Wow. 2020 was the year that ate my life. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to update my blog! Do people even blog anymore or is that an ancient practice by now? Either way, I’m compelled to write, so write I shall! Last year I was moderately depressed. After I graduated from Aspen University with my Master’s degree, I had grown so used to scrambling to meet deadlines, research papers, cramming, rushing, checking off one thing after the next. No matter what, always achieving.
After graduation, I intended to take a few months to decompress, but only a few. I graduated in April, but by June I was still exhaling. I had become so tightly wound as a student, for 10 long years, it literally took me the rest of the year to unwind. Not to mention, the pandemic. Once that $#!+show began, it snowballed, eating every good thing in its path.
I’ve decided to make 2021 “The Year of Preparation”, and 2022, “The Year of Transformation”. Yep, I’ve absolutely got the next two years of my life mapped out, per the usual. For the longest time I’ve quizzically arranged and rearranged the pieces of my life in quasi -interesting patterns. I continually tossed around multiple career paths, blindly grabbing at whatever seemed to work itself into the mix. I had never settled on any one career though. I went from being a possible business major, to sociologist, to social worker, to criminologist, to forensic anthropologist, to psychologist – dear God, you name it, I entertained it!
It’s funny how we have our own ideas of how our lives will be, and then God has HIS ideas of how our lives will be. My Dad taught me something that I carry daily in my life; he said, “listen to the whistle in the wind.” At first I didn’t understand what that meant. But after he explained it, I got it. He said you need to be very quiet and very still to be able to hear that “little whistle” that is carried in the wind. Not a natural wind, of course, a Spiritual one. If we’re too loud or too busy with our own ideas, thoughts, and plans, we won’t be able to hear that ever-soft whistle, or, God’s voice, basically. I love that. Out of all of my siblings, I spent more time with my Dad than anybody. I will always be so grateful for that! I was his life student, and he taught me so much. As I grow older, I can see that I’m more like my Dad than anyone else, and for that I’m grateful too.
I feel like I was floating through 2020, aimlessly- free falling. No ambition, no direction. Just cryogenically in a state of artificial existence. An automaton, going through the motions; content to just simply be. Now that it’s a new year, I’m excited to have gained my direction once again. This year, I’ll prepare for all of the changes that will come in 2022. I’m so excited! I’ve always seen myself working with children, as a teacher. Not a grade school teacher or a standard school teacher. I’ve always seen me working with multicultural children in a foreign land, like Africa, or South America. I didn’t know how I could make that happen though. I thought perhaps I’d end up volunteering at a run down school in a third world country. Now I see the picture crystal clear.
Last year, I purchased a top TEFL program. TEFL means “Teaching English as a Foreign Language”. It’s also known as TESOL- Teaching English as a Second Language. There are other names that are used, but those are the two main ones. Once the program is completed, a certification is granted which allows the certificate-holder to begin teaching English to foreign students, either online or by traveling to their country. Understandably, this is a highly sought after career plan. Who wouldn’t want to travel to a foreign country and experience the culture, cuisine, art scene and familial lifestyles? I’m giddy just thinking about it. 🙂 It’s possible to begin teaching with a TEFL certification only, and the pay is pretty good at that level. But, if you have a bachelor’s degree also, you jump up to another tier entirely, by which the pay is much better, as are the career opportunities. So, it gives me great pleasure to know that my hard work in academia will pay off in more ways than one.
So, I’ve had this program for 8 months now. As I said, I needed to take additional time to decompress. Now that I have, I’m excited to begin my TEFL studies. It usually takes a person 6 to 8 months to complete the necessary courses to become TEFL/TESOL certified. Naturally, I would be teaching students on my laptop, and online, at first, given the state of things with the pandemic. At some point down the road, however, I indent to do a bit of traveling to other countries, here and there, to really soak up the experience.
At some point, I plan on incorporating my children’s book, Peanut Butter Soup, into the curriculum. I also have major plans of developing a music program, and using my acoustic guitar to teach the children basic chord progressions. It doesn’t take much to teach basic chords and songwriting methodologies to children. Children are so eager to learn and therefore make excellent music students. Although we won’t speak the same language, we’ll be able to share a universal language, which is music.
I do have big plans for 2022! I’m so ready for this new stage in my life. Because I’ll probably end up in South America at some point down the line, I’m also beginning to study Spanish in earnest, in tandem with my TEFL studies. It’s important to be bilingual in this line of work. It’s not exactly necessary, but complimentary.
