Friday, October 23, 2009

The Blog of Change - which took several days to write and finish

I was contemplating today and rereading over some of my blog posts from April to now, mostly thinking about life and how it changes and the process through which that change evolves.

In the past six months I have lived a lot of life that I really wished I could have avoided but I'm thankful that I didnt.

The old adage goes, "What doesnt kill you will make you stronger" and isnt that the damn truth.

I thought I was being squeezed to death, really, the pressure was that heavy sometimes.

I cried in my bed and beat on some walls. Literally. I counted coins in my piggy bank and wondered why I was.

I resented my 'job'. I think it'd be fair to say I resented my life and the God who was directing it.

Or at least, trying to direct when I'd get out of the way.

I told him I didnt trust him. I couldnt find rest in him. I wondered what the purpose was and when I could be let in on the secret.

But all the while I knew there was a plan. I would catch glimpses of it every once in awhile, enough to keep me going, to encourage my faith, to stretch my assurance in Christ. Despite my late-night wonderings and pleading conversations with God, I could see him using me and that gave me an edge of peace.

Still, what was my purpose? What is my purpose? Surely I'm not the only one who asks that question and struggles with the answer. Whose lives am I effecting? Who am I reaching? Am I making a difference?

There has not been a grand entrance of an answer but a quiet knowing stillness. Trumpets didnt blast and horns didnt sound but there was a day when I knew it had shifted. A day when suddenly, it all started making sense

Now I'm beginning to see a small view of the picture he's been creating while I was waiting. I'm excited to know there has been a picture in the process and I'm excited to watch it unfold.

So here's my small view of the big picture, given to you.

I am (most likely) returning to New Mexico but in a much different capacity then when I was there before. I'm moving to my mom and stepdad's ranch on top of a mountain, the mountain I once said was too remote for me to live on at that particular time. But now, the time is right.

If it's possible to believe that moving to the middle of 32,000 acres is actually what God wants you to do to reach and minister to people, that's what I believe.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trulio, I have a blog being written pretty much as we speak (even though it's taken like 4 days to compose) about the forthcoming changes but first, tonight, here is a continuation of this lesson in trust I've been actively learning since April now.

Skye ran away this afternoon. I had the front door open, I was cleaning the bathroom, her and Jada were coming and going, lounging around. Then she was gone.

First order of business - don't panic! She'll be back. Momentarily, even.

I whistled and called for about 15 minutes and still nothing. Many more moments passed. Nothing.

Here's what happened after that.

1) I had to DO something so I got in my car and drove down the road both ways, whistling.

2) Came back home. Nothing. Whistled/called.

3) Drove again. While driving, I interceded with God. I prayed but it was a very (bold!) prayer. He says to come with confidence and I did. Then I praised a little.

4). Went home. Nada

5) Laid on my bed and cried next to Jada for about two seconds.

6) Talked to Katie - she said, "have you called mom?". No. So I did. And cried a little. She assured me that Skye's nose would get her home.

7) I determined not to lay and cry. I was going to believe. I told God I trusted Him.

8) I sat on the porch, whistled, called. Prayed. Stared at the woods, expecting her to pop out, for me to hear her collar jingle.

I was thinking thoughts like, "How can I be so irresponsible?", "Am I really going to lose two dogs in a year's time?", "How will I explain this to everyone?", "I'm leaving this house in three days. What if she comes back here after I'm gone but I'm not here?", "Will somebody shoot her?", "I hope she hasnt killed anyone's livestock."

I picked up the blanket that was in my lap, walked over to my car, opened the door, hit the button to open the hatch back (I'm not entirely sure why), started walking to the back of my car, heard a jingle, looked up and here she comes down the driveway, straight to me.

I clung onto her collar, started crying, and sank into my seat in the car. Then, mechanically, I put her in my car, and walked into the house.

Once in the house, I proceeded to give myself a headache from excessive sobs and nearly caused myself to hyperventilate.

Why? I'm not entirely sure.

Maybe because I trusted and I was so overcome by His mercy on me when I saw my crazy, $6,000 dog jogging up the driveway, and I knew I was truly blessed.

