I Hope I am Better at Banjo

better at banjo Hey there boys and girls. I am still alive. I’m actually out at my cove trying to get a jump on Spring (even though it’s 28 degrees outside) and wanting to get at least the inside finished. I’m only two years behind. No biggie. The gardens, and gazebo will get built in time.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and that 2016 is turning out well for you all. I’m still sorting through mother’s things and settling her estate. You only get one Mom, for better or for worse and when they die everything seems to come back at you. At least it’s that way for me. All the good, all the bad. All of the in between. So grief takes on a new level. Most days I’m okay but I still fall apart some times and that is to be expected.

So what do you think of the photo? I found that beast of a collage hidden back in one of my closets at the cove. I’d forgotten about it. I took an art class back in 2012 and never got invited back which cracks me up! It’s hideous. So I turned it into a meme. That’s also the year I started playing banjo and yes, I’m a much better banjo player than I am an artist. Thank heavens or I’d still be out there trying to find something I was good at besides comedy.

Besides – do you see the dagger looking things near the bottom of the canvas? I’m pretty sure that is reminiscent of my state of mind back then what with menopause and hating men that year. That was also the year I came out against the Tea Party – lost friends I’d had for over 20 years and that hurt.

I think I might have taken pissy to a whole new level that summer.

 

Oh well. I just might hang it in the guest room after all. If nothing else as a warning label.

Have a great week you guys.

The Bee’s Knees

comedy st pete
From left to right: Christine Sneeringer, Justin Fennell, Leslie Norris Townsend, Joby Saad as Aunt Jolene, me, and Michelle Krajecki

I recently spent a week in Tampa Florida, doing a Clean Comedy Show at Coconuts Club on St Pete Beech with friends. We had a four day run and after that, Joby, Michelle and I performed at the Ale and the Witch at St Pete Mall. Oh what an incredible week.

I have great memories of St Pete. My in-laws used to live there so we visited quite a bit. That and my youngest was conceived there years ago.

It turns out those “cute name” little drinks they serve on the Tiki Hut bars become verbs instead of nouns if you have enough of them.

Yes my mother in law did that math, giving her second reason for hating me.

Do you know her first reason?

 

I married her son.

Oh well.

Back to my story.

 

Someone told me recently that they wish God had given them a gift that allowed them to travel. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled and hugged her. She’s in the middle of young child season and i miss those days. I could try and explain that, or tell her how i woke up one day, my kids we’re grown and the career i had before I became a stay home mom no longer exists and cutting my husbands meat really isnt an option, but she wouldn’t understand.

I could tell her don’t rush this season, it’ll end soon enough, cherish those days. I could tell her that all I really know how to do is be a wife (its all I’ve done for 25 years)and while that isn’t a bad thing really, I’m in a new season with no clue how this is going to turn out. Not better or worse, just new. And that’s okay.

Besides, it’s not like God said to me, “Go! Though shalt now be a comic.” It’s was more like a whispered, “follow me.”

So I follow the whisper.

How did I get here? This place where I can travel with friends and tell jokes. I still think it’s a dream some days.

Truth is though, I can sum it up in one word: FAILURE.

That and of course GRACE.

So I guess that makes two words really. I never was good at math.Which really messes with my name it claim it friends who want blessings in return for right behavior.

Yes, hard work, faith, and other things come into play here. But there is really more than that going on in my life right now.
I can still remember my lowest point ever in my life. My dream of working in a church fell to pieces around me due to spiritual warfare. And the Non Profit I worked for closed it’s doors. I stood on the precipice of “now what” and shook in my boots.I also went on meds and spent three years in therapy, so you know. I wasn’t firing on all cylinders for a while. My hobbies back then included wrapping myself in a blanket, chain smoking and staring out into the abyss that is my back yard.

I LOVED that life. I didn’t want to let it go.

The pre therapy one I mean not the abyss. That would just be weird. And sad.

As much as I hated that time, and as painful as it was – the most amazing blessings have unfolded as a result. A stranger came along, grabbed my hand and put me to work for her promoting her events. I took one small step after the other until I learned how to breathe again. I went from there working larger events and helping plant a church. Each step, each choice to say yes beget more things and more opportunities. And so, I pulled up my bootstraps, leaned into God with everything I had, put one quivering foot in front of the other, and with the help of a delightful mentor I learned to say yes to the Holy Spirit.

