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A Simple Writing Exercise? Nooooo

Dunes and seashore

{An allegory – a symbolic representation}

{A parable – usually a short, fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle}

I shield my eyes from the sun as I admire the glistening ocean waters from the top of the dunes. The sand is hot and rough on my bare feet and as soon as my shoes come off my feet are encompassed by the weight and depth of it. No matter how I choose to walk on the dune, I feel like I’m sinking and that I might not get down to the shore. I could get exhausted by the time I get to the water’s edge.

(Is it here, at the beginning, that the difficulty is obvious…that the next step might be in the wrong direction? Is it tough-going because you’re treading into something you shouldn’t?)

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The short piece of allegory above was part of a writing exercise from December 2012.

In January 2013 I began writing down the exercise and that’s all it was…an exercise..

{It’s amazing what God can see and reveal to you before you are even ready to receive it}

I was supposed to close my eyes and think of a place and imagine all the sights, sounds, and smells of that place that held good memories.  I immediately went to my favorite place on the earth …the beach.  Specifically the beach where I spent many summers as a child.  A wonderful place that always brings back great memories.

So, I began writing about the feel, the smell, and the warmth of the beach.  Picturing perfectly in my mind’s eye a place I knew by heart, right down to the last grain of sand – every sharks purse – every seashell that I picked up and admired.

{As I wrote, I was shocked at what was happening to my perception of my written words.}

I began to see a completely different meaning that was spiritually very deep.  A mirror I guess you would say… a mirror to the deception of sin.

{How strange was that???}

So as I wrote, I paused and went back through each paragraph and noted how the vivid descriptions were like sin.  It became an allegory and I loved it.

Months later I realized I was living it out in real life and I was drowning …

because the beach led to the ocean

and the ocean led to swimming,

and swimming led to a rip current

and one human can not survive alone against a whole ocean

and I was drowning…

I stopped writing this allegory though, because I had no conclusion to the story.  I didn’t realize that it applied to me yet, but I was having difficulty coming up with an ending.

I had no solution to the drowning except for one…

The Human Chain rescue

When I realized this allegory applied to me, I was left suspended – with no conclusion, no help, no clue, and certainly no human chain to rescue me.  So, this morning, I decided that I needed to finish this allegory and to start writing this in my blog and hopefully you’ll want to hear the rest of the story…

The story is called:

A Day at the Beach, A Journey into Sin and Back

{When I publish it, I will make this title a link…}

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Life, in general, Writing

 

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Vegas, Baby ; )

Red Rock Canyon

The thought began in Winter, amongst the brisk morning air here in the South – and YES, it gets very brisk!

The idea was also being dreamed about by a friend in the {dreadfully} frigid Midwest.  It was all about an excursion to some place WARM!  A chance to see each other after a very LONG 20 year gap between visits.  Our thoughts combined to form a trip to Las Vegas – where it would be warm in the Spring AND there would be friends there to visit as well!  What a winning combination …

I longed to DRAG {rescue} my frozen friend from Minnesota for a little sun, hiking, dining out, and socializing with former high school friends.

~But~

I heard the gears grinding about a week after we talked by phone about going on this nice trip …

I felt the pressure she was straining under in her words …

I knew ticket prices were about to change when I began to hear her utter the real insecurities from her mouth.

She was living in fear – and had been for YEARS

So, I ordered a ticket for one, reserved a car, made hotel reservations for just my own room, and started making plans for things to do while in sunny Las Vegas.  And just so you know – Las Vegas has more to offer outside of downtown that you could ever imagine …

I’ll tell you about that trip after I say something about fear …

{It’s a trap and it’s full of Satan’s lies ~ Plain and simple}

But fortunately there is a WAY OUT.  There is an ULTIMATE rescue and sometimes it comes from an old friend who really wants to spend time with you and somehow starts a spark that propels someone to get some help – again.  Only, this time, her help was better than ever imagined.

