Sunday, February 18, 2018

Giving Up Breathing for Lent


For Lent this year, I gave up breathing....
COUGH!
GASP!
GAG!
Sorry, what I meant was, I gave up Facebook.
It's sort of the same thing to me.....

Truth be told, giving up breathing would've been easier than giving up Facebook!

I did this because I've come to the realization that Facebook makes me less authentic in real life, and it's squelching my creativity.

I'm guilty of jumping onto Facebook every morning to see what's going on in the world and what's going on in other people's world, even before my feet hit the carpet.

I jump on Facebook when I'm riding in the car, when I'm standing in line at Chipotle, when I'm stuck in traffic, and as embarrassing as it is to admit: even when I'm not "stuck" in traffic...

Last week my wife was talking to me when we were driving in the car and I realized we'd had an entire 20 minute conversation, and I could not tell you what she had even said.  (Sorry, Honey!)  That's because instead of being present, I was surfing through Facebook watching kittens fall off counter tops, learning how to bake a potato via solar power, and reading about my friend from 3rd grade's daughter who finally popped in the potty.  (Congrats, kid!)  

Now, these things are important and I enjoy them, but do  I value them over the time I spend with my family?  
With myself?  
With my friends?

I wish my answer was no, but in that moment I realized I was placing more value on online relationships and the online escape than in my physical world, and I needed to stop.

There was no fancy post saying I was taking a Facebook sabbatical, I just quit.  Honestly, most people probably don't even notice I'm gone.    

I'm allowing myself to get on to post my blog posts, but I'm not getting back on every few minutes to watch for "Internet trolls."  (A huge concern for me sometimes...)  I'm just sending my writing out into the digital world to survive on it's own.  To be liked (or not) by whomever enjoys it, and I'm going to catch up with it and read the comments the next time I'm online to share another blog post.  

The first few days of being Facebook free caused me to tick and twitch, I so wanted to know what all those notifications were about, but this experience has actually forced me to write more because I can't quickly throw a picture on my wall with a funny saying.  
It's forcing me to delve deeper.  
I appreciate that.

It's made me be more present and I'm enjoying planning my spring gardens, playing outside, getting work done around the new homestead, and spending more physical time with the people I love.  

Not only will I survive the 40 days, 40 nights, and 7 Sundays, but  I think I will be better for it.... 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Setting myself free.....



Several months ago, someone I love completely berated me via a myriad of vile text messages.  Whether this person honestly feels the way they claimed to feel about me, or they were just acting out of fear and stress, I will never know, but this person screamed the most inhumane things at me, and I have to admit her words cut me to my core.  

Somewhere between hearing: 

"You are a horrible person!"    
"You're fake!"
"If only you were a genuine person...."
"You're f*cking worthless!"
"I hate you!"

I believed this person.  
I believed I was worthless.  
I believed I was horrible.

I quit writing on my blog for fear this person would judge and berate me again for something seen there.  I second guessed everything I put on Facebook for fear the person would judge me for something I wrote there, and honestly I have been walking on eggshells.  

I'm uncomfortable when I talk with this person because where I apologized for anything I'd said or done to warrant this person's feelings towards me, there has been no apology on her part, so even though this women acts like nothing was ever said, it leaves the continual question in my mind:  "Is what she said about me true?  Do I not know myself?  Does she honestly feel this way about me?"  

This woman has stolen my spirit. 
She has taken the joy out of my smile.
Her words took any self-worth and confidence I had, and ground it into the dirt.

This week I realized I was allowing this woman's words to define me, and I am here to say: No more!  I know who I am.  

I'm brave.
I'm kind.
I care. 
I'm worthy.
I'm enough.
I AM who I'm supposed to be.  

This woman's words will no longer hold me in bondage, and her words have no hold on me.  
I'm shutting them down. 
I'm shutting her down.
I was not created to be bullied, vulgarized, stigmatized or humiliated.
I'm writing this blog post to set me free...... 


  

Monday, January 29, 2018

4 Seconds from Pulling a Britney



Tonight I am struggling.  
I never realized how hard taking care of another person was until I started this adventure with my dad, and I have to say I hate it.
Part of me is sad, part of me is empathetic, and part of me is flat out pissed off.
Now, I'm sure one day I will miss my dad, and one day I will reflect back on this night and cry tears of sadness that he is no longer with me, but tonight....

