seeing, a better world to live in. I have always believed that change starts with me.
Believe me, I have tried, diligently, for the last 7 years to bash that out of my heart, that need to help, to make a difference, to be the change I wanted to see. My choice was always to help animals, to find a way, to see unspeakable things , so that I could speak about them factually, emotionally, and with passion to bring about about the changes that needed to happen. That could happen, if only they opened their hearts to another way, a change, a less cruel way. I spent years trying to help them see the love, and joy that an animal could bring to your life, or that just saving one, could bring to your heart. Some saw. Not all, but some. It finally dawned on me, years later, that while I was helping all these animals, and trying to change the little part of the world I lived in, my heart was taking a different path. It was shutting down, protecting itself against the certain failure it was going to feel when not everyone had the same ideas, ways of working, moral attitude, or sense of right and wrong. That fight against the always present “this is how we do it here” good ole boys club of KY, wore my hearts joy and light out. It literally sucked it out of my chest. I let it.

So, what does this all have to do with living with a grateful heart, you ask?
Well…last year I made my first retreat to Our Lady of Gethsemani, in Trappist, KY. I had been convinced, by those around me that it was going to be hard for “me” because silence was the first order of business. The sign at the head of the entrance made it clear as we walked in, that talking was frowned upon. Well, I guess the me that they knew, was not the strong silent type. I was the loud and proud advocate. Keep your eye on that word “proud”, its key. IMG_3725 3
I walked into this place, I had never been, and such a foreign sense of peace and joy washed over me that at first I couldn’t define it. It was like coming home. Really, home, not just in the comfy, homey sense of that word. But in the my heart found home, finally, sense of the word home. All of that loud, proud me, disappeared, dramatically, totally, when I crossed the threshold of that holy place in the hills of Kentucky. All of the distance I had put between myself and God would, over the course of the weekend, burn out like the dousing of a candle. I had lost not only my faith, but the core belief that there was a living, loving God. And if there was such a God, I was certainly not one of his favorite people. Over the weekend I rediscovered his healing touch. I found my heart opening to joy, a little, again. I saw the beauty in the gift that my camera is. I became a little grateful, and when the weekend came to a close I was sad to leave. I wanted to try to take the peace, quiet and serenity of that place, back to civilization. I was determined to stay in a place of gratefulness, and kindness. I was a bit of a softer me, for a time. I tried to keep that peaceful place and tuck it in a safe place in my heart. I didn’t know how hard I would have to work to do that.
I tried very hard over the last year to try to keep that with me. Eventually, like all things of that nature, if not nurtured, they fall away like fog, drifting out to sea, until you wake up and realize you are right back in the world you wanted to leave, and you can’t find your way back to the silence and peace. I was not as hateful, or nasty. But I was right back to the abyss with my heart. The joy was gone, again. I took a new job, where fitting in was, again, hard, people didn’t understand me, and they didn’t have to or want to. They still don’t. I tried to just keep my head down, and my mouth shut, keeping my eye on the strategic reasons I shifted jobs in the first place. I had goals, and I was trying hard to achieve them so I could someday make a new life for myself. I lost my gratefulness, gradually, too. My heart it seemed, had other ideas about how I was going to live the rest of my life. It looked black to me, again, lying on the cold, marble floor of my chest, just doing its day to day job of keeping me alive. It didn’t reach out, it couldn’t. It was trapped in that ungrateful place that Satan loves to see us go. That selfish, self-protective, falsely compassionate, place of ungratefulness and closure. It had shut tighter than hell’s door once you’re through it.IMG_2964
Again I found myself isolating myself, spending most of my time on the computer, not interacting with people, or family. There was a wedge of distance between my true self and who I wanted to be. I was irritable, and hateful when crossed, I watched TV for hours on end, watching things I would normally give zero credence or time to.  If you know me, you know I have never had time for TV. I didn’t pick up my camera for months, and the creativity I so loved, fled, leaving a shell of wasted space in its path. I felt unloved, unlovable, ugly, fat, aging, helpless and useless. Flailing. I had no purpose, no joy, getting out of bed was painful, every day. I went to work, came home ate and slept.
Weekends held no particular joy for me, nothing was ever different. I take mom to do her weekly errands; we usually have some sort of disagreement before we even get out the door. I take her to church on Sunday, and then we usually go to another store or 2 before she wants to go home. She goes her way and I mine, its safer that way.
We were living together, separately.

Mom loves to be a part of the solution.

Mom loves to be a part of the solution.

I didn’t have to try to have a conversation that would inevitably turn ugly. We had no common ground, my mother and I. I was so wrapped up in that negative, ungrateful spirit, that I had once again allowed in, I couldn’t see that we had so much in common. My relationship with her has always been hard, and we’re always both so defensive with each other. It’s like this pattern we can’t break. I try to help, maybe too much, and she is angry, all the time. I don’t think it’s at me, I just think she has been so angry, for so long, its habit and that she is too old to change that. But she made me angry too.
Anger is a dangerously addictive emotion. I am pretty sure that we both are addicted to it. It’s not healthy for either of us, and my body began to develop telltale signs that it had had enough. I needed to get the hell off that angry, emotional roller-coaster on a merry go round. It was spinning out of control, again. I just could not find that place, that peace, solitude, quiet, I had found at Gethsemani. It was gone, like fog.
Every year my sister, Sara, makes a retreat to Gethsemani, and takes Mom. A family retreat. And now she takes me too. She always invites all of her sister’s. It’s their choice, to go or not. For her, it’s about priorities, whats important in her life. She plans it, and lets us know the dates, because, well, she is the planner. She has a calendar, in her purse, with her plans for the year, her appointments. I have actually been critical of this, heartlessly thinking that she had no spontaneity. Ridiculing that. Ungrateful. That she was afraid to deviate, to have any kind of disorder in her life that wasn’t on her calendar. I was cruel in both my thoughts and my words with regard to that. Here it comes, remember that word “Proud”? I was so proud of my ability to be spontaneous, and not have to live by a calendar, and to just be able to throw down whenever the whim took me to throw down, that I hurt someone so deeply that it’s affected our relationship, our whole lives. She was the perfect child, the golden child, was what we called her, cruelly. She heard. She has had some very cruel things she has had to deal with. Mostly at the hands of her family. And she isn’t the only one, its kind of a pervasive vice we all share.

Yeah.
Proud.
Yeah.
Not so fast.
I didn’t know jack.
Or Sara.

My sister, has lived through a hell most people only read about. She is strong and beautiful, both inside and out. She has, as have several of us, paid dearly for being born into a family so full of pride and selfishness. I know things about her, from our trip to Gethsemani last year, which I would have never known if I had not made the trip.
Grateful.
She talked me into it, “Just try it, Mary, it can change your life!” she said, and I am so grateful she did. I know now, that she gave up her desire for a vocation, to marry, have kids she never got to have, and struggle through problems in that marriage that made her leave it at one time. I saw her go back, and work her ass off to make that marriage work. It is a long hard road. I truly met the person that is my sister, on our first trip to Gethsemani together. My wish is that our whole family could go, to find what I have found, and the we could heal, as a family. But I will take the healing with my sister.

Sara

Sara

Gratefully.
I had to open my heart and embrace the person she is, instead of the person we perceived her to be, in our pride filled hearts. We were jealous. I am so proud of her accomplishments. My heart finally thawed through enough of the deeply frozen pride to open a little door of humility, and ask her for forgiveness for being such a shitty sister. She was just a little girl, that day in my arms, and I was her big sister again, finally. For a while.
Grateful, for a while.
End of Part 1…..

