Spiritual

When God is all You’ve Got – an honest look at single motherhood

Me and my Firstborn; just two grown women appreciating each other for who we are.

By: Jana Greene

Just had one of those moments that I want to share to encourage all my single mama friends. I know it’s hard to hang on, but you’re doing better than you think and what you are doing matters.
I was a single mom of two girls – then 9 and 12 – in the early 2000’s.

I went from being a stay at home mom to working four jobs at a time at some points, and being the sole provider, keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. I had no family support or encouragement. I lived on Diet Coke and cigarettes, and lost 80 pounds. (I do not recommend the Divorce Diet; it’s a terrible way to lose it.)

I had been sober for “only” 3 1/2 years at that point, and was desperately trying to hold onto my sobriety through the darkest point in my life. It is NOT I but God who was the Source of Strength.

Looking back, I don’t know how I made ends meet. Truly, it’s supernatural. The math just doesn’t work. I made $9 an hour working in a law office, and worked that job alone for months when the others dried up. How is it even possible?

I tried to make things as normal as possible for the girls. I rented a house near their school. It was a modest little house, but I decorated their rooms and tried my best to make it a home. We weren’t in a good part of town, but I don’t remember being afraid when I probably should have been. I trusted God because I had 100% no other choice. I had no help. Failure was not an option.

Fast forward to today. My oldest calls me on the phone because we like to talk once a day. I’m not sure if that makes us enmeshed or what, but she, her sister and I are very close. We were all we had for a long time and have been through a ton together.

Anyway, on today’s phone call, she says out of the clear blue that she has been thinking lately and that she feels awful for how she acted when I was struggling.

In truth, she was a handful, but also a pretty typical 13 year old. Most of them are handfuls, sassy as hell. She couldn’t have some of the things her friends had. We fought a lot. I got she and her sister into therapy and that seemed to help a little, but it was a very difficult time for all of us.

Today she said she is so sorry that she was sassy and said hurtful things. I told her that’s what 13 year old girls do. (She is 28 now, her sister 25.) She said, “Mom, I no idea about what was going on and how hard it must have been.” That she didn’t appreciate everything then, but she is just now “getting it.”

“I was a real jerk to you. I’m so sorry.”
And I told her yes, sometimes she was maybe a little bit of a jerk, but so was I. We both survived it and are closer for the struggle. And that I appreciated her kind words so much.


We parents never actually expect to hear that. Being a mom is it’s own reward; you don’t do it for any recognition. But dang, it’s nice to hear sometimes.

Because y’all….I DO appreciate it.

Teenagers (can I keep it real here?) are just awful some of the time. You cannot imagine your preciously sweet, loving kid ever morphing back into human form. But they DO.

There were MANY times I told God I could not possibly handle ONE more thing, and TWO more things would happen, and I’d rant and rail at Him mightily. When the girls needed school supplies and we were eating instant mashed potatoes and chicken nuggets for days, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? ….The car would break down. Honestly, sometimes it was such a comedy of errors, it felt downright conspiratorial.

But you can’t holler and be properly be angry at anyone without stepping close enough that whomever you’re telling off can hear you loud and clear. In getting close enough to push God away, I had to draw near enough to him to feel my wrath.


If he minded my own sass, He didn’t let on. And still hasn’t. He isn’t angry with your frustration either.


So, I don’t know who needs to hear this, IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY.

but YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB, MAMA. And single dads? BRAVO to you! Raising a child is super hard and one day he or she will tell you that you did a good job, even if you screwed up a lot like me.

And if your child doesn’t tell you, I’m telling you. Keep going; God’s got you! God’s got your babies. God will see you through.

And by the way, I pick up my 20th anniversary sobriety chip in January. Hard fought and won, and made possible by Jesus one day at a time.

Blessed be.

