Saturday, June 26, 2010

Listen Up! My House Is Speaking

   Everything has something to say. I don't just mean cars for example, they say things like, "Me and my owner are way cooler than you and your owner", or clothes can say things ranging from, "I'm sporting the 'frumpy dumpy' look" to "I cost more than your house payment". Jobs speak, jewelry speaks, vacations speak, houses speak.

   The house I have lived in for the past 31 years, spoke to Dane and I when we first saw it. Not because it was beautiful and fulfilled all of our needs, ooohhh nnnooo. It said, "I'm broken and dilapidated and in need of 2 DIYers to buy me, for a song, and hug me and squeeze me and call me George". And that is exactly what we did, except for the George part. In fact, the owners of the house were just about to tear down the existing barn and make the house into a barn, if that helps your mental picture any. Our children thought that we had lost our minds when we brought them to look at it because we were currently living on a 500 acre ranch with an eleven room house, four bedrooms, three baths, sunken living room with a panoramic view of the acreage and large gameroom. We were ranch hands for a couple that lived in Chicago and we ran the ranch along with cattle roundups with horses, roping and bull castration and worming, feeding, and midwifing calves. BUT, that place wasn't ours, we wanted our own place. So....

   Back to our house speaking to us...when we bought it, it continued to speak,,,"I need painting", "I need new doors", "I need a new kitchen", "I need new plumbing", "I need city water", "I need central heat and air", "I need more than 2 bedrooms" and so forth and so on. It talked constantly to us. Piles of laundry can talk to you, so can a stacked up closet and unpaid bills and an unbalanced bank account (then the bank usually talks to you). Weeds say something, peeling paint, dirty dishes. A person can walk by and without saying a word can say, very loudly, "I have no taste", "I have no discretion", "I have money", "I love food".

   Geologists have discovered that rocks 'squeal' and scientists know that ants 'squeak' and crickets make music, when you slow down the speed of the sound they make with their legs, it is actually a symphony and choir with tenors, altos, sopranos, bass, baritones, the works! Amazing!

   I have another house that speaks, too. It's my body. That's the business that doctors are in, listening to our bodies speak. They make 'house' calls. They'll check out our blood, urine, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc. to see what our 'houses' are saying. There are people that are really into taking care of their 'houses'. They eat right, work out, drink plenty of water, get lots of sleep, take supplements. This is equivalent to the pristine orderly houses on Tofu and Alfalfa Sprouts Street. And then there are the 'houses' that are located on the cul de sac of the local junk yard. Those 'houses' say, "I have Type 2 diabetes", "I have cystic acne", "I have clogged arteries", "I have depression", "I have high blood pressure", "I need nicotine", "I need caffeine", "I need sugar"...

   There are other kinds of doctors out there...they are doctors of the spiritual kind that listen to the spiritual house speak when they say, "I'm angry", "I'm hurt", "I'm tired of trying", "I want to give up", "Why am I even here?", "I'll never forget", "I can't forgive", "This keeps happening to me", "I can't change". And then there are those that are specialists in the area of the body/spirit/emotions, that know that 85% of the diseases you are battling have a spiritual root and wants to show you how to kick it out of your 'house'.

   The medical profession confirms that the majority of the physical, emotional, and the spiritual problems that 'houses' battle, stem from fear, worry, anxiety, and stress. Skin disorders, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivity, environmental illnesses, general adaptation syndrome, gout, insomnia, anxiety disorder are only a few issues that can bring a 'house' down. The symptoms yell loud enough so a doctor can hear it and most definitely enough for the spiritual specialists to discern it. Sometimes the side effects of medicine given for the problem are worse than the problem itself.

   If my houses' siding was rotting, replacing the side effects of rotting would not fix the situation, stopping the root cause of the damage which is caused by water has to be handled. You may say, "Yeah, I know that", but did you know that lupus is rooted in self-hatred and a lack of self-esteem? Arthritis from unforgiveness? Varicose veins roots are anger, rage and resentment. Migraines are triggered by self-conflict or conflict with others as well as guilt concerning certain topics, real or imagined. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is from driven-ness and perfectionism usually to meet expectations of others. The Merck Manual will agree with it all. Medical doctors know it and so do ministers that this is their ministry.

   When you have a rash, or your hair is falling out, maybe your face is breaking out, or you have stomach disorders, it could be that you aren't sleeping, or suffer from bad breath, or you are tortured by the muscles in your neck and shoulders because they keep tensing up, or you have brain fog, it might be that you have OCD tendencies, and SO MUCH MORE...your 'house' is just the specialists...that you need some 'house' repairs!! To a physician...there's a pill for that. To a minister...there's a prayer for that.

