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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Yes.  You read that correctly.  Cricket made me cry.

No, not “a” cricket.  Just Cricket.  Not an insect (are they insects?  Hang on a second I need to Google this.  Ah….they are indeed insects.  Closely related to katydids.  Who knew??)  Not the sport.  Just Cricket.

Cricket is a moniker used by someone who posts on an internet bulletin board on which I frequently lurk.  (RMSJr if you’re reading you’ll know the board and moniker I’m talking about.)  Cricket’s not her real name (No!  Really Spudsie??  LOL!) .  Her frequent posts help balance out my infrequent ones.  Over the years I’ve come to really respect what she has to say and look forward to reading her views on political and social topics.  Her views frequently mirror my own (sorry RMSJr….I know that probably pains you….you love me anyway right?  ;-))  and she’s able to articulate things better than I could.

The main thing that has impressed me about Cricket is her willingness to state her point of view and not care what anyone else thinks.  (Or at least that’s how it seems from my perspective.)  She’ll let everyone know where she stands and engage in dialogue regarding just about any topic regardless of the online insults hurled by “anons” or even known posters.  Her beliefs are her beliefs and she’s not afraid to let anyone know.

That’s sooooo far from where I am.  I suspect my beliefs and views are just as strong and deeply held as Cricket’s.  I tend to keep them to myself.  I recently told a friend of mine that I’m a democrat and she was really surprised.  The circles I tend to “run” in are largely republican—make that vocally republican.  And I’ve learned over the years just to keep quiet on most political topics.  It’s a habit I’m slowly trying to un-learn. 

(Yes, I know.  I’m not really “un-learning” a habit.  I’m changing the way I interact with people.  I’m choosing to speak up.  I’m choosing to be authentically “me”—whoever that is.  It’s just easier—and shorter—to write that I’m un-learning.  Grin!)

So I really admire Cricket for being herself and for being willing to freely state what she believes.

There was a thread started recently about Jim Wallis and the subject of social justice.  It hit a nerve with me when someone called Jim Wallis a Socialist.  While I cannot claim to have read everything written by Jim Wallis, I have read a fair bit of it.  And it seems crystal clear to me that he is NOT a Socialist.  Period.  So I jumped into the thread and gave my opinion.  And somehow Cricket and I ended up posting a few things back and forth to each other. 

Now I’ve “known” of Cricket and actively followed her postings for a while.  But given the infrequent nature of my own posts I’m positive she had never noticed me before.  Since we seemed to share similar views on the topic and had similar experiences from other Christians when discussing the topic I made a bold move.  Well…..bold for me anyway.  LOL!  I posted an e-mail address and invited her to drop me a line to continue the conversation off the board if she’d like.  And she did!!  Cool beans!  J

She sent me an e-mail with some more of her thoughts on social justice, a little of her back ground, a little bit about her views on different stuff, and an invitation to share my own thoughts.  So I did.  I replied with an overly long e-mail (some of you who have received similar e-mails from me can commiserate with Cricket….LOL!) about a little bit of my history and my thoughts on social justice.

Describing what “social justice” means to me is challenging.  I feel very inarticulate.  I feel as though I stumble and fumble my way through it.  It’s something I FEEL rather than THINK.  And goodness knows I have problems identifying emotions and feelings, much less using them to explain a bigger concept.  When I hit “send” and watched my e-mail disappear into cyberspace I wondered if my words made any sense.  Was there anything of worth in them?  How many typos did I have?  LOL!

Evidently it made a lot of sense to Cricket.  She replied with an e-mail today that made me cry.

Good tears.

She shared a few stories from her life, some of her early exposure to the concept of social justice—before she knew what it was called or knew that not everyone viewed it the same way.  She shared some of her frustration with “church people” (my words—not hers) and their frequent opposition to social justice. 

It was really cool learning that about her.

That wasn’t what made me cry. 

What made me cry was what she said about me. 

Recently I’ve been praying that God would show me what he wants from me in a very clear way.  In a way that I CANNOT miss or misinterpret.  I’ve been praying that in the context of trying to find a life direction.  (See previous blog entries for more about that.  J)  “Hey God, I’m gonna need some major help.  Could you show me what you want from me, where you want me to go in such an obvious way that I cannot miss it.  In a way that I will feel in my soul that it’s where I can start.  Even if the direction changes along the way, even if you have something different in mind for further down the road, could you simply show me where to start.  Make it resonate in the core of my being.  Make it energize me in a way I’ve forgotten I can be energized.  Please open my eyes, my heart, my mind.”

