Stuff Around the House

It’s that time of year at our house. The time of year when everything we own begins to fall apart. Yep. When it’s that time , there is no winning against home products. I have to admit this time has lasted a lot longer than previous eras.

Okay, so one day when everyone (read the whole world) was at my house, the Keurig coffee pot decided to quit making coffee. I have one of those small ones, red, if you please, not the full size Keurig. Our full size Keurig lasted about three years ,which is a record for me and a coffee pot. But, this little red Keurig I bought that day lasted only a couple of months. I would put the water and the coffee in the pot, turn on brew and nothing. I’d try again and it would brew. The next time, nothing, then, brew. This went on and on until I finally got an old fashioned (which not so long ago was the standard pot) coffee maker. Oh my! I was so spoiled by the Keurig. Perfect coffee everytime. Standard pot? Not so much. Either it was too strong (my husband loves strong coffee) or it wasn’t strong enough.  How did I ever survive with a Mr. Coffee pot? The world will never know, I’m afraid. At any rate, my Keurig finally just gave up the ghost. Or so I thought.

As I was preparing to write this  blog, I was looking for images of things that had broken around our house. I wanted this to be a pretty visual blog entry so everyone would know the chaos that has ensued at our house. What I found was a photo of a broken Keurig with someone sticking a paper clip in the orifice. I brought up the photo and there was, lo and  behold, an article about Keurigs you thought were dead. I read the article in hopes of reviving my poor little Keurig (and me). According to the article, I was to put said paper clip in the orifices and turn it round and round, thus dislodging any bits of coffee, debris, minerals from water, etc from the orifice. Then, I was to descale it with vinegar and water. I was somewhat sure nothing would help poor old Mr. Keurig, but to my surprise, when I put the water and vinegar in, it started  boiling the water straightaway. Previously, this step was skipped in the brewing process, and so no brewing took place. But, I had brewing going! Still skeptical, I let it brew with the water and vinegar, turned it off, poured out the vinegar water from the cup, filled up the Keurig and did it again. IT WORKED! But, I was still not convinced and ran it two more times before trying to brew a cup of coffee. The coffee was made and it was the perfect cup. Mind you, I’m still a bit skeptical that it is well and truly fixed. But, we’ll see with time.

So, my original blog post will stay in my head, but if you have a Keurig and you think it may be broken, get a paper clip, stick it in the orifice that punctures the coffee container, wash everything you can wash, use half water, half vinegar and wash that thing out!  For those who already knew that, no “i told you so’s please. I already feel kinda dumb that I didn’t know to do that, and kinda smart because I fixed it! I’m so excited.

Note to my husband: Honey, you make the best coffee when you know it’s for me, but when it’s for you, it’s just tooo strong for me. But, I love you!

 

 

A Forced Break

Bipolar. It can be heartless and debilitating. I have talked about it before and it has been a long time since it has reared it’s ugly head.

I chose to take on another job to help with things around the house and help alleviate expenses. I knew it was a risk to take, but I wanted to see if I was up for the challenge. Turns out, not so much. Things went well for a couple of weeks and then it was all downhill from there.

A person with Bipolar Disorder has to have a stable environment, a stability in their lives that doesn’t have to remain static, but should be close… a sameness- no surprises, no ups and downs. Or at least not often. When one is working two jobs , that stability is just not there.

Because I put too much on myself, I crashed. It was a hard one this time. My body and mind just put a stop to the whole thing. I didn’t want to talk, write, work or anything else. Just sleep-a sweet release. I put a call into the doctor and got the meds I needed to regain my stability. It took a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, but I’m finally back and going strong.

A crash is like being in a black hole, spiraling  further and further down until, at last, you’ve hit bottom and don’t even feel like trying to get up. It’s like having no energy to engage or be engaged in anything and sleep comes swiftly and heavily. It is a living hell.  One’s brain literally shuts down and there are no words to utter, there are no songs to sing, there is no joy to be had. That must be what the definition of hell is .

To say that I am blessed with this disease sounds ludicrous, I know. But, I am able to sympathize and know what someone else may be going through. I consider that a great blessing. To “get” what someone else may be going through is empathy. To be able to feel that for a person with a mental illness is a huge blessing for you and for the other person. I hope this helps someone to understand the ups and downs of mental illness.

I was finally able to work on Book 2 of The Conservative Congregant today  and it felt so good to write again.  And to be able to blog as well was just icing on the cake!

I’ll be back soon with thoughts on something totally different! Have a good night friends.

 

Writing is like a Prayer

just say what you mean.
just say what you mean.

“To write is to pray.”- Paula Walker Baker- yep, I think I made that up all by myself- just now as I thought about what I was going to write.

I wonder if you have ever read blogs or stories in which the language is flowery, using unnecessary words, phrases, cliches or what have you? Well, I have and I have heard people who pray in that same language.

Me? Well, I like to write like I talk. I don’t want any pretense when I write- just want a good conversation piece- even if it is only with myself.

We had a guy at a church I attended once who would pray frequently. I guess the pastor loved his prayers, because he was called on an awful lot- but I found them boring, flowery and somewhat presumptious. Because I was a teenager, I wondered to anyone who would listen why this man insisted on praying like that. I mean, doesn’t God know what you mean to say? Doesn’t He already know our hearts and isn’t He just waiting for us to come to Him and tell Him our issues or requests in our own words, sans flowery agenda. No, when I write, it may not be in the “correct ” form for – say- an English teacher- maybe not even for a publisher- but it is the correct form for me.