I know not everyone will really understand because not every one has dogs that mean to them what mine mean to me. But basically, I told God, "Look, I can't handle this right now in my life and I need you to bring her back to me - for my sake, please.". I know my mom's prayer was somewhat similar for me.

It never ceases to amaze me that the "piddly" things in life, He cares about. Afterall, he did create her, he gave her the nose she uses for tracking, and her ability to annoy the piss out of me.

But he also did what I beseeched him to - kill the trail she was on and bring her blasted nose back to me.

I'm blessed.

And Skye has lost all of her off-leash priveleges...for a long time.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, October 16, 2009


Change is here, folks. But consider this a tease because I'm not in the mental state right now to fill you in.

Do you have to be in a mental state to blog?

I do, yes. Most of the time my best blogs are born out of sleeplessness while I'm laying in bed. And right now there's too much going on around me to do the Blog of Change justice.

Stay tuned.

I will share with you, though, that my friend, Catlin who I talked about here, sat in a wheelchair for the first time yesterday. We were there to witness it and applause.

He made progress too in other ways - no more IVs, morphine drips, or a catheter. For the first time since his accident, he looked like himself.

He said he remembers the accident and then nothing till about Day 10. It's amazing how merciful the mind is.

A couple times, he went to tell me a story from those early days in the hospital and his mom said, "She was here, babe."

"Really, Holly? You were here?"


He shuffled to the bathroom and asked his mom to close the back of his gown. "I don't want to moon Holly," he said.

"Don't worry about it," she said. "You already have."

Some things from those early days probably shouldn't be discussed. It's like waking up the next day after a hellacious party and your friends trying to tell you what you did/said while you were intoxicated. Yeah, just be quiet. Please. Thank you.

Hopefully today he's being moved from the Round Wing Program at Vanderbilt to the rehabilitation hospital where he'll spend a minimum of five days. He's determined to make it out of there in five days. We'll see.

Expect the Blog of Change soon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Pieces

Sleep did come to me last night, in pieces. I slept for a little piece, then woke up when Katie came home. Then slept another little piece. And woke up when Evalyn started crying at 3 a.m. Then slept a little bit more until my alarm went off at 5.

Surprisingly, I feel alright this morning.

Is it okay to admit here that I had a small pity party for myself last night? When I say small, I think there were like two tears and then I scolded myself because, really, there's nothing to have a pity party over. The things I thought warranted feeling sorry for myself about are small pieces compared to the big picture of what God is doing right now.

Have I mentioned that God's doing big things? I feel like he's finally taking the pieces of the last six months of my life, the last year of my mom's and step-dad's, the last couple months of Katie's, and the many other people who are involved in this picture, and He's (finally) melding them together to create something fantabulous.

None of us are sure (in its entirety) what it's going to look like but we're okay with that (for the most part.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I used to be the noble kind of person who would tough through a headache, fight insomnia and refuse tylenol for a cold. I thought I was helping by keeping my body rid of such impurities.

Now I'm laying here, waiting for my pain meds to kick in, wondering how it's possible to go from no pain to twisting around in bed trying to find a comfortable position and when none can be found, actually thinking that it might be worth it to just cut my legs off.

Theyve been hurting me all day, anyway.

I'm not that brave anymore. I know that I better cut the pain off at the pass before it gets the better of me and renders me sleepless and nearly unable to move in the morning.

It's hard to explain to people sometimes - this migrating joint, muscle and bone pain. Some days, it's like menstrual cramps all day. Other days, I feel like I've ran a mile and climbed 84,000 flights of stairs. Sometimes it's a numbness in two fingers, other times it's a shooting pain in my left big toe. Most always, it's a dull, rolling, wave upon wave tide of hurting that most always is effecting my hips, knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders and my back. Last night I wished for a stretching machine, my back felt so tight and constrained.

I've been thinking lately - how long can one person go with dealing with constant pain before they just can't take it anymore? I don't know.

I'm gaining some relief tonight and I'm thankful. I need sleep to come quickly.

Knees, I'm not listening to you. Shhhhhh.......

Monday, October 12, 2009

This is going to be a blog of catching-up.

Tonight Riot pooped on the bathroom floor - a long line of pebbles.

"Riot, why did you poop on the bathroom floor?" I asked (calmly!)

