Posts Tagged With: growing

Lessons From a Wandering Jew





photo credit: Peas, on Flicker

Before my back injury, mine looked very much like this. It didn’t do well with the tender care of three teenage boys, and yesterday I decided to see what could be done to save it. The poor thing was about 90% dead leaves.

My Jew is sentimental to me, symbolic. I am very much a symbolism sort, those kinds of things connect deep inside, and help me in the daily remembering. I am also a diehard fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, which is odd for me to say, as I usually shudder at the thought of being a ‘fan’ of anything or anyone. That said, “The Silmarillion” especially, but the whole “Lord of the Rings” series also, spoke strongly to me in the early stages of my healing journey, and helped me along the path. The first time I encountered one of these plants was in the summer of ’08, on a day extremely meaningful to me. I had never seen a plant like it, shimmering silver, purple, and forest green. It wasn’t labeled, but I bought it and brought it home. It was very Elven looking to me, and fit the significance of the day in my heart. I didn’t even know what the plant was until this past year! My original had been left behind when my children and I fled, and I had cried a bit over that plant. Then last year I ran into it again, and again one came home with me, this time with a name. I had my Elven plant back, my commemoration to that day.

Coming home and finding it nearly dead didn’t make me too happy. My oldest-at-home son took it down from it’s hook for me before leaving for school. I set to work on it about 9am, house quiet. I love quiet mornings. I’ve come to accept I Need quiet about as much as I Need air.

The Jew didn’t want to co-operate. Seriously. It held onto those dead leaves like it’s life depended on it, while the still living colorful tendrils fell off all over my counter with barely a breath on them. I soon had a glass of water stuffed full of tendrils and leaves, and a potted plant with all sorts of very dead, very thin, threadlike but hard as wire bare brown tendrils.

It got me to thinking…how firmly do I clench onto the dead, dry shoots in my life that I should be letting go of? And how often do I throw off the vibrant, living shoots in order to cling to the old dead ones?




Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Gardening, Healing & Growing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Steps

blog pen paper









blog steps





















I seriously need to spend some time researching formatting. Every time I think I have it figured out, I’m wrong. Persistence!!

I took a step back from everything after my last post. I know I am not in this current trial to thrash around like a fish dying on the shore, which is very much what it felt like I was quickly becoming. I have been asking Jesus and Father for some time, “Who am I, and how do I find out, and what does that mean?” I am not one who can believe none of this has meaning-not my single life being lived, not the grass growing (or trying to in Texas) outside even. As has been evidenced by much of my writing here, this is a question I have wrestled with. Who am I? Why am I here, what am I to do? Specifically, not the platitudes of “make the world a better place” and such. My initial reaction to such is always an internal “Duh…do I look like an idiot??” even if I don’t give voice to it.

I am realizing it has been a journey to accept the fact of personhood, for me. Perhaps that is a result of the abuse, the loss of identity that goes with it. Perhaps it is a result of my childhood, the constant derision of my dreams and goals, the statements of “that isn’t what you really want/think/feel/mean/etc”, and the being forced into the mold my mother had for me, which never ever fit. Whatever the cause, some of the heart work of the last two weeks made me realize I was feeling guilty, STILL, for even existing. For being. That despite thinking I had grown past it, the repeated message of “you were a mistake, if I had a choice you wouldn’t be here” beginning when I was very small was still influencing me, still cutting and tearing deep inside, still undermining any confidence or sense of “I am, and that is right and good.” I spent many hours one day with a close friend, talking through this and other aspects, and discovering that this wound is still there, unhealed. Denial is a powerful blinder. One wants to think they’ve dealt with something, and it’s done, done for good, I’m all better now, thank-you-very-much!

