So I responded...
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
The Predicted "Dark Winter"
Back in the late spring, when we were still in the midst of the pandemic, I remember a doctor on the news said something that always stuck with me. He said, "We are going to have a very dark winter." He didn't even elaborate on it, and perhaps he didn't have to, but for some reason, it stuck. If you think about it, it gets dark earlier, and the sun rises much later now. Between the shorter days, and longer nights, combined with a predicted "bad winter"---our mental health is going to be at stake. We need to do everything possible to help ease the pain of isolation and less human interaction. Some may fall into a dark pit of depression. We need to make our homes a "productive environment"---a place that has many things to do, whether it's setting up a particular room just for art, music, reading, writing, exercising or even just for playing games. I set up each room differently. I have our spare bedroom as my prayer & meditation room. I have the upstairs office as my broadcasting and Zoom meeting room, and the downstairs dining room area is the place I actually write my articles in, because it's nice and bright in there because I'm next to a huge window. I never go into the bedroom, unless it's to go to sleep. Entertainment, and all movies watched are to be downstairs in the living room. It's not great to set up your bedroom as the "entertainment room"---especially if it's gonna get darker soon. No matter if it's pitch black at 4pm, do not go to bed!
Coffee Is Life
Stop the 'Whining'
So what's worse they say.... "they say"--- getting COVID or being isolated and social distancing? I guess that depends on if you have an underlining condition. For myself, back in October of 2017, I almost died of the flu. My temp went as high as 104, I had to be hospitalized, being pumped up with steroids and albuterol nebulizers. I had what's called, "pleurisy" ---which is an inflammation of the lining of your lungs. The pain was so bad, that I couldn't even cry out in pain, it hurt so much. I never....ever....ever....want to experience that kind of illness again. So if the flu rocked my world, I don't want to see what COVID has to offer this fall. I had a mild case back in March---but if it hits stronger this year, I don't know what I'd do.
No Absolute Truth = Division
The Red Zoned Communities
As our world grows strangely dim, we are seeing more people divided more than ever. We have false information spreading like wildfire, people fighting over the simplest of things because we are all so sick and tired of being restricted. Many of us are sick and tired of being "too cautious" going out. We just want our world back as it once was....yes, the one we used to complain about.
So this winter, what is your game plan on tackling the shorter days along with this pandemic combined with the flu? What will you do for your mental wellness that'll help you cope through these dark days?
Saturday, October 17, 2020
High Bottoms and Low Bottoms
Trading Off Addictions
My Reasonings For My 90 Day Hiatuses
Fast forward twelve years and here I am, on my annual 90 day clean out, which means, I do not drink during the week, but only a glass or two of wine on a Sunday evening. I can exchange the day if I need to. But it's to know that I can stop at one drink---at one day. It also gives me a newfound respect for wine. Wine (or whatever your poison is) is supposed to be used for celebrating. It's supposed to be enjoyed, and not used for self-medicating. In the Bible, in Proverbs 36: 6-7 it states, "Alcohol is for people who are dying, for those who are in misery. Let them drink and forget their poverty and unhappiness." There are other translations that speak about alcohol being for those who are down 'n out----for the downtrodden and who are hopeless. So when I think about what the Bible teaches us about alcohol, Jesus drank wine---He even made water into wine---but He made it for what? Celebrations! You are supposed to drink when you are happy, when you are around others who are happy as well. So this is what I am trying to do. I don't want to grab the wine after work because I had a bad day. I don't want to grab the wine just because something didn't go right in my life. I don't want to grab the wine because I'm mourning over my mother....anymore. I want to grab the wine because I am happy with who I am, where I am and with who I'm with.
