What Happens at Walmart….

walmart

It all started Sunday afternoon when my son and my husband set up a swimming pool at our house. It’s one of those pools with a pump – not very deep, but just about the whole neighborhood could fit in it. Kinda like a huge spa. “Redneck Riviera” – that’s what Stephen calls it. 

like he says, "Redneck Riviera"
“Redneck Riviera”

I wanted to try out our new toy, but realized I had no swimming suit. Grabbing my coin purse, my keys and my flip flops, I was out the door on my way to Walmart. My son and daughter in law coming toward me got a quick hug and kiss and I asked if she wanted to go with me. She declined. I would too. Who wants to spend a Sunday afternoon at Walmart ,of all places! 

I had a simple plan. Run in, get a swimsuit, run out, get home, jump in the pool and relax. But it was Walmart and a Sunday afternoon-school supply weekend, of all things. Anyway, I didn’t find much in the way of swimsuits. Picked up some swimsuit bottoms and a few pair of scrubs and I was off to the self-checkout. As I put my clothes down, panic ensued after realizing my coin purse was not with me anymore. Where could it be? Where did I drop it? I didn’t feel myself drop it. Did I lay it down somewhere? My debit cards were in it, over two hundred dollars was in it – farrier money for my horse’s shoes, my drivers license and donor card- my whole life was in it! I combed the store- went back to every place I had been -all to no avail. Customer service had not had anything turned in and the ladies I asked out on the floor- employees, you know- were less than interested in helping me look.”I haven’t seen a coin purse, but then I wasn’t looking for one either,” one said with a bit of a whine in her voice. Whatever. I called my husband, panicking and crying. “There’s over two hundred dollars in there for Rigo, ” hearing myself whining now. “Just come home – there’s nothing you can do now. It’ll be ok.”  I left the building, grateful I had my car keys at least and praying my coin purse would be found.

Once at home, I decided not to dwell on the whole thing. I felt stupid for losing it. I mean, how could I drop it and not know? Or maybe set it down somewhere and walk off? That’s just dumb. (I can hear my mother saying it now! )

The next morning, I had to get ready for work early and decided to stop by Walmart. I went straight to customer service, finding for once, no line. I explained my plight and one of the ladies went into the office to check for my coin purse. In just one minute, out she came with my purse! I was so relieved. I opened it immediately to see if anything was still in there and lo and behold all my money was there, my debit cards- everything! Tears filled my eyes as I looked to the woman and said, “My money is still there. ” She said, “See, not everyone is bad” and smiled a sweet, genuine smile. 

In a bit of a stupor, I was able to push the button on my telephone and call my husband. He was as amazed as I .  Normally, I might say “What happens at Walmart should stay at Walmart.” But, i think this time, it should be told.

Thanks to the lady at Walmart and thanks be to God for answering prayer. 

Growing Older Together

Stephen, my love, Happy Birthday!
Stephen, my love, Happy Birthday!

Today is my best friend’s birthday. My husband, my lover, my everything- is a year older today. It seems like yesterday when we met at Tom Thumb’s tobacco bar. Only wanting to buy  “two packets of Marlboro”, he ended up with a girlfriend and then a wife and then children and then grandchildren. I, on the other hand, ended up with a best friend, a husband, a father, a mentor, and someone I look up to every day. Who would have ever thought ?

We have had fun, sorrow, love, hate, joy, sadness and humdrumness together. And isn’t that the way it should be? We married- he adopted my daughter, loved her like his own always,  we had two boys. We divorced. We were terrible at it. We missed each other, loved each other , called each other, remarried. The second time around- bliss- not all the time- most of the time.Every day I am grateful this man waited for me to gather my craziness and marry me  all over again anyway. 

I look forward to the next year, awaiting new experiences, deeper love, laughter and pure -D silliness. I love you honey. Happy birthday. 

There But for the Grace of God….

would you help this man?
would you help this man?

Homelessness should be a crime. Not for the homeless, of course, but for those who let it continue. Those who vote against help for the homeless – those who disallow communities to be built for them or those who choose to disallow help for folks because they don’t want their property “devalued.” Wow. Really? Before you label me a bleeding heart liberal, follow through reading . 

I have epilepsy and bipolar disorder . In the last few weeks,my mood had crashed. In other words, I was so depressed, I could only sit and cry. That is what bipolar disorder does to you. Although I have been stable with it for a good long while, meds suddenly quit doing their job- in need of tweaking. I spent the last month in great despair because the meds quit working. I don’t choose that. It is a chemical imbalance in my brain that sometimes has a mind of it’s own. One might wonder why I was in such despair for such a long time. Well, the answer to that is because it usually takes about that long to find out if it is, in fact, a medication problem. Sometimes, depression comes about because of situations arising that we are not sure how to deal with. It does take time to sort out why one has crashed.  During that period of time, it is not easy to continue functioning. It is so easy to just stay in bed and sleep through it all. If one is asleep, no pain is felt, no tears, no hallucinations, no voices . It’s just easier. 