Unearthing that though was key. My behaviors lately have baffled me. Why am I panicking SO MUCH?! It’s not the first time I’ve been around this mountain. I’ve been unemployed and wondering where and how my children and I will live more times than I want to admit. I’ve scratched and fought and worked my way back to a place of being able to make it only to have my feet kicked out from under me, multiple times. Although I think sometimes God tries to keep my blood pressure at 210/115, He always comes through. I wish He weren’t so fond of the dramatic last minute (or second) rescue, but I don’t have much say in that LOL! What I do have a say in though is my response. Realizing I felt like I DID NOT have a say in my response, as I could not be my own person, because I did not deserve to exist…THAT has made a difference.

In the midst of that, Spirit finally said “It’s time…” regarding taking the RHETI test. I have been researching the Enneagram since this last winter, off and on, as some people I deeply respect and regard as teachers and mentors use it for their own growth. The more I learned about the origins, development, and applications of the Enneagram I began to think this might be an extremely useful tool in my life, growth, and healing. I would not let myself read about the types, as I did not want to know before taking the test. So when Spirit led, and I had a morning all to myself in quiet, I did. And I think I will be blogging about it for a while. The test was amazingly accurate, and in being so it also mysteriously afforded me permission to Be Who I Am, and gave me hints as to who that is. I am still processing, will be, and will do some of that processing here. Looking forward to that!

Also, I am working slowly through a writing course. It took me the first 2 weeks to accept that I had been accepted, so now I am playing catch up *rolls eyes at self* The course is teaching me also about myself…who I am. What is my rhythm, how do my words work, what do I need to write, and increasingly, that I *am* a writer, and I can embrace that. There are signs of life stirring deep inside, life in this area that I have fought so hard and pushed down in fear so much. Words are coming now, story pouring out. I have much to learn…but the plug has been unstopped. Thank the Lord!

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Healing & Growing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments



blog goldandorange falling leaves on wind
Fall from Flickr via Wylio © 2011 Kenny Louie, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio[/caption

Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. A little bit less “without a doubt”, now that I live in TX, but I spent the first 38 years where leaves change colors and the scent of the air changes and that lovely crispness enters it also. Colors above and colors crunching under foot and ever the rich deep green of the pine trees contrasted against it all. Honestly, I desperately miss it-fall in the northern states. It seemed easier to slow down, there, as the seasons cycled and nature herself came to a gradual halt. Winter was always my second favorite…the stillness, the hush that lay over the land. The cold that took your breath as much as the beauty of the world wearing white and sparkling with the cover of ice. Waiting was easier somehow. Hoping was too. Winter was a season pregnant with hope to me, despite all I read about it being about death-I never could quite grasp that. Winter was patient expectancy, the work being done, oh so quietly, oh so calmly, without fanfare. Winter doesn’t need the fanfare, she’s content to let Spring have that. I see her smiling softly to herself, a knowing sort of smile, as she goes about her business of setting the stage for renewal.

Despite the ache in my bones, I miss the definite seasons.

I think I’m realizing, I miss them inside also. I miss a definite rhythm to life, a sense of where I am, where I’m going, what is coming. I miss the peace, the hope, that is inherent in that. I’m not sure what season I’m in, though I do feel like scattered leaves. Hmmm….letting go. What am I holding on to that I need to just…let go?

As I type this, one thing comes to mind…this place I’ve rented for the past year…I like it. It’s the first place that has felt like it could be home in many years. And I am feeling that it is threatened, like once again what roots I’ve been able to put down might be torn up, again, and I don’t know that this plant, or my little plants, can take another transplanting. Yes, I wish the neighbors didn’t play their music for the whole street, but apart from those times, the boys and I really like it. Jesus, come…You know, Lord. Trust. You found this place, You led us here. Why do I fear? The Lord is my Rock, my Provider, my Refuge.

