An Epiphany ~But no Answers

I had a small epiphany last night, but I’m not sure what to make of it just yet.  Nor am I sure how this changes anything in my life, or if it affects anything other than my attitude toward the situation of my home life.

Someone commented to me the other day, that it was kind of strange to them how my husband wasn’t seeking any way to preserve our marriage, hang on to the “family”.  That he wasn’t trying to get us into some form of marriage counselling, or mediation, or even simply sitting down between the 2 of us and trying to “talk it out” to see if it would make the situation salvageable.

I brushed it off at the time, because the truth, as far as I see it, was too painful.

Simply put, he doesn’t care enough to work for it.

I’m at the point in this process, where I don’t want to turn back, couldn’t turn back, even if he begged me to stay.  We crossed that line in the sand a couple of weeks ago, when I told him I was going to talk to a lawyer, and see about filing for divorce.  Emotionally, I’m cooked.  And you can’t undo that.

Yes, I am the one that said I want out.  I’m the one that stopped the machine in its tracks and said “No more”.

There was a reason for that.  I felt as though I was no longer a person in his life that required, or deserved, in his eyes, his affection or attention.  All the affection was saved for OnlySon.

I’m not jealous of my child.  I’m not.  I have enough affection and love inside me for many people.  I don’t hoard it like a miser for only one individual. 

But, this disregard for me, this indifference as to whether or not I stay or go…..

My self-confidence has taken a massive nose-dive.

Confession:  I haven’t written on my book in weeks.  I keep telling people that I’m just “too busy”.  That’s not it, not entirely.  Part of it is that I suddenly feel as if it’s not worth it.  That it’s not ever going to be good enough, simply because I wrote it. 

I’m hesitant when interacting with people that I used to be confident around, because I’m suddenly not sure that what I’m saying matters all that much.

I second-guess almost everything I do and say, over-analyzing it, and generally driving myself crazy with self-doubt. 

And I can’t just “stop it”.  It’s not easy to stop doing something, simply because you will it to be different.  Changing your perspective, especially when it comes to your own self-image, is difficult, and painful, as it forces you to look pretty deep into your own psyche, to see what is really at the bottom of it all.

I’ve been too busy looking for my own self-worth in other people’s eyes, instead of looking within.  But I’ve relied on others for so long to help me define WHO I am, that I’m unsure of where to start again with being independent.

This is not really something that anyone else can help me with, because then I’m relying on another’s opinion of me again to help me feel better about myself.  I need to find the worth, the value, in myself… for myself. 

I’m not asking for pity, or for reassurance, which I know that you, my friends, would kick me in the heiney for doubting myself. (Yes, Mark, YOU) 

All I ask, is this:  If you have someone in your life that you love…. tell them.  Don’t wait till it’s too late.  Let them know how you feel – A LOT.  Never let them doubt whether they mean something to you.  Say the words.

I am a work in progress.  Mind the falling objects.

Monday – Inside my head

I have a friend who’s always asking me “What’s going on inside that head of yours?”

Scary question, most of the time.  But I’ll share a little of what’s been going on up there for the last few days, in bits and pieces.  Toned down, of course, to keep it safe for public consumption.

*Found Waldo.  Why does he feel it necessary to still be playing “hide and seek” at his age??  And why am I still compelled to find him, at my age??

He was actually at the local B & N this weekend, and I snapped this picture on my phone.  He read for story time, to help support some of the local literacy programs.  But I got a big chuckle out of seeing him wander the store, complete with round, black glasses and cane.  He was like the Pied Piper, with little kids following him everywhere he went.

*Speaking of Saturday.  *sigh*  Best. Day. Ever.  Got to have coffee (chai for me) with the inquisitive friend, and spent hours talking.  Very most wonderful afternoon.

*My Eldest’s birthday is next Sunday.  She turns 20.  *gasp*  It’s really been that long, already??  This picture?   ——–>

I would swear I took this picture yesterday.

And now, she’s living on her own, a beautiful, capable young woman. 

 In one week’s time, she won’t be a teenager anymore, she’ll be a 20-something.