I called my doctor and she added a medication. She had samples for me, so I went to pick them up. It worked and for a change, it was a medication which worked quickly. I called to let her know it worked and could she call the prescription in. She did. When I went to pick it up, imagine my surprise when the clerk told me it would $262.00! And that was with my insurance paying part of it!  This is where it stops being about me .

Homeless people don’t choose to be homeless. Sometimes, it is because they  are mentally ill, sometimes because they are on drugs- addicted to some drug – maybe not for the high they get, but for the feeling of “normalcy” they get from it. Most people who are on drugs are on them because they are self -medicating. They want to feel like a “normal ” person. They don’t want to hear the voices that tell them to do bizarre things, or feel scared because there is something real there . 

Stay with me, please. I told my story to say homelessness is a vicious cycle. Let’s say someone has a good job, but has mental issues and  don’t really know or understand what is going on. Let’s say, then, our person tries a drug.. let’s say meth. From what i understand the meth high is a very short time period. But, meth is fairly cheap and may make someone feel “normal.” Therefore, he continues to take it over and over again to feel okay. Well, this person  may not know that meth causes massive paranoia, mini-strokes, tics and brain damage. He does, however, know it makes him feel right. All of this exacerbates his problem with his mental illness. Jobs are lost, relatives don’t want them because they are addicts. Where else can they go but the streets. Let’s say with their job, they had insurance. Even though they go to the doctor and get prescriptions for meds, the meds, like mine are so expensive our guy can’t afford to get them. Yes, there are generics- but not on all meds. The medications that do work well are third generation drugs- new drugs-expensive drugs. 

Yes, there may be addicts among the homeless. In most cases, the person has been through rehab many times and it can’t help because being sober means not feeling “normal.” How then, can we make mental help possible for people like this? There are low cost mental health clinics, but many times, one still has to pay something. How can one pay something if they can’t work? 

The cycle continues, cities are not willing to step up to help make the situation better, homelessness runs rampant and nothing is done.

People are afraid and shun the homeless folks. Why? People are afraid of what they don’t understand. That is why I write this missive. I want people to know there is nothing to be afraid of- say hi to a homeless person. If they ask for money and you don’t want to give it directly to them, why not take them to a sandwich shop and buy them a meal, a drink, a cookie? Treat them like they are human beings. Because that is what they are. They love and are loved. They get hungry,tired, sad, happy. Just do something out of your comfort zone. They will truly be grateful.

And there but for the grace of God go I. 

My Life in Pictures or…. What Makes Me Happy

My husband
My husband
Wedding at The Gathering
Wedding at The Gathering
silly cartoons
silly cartoons
Sunbeams
Sunbeams

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beautiful sunsets
beautiful sunsets
baby donkeys, adult donkeys and cartoon donkeys
baby donkeys, adult donkeys and cartoon donkeys

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practicing agility with Licorice
practicing agility with Licorice
our children and grandchildren
our children and grandchildren

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people watching
people watching
the moon
the moon
sunflowers
sunflowers
all of our dogs
all of our dogs
this little girl!
this little girl!
surprise artwork for me from my best friend
surprise artwork for me from my best friend
sitting in the pasture
sitting in the pasture

My 'Sexy Horse Pose"

Rev. Charles Keen listens while the Word of the Lord is being read.
Church- The Gathering , downtown dallas
my art
my art
more art
more art
creating art
creating art

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My crazy husband and beautiful daughter in law
My crazy husband and beautiful daughter in law

Tough Guy? It’s a Myth

“But, it’s not really the Christian way to be strong all the time,” Charlie said to me, over a cup of Starbucks.  “God made us not to be strong, but to need Him.” 

I’d not thought about it like that – ever. As  I contemplated his statement, I realized not once did I think  I could be weak. I was brought up to be strong, pull myself up by my bootstraps- brought up to believe tears could do no good. I worked hard on not crying so I would not appear weak. It was hard work to be strong all the time- to negate my feelings of weakness, and neediness.

I felt as if someone gave me permission to be me- a person who needed help, needed God to swoop in and help me fight my demons, fight my battle. The battle was no longer mine to win or lose. It was already won.

A lot of us are taught to be the tough guy, the strong man or woman who can handle whatever life throws at us and it’s really just a bunch of malarkey.  There is always some time in our lives that circumstances bring us to our knees- where we just find ourselves unable to cope on our own. That is the time to ask for help. Don’t be afraid as I was to ask for help from your family, friends . Never be afraid of asking for God’s help. That is what He is there for – that’s what He made us to do, to be. Don’t jump through the fire all by yourself because you don’t have to.

Don't do this by yourself.
Don’t do this by yourself.

In the course of your day , when you feel weak, cry out to God- your strength and righteousness- “Oh God- how i need you!”