"Because I couldnt find the potty," he said.

Hmm. That excuse didnt fly and I made him clean it up and sit in timeout. When I told his dad about it later, he said, "Well, at least it was in the right room."

I was exasperated.

The other night I thought Evalyn was dead. Katie left me to watch her and when I checked on her sleeping self and touched her arm, it was ghastly cool. I turned on the light and when she squinted and almost woke up, I shut it off and bolted, hoping I hadnt woke her up.

I hadnt and thankfully, she was alive.

While I dont believe in abuse of animals, tonight I spanked my sometimes-ruly German Shepherd when she dug a steak out of the trash (for the 2nd time) just as I turned my back on her. I promptly drug her to the trash and she had a come-to-Jesus- moment via my flip-flop. Really, she thought she was dying.

After that, I scolded her harshly and she scurried around the living room trying to find something to hide behind, looking at me with her chocolatey brown eyes that were indeed sorry for her actions.

Following her unorthodox obedience session, she hasnt left my side and is curled up on the floor beside my bed sound asleep. Apparently, discipline for dogs has the same effect it does on children. Maybe now her lumbering self will pay closer attention to me as the flip-flop relayed that I really do mean what I say.

The other dog, on the other hand, is a little touchy tonight and did not appreciate Riot or Josey jumping over my legs while I was sitting on the floor. She let me know by trying to nip the back of their legs as they jumped. She also didnt appreciate it when Katie came sliding in on my mattress earlier, rather abruptly. I mean, shes usually bitchy but tonight seems a little much.

In BIG NEWS, Josey ate her first ever steak dinner tonight. Thats right, folks, you read correctly. Josey ate three bites of steak, a baked potato, corn and a dinner roll. It took her nearly 1.5 hours of sitting at the dinner table to eat her first bite of steak but once she did, she realized she liked it and wanted to eat more. There was some gagging going on, even on the third bite, but I think it was more because shes not used to eating that texture. But let me just say, there was a lot of celebrating at our dinner table tonight!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

As mentioned in my last post, I have a lot of friends in a lot of places and nothing gives me more pleasure then being able to help and support them in their time of need.

One friend, who is more like a little brother to me, is one such person.

I met Catlin about three years ago when he dated the younger sister of my best friend, he was a junior in high school, if I remember right. He was different from the beginning, very unlike all the other teenagers who floated in and out of my life during that time. He was driven, had a purpose in life and more importantly, refused to be drawn into the small-town drama that surrounded the county where he was from. I can respect that in a person.

He broke up with the girl but we remained friends.

He joined the Army and accelerated through the training and ranks. He became the crew chief for black hawks in a special unit and was soon to start pilot training. He was sent to places like Africa and Afghanistan on missions he never really talked about.

He was a friend who was glad to see me when I came back to Kentucky - one of the few friends much younger then me who respected my life and didnt think I was too old to be cool to hang out with. He even danced with me at my best friend's preharvest festival and laughed the night away with all of us.

On Saturday, this strong, courageous friend of mine was in a motorcycle accident that broke his back and rendered him screaming and crying in a hospital bed.

Today I watched him struggle valiantly to rotate his legs, one at a time, slowly, for ten reps each. Slowly, he succeeded, one hand gripping his mother's, the other, Katie's. He breathed deeply with his eyes closed and at the end of each set of reps, his physical therapist said, "Now take a break" and Catlin exhaled and his whole body shook.

Next, the PT put one hand on the bottom of Catlin's foot and one hand under his knee. For ten reps, he lifted Catlin's leg up, then down.

"Higher," said Catlin through gritted teeth. "Hold it right there.".

"It burns but it feels so good," he moaned. At the end of ten reps each leg, his PT asked him to raise his leg himself. He did it. Twice each leg.

There was a murmur of excitement through the room and a shuffling of applause as we celebrated his efforts but tried not to break his concentration. He drank deeply after each exercise as if he'd just run the 9 miles he was accustomed to running every day.

Tomorrow he is supposed to stand for the first time in 9 days. Speaking through the pain meds today, he was confident he'll be able to.

We are all sure of it.

Katie and I left his room in the step-down unit today feeling very blessed that our friend is alive and relieved that his determination is shining through.