Spiritual

Your Words and the Strength to Bleed Them

“CUTTY SARK” painting by Paul M. Kruemcke (my beloved grandfather “Papa”) Circa 1966

“And I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding
Right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will think no more
” –  The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army

Words

like the ocean when you are standing at the end of the world

right about to fall off the edge.

Just when you think you’ve run out of sea

the world becomes round and look! 

Endless more!

More to say.

More to think.

More to write.

Units of communication,

Words,

transfused into us by our Creator.

On the waters of written language

The world takes passage in order to think.

Thought-provoking words inspire

ignite and set into motion

Kingdoms, governments and laws.

I write in order to unthink.

Unable (unwilling)  to tourniquet the thoughts

with substance or busy-ness or logic,

the flow commences with a single prayer,

“Lord, give me the words.

And lend me Your strength to bleed them.”

Words, woven together

one pitifully weak and thin thread at a time.

One narrow thread of thought,

 meaningless by itself,

white with a memory of bliss until it bleeds from the loom pink,

and then red with heartache.

Keep weaving until the thread changes to the blues of struggle

and the yellows of rejoicing,

and a million shades in between.

My history

thread by thread

word by word

becomes a sail.

Patched when torn

woven with those glorious words

for which God gives us with generous abundance.

Which God reminds us to use carefully.

To choose carefully.

To bleed wisely and weave gloriously.

Under the wind of His grace…

To sail upon.

Spiritual

Old Man Socks (a Seussical Poem for My Geriatric Cat)

Things have been so heavy lately, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote for our elderly cat who – for 18 years – has run through the house batsh*t insane in the middle of the night, most every night. It’s a little Dr. Suessical, but a light reprieve from the usually heavy blog fare. Hope you enjoy!

That Old Man Socks! That Old Man Socks!
He’s up all night, that Old Man Socks!
Socks, do you like good sleep and peace?
“I do not like them” Socks decrees.
“Unless it comes as mid-day nap,
Sleeping at all is utter crap.”
Socks, would you sleep instead of mew
When the moon is nice and new?
Would you please sleep all night through?
Is this something you can do?
I know you don’t like night time peace.
But humans need a few hours, at least.
Would you sleep at night on a sheet?
Would you sleep at night for a treat?
You do not like to let us sleep
So please count mice (or please count sheep!)
When we don our sleeping frocks,
It’s not your cue to go wild, Socks.
Would you pipe down in the night?
Would you, could you, please….alright?
Sleep in a box. Sleep with a fox.
Sleep in a house. Sleep with a mouse.
At nighttime, sleep either here or there.
For the love of God, sleep SOMEWHERE.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Love Takes Home the Prize (Because Love Always Wins)

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

Hello, dear readers.

Oy vey, this world.  What is the DEAL with it?

As I fight my own battle with depression, I’m learning that fighting it is exhausting, like trying to climb out of a deep well where the walls are slick and there are no footholds. I’m learning to be still, let Jesus shimmy down the well to where I am, hold and comfort me, and then lift me to safety. I know He will because He always does. As surely as death or taxes.

I have recently become addicted to watching poetry slams on YouTube. I love the wordcrafting and tempo, the emotion and power that go into the slamming. I would love to write poetry for a gathering of slam fans, but I don’t really have the guts to do it in front of actual people, so I’ll just do so from my little corner of the world here at The Beggar’s Bakery, where I don’t have to stutter or worry about what to do with my face or hands in front of people.

Here is my slam of the day.  It’s my first in this style of writing. Chalk it up to a mid-life crisis.  It almost has to be read aloud, and gives little credence to punctuation and grammar and all that jazz.

It may be pure awful. Something I look back on publishing and cringe.  Trying new things is hard. But hey – that’s always a risk when starting anything new. Right?

There is no love apart from God

That being who embodies us

And shines like glass inside of us

Reflecting who He is.

Not given straight-up, tidy, neat

This thing we make about ourselves

This thing that wracks and wrecks ourselves

Spills over, out, and through.

