I Am Tired

I am generally a happy person. I love to laugh, to sing, to tell and hear jokes…life is so good! I am a grateful lady. In fact, the first thing I say *every morning* after “Good morning!” to the hubby is “Thank you, God. For another day, and another chance to be my Highest Self”. When someone asks how I am, instead of “fine” or “good”, mine is “Grateful as always!” And then I try to *be* those things. I try to do better today than I did yesterday. And I strive to be grateful for every. single. thing.

And I am grateful. Grateful for a “day job” that, when combined with the hubby’s day job, pays the bills; grateful for children who choose to make a positive difference every day in their adult lives; grateful for a husband who lets me have a meltdown on occasion and still says I’m beautiful after I ugly cry. I’m especially grateful to know a Heavenly Father who loves each of us unconditionally.

I was raised in a Christian household, although I no longer subscribe to a particular religion. If you’d like  to know why, it’s because I’ve read the New Testament. I’m not a scholar, and won’t participate in a “scripture battle” with anyone … but I know that Jesus taught LOVE and ACCEPTANCE, and that mainstream Christianity seems to be moving farther and farther away from that.

I’m used to hearing about “extremist” religious behavior; that’s always been a thing. When I was younger there were a few ‘preachers’, usually with a big audience, who cherry-picked the Bible to instill “faith” (read: “fear”) in others. They talk about a god who loves us unconditionally – as long as we meet HIS conditions – and then proceed to denounce those who don’t agree, say that “they” are evil (but God will save you if you do what *I* say!), and sentence them to Hell. I can’t be the only person who sees the irony in all of this. And when the beloved religion in which I was raised jumped publicly into the Exclusion (and political) fray, well, I had to leave.

I heard a story once where Jesus approached a man in a dream and asked “What have you done with My name?” The man thought and thought, went over a list of a few good deeds, but realized quickly that he didn’t really have an answer. And then his visitor was gone.

I don’t have an answer, either, except to say “I love You. I try every day to be like You. I feel as if I know You, and I am proud of that. I strive to love others as You love me (Some days are more difficult, but I genuinely try!). I try to forgive myself and others as You forgive each of us daily. I work to help You be as proud to be my friend as I am to be yours. I love You. Thank You for everything! May I give You a hug?”

I am tired. Tired of “Us and Them” Tired of “Fear means power”. Tired of hate being championed instead of discouraged. Tired of trust being destroyed by rumors instead of fact. Tired, in this age of information, of people choosing to believe lies instead of searching for the truth. Tired of people using my friend Jesus’ name to commit unspeakable acts of exclusion and cruelty. Do they really think that Jesus will return to a world in which He is not welcome? He did that once. Look how that turned out.

Did it ever occur to the people preaching about the “End of Days” that what they call prophecies might actually be *warnings*? Because that’s what I understand them to be.

So I’m going to live my days as if Jesus meant what He said: I’m going to love and forgive and do the best I can, making sure that I don’t lose ME in the process. I am going to continue to be a cheerleader for others who are also doing their best. I will celebrate your success. I will mourn your loss. I have chosen LOVE. I’m tired. But I’m here.

And who knows? Maybe Jesus will come and save us again. Based on what I know about the man, He appears to think that we’re worth it. He and His Father do, after all, love each of us UNCONDITIONALLY.

(NOTE: Unconditionally means you don’t have to do anything, they love you no matter what.)

As do I.

❤ Becca

 

 

 

“Fuck you, I like guns.”

Anastasia Writes

Edited to add: I can’t thank you all enough for interacting with this post. I am actually surprised that it’s become this popular. This is the first time more than ten people have read anything I’ve written here. I’m probably going to turn off commenting soon because everything that can be said already has been. In general, I’d like to point out that this is an opinion piece. I wrote it on a 15 minute coffee break and posted it unedited. It’s raw, and that’s the whole point. The tone, the language, and the style are intentional. This was written for people like my mostly conservative Army buddies who will never click an article that is titled “Gun control is your friend”, and tend to assume those who support such legislation have never seen a gun before. I’m not a professional writer, nor a particularly prolific blogger until about three…

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Babbling About Writing

So, I’m going to write a book.

I absolutely love my Proofreading side-hustle, don’t get me wrong! It’s not keeping me as busy as I’d like it to be, but there’s no way I’m giving that up. I love it. Helping people look good on paper is a passion of mine. But there are things I’d like to say, too.