Happy birthday, Peanut.

I am so proud of you.

*Even though there are some definitely murky areas of my life right now, and demons still waiting to be slain, I’m feeling pretty good.  I know that this is a lull in the storm, as I haven’t really hit the biggest stuff yet.  I’ll take the moment to breathe.

* I discovered a hidden truth about myself this weekend.  I don’t like to fight, not really big confrontations – but I can really get a charge out of little arguments.  Gets the blood pressure up, the adrenaline flowing, and my brain whirring.  Fuel for the flame, so to speak.  Mock fights and teasing are a great way to get me fired up about stuff.   Tawanda, the name of my alter-ego, got to engage in a little mock fisticuffs, and I felt that old sparkle rekindle in my eye again.  I have great friends.  They let me out to play once in a while, without taking everything personally.  I need to be able to tease once in a while.  I grew up with it in my family and in my house.  I love the sarcastic back and forth, without malice, of course.  I don’t like hurting others, but I do love the funny, easy banter.  It’s something that’s been missing for a long time, as the spouse takes everything as a personal slam. 

*I’m slowly working my way to a point where I really don’t care what my family thinks about the stuff that’s going on in my life.  What I choose, who I am, where I’m going, really isn’t up to them, it’s up to me.  And I deserve to be happy, instead of being made to feel guilty that I don’t want the same things for myself that they think I should have.  I haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to confront them yet, but I’m working on it.  Again, with the support and help of great friends.

And, for the biggie.

*I’m pretty sure I’m going to be making a major life change soon.  Life is upside down, and I’m not really ready to comment on it here yet, but when the demons get let out of the closet… they all come tumbling out.  Gotta slay them one at a time, but you gotta get them all.  No sense in putting any of them back in the closet once they’re out in the light.  That just prolongs the pain.

House of Cards

Life is funny, sometimes.

There are certain moments, when suddenly, a light gets turned on.  It swivels and swirls around, lighting up corners you’d forgotten about.  Illuminating things you’d not seen before, and showing you dirt you never cleaned up.

There are “halogen spotlights” in my house right now.  Searchlights, pinning down issues that I’ve been glossing over, hoping that if I couldn’t see them?  They’d simply fade into the shadows and disappear.  Trying to convince myself that everything is fine?  Isn’t working.  And I hate the way it makes me feel to lie to others about the state of things.  Saying it’s perfect, don’t make it so.

I’ve been sleepwalking for a long time, hoping that things would magickally get better… all by themselves.  But that kind of magick doesn’t exist.

Stirring up the old demons from my childhood has stirred up other things here – issues with my spouse, that I simply can’t take anymore.  I’m not sure where it’s headed, or what will get done about it.

I won’t make hasty decisions.

I’m not that kind of person.

When I chose my e-cigarette to help me quit smoking in 2009, it took me almost 6 weeks of research and comparisons to decide on a stick containing nicotine.  Simple stuff, but I wanted to make sure that whatever I chose – would be right for me.

Same process applies here, only much more so.  I need to figure out where I am, where I’m going, where I actually want to be, and what I want.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I know what I want, it’s just a matter of getting all the cards to fall in the right order.

I’ve been doing some serious soul-searching, in many directions, and it’s not been very pretty.  Things on this blog might look a little different for a while.  *shrug*  But, it is what it is, and I can’t help but write what I’m feeling in the moment.  That – is who I am.

Therapy, even blog therapy, sucks, sometimes.  But the demons need to be destroyed.  And that house of cards?  Isn’t ever permanent.  They all fall down – eventually.

Tuesday Theology 2/22/11

Kwan Yin – Mother of Mercy, Compassion and Love

Saturday, February 19th, was the birthday of my Patron Goddess, Kwan Yin, also known as Guanyin, Kannon, and Avalokitésvara, among others.

My Goddess has a murky past.  Doing some research this weekend, I learned that there are many people that believe that the deity began as a male god.  Others believe that KwanYin was a hermaphrodite, being both male and female at the same time.  Still others say that Kwan Yin was a real person that lived in the Shang Dynasty in China (1600 BC–1046 BC).

