The Rest of the Story

I loved Paul Harvey!!  Hope he doesn’t mind that I used one of his most famous lines to title this article.

A few days ago I published an article called “Bake a Cake, Light a Candle.”  I shared some things that I am very excited about and those are regarding my physical health.  To be fair to myself, there was a lot going on during that writing.  My neighbor’s kids lost one of their dogs…disappeared into thin air.  Understandably, they were distraught, so I began to help in the hunt.  A storm was coming in with lots of lightning and thunder, so the hunt was more intense.  At some point, the electricity blipped, my computer shut down and I lost the first version of the story.  You guys actually got the third draft.

Suffice it to say by the time I finished that one, my head was tired.  Today, I realized, I only told you one third of the story.  This blog is about nurturing Body, Mind and Spirit.  I only told you about part of nurturing the body through Paleo.  My apologies to Byron Aeon Mulligan, Dana Hooper and Arleene Gregg.  You played an IMMENSE role in getting me on the path (and keeping me on it) to nurturing my mind and spirit.

I’ve always tried my best to be an open book.  I made a LOT of mistakes along the way to becoming 61!!  I’ve accepted responsibility for my actions, and the consequences from those mistakes.  And I try to be an open book to people who may be going through some of the same things if for no other reason than to give people hope.  Hope is something in pretty short supply these days, so it’s even more important to share from the heart.

What I was referring to in 1989 when I was told I had a year to live, I was told I was HIV Positive.  Back then, that was pretty much a death sentence; except in my case it wasn’t.    I have no explanation why except to say God had a different plan in mind for me.  According to everything every doctor told me, I “should” have died.

The one regret I have now about that is I lost a lot of time sitting around waiting to die.  I didn’t plan for retirement–I wasn’t going to live that long.  I consumed massive amounts of things I shouldn’t have–why not??  ‘Gonna die anyway….BUT, five years passed, then 10.  I started getting an idea the doctors were wrong.

I finally got used to that conversation and lived with it until around 2004.  Then it flipped again.  The virus got aggressive and I had to go on meds.  My conversation no longer was about being HIV+, it had gone full blown…that was a tough conversation to get used to…but I did.

I have lived in survival mode ever since then.  The medication I take is doing it’s job (it had better at $2,500 per month!!) I could get political, but I won’t.

I’ve previously posted I became a Reiki Master one year ago.  Byron was/is my teacher.  I won’t pretend to know all about it…I’ve barely scratched the surface.  I began using crystal therapy, tone therapy and essential oils.  One of my dogs, Bentley, nearly died twice from what I believe was a reaction to flea medicine.  No one gave me any hope he’d make it.  72 hours of prayer, Reiki, crystal therapy on his abdomen and white sage and lavender smudging sticks pulled him through.

I walk barefoot as often as possible letting all the negative energy that builds up dissipate into the ground.  I listen to the wind and water and I’m alert to see what animals, or birds or insects show up.  My spirit is full.  I always thought God and being with God was a destination–somewhere out there we have work to get to.  It never occurred to me He’s right here!!  I don’t have to go anywhere….He is right here!!

My mind is free to meditate, create and basically fly wherever I want to go.  The only thing that has us stuck here, is believing we are stuck here.  So yes, I am elated with the progress my physical body has made.  But I am comforted, quite often to tears as I learn to use every tool God has provided for me to discover who He is making me to be–who He has made me to be.    Our bodies were designed to heal itself.  But we get them so mucked up with junk from the first breath we take, we have to do something–everything to get back to a place where we can accept the place we are in.  Part of that begins with not judging things we may not understand.  And above all, understand God loves us where ever we are–the good, the bad and the ugly.  And, His desire is that we learn to nurture our body, mind and spirit.  And now you have, “The Rest of the Story.”

Thank You God…..and Namaste…………b

While I’ve Been Away

IMG_20180604_201822237It’s been several weeks since I’ve written anything.  In fact, a friend sent me a note asking me if I still had the blog going. So, yes…and no…The whole point of my writings here are to share my experiences trying new and different things–whether that’s a new recipe, alternative medicine, writing, painting or my newest fascination, jewelry design.  I want people to find whatever those things are that put them in a place of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual rest.  Then, spend time doing those things–love on yourself.  You can’t pass on what ya a’int got.

IMG_20180610_184815085Take your shoes off.  Walk in the sand, in the mud, in the grass…just let yourself become grounded and let all that negative energy that builds up in all our lives out.  And, let all that good energy from the loving earth travel back through your “roots,” and envelope your body, mind and spirit in plain relaxation.