She struggled with social anxiety, agoraphobia occasionally, and was then diagnosed ADHD at age 45.  Professional testing, medication and counseling were involved and she felt like a new person.

I’m so glad I asked her to go to Las Vegas with me.  I was sad that she didn’t go, but God had WAY bigger plans than two chicks hiking in the wilderness sucking down bottled water and chewing on granola bars.

So, my big lesson in this was it’s ok to go it alone, and to get past the disappointment of not having a close friend accompany you.  And most IMPORTANTLY … it’s ok to come clean to your best friend and ask for help.

{It’s ok, to leave it in God’s hands and be healed}

Well, now I’ll tell you some fun things I did in Las Vegas… I have 3 former high school friends there that I was only able to see during the evening hours due to their work schedules.  But I got some advice from them on what to do out in nature during my daytime hours.

Wow, Nevada has a beauty that doesn’t come in gold, glitz or lights.  It doesn’t sing, dance or cost much money at all.  It’s called nature – as in God’s creation – and it was spectacular!

I hiked 2 days in a row at a place called Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  Here is one of the websites for it including a trail map:

http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/

They have a wonderful visitor center complete with a gift shop and an outdoor educational area for adults and kids and the entrance fee to the park is nominal – It had to be less than $10 entrance fee for a place with a paved road, several parking areas and hiking trails, and quite frequently a great view of Big Horn sheep!

I also visited Valley of Fire State Park… which is probably a one hour drive from North Las Vegas.  Here is their website:

http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

I can honestly tell you, I didn’t see enough of this place.  WHEN I go back, I will leave early, and see more, more, more of this area specifically.  I only had time to see the windswept sandstone areas (called the Bee Hives) and the petroglyphs which are near the visitor center.

What I didn’t realize, was that although I was drinking plenty of water, I was somewhat “on fire” myself.  I didn’t know I was sick, and was at the doctor 3 days after arriving home with pneumonia AND the flu! 

While enjoying my stay in Las Vegas, I took 2 of my friends to a Big Daddy Weave concert, we ate at some fun places recommended by my friends and had a luxurious birthday dinner at the Wynn Hotel, based on a conversation I had while hiking with a waiter that works there.

Course, I’ve saved the best part for last… I also planned ahead and reserved an exciting tandem skydiving jump with Skydive Las Vegas.  After that, my friend drove me to see the Hoover Dam.  While skydiving, you can see Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam and it’s one of the highest jumps you can make in the U.S.  A mere 15,000 ft.  And I had the wonderful opportunity of being the last one to board the airplane …

So, when you’re the last one ON …

DCIM100GOPRO

You’re the first one OFF! 

skydive2

skydive 4

Yeah, I’d TOTALLY do it again!

No Fear

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Life, in general, Travel, Writing

 

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Blog Rest? Nope!

Heart Tree

I have to say that I truly need a rest from writing in my blog.  There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to type, edit, and publish.

Unfortunately that idea doesn’t seem to connect with any other part of my brain.  It’s on overload most mornings when I wake up – just raring to go!

On a regular basis now I literally grab my phone on the nightstand beside the bed to type notes.  It’s sometimes too early when I wake up and have thoughts roar through my head that I can’t be trusted to remember them by the time I get to the kitchen table with coffee, pen and paper.  Once my brain has started the download I have to be ready to write down things that I pondered in my dreams or while simply lying awake at 4:30 a.m.

Anxiety usually favors the early hours to startle me awake physically and it usually gets me thinking about stuff I don’t care to think about, so writing helps.  But it’s a chore and a joy and sometimes something wonderful comes out of it.

I clearly heard his alarm, but I tried to roll over and go back to sleep.  Just maybe I could…. but no.

My thoughts were heading down hopeless paths of regret, guilt and sadness simultaneously so I wrote him a letter.  It helped me and later he read it and I think he was good with it too.

