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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soul Care

I finally figured out how true it is that if Mama ain't happy, nobody is happy. I have no hang-up about taking care of myself. To some, this is selfish. Those folks might have The Martyr Complex. So...back to me. I read a lot, I exercise (some), I blog (a lot), I indulge in hot baths with my glass of Merlot. I have a daily iced coffee at 4 pm. These are rituals. They make me happy. Happy is not content. Happy can be zapped in an instant - by a phone call or a tone of voice, a dog vomiting on new carpet.

I'm going for content these days. It's that deep, abiding, soul-searing joy. And, although my life is far - VERY far - from perfect; I am able to be content. How you ask? I have a soul mate and soul sisters. The mate has been in my life for 36 years. The sisters...oh, my. There are a few groups I depend on. The four from my childhood that know all, have seen all. My Bible study - sisters in Christ for more than ten years. And a new group. There are 20+ that are all best-friends-that-have-never-met. We were drawn together through a blog (duh!). Our common interests are food, decorating, books, family + so much more.

These people are very important to me. I do not want to live life without them. However, my soul must be taken care of by me...and my Lord. I've just finished reading "Soul Care" by Peter Lord. Mmm, mmm, mmm. It spoke to me. And I want to share some "aha" points :
  • You do not have a soul; you are a soul. Until you see yourself as a soul with a body, rather than a body with a soul, you will never put the emphasis in the right place.
  • To change our lives, we must change our habit patterns.
  • The life of God in us must have positive surrounding conditions if it is to flourish. The soul deteriorates and becomes perverted in a negative environment.

The points above (written by Peter Lord) are basic; I know them. And I also know there are no accidents. Not even in the books I choose to read. These words were meant for me at this time. At the end of his book, he inserts a writing by Henry Drummond, "A Changed Life." Mr. Drummond was a Scottish evangelist in the 1850's. I'm a lover of words - the way we used to speak, ahhh. Mr. Drummond writes beautifully:

"The star needs no readjustment. Christ is the one great fixed point in this shifting universe. The world moves. And each day, each hour, demands a further motion and readjustment for the soul. A telescope in an observatory follows a star like clockwork, but the clockwork of the soul is called the will. The soul passively reflects the image of the Lord, while the will actively holds the mirror in position. Why this deliberate effort? Because the drifting and pulling motion of the world can take the soul out of alignment. This deliberate holding of the inner man exactly opposite Jesus, accurately steadies him through all the storms and conflicts of life."

And brother - I've got storms stirring, conflicts cooking. I know, I know, I know I MUST take care of myself. My soul. Yes, I count on My Guy, my girlfriends, but without my God-I'm a mess.

I'm really excited to begin 2010. To days gone by...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends...

I'm no DJ; but can usually find a tune that speaks to my heart...

In my last post I mentioned friends that came to our home on the 23rd. Today's song floating through my mind is The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends." What on God's green earth do people do without a network? Without a support group? Without girlfriends? I am blessed to have many types of girlfriends in my life. I think I'll categorize them:

  • Prayer warrior
  • Fashionista
  • Decorator
  • Techie
  • Bibliophile
  • Foodie
  • Artsy-craftsy
  • Gardener
  • Writer
  • Singer
  • Artist
  • Brainiac

Looking at this list, I note I have just the smallest % of some of these traits. Isn't God cool how He connects us with exactly whom we need at the precise moment we are in need?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Complicated

Merry-day-after-Christmas. A movie I'm longing to see came out yesterday. Its' title is just about right for my Christmas season. I've been in recovery for 10 months now - recovery for the issue of co-dependency. Ten months does not an expert make. I really needed a perfect Christmas to replace last year's memory. Last Christmas was pretty well a bottom for me.

This year's began well. Son #2 does not live with us and since I have detached from him, I felt strong. I do not fret, do not worry, do not stew. It's some. How can a mother do that?

Our annual party is always on the 23rd and this year brother and wife came for a visit. The party started well with both my brothers and My Guy in the kitchen with me. We split up duties, which lightened the load and added a splash of (bourbon) fun while whipping up the egg nog. The 23rd was fun: a myriad of guests - the best type: close friends, dear friends, praying friends, running friends, fun friends. The last one left at midnight and My Guy and I cleaned up that night.

Christmas Eve was slow for me. Pretty well pooped from prepping for the party. My Guy hit the crowds for that last minute shopping he loves. #1 Son was to arrive this day and we planned on church with the in-laws in the evening. #1 Son called My Guy around 3 pm and then we lost him. At 5 pm the phone rang and as I listened to My Guy very calmly talking on his end; I sank to my knees by my bedside. There is no need to go into details. Suffice it to say - it's complicated.

My co-dependent tools work for #2 Son. Not so much for #1. I didn't think I needed tools (any more) for him. A 54 year old woman does not need A Predicament to make her eyes look worse! This event racked my gut and I had to hide in a bedroom upstairs. I proceeded to sob. Hard.

My Guy got the call to help #1 Son so on Christmas Eve he drove away. I opted to be alone so my in-laws were stuck at their place on Christmas Eve (alone). It was a bit selfish of me; but I could only handle Duke and Stella watching me be the fool.