 

Photographic Spirituality

IMG_3725 3All of my photos are gifts from God. He shares His beauty with me through the lens of my cameras. This beauty, has absolutely no bearing on the quality of the camera, or the size of the lens, but rather embodies the spirit of the God that points to his miraculous beauty and guides me to point my camera in that same direction.
I have no formal education with a camera. I am not a professional, or an artist. I have never had a show. I have sold one photo. But I have this “eye”, people say.
Well, where did that come from? How did I get that eye?
It was a gift.
And sometimes it compels me to move, get out, shut out the hate, evil and destruction I see, hear and live surrounded by, and find the beauty thats also His gift. I have been out in raging snowstorms, thunderstorms, pouring rain, and bitter cold, cloudy days. I have gotten up in the middle of the night to capture an event only God could display. I have photographed bees and spiders and all sorts of other beings, that most people shrink away from, including me! What I discovered on my camera changed my perspective, my fear, and my life.
For so many years I lived a life away from the joy of being in Gods presence. Many, many years I spent in despair, hate, anger, drugs, alcohol and destructive behavior. I was mad at God, and almost everyone I met, really. I made mistakes, and destroyed friendships, family relationships, and my health. But all along that path, there was always this ability to see the beauty around me. I still saw it, I just gave it no time or credence.
Then someone let me borrow a camera.  And many years later, someone gave me a camera as a gift.
And there started my journey into Photographic Spirituality. I started to actually comprehend that there was a higher power. He has always been available, and all I really needed to do to feel His presence was open my eyes and my heart. Different people have different definitions of God. And different ways to honor and worship His presence in their lives.  Many see the gifts and blessings he bestows upon them, and many spend their days destroying them.
I became aware of the need to share my gifts when I got involved in the rescue of animals from the rural facilities in Kentucky. There was a story there that need to be told, a harsh, mean, cruelty ridden, story that I truly wanted no part of. It damaged me in ways that most cannot comprehend or understand. I never thought I would be chosen to be the one to graphically illustrate that level of hatefulness. It was ugly, so ugly that it sucked all of the hope right out of me. In it’s place lived despair, hate, and a dogged determination to at least not let their suffering go unnoticed any longer. Back in those days, there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. There were email, news papers and yahoo lists, and there were county fairs, and courthouses and fiscal court meetings with the good ole boys, who were running the county animal containment facilities. The ones doing the killing and hiding it.
Women involved in that change were portrayed as hysterical trouble makers, with no real evidence of wrong doing on the parts of these elected officials.
And then one day I had to take some trash to our local dump. That day changed the course of my life, dramatically. Its another story, for another day. I still have those photos, and they still make me gag. But thats the day, my Spiritual Photographic journey began. estill county 006
I didn’t know, that day, when I walked into that hell hole, that I was going to need to rediscover God, and his power. I didn’t know I would learn again to hit my knees and pray, and that I would see Miracles if I did. I had no clue the miracles I would see, and the depths of despair I would fall into. I had no idea that I would meet 2 other women who would help me rescue over 100 cats, 1 of which I still have, 17 years later.
I was ignorant, like the rest of the world, to the suffering going on in buildings just like this, all across the state of Kentucky, and our whole country. I didn’t know that it would leave me with PTSD so bad that I can’t go into a a facility and hear dogs barking without setting off a panic attack. I would learn to force myself to go in, get the shots and then leave, knowing I would not sleep for days after. I would learn to, be forced to take drugs to sleep. I had no clue that what my eye could see through the lens of that camera, would change my life so drastically, in such a short amount of time. I had no real idea that my photos would start a movement in an area of Kentucky, that had no forward movement in the realm of animal compassion, in the 50 years that containment facilities had been in existence.
All I saw, for many years was the ugly. I forgot how to see beauty. I spent years in that mire. It’s still a mired mess, but it is getting better. I helped create that forward movement, with my camera. There is a miracle there. You only had to be there, at the beginning, to know how far that movement has come. Others, much more equipped emotionally to deal with that level of stagnation, are doing it now. I had to go.
But that period, brought me to this period of time, where I see the cost of the investment God made in me, created by the gift of my “eye” to graphically illustrate His desire for me. Now its used to share His beauty. Its not of me. It’s an inherent part of me now, this need to record and share His miracles, but its not of me. Its a true blessing, and this gift is meant for sharing. Its meant to be used to show the world His smallest miracles, and His largest canvas.
His paintings.Cathedralrock1

Who else do you think could paint THIS?

I still do the rescue thing, and I still shoot what I can, when I do. The photos are poignant and compelling, still, but with a happier ending. IMG_1085goinghome

They still graphically illustrate the need for compassion, the need for help for those with no voice, and the Miracles that happen when all we have to do is share a photo.

before

Photo Courtesy: Mike’s Mobile Veterinary Service

Porter-Before

Porter was an almost impossible rescue. As a wolf\dog hybrid, most rescues recommend euthanasia. Dr Mike was the first one to say NO, thats not an acceptable alternative to living in abject neglect and cruelty. Someone else took the photos, and we shared the story. And Susan and her family have integrated Porter into their pack.
porter after

Porter- After

Photo Courtesy
Susan Vogt,
Porter’s savior.

This is an illustration of how well prayer, dedication to compassion and a refusal to follow the path of least resistance, results in the Miracle that has become Porter’s life. This is just one example of what happens when you hit your knees and pray for a miracle. Thats what I did. And shared his photo.
Today I entered one of my photos in a contest. The competition is called “Share Your Peace”.
I entered the photo I took of the pink moon in it. This photo graphically illustrates exactly the Miracles I refer to, and find in the viewfinder of my camera. I shot those photos and did not know there was a plane crossing that moon at the exact time I shot it. I had no clue. THAT was a gift from Him. I didn’t know it was pink, either. That was the second gift from Him, in a single photo. I did nothing to edit that photo, other than to add the words. Its straight off my camera, exactly how I shot it. So was this one…

Supermoon

Supermoon

These are the Lord’s compositions, I am simply the conveyor. I didn’t create them, He did. Its my passion to show you how the gifts He has for us all, are all around us. Its my greatest joy to share His palette, and His glorious artwork with you. I hope you will enjoy them too. Its a spiritual thing for me, now.                                         IMG_8548

He shows up, whenever I have my camera. And sometimes when I don’t! I have nothing to do with His creations, but He shares them with me, like this, all the time! I had to go get batteries to shoot this photo. But it waited until I got back, and then I got 3 shots and it disappeared. I guess His message was “I will wait, but only so long.”
And maybe to open my eyes too.

He brings me many beautiful sights, and spring must be His favorite color scheme because there are SO many! Just look at some of His colors!                                                                       _MG_6170

I hope you will enjoy the gifts He has share with us, on this Spiritual Photography journey with me. _MG_6171I don’t know if I have ever seen such vivid colors as His palette contains. Have you???
_MG_6168

Or such intricacy in design.

Miraculous!

On Anger…

I have been an angry person.
For many, many years.
I still get angry, but I am no longer living in that state.
Anger consumes and controls every aspect of your life.
From how you wear your makeup to the look on your face. It’s expelled in the inflection of every sentence you speak.
You don’t know it, but those around you sense the broiling mash just below the surface. Jealousy and anger are very close friends. They follow one another, and goad each other on until you are just an angry pot, constantly boiling.
Anger gives you no rest, it keeps your heart locked tight in your chest, the true you hidden and unavailable. It alienates you from those who love you. They have to step back or be swept into it and up by it’s tide of hate.I experience angry people every day. It’s hard not to get swept up in their tirades of hate, and their selfish hanging on to the hurts that made them angry in the first place. Anger becomes a habit, and then its embedded in everything you do. Work, family, friends, God. Punishment of the reason for the anger is another of anger’s bed partners. Vengeance, retaliation, revenge, those are all of angers friends. At the slightest provocation, slight, or misspoken thought or word, those ugly heads appear, driving that tightened chest full of anger.
My recent choice has been to dump that weight. Along with the weight of unforgiveness, and anger. I have forgiven those who have hurt and continue to hurt me. I can’t forget, but I can forgive. I can choose to limit my exposure.
I can choose to no longer be that angry person, living in that hateful boiling pot.
I can make a wonderful reentry in to the world of beauty that surrounds us. I can stop the self hating cycle that anger instigates. I can now step outside the selfish desire to hang on to those hurts and heal my heart enough to be the good, kind person I know myself to be. I am doing that. I have a strategic goal to stay away from angry people. No one can help them but themselves. And they have to be able to check out of the anger long enough to step back and take a good hard, long look at how its not only hurt them, but those who love them, too. Kind, generous people that carry anger in their persona, shelve the best qualities of their lives by unpacking the anger surrounding their hearts. My choice is to avoid them. They alienate me from them with that anger, and until its packed up, and put on the shelf, destined to burn itself out, my choice is to be around people with the kind, generous, loving qualities, plainly visible.
Yep, my heart stays on my sleeve. If you know that about me, and you understand what that means, then keep your criticism of that to yourself. If you know that about me, and your choice is to openly share your anger at that, stay in your angry, alone world. Dont come around me, don’t hurt me with your anger, hurts, and dissension. I no longer care about your reason for choosing to stay angry. It’s your choice, not mine. Its your hurt to find a way to forgive, not mine. Its my choice to live a peaceful, anger free, life. Don’t share your opinion of my sensitivity, I don’t care about your angry thoughts on that. I don’t want to know that you have an issue with it.
I don’t. I love that about me.
My sensitivity was a gift from God. Tell him how you feel about that.
Dont tell me I am too sensitive, there is no such thing. Only lack of it, can carry that “too”. Lacking it can be much more awful than too much of it.
Dont tell me how I have too much of it, because it brings that anger monster back to the surface of my heart, where its been sitting on that shelf waiting to die.
If you know that something thats going to come out of your heart and mouth, is going to hurt someone, shove it back there, and keep it away from me. I don’t need to know. And everything you think you need to say, to drive your point home, you really don’t have to say. Thats a choice too. Keep that trap shut. Learn to live without anger.
I am.
Thats my choice.
I will be happy, anger free, and I will live in my happy, anger free zone, surrounded by angry people because its my choice not be angry.
One day, I wont have to.
One day I will be able to live happily ever after, because thats God’s promise to me. He shows me signs every day. I see them, finally without the anger.IMG_8548