It’s good to be back in the saddle!
It’s going to be a good year. ❤
Self portrait/Ohio River/Jeffersonville, Indiana
For the first time in many weeks, it’s quiet here. It’s 3:14 a.m. and I really have no business being up at this time of night; tomorrow’s a school day- in more ways than one. I’m home-schooling my nephew, Johnboy, now. He comes over 3 times per week and we put in about 30 hours weekly. I won’t say where he was academically before I took over, but he’s making great progress and he’s got the grades to prove it. 🙂 Before we began, I made him an irresistible proposition: I offered to buy him a cell phone if he wrote me a report on any book from the library that was 300 pages or more. Over the next few weeks, he cultivated a careful 3 page report on Malcom X and I made good on my promise.
There are other incentives! Such as this:
I made him his favourite pie (cherry) the other day. It looks a little beat up, but it did the trick. 😉 (I also made 2 salted caramel chocolate pumpkin cheesecakes and homemade red pepper and roasted garlic chickpea hummus. It was to die for!)
Earlier this evening, things got a little out of hand, as they usually do, and Josh and I parted ways. I really hope it’s for good this time. I’m exhausted from the emotional chaos and I deal with conflict in a calm, peaceful way the majority of the time. I usually just “go away”. I like my quiet time where I can reflect and collect myself (and talk
to with God). But these past few days, I’ve felt this raging sea boiling up in me, because that’s what’s been unleashed on me for weeks now. I just reached my breaking point- I really did. Thankfully, Josh left, taking his things with him.
It’s been hard lately, but I’m eager to explore this new chapter in my life! Even a year ago, the thought of living my life as a single woman was daunting, but I lived the whole winter “manless” and got by just fine. Sure, it was pretty rough sailing for a while! And I was heartbroken. But what I feel now is actually relief. I’ve waited a really long time to be able to focus on me and actually begin a career. (Or, begin to begin a career.)
And now I’m there. I don’t need anyone screwing that up for me! I want to be alone for a good long while. I don’t feel sad at all, but I’m sure those days are coming. Pain is inevitable. I’m just at the very beginning of it all when denial is still at its peak and everything is “just spiffy”. But the gray days are coming.
I’m going to be alright though. I’ve come to a new place where I enjoy solitude- not only enjoy it, but crave it.
I think I’m actually growing up.
Lately, life has been so good. I’m enjoying my summer break, but am looking forward to going back in just a few more weeks. I can’t believe I’ve been out of school for a month now. I’m in the process of being accepted at WGU Indiana: it’s the only school in the nation with a fully accredited teacher’s program- distance ed- and it’s award winning.
So……I’ll be majoring in Biology in the teacher’s college. (Yes, teacher’s college!) I’m either going to explore the possibilities of becoming an elementary/middle school biology teacher, or using my bachelor’s to begin work on my master’s in biology (again, at the teacher’s level) or work on my master’ in DNA & Serology. Either way, I’ll have a few more years before I’ll need to make that executive decision. For now, I’m content with working solely on the Biology major.
Josh will be going back out of town on business for a few days. We spent the day out at the park (Lapping Park) walking on a trail that we officially claimed as our own. Afterwards, we hit a flea market and picked up some BBQ sauce for our new smoker/grill and Josh bought me some pumpkin coffee (for our Espresso maker) and then hit up a Chinese buffet. I feel like I’ve got ticks crawling all over me so I’m off to hit the shower.
Pours into the mouth
No matter how tight it may be
Murky depths and water
Flood the slitted eyes
Death in its black and hollow cave
Extends a hand, quickly
Slapped back by the light
Which is growing yellow
Fat and bright
Wraps itself around the scene
Like a cobra
Shedding its last skin
The breath which was muted
Comes fast and loud and rough
Eyes burst open
Liquid spills and rolls down little hills
A final sigh as breath is held
Smiles are passed around like Cuban cigars
In the other room
Filling and spilling from eyes
The baby cries
-B. Lindsey (original)
Ohio River/foggy morning/Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass f/4- natural lighting/5.19.13
I awoke this morning to find our home enshrouded in thick fog. How could I not go out and grab a few shots? I drove down to the local marina with a fresh cup of coffee. I have plans today to do one lesson in each course: Public Speaking, Earth Science, and Health Psychology (no small feat), but when I put my mind to something, I don’t let go.