And as I cast around for ways to earn, so I don’t lose it, the scattered feeling is intense. I don’t believe work is meant to be a drudge where you just go punch the clock and put in your time to earn your paycheck that barely covers things. But it seems to me one has to know themselves a bit and what they desire, what burns in them, to do otherwise. I ask myself, what are those things, and none of them seem practical. Horses, sustainable small scale farming, archaeology…not easy ways for someone in prime health to earn a living. I can’t help but work towards the first two, and the last I have just accepted I will need to pacify myself with reading about. Writing? I can’t tell if that’s me or if that’s the voices of many over the years telling me I should be a writer. I became a Watkins consultant because how hard can it be to sell very high quality reasonably priced organic consumables that people use in every day life, when I can sell luxury things like a horse? Over a year later I’m still trying to get anyone to try anything…but the truth is, I hate sales. It’s hard to be good and convincing at something you hate LOL! Yet I renewed, to try for another year, because bills have to be paid, and they really are products I believe in. Maybe I’ll learn, I tell myself. I will continue to try. I loved the work I was doing with my elderly client. Being there to do the things she no longer could, to allow her to keep her independence…that was meaningful. That was making a difference in her and her family’s lives. I can go back to that, but not for at least 6 months, per the doctors, and that is if all goes well.

I would love to find a way to merge the farming, the little horses, and helping the elderly and abused. I still dream of a place people can come to, to rest and rejuvenate their souls. Paths to wander, benches to rest on, little horses to interact with, with chickens running around and flowers blooming and a few Collies to pet and cats and bunnies to hold. If they want and are able, a bit more to do…Minis to drive or walk with, brush…gardens of growing things, good things. A place where life can slow down, and souls can breathe and stir…eyes can cry as much as needed to release, and belly laughs can ring out too. It’s amazing how much people slap down dreams like that, if you dare to mention them. All I’ve heard so far is “you’ll lose everything if you try to do that” and “you can’t-you aren’t capable”. Why? I’m intelligent, I’m organized, I can plan and carry out. No, I’m not physically strong much anymore-but that can come, and it’s not like I’m wanting to use big horses *soft smile* “You don’t have the money and never will for a dream like that, let it go Tina”, a few have said. I have to say, if it’s HIS dream, it will happen. The Lord gives you the desires of your heart. We mistake that in our western culture to mean “If I want something, God will give it to me”.  A closer reading of the original Hebrew shows that it means the very desires that we have inside of us, those things that burn there–He gave them to us. And what He intends, He fulfills. I have to hold on to that.

And stop scattering myself in so many directions, looking for a way through.

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Goals and Desires, Healing & Growing, Horses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Peeling Off the Layers



I saw this a couple days ago, floating around on Facebook. Sometimes it has more than just cute cat videos! Although I have to admit rather liking the one of the cat trying to get into a small kitty hammock *semi mischievous grin*

Anyhow, it basically sums up where I feel like I have been, inside, for the past year or more….maybe even the past five, really. It is fascinating, delving into all of the things, all of the words, that “make” us, so to speak. Or that we tend to think do so.

When I was a child and teenager, I had thoughts, feelings, dreams, and interests that sparked me, that really made me feel alive. The only issue was I had no one in my life who agreed with or approved even one of them, except maybe reading-that got me “out of their hair” for a while, which was really hours on end. That was OK, it was my refuge, my way out, even if just for a time.

And when I was a child, a teen, a young adult, there were other people who insisted I wasn’t really interested in what I was interested in, or it wasn’t “right” for a girl/female, or I simply “couldn’t do that-you aren’t _______ enough”. Instead, I was to be this or that, basically this or that equating to a secretary or a wife, and when I couldn’t type 100 wpm, I was instead forced into a marriage I didn’t want with the comment from my mother of “if he’s stupid enough to marry you, you are going to!” Gee thanks mom…

It’s been 8 years now since Jesus started me on this journey with an invitation and His hand held out. A journey to healing, to discovery, and to acceptance. When I look back on what WAS, I can’t believe the miles we’ve covered! The current leg of the journey, it is dawning on me (I can be a bit slow at times on the uptake lol), is this un-becoming. The shedding of all I really am not, like Aslan peeling the dragon skin off of Eustace. I would like to say, like a flower unfurling, but that’s a different part of the process, even if happening concurrently.