   Just like your house is not the real you, it's just an expression of you. So is the 'house', your body, is just and extension of the real you. But when your 'house' begins to show warnings signs of potential problems, it's speaking up so we need to listen up! Self-hatred, guilt, driven-ness, perfectionism, unforgiveness, anger, worry...these are all things that separate us from God, not the doctor.

   If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in your 'house', along with your broken shudders, peeling wallpaper, and cracked floor tiles. They say, "I need fixing", "This needs attention". The greatest doctor of all sees it, knows it, recognizes it, hears it, and fixes it. That's what He does...after all He built it.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Having Another Episode

   If I were to pick what TV sitcom my life most resembled, I would have to say it is "I Love Lucy". There are too many similarities and parallels that easily make me the blond version of Lucy Ricardo. For instance, my spontaneity. Which has gotten me into trouble at least once a week for the 35 years that I've been married to my Cuban husband (actually 1/2 Cuban, his mother is Cuban, his dad American). He does not speak a lick of Spanish, even though his mother tried to teach him. He says that he doesn't have English down good yet. One thing that I have discovered about being married to a Cuban man is that they are kings of their domain. Mine is king, with a La-z-boy throne and a remote scepter, but not in a demanding, domineering kind of way. And he likes order, but my spontaneous has combusted too many times for his liking which has put a big burn mark right in the middle of his kingdom of normalcy. (I must tell you at some point in time, about when I accidentally took him mattress gliding.)

   Which takes us to the next similarity...being in showbiz. Ricky was an entertainer, my Ricky is not, but all the rest is the same. This Lucy wanted to perform and choreograph big productions and have performance teams and create scenery and design costumes, and write scripts and lyrics. I wanted to be in on everything that pertained to being on a stage. My eagerness to do all that my brain has conceived has, at times, shaken the maracas of our stable marriage. I have talked that man into so many hair-brained ideas that his common sense and reasoning had to stare into the balcony section while my brilliancy tap danced across the stage where I usually ended up in the orchestra pit. At the end of each episode, my Ricky would remember how much he loved me and we would kiss and makeup while I was coming up with ideas for a new venture.

   The only real problem with any of my schemes is that I believe that they really will work, add smoothly and cheaply to that, too. When did Lucy ever plot out a scenario that it did not turn out to be a fiasco? That was the premise behind the entire show. It would not have been funny to just have her think about doing this crazy stuff...she DID the crazy stuff...with her sometimes willing, sometimes not, enabler friend, Ethel Mertz. My Ethel was my office manager and friend June Sasser and of course her husband Henry, was Fred. They have maintained their friend status with Dane and I through years of friendship tolerance testing of the most trying kind.

   You know Lucy could be very persuasive, manipulative, and conniving. She would resort to crying and pouting in order to get her way. I would like to believe that that is NOT the reason my life most mimics hers. But for reasons like, she was fun-loving, willing to be adventurous, and wanted to include others in her world of zany-ness. That's the part of her that I most want to be remembered for. Everybody's invited to be a part of my whirlwind tour of life, if you can keep up. I've often wondered, watching each episode of "I Love Lucy", were we watching her life in succession or just random days of her rubber ball thought patterns and actions bouncing down her non-boring street?

   Another thing I always was amazed at was how Ricky repeatedly trusted her, episode after episode, even after some of the most untrusting situations had taken place. How does that happen? It goes back to the vows. The marriage vows. When I took my vows, even though I was young, I meant to make them happen. On purpose. There was no back up plan just in case things didn't work out. Staying married was it. So my antics have always been toward making marriage work, not mapping out where the escape hatch was in case of an evacuation. So when my man was not conforming to the image I wanted him to be...I conformed. When he saw no need to change anything about himself...I changed. When he required his needs to be met and was oblivious to my needs...I met his. When my love language was not being spoken...I spoke his. When I was not getting...I gave. Instead of a nutty character...I am a wife of noble character. Proverbs 31:11-12, "The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life".

    My marriage vows were like a script, rehearsed for the real taping of the show. When I spoke them, I was convinced that what I was saying was what I was gonna be doing 35 years later. I don't have a disposable mentality anyways. I'll keep something until it is seemingly absolutely worthless to someone else. Trading-in for a better model, is not appealing to me. It's my devotion that keeps my heart in motion. Work with what you got.

   The script set the storyline that my marriage was to follow. No rewrites. And no dress rehearsals. That was it. I've always said to women I was praying with or counseling, "I don't have to have been through a divorce to tell you how to stay married". Would you go to a financial failure to get wisdom on how to manage your finances? So why would you sit around a table of busted relationships and receive their insights on marriage? You go to the ones that endured the testing of time and strength of the vows. Like the Lucy Show that has lasted since 1951, it still airs somewhere around the world at any given moment. It's all there, the comedy, the tragedy, the seriousness, the insanity, just like marriages. A great script, originality, laugh out loud humor, and 2 people willing to stick it out, week after week, episode after episode, year after year, for others to watch and learn about making it last.