The Grim Reality
Fast forward three years, my abuse of alcohol became a newfound respect for alcohol. And that's the key: you can't abuse alcohol. You need to respect it. If you respect it---it respects you. When you abuse it---it'll abuse you twice as hard. When my mom passed away, I needed to cope with these 'underground' feelings that needed to come up to the surface. So I started my three month hiatus---with no "one day free pass" to look forward to. This was a strict 90 day clean out. Some days were harder than others, while other days were simply observing everything I've been unaware about. My tastebuds were impeccable (which can be a bad thing mind you) --and my observation on how people behaved while they drank was an awakening for me as well. I never 'saw' this because I was also drinking along with them. After the 90 day hiatus, my wine intake was minimal. I never went past two or three. But it was on a daily basis. I said, "Well, they say three drinks a day is moderate." Not really, when you're sleep deprived and your heart's racing from a lack of electrolytes in the early morning hours when the alcohol wears off. So now, my respect for wine means respect for myself. I save my "wine day" for when my better half and I are having a nice Sunday dinner. We both have off on Mondays and even though I only have two glasses at most, the alcohol will disrupt my sleep. So knowing that my sleep will be less that night, it's not a big deal.
You ARE Powerful!
Disassociate With Friends & Family
My point is, AA is a strange little cult. I respect anyone who was able to quit using AA, who has had success working their program, but the hypocrisy and trading off one addiction or another, as well as the judgments passed while I was in there was enough for me to leave that group for good. Instead of an "Alcoholics Anonymous"---they truly need a program to get away from the AA group itself. I know this is a very unpopular opinion, but from my experience, it's a very tight judgmental club, where only certain people are included. If they think you're not "one of them"----good luck finding a sponsor. I was denied a sponsor the entire three months of my stay in AA. A nice man wanted to be my sponsor. He'd been in there for several years. He was also gay. The director actually yelled at us. "Coed sponsorships are highly discouraged in here!" I turned to her and said, "Great. We're both gay. So now what?"
Ditch the AA. You are POWERFUL. And if you are a follower of Christ, your "higher power" is JESUS, not meshed in with anything other than the Holy Spirit.
Ok, I'm done here.
Enjoy the beautiful weekend ahead of us!
Wednesday, October 07, 2020
Early this morning, I woke up at 6:30, put the coffee on, and then made breakfast for Mad, Lola and myself. Yes, I make doggy bacon and one egg for my little fur baby. Don't judge. If I don't get up in time, Lola will climb up on me and whine right into my ear. As I was cooking their eggs, tears started falling. I don't even know why. I don't even know what I was thinking. My heart just felt so incredibly heavy. I think the gang may've gotten a few tears in their eggs this morning. Then Madelene tapped my shoulder and said, "Need a hug?" And yes. I. did. --I needed a big ol' bear hug.
When I sat down, I shuffled through emails & social media, and then just cleared my head to start work. But something stood out. My friend posts these daily Christian devotionals up on her Facebook account. In fact, my screen locked onto it---I couldn't get out of it, because I was trying to put my phone back down and opt out of the app.
This came up.
Every morning, before my feet even hit the ground, I say the last scripture in Psalm 118:24, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Always. But my mind wasn't thinking about anything sad, it was fearing the worst again. My mind regressed back to when it was March---when we got blasted with COVID, the lockdowns, the social distancing, the masks, the "time out" --- or --- the "New York Pause." The world stopped. Not a soul to be found anywhere, other than in a park or a long line waiting for food outside of Walmart. It looked like we went straight into communism overnight. I remember feeling this heaviness---our world as we know it is simply gone....just. like. that. I mourned for what was, and really didn't know if we'd ever go back to "normal" again. The phrase, "the new normal" was bullshit to me. I'm not accepting a "new normal"---that's what you say when a loved ones passes away. That's what you say if the world is indefinitely, gone. But, is it gone? Have we lost the world?
So when I sat down, and God said to me through that devotional, "In order to hear me, you must release all of your worries into my care." I guess I haven't been doing that. It's heartbreaking to scroll through social media posts, seeing people predicting the death of our president. "Oh he's not going to make it through the second wave of his illness, buh-bye Trump!" People are happy that our president is ill! What has happened to our world? Whatever happened to praying for someone who's sick? What about loving your enemies? What happened to our society? I was also reading tweets straight from ER doctors. One doc stood out to me, as he predicted the "crash" of Trump's second wave of his illness, but more alarmingly, the responses on his tweet were from EMTs, hospice workers as well as hospital staffers---they all
said hoped for the same thing.