And I believe it.
Peace, People!

 

Wolf Dog Eyes

Rescue is such a
huge,
broad,
small world.
We are all connected,
somehow, some way,
each and every day.
beforeSome are connected by
chains, abuse and abandonment,
phone calls, emails and facebook,
rescue lists, rehabbers and connections,
shot through with love,
compassion,
integrity,
tenacity,
and no small amount of
determination.

 

_MG_1621Wolf dog,
caught in the
inbetween.
Chained,
starving
Not wild,
Not domestic,
Mans disturbance
of natures balance.
Unloved,
cute puppy,
now grown,
unwanted,
abandoned.
A life
DOMINATED,
shackled,
enslaved,
by links of steel,

Imprisoned by chains, trees, fence and greed.

Imprisoned by chains, trees, fence and greed.

surrounded
by a web of galvanized hate.
No escape,
No connections,
not wild,
not domestic,
No pack.
No family.
No house.
No hope,
an inbetweener,
drowned by mans
greed,
need to show off.
Connections,IMG_1638
Phone calls, emails, facebook.
Reflections of
compassion,
humility,
empathy,
searching,
racing along lines,
communications,
through the village of rescue
born of desperate need.
Clemency in
merciful bolt-cutters blades,
releasing the graceful
heart of the wolf dog.

Dreaming of a future, home, pack, place, love.

Dreaming of a future, home, pack, place, love.

Life beginning anew.
born of kindness,
risking all,
rewarded with,
tenderness,
joy.

_MG_1622

 

HOPE
reflected
In Wolf Dogs eyes.
Racing the wind,
running for rescue,
sleeping in leaves,
food not hunted,
FREE
from the constraints of
chains.

Spring gives way to fall,
a life free of chains,
shackles,
loneliness,
injustice.
Freedom,
to love,
be a part of living,
a family,
a forever
pack.
Loved, wanted, valued.
Unchained!
Home at last.
Stay tuned for more…
This is Porter’s new beginning. I hope you will join us as I am privileged to be allowed to be a part of his life. I got to meet him this past weekend, at a rescue run. He is amazing, and this was such a huge step for him in his new life as a free spirit. I hope you will come back as we explore his world through his eyes and his life. Thank God for his new pack, they gave him a chance no other hybrid rescue would.
As an “inbetweener” I was advised by very reputable rescues of these animals, that if he didn’t find the “perfect” place he was doomed to pass from hand to hand, and would wind up someday in  a shelter and euthanized as a dangerous animal. I had heard all this before but was hoping we could find someone to give him a chance. He was (note that past tense use of that word) not socialized enough to be a house dog, having spent 6 years on a chain, outside, with little to no contact with a family. Not socialised as a puppy, to the societal boundaries of a dog pack. He was not “wild” enough to be a part of a wolf pack, and not social enough to be a part of a dog pack in a family situation. He was caught in a world of in-between what he should be and what the people who bred him, and owned him, made him.
Eleni and Dr Mike Cohen Of Mike’s Mobile Veterinary Service, went above and beyond and stepped in to help him and because of that, he found the perfect place. And Susan Vogt, who loves him, and her kids who just love him to pieces too, have given him the best place he could hope for.
He is allowed to be inbetween now, and it’s OK.
He is comfortable, loved, social, and part of a pack. He walks every day,  with his alpha Susan, who is a marathon runner. It fits with his wolfs lifestyle now. No longer on a chain. He is happy, healthy, and most of all free to be himself. God bless those who all came forward to help Porter.

On Getting Married, Learning and New Traditions

_MG_0822jpg2

Watching his bride dance down the aisle to “Happy”

My friends Eleni and Mike
got married today.
Mike is also my vet.
Eleni is his right hand,
his go to for everything,
love of his life.
He is her light, levity, and laughter.
She is quiet, reflective, introspective, smart,
an artist.
He is out there, loud, joyful,
a little bit of a sarcastic wit, a joker man.
Today they married.
Brought together by their love of animals, I think they are the perfect compliment to each other.

Each has qualities unique to them, and shared between them.
I was so blessed to be a part of this joining today,

 Job 12:7-10 (NIV) But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature   and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:7-10 (NIV)
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

I truly felt the presence of God,
speaking through the Rabbi,
directly to them.
And to us too.
I usually cry at weddings and funerals,
and at rescue videos,
and well…
just all over the place.
Today, I couldn’t find the tears,
I found the joy, the passion and the grace,

Eleni and her sister dance in joy down the aisle, to her waiting groom. Joy was evident. rampant, palpable. And shared.

Eleni and her sister dance in joy down the aisle, to her waiting groom. Joy was evident,
rampant, palpable.
And shared.

I think it’s what
God Centered,
weddings should be about.
I was touched, in my soul by this ceremony.
It wasn’t a quick, by the book, legal ceremony.
So many are.
It was so much more than that, so much more.
The words were in Hebrew I am sure,
they were melodic and divine to hear,
to a person who has never experienced any part of Jewish tradition.

I wanted to know more, so I asked the Rabbi, how to find more information.
Being Catholic, if you aren’t married in a church, in the Catholic tradition,
you wont get a priest to preside, or even deliver the vows.
And if you don’t marry, in their tradition,
you aren’t considered married in the eyes of God.
If it’s not blessed by God, how can it survive?

Listening.

Listening.

Anyway, I was touched by the depth, breadth, and content
of this service, and how centered around the Lord it was.
The joyful expressions on Mike and Eleni’s faces are evidence of the joy they share in their daily lives. You can see it in their faces. In how they look at each other, how they respect each other.
How they love each other, and they share that with everyone.
Its a gift.

At the end of their ceremony, after the vows, they break a glass, and we all yelled joyfully
“Mazel Tov!”

For the romantics among us, and surely there are still a few left, it is supposed to be as difficult to put the glass back together as it is to break the newly married couple apart.

For the romantics among us, and surely there are still a few left, it is supposed to be as difficult to put the glass back together as it is to break the newly married couple apart.

Breaking the glass has a very significant meaning, in a traditional Jewish wedding.
It’s a reminder, that love, like glass, is fragile and must be protected.
The glass is broken to protect the marriage and we prayed for that protection
The shattering of the glass concludes the ceremony on a high note as you can tell by the look Mike’s face.

And of course, don’t forget this is at heart a vet, and his lovely wife, who share the compassion God gave them, with all living things. What would a vet’s wedding be without the requisite rescue? It wouldn’t be a vets wedding if there weren’t an animal, some how, some where, involved.
Earl, the baby squirrel, came too! _MG_1004Being cared for by Mikes trusty tech, Jim, who is like all good rescue people and won’t allow a baby to wait while he goes to have fun. And he allowed the children there to see, and touch something they probably have never see so close, much less touched. Teaching compassion for all living creatures is also about sharing it, and passing it on to the generation who will continue to make a difference in this world, long after we are dust. Jim did that today.

I was very happy and SO blessed to have been invited to share their joy.
MAZEL TOV!!
DR. MIKE AND ELENI COHEN!

