Monday, October 28, 2019

Good Stuff

I'm thinking of my favorite good stuff.  I'm thinking of fresh peaches on a summer day, not too ripe.  The kind you bite into and take half of it away.  I'm thinking of sheets, or a sweater freshly washed with the right amount of fabric softener.  These brisk days with just the right amount of brisk and a jacket, the wind blowing through your hair.  The smell of Christmas, not just of cinnamon but maybe it's the pheromone of excitement.

I like finding things of assumed great value in thrift stores.  It's like it was waiting for me.  When I pay for it, I'm so happy.  It's the high of getting over.  I also have the issue of a plain shopping high.  I used to like going to Bergdorf Goodman to buy my favorite Eau d'Hadrien parfum by Annick Goutal.  It was such a treat to walk around with that little blue shopping bag smelling of lemons and fanciness.  I would get home and take out the tissue paper.  Oh!  Such fancy tissue paper!  I would unwrap the bottle with the music of my own personal soundtrack.  Such a pretty bottle.  For a hundred dollars, I could buy a little bit of happiness and spritz it on my pressure points till it was gone.  

How about this... finding just the right shade of perfect red to wear.  Putting it on just so...  Looking in the mirror and knowing, just knowing, that somehow, this color changes you.  We put on the color like a persona.  There is Elle and then there is Red Lipstick Elle, a better version of myself.  I put on the red lipstick and walk out on the street facing the world, like a type of armor.  And you know I know how to wear a red lip!!!  

Here is my very last good stuff thing.  Having the hope of heaven before me and trusting in Jesus, my Lord and Savior every step of the way.  Letting go and not having to need so much of the other stuff in order to live my life but living my life for Christ.  Having the assurances of God in my life.  teaching my children the same things I learned about God so that they have the assurances of God in their lives.  Santi and I would say this thing, "Every now and again, we have quail."  Here I am looking at all of the other good stuff that I listed and knowing that God takes care of me and my own.  How can I not rejoice in God my Savior.  Amen!  Praise the Lord!  Alleluia!  God is the ultimate good stuff.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

It Would Have Been 18 Years

Today is October 27th, 2019.  My mother died on October 27th, 1982.  When we were planning our wedding day, we knew we wanted October.  We spent some time deliberating and trying to avoid my mother's Death Day.  But here's the thing, everything worked better by just getting married on the date and by marrying on this day, I was hoping to change the very morbid meaning. 

I wanted to elope.  I didn't want to have a wedding because my Dad had died a few years before.  I wanted him to walk me down the aisle.  It would have been an emotional day when I wanted it to be a happy day.  Honestly, my heart wasn't in it.  It was hard preparing for a wedding that I didn't think I wanted.  I have such good friends and family that helped me out but I was happy once the day was over.  Then there was the fact that my wedding happened in New York City after 9/11.  My wedding was sort of tainted after that.

Sitting here, I'm feeling a little sad.  I had a great day.  I went to church.  Then the kids and I went to the dog park with our very scaredy cat dog, Barkley.  We had so much fun.  But thinking back to the year and change that Santi has passed away, I'm sad because I'm no longer the woman that was when he died.  I'm not the woman that I was when I married.  I remember Poema 20 by Neruda, there is a line that says, "We, of that time, are no longer the same."  I mean, we are all changing.  Every moment of every day, we are changing.  The New York that I left a decade ago is not the same New York of today.  It has moved on without me.  We move on. 

I miss him.  I loved being married and finding my other half.  I was one of the ones who advocated for marriage and children.  I tell everyone, "Stay married."  Hold your spouse a little closer and be kinder not knowing when the last time is the last time.  I don't really know what to do about these anniversaries.  I don't want to keep on counting something that is no longer.  It's sad to say, "It would have been my XX anniversary."  Man, am I doomed to keep counting anniversaries that never count?  No.  It would have been 18 years that we were married together.  But we are not, so...I'm just going to say that I will always remember him on this day but I will not count the days any longer.  He is in a better place and I am moving on.  I don't want to set up my husband's death as an idol.  I'm letting it go.  Next year, our would be 19th year, I will remember Santi and I will celebrate the love we had and our wedding but it's not something I will worship.  The only thing I will worship is the God that has gotten me through the worst days of my life.  And I will praise Him for all of my days. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Girls

I'm a fan of Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet." There is a scene when Romeo's friends are introduced as they drive by in a vintage car shouting at people with a song playing over their raucous antics.  "The boys, the boys" is heard. 