My favorite story of Kwan Yin involves the legend of Miao Shan.  In this legend, she was a Chinese princess, raised by a cruel man that wanted her to marry well.  Miao Shan told her father that she would marry, only, if the marriage eased 3 misfortunes:  1.  That her marriage would ease the misfortune of the suffering that people feel when they age.  2. That it would ease the misfortune of the pain people feel when they fall ill.  And 3.  That the third misfortune it would heal was the suffering caused by death.

When her father asked who she could possibly marry that would ease these misfortunes, she replied “A doctor.” 

Her father, furious, wanted her to marry someone of wealth and power, not a “healer” of no note, so he threatened her, locked her up and took away many of her privileges. 

Miao Shan didn’t balk or back down, though.  Instead, she begged her father to let her live in a temple, as a nun.  Finally, he let her go to the temple, but told the monks there to give her only the worst jobs, thinking that would soon bring her home to do his bidding.

Instead, Miao Shan worked tirelessly, until finally, even the animals began to love her, and help her with her chores. 

Her father was enraged when she refused to return and marry as he wished, so he ordered the temple burned.  Miao Shan put out the flames with her own hands, but suffered no burns.  Frightened, her father then ordered her executed.

There are many tales of how she was executed, but they basically all tell the same story, Miao Shan was first sent to the Buddhist version of “hell”, where, through her compassion for the suffering she found there, she released all the good karma she’d built up over her many lifetimes, freeing so many souls that she turned hell into a paradise, and was kicked out by the ruler there. 

As she began her ascent to “heaven”, Miao Shan/KwanYin heard a cry of suffering, and turned around to see what was happening.  Upon seeing someone crying out, she decided that she could not ascend to heaven until all the suffering on the Earth was cured, and descended back to help.  Thus, she became a revered “bodhisattva”, which is a semi-divine Goddess. Forever between Earth and heaven, she hears the laments of the world, and seeks to comfort all.

Is it any wonder, that she is my Patroness? 

Happy Birthday, Blessed Kwan Yin.

The Terminator

When I was little, I was a tomboy.  I climbed trees and threw rocks.  I made mud-pies and rode horses like a heathen.  I was known for speaking my mind and being a very imaginative, creative obnoxious kid.

After we moved to North Dakota in 1981, I changed.  I became shy, due to all the strangeness that came with moving to a new state, new town, new school.  I was an introvert, hiding behind my books and horses.  I was a nerd.  Non-athletic and bookish, I didn’t fit in.  I was still imaginative and creative and obnoxious, but nobody really knew it except my family.

In high school, I changed again.  After my best friend moved to town to live with her dad, I began to come out of my shell again.  I still wasn’t athletic (one of my nicknames was “Jello Wrists” for volleyball, and I still wear it proudly), I was still bookish, and I was still creative, imaginative and obnoxious – privately, for my best friend and a few select others.  Outwardly, I was a model student. 

After I graduated, I went off to college and really started to become my own person, away from being my parent’s “little girl” and my brother’s “little sister”.  I wasn’t compared to anyone, because nobody there really knew any of my family, so I was able to just be me.  Creative, imaginative, and obnoxious.

Then I became a mom, and I changed again.  I was the “Mama Bear”, always protecting my kids, fighting for them, and being firm with them to teach them manners.  My best friend (same one from high school) used to call me “The Terminator”, because I didn’t put up with any crap from the kids.  Whining wasn’t allowed.  Begging went unheard.  Tantrums were met with their bedroom door closing behind them till they could behave. 

I’ve had a reputation for many years of being tough.

When I met OtherHalf and we started dating, one of the things that he said drew him to me was the fact that I wasn’t a “pushover”. 

A few years ago, my very dear friend and sister, Midnite, and her son, William, became part of my “chosen family”.  He still calls me “The Aunt” to this day.  His friends actually fear crossing me. *shrug*  I’m protective, what can I say?  Also, he talks me up a bit, so… there’s that.