We look at life through half-blind eyes

Despairing at the poverty

Body, mind soul  poverty

that chokes and breaks our hearts.

How can you say that God is Love?

I’ve heard asked in angry tones

Broken, acrid, angry tones

Where is He in the hurt?

Has Love gone void in this dark place

Where pain crushes the human race

This fickle, tender human race

And leaves it there to die?

But I say ‘no’; do not give in

To throwing in the towel, my friend,

The towel so soaked with blood and tears

Wring it and be free.

Chin up, all creation!

Rise up, all you nations!

And then crouch down with fellow men

And make yourselves Jesus to them,

For he is inhabiting you.

It’s not by spell of your own power

But by His Spirit enmeshed in you

The Friend he left to dwell in you

Manifesting Love for you.

Like liquid gold, let it flow

Out from the vessel and into the mold

The empty, barren, starving mold

In your brother’s heart.

We see here through half-blind eyes

Through the glass darkly in side of us

But even in spite of the dark in us,

Love takes home the prize.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Stronger

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

I cannot be part of the solution

And the problem too.

I’m either helping others,

By what I say and do,

Or harming them with division,

Self-righteousness, and pride.

Do I want to be right or loving?

We all must pick a side.

I can’t be both solution and problem,

So I have to choose.

Because we – as a society –

Have everything to lose.

But here’s the rub,

We also have everything to gain,

By taking focus off how we’re different,

And honing in on how we’re the same.

We can’t afford all the division any longer,

If we lean into each other,

We can only come out stronger.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

I Didn’t Drink Today

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Twenty-twenty

What a year!

It made me want to have a beer,

Or a bottle of chardonnay,

But still I didn’t drink today.

Pandemic has me all askew

What bigger temptation I ask of you

Than everything changing in work and play,

But still I didn’t drink today.

Then there was that crappy time

Election tensions ran so high

That we all lost our collective mind,

But still I didn’t drink.

Oh 2020, you’ve kicked my rear

It’s been the longest time, yet I fear

That 2021 might step up in rivalry,

But still I didn’t drink, you see.

What 2020 doesn’t know

Is that this isn’t my first rodeo.

I took my last drink in 2001,

Replaced it with faith (by the ton,)

And my addiction to drink was held at bay

By just not picking up TODAY.

Although I will have 20 years

Blessedly alcohol-free,

It’s still (forever) paid in installments

Of “One Day at a Time” for me.

I’m counting my blessings and as I prepare

To celebrate my 20th year,

Even as the world goes cray,

I keep it by just not drinking today.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com

Spiritual

Five – A Blended Family Tale

I wrote this piece soon after my husband and I blended a family with three teenaged girls. What could possibly go wrong? 🙂 It all ended up just fine.

Five

Once upon an August day

I happened on a family,

A father and his lovely girl.

Familiar, at once, they were to me.

Two daughters I’d had all along

Bright and loving, brave and strong,

And somehow yet,

Somehow still…

Our hearts and lives had space to fill.

As time went by, soft  memories stacked

Like building blocks placed back-to-back,

Like traveling to places far away

And salty, swimming beachy days,

Talking together and movie nights

Laughter abundant (occasional fights),

All knowing each other deeper each day

And loving each other

Anyway.

Could it be that the whole five

Would find a way to survive

As not just two

And not just three

But as a God-shaped family?

So

Once upon an October day

We became that family,

A Dad, a Mom, three lovely girls

As it was always meant to be.

I gained a husband that day tis’ true,

And I’m blessed to be his wife,

But I gained a daughter, too –

Bright, loving, brave and strong

In my life.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Don’t Blink, Mama

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

So you’ve joined the club of Motherhood,

You have a sweet baby at last.

Your body still groaning from birthing your child,

Don’t blink mama, it goes too fast.

When you wake for midnight feeds,

Bleary-eyed yourself,

Savor the world where only you two

Are the world, there’s  nobody else.