I trust God will help me as I continue my search.  There hasn’t been handwriting on the wall (yet!) or anything like that—and there may never be exactly what I am praying for.  And that’s okay because I know he’s got my back!  And when the creator of the universe has your back, it’s probably best to just let him do his thing.  He’ll come up with a way of guiding me that will be more impactful, more effective than anything I could imagine.  (You rock God!!)

I think in my prayers he’s heard something else.  Something I didn’t really articulate.  (He’s really good at reading between the lines.)  He’s heard my desire to try to see myself differently.  He’s heard my frustrations at not understanding why people say the good things about me that they occasionally say.  He’s heard me say, “What do they see that I don’t see?  Why can’t I see that in myself?”  And he’s sending people to me to help me see ME more clearly.

And this is where Cricket’s e-mail made me cry.

She started her reply to me by calling me a beautiful soul.  I kid you not.  It caught me completely off guard.  I wasn’t expecting anything remotely like that!  I mean, really, the only thing she knows about me is what she read in one e-mail (albeit a lengthy one…).  That’s it.  One e-mail in which I felt I didn’t express myself very well.  Wow.

And she didn’t stop there.  She went on for three paragraphs to say the most heart-felt things about me.  In one e-mail she was able to see things that I haven’t been able to see in thirty-cough-some years.  Not only did she see them, she told me about them.  She told me about me.  And since I wasn’t expecting it ALL of my defenses were down.  I felt the full impact of it deeply.  It actually resonated with me.  Wow.

As Yoda would say, “Unexpected this is.”

I love it when God answers a prayer I didn’t even realize I prayed!

So today has been a good day.  Cricket made me cry.

And see myself a little differently.

Thanks God!

Thanks Cricket!

Cricket

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Joy

Evidently I’ve been missed.  Friends from Maine to Nashville to Colorado have been e-mailing, writing, and sending good wishes and encouragement my way recently.  (Who knew Supdsie was a nation-wide phenomenon?!  ;-))   And to a person they’ve all expressed some degree of concern at my blog absence.

First and foremost (does anyone besides me say that anymore???), than you sooooo much for the warm wishes, thoughts, cards (thanks Doctor!), etc.  Hmmmmm….I feel like I’m listening to a thank you card being read at the church where I grew up.  “Mr. Spuds and I would like to thank everyone in the congregation for the prayers, thoughts, cards and meals while we have been going through….”  Wait!  I didn’t get any meals from y’all!  Where are the meals???  LOL!!  Just kidding!  J

Seriously, thank you for your notes.  They are greatly appreciated.

I’m hanging there.  I’m not in the good mental/emotional place I want to me.  But I’m getting there.  And any progress is good!  I’m still working my way out of my funk and haven’t really felt like writing anything.  Haven’t felt like I had anything to say….other than grumbling.  And who wants to read a blog full of whining and complaining?  No one I can think of—with the possible exception of Grumpy, the dwarf. 

So, what’s new in this potato’s life?  Not much.  I’m still working with Coach Jim.  (Hiya Jim!)  I’ve watched a fair number of movies recently…..haven’t really been able to focus on books so I’ve tried to catch up.  I went to see “Doubt” by myself while Mr. Spuds was out of town.  That was probably the wrong movie to watch by myself—I wanted to sit down with people and talk about it as soon as it was over.  What was the symbolism with the light bulb?  How many different layers of doubt were explored?  Was one doubt stronger?  Did doubt “win” in the end?  Is anyone certain of anything?   Sigh.  But instead I went home and watched Dr. Who.  (Not an altogether bad thing!  Though I’m bummed that David Tennant is leaving the role………siiiiiiiiiigh….)

I’m trying to get back to my books.  I certainly have enough of them!  Mycroft is nowhere near full, but has a goodly number of unread books.

What’s that?  Who’s Mycroft?  Oh.  I forgot to mention it.  I’ve named my Kindle.  J  Yes, that does cement my total geek status.  And oddly enough, that’s a source of joy for me.  J

One of the things Coach Jim has me working on is a joy journal.  (Or something like that.  Maybe it’s a joy list?  I don’t remember.  I keep calling it a joy journal.  The alliteration flows much better than joy list.)