What I’m trying to get across, and badly, it seems, is that I’ve had this reputation for so long now, for being the “solid oak”, that it pisses me off when I have a crack in the veneer.

I was so angry at myself earlier that I almost deleted the previous post, and all the comforting and supportive comments that went with it.

I’m supposed to be the glue that sticks everything together and makes it stay.  I’m supposed to be the rock that will not move.  The nurse that springs to action when someone’s in pain or injured.  The strong one that can handle everything.  The mom that’s always there to pick up the pieces.  The Aunt that doesn’t back down or show fear.

And I didn’t.  I’m not.  And I hate it.

Logic states that everyone’s allowed to have off days, to fall down, to be sad.

The Terminator says no.

We’ll see.

Lessons Learned.

My friend, Mckenzie had a great idea today.  Now that it’s coming down to the last few days of the year, it’s time to look back on what I’ve learned.

Here’s my list:

1.  You can teach your kids, you can try to guide them, and in the end, they will do what they want – no matter what you say.  This is a natural progression of life, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

2.  When you meet people that make you feel better about yourself, say thank you, and appreciate them.  NEVER take them for granted, or they’ll go away again.

3.  Give back when you can.  Even if it’s just a little.  Every little bit helps.

4.  Pay it forward when you can.  Even if it’s just a little.  Every little bit helps.

5.  Just because you share some of the same DNA, doesn’t make them any more special than those you choose to be with.  Blood is not always thicker than the alternative.

6.  You need to find a reason to get out of bed every morning.  It won’t always just happen.

7.  Stop saying “someday, I’ll”.  Do it, or at least – Try. 

8.  Keeping things bottled up, causes explosions, often at the most inopportune time.

9.  The people that love you truly, will always love you – truly.

10.  Giving yourself a hard time is truly a waste of time, other people will happily do it for you.

11.  Your faith is yours.  It’s personal, and it should be that way.

12.  Life really is short. 

13.  So make memories whenever you get the chance.

14.  Make sure that the people you love, know it.  Say it.  Out loud.  To them.  Often.

15.  Reading can be the perfect temporary escape.

16.  Shit happens.

17.  Shit also washes off.

18.  It’s not about how fast you get to the finish line, or how may toys you bring with you, it’s about enduring through the marathon, and simply making it.

19.  Mindfulness doesn’t mean you always have to be happy, it just means you must be aware.  Be present.

20.  Balance is temporary.  So is chaos.  It keeps things interesting enough to stay awake.

21.  You’re allowed to not be happy. 

22.  Emotions are there for a reason.  Acknowledge them, figure out why you’re having them, and be honest about them.  You’ll be better off. 

23.  Leave room for laughter.

24.  Sometimes, the best thing you can give your kids, is space.

25.  Leave a night-light on.  It can get awfully dark some nights.

MEN-The Sequel


I’m so frustrated right now.

Found out today that there’s a problem with my van.  “Sounds like the alternator” says just about everybody that hears what the problem entails.  Basically, I got in this morning, heater was running, radio was playing.  Turn the lights on?  Heater shuts off, radio shuts off, windows won’t go up or down.  Ok, so make a choice.  Heat?  or Lights?  Well, since outside it was darker than the inside of my brain -o.O – Lights.

Lucky for me, there’s a seat-warmer, at least.

So, we need to figure out estimates for the job, right?  Right. 

Today is OtherHalf’s day off. 

So who’s making the calls to get estimates?


The person that’s at work.  Me.


Cheerleaders, Safety Pins & Vinegar

I’m full of words today.

All my young life I wanted to be either a veterinarian or a horse trainer.  I had a love for animals back then that has never gone away, but remains largely unfulfilled now that I live in a city, and can’t have that pygmy goat I want.  I have to settle for the 2 German Shepherds we have, and pray to win the lottery so we can move somewhere that allows goats. 