Mornings like these are my favourites: the world is so still- everybody’s sleeping and completely unaware of the fog. For the past several days, I’ve been getting up early and hitting my PC and BS- that’s not short for computer and “BS” – it’s short for “prayer closet and Bible study”. When I start my days with these things and in this order, everything falls into the right places in my day. My mind is renewed, as is my faith, strength, and hope- challenges become “doable” and I have a promise of success already- I just need to do the work.
When I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wrap his arms around me and give me a big hug. I know that I’m loved, terrifically; I don’t worry about things.
So I’m off to put a huge dent in my schoolwork.
It’s going to be a beautiful day. :0)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Love breaks through…
I can hardly believe the dramatic changes that have happened to me since I last posted.
Doggy Daddy Josh made good on his repayment, and I’ve been able to pay (almost) everything off so that we’re at least back up to “barely struggling”. The stress is rolling away.
My oldest daughter returned to Bloomington- her visit was literally life-changing for me. She taught me how to meditate! I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to put such an easy practice into practice, but we had some down time at the Ohio River among the driftwood and sandy beach area. I took my school books with me (and actually read that day) but I decided to try the meditation then. I sat down in a sandy area- munchies, purse, and all of my necessities surrounding me- and sat straight up in Indian style, closed my eyes, purposefully oxidizing and forcing the air in and out through methodical, slow breathing, and pushed everything out of my mind. It’s not the same thing as burying it. I know that we (as people) have the power and ability to accept messages, both positive and negative (also known as encoding); therefore I know that we have the same ability to release them. So that is what I did.
J and I have made peace with each other completely and really fought for our friendship. Over the years, our relationships with each other have swelled and shrunk and swelled (and shrunk) again from new acquaintances, to very good friends, to fiancés, back to very good friends, distant friends, best friends, “life partners” sharing an existence and cohabitating, distant friends again, best friends again- we have learned to transmutate in and out of each other and morph into and apart from each other quickly, like water. Through it all, we’ve remained friends. I will never have eyes for anybody else, and if it were to happen, a house would have to fall on me.
That said, I’m very much enjoying my newly liberated status, and my space! I’m fiercely private (and have never even been on Skype, although several of my friends are putting serious heat on me in that area from across the pond) but I don’t get much down time these days, and when I do- I write and sing songs.
God has poured no less than 12 new songs into me over the past two months. It’s always been that way with me: the darker my days, the better and more frequent my songs. And, it’s not uncommon for us artists to bleed out our pain and sorrows. It makes for bubblier personalities! But it’s my way.
I want so much to just work on a CD; all original material- my songs in Drop D (acoustic/electric guitar and the piano) but I absolutely must power through and finish up my degree in Behavioral Sciences first. I remember what Sharon Osbourne said on TV once. She was advising a group of women to harness their attention, energy, and focus on one thing, and to devote their drive toward that one thing. Otherwise, she would be all over the place and perhaps spread herself out too thin. I think on that always.
But still, I have a scream in me- my new songs are coming out of my ears! I’ve recorded small bursts of HD video when a new song hits me and file it away. I have about 15, although I’ve written around 50 over the past 7 years or so. I’ll pull them up after the semester’s over and select only one to lay down on a 4 track and then polish it up. (And so on and so forth.)
Josh asked me if I’d like to work on a CD together: I’m down with that. 🙂
I love that man and I can’t deny it. Still, I’m learning to approach my environment and stressful situations from a scientific perspective, rather than an emotional one. This is something I’m learning to do through my studies. It’s alright to shut everything down emotionally- temporarily– and navigate through those ferocious waters, as long as they’re dissected and processed afterwards when it’s “safe” to do so. Even if it’s days later, that’s ok, as long as it gets done.
My daughter, Heidi, shared something with me several years ago that was again life-changing for me. She told me that we don’t always have the necessary tools to go back through our pasts and dig up “old bones” as it were. We might dig up years worth of buried things and not be able to reassemble them, she said. I never forgot that. She has helped me so very much, and I do have to give Brian and Brianna much credit too.