To every coo and cry and smile

You quickly become attuned.

Memorize those dimpled hands,

They’ll be holding a crayon too soon.

Before you have the time to think

Your baby’s a ‘terrible two.’

Hold tight, Mama, this too shall pass,

The trials always do.

Tantrums in the grocery store,

And before you can blink,

The Tooth Fairy is coming to call

It goes by faster than you think.

Milestones come rapid-fire,

Kindergarten’s here,

Drop her off at school and then

Go home and shed a tear.

The early years go by so fast

You scarcely have time to know

That your baby isn’t a baby now,

Who told you how fast she would grow?

Before you know it, she’s a tween

“Who IS this child?” you’ll say.

Buckle up, Mama, you’ll get through,

Tomorrow’s another day.

The next thing you know, she’s a teenager,

Full of angst and woe,

It will harken the days of the “terrible twos,”

Take heart, she has time to grow.

The early days of dimpled hands

And nursing by moonlight,

Those memories will see you through,

When parenting feels like a fight.

Oh to watch her find herself,

The pride in who she’s become!

Members of the Motherhood Club,

You’ve officially come undone.

The secret that nobody says

But I’ve found is very true,

Is that your baby is her very own person,

And not a extension of you.

You’ve nurtured, taught, and guided,

And now it’s her own turn,

To figure out this thing called life,

On her own (and very different) terms.

Now you’re a veteran parent,

Battle-scarred and rife

With sweet assurance that she still needs you

In her grown-up life.

Dynamics change, my friend, you see,

The stages never last,

But one day you’ll call your child ‘friend,’

Don’t blink, Mama. It goes so fast.

  • B: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Walking in Light

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

The sun is shining brighter now,

Streaming between the leaves in trees,

Making shadows on the ground,

From their bright canopies.

The ominous pit I’ve risen from,

Though only yesterday,

Now disappears beneath my feet,

And seems a lifetime away.

When you emerge from depression,

From darkness and spiritual pain,

A thousand points of light converge,

Into a single, blinding ray.

It is sometimes much easier

To stay within the cave,

To stay stagnant in the familiar,

Instead of be trusting and brave.

But life in despair

Isn’t really life at all,

Better to walk in the Light

Than live in fear of a fall.

So hold my hand and out we’ll go,

In the sunshine come what may,

We’ll no more miss the dark of night,

But live life in the light of day.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

The Commodity of Grace

Grace is a funny thing.

It delights us when granted when we screw up.

And it pisses us off when applied to someone we feel is undeserving of it.

It slips out of the cuffs of condemnation,

It rises above the rules we think it should follow.

It holds accountable only itself.

It is pure.

Grace is golden when get extend it,

And humbling when we receive it.

It runs ram-shod over rules, and laws,

It cares not for protecting secrets,

Or making others pay.

It isn’t “fair” to us,

And thank God for that.

Grace is a thousand points of light,

A thousand Tiffany lamps,

Shining, bold, brightly colored.

It is a “do over,” for what is done,

And a fresh start for what is coming.

Grace is the Bail Bondsman who leaves the door open.

It is the Father who forgets that you tripped up at all.

It is free, but not cheap.

When all other avenues have been exhausted,

Grace chases shame out of the neighborhood.

The only commodity we are commanded to spend,

Grace builds up,

Shores up,

Holds up.

The byproduct of love,

Grace has unfathomable value,

Just like those for whom it is poured out.

Grace can be scandalous and offensive,

But it always makes it’s mark,

Washing the Spirit clean.

Trade it, give it, spend it,

Let it set you free.

It is for freedom we are set free by it,

Spread that stuff around.

  • By: Jana Greene – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Ballad of Mid-Life Sisterhood

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

Dear Mid-Life Sisters,

We live in a world that says,” fix yourselves!

And what you can’t fix, deplore!”

A world that tells us that age is the devil and

We’re not enough anymore.