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a poet, or at least a well-known fiction author.  I was Emo before Emo was cool, and I have the notebooks full of bad poetry to prove it.  I tried a stint at being a Cheerleader in junior high (no joke, it was for boys, I cheered for boys basketball, you get to watch them run around in shorts)– we even won the Spirit Award one year, much to the dismay of every other surrounding town.  (My school was notorious for being full of juvenile delinquents and bad sports, I don’t know how we did it.)  But I decided that I was too much of a snark to be that perky, and I turned in my letter sweater and burned my pom-poms in effigy.  Down with motivation!  Up with sarcasm!  I wanted to dye my hair black and wear safety pins in my ears, like the cool punk kids I saw in pictures.  Instead, my safety pins were used to peg my jeans tightly at the ankle, so they could be rolled.  It was the 80’s, after all.  And my mom vetoed ANY hair color.  I had to stick with mouse-brown, and like it.  I am now a red-head by temperament and inclination, and will never go back to my original haircolor.  Thanks.

When I got into my high school years, I was pretty much the smart-ass mouse in the corner.  I wasn’t the loud-mouth, I was the one whispering the one-liners to her best friend, causing her and the people in the immediate hearing vicinity to snort and laugh out loud, getting them into trouble.  All while keeping my goody-two shoes, “who, me?” *blink blink * innocent eyes reputation intact.  Teachers loved me.  I was straight A’s and kept my head down.  Mostly – I just didn’t get caught.  Sneaky-ninja-me.  I wanted to be an actress in a comedy.  I knew I had the chops, played the lead in my senior year play.  The acidic burn of my vinegar-mouth kept my friends in stitches, and earned me the title of “Queen of the One-Liners”.  Loved it.  LOVED. IT.

When I finally became a young adult, and a parent, I wanted to go back to college (I quit after a year and a half, and yeah, I still smack myself for that) and become a high school counselor, or an English teacher.  I love the written word, I hoard it at home, snuggle up to it most nights like a favorite blankie, and read, and re-read, and re-re-read my most favorite books till they fall apart, and I have to buy another copy.  I also went through a lot of painful emotional things in junior high and high school (don’t we all) and I knew I could help.  However, it was not to be.  Being a single parent was a lot of work, with very little money, and I took what jobs I could, just to make ends meet.  But I was back to being the cheerleader, to my friends.  Cheering from the sidelines, watching other people make the points, and honestly wanting them to succeed. 

I had one bad marriage stuck in there, when EldestDaughter was little.  He filled my heart with vinegar, and I pretty much swore off men forever.  He was abusive and he started my anxiety problems when I kicked him out.  He became a stalker, and frightened me so badly that at one point I was willing to move 2 states, or feign my own death to get away from him.  Luckily, I didn’t have to do either. 

As my daughters grew, I was lucky enough to meet Xxxxx, and we fell in love, got married, and had OnlySon.  I pinned my happiness, hopes and dreams together with his.  I didn’t regret this decision.   

And now?  Well, I like to think that I’m back to being a Cheerleader – for the right reasons, this time.  I would love to go back to college and get a degree in counseling, but I fear that I’m getting a little long in the tooth for all that studying.  My CRS (can’t remember sh!t)can’t handle it.  I have done clerical counseling in the past, mostly just a shoulder to cry on, and a hand to hold while someone went through something painful.  I like giving comfort and encouragement where I can.  And I try to always keep my encouragement honest.  If I don’t agree with someone, I will simply tell them that “I see it differently”.  I always hated platitudes, but I do realize that a kind word at the right time can make a world of difference, especially if it’s heartfelt. 

And now, I’ve purged the words, so I’ll be off, and allow you to get back to your regularly scheduled programming.  Thanks for listening and Happy Friday!

The Lesson of Pride

Narcissus was a youth that was full of pride in himself.  He was so prideful that the Gods cursed him.  The curse was one that caused him to fall in love with that which was unattainable – his own reflection.  He pined away, staring into his own eyes.

The lesson in this legend is that neither should you be too proud, thinking yourself better than others; and that you should not blindly seek to attain love from those that will not return it to you.  Both are damaging, and will result in nothing but pain.

I had part of this lesson opened up to me today. 