I ask a lot from the people I love.  Forgiveness, support, understanding, compassion, and on and on the list goes.

He gives it, unconditionally.

He loves me deeply and never out of pity or obligation.

He understands my pains and my messiness.

He understands my need for a lifting of the burdens from my shoulders.

He reaches into my space – invading whatever emotion I’m holding there – and loves me.

It’s not easy.  I’m feeling unlovable quite often lately.

Some days I feel so distant and weak that I simply can’t lift my hand to reach out to him.

It comes in waves, regardless of my declaration that “today will be better.”

I convey to him that I need to hear …

“We can make it.”  “I love you.”  “I know you’re struggling.”  “I know you’re trying.”

Lately I apologize as often as I tell him I love him and I rely on him to hold me together when it’s easier to fall apart.

We won’t give up.

That’s our LOVE song…we won’t give up.

I’m so thankful for this man that I met at age 15 – That was 32 years ago but it was like yesterday…

I heard a song the other day that said –

“When does a scar become a tattoo?”

“When does the sky turn back to blue?”

“When does this broken heart that I’m holding beat on it’s own?”

I imagine those scars are healing, whether I can see it happening or not.

And I know the sky is blue, even when the days are cloudy and grey.

And that broken heart?

Well, he holds me and loves me and his heart beats for two.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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The Holiday Season ~OR~ Hold On To Your Hats!

DSC_0143

Take a deep breath ~ Relax

You are about to have an imperfect holiday season.  Trust me.

Are you ready?  Are you all geared up?

Before the extra Halloween candy is bought and dispersed and consumed..

{the panic and the rush begin}

I know this because I’m really adept at observing the junk mail and the internet.  My mailbox has been filling with innocuous flyers and the news has begin to whisper the dreaded words of “Early Holiday Shopping”

{Run, Run NOW!}

~I’m going to apologize here and now – this might become a rant of sorts~

Have we all become stark-raving mad?  (Rhetorical question, of course)

In a season of thankfulness, how can we possibly be thankful and enjoy ourselves when we feel the pressure coming on as we start filling our calendars with?? …

office parties

ornate meals

gift purchasing and giving

church decorating

home decorating

mailing cards

school plays

church plays

extra choir music, rehearsals and performances

We really have to “pick our battles” here… or where we can best spend our time or things can get out of hand…and everyone ends up tired or aggravated or both.

**I’ll take a pause right here**

  **A quick sanity check if I might**

I would have gotten this written and finished last week except I had to add an emergency to all those things that HAVE to be done because the refrigerator broke.  (and of course, it involved WATER leaking)

I quickly shopped and found a new one.  It was delivered today while I was trying to do laundry.  (I’m purposely ignoring that last, wet, heap in the washer right now that beckons me to hang it up)

Now I’m tired.  Mostly for having to remove and replace all my magnets.  The food too, although I had “HELP” from the kids.  Thank goodness they are off this week and underfoot – how else would I know it was almost Thanksgiving???

**Another sanity check**

Did I mention that a change in plans means I’ll be shopping for {last minute} and cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  I am, and I just found out last night.  It’ll be ok, the kids said I could drink the sparkling grape juice while we cook together.

I think I need a blood pressure check, or perhaps I could just have an anxiety attack now, before the stress induces it?  I mean, if we are scheduling things for every day… why not an anxiety attack?

Please don’t get me wrong here … I love the holiday season -Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  I enjoy feasts and gifts and spending the day in the pajamas if necessary.  I really love letting loose and playing games all day or building with Legos.

I enjoy decorating a tree and adding extra lights around the house to take the edge off of the dark evenings.  And lighted garland?  Oh, I wish I could hang it everywhere – or even better…get some of the real stuff that emits that lovely {real} pine aroma.

But I’m tired.  Already.

Just thinking about some of the holiday stress of the past gives me a case of the “vapors.”