Didn’t realize I was saying no until she pointed that out. Note: Never use the words “I could never do what you do, I’m just happy to be here” to a Spirit Filled woman – she will start praying over you and well — you’re toast.

She suggested an experiment – she wanted me to spend one year only saying yes to where I am invited. Don’t knock on a single door and then watch God work. Let’s see what He thinks about these so called limitations you think you have.Now I don’t always recommend that because we can get too complacent sitting around waiting for God to move. I still moved – I said yes to things I never would have said yes to before because I was so busy. And I learned to say no to the things and places I didn’t belong.

I started writing again and I remember wanting to write a series about life after kids and pondered her advice to say yes to everything I was invited to even if it made me throw up from fear. The result? I made amazing new friends, learned that I can too stand up for myself after all, that fame means nothing to me (Hey my husband AKA “Guitar man” opened for Mitch McVicker remember? Cool yes, but Mitch isn’t a rock star and never wants to be – best lesson ever), worked production for some amazing christian artists who aren’t rock stars either. I’ve even invited a few of them to come to my church and perform. I also rode a horse through the jungles of Belize, swam with sharks, and started doing stand-up (which is a huge stretch for a story teller like myself.)

Every single thing a blessing. I’m not a name it claim it girl. I don’t throw God’s promises back in his face, rather I thank him for today and go on. Now some people are really good at reminding God his promises. It’s just not my way. it’s not our relationship. It’s not a theology I understand even though it is a popular one.I wouldn’t go around demanding my parents, family, or friends do really spectacular things for me just because I’m so awesome. They’d call me an entitled brat if I did that. So, I don’t treat God that way either.

The only way I can describe the past few years is it feels like I’m in the middle of this passionate love affair with a God who’s yes trumps every no I’ve ever been told in my life.

No you can’t join this church, you’re just a kid.

No you can’t be on the this board, it’s already full with charter members.

No you can’t be a deaconess (I don’t care if you took the classes already) you weren’t raised Lutheran.

No. No. No. No.

Here bring cookies to the funeral.

No thanks.

Jesus didn’t die for me – or you – to be relegated to sitting in a pew on Sundays and being told that’s all you deserve because you are an adult convert. Which is a common occurrence in some older churches. I know this: Jesus lives so that you can have abundant life.

God’s YES will ALWAYS triumph a world full of nos.

That is pretty cool.And if someone is telling you otherwise – they are lying. So when somebody asked what I did to deserve this or that event, (and they usually do) I honestly answer “Nothing.” I tell the truth about who I am and what my accomplishments are – and my goals. I don’t embellish (because getting found out is easier than people realize) and I trust God with the journey. I could run around and “work” my connections and strive to arrive more quickly, but that’s exhausting. I’d rather take my time, make friends and learn. I’m enjoying the journey.It doesn’t matter what any of us do for a living really. No one is “more called” than some one else. No job is more important than the other. The hand is just as important as the foot.

Remember Mitch? – That man travels to small churches, cut up blue jeans, shirt, bare feet (much like Rich) and plays his heart out for God – not stadiums. I LOVE that. And even so – his job isn’t any more important that the janitor who takes time to talk to troubled teens, or the gal at the check out counter who smiles every day – or the corporate executive — They all matter to God. We’re all called to live life by a God who adores us not for our “here is how I’m going to bless you today Lord” lists quickly followed by an open hand wanting something back as if he were a vending machine – but because He created us and he’s mad about us. Oh that we could love him back not because he’s Santa handing out wishes and accolades based on our own perceptions of righteousness and entitlement, but because he’s God. Would that not just be the bees knees right there?

NOTE: No clue why my formatting is messed up. But thank you for reading. Have a great day peeps.

Things That Give me courage

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It is the goofiest things really that give me courage; like that time I discovered that Bob Goff (Love Does) and I were wearing the same socks at a conference and I so badly wanted a selfie of our feet but didn’t ask because that would be weird and I got a hug instead.

 

 

The Random Dude I met on the airplane last year who flirted with a housewife and reminded me that I’ve still got it. Whatever “it” is.

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Meeting Donald Miller and taking a photograph during his book signing for Scary Close at the Storyline Conference in Chicago.  And then publishing said photo even if I’m thinking, “not my best.” (I’ll write more about that later.)

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A chance meeting with Howard (an old time blues musician) while walking down the streets of Broken Arrow and making a new friend. Howard not only sold me his old banjo, he gave me all of his books as well. “Don’t worry about playing like Scruggs, play like you.”