On Being Bi-Polar, Doctors Assistants, Drugs, and All Over the Map

On Being Bi-Polar, Doctors Assistants, and Drugs.
I have a trail of drugs.
I could literally write a book about drugs that didn’t work.
Today I went to the Dr.
They told me to bring the bag of drugs.
So I did. _MG_0764
The shock was telling, and the reaction was curt and impatient that they had to record that. I dont know how many times they asked me which ones I was taking? Or how many times I told them none.
I just wonder what they thought bipolar looked like?
Did they think it was a bag of flowers?
Love?
The Assistants, 2 of them, had to do the recording. The way they treated me, was nothing short of disrespectful. I could feel the disdain rolling off them like water.
The Dr, was pretty impatient too. When she told me it would likely be 5 to 6 months before I could get in to see a psych, I was like why do I need a psych?
I am not bipolar because I have had trauma, abuse, or what ever. I am bipolar because my brain does not work like hers, or most peoples, thank God.
Physically.
Does
Not
WORK
LIKE
HERS!
I have PTSD from trauma.
WAY different!
Different mechanisms of contracting, and treating.
One is not the other.
No one said a word, it was the look when I offered info. The response was palpable. I shut up, unless they asked me. Go look it up. Figure it out yourself.
That was my attitude about 5 minutes in.
It left me with a very bad taste in my mouth, and I will seek care else where. I asked the physician if they knew anything about biploar, and her response was rather sarcastic “as much as an assistant can know”. Mine was “maybe not”.

I am so freaking sick to death of that kind of reaction.
The shock, the judgement and the sarcasm.
I brought them a drug trail, so they knew what didn’t work, you would think I was a leper.
I was contagious.
Doctors don’t give a rats ass, and its so evident, now, to me. 6 months to get in to a psych doc, if I need it. Frankly, I don’t care if I never see another Dr. When the reaction is so blatant that the patient picks up on it, there needs to be a rethinking of skill level. That’s why I asked what they knew about Bipolar.
What does it take to be compassionate? Kind, and not judgmental? This is why I don’t go. Because there really is no such thing as help any more. There is only billing. My Dr actually left the room to take care of someone else, and told me that and that she would get back to me.
This is the picture of bipolar that I have.
That there is no real place for people like me here, in the world of the normals.
At least that’s the way I felt as I left. I could, write a book about this whole experience.
I could teach a class on how to treat people with compassion. The profession itself needs an overhaul. I could give it. I could paint a picture of what its like to be in my shoes. But to change, one has to believe they have to. The superiority complex of those in the profession is sickening. When I have had a nights sleep, since I haven’t had one in over a month, I will be able to view this with much less criticism.

Right now I am just mad.
Can you imaging what they would say if they knew I was homeless too???
Holy crap!
All Over the Map!
Next time I will go to my vet.

1964, Guinea and me.

1964, Guinea and me.

 

Cloudy With a Chance of Joy!

Cloudy With a Chance of Joy!
_MG_0690

 


Puffy

fluffy
flowing
softening the blue.

 

 

sunset11_25_12-1

 

 

 

Flashing
crashing
booming
flowing
slowing us down.

 

 

_MG_0747

 

Roaming
groaning
zooming
blooming
roaring explosively across.
DSCN1825

 

 

 

 

Clear
calm
cold
shrouding
mountains blanket.


_MG_0686

 

 

 

 

Coloring
gray
blue
blackened
anger in the sky.

 

 

 

IMG_2252 2

Coating
clashing
climbing
shading
sun from eyes.

IMG_2974

 

 

 

Cover
hover
floating
shower
softly falling down.

_MG_0692

 

 

 

Sweeping
loftily
softly
flying
on eagles wings.

Sometimes Unstuck

I’m stuck.
In a rut.

Artwork courtesy of Patrick Johnson, my talented, loving, older brother. I love you, Pat!

Bipolar chasm.
sunny days,
happy moments.
Knowing,
fear,
dread,
doubt,
follow.
Weight within my chest,
never far behind.
Relentless in its pursuit,
of my
Joy,
Love,
Light,
Hope.
Stalking,

Tentacles of the Abyss

Tentacles of the Abyss

waiting,
never satisfied,
always hungry
for more of me,
than I ever wanted to share.
One minute to the next,
the great unknown.
Struggling to appear normal,
in a world filled with labels,
stigma, judgment.
Unmediated, and sleepless,
hours spent drifting
in recrimination and guilt.
In the darkness of my mind,
what am I?
Who am I now?
Who was I?

1984

1984

Was that really,
the real me,
all those years?
Why is so much,
so hard for me?
Why is so much change,
always so imminent?
I see those around me,
seemingly without,
struggles, and darkness.

I know, all too well
you can never know,
another’s struggles.I know moms,
with sick kids.
Now that’s true struggle.
I feel more guilty,
for mine seem
trivial,
In comparison.
It’s all an illusion.

Foxglove

I am an illusionist,
from way back.
I know how to appear
sort of normal,
up to a point.
Stress,
like the losing your house,
kind of stress,
unhinges me.
I come unglued.
Me and hermans luck

Like a horse,
trying to shed
its first time rider.

Suddenly,
singularly,
the simplicity
of a caterpillar,
sunning,
brings me peace.
Fuzzy and soft,
wearing
my favorite color,
on his feet.
Camera shy,
finger and human afraid,
he poses,

Super Model in Pink and White

Super Model in Pink and White

modeling his perfection,
before moving on.
Searching for his place,
where he will become
ever more beautiful.
Tranquility,
of a 12 mile bike ride,
wears me out.
I sleep, a little.
And I wake feeling good,
Happy, and hopeful,
for a nice day,
with another 12 mile bike ride,
waiting
just around the corner.
I feel safe,
alone,
but lonely.
I want to share,
with a human,

Knight

Knight

or maybe a dog,
all of the joy
that a bike can bring.

Dreams,
a whole nother subject.
I have horrible dreams.
Horrible.
I don’t know
where they come from.
I cant describe them,
you would think me nuts.
Another label.
sunset11_25_12-1But suffice it to say,
they are so sufficiently horrible
as to drive the sleep from me,
for the rest of the night.
Just so I do not have another,
or the continuation,
of the one I was having.
I dream in color,
visions of horror,
with sounds from hell.

I feel like the devil,
has control of my mind,
as I sleep.
So before sleep takes me,
every night I pray.
For no dreams.
I am so tired,
dog-tired
of being strong enough.
Exhausted
by the will it takes,
just go to bed.
Weary of the struggle,
to present normalcy,
to the world.
Taxed beyond measure
of the hiding,
from the world,
and the dreams.
The invisibility icestorm09 138_1
of the giant thing,
surrounding me,
no one can see,
understand,
fix.
I imagine dreams
I’m sure I had them,
and they were happy.

Not terrifying.
I try to remember
what dreams I had,
as a little girl.

Freedom Begins...

Freedom Begins…

I dreamt of horses,
safety, astride strong backs,
fields of soft green grass,
tree branches softly,
sweeping tears of fear,
to the wind,
with the touch of a leaf.

I know,
now,
that I am
as God made me.
I am happy with me,
despite the baggage,
all of the mistakes,
fault, and struggles,
I have lived through.
They have brought me to a place,
where there is hope.
Creativity,
is a special kind of hope,
IMG_0518
wrapped in an image,
a poem,
words in a book,
a painting,
or drawing.
A unique perspective,
into another world.

A gift,
meant to share,
in order to hide,
all that suffering,
replacing it with
love,
joy,
light
sound,
hope.
No darkness,
nightmares,
sadness,
have ever been able
to kill my creativity.
Its my one constant.
img_1976petunia-hdr1-6-small.jpgMy muse.
Light,
Joy,
Color,
Love,
Hope.
Always with me.
Never far.
Release is glorious.
What a gift!

Vaulted Heart

My heart MUST have a revolving vault door. It’s the only thing I can think of that opens and closes like my heart does. Some days, it’s like its propped open, letting all the sun and fresh air in. And there are other days where it is slammed shut, and locked, an impenetrable steel fortress. Insurance companies turn it into that safe door, thick, locked and impenetrable. No mercy and no forgiveness for those who prey on the weakest and most vulnerable of our society.
Kittens, puppies, and old folks open it wide.
Babies, they throw that door WIDE open. Especially my grand babies!

Aiden, my newest grandson.

Aiden, my newest grandson.