   After Lucy majorly flubs up, Ricky may rant in unintelligible Spanish as she weaves and bobs to dodge his spewing words. We'll all laugh because we all know that at the end of 30 minutes, he will be tenderly hugging her and she will proceed to do it again on another day. They'll keep to the script and before you know it, 60 years will have passed and they're still at it. Messing up and trusting, blowing it and forgiving, giving when not given to, and not keeping a chart for wrongs done, are all just a part you play in your own TV sitcom.

   What TV sitcom best parallels with your life? Why is it your favorite? Who are the characters? And the most important question, how long has it been running and is it still running? Longevity, going for the long haul. Making the script work. Make the vows work. That's how a long-running sitcom life of marriage is episode at a time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm Changing In The Closet

   I'm not who I was...because of  my closet. It has changed my life. I used to never want to go into my closet because it was cluttered and unorganized and filled with stuff I needed to get rid of. If I did go in it I would do what I had to do so I could hurry out, I had so many other things that I needed to get done. I knew that the job of cleaning it would always be waiting on me, so I would put it off for as long as I could. But then, I would from time to time, spend a day of guilt cleaning to reconcile myself back with my closet. Then for several days after that I would keep it tidy and in order but assuredly I would gradually give in to my old laxidaisical ways and let it go.   
   Yeah...I was a closet owner, but I would go for days and not even talk to God. Of course, I would open The Word at church but not much at home. Busy you know. Church had become only a once a week visit, much different from my usual 3 times a week. Work clutter, family piles of responsibility, and life in general hanging everywhere had me discombobulated with my closet to match. But the day came that I got VERY tired of getting what my hand was producing. I had to resolve to make myself clean my closet. It was painful, I had to try on a lot of my favorite things only to discover that they didn't fit any longer, I had to let them go. Some things were dug up from the bottom of a pile, that I totally forgot I even had, I wasn't even using it. And there was the hard, cold fact that I had put far too much stuff in there and was overrun with useless things that took up valuable real estate. Yes, my solitary place had become a shambles.

    My closet is a place where I go in and bare myself and see the real me. I don't like seeing my thighs of frustration and my rear-end of self hatred, my flabby faith, and my dimply wounds of disappointment. That's why I would stay away from my closet as much as I could, only to do what was necessary to stay fake. But as time has marched on, and I have continued to get what I get, and I was tired of getting what I got, I have relented and willingly made the choice to purposely go into the closet and change.

   Worship changes me, not changes God. Prayer changes me, not changes God. Obedience changes me, not changes God. His Words change me, not changes Him. Fasting things move me, not moves Him.While I'm in there changing, I discard the old things that keep me where I am and not progressing, or cause me to make the same kind of mistakes over and over. I also begin using again, gifts and talents that I dropped on the floor and they got covered up and forgotten. I decide to stop bringing in useless crap that takes up my space/time and prioritize what's important.

   In my closet, as I bare myself, I am transformed, I am changed and I emerge not resembling the way I was. Isn't that what you do in a closet? In my physical life I go in, prep and change and get all dressed up. My husband says, "You don't look like the same woman I woke up with this morning." In my spiritual life, if I go in and let God transform the soulish part of me and change me, people will be saying, "You don't look like the same person I knew."

   I'm not mourning the loss of who I was, not any more than I would mourn the loss of 10 pounds. I needed to change my clothes of being stiff-necked and unyielding, and doing it the way I wanted it, when I wanted it, and how I wanted it, and having an I'll-let-You-know-when-I-need-You attitude. No...the more I got in my closet, the more I wanted to get into it and get it in order and keep it in order and just let God have my junk. I did not need the polyester suit with the wide lapels of unforgiveness and shoulder pads of past hurts any longer, they were old and had to go. So in my closet I threw my shoes...that's a whole story in itself...later. And out I have come again and again, different and more different.

    Let me tell you, God did not 'twinkle-poof' me with a fairy wand and whoop! there it was going into the closet time upon time upon time...changing...changing...changing...throwing out skeletons, boxing up scars, and tossing lies I believed to be truth. And today, I am who I am because I clothed myself with His goodness, dressed myself in His mercy, I wear His right-standing on my feet, His necklace of grace is around my neck and His ring of royalty is on my finger. I'm worth it, not because Loreal' says I am, but because Jesus thought I was worth dying for so I could go and bare myself and change in my closet.