In one way I totally get why the jewelry design thing has me so hooked: it’s creativity to the max; my OCD has a field day making sure all the tiniest of details are as perfect as I can get them; and it’s instant gratification.  Well–instant as in a particular piece may take an hour, or two days.

IMG_20180608_200049764I can hardly sit down to have a meal much less sit in one spot for an hour.  A year or so ago I participated in some Landmark Education courses which usually begin around 7 or 8 a.m. and end anywhere from 10 p.m. to midnight–for three days.  Somehow, I make it through those as well, but the idea of doing that is torture.

So how is it I can sit for three or four hours working on a design, think nothing of that length of time passing by, and I’m actually relaxed when I finish??  Usually, I am relaxed but there are times when I’m nearly finished with a piece and it just won’t quite fit together or hold the stone as tightly as I want it to.

IMG_20180616_201154483In those times,  I can get a little frustrated and find myself saying “you WILL fit, and you WILL work this way, and you WILL be beautiful damn it…and you’re going to like it…” and everyone will see the love that’s gone into you…Most of the time, however, I am relaxed when I finish because I have to focus so intently on what I’m doing that I block everything else out.  No thoughts about work enter in and everything except the 80’s techno-dance music I play while I’m working goes completely away.

IMG_20180610_134832495_HDRI’ve created about 30 pieces in the past 6 weeks.  It’s kind of like light zipping out through the solar system–they just keep growing and evolving with each piece. Find whatever it is that takes you to that place.  Spend time there.  Give yourself a healing gift of peace in your body, mind and spirit.  If there is one lesson I will probably be working on the rest of my life it is to let myself rest.  Take a shot of that Aahsum Sauce and let go.  Namaste. b



Life Lessons from a Rescue

IMG_20180428_121108879Without question, many of the most intense blessings in my life have come in the form of a rescue.  With each one, I have had to ask, “Who really is the rescued?  Them, or me?”  Rescues come in all shapes and sizes, and in all life forms.  The bond that is formed, the love shown, the intense happiness and gratitude that can overwhelm you, and yes, the intense sadness when they’re gone–all show you have been rescued (too.)

IMG_20180428_121123190My first dog, Little Dancer, was a Papillon rescue.  A friend of mine got her for me not knowing that in doing so, kept me from taking my own life that day.  People never really understood why I called her my little four-legged angel–God sent her to me to give me something to live for.  And, I did live for her, and she lived for me.  Inseparable.

When my friend brought her over to me she was no bigger than my two hands cupped together.  She was so tiny and afraid–she was trembling when I took her.  I held her close and told her it was going to be ok.  She closed her eyes and melted into my chest then turned and licked my nose.  I carried her for most of the rest of the day so she would hear and know my heartbeat and she never really left my side after that.

She slept on my pillow curled up under my arm.  She was the first and only dog I’ve ever known that cried.  When I got emotional, tears running down my face, she would get up on my lap and lick my face, and many times, she had tears running down her face as well.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was to let her go.  She had a stroke and went deaf and blind.  She was so scared and confused…I couldn’t let her be afraid like that.  I tried so hard to take care of her, but I could not take away the fear.  Only when I held her would she quiet down.

We had a little game we played–she could count.  I’d say “Dancer I love you,” and she’d lick my nose once.  “Dancer, I love you, love you, love you…” she licked my nose three times.  After her stroke, she couldn’t hear me anymore, but I would tell her every time I picked her up, “I love you.”

The vet came to my house and I walked around the house holding her, thanking her for all the laughter, the tears, the love we shared.  She was almost asleep and I told her one last time, “Dancer, I love you.”  After a second, she opened her eyes, turned around and licked me on the nose and went to sleep.  God let her hear me one last time, and He let me know she heard me.

I have many other rescues in my life as well.  The two roses pictured here are rescues of a sort.  They were being tossed out and I took them home and planted them in my rose garden.  I watered them, I talked to them, I fertilized them…I did everything I knew and they sat there for a summer–nothing–not so much as a leaf.  I left them there over the winter and even into the next spring.  All my other roses were blooming like crazy and they sat there without a bud or a leaf.

I finally decided to replace them and went and bought two new ones.  I got my shovel and was just about to put it into the soil.  Before I did, I looked really closely and I saw a tiny green shoot with a couple of baby leaves just coming up out of the ground.  I thought, “OK…I’ve waited this long…I’ll wait a little longer.  They were tiny and frail and they hardly grew at all.  Through the next spring and the next, they grew a little more but never bloomed.  By this time, it is year four.

