Monday, September 05, 2011


Today, my dream died. It was a long and painful death. It has taken years and the dream lived well past it’s prime. By the end it was just a shadow of the dream it was when I was a little girl and it was sapping me of my strength and my joy. Preserving it robbed me of so much emotional energy and adversely affected my other relationships.  It had turned ugly, rotted and had actually infected and was killing ME as well.

When my mom died, when friends have died, when my dog died, I knew they’d gone to a better place; someplace/someone better was waiting for them in heaven (yes, even my dog.  One as wise as John Piper agrees). I knew they were with God. What about dead dreams? Where do they go? What happens to them? I have to believe my dream will be fulfilled by my Father – at least the essence of it, the need in me it was meant to satisfy. But it’s hard. There is an emptiness inside me right now.

When people die there is a grieving period. What about when dreams die? Am I allowed to grieve for a bit?  How is one to mourn a dead dream?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tieing One On: The Real Consequences

While dressing for work today, I was inspired by a fashion magazine to use an old, seldom worn scarf as a belt.  A proven scientific fact...there is a direct correlation between the tightness of the knot tied to the urgency one has to go to the bathroom.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Insight of Emily Dickinson

The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering.

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.

  -Emily Dickinson

Saturday, July 09, 2011

(Unedited) Writing Project #3

She ran in to Wal-Mart to pick up a printer cartridge, but as often happened, she found herself taking the circuitous route to the needed aisle, winding her way through the Baby department. Today she looked at car seats and swings and toys. Checking the labels for the ages, 0-3months, 3 -6 months, 6+months. She imagined what toys she would pick out for her baby – today it was a son she was imagining, so her fantasy purchases were either neutral or boy colors and characters – Winnie the Pooh, trucks, tractors.

Not too long ago, people watching her might think the purchases were for her own child, but now, 4 days shy of her 50th birthday, people would think they were for her grandchild. It was cottonwood season; the white fluffy things were all through the atmosphere, so if anyone caught her with teary eyes, she would make some offhand remark about allergies.

The emotional pain she felt took on a physical sensation, such that she found her hand unconsciously rising up to her heart. Anyone watching her might thing she was having a heart attack. What excuse would she make up to cover that?

Really, she was having a heart attack of sorts. Just not one that medicine could treat. Her heart was under emotional attack and she had no defense. There was no weapon she knew to wield against these assailants. She was a helpless victim.

She’d read articles about how many infertile women cried when their periods started because once again they were not pregnant. Every 28 days, she found herself anxiously looking for traces of her cycle’s beginning; evidence that she was still able to conceive, if any man would ever find her desirable enough for a relationship.

Afraid she’d run in to someone she knew, she found her way to the printer supplies and bought the required cartridge and proceeded to the checkout. By the time she left the store and got in her car, the tears had welled up. Fortunately, it was dark and so no one would see her crying. She wouldn’t have to use the allergy lie and could save it for another day.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Funnies

1.  When I was in high school, I worked at church bingo pushing the refreshment cart through the aisles.  The ladies referred to me as "pop girl".  Yesterday, at the nursing home where I work, I was pushing a cart filled with incontinence products when a resident referred to me as the "Attends Lady".  So, is this a promotion or a demotion????

2.  While distributing the aforementioned incontinence products, the following conversation took place:
  • Resident:  "How long 'til you retire?"
  • Me:  "About 20 years."
  • Resident:  "Holy sh*t!"
  • Me:  "That's what I say to myself every morning."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sitting on Abba's Lap

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" so says Solomon in Prov 1; fear being respect and humility for God's ultimate authority and great power.  I understand this.  But it wasn't until I stopped living in fear of Him and started seeing Him as Abba/Father/Daddy that I started becoming comfortable in His presence (BTW, this is still a work in progress).

Yes, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and I approach Him as I might the Queen of England - head bowed, small, shy curtsy - but sometimes I just want to run up to Him, climb in to His lap, and be shielded in His strong, giant arms.  Where is the fear of the Lord in that?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Thoughts on Thinking

"I think; therefore, I am" said DesCartes.

So, if one thinks a lot, does that make him alot?  Not really.

