Staying Busy is My Therapy

IMG_20180505_221722959The list of things I do to keep myself busy is fairly long.  I am a Pastry Chef, Executive Chef, writer, builder, wood worker, stone mason, gardener, painter.  I am a Reiki Master and I study holistic medicine so I can learn to help people heal themselves without pills and chemicals–and now you can add jewelry designer to the list.  It isn’t that I don’t ever sit down and do nothing…on occasion, I do…just not very often.  Truth be told, when I’m alone, I often eat standing up–almost like I don’t finish one thought before moving on to the next.  Some people say I’m crazy, I say I multi-task…a lot.

IMG_20180508_165328283I have an instant gratification fixation.  I love mowing my lawn because I can see where I’ve been and how much better it looks.  I don’t care that I still have an acre to mow–I look at the lane I’ve just mowed.  And it looks good!  I also like mowing because I can talk to myself and no one can hear me.  They don’t know whether I’m singing or what–and all the while, I’m solving the earth’s problems.

My new venture–wire weaving to create jewelry from gemstones combines a lot of those things.  I like sparkly things–I love crystals–they make me feel good, and they’re awesome–and humbling.  You want to argue if there’s a God–take a look at a snowflake amethyst with purple, blue, orange and pink crystals and think that a zillion years ago that was a handful of sand.  The perfect recipe of creation–time, heat and pressure transformed that dust into a dazzling thing of beauty.  Miracle?  I say it is.  My designs may not be miracles, but it’s so cool to take five strands of wire and an incredibly thin wire and begin to loop, loop, loop and watch this “thing” grow and come alive in your hands.  Pretty awesome–and gratifying.

I used to use a lot of those busy things as distractions–so I didn’t have to think about things that hurt.  When I would stop and do nothing, the thoughts of “there’s nothing good about me…I’ll never be good enough,” would creep in.  So I did use activity kind of like a drug–escape.  I did those too, and they created their own trap and I had to escape the things I used to escape things.

Things changed when I joined Mercy Ships and for the first time my life was about helping people who weren’t in a position to help themselves.  I had dabbled in it fairly often, but this became my life’s mission.  During that time I learned that as I reached out to someone else in the midst of my own pain, my pain was healed.  Layer by layer the onion was peeled away and I began to be able to look at myself as being whole–not splintered, not broken, not not good enough.  I was a train wreck, but I could still help someone else out.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m still just as busy.  I still work 12 hour days and when I get home, the “other” work begins.  The difference is this work–all this busy-ness is therapy.  It makes me feel good to see a broken stick of a plant take root and grow.  It makes me happy to see the plants in my garden so laden with produce that I have enough to last me and entire winter and have enough to give to my neighbors, my employees and friends.

I’ve often joked that I am a life long student.  I get excited when I find something new to learn.  I can’t just half way do something.  I’m all or nothing.  If something isn’t worth giving 100 percent, it’s not worth taking the time to do it at all.  And, I’m the same way about things I do for fun–because actually, most of what I do I do for fun.  It keeps me sane.  It’s my therapy.  Staying busy is my therapy.  I get up before the sun, and I don’t stop until it’s dark.  Man it feels good to be alive.


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