Light, sun and thistle. My camera. All open it, for a little while.
I know I write a lot about the tumultuous relationship I have always had with my mother. I feel like I brag about leaving home so young. I often blame her for that, but it was actually my choice, I did it, against her wishes. And in all likelihood, that’s exactly WHY I did it too. Because it was something she did not want me to do. I don’t blame her, for my choices. They were mine to make.
I love my mother, but she has the ability to hurt me with just a single word or gesture. I read body language much better than I read the written word and I see way too much. I wish I could change that, about me. I dream of being able to go into a room full of people and feel accepted, loved and not worried about how I will come off to them. I dream of being normal.
My mom knows all of that, about me.
But she still loves me.
I know this, now.
Some days I think she hates me.
But I think what she really hates, is where we are.
Our relationship is changing. She needs help, and I can give it. I don’t want her to have to go live somewhere she would be unhappy. So I live with her.
It’s a 2 way street, truthfully. I have a place to live, that’s not a bridge, and she has help seeing. She says often, how much she hates needing help. So I know that’s where the hate

Futures Promise

Futures Promise

comes from. I understand that fear of needing help. And the intense discomfort in asking. I try hard to not make her ask, or make her feel like she cant do it herself. I am not fooling her, but it helps to make her feel like she is useful instead of just old.
My mother lives with a lot of fear, and she passed that on to me. In fact, she made me so fearful, so afraid to be a mother, that I actually gave my children up for adoption because of it. I don’t blame her, like that sounds. I have no one to blame but me.I am not searching for sympathy, and some people will wrinkle up their noses in supreme distaste,  and say “how could you just give your children away like that?”.
I have heard all of that and more. I made my choices, based on what I thought would be best for my children. But the fear that I would be a bad mother is what drove me to relinquish the only 2 children I would ever bear.
That’s the day that vault door,
slammed shut.
The motherhood door.
I wanted nothing more than to be a mom.
Get married. Have kids,
and be a mom.
A GOOD mom.
One the kids in the neighborhood always wanted to hang with.
Empty fridges, sleep overs, soccer,
football (not!),
parties for birthdays, Christmas.
That’s how I planned my life.
It was not to be.
Instead, I rode horses. All day, every day.
And partied all night.

Herman's Luck, Thistledown Race Track, Cleveland, Ohio 1985 - After

Herman’s Luck, Thistledown Race Track, Cleveland, Ohio 1985 – After

But now, there is a change,
there is my oldest daughter, who came to find me.
She WANTED to find me.
Once I slammed that door shut,
my heart was so shattered,
In so many pieces,
and scattered in so many places
that the glue to hold them together was not available.
It was like that for 31 years.
I had no key,
no crow bar was able to break it open.
Not even love.
I wrote, early on
of a brick wall surrounding my heart.
Bricks crumble, mortar falls aside and dust is what’s left.
Opening to whats behind the wall.
The skeleton of the wall.
It was not brick.
I had steel.
Steel never bends without breaking.
Stainless and shinny,
bricks break against it, leaving marks, but unable to penetrate.
No one got through.
I married, twice, and still, the door remained locked, the pieces scattered across the floor of that vault. Behind hardened steel, keeping them “safe”. Grief stealing into my persona like the monster that it is, claiming my joy.
My light. My life. For its own.
I just didn’t know it.
Sadness crept into that place,
that vacant spot in my chest,
along with fear, anger, doubt, insecurity, hate, and grief and the weight of it held me fast to the floor.
It laid claim to the person who was me, until I no longer know who that person is. Still, to this day, its a chore to be happy, to have to pretend I feel some sort of joy. I spent so much time in that vault that when my daughters hug shattered the door, I no longer knew who I was.
My identity was wrapped up in all those other things and it forgot how to be happy.
You can forget how to be happy.
My mother, who knew all this,
was the one who encouraged me to look for my daughter.

My daughter! Becky taken by my grandson, Max!

My daughter! Becky, photo taken by my grandson, Max!

First.
She only knows about one.
There are 2.
I don’t know how to tell her about my second daughter without telling the whole story, so I haven’t. She would be crushed if she knew the whole of that story. She is like a mother    bear with a cub that’s threatened, when someone hurts her children. I love that about my mom. DO NOT mess with her kids, or you will deal with her.
I have seen her in action too, its NOT pretty.
She is a brave, smart, creative and funny woman. And her kindness runs deep for all things helpless. So, do not mess with her kids. If she knew what happened to me, she would be crushed. And I cant lie to her, so I have just not told her.
Saturday I became a grandmother again. Becky, my daughter had a little boy. And his name is Aiden. I don’t know much else, I am sure she is busy as all hell with 2, 5 year olds and an infant to care for, alone.
I am blessed to have found one daughter. SO blessed, grateful, overjoyed!
And she found me too. And children, OH glory day!

Sunrise, the day after my first hug in 31 years. Red River Gorge

Sunrise, the day after my first hug in 31 years.
Red River Gorge

I would like to find my second daughter, her half sister. Until I do, There is still that part of me, that heart of me, that’s behind that thick steel door.
I still have pieces looking for the glue, and if I can find her, I think I will finally be complete. I pray, every night she is safe, loved, healthy and happy. But I would still like to know. I would still like her to know, I love her, and I always have. I thought maybe when I met and held Becky again, that I would be OK. Now, I know, I have to have both pieces of my family, to put the pieces of my heart back together.
THEY are the glue.
So,
I still have the shattered pieces.
She still has a vault to open.

Wrecksadent!!

Bike riding, Usually a quiet time for me, turned ugly yesterday.
I took a friend to “my” bike trail for the first time yesterday so we could both enjoy the ride. She just bought a bike and I really wanted to share this magical place I have found with someone who would see the beauty too. We rode about 10 miles and for about the last 8th of a mile, I was a bloody mess!  SO CLOSE!
We were riding along, just hogging the path, when someone, on another bike wanted to pass us. My friend moved over, quickly and slowed down and in order to keep from wiping us both out I slammed on the brakes and lost control. My elbow took a direct hit and I guess I am lucky I didn’t break my arm.

To the bone and a little beyond. Nerve pain sucks.

To the bone and a little beyond. Nerve pain sucks.

The guy who passed us turned around and came back, offering to help too. I felt bad for him as he apologized, it truly was no ones fault.
Cause and affect. Everyone around you.
Accidents happen.
I try to stay protected as best I can, but I wont live in a plexiglass bubble, either. My friend was so worried and concerned, I felt bad that our ride had turned out this way.

Again, Cause and affect. Everyone around you.
We decided to go again tonight, if its not raining.
Accidents happen, they aren’t planned, and they aren’t usually caused by anyone meaning to cause the kind of outcomes that happen. But they do happen, and usually close to home or in the home. The goal is to protect yourself with knowledge and protective gear when you can or have to. When I hit the ground, the second thing that landed on that concrete was my head. I was wearing a helmet, and I firmly believe I am not in a hospital as a result. I never get in or on anything that moves faster than my legs can carry me, without a helmet, except my car. And I have considered wearing one then too, honestly. As a retired horseman, sadly retired, I never got on a horse, except before I knew better, without a helmet. I am only retired because of a serious neck injury, or I would be riding, joyfully, today. I see people do dangerous things all the time. Kids on motorcycles, doing a hundred down the interstate thinking its cool and fun and posting videos of it. Absolutely NO thought for those around them NONE.
Baby’s in 4 wheelers, no helmets, nothing. It scares me to see that because I love those people.
Love.
I have buried too many young people I love because of accidents. I guess I just can’t understand the pull to have your children along, in an activity that could potentially kill you both. As young as that baby is, he has no idea the danger, and therefore no choice. I don’t think its cute, or spectacular or even remotely cool. I actually have very strong feelings about a parents need to protect their children, from danger, as long as they can. And when they cant, any longer, to give them the tools to make sound, safe decisions, about how to protect themselves.
That starts as babies.
Teaching.
Passing on unsafe, proven dangerous habits, to children to me, is neglectful. Like I said, strong feelings.
And I don’t understand the hanging on to the thought process of
“its the way its been, we don’t wear helmets. No one down here ever does”
Why?
Why Not?
Why not make a change?
This week, I watched 2, 9 year old girls suffer terrible injuries. When I looked, from a distance, it looked like a helmet could have very easily prevented this. But that’s me, looking, from the outside in. The grandmother shared the photos on her FB page, and I made a choice to use them as a teaching tool. Not because I felt like placing blame, but because again, I have buried two, too many, young members of my family, due to accidents.
There was fault in both of those accidents.
Is there fault in this one? I don’t know, that’s not for me to judge.
My judgement came in saying something about it. I could have kept my big mouth shut. That’s obviously NOT my strong suit.
It came into play when I decided to use those photos as a tool, to maybe prevent someone else from having more disastrous outcomes. Both of these girls are OK, hurt, and probably very sore, but OK. Those girls grandmother, was out of town and had to fly home, I am sure with her heart in her throat, praying all the way. My mom was terribly worried too. Many people, all over the world, were praying for these two little girls. My friends and I were on our knees at work, praying.
I was praying I wasn’t going to another funeral.