We “should” be more vibrant,

Wrinkle-less, “hot,”

The world loves to tell us

What we are not.

And we agree with all the hype

When not reaching unrealistic goals,

We talk to ourselves in a way

We wouldn’t speak to another soul.

But here’s the truth, dear sisters,

We can write our narrative.

We can love ourselves much bigger

Than love the world is apt to give.

Girl, 

Heroism is rejecting all the hype that we are done,

And realizing that our imperfections

Are scars from battles WON.

So feel sexy, sisters,

Know your worth,

We’re fierce, able, and strong.

You still have the power, grace, and beauty

That you’ve had all along.

And when that inner voice says

You’re best days are on the wane,

Remember how much ass you’ve kicked,

You still have the whole world to gain!

Remember that no other being on Earth

Is quite as sassy and sage

As a woman empowered by self-acceptance

A woman of a certain age. 

  • By: Jana Greene – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Ode to (Returning) Joy

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

God,
I’ve been feeling so discouraged,
Two steps forward, one step back,
Feeling like my soul is tired,
Over extended, under attack.

Oh to have my joy back!
I know it is mine for the asking.
To gain it I must first surrender to you
The pain that my sadness is masking.
The tiredness, the sickness,
The constant striving,
On my own human power
It keeps me from thriving.
Oh, God, please be infused in me.
They way Holy Spirit desires to be.

I want to have my joy back –
That birthright you left in the empty tomb.
I want the peace – the good shalom –
You left me in that Upper Room.
The weary dark replaced instead with
Your open, welcoming arms,
The chronic illness bested by
Your protection from all harm.

Oh God, please inhabit me, my
Source of peace so close to me
That Holy Spirit breathes in me,
Breathe joy into me.

Remind me that two steps forward –
In spite of the one step back –
Still means that I am traveling
On the forward-moving track.

Oh to have my joy back!
I know it is mine for the asking.
Oh, God, please be infused in me.
The way Holy Spirit desires to be.

And all the days of my life I will be,

Yours.

  • Jana Greene – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Survivor’s Peace

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

I don’t want to be a survivor anymore,

Staggering through future’s door

Waiting for there to be more

Than just getting through.

A survivor’s a great thing to be,

It’s just not enough for me

To have made it through the dark melee

And be on the other side

Of the abuse I suffered as a child,

The alcoholism that reviled

Against me as I reconciled

The present with the past.

I waved the white flag banner high

And shook my fists at a broken sky

It is finished, and yet nigh

I’m still shaking wounded fists.

It is for freedom we’ve been set free

Not just scraping by you see,

Or living in fragility,

No slavery harness holds.

No more do I accept as fact

That giving up is giving back,

That white is white and black is black,

Redemption is complete in me.

I’m empowered by the force

That set the earth upon it’s course,

I’ll live no more with bleak remorse

But as one favored by the Source.

A survivor’s a great thing to be,

It’s for freedom I’ve been set free

Abundant and exceedingly

No more a slave to past.

I’m picking my mat up off the floor

And walking with surety through future’s door,

Head held high and in bondage no more!

More than a survivor.

  • By Jana Greene – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

Earth Suit

Art by @artistrybyjana on Etsy

A little background on this one. I have a variety of autoimmune, chronic pain, and depressed immunity problems. I wrote this to express what it’s like to have a janky “Earth Suit” because I was at a place of extreme frustration with my body. I think we can all relate to the frustrations that comes with our aging bodies. We are confined to these flesh prisons, which are both glorious and fallible. God bless us, every one.

Pink and soft, untainted,

Newborn awed by brand new life,

When I was born from Mother’s womb,

Cord cut by doctor’s knife.

God had poured my soul in it,

When only several cells,

Making a perfect vessel

In which my soul to dwell.

Customized for me alone,

This body built for play,

Face to show expression,

Hands to fold and pray.

