Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Heard It From Lou Gramm

I used follow
Yeah, that's true
But my following days are over
Now I just gotta follow through
-Lou Gramm, Midnight Blue

Following people has never worked. Trying to follow their prescribed scripts has almost killed me - literally. There is only One that I need to follow, and that definitely needs some follow-through.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Electric Moments

Have you ever been shocked? Literally, I mean. You've dragged your feet across the carpet and when you touch the person next to you, you both feel a pop of electric current. Or you think that your 110-volt converter actually works in the 220-volt socket, but it doesn't - then you touch the appliance you've plugged in and begin to understand what a "charged moment" really is. 

I wonder sometimes if I have had those types of physically jarring instances in order to be able to identify and feebly try to explain overwhelming emotional events.

Life is just full of shocking moments...moments so full of intense emotion that I can recall them with clarity and a jolt of electricity if I see something that reminds me of them. And the reminders could be anything. 

It could be seeing a new cupcake store that reminds me of my mother who used to bake cupcakes to celebrate my puppies' birthdays. And then all of the sudden I feel my body swaying and I hear that same buzzing in my ears that I heard as I was told that my mother was not going to live but for a few more days. 

It could be seeing a beautiful piece of Native American art that reminds me of my friend's amazingly talented husband who used to make wooden flutes. And then I feel my body somehow sinking through the floor like it did when I was told he was dead after a very brief, unexpected illness.

It could be seeing a group of young men playing basketball down the street that reminds me of the children in my life. And then I feel the rigidity that gripped my body as I read the email telling me that my friend's sixteen-year-old son had died after his battle with cancer. 

It could be seeing a cute photograph of children that reminds me of how I was as a youngster. And then I see a photograph of me actually standing in the very room where I was molested all those many years ago and I feel...I feel...well, there is really no appropriate description or adjective for that complex feeling.

With all of these reminders, I feel. There really is no "deflector shield" that will protect me from these unexpected moments. My body is snapping and popping with current from just typing that list. It is as if there is a complete circuit of electricity running between me and my computer.

I found an old piece of my writing yesterday that reminded me that I have never had...what is it? the talent? skill? education? I'm not sure, but I have never had some mystical quality that would allow me to convey to you the depth, breadth, or exact nature of these shocking feelings. I just know that there is electricity involved.

Hoping that your electric moments are less intense.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Desde el Monte... Find A Husband

Previous installations of Desde el Monte...


I had thought about just mentioning this couple in another post, but this story deserves a place of its own. 

Meet my friends Eduardo and Estela:

This lovely married couple was so nice to me while I was in Montevideo. I had come down to wintery Uruguay from the beginning of a hot Lubbock summer and managed to get a cold. It really was just the sniffles, but somehow Eduardo and Estela found out and brought me all kinds of medicines and comforts. That is how we actually met.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Somebody That I Used To Know

As people are getting settled into the new year, learning to write/type 2012 instead of 2011, and catching up with friends they hadn't seen over the holidays, I have noticed something that should be odd. I say "should" because it is familiar and wholly unsurprising to me, but my friends find it odd.

My friends have been talking about their holiday family gatherings. They mention seeing extended family. I hear about the traditions that they have been keeping since before they had memories. I have seen photos of several generations of a family gathered in a house you would not think could hold that many people. I have heard about my Northern friends' snowy encounters and my Southern friends' warmer pastimes. 

What seems odd to some of my friends is that I heard from almost none of my "close" family. A stark difference from when we, along with many members of our extended family, used to make a big deal out of Christmas. We even had a tradition of going to the Christmas Eve gathering of the whole community. This year there were very "close" family members that did not call, write, or text me. And to be fair, I did not call, write, or text them either. There just isn't much connection there anymore, except for faint, poignant memories of what seems like a different lifetime of a different person.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 16

Welcome back to Second Chance Wednesdays! It is once again time to turn to the People of the Second Chance's poster series, Never Beyond. If you are new to this campaign, you can read more about it and find links to all of my Never Beyond posts here.


I am sure that there are times when you have thought you needed or wanted a second chance. Have you ever asked for one, though?

In 2011, I asked for a second chance in a situation where I had made some grave mistakes. Considering how much grief the original situation caused me, I was prepared to be devastated if the answer was "no". The other person involved did not give me that second chance, but for some reason it did not bother me very much at all. I was very surprised. I guess it must have been more important for me to ask for the second chance than to receive it.

My old friend Kelly Marshall once talked to me about "wallowing in grace". I always wondered what that looked like but I have never dared try it before. God has been patiently waiting for me to take that dare - to give myself a second chance to "wallow" in His merciful love.

It is looking like 2012 could be a year full of second chances for me if I'm willing to take them. This second half of my life could be a great example of what grace in action looks like. I just have to be willing to step out in faith. I think I just might do that!