I like writing like I talk. I realize that folks who don’t know me have no idea how I sound- where my inflections are or if there is any inflection. Maybe they think me monotone. But, I get the idea they know from how I write what I mean. If I want to say something, dadgum it, I’m just going to say it. I don’t want to pussyfoot around it. I just want to say it and have done with it. And I have done so- many times! And when I pray, I want to speak to God in easy conversations. It’s difficult for some of us, me included sometimes to pray. When I go to God, I don’t want to complicate it with a lot of words I may not be sure of the meaning. What’s the point in that? No, I want to say, “Hey God, help me with this deal. I’ve tried to figure out how to handle it and I’m at a loss. So, I need your help now. Oh and if You could see Your way clear to heal (insert name here), I sure would appreciate it. I’m kinda scared and I need You to help me out there. Thank you and forgive me of my sins.  Amen.”  That’s it -done. No flowery words, no what-not. I think He gets it.

pray  simply; easily
pray simply; easily

Do you?

The Best Life is the Good Life For Me

There are times I feel like my life has been hard. I have had hard times- we all have. But, today, while riding my horse, I passed my husband who was riding his lawn mower, mowing the pasture. A wry smile came across my face as I realized, not for the first time, how wonderful my life really is. My husband mowing the lawn on his day off while I rode my horse. Amazing!

Some might wonder why I think this is such a big deal. Well, the reason is because we were, at one time, both city kids, both terribly spoiled, woefully oblivious to other folks plights, but struggling to stay afloat with our little family of a daughter and two young boys.  Oh, we knew there were other people worse off than us. We were sure of that. We had no idea who they might be, but  we knew they existed.

My youngest son, Micah, was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a lung and endocrine disease- so far without a cure. We found out when he was about 9 weeks old. My older son, David was about 22 months when Micah was born. My daughter Amanda, was almost 13 . We were in and out of Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas seemingly all the time. It had become like a revolving door. Micah’s CF was pretty well under control after he was about 5, I suppose. At 9, he was back in the hospital and then again not for 11 years. We have been blessed. Very blessed. It didn’t seem so at the time. Funny how time changes your mind regarding your circumstances.

I say all this to say to you- If you are in difficult circumstances right now- try to view it as a learning experience. We had many a heartache, heartbreak and despair. We had times we were on food stamps, CHIPS (before that CIDC), our doctor vistis for the kids were often write offs for the docs. It was quite embarrassing  to us. Both Stephen and I had been well off within our families, so we had no idea how to cope at this point in our lives. We flew by the seat of our pants and God’s grace. You can too. Prayer changes everything and sometimes situations occur in which God is the only  one who can help, who can understand, who can hear you. Stay the course, it works out- maybe not the way we want it

A ride on a hot afternoon. me and Licorice
A ride on a hot afternoon. me and Licorice

to – maybe it works out fine- but it works out how it is supposed to according to what God wants you to know. 

I feel as if I am writing to someone who needs to hear this right now. If so, I hope my message helps, because God will make your life the Best Life. 

 

 

Preconceived Ideas? Better Think Again!

All of us have preconceived ideas about lots of things. Sometimes, our preconceived ideas have us refusing certain foods because of the color, the smell, but not usually the taste. What do you think when I say “Brussell Sprouts”? Does your lip curl at the smell of them? Do you shriek with terror? Or, do you lick your lips? What about when I say “Cops”? Does it conjure up a good connotation or a bad one? Fear? Anger? Compassion or perhaps, the phrase,

“They give their lives for our safety?”

So, then, what comes to mind when you think of homeless people? “Lazy?” “Crazy?” “Weird?” Do the words “Nice”, “Sweet,” “Funny?” ever come to mind? Have you ever taken the time to speak to a homeless person? Have you even looked them in the eye? Have you escorted someone to a restaurant and bought them lunch? Or does the mere mention of the word incite fear, anger and lack of understanding, fill you? 

I am asking because it seems we all have preconceived ideas regarding some topic or another- some words bring instant visuals to our minds’ eye. I am also asking because I used to have the same visual. I thought homeless folks were lazy, crazy, weird, scary and God forbid I ever look a homeless person in the eye. 

But, I had a change of heart when I began going to “The Gathering.” The Gathering, you may remember (because I write often about it), is a church for the “housed and unhoused” people of Dallas. Some of the most sincere, loving, funny, friendly, wonderful people worship at The Gathering with us.Some are ill, bipolar, mentally  ill, unable to get medications that might stabilize them, unable to get proper help for their illness. Most are so different than we think they are. Some made me feel ashamed I did not worship God with the fervor they did. But I learned and so can you.

“They” are us. “They” are what we might be someday, what the hidden part of ourselves could be. There is no “They” and “Us. There is,however, “We.” Because we could all be walking in their shoes. 

My challenge for this week is to start with a first step- make eye contact and say hi. How hard could that be, right? Well, it can be very difficult for some. Some folks have been taught negative things about homeless people all their lives.  It’s time to stop all of our preconceived ideas about the homeless and come to think of it, anyone else. So, practice… if you dare. Say hi, make eye contact. Maybe next week, you might have a smile. Choose one person. Make them your challenge. Step out of your comfort zone and walk in Jesus’ shoes for a day. Be kind. Love. Help someone else. I’d love to hear about your experiment.

When we help others, we forget our own troubles. Isn’t that worth it?