This year, they were two of the first ones showing new leaves.  They aren’t covered in blooms, but they are blooming and they are two of the sweetest smelling roses I have.  So, if you want to know unconditional love…find a rescue.  Nurture it, love it, take care of it and you will be rewarded beyond measure.  Never give up.  You may find that you were the one rescued…just like I have been.   Namaste.  b


Do I Stay, or Do I Go?

pyramid copyYour heart, spirit, intuition–whatever you want to call it will always know something isn’t right long before our minds will accept that concept.  Some people call it “that small still voice.”  I call it that higher part of me that like an eagle flies far above the circumstances and can see with clarity what is, and what lies ahead.  My mind, however, will often become the trap that keeps me mired down in situations my spirit wants to get out of or be free from…yet I stay.

Why??  Fear?  Yes.  Self doubt?  Yes.  Feeling like a failure if I walk away?  Yes.  Are those feelings real?  Yes.  But where do they come from?  They come from that part of me that wants to make sense out of everything–that part that says there has to be a logical order so that the outcome that is produced is also logical.  And how do I feel while in the midst of that process?  Miserable, defeated, trapped and hopeless. Miserable to stay, afraid to leave.  Not a particularly meaningful way to exist…certainly not fulfilled, excited or content.

I know I’m headed into that vacuum when I see less and less color in my life…everything begins to lose the sparkle of life and turns into a monochromatic monotony.  It’s easy to make a glowing list of all the reasons it would be beneficial to extricate myself from the situation, and it’s just as easy to make an ongoing list of all the things that would make removing myself complicated, or at least uncomfortable.

When things have been set into motion to get you to remove yourself, there is no arguing with the outcome.  Remaining stationary in those situations, really comes down to one basic emotion for me….fear.  Fear of the unknown is a completely controlling emotion until I make the decision to not be controlled any longer.  As soon as I begin to move in the direction to do something about it; as soon as I put something into motion; as soon as I make a declaration that this, too, will change….BOOM!!!  the universe hears me and doors will begin to open.  And I wonder why it took so long to make the change.

It reminds me of a story I’ve heard many times (and every time been able to see it applies to me).  A man stands on the edge of a cliff–the voice in his head telling him to take that leap of faith.  And he asks, “But, what if I fall?”  The voice answers, “But my dear…what if you fly?”

At some point in the life of every sparrow, every hawk, every eagle, there came a time where they were faced with taking that leap out of the nest.  Without it, they would never fly, but by taking it, they learn how to soar.  I guess I just answered my own question.



Good Things Will Come (It’s Good to Reward Yourself)

We grew up on a farm.  We didn’t have a lot of money or material things, but we were definitely not poor.  In fact, in the important things in life, I’d say we were rich.  We had the blessing of growing up with nearly our entire family close by.  We spent every Friday night with my dad’s Mother, Mammaw Esther.  She let us do things our Mother would never let us do…like toast marshmallows on the stove, eat in the living room and every Saturday morning we had Dr. Pepper and fresh biscuits while we watched cartoons in our pajamas.

Our Mother and Daddy didn’t have a college education, but they were brilliant in the things that mattered.  We certainly didn’t get everything we wanted, but we always had everything we needed.  My Dad was one of the hardest working men I’ve ever known. (But every farmer worked their fingers to the bone and pushed themselves beyond exhaustion and when something came up, they pushed themselves further still.)  For example, they had worked sun up to sun down, and a cow had a breach calf…the worked til dawn the next day to bring that calf into the world….Momma and baby alive.

And, my sister and I didn’t “act a fool” in public places…we didn’t dare.  Don’t get me wrong, our parents NEVER beat us, but we knew we faced a fate worse than that if we acted up.  Momma would snap her fingers, or spank our hands if we reached for something we had no business handling.  Or even worse, fate of all fates, was to get our first and middle names used in a voice louder than “inside voice.”

But that’s what I mean…our parents loved us enough to teach us respect, what was right and what was wrong.  We (or at least I) were convinced of the fate that awaited us if we didn’t “act right.”  That’s what’s wrong with multiple generations today…no one ever says “No.”  One time I wouldn’t stop giggling in church.  Momma told me to stop, but I kept on.  For whatever reason she pinched me on the inside of my thigh and I screamed….”Stop pinching me!!!!”  Immediately I regretted that as she jerked me so hard I thought my shoulder came out of the socket as she marched me outside to yank my shorts down and blister my backside on the back seat of the car.  Today it would be called child abuse…back then it was called discipline.  Can we please go back to then??