This is how I remember you. Your beauty just shone through.

This is how I remember you.
Your beauty just shone through.

Where I had to watch another mother,
bury one of her young children.
I have seen that already,
twice.
Once as my own mother and our family buried my youngest sister, and then as I watched my sister bury her youngest because of a selfish drunk.

This is how we wish Steve a Merry Christmas now.

This is how we wish Steve a Merry Christmas now.

Why would it be OK to do that to her or to anyone else, if there was a away to prevent it? As a family member, making decisions about protecting yourself,  affects everyone around you.
Everyone.
Not just those in that 4 wheeler, on that horse, bike, or motorcycle. I think it takes a responsible adult, to give those family members a single thought when you put yourself or others in danger. Especially those with no knowledge or ability to protect themselves.
I was trying to present another point of view, and educate those who choose to see the logic. My personal opinion is that no one should be allowed on any kind of open vehicle without a helmet.
Period.
Plain and simple.
Whether its enforced by the parents or the law, if it takes a law, I guess that’s just the way it goes. I am sorry if my post felt like it was placing blame. I have worked with kids who have suffered those kinds of devastating injuries. Closed head injuries, skull fractures, brain injuries. They are all dangerous and very often preventable with a helmet. Some one piped up and said that seat belts and helmets don’t always save lives.
I would be willing to bet they save more than they kill.
In fact I have bet on it, every time I have come off a horse that’s accidentally kicked my helmet as he went by, or a concrete bike path that came at my head like a rocket.
Here is what velosity did to my helmet.  VVVVV
I am so very grateful it was not my head.

I am glad that was my helmet and not my head.

I am glad that was my helmet and not my head.

I have actually bet my life on it,
more times than I can count.
And I am still here,
typing this to prove,
they work.

Perspective

ayden12

Photo Courtesy of “Flashes of Hope” http://flashesofhope.org/

Yet again I am reminded how trivial things in my life are when I see my friend and her family going through so much. Please pray for Ayden, share his story. There needs to be more research dollars allocated to children’s cancer so that kids like Ayden don’t have to deal with the ravages of adult chemo drugs.
The photo above was 2 months ago.
The photo below was 2 days ago.
Sometimes, for these families, its about the next 2 hours, and how they are going to get through them.
https://www.youcaring.com/AydensAngels
amanThursday – Suzann Fette This is the “Nina” that Kim frequently refers to. This is actually Thursday that I am posting this as I don’t know if Kim will be able to post or not. Ayden didn’t have a temp. at 9AM today, but by noon it was over 101. We had him in to the clinic by 2 and yes he was readmitted. The temp. came down but has since respiked to 103. They are going to be doing a chest x-ray soon. So PLEASE, if any of you have any extra prayers–please send them Ayden’s way. Thank you.

Wednesday – Posted by Kim Fette Henson · July 16
As you might be able to see below from the picture I posted today was not a good day for my “little A”

About the only good thing I can say is that he doesn’t have a fever so I don’t need to take him back in to be admitted. Ayden has been doing so well that even though I knew that these days were coming it is hard to take… I feel so helpless, I wish that I could trade places with him so he didn’t have to go through this.

GOING to WIN!

GOING to WIN!

His home health nurse comes out bright and early tomorrow for labs, dressing and cap changes. Until Ayden Is feeling better we will definitely be sticking close to home.

I’m off to try and relax then head to bed, hope everybody has a great night. As always thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Perspective on Eyelids, I see Ayden too.
He, his mom Kim and their family, and my friend Joell are always at the top of my prayer list when I lay down at night. I set up a fund raising page to help Kim and Ayden fight, so she could focus on HIM, and not on where the money for his drugs was going to come from. It has raised a little money so far, and I hope it will raise more. It was also to raise awareness, though, among my many “friends”. I dont think that was accomplished as well as I had hoped.
Poor Ayden, Kim and her family. I cant, for one second imagine, if that were my child, how I would be able to deal with it.

Back of My Eyelids

Faces on Eyelids
At night when I finally lay my head down, is when they come to visit.
I see all their little faces, as they were the last time I actually saw them.
Scared, bewildered by what was happening, and then betrayed, by the one who loves them so, so much.
The betrayal reflected in their eyes. I can’t get past the soul breaking eyes.
The loss, fear, betrayal was so visible;
I see it on the backs of my eyes every time I lay down at night.
I see their faces.
Every night.
I wonder what happened to them?
And my heart breaks all over again.
I see Spice, racing across the yard, always goofy with his long legs and tail. I feel Blossom asleep around my head like a hat. And hear Diamond talking to the world as if he owns it. I feel Midnights paw an my elbow, “pet me”. And Spanky’s lumbering trot away, making me come pick him up to come in at night. And Leenies quiet meow, letting me know she is ready belinnie4to eat. I hear Lischious chatter at the birds, and feel Princeton’s trust and love of me in the gift of holding him. Even after the horrible abuse he suffered. His deep purr as he snuggled in my neck always told me “we’re ok now”. And 20/20, always shy and reserved, loving the back scratches and head massages. I have plastered on my eyelids the image of Minnieminmin on the side of the road I found her on, watching her sister die after being thrown from a car and then hit by that humanless individual who did it. I see her journey back, with Rosie, her friend, and then Rupert, her boyfriend. Rupert loved everyone. I see him falling to the ground in front of me, every time I said “Ruperts falling down”. I see Sissie, quiet, and sweet, waiting on the periphery for love, and then hear her loud purr every time I touched her. I miss my morning coffee with Poppie, who is almost 15 now. She is the first kitten we ever rescued, and remained my steadfast lover of covers until I left to Detroit. She traveled to Colorado with me and MommyB, in the cab of the truck. My little black kitty. And Adam, the crotchety, gruff, love bug no one wanted, we pulled from the shelter after his owner found out he was diabetic and dumped him there. He was 17. He was the last kitty we rescued.
I could go on. It hurts to do so, so I am stopping there.
I see or feel something, every night from each of them.
Are they safe, loved, happy?
I pray every night that someone loves them as much as I do.
I pray till I sleep.
Every night.
As long as it takes, for me to finally sleep.
Some nights are so long, and the prayers are for so many.
Then I dream about them, horrible dreams of their sad, fear filled eyes. Nightmares, really. I have had them for years and years.
Their broken hearts, and the fear they must have felt at being thrown into a strange place, with strangers all around them.
I felt that terror at the unknown, I felt it in their eyes drinking me in with questioning gazes, as I transferred them from their prison in my car to another jail in another, strange car, and to strangers hands.
I felt their hearts racing, and their minds spinning, in the way that fear of the unknown makes them race.
I felt it. The sinking dread. In my chest, in the coldness of my hands and feet, and the sweat rolling down my back, I felt every heartbeat.
I miss them,
each
and
every
one.
Especially at night. Diamond1
They were my constants, my muses, my place to love and my safety.
I was always safe with them.
Always.
Each one brought a special something to my life, joy, softness, need, trust, safety laughter.
I don’t believe I will ever be safe again.
My laughter has disappeared like smoke in the night. The laughter that they my heart, feels like broken pieces of glass that lay crushed at my feet. Broken and bleeding, crushed.
I will never allow another person to come into my life and so effectively destroy me and the ones I love.
I have a lot of anger about the way the events of my life have affected everyone around me, but most especially the ones who were the most loyal and trusting. Some sins are forgivable; hurting the innocent is not one of them. Not to me anyway. Especially when it was
I am most angry at myself.
For trusting a liar.
It’s like he came into my life to just destroy all that was me.
When I lost them, truly, so many pieces of my heart fled with the betrayal that I witnessed in their eyes.
I lost pieces of me that won’t ever be found. There is no reassurance in the place they went, I know nothing of what happened to them after that day I placed them in anothers trust. I wish I knew. I have known YEARS of not knowing, wondering, and now, I am back there.
I miss their joy, and the playfulness they brought to my life. I miss the stability, and calm, the love and the trust. liscious2
Most of all I miss the comfort they gave me on days like today.
There is nothing like the kiss of a cat to bring the sharpness of loves reality into real time, the moment, and the feeling of trust it brings is nothing short of a miracle.
Each has a story, worth telling, someday I hope the grief is at bay enough to tell them.
They were my family.
Truly.midnight3
They were my connections to feelings I never shared in other places. I was free to give them my hearts dreams. And they gave theirs back to me. Purrs, kisses, Tonto, greeting me at the head of the driveway, every day, after a 10 hour day waiting for me to come home, I knew I was loved, valued, and needed.
They taught me how and when to love, when to run, and when to stand your ground. They taught me I was not worthless, and neither were they, I learned to fight for them.
They taught me how to laugh, something as a child, I never learned how to do. They were my connection to all that is love.
Losing them, is what happened to me. They were betrayed, and I grieve that loss, for them. I hate what I did to them.
I don’t do it often, overtly, or around others. Its too hard to explain the level of loss. I don’t want to have to defend it, or justify it. I don’t care who agrees with it, and its mine alone to deal with. When it gets me, like it has today, and I cant see anything but those sweet faces, I am volatile in my need to be with that. Its not a good place for anyone, but its necessary for me to try to find an outlet before it swallows whats left of me. I have spent years stuffing it down to the point that now its almost impossible to stuff it, all the stuffing places are full to overflowing. Its a huge place of empty cracked, and displaced parts of my heart that someday I hope will find the glue to be repaired. I cant get to it to stuff it down.
It was a lot to lose. My home, my job, and my animals.
Most of all, my animals, that love, soft, warm and freely given, no strings.
It was reckless to trust. blossom1
That trust cost me, them, and them me.
Hopefully they went to a place and learned to trust again, to love and be loved like no body’s business, and to heal from all that they lost. They lost everything too.
If anyone ever, says to me, ever again, that’s what needed to happen, I say to you, you know very little about me. In fact you know next to nothing. I wont ever try to explain it to anyone who does not understand.
Those that do, know. They just know.
You can have too much to lose.
You can lose too much.

