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Mad Hatter

Image credit here.

Image credit here.

Sept 26, 2015

Mad Hatter

I am anxious. I am irritable. I have too much time between clients and too much time to think.

Isn’t this what I wanted? To think? To think about writing? To contemplate my enjoyment, which has become tinged with fear, and may be tipping into dread? I love writing for you. Yes, YOU. I also feel frightened and exposed. My perfectionism is a stitch in my side. And the demands of blogging etiquette stretch my introversion to desperation even while I enjoy your writing, and I lap up the comments you send my way.

I have a few moments, and so I continue the waiting I began earlier this week. I talk to God some. Mostly, I listen. I need to learn what comes next. I am both wonderfully strong and entirely dependent.

I purposed—and I think I still do–to finish my blog threads Family Rules and The Story of Hanna. I had written most of my material before the idea of a blog had even crossed my mind, and I have spent the months since February polishing and supplementing the pieces through which I have experienced freedom from suffering and greater self knowledge. During this therapeutic process, I became aware of a desire to try my voice in the hearing of others. I started this blog. All of this felt God-led.

Now the realization of my goal is within sight. What lies ahead?

I am known for fleeting passion. I gardened with fervor for a few seasons and then dropped it cold. My husband Henry and I worry about the appearance of the flower beds I started but do not maintain. Are the neighbors pissed? I crocheted my fingers to the bone last year, and now I can hardly stand the sight of yarn. Early in our marriage, I cooked everything but pasta from scratch. Then it was couponing for a few years. Before I started blogging, I was addicted to Bones reruns and Bejeweled Blitz. You see my pattern?

I have had to review, at many junctures, which parts of me are ME and which are merely hats which have caught my fancy. I have a list of ME parts. I keep it to remind me of who I am when I am in danger of becoming confused. Without it, I don’t think I would like myself very much, and I think I would have a hard time looking God in the eye. God’s pleasure in me is my guiding principle, or at least I want it to be. Not because of fear. No. Because I have experienced the goodness of God and can’t unknow it.

Here are some ME parts:

My relationship with my husband.

My relationship with my children.

My relationship with God.

My counseling career.

There are others as well, but these suffice for now. I am committed to the maintenance of these parts even on days when Henry and I argue, my daughters spill nail polish on the rug, God seems remote, and work straight up sucks. I will attend, fight for, defend, and nurture these parts even during times when my love is a discipline scant on warm feelings.

Writing might be a hat. I can’t tell. If so, it is one which I have worn with enjoyment. I might wear it for a while longer. Or I might put it in my closet and wait to see if it comes back into fashion. Then again, maybe writing is meant to become a part of ME. If this is the case, I will need to learn how to make a more permanent place for it within this anxious and chaotic woman. God can show me how to do this—and I will submit to this molding–but I don’t believe I can do it on my own. Perhaps writing will occupy some role which I haven’t even considered. I will have to wait and see.

And so I have entered a process of discernment.

Which, at times, requires me to lie in my bed with the covers over my head.

So that when I have become fully divested, I will do whatever God asks or permits.

Because following God is not a hat.

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Gone Fishing

(Fun fact--these Birkis were the last gift Hanna ever gave me.)

(Fun fact: These Birkis were the last gift Hanna ever gave me.)

I’m going fishing. Well, not actually.

But I am taking a break to get out of town and do some end-of-summer visiting in SC, NC, and WV.

My body and brain are ready for a vacation, so I won’t be posting for a while, and I won’t be on my devices very often. I am sorry I will miss your posts!

When I started my blog in February, I had almost no readers. So most of you who have been reading The Story of Hanna have not read Family Rules, which is kind of a prequel. If you are interested in taking a look while I am away, you can find the first entry here and the rest under the Family Rules tab. If not, no worries!

I hope you are having a great summer!

Jane

Creative Blogger Award, Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me, and I Am a Shameless Cheater

I

I “borrowed” this from this blogger. I hope that is ok. If not, please let me know and I will take it down. You see, I AM really a cheater!

I stole this one from another blog. Sue me. No, no! Don't! Just ask me to remove it.

I stole this one from another blog. Sue me.
No, no! Don’t! Just ask me to remove it.

I want to thank my peers for the attention they have given to my blog this week! I both love and hate you.

I am ever so stoked about the kind words and the traffic on my site. At the same time, I think the excitement is making me a bit weird. I’m an introvert who needs a lot of solitude in order to be worth knowing. All those pings and dings rocked my world until I started to become overstimulated.

I realized I was in trouble when I woke up last night to use the bathroom and interrupted myself in the middle of a dream about a conspiracy by Canadian pennies to ruin the U.S. economy.

They were sneaking over the border unnoticed the way ants reconnoiter a kitchen. The idea was for the scouts to infiltrate and for all the other pennies to follow in a steady trail until Canadian pennies spilled out of every unsuspecting purse and gummed up every vending machine, thereby causing the U.S. financial system to collapse.