A young and ceaseless wonder,

Against wear and tear prevailed,

This body perfect for childhood,

Exquisite in detail.

But content to be a child,

Growing up soon followed,

And before I could accept it,

A woman shared my suit.

Round and curvy and soft again,

I, this time, cut the cord,

I thought I would survive in it,

But it instead became my ward.

All the world could offer,

It greedily consumed.

Full the flesh that gave it weight,

Void the soul it roomed.

And though the days went slowly,

The years at light speed passed.

I came to see this Earth Suit

Was never made to last.

The vessel now shows wearing,

In time it will decay.

But the Spirit that inhabits it

Will never pass away.

When a soul has done it’s growing

Within the confines of it’s shell,

I will leave this strange foreign space

Ageless, free, and well.

What ticking clock can’t take from me,

What ocean cannot rust,

What thief can never steal from me,

What cannot turn to dust,

What grave and tomb cannot confine,

And moths extract a toll,

Awed now my eternal life,

The everlasting soul.

For the human body is but a shell,

A suit to wear on Earth,

The Human soul, after all,

Is the measure of true worth.

  • By: JANA GREENE – TheBeggarsBakery.com
Spiritual

I Hope You Know

Art available at @artistrybyjana on Etsy

By: Jana Greene

I hope you know it wasn’t you,
When all of it is said and through,
When damage from the floods recede,
I hope that you can still believe.

I hope you know I really tried
To reconcile the pain inside
And find a way to overcome
Before my pieces came un-done.

I was walking wounded then,
I didn’t have the tools to mend….
I tried to stick close to your side.
I failed, but Jesus knows I tried.

My instinct is to protect you, love.
I lost the strength to rise above
So I did the only thing I knew,
To protect my spirit, too.
And in time, I withdrew.

I hope you know it wasn’t you.

Afraid to open doors to ghosts
And raise the specters I fear most,
I faded off into the clear.
(I can only survive from over here.)

I’m still un-done in places, you see,
Where life has gotten the best of me,
But I love you all the same.
I hope you bear no fault or shame.

You mean the world to me still now.
I don’t know when or where or how
To make things better, so I pray
God smile upon your life today.

God show mercy on this soul
Whom I love and lost in whole,
When the pieces threaten to unbind,
Give peace to this anguished mind.

When memories keep on pushing through…
I hope you know it wasn’t you.

Spiritual

Announcing Poetry Jam Week

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

By: Jana Greene

Greetings, Dear Reader.

The year 2020….amirite? What a crazy time to be alive in this mixed up, muddled up, shook up world. I find myself at a place of un-creativity, if there is such a word. I haven’t painted in weeks. I have written only minimally. I’ve fallen into the trap of believing my own press, which is that I’m past my prime as a writer and creator.

But I’m telling that press to hush.

The other day, I came across a folder titled “Poetry” in a box of mementos. It is full of poetry I’ve written over the span of about 30 years. I (literally) blew the dust off and started reading.

And soon, tears were rolling. And I was laughing (not necessarily in that order,) and I remembered why I love words so much. Words can destroy, but they can also heal, and do so mightily. What if I publish a poem every day for a week, I thought.

I’ve got everything from teenage angst to proper breakdowns; praises and wonder, to pain and sorrow. The craft is very versatile.

Poetry is a niche market within a niche market, if one gets paid to creative it and is a any good at it. I am not the paid poet, but I am a big fan of the poem. Because you see, writing poetry for poetry’s sake is pure. When I share it, I know full well that most people won’t read my work, and if they do…

WHAT IF THEY HATE IT?

What if I’ve made myself vulnerable to no earthly reward, and I suck at it?

What if nobody reads it at all? It’s not exactly a popular genre.

I decided I can live with one or all of these repercussions. Because words can destroy (and oh what a year, what with most of the words being negative in nature and destructive in intent.)

So what if one reader walks away with one morsel of soul-gleaning or relate-ability? That makes it worth the sharing.