I have found a curious reaction in myself to this process, however. Something nearly akin to terror. As I let go of “you are ugly”, “you are stupid”, “you are not capable”, etc, or as “Captivating” so effectively summed it up–you are too much and not enough– I find myself fearing a vacuum. That there will be nothing there. That what was, when I was young….well, I’m too old now. There have been too many hard miles. In some ways, that is accurate–I will never be a vet or an archaeologist, simply for physical reasons. I realize I am afraid that “who I was meant to be in the first place” CAN’T be anymore.

And I am wondering how to get around that.

Jesus would not lead down this road if it couldn’t be done. There is hope.

Also, a job is not the definition of “who I am”, or “who I was meant to be”. Nor is past experience, though I fully believe He intends to use that, mold it like clay, into something much more wonderful than it was intended.

So, how do you know who YOU are? What all makes that up?

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Goals and Desires, Healing & Growing, Pain and mourning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Processing When It’s Not What You Want To Hear

“Although the world is full of pain and suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it”-Helen Keller

It’s amazing the things one uncovers in oneself when they get bad news. I grew up reading of Helen Keller, and of Laura Bridgman…her biography, “Child of the Silent Night”, was one of my favorite books and I read it over and over. I often thought, if they can live with what they had to, then so could I. I could be strong too, bear up bravely, be longsuffering and patient no matter what life or others threw at me. I had a neighbor, a wonderful woman, with severe arthritis. She nonetheless always was peaceful, gentle, strong, patient. I learned a lot from her, and from trying to be like her. She led me to Jesus as a very small child, and taught me how to try to live like him. We could use many more like her, today, but that’s another post for another day.

I’ve been lamenting what I realized was a loss of “that” Tina, this year. I realized somewhere around last Christmas that something in me had shifted at some point in time, and I had lost that attitude, and that peace. I wasn’t sure where or when, exactly. But I began to ask Jesus to help me get back to “me”, to that which had been lost to the pain of life somewhere along the way and replaced by a subtle undercurrent (or maybe not so subtle? Am I brave enough to ask those in my life?) of regret, anger, and bitterness.

And July 14th I find myself unable to move in pain that made 35 hours of labor questionably painful, and the kidney stones I’ve had, too.

I need to apologize to anyone I’ve ever not been sympathetic enough of regarding their back injuries. I understand now.

I’m one of those millions of uninsured people, who fell through the cracks of the ACA and therefore still am. I’ll be writing a few posts on that, I’m sure. I know what poverty is…I grew up in it, I’ve lived it. I’ve fought my whole life to get out, and I will. But wow we treat poor people wrong, in general. Anyhow, I said that was another post, sorry! Long story short, I finally got an MRI done last week, and this Tuesday finally found out why the pain. More than one ruptured disc, stenosis, other degenerative issues, leaking.

I tried to be relieved at the news. It could have been a good deal worse, from what I understand, and at the same time justified the pain I’ve been in-I’m not a wimp. Yet…

I’ve been wrestling inside for 2 days over it now. And I found some anger. I found the resentment, the bitter, the “I don’t deserve this, why me?”. I’ve been wrestling more with my response than with the diagnosis. What do I mean “why me?” Why me because a horse trampled me, that’s why. Life happens. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not. I really seriously DO NOT LIKE entitlement attitude, but my response was striking me as just that. Time to dig…this weed has to go. That’s Not Me. I know “me” better than that.

To be honest, I’m still digging. I’ve dug it up as far back as the early years of an abusive marriage, that I did not want in the first place, and the mode of survival that I went to, the type of inner defense I set up. I want to get all of the roots of this weed, I want it out of me, out of my life. It is poison, and I refuse to drink it anymore.

Yes, there is suffering in life. If Jesus Himself was matured through suffering, who do I think I am that it will take any less for me to mature? Wow…OK, human arrogance too! So I was appreciative when I came across the Helen quote, as I had forgotten. The world IS also full of the overcoming of it, and I will be one of them who do. I will make the changes needed. I will lose weight, I will exercise (once I am able), I will find other ways to work and provide for my children. It will be an adventure, not a loss. And who doesn’t love a good adventure?

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Healing & Growing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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