I think a lot.  I have a lot of alone time with which to think.  I think too much.  And I find out I am not much; not much of anything, really.

I think about all I am, all I've accomplished, all I need to accomplish, all I want to accomplish and I find...not much of anything, really.

Solomon said, "vanity, vanity, all is vanity.  He was more on the money.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

(Unedited) Writing Project #2

Outside of her faith, there was nothing she could identify that was right. Not her job, not her home, not her finances. Certainly not her social life or relationships – she had none of either. She merely subsisted. Her goal each day was to survive until the next, but it was getting increasingly difficult to do so.

The times at home alone were the hardest. Despite her dissatisfaction with her job, at least it filled her time for 8 hours each day. But when alone, she faced the blank sheet of paper that was her life and filled it with scratches and scribbles of unorganized and unconnected thoughts. Like graffiti on a wall, her mind and heart were marred with anger and discontent and self-pity. She tried to distract herself with exercise, eating, reading and daydreams but after what seemed like most of her 50 years, these old coping mechanisms were no longer working. They were overwhelmed by the thoughts of sadness, regret and resentment. Like a tsunami of emotions, they tossed her about, one thought crashing into another, slamming her in to walls of memories and disappointments. She was drowning and no one about her seemed to notice or maybe they just had more important things with which to be concerned.

Those she loved and who loved her were involved in their own lives, with their own struggles. No one had the time to rescue her from the ocean of grief from which she was trying to escape. They were too busy trying to keep themselves and their families afloat until they found solid ground themselves. And there was her greatest fear – if she was drowning and their child or spouse were drowning who would they save? If she and their child or spouse were in a burning building, who would they save? Their loved one, obviously. And she was not the loved one – not to anyone she knew.

She’d had great parents. Sure they’d made mistakes, but all parents do. She’d always known they loved her and her sibling but they’d expended so much effort trying to parcel out there love to each of their children in equal portion that she never knew what it was like to be greatly and uniquely loved. Faced with all their children drowning at once and unable to save them all, her parents would probably let them all drown because they could not bear the unrescued ones thinking they’d been loved less.

But it was easy to focus on what was not going right - there were so many items from which to pick.  Her faith was right.  How could faith in Jesus be wrong?  It just wasn't very strong and she was afraid it wouldn't bear her weight much longer.  Somehow, she'd lose her grip and tumble into the dark abyss.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Love in Small Letters

I have many people who love me. But there is no one who LOVES me - or even Loves me. I know there are many who have few, if any that love them. And I know comparisons are prideful, egotistical, joy-killers. But even without comparing my lot in life, the desire for LOVE doesn't go away. When I go to church or women's group or (fill in the blank) I see people who are LOVED, hear sermons on LOVE, but I don't ever experience it personally.

Yes, I have Jesus' LOVE. But so do all the believers around me. And they still have the LOVE/Love of other human beings.

The Word says I'm supposed to be content in all circumstances, but I confess I'm not. It's like being forced to eat something I don't like. "Barb, eat your Brussels sprouts. There are starving children in Bangladesh." I might eat the Brussels sprouts, but I still don't like them. Again, when I'm at church, etc it's like sitting down at a meal to a plate of those damned Brussels sprouts while everyone around me is eating steak. Then I'm criticized for not enjoying my meal.
love lets me come to the meal with my despised Brussels sprouts.
Love would eat one or two sprouts with me. We'd make faces as we chewed, and encourage each other while we struggled to swallow.  We might even laugh about it. Brussels sprouts would still taste just as bad, but their horrible flavor and sulfurous odor would be more tolerable because of the companionship of a fellow sufferer.  A burden shared is half a burden...
LOVE would skip their steak and fill their plate with sprouts and sit down with me. Jesus did this when He humbled Himself to become a human being. He forsook all the honor, power and privilege of His Godliness and took on the manly being.  Heck, Jesus took my Brussels sprouts and gave me His steak.