In my head, I have a similar scenario with my Bible Study Buddies.  We have a similar overture on as we each come out of a car in slow motion in our own version of a movie montage.  We come out looking hard ready to do battle with the evil it this world.  It is a group that started over a summer and we had committed to reading a book of the Bible using a particular study.  It was Nancy, Doreen, Glenda and myself.  We liked it so much, we figured out how to do another study on another book of the Bible.  Nine years later, we are still going strong.  The members have changed out over the years but the purpose of the group has stayed the same, studying the Bible in communion with one another. 

I think the official name of our group has been coined by Cliff.   It was something that just happened.  The BSB or Bible Study Babes has shared sad stuff, real stuff and wonderful stuff with each other.  We have learned to hold each other accountable.  When we get lost in our emotional and mental bramble, we call out to each other and trust each other to get us out and speak truth in our lives.  Such a blessing!!!

I have been asked if I'm in a community group.  I have decided that they are my community group and I love it.  A group to share in the good and the bad, a group to allow myself to vulnerable and real.  Praise the Lord for His providence in providing these sisters for me.  And here is the thing.  I know that they feel the same.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Mirror

I have been thinking about what to write about.  I have so many thoughts floating around my head and there are somethings that I can't share because I don't have words or feelings to talk about it all.  Let me explain this whole situation regarding feelings.  Honestly, the only thing that I have been feeling is overwhelmed.  I think I have been sharing why.  You know what I'm learning?  I'm learning to never complain because whatever I'm going through it could go worse.  Therefore, I am grateful.  I can regret and feel bitterness but I have to trust God with my life and my story.  If I'm still breathing, then my story is not over yet.

I had someone tell me, "I'll be okay in the end.  If I'm not okay then it's not the end."  What?  There are no promises of a happy ending. I understand that my life is the Lord's to do with it as He will.  My happy ending may not be on this earth.  It may await me in the next life and if that's the case then I'm not going to wait for something that will not happen until I'm dead.  Instead, I pray that I can be effective in God's Kingdom this side of heaven.

So... I am thinking about what Hannibal told Clarice in Hannibal: "...would they have you back, you think? The FBI? Those people you despise almost as much as they despise you.  Would they give you a medal, Clarice, do you think? Would you have it professionally framed and hang it on your wall to look at and remind you of your courage and incorruptibility?  All you would need for that, Clarice is a mirror."  This is a quote that I think of often.  This implies that I need to be what I hope to be.  I need to try to be the best version of myself every single day.  Why?  That mirror.  Who I am needs to reflect who God is.  So when I look in the mirror, I need to b proud of that.

Lovies, when you look in the mirror, I want you to be proud of what you see in the mirror too.  I hope I'm modelling it well for you.
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

What a Downer!!!

If I were you, I would stop reading me.  I can read the news to be depressed.  I write to express and process.  I hope that I am reflecting Jesus as I go through good and bad moments in life.  This is my intention. I came to this conclusion because, if I was going to brag about what God is doing in my life, if I was going to talk about his wonderful blessings and grace, then I was going to have to share the hard parts.  The parts that aren't so great.  Right?  That's how you tell a story!!!  I was lost but now I am found.  I was blind but now I see.  How effective would it be if I just say, "I see?"

I'm going to be moving soon.  I hate moving.  This is a stressful thing but I believe that it will ultimately be a blessing.  I pray that God lead us to a good place to lay our heads and I pray that it all works out for us.  This is a stressor for me because it may be a hard transition.  Why are you so tired, Elle?  What's going on?  Well, there's that.

I'm working out.  I don't like working out but I'm not getting any younger and my kids are telling me that they would like me to be around for a while so... I'm going to the gym.  What I tell myself to get ready for the gym is: Elle, think about the incredible "Revenge Body" you will have when you tone up!!!  Look out world, it's not ready for a thinner me!!!  LOL!!! Just kidding.  I'll probably always be thick. 

I'm almost ALMOST done with my last degree and the whole thing is super stressful.  I don't even want to take an orientation class after this.  I'll make an allowance for Bible Study but THAT'S IT!!!  Here is my for real, legitimate prayer.  I just want to finish.  That's it.  I don't even have to finish well.  I just want to finish it and be done. 

I keep on thinking about how happy I will be when I'm done with each thing on my plate.  It's like running a race and crossing the finish line.  It was hard going but I will have done it by the grace of God.  I claim victory.  I pray for strength.  But Man, as I went over my last posts, I could see that I wasn't a hundred percent.  Definitely in my feelings.  So... I took mood enhancers (broccoli).  I drank (water, I was dehydrated) and I took to the streets (or the treadmill to work on those toxins).  I think this is what self-care is all about.  Love you guys!!!  Keep on praying. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How's It Going to Be

Yes.  I'm thinking of the Third Eye Blind song.  This particular song talks about a couple on the verge of a break up and the guy is imagining how it will it be when this couple inevitably breaks up.  There is something so incredibly sad about the demise of a relationship.  My official recommendation is to advocate for marriage and to definitely, infinitely stay married except in the event of abuse, abandonment or infidelity.  I could be wrong.  So, maybe you shouldn't take my advice.  What do I know?  I'm just a widow.