A phone call at 7 pm to my cousin helped. As she was about to enter church, I told her our predicament. Her retort was perfect - for the situation; not so much for church. But, it's complicated. What else was there to say? She and her hubby would pray for us. Thank goodness. My Guy and two sons walked in at 11 pm. I saw a physical definition of "sorry" and of remorse in #1 Son's eyes and hugs. #2 Son felt the need to crush me in a hug and then picked me up off the ground. We fixed snacks, poured egg nog and toasted one another. It's complicated.

Seventeen people were coming to dinner Christmas day and my heart was not ready for guests. I walked around that morning in a fog, looking like Puff Mommy (cried-out-eyes). The other woman-mentor in my life helped too. She decided that in the overall scheme of "life," The Predicament was not that big a deal. She prayed for me over the phone. I felt better.

The meal was not complicated as The Crew was helping. They descended and the air in the house turned from somber to saucy. I have discovered a tip for anyone out there that needs a little zest at family gatherings. Invite "strays." Cousin's friends were the perfect guests. Jack and Linda are worldly, fun and kind. They were thrown into a home that is a tad complicated and handled it with aplomb and grace. I love watching people who have the talent to include anyone in a conversation.

The Food by All was a perfect blend of yumminess topped off with Decorator Desserts by Linda. Cousin forced me to play games. I do not like games. I liked these games. She called me a "gamer." When they departed, My Guy got right back in the kitchen. Several of us had done 2/3 of the clean up before gaming. We had not gotten to the drawer that had gravy in it after someone accidentally missed the gravy boat.

I told My Guy that I was beyond tired and was running a hot bath infused with lavender oil. "Let's wait until tomorrow to finish cleaning up" said The Mrs. He told me he was not tired...

Thanks be for a good night's rest. The dogs got me up at 6:30 and I walked into the kitchen. It was spotless. My favorite coffee cup was waiting for me by the coffee pot. Who could ask for a better help mate? I thank God for the man I've been married to for 32 years. I thank God for friends who look forward to our 19th year of egg nog. I thank God for relatives that love us through every Predicament.

It's December 26. I have six days until 2010. It's complicated....I'm ready.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for Giving

The house was spit shined from top to bottom. Husband (aka "My Guy") and I were ready for our guests and the tunes were rocking. #1 Son and New Girlfriend walked in with a bag of pine cones. I had texted him and said I could sure use 20 pine cones. New Girlfriend told him he'd make a happy mother if they stopped for the cones.

The dogs were crazy with love for #1 Son - it'd been a long time since their last reunion. All my dishes were prepared...they only had to be cooked off. The kitchen was spotless thanks to My Guy.

Out of the corner of my eye I spied a gentleman jauntily walking up our driveway with a gor-jus bouquet of apricot tulips and a bottle of wine. He was one of our strays. Made a good start!

Brother and fam trooped in - loaded with their bounty: BBQ weenies (they are famous for this snack), beer and other necessities. Niece had a new boyfriend. He was mature and it'd rubbed off. She was lovely through and through, grown up at 20, respectful and fun to talk to. Niece #2 was sweet and quiet. I loved hugging on both girls.

Brother-in-law enters with a grin bigger than day - he's just a happy man. He makes friends with all - everyone was comfortable now. Conversation got louder than the tunes. That was a good thing.

Another stray added dash. He was quite handsome and had on very handsome cowboy boots that caught our eyes. His contribution was a strange Italian delicacy - artichoke stems boiled for hours on end that looked rather like beef jerky. We tried it, not everyone liked it.

The wine was flowing. Boy, was it was the color of choice. A good start.

The preprandial snacks were enjoyed. My Guy told me he really liked a new one I added to the menu. It was a "man-dip" made with bacon, almonds and onions. I had not made my way over to said snack table. He asked if he could get one for me and then hand delivered a cracker to my lips. So sweet. Almonds, bacon, artichoke stems, smoky Merlot.

#2 Son joined us. He was wearing his good attitude (along with some horrific earrings). He hugged me. This was a good start.

The kitchen was packed and the oven filled with all dishes necessary to complete Thanksgiving. With only two ovens, it was a challenge to cook off mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, stuffing, corn pudding, roasted vegetables and dinner rolls. I was thankful for the ancient hot tray buried in my cabinet. It reminded brother and I of our Mom. She always had one.

The brother-in-law was The Carver. As he wrestled with a fried and smoked turkey, smothered with grease, licking his lips, he was in his own world. We were ready.

We circled up, held hands, said grace and grabbed a plate. I loved the sounds, smells, the smiles flashing around the house. We were only at 14 - not that many people - but with a small dining room it seemed more. Did I mention the wine was flowing? We liked red it seems.

#1 Son's girlfriend added warmth and compassion. She was a good listener and added a lot to every conversation she entered into. Sort of like #1 Son. Hhhhmmmm.

The Dallas Cowboy game was recorded so we lost My Guy to the leather chair. Slowly the football fans followed him. This left a gang in the kitchen - and the overwhelming mess got cleaned up. The guests withered away and it was quiet. My exhaustion hit so I had to do "legs up the wall" pose.

Thanksgiving started well and finished well. I was thankful beyond measure. God is so good. He knows I love gatherings filled with lots of people having fun. That's "it" for me!

I woke up the morning after buried in my covers. While My Guy was in the kitchen mopping the floor, I thanked God for giving us a good day, a day filled with full tummies and full hearts.