Minnie, the throw away kitten, loves Rupert the dumpster kitten. They are family.

Minnie, the throw away kitten, loves Rupert the dumpster kitten. They are family.

Percieve

Percieve

Poppie has coffee with me every morning.

Poppie has coffee with me every morning.

The Soul of the Horse

The Soul of the Horse

Zippee

Zippee

Trust or Hunger…

Trust

Trust

This picture is what inspired this post. It’s about trust, which is something I admit, I seriously lack. I saw this posted on FB today and it touched me so deeply, it actually brought me to tears, both for the bravery and the trust exhibited here. I don’t know why it touched me so deeply, I have a terrible fear of spiders. But I have caught many and taken them outside, so that they have the life they were intended to have.
It is my greatest hope,
to some day be in a safe enough place in my life,
to trust THIS much.
And until then, I hope I am THIS brave and that I use that bravery to keep trying to trust.
It may seem like a silly little spider, but he didn’t run, I could not decide if its because he is hungry and thats a really BIG meal, or if he is really brave.
I chose to believe he was brave enough to trust.
Maybe someday, I will get that opportunity too.
I hunger for that!

No Control

No Control

I want to have a meltdown,
and cant.
I want to cry,
and cant.
If I ever let go,
of all the grief,
sorrow and sadness,
who would I be?
If I could kiss a dog,
without fear,
open an email,
without that
adrenaline rush,
knocking the wind
from my sails,
for days after,
who would I be?
How did my life,
get to this point,
where I’m not me,
I am PTSD?

Tentacles of the Abyss

Tentacles of the Abyss

How do I find,
My way out of
this new abyss?
I have no control,
no warning,
No place to hide.
No one to tell,
most dont know.
No control,
is the tightest
type of
Control.

 

What. Courage. IS!!!

Follow Ayden’s courageous journey here…
https://www.facebook.com/AydenWINS
This post is about
courage.
I see,
feel and hear,
that surrounds me,
envelopes me
daily.
I am so humbled in the face of it.
I thought I was a courageous person, I thought I could do anything I set my sights on. I have discovered TRUE courage.
Real,
RAW!!!!
honest to God,
grit your teeth,
screaming out!
at that shit called cancer…
COURAGE!!!
Beating it takes a rare kind of bravery, and I am just getting a little glimpse of it. I don’t think I would be so brave in such circumstances.
I know not.

I love stickers!

I love stickers!

C
onviction

Conviction to what you believe in, regardless of the naysayers. there will always be those who do not believe, they lack your conviction. The ever present belief that you do the right thing, for the right reasons and good things will happen.  Even while bad things are happening you can still be convicted to the good that still happens all around you.

O
rdinary

Ordinary people with extraordinary courage surround me. ayden16The woman I work with who was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, and was back at work in her allotted six weeks. The people who do what it takes to save lives, animal and human alike, even when the odds seem insurmountable. Children who are fighting life threatening diseases that still have the temerity to teach adults that the moments can disappear in the blink of an eye.

U
nyielding

Unyielding to the hurdles before them.

How do you not fall in love with that spirit!?

How do you not fall in love with that spirit!?

These courageous people find a way around, over, under or through the hurdles life keeps throwing at them. Courageous people do not yield to pressure, loss, grief disbelief, or time. They keep moving, striding, running, crawling towards that goal. They are never giving up, in or out without a fight. Get tied on, if you take one on.

R
esolve

Resolve to steadfastly focus on the win at the end of a disaster. Seeing it, visualising it and resolving to never let go of that vision. I see resolve in Ayden, Kim and Lacie, to never let go of the win against cancer. In Joell’s tenacity when most would just stop. There is resolve in courage, its to never stop believing you can, you must and with God’s help you will achieve his plan for yourself.  Your resolve is what makes your courage unique to you. Its that push, that drive, that sigh and tears, and that shaky walk around the office. Its resolve that carries us through.

GOING to WIN!

GOING to WIN!

A
udacity

ayden12

Bodacious! Audacious!

Courage gives us the audacity to believe we can win.
Audacity to continue to try even when it seems hopeless. It makes us KNOW we can win, without a doubt. Audacity makes us stand up to a doctor and say thats not going to work for my kid, he needs real food, not hospital food. Audacity gives us a needed boost to be courageous in the light of extreme fear. Like hearing that your child has cancer. Or that you have cancer. That kind of fear. Without audacity,
we would be paralyzed by our fear.

G
od

God carries us…

Being carried...

Being carried…

When we have to deal with things we cant do on our own.
Some people do not believe in God. Many would have his name removed from our society. I think that those people are afraid to believe in something bigger than themselves so they want to remove it out of fear. I know God, he knows me, you and them. I have seen miracles, and I expect to see  more.
God gives me that.
God Alone.

E
ndurance

Endurance is the one thing that courage delivers in bucketfuls.

Lacie,  Big sister extraordinaire!

Lacie,
Big sister extraordinaire! Daughter deluxe!

Most people don’t have to spend weeks in hospital rooms with a 3 year old getting chemo. Moms do. Most often. Daughters have to hold moms up! Moms have endurance to stay the course for their children, no matter what. Puke, poop, sick, they are there through all of it and more. Endurance isn’t something they even know they have, until they need it. Moms wrote the definition of endurance and courage.

This post is dedicated
to all the moms out there
going through the same fight my friend Kim,
a mom, mommy, mamma
is going through.
Its also for all the moms who have fought this silent,
sneaky,
despicable
monster
called cancer.
Its dedicated to those courageous
men, women, and children,
and their families,
who have fought
and lost the battle.
They all fought with great courage.
Whether or not they won,
They ultimately win the prize,
for they have fought something
you and I will likely never have to face.
They have faced the devil down,
looked him square in the eye
and said
“Oh hell no!
no, no, no!
not without a fight”
and taken him right out
with courage.

God Bless and carry all the courageous fighting this war tonight.
Please keep them and my friends Ayden, Lacie his sister, and his mom in your prayers tonight.
They will fight on another day.