I have His LOVE. But aren't we supposed to be like Jesus?  Aren't we supposed to love/LOVE/Love like Jesus? Where is my human LOVE? love times 100 never equals one LOVE. I'd like just one LOVE.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(Unedited) Writing Project #1

The room was a big square, walled with old-fashioned yellowed wallpaper that was peeling in spots. The tears in the wallpaper revealed even more old-fashioned Pepto-Bismol pink paint that was chipping and peeling even more. The only two windows were on the west wall which looked out on the more scenic side of the house at the tree-filled park across the street. Unfortunately, there was also a streetlight there also, which poured its light in to the house each night, necessitating window-blackening shades which blocked the only pretty thing about the room.

The floors were bare, unless you counted the gobs of dog hair that lined the baseboards. Last summer, she’d torn out the old maroon-colored wool carpeting. At one time it might have been fashionable, but 50 years of dust and UV rays had rendered it to dry-rotted shreds and threads. The floors underneath were pine wood, hardly durable enough to withstand her own minimal wear and tear, let alone that of two dogs dragging their paws over it. It was now quite scratched up. As luck would have it, at the side of the bed on which she raised each morning (and more than a few afternoons, when the naps of depression took over) there was a popped nail that she repeatedly stepped on and swore at. The nail had popped at such an angle that it was impossible to fully pound back in to the boards. She supposed she could buy a throw rug and place that over the nail, thus protecting the soles of her feet, but that would involve choosing a color and pattern and committing to some decorating style and she didn’t have that kind of energy in her.

The room seemed to mirror her own self – lonely, messy, beat-up, undecorated, worn …old. It had potential, but that potential needed someone with greater talent than she had to bring it about.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Double Take

One Sunday, Barblings #1 & 2 were walking down the aisle and I was taken by how much they look alike.  Aged 17 & 14, there is a bit of an age and maturity gap.  But the manner in which they presented themselves at that moment, they could have been twins.  Both are tall, lithesome teenagers.  Both have medium brown hair cut to similar length and style.  On that day, both bore winsome smiles and a graceful and peaceful demeanor.  Only one issue - B#1 shares not an iota of DNA with B#2.  B#1 is adopted.

So how can that be?  How can they look alike?  It's not nature, so it must be nurture.  Raised by the same parents, living in the same house, sharing a bathroom, the very presence of each other over 14 years has given them some likeness.

As a Christian, the Word says I'm adopted, too.  Have I spent enought time with my Lord to take on some resemblance to Him?  Have I shared myself, given my entire self, MY ways, MY desires over to Him?  My current mood would shout the answer "NO".  But there is hope.

When I feel so unlike Him, when I feel so far from Him, I recall the verses from Lamentations "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness." and I cling to this promise.  Every morning is a new day.  And His morning doesn't begin at
5:30am, like mine so I'm safe while I sleep.  No matter how much self-pity I display throughout the day, no matter what hateful thoughts I might have.  No matter what un-Christ-like qualities I might have, His mercy is renewed each day ant I'm able to start each day with a clean slate, the ugliness wiped from my countenance.  I am given another day to grow to look more like Him.


Like any working American, I look forward to Fridays. I look forward to not working Saturday and Sunday and I’m filled with the hope of all the things that I will accomplish over the next 48 hours. And then reality strikes.

Weekends really are the worst for me. They are blatant reminders of the stark loneliness that is my life. My phone does not ring. Like Charlie Brown I wait expectantly for the mailman, but there is no “Valentine”, no personal correspondence from friend or lover. My email is impersonal; my Facebook “friends” only request Farmville or CafĂ© World gifts.

I need the weekends to recharge for the work week, certainly. I need the weekends if for nothing else to get my laundry done. But I hate them at the same time. The silence and isolation attack and pummel me. They grind my heart and hope in to dust. I bleed heartache and misery. But there is no emergency room available to treat my sadness; no police force to defend me against the assault. And so I suffer the violence until Monday morning.
This sounds tremendously unfaithful, and it is.  It's downright sinful, I confess.  I repent...every Sunday night.  And I successfully avoid this particular sin...until Saturday morning, when the cycle starts all over again. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Taming of the Shrew

My pastor recently preached a sermon on Genesis 1 titled “God’s Calling”. In it, he mentioned that everyone’s calling is to subdue creation and have dominion, that is control it and turn it into something of benefit.. My limited brain immediately brought to mind the example of musicians taking jumbles of notes and making beautiful music and artists taking color and line and making picturesque, museum-quality artwork. Later, when my friend and I were out running, I jokingly said we were subduing the creation that was our bodies and making fit beings out of them. A few steps and labored breaths later, I realized my joke was true (some of my most profound statements often start off as joke). It made me start thinking of other ways I could subdue creation and make something beneficial.