I feel blessed to be able to stand next to him and cheer him on.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Driving in Austin this past weekend and in small towns around Austin, I realized once again how expansive my backyard is. It spans thousands of miles and states.

Here I was, in Texas, driving by where Micah used to play baseball, the Dennys we always stopped at before our flights, the cafe I've eaten in too many times to count, the Movie Gallery and Dominoes pizza that kept us entertained, the church where dear friends are and where mom and my stepdad were married, the gas station we frequented on our way to church. Familiar highways and roads and landmarks.

It's been a little over two years since I was in the Texas Hill Country but it felt like yesterday, really.

While we were driving to the airport (a drive that brought back tons of memories!), I was impressed (again) with the feeling of being blessed.

Blessed that I have a church family in three different states.

Blessed that I have some of the most amazing, wonderful friends and that they're EVERYWHERE - literally. Right now, off the top of my head, I could visit friends in Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Ohio, various cities in Kentucky, Nashville, various towns in New Mexico and Texas, Washington State, Washington DC, Idaho, Atlanta, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama...

I consider myself blessed to have experienced the clear rivers in Idaho, the rain of Oregon, the humidity of Tennessee, the farmland of Illinois, the tablelands of Texas, the New Mexico mountains and sunsets, the historical beauty of the Capitol, the frozen wonderland of Minnesota and Wisconsin...

It used to bother me - the fact that I'm from nowhere and everywhere. That I don't have a hometown. That I don't have a graduating highschool class. That I don't have a church I was raised in. That I don't have a smalltown reputation. That I don't have the-place-I-grew-up place to take a future lover to in some effort of him knowing me better.

If I were to take my currently imaginary male friend to the place I grew up, we'd have to embark on a very long, cross country road trip.

But that doesn't sadden me anymore.

He would get to see the Clearwater River in Idaho where, as a teenager, I watched salmon jump from the river and saw moose and bear come to drink from it.

We would drive by an old farmhouse in a cornfield in Illinois where my little sister was born and my little brother broke his arm.

We'd visit houses in Minnesota that I helped roof and side.

We would visit a gopher field in Montana where I was impacted with the real realization and understanding that God is my Father.

I would take him to the edges of a compound in Texas where I witnessed men abusing their wives and remember my mother being called a Jezebel in front of an entire congregation.

We would visit a now-deserted campground in Kentucky where I learned to like beer and country dancing and riding horses for 8 hours a day just for the hell of it.

I'd take him to a farmhouse in Indiana where my youngest brother was born and where I watched Chuck Norris on TV.

We'd probably make a pit-stop in Wisconsin and visit my first college, the site of my first job, where I bought my first car, had my first crush.

Then we'd plunge south to New Mexico where I learned so much about myself and what I was really made of.

We'd drive by my family's old house in Kentucky where we learned to be normal and where we made mistakes in the process. I'd take him to my alma-mater and the barn I used to live in. He'd be introduced to all my friends.

Then Yellowstone where I remember as a kid, using the public bathrooms and locking up our food to keep it from the bears.

And Oregon, where, as a 9-year-old, I felt the arms of Jesus around me.

And Washington, where I experienced my first desire for a spiritual shepherd - and where I hand-quilted my first quilt.

There are so many unmentioned places. They all come rushing back in moments like this when I close my eyes.

And that's how I would take him to my hometown because my hometown is nowhere and everywhere.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spend your delay in a bar and make friends

I left work yesterday just in time to make it to the airport for my 7:30 p.m. flight. Obtaining my boarding pass and making it through security was a breeze, despite a nagging thought in the back of my head that I'd forgotten something. But that nagging thought has been with me for the past three weeks so I don't really pay attention to it anymore.

When I went to my gate, I saw a big fat "DELAYED" sign over our departure time. I stood in line at the counter behind two very angry passengers who were pissed off that the airline hadn't called them to inform them of the delay. The man at the counter was calling in reinforcements when he saw me standing there.

"I'm going to help this lady," he told the two gentlemen in front of me. He motioned me to come up to the counter.

One of the guys was still mouthing off to him so the guy said, "Well, I'm sorry that we don't have extra planes."