 

Lessons of a Child…

Ayden, age 3. Truck driver, bed jumper, speed racer!
In Cincinnati Children’s Hospital,
being treated for stage 4, high risk neuroblastoma.
Cancer.
The Big C,
you hear adults worry endlessly about.

ayden and Lacie

Lacie and Ayden, sharing masks!

Lacie, 7, his big sister. When he came home from the hospital, she kissed her hand and put it on his forehead. She wanted a sister.
Now, she is gentle, a caregiver, and yet still playful enough and happy to see him to rough him up a little. Most often now, she sees him in a hospital room. She misses time with her mommy, but she gets to spend time with her “Nina”, at her grandparents house. She is on summer break and comes to see Ayden when she can. She is a busy little lady!

 

Kim, is the limestone slab, with water dripping in the same spot, timelessly eroding the strength that is the rock of this little family. She spends most of her time in a hospital room too.

Kim shaved her head so she could be just like Ayden!

Kim shaved her head so she could be just like Ayden!

Ayden does not have the fear that the adults in his life have now. He lives in the moment, happy, grumpy, hungry or not. He does not miss his hair. He is a 3 year old, he does not get the concept of sick, or time yet. He gets trucks, and bathes, and sleepy. He lives in the moment, every moment he is awake. He does not worry about bills, or meds, or MIBG scans. He knows how to have fun and to laugh, and watch Disney movies on his TV and to get into everything he can because he is bored in that hospital room. It’s not outside, it’s not his bed, its not his room, where he sleeps with his mom, at home.

ayden16

Even with a PIC line, he still has swagger!

He does not follow that.
None of that. He LIVES in his moments and has his fun and explores where he is,
no matter where it is. His moments, each day in his eyes, are filled with adventure and sometimes pain from pin pricks, and toys and music therapy. There is a play room, he can go to if he is well enough. Sometimes he is not.
We, as adults forgot how to have that kind of freedom, that live in the moment, joy and happiness, he lives. We are adults and we have trained our brains to worry, and fix, and do, all day, every day.
We don’t see the joy in front of us.
We have forgotten how.
All we would have to do is open our eyes, and see the joy right in front of us. We would have to let go a little, of that useless worry, and learn to live a little more in the moments that people like little Ayden are trying so hard to share with us!
We aren’t getting the lesson of living in the moment he is giving so freely.
Children have so much to give and share and we go so fast along in our lives that we never stop long enough to see that.
This lesson, this time, I get it, now.
I am going to relearn how to play,
feel joy,
laugh and
drive a dump truck.
Now its time to stop, and play, and do hand paintings, and make paper flowers and drive trucks loudly, as fast as we can go, down the echoing halls of that hospital.
Now is the time.
Its a chance to be a child again, and the lesson Ayden brings to us is that its ok to do that, but do it now.
Before you don’t have another chance.

aydenn

Professional Driver preparing for the start!

Tomorrow,
I am going to go learn how to drive a truck,
with a pro!

As always you can follow Ayden and his family’s journey through cancer in the following places. Prayers are always welcome and appreciated. If would like to help with their expenses you can do that as well. There is a link to their fundraising page on the Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/AydenWINS?ref=hl

 

The Important Things….

Perspective… Value of friendship, and eyes wide open. Before I have spent literally, years sitting at a desk, with my heart in my throat, frantically networking, emailing, calling people I didn’t know, trying to save animals from one shelter or another, in so many states, I have lost count. I have asked for help for an animal I found on an interstate and had all the help I needed, in less than 24 hours. Yet, today I asked for help from all those people, that have asked me to share, tag and crosspost an animal, at one time or another. All my “friends” All my “rescue” friends. I asked for someone who is just as innocent, in just as much need, in fact so much more need, who also has a family who loves him more than words, and I am astonished, disheartened,and saddened by the lack of response from the large majority of people I have helped. Do you not see that little boy?  

After

After

Is his life less important than an animals? Does the fact that his family is in need, some how make you uncomfortable sharing his story? Why? I asked people for help for a kitten and in under 12 hours I had all I needed. And what was left helped 2 more cats. I simply cannot understand why a little boy, fighting for his life, LITTERALLY, is not somehow so much more important! I know one thing for sure, this little boy, with his soft, sweet, cherub cheeks, one with a sneaky tumor the size of a walnut, is the single, most important story, I have ever had to tell. I have told a lot of stories,most of them aout me. This is not one of them. This is so much more important than mere me. I promise, that when he is well, when he is safe, I will revisit this experience and delete those in my life who do not think he is just as important as that kitten. That his life is just as valuable as mine or yours, or that kittens! More so, because he has had just 3 years to live it. He deserves so much more, than to be less important than a kitten. Kittens are important, but                                                             he is more important.
Maybe this is what everyone has been trying to teach me. Maybe all that work, saving all those animals, was to prepare me for trying to help Ayden. He is a little boy, so innocent, so sweet and so, so sick. I will cleanse my life forever, of people who for whatever reason, failed to help this little boy when all it would have taken was a “share” or a “tag” or a “crossposting”. I will cleanse my life of people who can only see their own need, even if it’s the need to save an animal. I will clear out the riffraff, the chaff and be left with the group who can place a little boy at the top of a post, or an email, just because he is a little boy with a huge need. And still think animals are important too. Just not so important that they couldn’t take 2 seconds to share a little boys story.

Kissable Cheeks!!!

Kissable Cheeks!!!

His mom, my friend of 21 years, is an admirable woman, with a strength those who couldn’t or wouldn’t help, totally lack. She is a person to admire, and hold in high esteem, simply because she has the guts to ask for help, and then let go and let God do his work. She trusted me with a task, I am now afraid I wont be able to accomplish, because I had no idea that all of those I have helped, for so many years when they asked, would do nothing, not even share Ayden’s story. Kim deserves some kind of award for her visable strength, and her willingness to just do what ever she has to for her children. I always knew she was strong and an ox, but i had no idea she could give Atlas a run for his money. She literally is carrying the weight of the world right now. Her car is broken, she has no money, her child is terribly ill, and my “friends” cant even find it in their hearts to share her plea for help. I have people I have met at my new job, that have done more, so much more, than people I have known for years. I am certainly not giving up, I do know how to network, and fund raise. I am just so literally grounded by what I am seeing. Or really, not seeing. Maybe, its my eyes finally opening to the truth of perspective, and the value of a friend. One you can hug. One, whose little boy has the softest cheeks I have ever kissed.
https://www.youcaring.com/AydensAngels
How do you not fall in love with that spirit!?

How do you not fall in love with that spirit!?

 

 

On Fear

On Fear.
IMG_1920firey_hdr
I know fear,
it lurks, always near.
you’re not good enough,
you don’t live here,
you don’t have a job,
you are mentally sick,
bi polar, depressed,
manic, scared, paralyzed!
You don’t have a home,
no place to call your own,
my house, heat, refrigerator,
the guest,
no safety from alone,
surrounded by people,
“I love” you’s, on their lips.

Your friend, the abyss,
always ready with a jab,
a cut, a drag down.
Never lets up, always!
waits with an open maw,
no ladder, rope, net.
The fall, darkness, despair,
hurt, crushingly familiar.
Light, just out of reach,
the camera, pad, joy, silenced.
Nightmare, not the horsey kind,
slams the sleep, deadens the day.
That sonofa bitchin nag.

Church, God, dancing around,
no connections, loose,
wailing like hurricane driven rain.
Searching for anchors,
ropes, ladders, safety.
never ending, probing deep.
No escape from criticism, degradation,
cuts, bruises, and wounds,
deep enough to house the abyss,
wide chasms with no healing.

Words, weapons of hearts destruction.
Balm for the soul.
Wrought from fear,
winners of the war,
blasting from self righteous mouths,
laying waste to esteem with joyful hate.
relishing the downward gaze,
bent shoulders, tears flowing.
destroying with glee,
trust, love safety.
Spreading hate its job.
Complete.

Screw Fear,
I cussed it away,
just now,
today.
It ran, fleeing fearfully
from the wrath of obscenities,
spewing from the mouth of the hate,
it created, nurtured, adored.
Turned on it,
like the blade of a sword.
Good bye fear,
until we meet again.
Hell hath no fury,
like the scorn of words,
drawn from the hate,
of the years of its scourge.
Released from the soul,
it tried to claim,
fear lives in hell,
whose own path it paved.