I’ve been thinking and talking about writing a book for the better part of twenty years. Composing in my head, jotting down potential titles and starter lines… I’ve even actually started a time or two. I have lots of unfinished drafts on this very computer.

The hard part: I’ve waited for it to be perfect. In the meantime, I get caught up in the emotion; the worry that it might hurt feelings. The fear that no one will want to hear what I have to say. The “this won’t help anyone” mindset. That fear, though.

And I let it make me stop writing, time and time again.

I still have it – the fear, that is – but I’ve decided to write anyway.

I’m going to write non-fiction books about my experiences, and about overcoming adversity. I’m not special, and I’m not extraordinary; but I have been through things, and lived to tell the tales. So I’m going to. 🙂

I worked in Reservations for a startup airline in the early 2000s, and one of my first calls was from a pilot from a different, very well-known and well established airline. He said “You’re putting my friends out of business! How do you justify that?” I was flabbergasted. Really? What an odd thing to say. My response? “It’s a big sky, Sir. I like to think there’s enough room for everyone.” He muttered something (probably not very nice), and hung up.

It’s the same with writing. It’s a big world (especially since the internet!), and I’d like to think  there’s enough room for everyone.

I’m starting small. I’m going to tell you all about how I met my husband (it all has to do with broccoli – YUM!). After that, I have lots of other personal stories to share. I’m not going to worry about hurting others’ feelings (because anyone who knows me knows I would never intentionally do that), and I’m not going to be afraid of what people think. I’m just going to put my life out there, share what I know, and take chances.

That’s what life is about, right? Putting ourselves out there! We do it in job interviews, in dating, even in posts on Facebook. We put ourselves out there, take a risk, and hope we can help someone. Or that they’ll hire us, or like us, or….

So, I’m going to write a book. I hope it helps someone. I hope you like it.

❤ Becca

 

 

 

There, But For the Grace of God, Go I

We’ve all heard the saying. It implies that, without God’s grace, I might be homeless like the guy on the corner with the “Will Work For Food” sign. Or, without God’s grace I, too, could be poor. Or disabled, or any number of other things that we fear.

The phrase came to mind for me one weekend while Hubby and I were out shopping.

We took the same southbound freeway exit that we always do, and stopped at the red light at the bottom of the hill. There was a white SUV in front of us, and as the light turned green, they proceeded forward. We proceeded forward. And then Hubby hit the brakes. That’s when I heard the crash. Someone headed west ran the red light and hit the SUV. I saw pieces of the front bumper fly off, and immediately said a prayer. “Please don’t let anyone be hurt!” No one was. As an empath I felt that, but as a person who second-guesses my feelings, I prayed throughout our stay at the scene. We parked a safe distance away and I stayed in the car calling 9-1-1 while Hubby dashed across the street to render aid.

It was shocking. It was scary. And if just one thing had been different, it could have been us. Except we weren’t driving an SUV, so the outcome could have been very different.

I like to call our little Dodge Avenger our “recycled-aluminum-can” car. The day after we bought it, Hubby opened the driver door and it bent. The hinges stuck and the door pushed into the front fender (next to the tire) and actually bent the metal. Hubby fixed it, and it hasn’t been a problem since, but I sometimes wonder what would happen if we were in an accident.

Around the time we bought the car (for unrelated reasons), Hubby made some changes in his driving. He decided that getting somewhere fast wasn’t as important as getting there safe. So he does not exceed the speed limit. If we had “hurried” to the store like we might have three years before, if we hadn’t gone back in the house to grab my purse, if we hadn’t stopped for gas, if there had been less traffic…

“There, but for the grace of God…” Wait a minute!

I have joked that I am God’s favorite. I have a friend who calls on occasion to ask if I will use my “direct line” to say a prayer for her or a friend in need. But I know me. And because I do, I can unequivocally state that God has no favorites. He/She/It loves each of us as much as the other. I know this, because I know that He loves ME. And if He loves ME, you can bet your sweet potatoes that He loves YOU just as much. I am no worse than the best of us; but I am no better than the worst. I am just me, making my way through the maze with the rest. Nothing I do can put me in, or remove me from, God’s good graces. God is love. God is not opposition, God is LOVE. That is all.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I”, implies that there are some to whom God chooses not to show grace. As a receiver of God’s grace – and not just a little bit of it – I find this absurd.