One of the problems with being single is not having someone readily available to bounce off ideas. I have so many of them they overwhelm me. I drown in my imagination, my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions. They wind up jumbled into a giant knot that weighs me down, ties me up and restrains me where I’m unable to move. Kind of like a “hoarder” only it’s my spirit that’s trapped inside my mind. My brain is like a cluttered, bulging file cabinet that lacks order. Hundreds, maybe thousands of stray notes have been stuffed in there with no order, causing me distress and confusion.

Perhaps writing more would give me an outlet, a manner by which I could subdue the thousands of thoughts that crowd my mind and maybe uncover something beautiful. Subduing my thought-life may bring about something honorable to God. At the very least, my mind would be decluttered and cleaned up and maybe not weigh me down with the junk of sad and desperate thoughts. Maybe something lovely might be uncovered, like a buried treasure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Hope Chest

For the past 30 years I've sat through hundreds, maybe thousands of hours worth of sermons, Bible Studies, book discussions and conversations on marriage and parenthood.  Though I had no need for the information at the time, no practical application, I absorbed that information for the time when I would need it.  For the time when I would be married and have children.  I gently placed each and every tidbit in my heart like a girl filling her hope chest.

At times, I would open up the chest and look over all that I had, imagining the days when I would put all that great advice to use.  I would be well supplied when I started up my new life with my spouse.  I would hit the ground running when parenthood happened.

In 16 days I turn 50 years old and all the items in my hope chest have sat unused and they never will be.  They've gathered dust, rusted, rotted.  I wonder what I could have done with all that time I spent sitting through those sermons, etc.  I wonder how much money I could have saved had I not spent it on those books.  I feel as though all those people who told me that a time would come when I would be able to put that info to good use lied to me.  I was tricked, deluded, used.

If I had a real hope chest filled with towels, sheets, dishes and other household goods I could donate them to charity, toss them in the garbage...or burn them.  How do I get rid of all this unusable advice that is stored in my mind and heart?  There's no way to get rid of it all.  Every tiny morsel taunts me.  It all weighs me down; my heart is heavy and burdened.  How can I divest myself of all this clutter?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Question

If I believe God is sovereign (and I do), why do I wear a seat belt and get a flu vaccine?  I'm correct on both sides of this equation, but I can't articulate the reasons why.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Jackson Pollock Painting

I'm not a fan of Jackson Pollock's art.  It's way too out there for me.  But I was thinking about myself, my personality, my likes/dislikes, my history, what I read, what I listen to, what I think about.  And I realized, I am a Jackson Pollock painting.  I'm a mishmash of colors thrown together, with no discernible rhyme or reason.  A drop of green here, a streak of blue there, dabbles of pink and red and purple and white.

I like jazz music, rock music, bluegrass, Celtic, some country.  I own some bagpipe cd's, for crying out loud.

I read murder mysteries, urban noir, biographies, history, current events, contemporary thought, health and wellness.  I read newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes and nutritional labels.

I dress conservatively, casually, modern, old-fashioned.  I'm just as at home in jeans and sweatshirts as I am in business suits, as I am in khakis and blazers.  I'm LL Bean, Evan Picone, WalMart, and Salvation Army Thrift Store.

My home is decorated in Traditional, Country, Cottage, Mission, Victorian, Romance, Contemporary.

I have an educated slang casual city country vocabulary.

I drink wine, Diet Coke, tap water, spring water, flavored water, black tea, white tea, green tea, herb tea, iced tea, Long Island Iced Tea and the occasional cappuccino.  That's really as far as I've delved in to the coffee world.

I like a clean house; I like a messy house.

I like to ride my bike, walk, hike; I am a couch potato.

I feel happy, sad, angry, encouraged, fearful, confident, excited, disgusted - sometimes all at the same time.

Many biographers and art historians speculate that Pollock suffered bipolar disease, which would explain the mania exhibited in his art.  Some might look at the canvas that is my life and wonder about the Artist that created me, as well. 

