The Iliad and The Audacity of Hitting The Ground Limping

My daughter just finished reading the Iliad for homeschooling. Like just about every high school age American youth, she was not a fan.
“Mom, they literally start in the middle of the story. You have no idea what is going on and who all of these people are. There’s no context or background. Why would they make us read this?”
I’m sitting here thinking that maybe I’m a little like Homer? He told legends of gods and men, sometimes retelling from others and, like my daughter points out, the beginning had been lost and cut off.  Except really, he didn’t even know that, did he?  He told stories and others wrote them down afterward.

Goodness, I don’t want to get so busy talking that I never sit down and put the words to a page as I’ve always meant to do.  I decided that I just need to start. It had to be somewhere and it just happened to be this week.  I will add some context over time, but if it’s basically “all Greek to you,” I ask you to just hold on a little while.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

 Sunday I shared a letter about my parents and celebrating 51 years of marriage.
18,629 Days and Counting – A Letter To My Parents

On Monday I dropped you into the middle of my story and basically flashed you with a baring of my soul and view into my spiritual journey.

My Body Was Broken, But My Soul Has Turned The Corner

Then yesterday I walked you around my house, without makeup on.  Obviously, something is going on but you can’t tell what I’m getting into. Even my husband said, “Why in the world did you carry around your laptop instead of your phone, with a better camera?”

Bringing Home The Awkward

(Note: My husband is a super awesome AV consultant who designs AV systems in the millions of dollars, for techie stuff I don’t understand. He was not home when I did this video and definitely facepalmed when he saw it. He won’t be showing it off to his clients, but did laugh and watch it again. While he was appalled, he also may be my newest recruit in finding better equipment. So Awkward wasn’t a total loss, right?)

Today I’m going to give you a little insight into my goals. I know that you want some context, so I’m going to give you what I’m working toward. While details of the health stuff may come out over our time together, as I use it to share what I’ve learned, I know you do not want it all at once in a 5,000,000 word blog post. 

You are welcome.

If you are new to my blog, you should know that I blogged for many years before. I had enough readers to feel absolutely content in my reach and very successful. At one point I started something like a podcast and absolutely LOVED LOVED pouring myself out for people.  It was wonderful. I want to do that again.
I cut it off over two years ago, cold turkey in a need to focus on my family and hold boundaries. What appears right now to be out-of-nowhere is more of a jumping-back-in and not skipping a beat. At this time, the majority of my older writings are private and may be repurposed over time, but there’s a lesson in that I’ll be getting to as well. 
See? You thought vaguebooking was bad, I’m over here vagueblogging… are you still reading this?


Here are the Cliffnotes on my “Why?” of this week’s postings. Maybe it will help:


Some of My Actual Goals FYI:

1. Be active here, on my blog, because I’ve avoided it like that friend you totally dropped while busy and now your ghosting because you know it’s your own fault. I didn’t mean to!
2. Finish one of the three books that I have sitting on my hard drive (one is close!) because I want them out there for you to read. 
3. Start awkward conversations in a podcast/vlog that will get us all thinking, challenging each other, and claiming the margins on the pages of our own history, even if you need copious amounts of footnotes as I do.

I don’t want an awkward story like the Iliad, but that is what I’ve been given. I want the audacity of admitting I’m a nobody with only a few minutes here and there, but the determination of sharing that with others.

I’m inviting you into my margins!  This is as close to an Iliad as I’ll ever get.
I believe I have important things for you to hear, and I know that God’s told me to do it. That’s it. It may take a while for this to roll smoothly. 
Please consider these random spurts as a sort of jump-start to a dead battery that still has some juice, or maybe it’s more of an awkward side-hug from that friend who you just haven’t seen or heard from in years.  Yeah, awkward, but man we used to share so much together!!
Let’s get right back to THAT!!

Also, have you LIKED me on Facebook yet? Please?
Followed on Instagram?

Give me two weeks. I have a point. I do. It’s just coming out with a limp instead of hitting the ground running.

My next step?
Another awkward video from the porch! It will be on my cell phone because my husband and teenagers are probably right about it being better quality.  And safer to walk around with, I suppose.  


Real Question:
Does anyone know how to actually use MailChimp? Apparently, I’m not really good at that either, but lots of people are signing up and you should, too!

Bringing Home The Awkward

Honestly, I  have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. None.

However, I DO know that I’m going start working my margins and sharing a message. 
What? Yeah, you’ll see.

For today, my margins included a to-do list of finding a spot to sit and talk WITH YOU!
This video is really bad, and I’m just not into figuring out how to edit it. You get it as is. 
You are welcome.

My cheap-as-Walmart laptop must have the worst camera ever, but I didn’t know it because I’ve never used it before. I’ll figure that out eventually.
Anyway, I took a walk with no makeup on and in my pajamas, early this morning to find where I want to sit and talk.

I think we found it.