As much as we mere mortals sometimes pride ourselves on being able to judge who is “good” and who is “bad”, God does not have that luxury. We are ALL His children. The terrorist and the terrorized; the accused and the accuser; the guilty and the innocent; the Christian and the Muslim and the Jew and the spiritual and the atheist; the black and the brown and the white and the yellow; the gay, the straight, the lesbian, the transgender, the poor, the rich, the EVERYONE. He may, like we, choose which of us He prefers in His presence, but He does not practice hate. He does not practice fear. He does not practice exclusion. He does not choose to bestow grace on some and allow others to do without.

It is my belief and experience that I am not strong enough to be the example that others are able to be. I could not survive as the homeless veteran standing on the freeway exit ramp asking for work or food, standing as an example of compassion. I may not do well as a lesbian in high school, standing as an opportunity for all of us to embrace the differences of others, calling for acceptance. Or any of the others who stand as examples and opportunities for each of us to do better. BE better. Make better.

People who are “different” are not dis-graced by God. Perhaps they are the best of the best, chosen BY God to teach the rest of us grace.

Be God’s grace.

❤ Becca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Dear Jesus,

First, I wish to express my gratitude for the gifts You have given ME. Your selfless example of love, light and healing are with me always.

I’m sorry that the beginning – and the end – of your life were filled with so much turmoil. I’m sorry that they couldn’t make room at that inn for a pregnant woman and her husband. I’m sorry that there are those who love power more than people. I’m sorry that your very existence was turned into a vehicle for fear by those who felt their status may be threatened. I’m sorry that those people were so successful at perpetuating that fear that it cost your life. I want You to know that it was not in vain.

I love You. I have done my best to teach my children of your example, and they, too, love You. All who know me (and I hope others whose lives I have touched) know that You are my guide, and my FRIEND.

On this day, I just want to re-commit myself to You and your example. I will spend more time LIVING what I know and less time TALKING about it. I will attempt to recognize the good in everything. I will be more open to, and aware of, miracles. I will do my part to perpetuate good. I will carry You with me always. I will seek good. I will be Love. I will go forth with a grateful heart in all things. I will seek the lesson in the trials I face. I will show compassion to all. I will express gratitude. I will be patient. I will make a positive difference. I will do better today than I did yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.

I will be the change I wish to see in the world. I WILL LIVE YOUR EXAMPLE and the examples of others who came before and after You. I will accept others, not just tolerate them. I will talk to You and our Father every day. I will listen for your inspiration and gentle nudges. I will love ALL others, even if some must be at a distance. I will love YOU.

Happy (day we celebrate your) Birthday, Jesus!

I love You,

❤ Becca

 

 

He Held Me Until I Healed

I’ve been “threatening” to write a book for at least 20 years. I wanted to tell my story, in the hopes that my experiences might give comfort to someone who’s trying to find their place in this crazy thing we call life. Not because I’ve found my way – I am a work in progress – but because I’ve survived.

I started this blog for many reasons. Not the least of which is to try to put my thoughts in some kind of order so that the book I eventually write will make sense, and may be of service to others. As I researched where and how to begin this blogging thing, I came across a few “professionals” who have taken it upon themselves to teach others how to reach success in blogging. One common suggestion for people like me, who weren’t sure where to start, was this: “Ask your friends what they want to know about you.”

Uh…no. At best, that will come off as self-centered. At worst, narcissistic. (“Enough about me! What do YOU want to know…about me?”) I hope I am neither of those things. Forget it, I’ll just write. I have really good ideas, lots to share about dealing with negativity, overcoming hardships…holy crap…OVERWHELM! Where do I start?!!?

I called a friend who spent many years as a technical writer, and whined to her about it.
“Writer’s block, huh? I hate when that happens.”
“No, there’s just so much in my brain swirling around, I’m…”
“I hate Writer’s Block.”
Sigh. “So, if I were to write a blog, what would YOU like to read about? (Omigoshpleasedon’tthinkI’mselfcentered!)”
After a minute of careful consideration (which felt like a week!), my friend said, “I would like to know where it all started. What makes you, well, YOU.”

Okay, D, this post is for you. 🙂

I was born at a very young age. I barely remember it, but the story goes like this: I was born with Cerebral Palsy. To put it simply, I was born with brain damage. My left side was paralyzed, my lungs hadn’t fully developed, and I was severely underweight. (Editor’s note: Nowadays if a child weighs 5 pounds and half an ounce, medicine can do wonders, but in 1967 it was dangerously low.) I was not born early. In fact, all three of my siblings were three weeks early, and I was the only one born exactly on my due date.