(This one-woman poetry jam is a representation of my gooey emotional insides; please be gentle.)

I hope I don’t make a fool of myself, but isn’t that what writing from the soul requires? I cannot make a fool of myself if I keep all the words bottled up inside where it’s safe from ridicule or worse, indifference. But where is the adventure in that? Art is a sharing from a private world. Poetry can be the vehicle that transports others in to enjoy and/or suffer alongside the writer.

So check back in the coming days for a Beggar’s Bakery Poetry Jam. Thirty years is a long time to keep musings in a folder.

God bless us, everyone. And I hope you enjoy the offerings.

Spiritual

Ode to a Husband Married to a Chronically Ill Wife

By: Jana Greene

I married a good man. Well, actually, that doesn’t begin to describe him.

When most of us take our wedding vows, we mean the words about sticking by in sickness and “for poorer,” without really expecting that the ratio of health would increase nearly right out of the gate. You expect to one day be old and frail, and have one another to count on and love, even as our physical bodies crumble. But you don’t expect to be enrolled in a crash course in “sickness in health, but mostly sickness” when your wife is in her late 30’s.

There is a lot of “mostly sickness.”

Not once has he complained when we missed an event because I’m having a severe pain flare, or catch one of the dozens of viruses I come down with each year.

In my defense, I certainly did not expect it to be this way. But I’d been sickly all my life, and “clumsy,” and “accident prone,” and nobody knew it was because I was born with a genetic immune deficiency, or that my clumsiness was really my joints buckling, subluxing, and dislocating constantly. My parents didn’t know to look for reasons behind it all, and my doctors didn’t catch it because it was “a rare disease.” And certainly, every P.E. teacher I ever had thought I was lazy or faking, which totally adds insult to injury, literally.

I was in my early 40’s when a doctor who shall ALWAYS be so appreciated became like a bulldog about all my symptoms and didn’t let go until he figured it out. I KNOW how lucky I am in that respect as well. He provides such excellent care of his patients, because he actually DOES care.

I had married my husband at 37, riddled with health issues.

I carry a fair amount of guilt for not being the wife I truly believe he deserves. He deserves a wife to go hiking with; to go ziplining with. Or any of a hundred other activities that prove so challenging to me. But as I said, he doesn’t complain. He even says I’m worth it. I struggle with that one, but I’m working on accepting this precious gift God has given me in him.

Here’s what the past 48 hours have looked like: He brings me Gatorade when I’m dizzy from the POTs syndrome, which causes my blood pressure to dip dangerously low and then rise super high, within minutes. Normal things that bodies are supposed to do automatically – like regulate body temperature – malfunction. I get mystery fevers and outrageous drops in my temperature all day long. My body doesn’t regulate blood pressure effectively. My heart rate goes bananas for no reason, and it causes great anxiety. My husband will – without being asked – bring me blankets when he knows I’m dropping suddenly. He is in tune to me intimately. Many is the evening he watches TV by himself because I am simply too exhausted to continue the day. He will go get the table fan if I’m breaking out in a miserable fever. It’s like he knows me so well, he correctly anticipates my health needs.

And then there is injury care.

When my thumb dislocates, he brings me ice without being asked. This morning, I’m having severe back pain, and he suggested a pain patch and a TENS machine hookup, and patiently applied both so that I would be more comfortable. Ice is a HUGE part of my life – I am icing various parts of my body every single day. He gives excellent back rubs. He has seen me through 9 surgeries since we married 13 years ago.

And that crushing sense of guilt that this is his reality seeps up like groundwater more often than I’d like. How do I move past that? I appreciate him so much.

So this one is for you, My Beloved. You’re my knight in shining armor, and – as The Rolling Stones sing – you always come to my emotional (physical, mental, spiritual) rescue. I’m so grateful for you and ALL that you do with nary a complaint, even though I KNOW it’s often so difficult.