What might be even more concerning is the fact that I was so worried I would forget this dream that I grabbed the only writing implement handy (my kohl pencil) and jotted a short note on the only available surface (my dental floss container). To tell the whole truth, I wanted to write on the mirror, but my husband Henry would have noticed for sure and questioned my sanity.

I had to write it twice. I was so tired the first attempt came out looking like

I had to write it twice. I was so tired that my first attempt came out looking like “Prunies,” and I was afraid I would wake up the next morning with no idea what that meant.

Because of my limited bandwidth, I have decided 1. to respond to both of these nominations in one post, 2. take a break from accepting awards and nominations, and 3. save time by making up my own rules so that I don’t have to quit my day job to work on my blog. (I am grossly exaggerating for effect. Did you like it? I really have only 85 followers.)

Without further delay….

Many thanks to Mogromo for nominating me for the Creative Blogger Award. If you are reading this, I hope you will visit her blog! She’s not just another pretty face. Mogromo will take you on a tour of Frankfurt, complete with quality photos and personal observations. It’s the next best thing to being there. You will be in good hands as she enjoys researching her subjects and sharing her learning. Mogromo’s blog also assuages some of my homesickness for a city I love but have not been able to visit since 2004. I am pretty sure she will be taking us to Amsterdam at some point (Mogromo, is this so?), so don’t miss the adventure!

The award calls for 5 random facts about me. Here they are–except they are actually three truths and two lies. Can you spot the lies? Make your guess and I will answer in a couple of days. (as of 8/11/15, answers are at the bottom)

  1. I wear glasses.
  2. I wear Birkenstocks.
  3. I wear decals on my nails.
  4. I wear out a lot of can openers (strong hands!)
  5. I wear a bikini.

Here are the original rules:

* Display the Creative Blogger Award logo on your blog.
* Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs.
* Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you.
* Share 5 random facts about yourself to your readers.
* Pass these rules on to them.

I nominate the following blogs/bloggers for this award. They may choose to follow the rules. Or not!

  1. Moylom Enterprises (a single mother and a woman of faith who also blogs for self therapy)
  2. Erich Michaels  (interesting and sometimes disturbing stories)
  3. Melanie Griffin (very authentic writing on spirituality, grief, social issues, and more)
  4. These Wings are Made to Fly (a newly-minted au pair from Europe heads off to her first job in Dallas)
  5. Shirley’s Heaven (the daughter of a mentally ill mother writes memoir pieces mixed with everyday reflections)

I would also like to thank Bumbi’s Mom for nominating me for the Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me Challenge. I’m just getting to know her blog, in which she shares amusing parenting stories and some helpful tips. I hope you will pop over and have a look. Ahhh, I remember those sweet and sticky days of young children….I suspect the next time I have those experiences will be with grandchildren. (Note to my daughters: No rush, ok?)

Here are the rules she provided:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you and answer their 10 questions.
  • Add the badge to your post.
  • Write your own 10 questions and tag 10 bloggers to do the same.

Again, I’m going to cheat and just answer her even numbered questions. You’ll be annoyed in short order because a one-word answer feels too limiting.

2. Favorite genre of music? My tastes are eclectic. For example, I like baroque music, some classical, The B52s, The Pretenders, bhangra, some Christian worship songs. I try different things just because I’m curious. Even if I’m not a total fan, I like to know what’s out there. I have told you that I am easily overstimulated. Since I work full time and live in a lively household, I often prefer silence when it is an option.

4. First concert you ever went to? I went to many classical music concerts as a child, but I don’t think that is what Bumbi’s Mom meant. I think my first concert as a teen was Amy Grant.

6. If you could have any job in the world, what would you want to do? I’m doing it: Wife, Mother, Therapist. I hope one day to have an essay or a short something published–at least once–so I can add Writer 🙂

8. Mountains or beach? If I can’t be back on the shores of Madeline Island prior to the 1990’s, then it would have to be the mountains.

10. Train, plane, or automobile? First choice: my own two feet. Second would be train. Third would be plane. Fourth would be automobile. I life in an area of the country vying for the title of Worst Traffic Nightmare, so I’d love to spend fewer hours behind the wheel of my car.

I hereby nominate the following bloggers to answer 10 questions (or however many they would like) if they choose to participate.

  1. Elan Mudrow (a mysterious! poet)
  2. Sober Living in Med City (honest pieces about recovery)
  3. Pint Size Fiction (short stories reminiscent of Dr. Who or The Twilight Zone)
  4. Lynette Davis at Memoir Notes (an information hub for all things related to memoir writing, plus great pieces on Black history)
  5. Nicholas Rossis (a welcoming author who is quick to support his fellow writers and who posts publishing tips, book reviews, and more)

Here are the questions:

  1. What drink are you most likely to order when going out?
  2. What is your favorite writing spot?
  3. What books are next to your bed?
  4. What is in your purse/pockets right now?
  5. Where did you go on your last road trip?
  6. If you could turn back time, what mistake would you avoid?
  7. What made you laugh today?
  8. Which movie would you like to live inside for a week (if you knew you’d make it out alive)?
  9. What question would you ask God if you were face to face?
  10. If I were meeting you for lunch for the first time, what description would you give me so I would recognize you?

Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you soon!

Answers to Three Truths and Two Lies:
1. True: I do wear glasses.
2. True: I wear green paisley Birkenstocks.
3. False: I do not wear nail decals. I rarely even file or paint my nails. Clipper are fine with me. I am clearly missing some sort of womanly gene in the area of grooming.
4. True: I break can openers by squeezing them too hard.
5. False: NO. I do not wear a bikini. Do you know how much therapy people would need if I did that??!!

7 Things About Me

Blogger Award - Versatile

Many thanks to my blog friend Eve Messenger for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I have never gotten an award, and this is very exciting!

Eve is funny and honest; and I knew after coming across her blog, that I would be back for more. I am always interested in people who have lived in The Between–between cultures, between vocations, between lives–because of the stories they tell and the perspectives they bring. She is ramping up for a big story, and I’m following along. Oh, and she has a thing for possums. If I said more, I’d have to kill you. So it’s best you stop by and see for yourself.

I understand there are three simple rules for this award:

1. Link back to the blogger(s) who nominated you.
2. Post 7 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate some other bloggers. (I think I’m supposed to nominate 15 but that feels a little overwhelming, so….)

Seven Facts About Plain Jane

1. I got interested in becoming a therapist after reading Irvin Yalom’s Love’s Executioner.

2. I used to run the mile in under 5 minutes. (Best 1500m time = 4:20.1)

3. Like Eve Messenger, I loved fairy tales as a child. I read all my mother’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales from childhood as soon as I was able. I continued to read fairy tales into young adulthood–anything I could get my hands on but only the old ones.

4. One summer I broke into the botanical gardens in Frankfurt, Germany, several times. I was visiting a friend. I wanted to jog without having to stop at every corner. I was young, and it never occurred to me that this was a bad thing….

5. My daughters and I watch the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice together every Christmas break.

6. I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years. Our anniversary is in April. He is THE BEST!

7. I’m going paddle boarding this Sunday with my sister.

(8. Bonus fact: My name isn’t really Jane. But I think you already knew that!)

Here are some blogs I have been enjoying (and which I hereby nominate):

1. Rebecca Chamaa’s A Journey with You. Rebecca writes about living with schizophrenia and more, more, more. She is a keen observer of human nature who knows how to distill her observations into short prose and poetry. Her book Pills, Poetry, and Prose knocked my socks off. Have your tissues ready. It is beautiful.

2. Benita Prins. I think it is important to support young writers, and Benita is a great example. Just look at this gal’s reading list! She has just come out with her first book, Starscape. Hey, I’m going on 52, and my publishing credentials are limited to my agency newsletter….I’m sure Benita could use some extra readers so maybe you’d consider entering her drawing (see blog) to receive a free copy.

3. Ocean Girl: For ordinary women living extraordinary dreams. A surf lifestyle blog for ladies.
This blog is adventurous, environmentally responsible, and it has great photos. Yes, it is for young people. But why can’t it be for bucket-listers too? Maybe I’ll actually get on a surfboard one day. But in the meantime, there’s Ocean Girl. Sigh.

4. D. Wallace Peach’s Myths of the Mirror. Also a published author, Diana (very humbly and with wonderful personal anecdotes!) offers valuable tips on how to improve one’s craft. Diana knows structure and style but what I especially enjoy is this: A former therapist, her insights into character development are astute, and her ability to communicate what she knows is well developed. Diana is also generous. She takes the time to interact with her readers, and she makes an effort to read and comments on others’ blogs in return. She was one of my very first blog buddies.

5. Things I Want To Tell My Mother by Marylin Warner. Marylin is an excellent host! You will feel as though you are a guest in her home. Her stories are varied and thoughtful, and her voice is warm and wise. She is a hug in blog form. I want to give HER a hug for her many kind words of encouragement!

6. Are you feeling warm and fuzzy? Good! Now go visit Blunderdad at Single Family Asylum. Not for the scatalogically challenged, this blog will fill your weekly quota for poop and vomit jokes. Will you still like me if I admit to being a middle school boy in the body of a middle aged woman? The guy is an evil genius, I’m telling you.

7. For those of you looking for something to nourish your soul, I’ll mention Chronicles of a Kid Next Door. Edmond Sanganyado is the real deal. He shares honestly his insights and his struggles related to his faith, his experiences as an African Male in White American culture, his near death experience, his childhood trauma in Zimbabwe, and more.

There are SO MANY other worthy blogs out there but I have to get to sleep.

I’ll close with these three, also nominated:

O at the Edges (poetry)

Mogromo

BlissfulBritt

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