Thankfully, I gave up that list a few years ago.  I learned that if we were going to squeeze in family time, it had to come first.  And I mean – only relatives living under this roof – usually.  Because those days of having them sleep, shower, and eat here  – those days are seriously running short.

And when I began to focus on salt dough ornaments, or sugar cookie baking here at home… the importance of family drew very precious.  Next thing you know, we were making cookie dough from scratch instead of the refrigerated kind.  It tastes so much better and it’s worth the extra time.

My advice?  Pick your events wisely.  Go about your activities with a good attitude and less rush and those memories will last longer in everyone’s mind.  Seriously…Take a DEEP BREATH before you grab the keys and the casserole.  There will be way more smiles, laughs and silliness to look back upon for years to come.  And occasionally some really goofy gifts and weird food.

I’d like to share an excellent recipe for sugar cookies … be sure to make this ahead of time and that way you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and take it out when you are ready to make the cookies – even a week later!

Sugar Cookies – shaped or dropped

1 ½ Cup confectioners’ sugar

1 Cup butter

1 Egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

2 ½ Cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

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Cream Sugar and Butter with mixer

Add Egg and Mix until blended

Add Extracts and Mix until blended

Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar

Add dry ingredients gradually into Wet mixture

Roll into large ball and wrap in plastic wrap

**Chill minimum 3 hours****Can prepare Days Ahead**

Set dough out for about 30 minutes

Flour surface and work chunks of dough until soft

 Roll out and Cut (not too thin)

Lightly grease cookie sheets

 *Bake in Oven at 375°  10-12 minutes

DSC_0167 DSC_0174

DSC_0185  DSC_0186

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Holidays, Life, in general

 

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Five Minute Friday – Comfort

comforter

The comforter on my bed is very new.  Which is why I can tell you – I’m not happy about the sad shape it’s in.  It has a tan color to hide cat hairs that love to accumulate on my bed.  You know, cats accumulate there whether they’ve asked permission or not… I had that in mind when I bought it actually… The thing is, it has kind of a satiny finish to it.

So, this comforter – it does comfort.  It adds a nice layer that keeps us warm on those chilly nights.  The cats apparently find this appealing as well.

Their nails, however, catch on the satiny fabric.  There are little snags all over it.

Don’t get me wrong…it still functions, but it’s a mess to look at, considering it so new.

{Still functions – but kind of a mess}

Well, you might as well know, that describes me lately as well.  A bit of a mess to look at and deal with lately – but still functioning.

A good Bible verse came to mind this morning when I saw the word comfort as our word prompt.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Me.. a little messy, still functioning, and hopefully still comforting…

*Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.*

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!

http://lisajobaker.com/

 

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Five Minute Friday – Thank You

Thank You

I’ve been stuck since yesterday morning (Friday) trying to imagine where my post would go for “thank you.”  Then, I’m late writing it because I’m mortified as to what might come out!

I’m stuck trying to get “Thank You” out of my throat.  I’ve been struggling with pain for so long and living with anxiety and depression too… It’s been easier to show appreciation to strangers.  With a smile on my face, I genuinely expressed many “thank yous” to my waitress last night at dinner.  A kind, sweet face, and a hard-working lady.

But I’m honestly wanting to say “Thank You” to God for something I haven’t received yet.  I need His healing touch so badly that I feel like I’m withholding my gratitude from Him until I receive the healing!

But, “thank you” IS INSIDE ME – I have to praise my Creator because HE is my Healer and my Redeemer.  Not because of “WHEN the healing comes,” but because HE IS THE HEALING!!!

Thank You my King of Kings – my Lord of Lords… the Saviour of my soul!

***About Five Minute Fridays and the “Flash Mob” of writers***

Our prompt comes from www.lisajobaker.com via our blog subscription.

We write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing.

We link up our blog to Lisa Jo’s site, then encourage the person who linked up before us!

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Five Minute Friday Flash Mob

 

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