Brian Bob has come to me over the years with wisdom beyond his own years, and poured his healing balm over my heart. Brianna has shot me between the eyes with a poker face with hard truths that I’ve needed to hear- that girl can really let you have it! But still respectfully. Heidi is the “light bringer” of sorts. I’m so grateful and humbled by her endless search for truth and love and for sharing with me what she gathers along the way.
I’m convinced that I have the best kids in the world. But doesn’t every mom think that?
More good news!
I found out that all of my classes are actually open enrollment and I “accidentally” started school one month earlier than my classmates. Hence, my posting now to my blog. :0)
After paying $1,800 worth of very pregnant bills, I’ll have only $500 or so left. I have waited 27 years to buy a professional microphone so that I can record high quality songs. The same can be said for an electric stage piano, and Washburn acoustic electric guitar- I’m waiting no longer. I’ve placed an order for all of them and I am crazy with excitement! The microphone I bought (and has already shipped) is a Yeti (Blue Microphones) USB mic- silver edition. [You can click on the link to view it.] It’s a gorgeous mic! I also put an order in for this: Nady pop filter. Things are slowly coming together in the music department.
Josh is an amazing musician: his talent shines in rhythm (D&B) but especially rhythm guitar. He has a soulful, bluesy wail that hits you right in the heart when he sings. I’ll be working with him in vocal training- I’ve been a singer since I was 6 perhaps? “Perfect pitch” they call it, but these days I am so very rusty. Singing comes naturally for Heidi and me- we don’t have to try hard- it just flows out of us, but she truly takes it to a whole ‘nother level. The girl is phenomenal.
I’ll be broke again before I know it, but heck- the bills are paid (mostly) and my car has gas in it. I can’t complain.
There’s a dove serenading me outside of my window. It sings for me every morning. I think maybe I’m just eavesdropping. I received this email this morning; it put a big smile on my face:
I love your Hallelujah song on Divine Office…What beautiful melody, voice, lyrics!
Please send me the mp3 so I may share with my women’s bible study.
Thank you and God bless,
[Name omitted for confidentiality]
Oh- oh…and more good news!
I donated a copy of my children’s book Peanut Butter Soup to my local library. My friend who works there is putting it into circulation. But also, upon donating it, she invited me to join her book club in which she features local authors. I was delighted and happy to accept.
I cherish my dark hours because they bring me closer to God. But I absolutely love bathing in the Light. Today I am deeply grateful and deeply happy.
I am so very grateful today, for amazing friends (and foes alike) who have dropped me to my knees in prayer in gratitude (and agony), breathing encouraging words into me through emails, chats, and such. I can’t express my gratitude properly, but I feel new life and new love springing out of my heart today, and I can’t believe how fast it’s happened.
To everyone who’s walked me through the broken glass in the past few days, and whispered truth and love (and shared your own stories of betrayal, heartache, and ultimately, forgiveness and love- regardless), please accept my collective THANK YOU. I love you guys, and although I’ve been emotionally devastated recently, every email and talk has been another stitch in my bloody heart. I’ve made it through the storm, and I can see the shine on the horizon. :0)
I know it’s not much, but I often say “thank you” and “I love you” with photos and art. I saw this peculiar string tied around a tree in the forest the other day. I don’t know the story behind it, but it made me smile, and strangely, filled me up with joy.
Thanks again, everyone.
I love you guys.
It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath.
Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.
I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.
There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.
That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.
I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.
Oh heart, you’re going to make it…
When I first met J, he had long hair well past his shoulders. He was a total stoner, just as I was, and was fresh out of a foster home: he was 18. My brother had brought him over one night, looking for some Klonopin (of which I had plenty at the time) and sort of left him on my doorstep. My brother was inebriated and wandered off into the night, having left his friend behind.
I had lost two of my children to the system some 14 years before, due to a series of tragedies, and so my heart really went out to the guy when he shared with me his story. His mother had been murdered when he was only 7. His Dad died of a heart attack when he was 14. He was sent to live with his grandmother afterwards, who treated him unkindly, and from there, he was placed in one foster home after the next. I was still fighting for the return of my own children at that time, and when we compared notes, we soon realized that our stories were strikingly similar, except he was “the kid from the foster homes” and I was “the parent fighting for mine to return”; nevertheless, we shared the same feelings, ideas, notions, beliefs, struggles, and hopes. It was obvious that there was an age gap- 18 years to be exact- and I thought, at best, we would become friends who shared a spectacular understanding of loss and life.
