Archive | November, 2012

Unintentionally Imperfect

28 Nov

I am sleep deprived today.  I was sleep deprived yesterday too, but today I’m “feeling” it.  The cause of my shut-eye deprivation was fear.  Grippingly, wrenchingly, nauseatingly, and awfully imposing was this terrorization of my soul.  Not to worry, my faith (which I have discovered is actually an action more than an idea, and translates as: trust in an unseen G-d and his Word as recorded in the Bible), has conquered my visitor from Hell.  Yes, the state of my being, while suffering the fool of being afraid, was something straight out of what my impression of Hell would be…a place devoid of the presence of my loving father.  Not a pleasure, I assure you.

I will bring you thru to the occult slowly, by traipsing back to the catalyst–which is actually quite wonderful and exhilarating…

My husband, Brian, and I have decided that an additional investment (aka:privilege), into our daughter’s education would be a worthwhile endeavor.  She is currently finishing up her second year of learning her third language, French.  And because she has weathered this past year and a half like a champ, we have decided to send her on a trip to France this January, during her one month respite from classes (though she will engage in studies while on her visit).

Now rewind to 1983 for the back-story which helps to illuminate my fearful state.  It was the aforementioned year and I was thirteen (funny, up until writing this post I held this memory as if I were 9 or 10 years of age…but now looking up facts smooths out the wrinkles of a hazy memory), for reasons still unknown to me now, I watched a movie about a little boy who was kidnapped from Sears while shopping with his mom.  And who was subsequently found murdered.  The little boy was Adam Walsh.  You might know the, made for TV movie, it was titled, “Adam”.  The account of this story of abduction rattled my young soul to the core, and its impact upon my mind was profound.  At that time I babysat my younger siblings (god brother and sister, for those of you who are thinking, “wait a minute, aren’t you the baby of the family?), with a new, keen awareness of evil.  I developed a philosophy and guideline for our public outings of, “If I can’t touch you, somebody else can!”, which I later applied to my own children, in their younger years.  Essentially, they were allowed to be within my arms reach and not further.  While raising my children I felt strongly that I’d rather lose them to a Mac truck then to have them (or me) live through the horrors of abduction.

In recent years, my aching heart is aware of stories of abduction through media coverage.  Specifically, the Chelsea King case.  There is a trail near my house that I like to walk the dogs on.  For some reason my heart hurts for her and her parents during one section of the terrain.  I always, and I mean ALWAYS, pray for the King family (and the parents of the perpetrator) during that leg of my hike…it’s kind of creepy, I admit!  In fact, there are occasions that I cannot complete that particular leg of the walk because my empathizing mind becomes too burdened by the evil which crossed the King’s path and fear then runs a muck within me.  You will still find me in prayer for the families, though my own insecurities are also being addressed at the same time.  And as fate would have it, I had the pleasure of interacting with the King family attorney this past summer.  He is a most gracious man with a truly empathetic and giving heart.  Anyway, this is my back story.  I do not normally walk in fear…at least that is what I thought.

In fact, this particular year I have declared, with my husband, it is a year of “NO FEAR”.  Now making this declaration seems simple enough…not so, not so.  For it has, in fact, acted as illuminator of the many, let me write it again, MANY underlying actions we take in life that are directly motivated by fear.  Example, when fighting cancer do not cook your vegetables…they are most effective when consumed in their natural state (what to do when raw vegetables are difficult for the cancer patient to ingest? Aaahhh Scary!).  And of course they can only be organic, and the quality of the soil and farm is integral to the nutrient content (but when one is on a strict budget, that rabbit hole has to be left for another fox to find…also scary).  Milk is bad and probably the cause of many illnesses (one friend of mine is convinced it is the origin of my migraine headaches, I am slightly afraid as I drink every last drop).  Cardiovascular exercise is important for longevity, but don’t forget strengthening techniques which help fight the naturally occurring degeneration of bone mass (if you don’t move you just might die–one day).  Don’t consume just any oil, it has to be cold pressed.  Or hard pressed, or who knows which one!  I don’t think you want me to get started on fish, the mercury content, and the wild vs. farmed issue.  How about the environmental issues.  Or sex before marriage issue, and the ‘must attend a university directly out of high school’ issue–or else!  Of course, at my age, the retirement fund and long term care insurance issues come into play.  As does the fear of disease and getting older.  Oiy Vay…fear has its roots in much of our life.  If we let it.  For the most part, I utilize my knowledge with a knowing that this physical life is a temporary one.  I do what I can, with what I have, and trust in the good Lord for the rest.  …and this last statement is coming from one (me) who thoroughly enjoys learning.