How about you? Are you willing to give yourself a second chance?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sitting Next To Satan

The past few weeks have been crazy here in my home. Getting ready to add two adults and four large dogs to our household kind of turned us on our head. We had to clean out, get rid of, pack up, and organize a lot of "stuff". We had to rebuild fences. We had to literally put out a fire (thanks for making that part of my day, Daddy). We had to switch things around and we had to shed a few tears.

The good news is that we survived it all. Hubby, Daddy, and I made it through the daunting emotional task of cleaning out Mama's room and packing up her belongings. Sister, Ricky Ricardo (nickname for brother-in-law), and the hounds arrived safely and got moved in. The hounds got boxed in to the cul-de-sac when they got out of the backyard and could not get away from us when we went after them. Hubby managed to get out of here on time to go to his men's retreat at Laity Lodge and I did not have to frantically call him back to handle any emergencies.

An interesting thing that kept happening through the course of this preparation and moving-in process was that I would find prayer requests that I had written down at various times over the last few years. Some were in notebooks and others were on scraps of paper. The requests came from a multitude of different people that I had met in all kinds of interesting ways. As I found each request, I would say a short prayer for that person again and then move on to my next task.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


With sister moving in this weekend and my eating disorder recovery obligations, time got away from me. Desde el Monte will be back next week!

Blessings to you all!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Know My Truth (?)

Oh, how I hate the memories that can still reduce me to tears. I seriously wish that I could amputate those useless thoughts. Yet there they are, taking up rent-free space in my head. I can keep them quiet for fairly long stretches, but that doesn't reduce their power. They still get a seat at the board meeting every time I assess my worth. 

Tonight is one of those nights when such a memory has come back full force. It has actually come up several times this week, not really by my choice. Ignoring it has not made it go away, although I have put some serious effort into that. I wish I had the kind of faith that thought even having these memories was happening for a true purpose, but I'm not sure I can stretch quite that far.

I called a friend when the memory came back up. I was sniveling and not making much sense, but I finally got the story out. I asked her, "Wouldn't that make you feel pretty bad about yourself?". She said, "Yes, but you know your truth now". I do? What is my truth? Is it that what other people say about me doesn't make a difference? Or is it that the opinions of me held by my loved ones really do matter and shape my world? Is my truth that I'm good enough, smart enough, and darn it, people like me? Or is it that I have been a wasted effort for many years? Better yet, which one of those ideas is supposed to be my truth?

Let me tell you a story. Maybe you can help me decide what to think about it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things I Know Right This Minute

1. Mixing too many smells (wood stain, gasoline, Cajun spices, etc.) can make you lose your appetite.

2. There are still not enough employed copy editors in this world. Sorry, but computers cannot match the quality of a live person in this field of endeavor.

3. I'm still a sucker for any dog that does not growl at me and going to PetSmart (where I see many of these dogs) just makes me want more of them. (Yes, I already have more than I can handle, but I'm still a sucker.)

4. Mexican vanilla is way underrated as a stand-alone flavor.

5. The Say Anything soundtrack has stood the test of time. Lloyd Dobler should be proud.

6. Somebody really needs to look into making character-building exercises more fun. Seriously.

7. I am now old enough to talk to teenagers about a multitude of things they have never heard of before (rotary phones, busy signals, kindergarten without computers, long distance charges, etc.)

8. Being of two minds can be very scary:

Click here to go to the Bungled Jungle, 
home of "Of 2 Minds" and other
amazing creatures.

The mundane and profound seem to mix together in life's lessons. I am just trying to be true to what God is teaching me. 


Monday, January 2, 2012

The Meditation Of My Heart

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
I remember my friend Sandra once posting on Facebook that she had chosen a Bible verse to focus on for the year. I thought that was a great idea - for her anyway. I'm not that great at focusing on things in The Land Beyond The End Of My Nose. This year is different, though. I know that I will have to focus on Godly things in order to survive. It has just gotten to that point. 

I thought about finding a verse that would help me, but only me. Of course, the thought that followed that is that is not how God works. He is not wanting Carolyn to focus on Carolyn. He is wanting me to focus on Him and those He has called me to serve. And I will have the opportunity to serve this year, for sure.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Desde el Monte... Philosophy

Previous installations of Desde el Monte...


There are several more memories of Uruguay that I would like to share with you. Today's recounting is about the peculiar way that the country came to be an mainly atheist nation. Please remember that I am not an expert on the history of Uruguay and I am depending completely on the dusty recollections that are rolling around in my mind.

What I remember being told is that European settlers - from Spain, Italy, and France - came to what is now Uruguay seeking freedom from religion. They killed and/or ran off all the natives of that area, which is why there is no early religion or mysticism remaining in that culture. Evidently the European settlers were atheists - philosophers - and did not want to be subjected to the dictates of Christianity or any other religion.