(This was to set the precedence of my life: I follow ALL the rules, do EVERYTHING I’m told, and still, somehow, come out the problem child in the end. Sigh.)

Any one of these challenges could have been deadly, but all three… The doctors said I wouldn’t survive the night.

My family and our doctor were religious people. Dad said he got a call from the doctor “early the next morning” saying there was nothing more that Medicine could do for me. My dad rushed to the hospital, and he and the doctor prayed. They held me, placed their hands on my head and spoke to God on my behalf. My dad said that he demanded that God allow me to live, and make me whole. And so, He did. Beginning that night, the story goes, I became a miracle.

Just a quick note, in case it crosses the mind that my daddy thinks he’s so important that he can tell God what to do: My father has NEVER, before or since that day, questioned God. While my personal opinion differs (as in, I believe that God understands us so deeply and so personally that we can and should speak to Him any way we need to), my daddy is the most humble man I know; true to his religion, and faithful to his Heavenly Father. Each time he tells the story, he says “I don’t know why I said it, I just said it…” But *I* know why. Because, when your baby is dying, you say and do anything to help them. For the record, God must have been okay with it, because He did exactly what He was “told”.

Faith, without works, is dead

When people hear the word “Miracle”, I wonder if most of us associate it with “Magic”. It is not the same. There was no “abracadabra!” moment. This didn’t happen with the snap of a finger. I wasn’t suddenly breathing on my own and flailing my arms like a healthy newborn baby girl. As an adult, I still struggle with coordination. It took years to heal. And brutally hard work. God healed me. It was very personal and He is involved every step of the way.

He was with my parents as they defied the doctors who insisted they put me in a home. Although I had survived, they were convinced I would never walk or talk, or even be able to sit up straight. He was with the doctors as they performed the operation that replaced the muscles missing in my feet with bone grafts, so that I could learn to walk at 3 years old. And again, four years later, when they operated to lengthen the Achilles tendon in my left leg. He was with my grandmother, who never gave up insisting that my parents take me to her chiropractor. He was with my mother when she finally relented after 18 months, and took me to see “that quack”, and he was most certainly with that chiropractor, Dr Hugh Wayman who, after ONE treatment, elicited movement from my left arm and leg. It was spastic, but IT MOVED!

He was with me late at night after that first surgery as I cried in bed with braces on both feet, and after the second surgery at the hospital when my mom had to leave every night. He was with the physical therapists as they taught me, and then my mom, the exercises I would need to do every day to gain the use of my left side, and He was with my mother each time she refused to let me give up, and when she yelled at me in frustration because “I don’t want to! It hurts!”

He was with me when the bullies in second grade tied me to a pole on the playground with a jump rope and pulled my pants down while they laughed. He gave me the strength to shout through my tears “You know what? I’m glad I have Cerebral Palsy, so I remember to be nice to people and not a bully like YOU!”

He was with my mother when she taught me that “not all handicaps are visible.” He was with me when I shared that knowledge with another bully who thought it was funny to shout “Cripple!” from across the street…until I retorted with “At least I’m not crippled in the BRAIN!”

He was with me on that first day of fear and uncertainty, and He is with me as I write this tonight, more than half a century later. It is impossible to have a “Sunday-go-to-Meeting” relationship with a God who has made it so personal.

After I turned two, the doctors stopped telling my parents I would die, and started being doctors. They operated, they treated, they marveled at my strength, and called me “The Miracle Baby”. They treated me like I was special. But I’m not. I belong to God, and He to me. Just like every one of us.

I have been bullied. I have been abandoned. I have been abused. And I have been LOVED. I have been blessed. I have been grateful. I will forever be grateful.

Some who hear my story have said “You could be so bitter!” But I can’t, really. It’s not who I am. I choose not to treat others as I have been treated, not only because I know how it feels, but because I know how I would feel doing it. I would never inflict on another human being that kind of pain. I became strong in some ways. But was it because or in spite of what I went through? Or was I strong all along? Are we all strong all along, and just fail to realize it until life hands us a reason to see it?

I am, indeed, glad that I was born with Cerebral Palsy. It’s part of what makes me, well, me!

Be Grateful,

❤ Becca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am An Empath

I care about you. Whether we have met, whether you have hurt me, whether you (or I) like it or not, I care about you.

I have never fit in.