You ever have those moments though when you allow yourself to imagine what you're life would be without your official other half?  With a husband telling you that you are beautiful every. single. day.  it is easy to imagine that you're beautiful.  My dear man was always so very gracious with me.  I'm always surprised at the ungraciousness of the world.  So here I am, a widow with too many words.  There is every possibility that am not as beautiful as I was led to believe.  There is every possibility that I am just too old and too chunky to be not considered as a valuable asset to a community. 

I don't think this.  Even with my thick thighs and my gray hair, I think I am something to behold.  There are moments when I feel on the outskirts though.  I think about... how is it going to be?  There is a fear and a sadness watching my children grow and knowing that I will have to let them go and be who I raised them to be.  There is a fear and sadness about doing hard and scary things by myself.  I need to do it.  I don't want to get stuck.  An example is road trips.  I'm scared of going by myself but I need to do just to show myself that I could do it.  So... I'm plotting and planning.  I've said this before.  I just need a small trip to show that I could do it.

I am beginning to understand bad habits.  When you have too much to do and you can't seem to catch up.  When you are overwhelmed and there doesn't seem to be any rest in sight.  It's easy to pick up a bad habit to make you feel... something else for a little while. 

But I am not the holder of the future.  God is the holder of my future.  He commands me not to fear and not to be discouraged.  I want to tell Him, God, do you know all that I have in front of me?  I believe that He knows.  I know that I am not alone.  I KNOW that I'm not alone even though it FEELS like I might be alone.  I have to cling to what I know not what I feel, even when it feels bad.  So I sit here and I praise the Lord because I am thankful for the truth.  Praise the Lord!  Alleluia!  Even when I don't feel like it.  Especially when I don't feel like it.  Praise the Lord!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What You Are Wondering

I know what you are wondering.  You are wondering why I haven't been writing.  Oh Friends!  I'm tired.  I have been tired.  I don't know what has happened to me. On any given day, I have a myriad of thoughts running through my head.  I start writing and then I stop.  This goes on a few times.  Just this week I have started writing and then stopped.  What was it that I wanted to say?  On any given day, I am plagued, just plagued with so much on my mind. I'm changing but I don't know who I am still.  How can I write about something that I don't know about. 

Single-motherhood- Man I'm tired.  Someone should have told me about the stuff that you don't expect from raising children.  But it's not just that they are my children, it's that they are 13 and 11.  My children already have a lot of energy, it's hard to keep up with them.  When people say that they love children, I'm thinking, "Hey, you want to borrow mine for a day?"  I know this is messed up.  I love them dearly, all of the time.  And if you do want to take them, you need to feed them.  You should know that I spend time hinting when people are planning things.  So far, I've had only one or two takers. 

Healthy Lifestyle- I need to lower my cholesterol by a few points.  I need to lower my triglycerides.  Don't worry!  I have started to drink Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you have anything to say about this, go on ahead.  I don't mind.  I need all of the advice that I can take on lowering my cholesterol within the confines of my day.  I have also started eating more plant based food.  I am meal prepping and I'm trying to drink more water. My son and I will start to work out.  We are going to try to go to the gym in the morning.  I've been doing squats and some lunges.  Strong legs will help me move so that I can keep up with my children.  They're fast!!!!

Dating Men- Men suck!!!  Just kidding.  I don't know who I am, how am I supposed to date?  Maybe I just need to embrace widowhood.  I mean, I start to cry every time I say the word, "widow."  What does that tell you?  Maybe the greater grace is to stay happily single.  I'd be better about it if I didn't see couples everywhere.  I'm going to start a group, Happily Single.  Let me know if you want to join.  It could be a Facebook group!

Degree- I'm tired all of the time, this only makes it hard to do what I need to for my degree. 

Work- I'm teaching this block.  Wish me luck.  That's all I have to say about that. 

I haven't dyed my hair.  I may make some other big life changes.  It's just a rough season.  Keep me in your prayers.  And don't assume.  That's all for now.  God bless.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Being on a Break

I'm taking a break.  It's a wonderful beautiful thing.  Today was my first day.  The week stretches out before me like a cat in a sun beam.  Today when I met with some of my friends, they noted right away that I looked rested.  You know what?  Rest is the best make-up.  I'm balancing out my time and energy so that I could have the optimal experience from my break.

You know what I'm doing?  I'm reading.  I forgot how much I love to read.  It's a great read too.  I have been reading not good books but this one makes up for it.  It's a mystery.  I'm so excited.  I'm going to see what is the next book that I read.  It's funny the things that light you up from inside.