Saturday, October 03, 2020
"I" found out the hard way why my heart rate was out of control. I found out why I was up all night, wondering why I couldn't sleep. I found out why I wasn't as productive or motivated to do much of anything. My culprit was the one thing I relied on at night to keep me calm: wine. And listen---I'm not a big drinker to start with. (I used to be.) I only go as far as two glasses with dinner. TWO glasses. You're probably thinking, "Oh it's all in your head--wine relaxes you." Well, over the years, I've been experiencing tachycardia (a rapid heart rate) which is a sensitivity to alcohol. Not all people are sensitive to it, but if you are prone to anxiety or if your chemistry makeup is sensitive when your blood vessels are dilated (which alcohol does, even just one drink) then you'll realize most of your issues stems from that nightly wine, beer or cocktail with dinner.
Let me just put this out there. I did not quit. I am trying an elimination experiment. So from the days of Monday through Friday, I refrain from drinking anything that has alcohol in it. What I found is, my usual morning 130 beats per minute heart rate turned into a 65 bpm. My 4am bedtime turned into an 11pm bedtime, with zero interruptions....well maybe to pee once or twice during the night because I'm a bit of a 'seasoned' creature. I started exercising again---just walking. I started cooking on a daily basis---enough for us and if we have some leftover, we share it with our neighbors or freeze it. I started doing more projects for work and it's been so much fun! I also started playing my guitar which I haven't done in almost a year. Most importantly, my prayer time has increased---not only mornings, but I have a nightly ritual to spend time with God. I grab my tea and head upstairs into my little prayer room, light some candles, put on ambient music and just meditate.
My grief over my parents has turned more about being content and at peace with where they are right now. They're at peace, so I'm at peace. Do I still have my moments? Of course. But I no longer stay there and entertain the grief session that can last for hours. I more or less reminisce about the good times, and forget about how and where they passed.
I've always been consistent with making my bed when I wake up and cleaning my home every single day, some more than others, some less than others. But now, I'm finding if I make everything around me beautiful, then I feel beautiful. It relieves my stressors to have everything around me look clean, neat, beautiful and comfy. Even just buying a nice throw rug for the living room made the place feel different. Sometimes changing up things in your house can affect your mood and wellbeing. I don't know much about feng shui, but I know that when the room is set up in a certain way, it does feel more open---much more breathable.
With the buzz of another lockdown being threatened, I wanted to make my home my favorite place in the world. I want to be able to say, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." And lately, even with mourning my old childhood home that I had to give up---it took a good while to feel "at home" in my new place. And now, I'm in love with my new home. Someone asked me an interesting question interesting question the other day. They asked, "If you had your choice, and money was not an option, would you pick your old home all renovated and suited up to your needs? Or would you stay in your new place?" Of course I said both. But she said, "No. One home...one choice...which one?" And without thinking, I said, "My new place. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." I finally completely fell in love with my new home, and I don't mourn over my old place anymore. I think it happened when I went to visit my old home two weeks ago. I walked around the property, looked inside the living room and saw where we would have Christmas parties, family events, or just lazy days watching Lifetime movies with my mama. Even with these sentimental memories that came flooding into my mind, I left it all there, because they were no longer there. The 'soul' of the house had left when the last heir left. I can't explain it, but going there gave me some sort of closure. It was as if the house gave its blessing for me to move on. I know that sounds strange, but if you have ever had to leave a home unwillingly before, especially due to an emotional attachment, there's a lot of heart in there---a lot of tears, laughter, pain and joy that was held in that big vessel. It's hard to just pick up and go.
So long to my Chardonnay. Until next time...
Monday, September 28, 2020
But what if you lose that connection with Him?
Where Are You, God?
There was a time when I just wasn't hearing God at all. No signs, no words from other people, no epiphanies from reading scriptures---nothing. I was getting discouraged and finally yelled at, "Where are you?" I happened to open the Bible and it turned to all of these passages toward forgiveness---not only forgiveness, but to pray for them, as well and to not only forgive them once, but forgive them each and every time it happens.