And I do now.

 

Like I said, it’s the goofiest things.

Matching socks.

A stranger on a plane.

A fun picture.

A music man.

What things give you courage? 

There are no buckets on my bucket list

We promised our son we’d take him fishing for his 21st birthday.
We drove 12 hours from Tulsa to Galveston to do it.

I got to the marina in the morning and asked the first mate where the facilities were on the boat.
bathroom He said if you open this door in the front of the cabin, you will find a bucket with a toilet seat lid.

I have a broken leg.

I love my boys

I really do.

Just not enough to pee in a bucket

with a toilet seat

in front of God and everybody.

I made my husband take me back to the hotel.

They had more fun without me.

They caught trout, sheeps-head, and shark without the trauma of seeing mom try to pee in a bucket with a broken leg.

And bonus – I got to pee alone

in my hotel room.

It was a win/win day.

 

Ya Got Trouble – or do you? A glimpse into the wilderness

Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.

That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.

That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.

I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.

I’m not much for hiding really.

Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.

I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.

I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.

I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.

Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.

What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.

That wasn’t the problem.

I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.

I’m kind of egotistical like that.

I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.

Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.

The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:

They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.

That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.

If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.

Charisma is a turn off to me today.

As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.

Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.

I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.

Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:

1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain.  Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.

2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.

3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.

4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did.  I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,

While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.

I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.

I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.

The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.

Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.

*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.

So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?

 

 

 

 

 

I Call Shenanigans

I DON’T DO CATFIGHTS

Women who believe this:

best

Don’t understand this:

Women-EmpowerA person might believe that the first statement is true empowerment, but it isn’t. In reality, it’s nothing more than fear biting.

Telling me that I get to choose whether you are my best friend or my worst enemy  gives all of your personal power away.

I am the one in control when that happens. You are giving me the power to choose who you are in my life instead of choosing for yourself.

I value my female friends and I know not all women do. Some women build walls because they believe we are the competition and we should be feared

They’ve been lied to.

This isn’t about feminism, it’s about recognizing the value in friendships and in each other. We are not the competition. Girlfriends are of vital importance in our lives. Don’t allow insecurity, jealousy, or fear keep you from the richness that is so vital to our psyche.

I have no interest in being friends with anyone, male or female, who feels the need to use fear and manipulation in order to control me. 

I have no interest in being friends with little girls today. 

Or little boys for that matter. 

And so I call shenanigans on any and all lies, manipulation, power trips, gossip, threats, with-holdings and fear based everything. 

Give me the power to choose and I will.

I choose neither and leave you alone to yourself and your fear.

I chose wisely, but have you?

 

 

 

 

Be Careful what you ask for

“Deana you are so blessed to have this down time. I’d give anything to spend time alone with God.”

Really?

I’ll be honest, I’m feeling that vibe a lot less now than I was back in October. The first three weeks were great, then I got bored.

In October, I knew I was only going to be down for a few months. Three, maybe four tops!  In that down time, I would spend a month or two in physical therapy, but surely I’d be walking and driving by April.

Not a chance.

That simple little surgery I had last October where they broke my tibia in half, straightened it out, added a metal plate, screws and a bone graft isn’t healing.

Actually, my body got hungry and ate the graft, leaving a nice hole in the middle behind the metal plate. My leg is still broken and even though I can walk with a boot and crutches, it hurts.

I am going back in tomorrow, April 2 for another bone graft. This time they’ll take the bone from my hip.  I’ll be back sitting in a chair staring at water for a few weeks while this heals. No April Fools joke, this is for real. 90 days no walking and another 90 days-ish using crutches. After that we get to decide whether or not to replace my ankle. I’m going to be down for a really long time.

This is more me time than I wanted.

I’ve learned some things though.

1. I had no idea people post such drivel on Facebook or think meme’s are factually accurate.

2. Just because my leg is broken does not mean I can’t help tear apart a kitchen.

3. Dust will not kill me.

4. The dogs who have no regard for my boot and crutches however, may.

5. Laundry can wait until someone brings it downstairs. (Flinging it down the stairs while standing on crutches is not wise – don’t ask)

6. Candy Crush is rigged against you.

7. You can go broke playing Facebook games. You can also get very bored with them after level 130.

8. Online shopping rocks.

9. Number of tie-blankets you can make before losing your mind is three.

10. Banjo really does sound better when you practice.

Have a great day you guys.