I’m a hot mess, but he makes me feel like a hot little number. And that takes some doin’ when you feel like your body is 150 years old at times.

I love you madly, Baby.

Thank you for being my person.

Spiritual

Pandemics and Elections and Anxiety, Oh My! A Mental Health Check-in

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

By: Jana Greene

Mental health check-in time.

How are you faring this week?

Keeping it real, I’m struggling.

I spent the whole day in bed because of a migraine and a deep case of the blues. Just decided I was not adulting today, and that’s that.

Tomorrow I will try again; I’m going to try to get into things I enjoy (or typically enjoy, right now I’m MEH about everything.)

Coming back from vacation is always trying. Coming back to illness and election chaos and pandemic burn-out is proving to be more difficult still

I’ll hang in there if you will!

I’m leaning into God and trying to focus on the good things: Good friends, the assurance that God is all over it – all of it. Funny memes. Knowing this too shall pass.

How are you coping with these precarious times? I’d love to hear from my readers. ❤

God bless us and keep us, everyone.

Spiritual

Rising Above Election Chaos – a Call to (Hugging) Arms

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

I wish I had the faith in this nation that I used to have. Blind as it may have been.
2020 has made realists of us all, and not in a good way. I suspect that today will change everything. Also, not in a good way.
I want to believe that we will all remain friends no matter who “wins” (haha, as if there isn’t already one; the elections are rigged as Hell.) I can promise you, I will love you just the same no matter who you vote for, or even if you don’t vote at all. I will try my best not to let the results influence that love.
But I smell chaos and mayhem in our immediate future.
There will be gloating no matter who “wins.”
There will be brother turned against brother.
Everyone will feel their anger is righteous and justified.
Excuses will be made for those who riot and destroy, all in the name of politics.
“Neener neener” the cry of grown-ass adults who should know better.
And everyone everywhere will say “I told you so.”
And worse, more citizens may even take up arms against the “other side.” Property will be damaged or destroyed. (I am not negating the importance of the 2nd amendment, which I purport in the name of defense.)
So a bunch of horrible things could happen. But they don’t have to.
My fear – always – is that love itself will get lost in the shuffle of indignation. That’s what makes me the saddest.
We will forget about “personhood over policy.”
In a perfect world, the results of this election would make us look forward. We would accept them, even begrudgingly, and “who did you vote for” would again seem a rude and tasteless question to ask.
But I know in my heart of hearts that change SHOULD be made. Things have GOT to change.
But hate is never an effective impetus.
We can love people who think differently than us.
We can not respond to disappointment with violence.
Trading hate for hate is a shitty equalizer.
It is not, of course, a perfect world. But it IS the world God so loved.
2020 has proven a few things. We Americans will engage in risks that affect others in the name of being inconvenienced. We have no trouble painting in absolutes, and that wide stroke of the brush invites only division. From toilet paper to hand sanitizer, we are a selfish lot.
But we can do better. We MUST do better.
So no matter what happens today, let’s please not make things that much worse by the way we respond to what is sure to be bitter disappointment on one side or the other (or both.)
Love wins, ultimately. No many how many schlubs pass through the White House. Don’t let it ruin your day to day dealings with other humans.
Peace out, Loves.

Poetry, Spiritual

Why Should the Sky Appear Royal Blue?

This is the sky above our little cabin tonight.

Why should the sky appear royal blue

On this wild and wondrous eve?

The stars,

Diamonds against it,

A smattering of cosmic light

Against the rich, deep backdrop

Of endless, cerulean sky.

They so vividly spackle

The masterpiece

To which no man

Can assign value.

Upward look!

The ring of trees are framing it

In muted, hushed and mellow greens,

As if meticulously painted with soft cotton,

By the hand of a master artisan.

Gazing upon it,

It becomes clear

Why the sky should appear to be

Royal blue.

The sky is royal blue tonight

Because It is the canvas of the King.

– Jana Greene