Tonight I am 4 seconds away pulling a Britney Spears in the late 2000's, shaving my head and beating the crap out of something with an umbrella.  
Tonight, I am not taking care of a "sweet dad".  
Tonight, I am dealing with his alter ego.  I'm dealing with someone who wants what he wants, wants it yesterday, and really doesn't care what/who he destroys to have things his way.  Tonight he forgets his manners, doesn't see the sacrifices made on his part, the financial burden he is strapping me with, and he doesn't say thank you.  
Tonight my best is not good enough.
The worst part about tonight though, is knowing I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
In the past I have always wondered why Britney shaved her head and beat an SUV with an umbrella.  Tonight, I know why......

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Smile, it can't be that bad....




I saw her at Tim Horton's on a Thursday morning.  Her hair was blonde, stick straight and pulled up in a ponytail.  She had a coffee in her perfectly manicured hand and was clad in yoga pants, which were obviously created for a woman with a body type like hers.  She had a beautiful smile, was super perky and I'm sure she was a nice person.  I will never know, because I ate her alive....

You see, the back story here is this.  My father is sick and our family is struggling to do what's best for him while we figure out our new normal.  It's obvious to many people in my immediate life that I'm not handling this with a whole lot of grace some days.  This Thursday morning was one of those days.

My morning started off with an 8:30 meeting at an assisted living place we were trying to get dad admitted to.  From there I was to swiftly rush my dad to a doctor's appointment for a monthly follow up after his hospital release.  The appointment was for 10:30 am.  With a little bit of luck and pixie dust, I managed to usher my father into his doctor's office at 10:27 am.  At this point I was feeling pretty good about my morning accomplishments, and then the receptionist opened her sliding glass door.

I said: "Good Morning!  We're here for a 10:30 appointment."
She looked at me and said:  "I'm sorry your appointment was for 10:00 am."
At this point I tried to explain all my discharge paperwork said the appointment was for 10:30 am and essentially begged the receptionist to work us into the schedule.
The receptionist simply shrugged her shoulders and said: "Sorry!"

In my normal life, a minor inconvenience like this would not derail me, but on this day, it wrecked me.  It was as if every tear I had not shed for the last several weeks came out right there in the lobby in the worst "ugly cry" I have ever cried.  And once I started crying, I could not stop.  I cried out of frustration, sadness, exhaustion, and just flat out defeat.

Breaking me from my tears was Candy the receptionist saying a little too happily: "I would be happy to reschedule your appointment for you!"  Now, I know when I get that angry, I tend to go from 0-60 in mere seconds, and I have been working on this so I snarked at Candy as nicely as I could muster that we would not be rescheduling our appointment as I ushered my father out the door.  As I was feeling sorry for my dad because he looked so dejected after waiting weeks for his appointment, he said to me: "Emmy, don't cry!  I'm sorry I'm sick and putting you through all this.  Can we go to Tim Horton's for lunch?  I'm hungry."  Quickly I turned off my tears, gathered myself up, swallowed my anger and decided to take my dad out for his favorite chicken noodle soup.

This is where I met Yuppie Barbie.

As my dad hurried through the door of Tim Horton's, on a mission to find the nearest restroom, I brought up the rear.  My father said hello to Yuppie Barbie on his way past her and I glanced at her, still just thinking about my morning and my new life.

And that is when Yuppie Barbie said the sentence that almost ended her life.  A little to perky, with her pony tail swaying, Barbie says:  "Smile!  It can't be that bad!"  Only unbeknownst to Barbie it WAS THAT bad!

Without thinking, and with NO restraint, I swung around, met Barbie eye to eye with a look that could kill, and let it fly: "You know WHAT?!  You have NO idea just how bad IT is right now!  My dad is in the fight of his life against an illness!  I can't find an assisted living place who takes his Medicaid, and without that he's essentially homeless!  His medication is expensive, 100% necessary, and I can't seem to secure a way to pay for it.  Did I mention we're facing foreclosure and the reality that he is loosing EVERYTHING?!  That I am using ALL of my vacation and sick time to take him to appointment after appointment and THIS is my WHOLE life right now?!  And on top of ALL OF THIS, we missed his appointment this morning even though we were exactly where we were supposed to be ON TIME!  So you know what?!  Where life might not be that bad for you, it SUCKS for me currently!"

Quickly Barbie left Tim Horton's and truly I felt bad for unleashing on this woman, but honestly the more I got to thinking about it, when did in become okay to assume you know how another person is feeling, what they're thinking or exactly what struggle they're walking through in life.  Perhaps they don't want to smile because they aren't happy.  Perhaps they just lost their job, recently got a horrible cancer diagnosis, or their child has passed away.  People don't wear signs making it obvious as to what personal struggle they're dealing with, so how about we do each other a favor and say or do something positive to the person facing a difficult time, build them up, let them know we care, and for the love of God folks, lets please stop using the phrase: "Smile!  It can't be that bad!".......