"Peter asked Jesus, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.'" -- Matthew 18:21-22
Basically, the Scripture above means that we need to constantly forgive. It's limitless. They say to "know someone is to love them," but I say, "to love someone is to know them." Know that they're human and they're going to mess up again. There's a difference between setting up boundaries and knowing when you can let somebody completely in again. But this is about loving one another on levels that are beyond what the average person can tolerate. It has to be on a spiritual level. Let's face it---we all mess up from time to time. I've been blessed to be forgiven by people who I have hurt in the past. So for me, forgiving someone in my life who has hurt me will always be done. Forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...and so on.
Forgive and Forget
Forgiving and then forgetting on top of that is hard for a lot of people. I mean, to forget means that history may repeat itself. And yes it will! The forgetting part doesn't mean that you choose to have amnesia toward it---it means that you never bring that topic back up again. It also means that you don't entertain the thoughts of what happened ever again either. And if it slips back into your mind, just cast it back out. That's what "forgive and forget" truly means.
God was trying to tell me that I was harboring resentment in my heart, by not speaking to someone in my life who I love, who happened to hurt me too. I 'said' I forgave them, but the act of not speaking to them again was an act of unforgiveness. The disappearing act was an act of resentment. God couldn't get through to me if I had all that static inside my heart. I had to let it go. Once this was shown to me, I prayed for so long for God to forgive me because I wasn't being forgiving at all. All of the sudden, things started to change. The atmosphere was different and I felt so much lighter. I started to hear from God again. I saw signs and even felt like the person I was 'at war' with was okay---can't explain that one, but I felt it. Not long after that feeling, that person called me and it was as if nothing ever happened. Wiped clean---a new slate. (I make sure I collect a lot of slates!)
The World Has Changed
Especially now with the pandemic, and all of the political static in the air, people are at each other's throats. Nobody is kind to one another anymore---not like they used to be. I saw someone post up, "I wish the world was like it was on the day of September 12, 2001." Everyone came together, paid it forward, flew an American flag on their cars and trucks and treated each other with love and respect. Whether you believe this or not, the mainstream media and social media has divided us. You wouldn't even believe how they can manipulate people into turning against one another. You see it online---people screaming and physically attacking one another for not wearing a mask, or protesters destroying businesses and homes, despite what side the victim is on. There are fights everywhere and fights within our own circles. People are "unfriending" one another on social media and in real life. If you're not voting for the same presidential candidate, then you're casted out like a used up rag. Unless you have their view, then you're on your own and not welcomed into their lives anymore. People are getting short-tempered, irritable and downright obnoxious about the smallest of things. The worst of it all is, the mainstream media and social media are showing you how white people hate black people and how black people hate white people. Don't believe it! It is made to make you angry and go against anyone who is of another race than you. The "GODS" of social media have pretty much brainwashed ALL of us into thinking that we are not only hated, but wished ill upon us. No weapon formed against you shall prosper---say it. People are wishing ill on others, even our president. I've seen people wish death on our president and even for Joe Biden. This is not the world I want to live in. This is not acceptable! But it is written. It has been already predicted by the Bible itself. If you haven't seen The Social Dilemma on Netflix, it proved what I have believed to be true for many years. It shows the addiction to our phones and devices---how every chime, every alert to check our messages, comments and even likes has now taken more priority over sitting at the dinner table with our families.
End Times Brother Against Brother
Friday, September 18, 2020
Many people pray without the expectation of an answer. Maybe it's because they need a little more faith, or that they're used to not getting a solid response. But God doesn't necessarily give you a "solid" response, He will most likely give you the subtle hints of his blessings---something you have to be aware of. Exactly one month ago, I fell into a dark pit of depression. I honestly didn't know if I could get out of this one. Usually, I remain quiet, maybe even reach out to a loved one about it, but I don't want to become a burden on anyone. So over on Instagram, where I mainly put most of my private life on display (even more than this blog sometimes) -- I posted a beautiful picture of the moon behind a purple sky from my childhood home. And I wrote something incredibly heartfelt---something that came from deep within. I had a sense of 'dread'---a sense that I was no longer going to be here, but not by my own doings. I was heading into a deep depression.
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