   You see, the Savior part was taken care of when I got born again, but the Lord part has to be taken care of in the closet day by day. You do know that I mean by closet, right? It's alone time with God. Taking off your facades and being au naturel with your Maker and not being able to be a faker. Be for real many hours do you fellowship with the TV? Has it changed you in any way? Fellowshipping with food shows up, fellowshipping with self interest and preoccupation with busyness will reveal the price later.

   The closet experience will revolutionize your life. Unless of course you don't want to be revolutionized. Then I would suggest doing absolutely nothing...and next year, you'll still have the same old clothes and same old attitudes and the same old relationship with God, same old results. If you're up for rearranging your closet, I encourage you stay with it and not back off, here a little...there a little and when someone hollers, "Hey...where are you?", you holler back, "I'm in the closet changing!".

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Will The Real Me Please Stand Up

   I hate fake...for a very long time I didn't know that I did, I just knew that I didn't like clowns, mascots, and ventriloquist dummies. I didn't like the way I felt when I was near them, like I wanted to, run, very fast in the other direction and hide from their fakeness.

   I've tried to use the -Be Very Still And They Will Go Away Method- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Like the time I'm at Disney World eating in a restaurant with my family and I spot Chip and Dale and at the same time, they spot me. "Oh Laudy", I'm thinking, so I begin to act nonchalant and casual and make NO eye contact...oh yeah, I was a chipmunk magnet. They beelined straight to me, not my kid, to me. They were bent on drawing the attention of the whole restaurant to our table, and if that wasn't enough, they try to make me dance with them (I'm having lunch remember?). Thanks to my husband, I have a snapshot of that occasion, my face is flaming red.

    You might say, "Jeanna, you're a dancer, you're used to getting up in front of people and dancing". This is true...but that wasn't it, to me, it was like in real life when people come up to me being all fake and in front of everybody wanting to be my bestie, and when I pass them in the store they somehow aren't so congenial. Me not likey the schmoozers. You gotta be freal to be in my show. 

     "When Mascots Attack" and "Night of the Living Ventriloquist Dummy" are the names of the two books I plan to write about my experiences with my poser phobia. Telling the tales of dog mascots coming up behind me at baseball games and me screaming so loud that the ball players come out of the dugouts to look at the scene I have so not wanted to create...and the frightening night I spent at my friend's house, as a child, with a Charlie McCarthy dummy staring at me as he lay between us. That would not have been so bad but he had taken my friend's voice and he did all the talking, I wanted her to talk, not him. I SO wanted to poke him in his big huge plastic eyes.

   Even though I require genuineness from others and myself, I find that I am also a Fake ID card carrier just like all the rest. I can be jovial at work and a jerk at home. Full of mercy for one and merciless on another. Singing 'Oh Happy Day' one day and then singing 'Oh Crappy Day' the next. Yeah, I admit it. I claim the Fake Amendment, I reserve all rights to be fake as deemed necessary.

   We all carry two forms of ID. Our real us and our knockoff us, which I hate, but just like Paul said, "the very thing I hate, I do". We see people in public places and think "I'm going to go around to this aisle so I won't have to...'Hiii, how are you?' (nodding head fakely and giving double fake smile), 'I'm great'". Or we go to church and pretend that everything is okay, even when it's not, and we talk the 'church talk' and show our Fake ID's to our church friends and would not dare let anyone see us without our clown make up on.

   Maybe I think that you really wouldn't like the real me if you knew that I wasn't always upbeat and sweetalicious. That encouraging words don't always flow out of my mouth and sometimes I think about me first. I may show up and flash my Fake ID card so I can get into 'Da Club' and be my other me.

   The real you will always come out, at some point or another. Do you like the real you? Or do you pursue the fake you? Which one makes you feel comfortable and satisfied? I know the real me likes to come home after a long day in a dress and heels and put on my dance pants and a tee, going barefoot, that's me 2 a tee. Do certain people pull out the fake in you? If yes, maybe a decision to not let those people have that kind of authority over you would be a plus. Are there people that draw genuineness from you? Those are the beneficial friendships. They won't let you use your Fake ID card.

   "What chu know 'bout me?" (quote from Lil Mama from 'My Lipgloss') Most people do know the game, they know the real from the unreal. James 1:8 says that a man (person) double-minded  in his thoughts is unstable in all his ways, let not that person think that they will receive anything from the Lord. So it's time to hate the game, not the player. Hate the fake, not the faker. Burn the Fake ID card and keep only what's genuine. So when somebody asks me, "are you for real?", I'll respond by standing up with the real me and let all the clowns, mascots, and ventriloquist dummies of the world know that I will no longer let fake use my ID card ever again.
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