No one understands what was going through Pollock's mind as he dripped and tossed paint on canvas.  No one knows what fueled the thoughts and feelings he was trying to display, what emotions he was trying to free from deep within his soul.

I don't really understand what the Artist who created me was/is trying to accomplish.  His Word, His Autobiography says we all were fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14) in His image (Gen 1:27).  However, His art is not from bipolar disease.  He is not manic.  God is quite deliberate in how He proceeds.

One need only look at the history of creation in Genesis to see how carefully He made the earth and all that is within it.  For six straight days, He created a new item, one thing leading to another.  There was nothing random about it.  He separated land and water before He made plants.  He created plants before He created the animals that would eventually feed on those plants. 

As I feel happy, sad, angry, encouraged, fearful, confident, excited, disgusted (sometimes all at the same time), contemplating the "why's?" of my life, I have to step back and see the Artist at work, trusting there is a masterpiece being made that is still in process.  He's dripping points of sad blue on to streaks of boring beige next to lines of hot red through pools of peaceful yellow and green, with some splashes of fun pink and purple tossed in for humor and good measure.

There will be a day when the canvas that is me will be in His  heavenly gallery.  Jesus and I will be viewing the completed  work and I'll understand why that big black drip fell on to that fuschia experience and that it hadn't ruined but enhanced my life.  I need to have faith that the omniscient, omnipotent Artist will complete the good work He began in me (Phil 1:6).  Until that time, I need to watch the Artist wield His brushes, trusting that He has complete and total control.  There is nothing random about His paintings.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

I've seen where many people seem to resemble their name.  In most cases, these people were named at birth before their personalities had emerged, so it serves to reason that God knew who or what they would become and informed theparents of the proper name before their child came in to being.

Look at Jacob (Supplanter/Trickster) who took his brother's inheritance.  Saul (Responder) who responded to God's call and became Paul (Humble).  John the Baptist (God is gracious).  And then, of course, there's Jesus (God Rescues).

My name is Barbara; it's Greek for Stranger, Foreigner.  Maybe it was set from birth that I would be out of place, lonely.  I don't want to be a stranger anymore.  I'm tired of it.  I want Him to change my name like He did for Jacob who became Israel (God Wrestler).

But to what will He change it?  And when?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jigsaw Puzzle

Each life is like a jigsaw puzzle. Every experience is a piece in that puzzle and we spend our lives matching and piecing those parts together to form the whole of our lives here on earth. In heaven, we get to look at that completed puzzle and understand how all the pieces, all the experiences – good and bad, fit together and appreciate the beauty of the finished product.

In the meantime, however, we have to live through the completion process – twisting and turning the various parts, trying to match them up, endeavoring to make sense of it all. As we get older, bigger chunks form. Or at least, one would think they should or would. But that hasn’t been the case with me.

I have so many individual pieces still unmatched. Despite incredible efforts and prayers I struggle to put these pieces together. After almost fifty years, two or three pieces might have come together, but still there is no discernible image forming. I just have lots of small, seemingly pointless chunks sitting on the table, waiting to be assembled and identified, their purpose known.

I wait.  Sometimes patiently.  More often, not.  But still, I wait.  I won't abandon the puzzle, but I surely wish it would come together soon.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Decision Making Questions

What criteria do You use to determine which prayers You'll answer, and which ones You'll refuse?
Why do You answer my quick requests to find my lost car keys, but deny my desperate pleas for bigger things?
Are You looking for certain words, certain arguments, certain actions?
What am I doing wrong?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Arthritis of the Heart

I suffer from the chronic illness called loneliness.

Like arthritis, I wake some days symptom-free.  Most days, however, it's slow going; but eventually, once I get moving, the aches and pains subside.

But some days, the pain is downright debilitating.  Every movement, every word, every experience is a stabbing reminder of my alone-ness.  The pain is unbearable, making me wish for a quick and easy end.

There is no cure.  There are no emotional anti-inflmatories to take.  I just have to ride out the waves of pain.  But I anxiously, impatiently and hopefully wait for heaven, where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more suffering.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Binded by the Light

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I'm constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here's my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.