Friday, December 29, 2017

Snow and Slowing Down


Lately I have been in a hurry and honestly I'm quite unsettled in my heart.
I've been on the run for over a month now.
I rush to visit my father in his nursing home every night.
I hustle to work extra  hours in attempt to not use my vacation time to take my dad to his appointments.
 I rush to fulfill my parental duties in order to show my daughter she still has a mom.
I give my wife a half ass version of who a spouse should be.
And as far as laundry or dishes?  Forget it!
I just feel like there is not enough of me to go around.
I'm stretched way too thin.
And every night that I go to bed, I think to myself: "Thank God!  I survived another day!"

Today as I was rushing home from work, it was snowing.  It wasn't a huge amount of snow, but it fell fast, the roads were horrid and because I have been so rushed as of late, my tires were balder than Mr. Clean.  I was on the highway when I tapped my breaks, a little to hard and it happened.  
I lost control of the car.

My decline wasn't fast, but I could feel it.
Gently, I steered the car as it veered off the road, and there I sat.
For a minute I was pissed.

Did God honestly think I needed this?!  
Did He not understand that I needed to get home?!  
That I was hungry and wanted Chipotle?!
Did He not understand that my dogs had to pee?!
That I needed to drop my dad's laundry off to him?!

After  I cursed God for a minute, I realized, I needed to slide off that highway.
I needed a reminder to slow down, and unless God physically put my car in a ditch, I was not going to stop on my own.  After I got out of that ditch, I drove home.
Slowly.
Reflectively.
I came home, fired up the washer and dryer, called my dad and explained I would be by with his laundry first thing in the morning, sat down to watch a Hallmark movie and write.

I needed downtime tonight.
I needed a reminder.
I need a different "game plan".
I need new tires.

Tomorrow is a new day.
I'm going to start it new and refreshed.




Monday, June 12, 2017

Buying a Toad....



Last week when Lilly died, I knew I wanted another dog.  To have a dog die that I was so close to, one whom I trained and competed with, has left a huge hole in my heart.  We have decided to purchase a puppy this time from a reputable breeder.  

Due to the nature of the breeds I love, we decided we wanted a puppy whose background we knew.   Purchasing a dog who's genetic makeup and health history from a breeder who is working to better the breed and whom has been stimulated while growing so we can get a feel for how it's temperament will be, was of utmost importance to us.  It isn't a 100% guarantee I am going to get a dog with an amazing temperament, that is clear of genetic difficulties, however it is a pretty safe place to start.

I just didn't want to rescue this time.  My heart can't handle the pain of working so hard to rehabilitate a dog, only to loose it.  This time if the dog is screwed up, I have no one to blame but myself.  

Nicuk and I are really excited to welcome Toad to our family.
We pick him up this weekend!  


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Just have faith....


I sit here tonight, with a house all to myself, I am moved.

I have learned so much through this journey, even though it's been at times the hardest walk I've ever walked.  Through much thinking and processing, I now know why I had to walk this walk.

Had I never met Pony Girl I would have never left The Reluctant Farmer.  I would have essentially lived with my "friend" for the rest of my life, because that's what was comfortable.  I will never know why I fell so hard for Pony Girl, why I felt so deeply for her, nor why I allowed her to treat me the way she did.  I can only assume I fell for her because I thought I saw something special in her that wasn't really ever present.  I'm sure in some ways I was looking to rescue her.  I have done that in most of my past relationships, and rescuing things, people or animals, is something I'm good at.  I thought I saw someone who was kind, honest, happy, and who had just fallen victim to an abusive lover.  I will never know the truth behind Pony Girl or what made her mind work.  The truth is, I don't care to know any of that.  I don't wish anything bad upon her, I wish her happiness, and I'm simply happy she is no longer a part of my life.

I will say I needed to walk that walk though.  I needed to feel that pain, and above all else I've learned that pain deserves to be felt.  You can't push it away and you can't minimize it.  All you can do is push through it and have faith that with each step, hope and light will find you.

Pain is like a giant ocean wave, crashing upon us, pulling us under, grinding us into the ocean floor.  Faith is the light that directs us upward, and hope is the air we need to breathe on the surface.

Nicuk was a result of that trial, and the reason I now see everything else unfolded exactly how it was supposed to unfold.  I will be forever grateful with how she handled my healing process.  She understood there was no magic way to lesson my agony, there was no way to minimize the abuse I had experienced.  She stood behind me and reminded me the only way to heal was to acknowledge my pain with tears, talking, and time.  She allowed me and encouraged me to feel the heaviness, the hurt, and understands the holes in my soul that are left behind.

Honoring the pain and having hope happens if you just have faith.
She's the proof.
And I love her....