One thing I didn’t learn growing up (and it was absolutely no one’s fault) was how to respect myself.  I didn’t learn a lot about self-control and subsequently rewarding myself.  For every way I stayed “in line” as a kid, I strayed away from when I moved away to college…I didn’t know how to tell myself “No,” and I didn’t know how to wait on things.  If I wanted it, I grabbed it, or bought it, or charged it.

I didn’t learn those lessons until much later in life.  In 2001 I basically gave everything up to become a volunteer with Mercy Ships.  It’s the greatest thing I could have ever done for myself at the time.  Back then, I was killing myself day by day by drinking and anything else I could get my hands on.  I didn’t become a volunteer with a missions organization because I was such a great humanitarian…on the contrary:  I knew if I didn’t do something that drastic I would eventually kill myself.  I thought nothing of drinking until I couldn’t see, or talk, or walk for that matter and drive home.  At that time, I secretly hoped that’s what would happen.  My only concern is that I didn’t want to take anyone else with me.

It was more act of desperation rather than honor that I moved to a teeny little town in East Texas.  But in giving everything up, I got my life back.  I became a “missionary” so I could go somewhere and help people, and just like in the movie, “Dances With Wolves,” in doing that, the people I went to help saved me, and I got my life back.

I had been to hell.  I had survived the “Dark Night of the Soul.”  And, bit by bit, step by step, I regained….ME.  I had to do without for a long, long time because I had so many debts to repay.  I had so many wrongs to try to make right.  Eventually, though, the scale began to tip in the other direction

I had  a student loan I hadn’t tried to pay back for a number of years–to the point the government was going to garnish my pay…but I became a volunteer.  While I was in Guatemala I said out loud, “God, if you’ll give me another chance, I’ll start to repay that loan.”  The day after I got back to the U.S., I got a letter from the student loan people saying “contact us…we’ll work something out.”  I did.  Because I was a volunteer, it was a tiny amount, but I made the payments.  They were satisfied, and I was out of default.  That was in March, 2000.  By the grace of God, I have never been late on a payment since then.  My credit rating at the time was “don’t even think about it,” and today, it is “Excellent.”

I bought a house with a rent house next door, hoping my Mother would move to East Texas with me, but she remarried…this time she had met her soul mate.  I had someone renting the guest house at the time and they moved out.  When I went next door, I was dumbfounded….it was destroyed.  I literally tore out everything leaving only the floor studs and the wall joists and I rebuilt it by hand by myself…except the plumbing and electrical….don’t do those!!!  (I can, just don’t like to!!)  I took out a loan for $10K to remodel 600 square feet.  In the meantime, the engine on my beloved boat blew up (literally!!)  I wanted a new one so badly.  But, I told myself, I wouldn’t allow it until I paid that loan off. The day I paid it off, I began to look for a boat (pictured above).   I got the boat of my dreams for a song and dance…the engine alone was worth $16K, the boat, about $10K, and I got boat, motor and trailer for $7K!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted a garden badly.  All I had was a shovel and a pair of gloves to bust up the East Texas clay that had baked in 100+ days for months, but I carved out a garden.  I wanted a tiller, and I could have used a credit card to charge it…but I wouldn’t.  One day I saw an ad in a local Ad column for a brand new tiller for $100….retail $799.  I waited months for that ad, but I got it.

And yesterday, I bought another lawn mower.  I live on 1 acre.  My 20-year-old Snapper mower blew out last September.  I finished the mowing season (October-November) by using a push mower.  I wanted a new one so badly, but I kept telling myself, “No!”  Yesterday, I got another one.  Not brand new…better…I got a 2000 year mower that had been rebuilt from stem to stern…every bolt, belt, pulley, light bulb and filter..rebuilt by a small engine mechanic.  I got a brand new mower in an older shell….I can relate to that.!!  Instead of $1800, I paid $775.

The point of all this is I had to go a long time without allowing myself a lot of “rewards.”  I set guidelines for what had to take place before I would let myself purchase those “things.”  It’s been hard.  It’s been rewarding.  It has shaped who I am today as opposed to the irresponsible person I was back in Sept. 2000…  And, I can say….”It is good.”

The lessons I learned were hard…but I learned them.  I ticked off bill by bill, one at a time to put myself in a position to get some things that years before I could only dream of.  Reward yourself!!  But, before that, do the work.  Do whatever it is that you already know you need to do, in order to get from Point A to Point B.  Then allow yourself…you’ve deserved it.

Really, what has happened to enable you to get to that point, is you have learned, no matter how difficult…what it means to be a person of integrity.  Become that…then reward yourself…you’ve earned it…and the Universe celebrates with you.

God Bless You!!!  Please reward yourself…please.