We talked for the next three days- without sleeping. We smoked a lot of weed and bonded entirely. We both knew that we had “found somebody” who could truly understand our paths, both past and present. We discovered that we were both Christians, and singers/songwriters/musicians. We were also both French and Indian (native American).
As I learned more about this amazing guy, I realized that he had a gift in the areas of endurance and overcoming tragedy. I hadn’t yet learned many lessons that he had learned, and at some an early age. I followed him like a shadow, studying his easygoing manner, his very slow and methodical way of speaking. I noticed that he never spoke without giving what he said much thought. I on the other hand, often stuttered and, especially in his presence, was tongue tied and gushed out any ole thing my brain was thinking at the time. I completely lacked finesse and grace.
I was also extremely hot-headed. If somebody pissed me off, I was ready to roll- and I do mean roll. J and I weren’t by any means “an item” but we grew close and formed a unique bond. I taught him the ropes in photography; how to compose a shot and the importance of exposure and lighting. He soon became my apprentice and model. I painted a huge set of butterfly wings on my wall and he became my living butterfly. (They made for very interesting pics. 🙂
The weeks turned into months, and the months years. I grew to love J with all of my heart, and have never known a love so strongly, apart from my children and parents, but this was a different kind of love altogether. I’ve learned so much from him, as he has from me. We quit smoking pot ( 5 years ago) together, and we quit smoking cigarettes together around the same time. We quit drinking whiskey together and somehow, we’ve worked the worst out of each other and have polished up our best parts.
When we first met, we were both aimless, bleeding wounds in life. He’s been able to comfort me, and repair some places in my heart and soul that were dying. I’ve been able to care for him and give him the nurturing and love that he’s craved for many years.
Although he was riddled with unspeakable horrors as a child, he was able to become an outstanding academic student, which has rubbed off on me entirely. We’re now both college students and can call each other a “life partner”. We’ve literally grown up together. Saying that J is a “boyfriend” is somewhat insulting. He’s so much more. If he were my husband, there would be labels and expectations and such. We share a unique friendship, but with a love and respect much stronger. I’ve often told him that I would rather be dirt poor, living in a cardboard box with him, under a bridge, than to have a fine mansion without him. And it’s true.
And that’s the funny thing about love. It’s such a precious thing in this world; when it comes to you, you must hold it like a child, cultivate it, and care for it like the most delicate of possessions. In five months, it will have been 7 years since J showed up at my door.
“I love this little pitty…and this little pitty….and this little pitty….” J says, grabbing my toes and smiling at me. I return the smile, my heart swelling and burning with love.
Who knew it would take an 18 year old kid to make a woman out of me?
(And such a trainwreck of a person to make a man out of him.)
We’re not the same people were were years ago. We’ve merged into the same being in a way. We can give each other one look and say so many things. He picks things out of my head almost constantly- verbatim- and that’s really freaky, but so very neat. I feel like the very threads of our souls are intertwined. I speak much slower now. 🙂 And I always think before I speak.
My little car is falling apart, and so I’ll be getting another soon. I told J that I will give him this one when I do- it can be his fixer upper. He just replaced the alternator and the battery, and I love the way he stands here, holding his prize (like a caveman) – the beast- conquered.
Life can change so quickly sometimes. One big earthquake can bring a nation to its knees and everything you have today can be gone tomorrow. I think of these things daily. I can’t speak for tomorrow, but today, love is not only in my life, but it rules it. I barely have two pennies that I can rub together, but J’s love has made me a rich woman.
And I’ll take love over money, any day…
Yesterday, an amazing thing happened as I was driving.
I was thinking about all of the catastrophic things I’ve been through lately, and recalled a discussion that Brianna and I had had about God. I thought about God’s love and Who He Is as the creator of the world. I began to talk to Him, simply acknowledging Him! I thanked Him for His great love and for always watching out for me.
A warmth filled my heart, and I felt God surrounding me, completely. I could feel Jesus’ Love, filling my heart up. It felt as if the entire car grew warmer and I was swimming in love. I thought- at that very moment- that this was where I belonged, always. And that feeling is better than anything a person can say or do, and it’s better than anything money can buy- better than any drug. That feeling was what it’s like to truly be in God’s presence: in His presence, there’s an absence of hatred. Hateful things can’t abide in such truth and light.
I don’t ever want to forget these things…