I walked up to the counter and said, "I have an extra plane." It made him smile and that's what I was after. I mean, seriously, people, such is life when you're traveling. Lighten up.

He told me our plane was stuck in Baltimore and that it'd be like 8:45 by the time it landed in Nashville and about 9:10 when we took off. It was, at that time, 6:40.

I went and sat at the kiddie table, which was behind the airline counter. I had my newspaper and started reading.

But, on the other side of the partition, I could hear lots of yelling and Calm People trying to talk to Angry People. This was gonna get good.

I spotted a row of empty chairs that faced the customer airline counter and I made a beeline for them. I wasn't the only one. I sat with a group of five people who chose those seats for the same reason I had. Who knew I wasn't the only nosy one around?

So we spent the next 45 minutes or so laughing at the people who were so angry, talking about our travels, the weather, football, eavesdropping on the conversations taking place at the counter, until their flight was ready to take off. We said goodbye, like friends at airports do. They went on with their lives. I picked up my purse and went on with mine.

I decided I needed coffee. So I found a Starbucks and ordered my caramel machiato. On my way back to my gate, I saw the Louisville football game was playing at the bar at O'Charleys. My best friend was at that game so I decided to stop in and watch. You know, show my Kentucky pride. :)

The bartender told me it was a one-drink minimum to sit at the bar. Okay. That wouldn't be a problem.

"If you don't drink it, we will," said the middle-aged woman sitting two chairs to my left. We laughed.

There were four of us at the bar. Tyler, a soldier who just got back from Iraq and was heading home to see his parents for the first time since February. Jenn, an HR director for a company in Kansas City was headed to Austin to visit her brother. Logan, a 21-year-old who took full advantage of his drinking prowess as a 21-year-old, was headed home to Austin. And me.

We were all just trying to get there and we were all severely waylaid. And we all decided to make the most out of it.

And we did.

I actually left my purse, my phone, my coffee, and my drink with these people while I went to the bathroom. Tyler did the same. And then Jenn.

We talked about family, work, our futures, our hobbies. Jenn, being the oldest one, gave us advice. Tyler and I talked about our familie's ranches. Logan was drunk and funny.

We whittled down our waiting time till it was time to board and the bar was closing up. Jenn saved a seat for me on the plane. We sat together, had a couple drinks and made friends with the people around us. Dave, a sales guy from Austin, gave me his number and told me to text him. He reminded me again when we were getting our luggage.

Jenn grabbed her suitcase and disappeared with her husband. I walked away with her phone number and e-mail address and her encouragement that she may know a couple people who might be interested in giving me some freelance/contract work.

I'm not sure where Logan was. I think he passed out on the plane.

And Tyler's with his family on the ranch for the next four days.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Memory Foam AND Underwire

There's not many things I would go half-naked in public for.

But today when I tried on Victoria's Secret new Body Full Coverage MEMORY FOAM bra, the thought actually crossed my mind: "what a shame to hide one of mankind's most noteworthy creations under a shirt." And I actually considered just walking around in my bra the rest of the day just so that people (everyone!) could see and even feel, if they wanted to, the most wonderful thing that is now in my possession.

I mean, if I have to lug these things around all day, the least I deserve is the comfort and support of MEMORY FOAM.


There's a special jewel in someone's heavenly crown for a gift of this magnitude.

And, P.S.
The MEMORY FOAM bra also has under-wire.

Genius, I tell you. genius.

Conversations with The Nanny Children

Here's some snippets of conversations over the past couple days:

Josey to me from the backseat: "My dad has a knife."
Me: "Really?"
Josey: "Yeah. He said he's going to cut Riot's penis off."
Me: "Why is he going to do that?"
Josey: "My dad was upset. Riot peed in my backyard. My dad said if Riot peed in my backyard again, he was going to cut his penis off."

Last night at Cracker Barrel:
Waitress to Josey: "How old are you?"
Josey: "I'm FIVE!"
Waitress: "Are you in kindergarten?"
Josey: "Yes. I have a backyard."

At the laundrymat:
Me to Riot: "Stop scratching your butt!" (for the tenth time)
Riot: "But my butt hurts!"

At Cracker Barrel:
Josey (eating her FIRST bite of corn!): "This is making my tummy so proud."