Also, the hoodie was mine. 
((shrug))

Sincerely,
Just Another Marginal Mom, celebrating her awkward

In other news, I’m learning from my kid how to start a YouTube Channel for our Porch Talks and don’t even have ONE subscriber yet. Wanna be one?

SUBSCRIBE TO YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Let’s find a place to sit together, friend.

My Body was Broken, but My Soul Has Turned The Corner

About every time I left the house over the last few months, I had this conversation.

Someone: “How ARE you doing?”
Me: “Well, at this point I’m “faking well”  pretty well, so that feels like an improvement.”
Someone: “Ok…”

I am just no good at saying “fine”.  I never ever will be.  If you ask me how I’m doing I want to spout
1. Random details of recovery from having a thyroidectomy and hysterectomy back to back, with spurts about critical anemia, wayward organs and the loss of my status as an organ donor (most of the disposable ones are gone) and blood, lots of blood…

2. I want to tell you about Jesus and his church and the people who are AMAZING and surrounded my family for the past eighteen months as we grappled with this unexpected next phase of my body being a lemon.
Maybe I’m not a lemon.
I’m an onion.  Lots of layers, and…. it stinks?

(READ: You Start With a Lemon and Squeeze),

3. But what I really can’t put to words in the 15 seconds that social propriety allots to the response expected to, “How are you doing?” is how much God has taught me over this who cluster-chaos of the last 2 years and what I wish EVERYONE could see.  Jesus has GOT to get to us somehow!

I just cannot “Good.” or “Fine”.
It’s not who I am.
I’m ok with that.

So for today’s awkward sharing on the blog, I want to address how I am, for those in the back of the room who may be wondering as I step forward and take on life again. Before I get down to my normal and banging out words, serving families and sharing in other ways, I’m going to tell you about how my broken body helped me turn the corner.

I am pretty sure that getting down to broken was one of the best things God has ever put me through. My body had to screech-halt, forcing me to turn around and focus on my soul because I didn’t listen the first 5,354 times that God sent clues my way.

It took several tries for Him to get my attention, and finally He most definitely, undoubtedly, gave me MORE than I could handle.

Sidenote: We all know that little statement is not in the Bible, right? It’s not in the Torah, or the King James, and definitely not the Apocrypha. Snopes.com  doesn’t have a reference for it, either. See?

It’s basically pre-social-media FAKE NEWS, that statement there. I’m waiting for Babylon Bee to respond to my email suggesting an article on”The woman who petitions that it be struck from the Bible, only to find it wasn’t there in the first place.”
I mean, *I* think it’s funny.

 

For the record, the Bible does say this:


We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

(2 Cor. 4:8-10)


There are plenty of other examples of suffering that we can meditate on, as we each stagger awkwardly toward the holy and the cross, but this one is the one for me now. Feel free to find more in the good book.

People, we carry within ourselves the broken and battered sacrifice of Christ. In our actual bodies!
His suffering flows in our veins to propel us through our own and toward the place He wants us to be, not just the  “him in us and we in him”,  in a cute little way that gives us a sweet sugar boost to the emotions for our week.
Jesus is an organ transplant, for our dying, languishing souls as we lay on the operating table of this messed up world,  with our pulse fading fast.
He is our only hope, and the good news is…
there’s not a waiting list.

I may not have been through an organ transplant (they don’t seem to offer me organs, they’ve just taken many of mine),  but I did find myself laying in a bed with someone else’s blood being pumped into my veins to sustain me.  It was awkward.
I was loopy and I swear they told me it was male blood and his name was James.  If my mother-in-law hadn’t been there to witness it, I would still be convinced that James was my blood donor. Also that my husband would have to send my kids to school because I never labeled which homeschool books were for who before I died. That was the context of my hallucinations when crashing in a hospital, I kid you not.

Nevermind.

But, Jesus!!

He wants our hearts in tune to His calling, and our souls turned toward Him, completely and fully. He’s ready to stitch us up and get us back to thriving, the way he designed us to be.

We are each created as an essential part of His Body. We share his DNA, a thing greater than any of the distractions that we keep turning to every day; the distractions that I have turned to and made more important than what He called me to be.

See there, I ‘ll call myself out first; I volunteer as tribute.
I did this to myself, and I know it.
I’ve neglected my own body, but worse…

I. Have. Neglected. His.

It sounds so trite to say. “Oh, I’m nothing without Christ.”  until you are laying there losing blood, doctors are coming and you KNOW that,

God help me I am NOTHING without your saving grace right now.

(READ: Losing your *IT* vs. Saving Grace (5 Things I’ve Learned Through 7 Years of Poop)

God wants the most of us and, if necessary, He is fully prepared to give us more than we can handle so that we just give up and HAND IT OVER TO HIM.

I’m crying “Uncle”, or “Aunt”… ok, “Jesus.”