So with our 2012 no fear policy has come the facing of many root fears which have permeated our lives.  No matter, I like the purging…until this past week.  The week Brian and I decided to move forward with allowing Esther the opportunity to travel, on her own, to France.  As I shared our decision with a family member (whose travel booking advice I was after) she promptly suggested I, and Esther, watch the movie “Taken”.  Actually, I think I’ll expose her.  Only because she is such a squeaky clean individual that she needs a little soiling, just to keep the “chi” in balance. 🙂  It is my younger sister.  The one who suffered, as a little girl, the squeeze of my hand because I was under the influence of the Adam Walsh story.  The one who traveled, to France herself, when she was twenty, with a girlfriend.  So upon her advice I watched a 4 minute synopsis of the film.  And the wretched ax of terror hit me so hard I was shaking–honest–because this film has the underlying story of two girls who travel to Paris, are abducted and then sold into the sex slavery trade (last word hurts to even use–sorry, it’s late and I don’t want to take the time to correct it).  I was, after that, gripped.  My stomach was clenched with fear and my head a swirl with evil.  I somehow managed to get myself back to a quasi normal state, just enough to get some sleep.

However, the next night my daughter returned home from a work dinner party, where her 17th birthday was being honored.  Only instead of being showered with birthday blessings and wishes, she was being smothered with curses.  They went something like this, “Oh, you should watch that movie Taken.  You are so going to be taken, just like in that movie, because you are too nice.”  She came and shared that news with me as I was already tucked in bed and again at peace with her upcoming trip.  I will spare you from having to re-live the scenario with me, especially as the torment and mental torture I endured carried forth until the morning.  It was a horrific night.  And Brian, Esther, and I have had to thoroughly examine the circumstances of her travel arrangements, her host family, and the realities which come from living in an imperfect world.  Bottom line, our mantra of 2012 remains.  “No Fear.”  Because fear is a destroyer of life.  It might seem harmless while living in a vegetable, within imperfect soil, or even in the milk we drink (though the Center for Science in the Public Interest  doesn’t consider these things harmless, http://www.cspinet.org/).  Yet it likes to take hold of that which is biologically sound and squeeze from it the essence of being alive.

Though difficult as it may be for me to recover from my wrestling match with the devil, my daughter will travel to France this winter.  She will be blessed with as much opportunity as we can provide for her.  And she will know that no matter how hard it is for us, her father and I, to let go of her hand, we will allow her to bloom and grow.  And what of my little sis, my now-a-principal-of-a-high-school little sis, who first led me to the rocking of my soul movie trailer?  She is also the first to say to Esther, “just be aware and cautious, but most definitely go.”

This past year our Bent slogan was created because my husband has been suffering the fool of fear for a while.  I have been so tired from his own sleepless nights (as he insists upon my help through his torture) that I actually installed the “NO FEAR” policy as a measure of ‘risk management’.  This is probably my first time experiencing the robbing tactics of its presence.  And yet, today I purchased her airline tickets.  And today I share in her excitement.  …fear, don’t come around here no more.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

 

MEA (culpa)

21 Nov

I feel like I have been living in a “Where’s Waldo?” tale.  I have been here, there, and everywhere.  Had time to spare and then no time at all.  Enjoyed adventures worth sharing but no inspiration with which to deliver the details.  If I were bi-polar (previously known as manic depressive), I would find this place to be the worse place of all…the humdrums of life.  The in between, the middle, the norm.  Yep, the norms…no highs, no lows.  Just plain old living.  Now my previous statement has nothing to do with the past months activities, not at all.  For this past month has truly been filled with loads of fun times.  No, the humdrums are within myself.  And they will pass, I have no doubt.  But while they take up residence within my being, my creativity is somewhat hampered.  At least in the arena of writing.

For instance, do I really want to share my thoughts on the fact my son has decided to start smoking again?  Especially since he is now a ‘Bentrivka’ subscriber?  No, I’ll pass on that one.  How about writing about the intense battle with fear my husband has been in this entire year of 2012, with me as his helper?  Nope, let’s skip that one as well.  Shall I let you into my secret world of gerontophobia, or as the band Blondie put it, “die young, stay pretty?”  Heck no …that world of mine is secret for darn good reason!

So what to write about when the weather is cool and so is my inspiration?  How about thanks and giving.  Yes, I have much of both of those two words inside of me…

Thanks:

  • no leaks in the roof
  • G-d’s glorious provisions
  • warm clothes on a cold day
  • sun shining most of the time
  • hot water from a shower
  • my son, my daughter
  • memories of a good childhood
  • bilingual literacy (shoot monolingual literacy is an amazing gift, in and of itself!)
  • a generous and loving extended family–from both sides of our coin
  • music
  • song
  • the ability to swim
  • vision
  • a sewer system
  • forced air heating
  • down slippers
  • friends
  • time to sleep
  • flowers, foliage, and birds
  • no formal plans for the day of thanks

I really could go on and on with my list of thankfulness.  While there are some days I struggle with having a good attitude, I can never (and I mean never in the literal sense of the word) find an excuse not to smile.  Thankfully, I have been given the ability to see blessings…even if they are not owned by me, such as a flower or a bird (or a lovely pair of Yves St. Lauren shoes).