I live in the land of “The Greatest Snow on Earth”, but I don’t ski. I don’t swim. I don’t roller skate, ice skate, do gymnastics, dance or water ski. I won’t ride a roller coaster or jump out of a safe, working airplane. I don’t play kick-ball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, tennis or croquet. I’m not a black-belt in Karate, and I don’t do yoga. While I appreciate athletes of all shapes, sizes and genres, I am, well, not one.

I say “won’t” rather than “can’t” on purpose. I could do some of these things, and have – badly – and so I choose not to. I have physical limitations that make seemingly effortless activities require more effort than I am able to put forth (Okay, okay, there are some things I can’t do). I tried roller skating numerous times. Anyone can roller skate, right? After my third badly bruised (possibly broken) tailbone, I decided I didn’t like roller skating. My first ice skating incident caused me to twist both ankles. I don’t like ice skating. Skiing? Are you kidding? Sure, why don’t you just wax up those already slippery skis and set me on a downhill path of ice with NO TRACTION WHATSOEVER! No, thank you.

I will stand in front of a crowd of a million people and sing or speak. Scary? Yes. Dangerous? Possibly, these days. Worth it? Yes, if I can reach some of those people with my message. I’ll leave the physical exploits to those more capable than I.

It’s easy to talk myself into “I don’t want to” rather than “I can’t” in areas where physical harm is a very real possibility due to my lack of coordination. But fitting in is a whole other story. It’s easy to decide  that you “don’t want to” go skiing, because you know you lack the necessary coordination and balance. It’s a bit more difficult to convince yourself that family gatherings “just aren’t my thing”. Who doesn’t want to fit in, especially with their own family?

About twenty years ago, I asked two siblings “If we weren’t related, would we be friends?” Both said no. Basically, I’m a “goody-two-shoes” who doesn’t fit in with the lifestyle they have chosen, but the reasons don’t really matter, do they? What struck me is that two of the people who are supposed to love each other more than the rest of the world wouldn’t even like me if they didn’t “have” to. One said “we have an obligation…” Ouch.

“You’re too sensitive.”
“You need to grow a thicker skin!”
“Why do you let that get to you so much?”
And my personal favorite:
“(I know I just made fun of your physical limitations and called you horrible names, but) I was just kidding, geez, can’t you take a joke?”

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it! 

I can take a joke. I am especially fond of puns. (Two guys walk into a bar. The first one says “That’s gonna leave a mark!”) I can even handle bullying from ignorant people who don’t (and don’t want to) understand my situation. I’m pretty tough. Except when it comes to my family. And so, because I can’t “take a joke” (tolerate being bullied) from the small group of people who have literally known me for my entire life, I must distance myself. I love them with all that I am…and so, for the sake of self-preservation, I must do so from a distance.

I love you.
I can feel you.
I can hear your thoughts (no, I’m not a mind-reader).
I can tell authentic souls from those less so.
know when you’re lying.
I am an Empath.

I will no longer second-guess myself when I know that someone is being untruthful. I will not brush off a “bad feeling” when I meet someone. I have done this my entire life, often to my own detriment, because I don’t want to make accusations. This ends NOW. I may not call you out for it, but rest assured, I know.

I have spent 50 years wondering what was “wrong” with me. No more. Some are given a gift of discernment, and I am one of the fortunate. From this day forward, God can count on me to use it. I lose my patience in the face of injustice or in-authenticity. I struggle with the mean people whom others praise. Can’t they see it? Why can’t they all see it? I have been told by others (and often accepted it as truth) that I was overreacting. That I need to “just let it go”, and have wondered why that is so difficult for me. Am I broken?

I remember watching Deanna Troi, the empath in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and thinking “I am like that”. Except I didn’t know until very recently that it was a thing. If I had known that in my mid twenties, my life would be very different now. But I know now. And the changes are beginning.

I know that recognizing a person for who they are isn’t making an accusation of wrongdoing. I know that keeping my distance from a person I am uncomfortable with doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give them a chance. I know that I can love people without sacrificing my well-being. I know that I don’t need a reason to say “No”. I know that I don’t have to participate in every argument I’m invited to. I know that I don’t have to justify my actions to anyone (and don’t need them to justify theirs to me). I know that “my side of the story” is only important to others if they wish to make it so. I know that it’s okay to walk away, even when you love someone.

I know that every living being is inherently GOOD. I know that we were each made of love, by love, to love. I know that each individual can choose their path and, whatever that is, it’s okay. I’m not broken. I finally found the last piece of the puzzle! It was in my heart all along.

I am an Empath. I choose love.

Be true,

❤ Becca