Friends, let’s do it. Take the transplant, take the blood transfusion.
Let’s get on with the Life in Him part of our stories.

So yeah,
it’s been three months since my most recent surgery and I AM doing well. I am so weak that my soul is just busting.
My body?
Eh, It’s really getting there and I’m fine with it.

 

NOTE: Before anyone becomes deeply concerned about me, I really am mostly-fine.  At this point, I truly am getting my bearings and feeling a flourish of strength return to my lemon of a body.  It’s just been through the ringer. I am ok and I am doing well at this point.  I’m speaking of what I’ve been through in the past two years and making a place marker to come back to when I reference it later.
Not all of my sharings will be so darn, Jesus-ey but this was the place to start for me.

Still Learning to Be Still

Special needs momming is a full time job, and the business model is super complicated.  I spent Tuesday at the psychologist with Ruckus, working on a round of updated evaluations. Wednesday I was in Atlanta again, from dawn to dusk for Mozart’s day with his health team. It was planned and well prepared for. The other four children had their needs well met in my absence.

Yet my little Cricket, whose sensitive heart struggles with anxiety and trust after losing his first family, woke today with a deep need for constant connection with me. And by that, I mean I spent my morning as a piece of furniture.

We spent much time snuggling, and watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on Amazon Prime.

I set aside my mental to-do list to let him have his time, and be present.  That’s a hard thing to do when tasks snowball and the weekend is coming with no free time to squeeze the laundry into.
I help him. We colored, snuggled, watched Mr. Rogers and Highway to Heaven, both in one day!! His joy was immense, and I loved it!

Still, that  epic battle of “to Martha or to Mary” battled in the back of my head.
Because I still can’t get the knack of  how to be still and know.

 

We have the opportunity for love and therapy with many animals. Cricket and I took advantage of a few minutes with a horse today.

Now it’s after his bedtime. I have that mile long to-do list and a decision to make. 

Be.
Still.
Know.

How much I know depends on the day and a thousand variables reliant on the actions and choices of several other people, both in and outside of my home and family.

What I KNOW is that this is complicated.

There are the days that my inner Martha spits the words back. Be STILL? When? How? Have you not seen? Even my to-do list has it’s OWN to-do lists.  Have you not heard? There are people calling Mama in rapid succession from 5 different directions. How then, do I fit in being still?

Yet there are the times that a Mary spirit wells up within me. I kick off my shoes to ground myself on the earth He’s given and I throw agenda to the side, to watch children fly away with their imaginations and meld into the wonder of the life around me. We breath in fresh air and run in fields. We know how to BE.

I can never decide if this verse is meant to be a deep call to intimacy with my Maker, or a chastising of my flesh for being so easily consumed by what I have to do, seeing that I really do HAVE to do a huge amount of doing!

If asked, I could never decide who it’s for, my Martha or Mary, and I have finally decided it comes down to the day I’m having, every day.

And this is why.

We, the lovers of Christ, have a habit of remembering verses in small tidbits.  We like small bites because then we can say that we ate today.
I’m learning to take the time to look them up and enjoy the pages of my Bible in fuller context.
Decision made. Those words have run through my head all day. Be. Still. Know.
I’m looking up the chapter.

Ladies…. this “be still and know” one is nestled smack in the middle of Psalm 46, and the rest of it is FULL of context that we all need.

Just look for yourself (below)! That little verse that has vexed me is so much better when I stand back and see it as part of this full work God inspired.

He is ever-present.
God is within her, she will not fall.
He makes wars cease.

He writes of refuge and fortresses, I think of hiding in the laundry room, folding, but also of blanket forts and reading nooks.  The word mountain always conjures up laundry to me, however the streams and rivers call to mind his great wisdom in creating the coffee and the constant flow here in my kitchen.  And also, chocolate.  He lifts is voice? Did someone turn on The Fish radio station again?

The last two years I’ve been mostly gone from the internet publicly. My family needed safety and seclusion (for details on that, read THIS PREFACE and sign up for the list. So while, I can joke about the mom thoughts and snark this chapter brings up, my heart hears the promises it holds. Promise of protection and God’s faithfulness. We have been cocooned in tightly. Now it’s time to spread wings again.

After all this time, I know. It’s for all the days. Every one of them whether I feel the depth of stillness welling within my soul, or I’m grappling with stilling my struggle with self.

It’s there, every day.
He has us.
He is with us, we will not fall.
The least I can do is listen.
I can BE.
I can STILL.
I can KNOW.

It’s more than the verse.
He gives us whole chapters, my friends.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 

 

ModUp Monday: There Is Hope For The Hopeless…I Mean This Dress (ReFashion)

I heard you. You thought this dress was beyond hope. You wondered if I had hit the point of no return and a guaranteed fail on this one.

Thanks for that extra motivation. I needed it for this one. Continue reading “ModUp Monday: There Is Hope For The Hopeless…I Mean This Dress (ReFashion)”