I believe that I wrote about being asked to officiate at another wedding, this one to take place on Halloween/Samhain.  I was, and last night, I was scheduled to meet with the couple to talk about the ceremony, and get all the particulars.

Well, the evening didn’t go as planned at all. 

I went to the restaurant to meet with them, and waited.  And waited.  For 20 minutes, I sat there.  I tried to contact them by the phone number that I’d been given, but it had been disconnected.  And they didn’t contact me by the e-mail address that I’d given, either.  I was angry, and slightly embarrassed.  After all, here I’d sat in the entryway of the restaurant for 20 minutes, by myself, didn’t get seated, and ended up walking out, again, by myself. 

Stood up.  Jilted.  Disrespected. 

Me.  An ordained minister, a professional (cause, you know, I’ve already done 2 official weddings and a handfasting, for Pete’s sake!)

I’m special.

I had plenty of help in this prideful notion today, too, when I told the women in my office how I’d been stood up by the couple that wanted to get married.  And they better have a damn good reason for it if they still wanted me to do this wedding.  The women nodded in sympathy, and told me flat out to refuse the couple.  There was no excuse for that level of disrespect.

Which made me stop.

Yeah, there are reasons.  And I don’t know them.  And it’s only disrespectful if I let it reflect on who I see myself as.

Am I some holier-than-them special high-muckity Grand Poobah?


I’m human.  I hate mornings.  I growl at people until I’ve had my Diet Coke caffeine fix.  I run late sometimes, and sometimes I don’t live up to my own, or other people’s expectations.

So how can I sit on my big Judging-Otter chair (for you Laura) and pass sentence on people that I’ve never even met?

Well, I can’t.

So, tonight, when the prospective Groom called me, apologetic and wanting to try again for a meeting on Saturday, I told him it was alright, and I was still willing.

Because really, without compassion and forgiveness, how can I call myself a member of the clergy of any faith, and still look myself in the mirror?  My head would be too swollen with my own reflection to see anything, or anyone else.

At what point do Self-Esteem and Pride become harmful?  When you let it get in the way of life, and when it stops allowing you to be a useful and contributing member of society. 

In other words, Check Yourself – Before You Wreck Yourself.

Lesson learned.  Thanks.

The Wedding Witch

This year has been full of ups and downs for me and my family.  But one of the major ups for me has been my weddings.  I just had another wedding that I officiated at yesterday, and it was lovely.  I wanted to share some pictures with you.

This is the altar area of the church.  Everything in this church is made of wood, and you will not find one nail showing.  The broom laid at the threshold was moved down during the ceremony so that the happy couple could “jump the broom” at the end, signifying the beginning of their new life, and their new household.

After the ceremony, the happy couple stepped outside for pictures, and I was able to capture a candid moment, just the two of them, smiling into one another’s faces.

I wish I’d been able to get more pictures, but alas, as the minister performing the ceremony, that precludes picture-taking.

(Whipping out your Blackberry during the service is considered a little tactless, I guess)

The day was perfect, with sunshine and  80 degree temps, which for North Dakota in October is almost unheard of.  It must have been fate.

After the couple and the guests departed from the church, and I was standing alone in the altar area, finishing up the paperwork, I had to catch this on film.

The light that shone in from the front door was stunning, and turned the whole inside of the church into honey-colored light.  Motes of dust filtered like gold dust down from the ceiling, and the smell of the sun-warmed wood was heavenly.

I am honored that they chose me to perform their ceremony.  It always makes me feel blessed to be able to give something back to my community.  And this is a special honor, being able to help a couple start a new life together.

And yes, the couple are pagan, but they chose a mixture of non-denominational ceremony, with just a couple of pagan traditions (handfasting and jumping the broom) thrown in. 

P.S.  Later the same evening, I received a message that a friend of a friend needed someone to perform a wedding ceremony on Halloween.    They ran into difficulties finding anyone willing to do the ceremony on that day (?) and my friend told them to ask me.  I’m talking to them on Wednesday evening, and we’ll see! 

If I end up doing this one, that’ll be 3 – in the first year that I’ve told people I’m willing to do them!  Word has really travelled fast!