Giving, verb.:  to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow

  • a dinner invitation
  • a present
  • a compliment
  • shelter
  • a ride
  • assistance with…
  • tutoring
  • hospitality
  • kindness
  • an opportunity
  • information
  • compassion
  • a listening ear
  • washing a dish
  • mowing a lawn
  • taking in or out the trash receptacles
  • running an errand
  • my sister
  • sharing milk
  • vacuuming
  • a smile

There you have it, a looky-loo into my inspiration void.  But as you pass thru, albeit ever so briefly, I offer you, my fellow United States(ers), a very joyful and plentiful Thanksgiving celebration.  May you know the warmth of food, family, friends, and gratefulness.  And that blessing transcends to anyone else who, for whatever reason (logistics or circumstance), are not in common with the Thanksgiving tradition of tomorrow.  As for my “fantastic four”, we have decided to cook up a lasagne and go to a park. AAAAhhhh, the sweet fragrance of freedom of choice…another item to add to my list of “thanks”.  🙂

Oh CRAP! And Other Signs of Age Progression

7 Nov

It has been a while since my last post.  And though I had given a slight clue, in my last writing, as to what I would be writing in this current (or next) post, I have, “Rivka style”, changed direction.  I say, Rivka style, because I have found that the one constant about my direction is that it is always changing.  For instance, my good friend and I travel to Santa Catalina Island once a year for a girls getaway.  This past weekend marked our 14th or 15th year of wreaking havoc on the sleepy town of Avalon.  And as has been our custom, every year prior, we share a barbeque chicken pizza along with a dinner salad for one of our meals together.  However, this year as she excitedly sat at our familiar table ready to order our “specialty”, I spilled the truth.  “Uhm, Candice, I have a confession to make…I don’t like barbecue sauce anymore.”  Now in years past she would give me a good ribbing about it, but this year she resigned to what she has come to know to be true, “Rivka is always changing her mind!”

Yes, folks, I am.  And though I would like to write about the adventure of finding the San Diego Velodrome, it will have to wait; because I have changed my mind.  I have changed partially due to the fact I have been dealing with migraine headaches again.  And the headaches affect my ability to work at the computer because I am a slow writer, as well as, a slow reader.  And the pain is quite intense, and the intensity grows the longer I stare at the screen.

Though I previously had connected gluten as the cause of my head irritation, I have since discovered it is not the case.  Yeast and sugar, perhaps, though I am not wholly convinced (due to my own elimination diets of the past) that the cause is of MY doing.  Truth be told, I have recently shared with Brian that while I am under the ‘spell’ of pain, I am feeling as if G-d is punishing me for something.  I will tell you, confessions aside, that the only real connection I have found is a change in the weather.  It is true, when the seasons change I tend to have the darned things more often.  Yet I have enough insight into the ‘facts of life’ to know that the weather in and of itself cannot be the sole reason for my infliction.  I have considered that my maternal grandmother suffered, occasionally, from migraines and my daughter does as well.  Did I hear the call of “Genetics”?  Blah Blah Blah…what a boring subject!  I have been having migraines so long now that I am absolutely tired of them as a subject matter!

So let me leave you with the instance of how I came to my title.  For some reason I received, in the mail, a holiday toy catalog.  I do believe it was either for Toys R Us, or Target.  Anyway, as I was perusing through the high gloss, and vibrantly colored pages, I couldn’t help but wonder at the types of toys offered to the wee ones of today.  Monster dolls called, Bratzillas and some other name I have now forgot.  Fairies called, “Good vs. Evil Fairies”.  Party Girls dolls, or in other words (mine in fact), super skinny dolls with multicolored hair and loads of makeup on the face.  A family game which involved handcuffs, and a game which seemed to award the art of lying.  And as I sat there, jaw dropped open and mind in wonderment at why these types of toys are sought after, it hit me, “Oh Crap, I am getting old!”  No it isn’t so much my age in number that is showing signs of the natural progression (according my family lineage I will hit middle age in another 15 to 20 years), it is the sign that I am losing touch with that which sparks the fire of the, younger-than-me, young.  Oiy Vay!

Yes folks, I have been away from the computer for a couple of weeks now and with my quick appearance I leave you this tidbit morsel of nothing…sweet as it may be, it is still nothing.  But tomorrow brings a new attempt at fighting the beast of my head (and eyes) and with my new approach, I am hopeful to have the physical ability, once again, to write in a manner more connected to that which I wish to say…without the pressure of pain sitting in the director’s seat.  Crossing my fingers and such.

Adieu

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