I have plans with friends.  I have lunch dates and coffee dates for the week.  I'm so blessed to have people who want to take time to spend with me.  I may even re-organize my closet.  It's such a good thing.  I have even a little work to balance me out.

God is good to us.  He gives us what we need when we need it.  I am so very thankful to him.  Praise the Lord!!!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Mary and Martha

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, there is the story of Mary and Martha.  It says as follows:
"Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me."   And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, an Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." 

I have been swamped and I have had low energy.  When I pray I think of Mary and Martha.  I'm a Martha.  I am working.  I'm busy.  Let me be honest.  Let me be authentic and vulnerable.  I question whether I alone am enough.  I'll tell you the answer.  I am not enough.  I will never be enough.  I need a Savior.  Thankfully, I have a Savior.  When I go to God complaining, I tell Him that I am busy.  I tabulate and list carefully all the things that I don't have time to do.  I tell Him that I am worried and I have fear.  Can't You send help?  I am upset and fearful that I will lose everything.  Will I lose everything?  If God is for me, who can be against me.  The question is not about me being enough.  The question is can I trust God to be enough for me.  Ouch. 

I had a lot on my plate.  I was at home.  Instead of being upset.  I did my Wednesday night Bible Study reading.  I did my Monday night Bible reading.  I wrote notes and prayed.  I spent time studying and hanging out with God.  I should have been sweeping.  I should have mopped the floors.  I had a load of laundry.  Instead I worshiped God with my limited time.  When I needed answers, I didn't lose my mind.  I went to God and I didn't worry or trouble myself about things like Martha.  Instead I chose the good part and I went to the feet of Jesus. 

God calls us to be a Mary when this world would have us be a Martha.  Don't get it twisted.  Chose the good part.

Georg Friedrich Stettner: Christ at the home of Martha and Mary

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

All At Once

A while back, I wrote a post saying that I had a thing about Whitney Houston.  Most of her songs were about my life at different times.  I'm going to start with the first song that really affected me.
"All At Once."

All at once
I finally took a moment
And I'm realizing that
You're not coming back
And it's finally hit me all at once
All at once I've started counting teardrops
And at least a million fell
My eyes began to swell
And all my dreams were shattered all at once
Ever since I met you
You're the only love I've known
And I can't forget you
Though I must face it all alone
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And that's all that matters now
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Holding on to memories
And it's hurt me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once
All at once I looked around and found that you were
With another love
In someone else's arms
And all my dreams were shattered all at once
All at once the smile that used to greet me
Brightened someone else's day
She took your smile away
And left me with just memories all at once
Ever since I met you
You're the only love I've known
And I can't forget you
Though I must face it all alone
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And that's all that matters now
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Holding on to memories
And it's hurt me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And it's hurt me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once
And that's all that matters now
All at once I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And it's hurt me more than you know
So much more
This song is filled with so much angst.  I feel that this is the song that I have sung to my husband after he died.  I mean, it is this song that describes what I felt after my husband passed away.  I was filled with shock, missing my husband.  There is a repetitive cycle in the song going through waves and cycles of pain and loneliness that I was not anticipating.  I am so thankful to have God in my life delivering me from where I was.  Praise the Lord!
Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jeffrey L Osborne / Michael Masser
All at Once lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Sales Corporation

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

In The Cocoon

I'm going to keep it short.  I don't know what to think about my life any more.  I have been busy.  So busy.  I recognize that I need a vacation.  I remember when I was younger that I would do things to try on different versions of myself when I really just needed a change.  I would get piercings and once, I got a tattoo.  I would try lipsticks and dye my hair.  Sometimes I would cut my hair really short.  These days as a stable and semi professional person, getting a nose piercing may not be the way to go. 

I've been staving off my craziness with nail polish, plumping lip gloss and eye shadows.  If I couldn't dye my hair blue or purple, I don't know what I would do.  I can't bear to put too much on my face.  I want to recognize my face when I look in the mirror (it doesn't really matter because every time I look in the mirror I see my face, never the make up). 

I want to find my new favorite song.  I want to dance.  I want to feel the wind in my hair.  I think I miss New York.  I think I miss the city that I knew so well.  A place I could lose myself in and then rediscover myself.  A place I could redefine myself and reinvent myself then do it all again the next day until I got the formula right.  

Is this what it is?  I miss things?  Or is it time for a new iteration of myself.  I am becoming someone.  I am twisting and turning in the fibers of a cocoon. What do butterflies think about as they are evolving?  I need to figure out who I am becoming. Whoever I become my prayer is that it is someone that reflects God in everything she does.
Image result for free butterfly pic
Photo 57871048 © Viorel Dudau -