Jim has defined joy as, “Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness; the expression or manifestation of such feeling; a source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction.”  Basically (a gross oversimplification on my part here) joy is happiness on steroids. 

So I’ve spent a good deal of time this past week thinking about things that bring me (or have brought me) joy.  It’s been fun!  There are the “typical” joy laden things you might expect—vacations, a wedding, food, people, bird-watching, etc.  And today I added another item to the list.

“Pure government/pure politics”

Yeah…if my geek status wasn’t secured before it is now.  LOL!

I love what’s happening today.  I have a great sense of joy!  I took today off work to stay home and watch the inauguration.  The peaceful passing of power to a new leader is extraordinary.  It really is!  I’m grinning ear to ear and crying at the same time. 

I love listening to and watching the campaigns.  The debates are awesome!  It’s amazing how so many people who all want “what’s best for America” can have so many different views and opinions on just what is “best” for the country.  And they all believe it so passionately!  You can hear it in their voice tones as they argue on morning talk shows.  You can see it in their facial expressions as they listen to opponents express opposing views.  You can feel it if you are ever in a room with them.  It’s impressive.

And to watch today the way everyone comes together to pass power from one leader to the next, with no malice, with no (obvious) bitterness, with no hatred…..it’s a joyous occasion.  It’s one of the most incredible things about our nation.  There may be words used as weapons during campaigns, but in the end they all recognize what an impossible job it is to be President of the United States. 

I just love this stuff!  It’s not the fighting, it’s not the arguments, it’s not the “who can talk the loudest to be heard at the expense of anyone else with an idea.”  It’s pure government.  It’s altruistic. 

Yes, yes.  They all have egos beyond belief.  I get that.  But that makes it even more impressive to me.  They have to work to overcome those egos, or at least learn to set them aside.  Being President comes at a huge cost.  One most of us would not be willing to pay.  Or at least I wouldn’t.  How they manage to keep a hold of any sense of self in that role is beyond my understanding.  So many people talking in your ear—either telling you what they think you want to hear, or trying to find some way to get you to decide things the way they want them decided.  How do you discern truth?  How do you keep hold of your core values, your core self under such unbelievable pressure?

The mind boggles.

Days like today bring out the best in our government and in our politicians. 

And that brings me great joy.

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Don’t worry foodies….I’ll get back to the food.  At the moment I don’t have the time (or attention span!) to do justice to the rest of the food.  So I’ll get back to that.

In the meantime, I was reminded today of the reason I “liberate” so many shampoo (and conditioner, and lotion, and bath salts, and bath gel, and soap) bottles from vacation hotels.

I know Doctor.  This puzzles you to no end.  J  I mean, really…..I can afford to pay for a hotel room so clearly I can afford to pay for my own shampoo….right? 

I was reminded this evening it’s not really about being cheap.  (Quit laughing!  It’s not….really! LOL!)  It’s about trying to bring back the memory in a really tangible way.

My life is blessed.  Truly more blessed than I ever expected it would be.  I have been able to enjoy some fantastic vacations in recent years with Mr. Spuds.  Amazing food in Las Vegas, amazing nature (and friends!) in Maine, amazing gardens and cool mountain streams in North Carolina….well, you get the idea.  These vacations have been remarkable indulgences of calm, quiet relaxation for my spirit.  I treasure the experiences and the memories. 

Pictures are one tool I use to help keep the memories fresh and alive.  But sometimes it’s nice to get another sense involved.  When Mr. Spuds and I discover a wine we enjoy on vacation we search high and low back home to find a source for the same wine.  Then whenever we enjoy it the memory of a delightful meal or some fun people watching comes back to life.  We try to do the same thing with different foods—but that can be more challenging since neither one of us is an internationally renowned chef. 

Oddly enough the shampoos (and other assorted bath products) are the same thing.  (Stick with me here Doctor.)  Typically the hotels Mr. Spuds and I “live” in for vacations have pretty distinctive scents in their bath products.  No one else has quite the same scent as the Bellagio, or as the Palazzo, or as the Harborside in Bar Harbor.  They are each wonderful and different.  I try to bring home as many as I can to help keep the memory alive.  It helps add another dimension to my memory—or triggers a different level of memory.  (I’m not sure how the science works….I simply love that it does!)

It’s a rough time at work right now.  (Year end always is.)  Being able to come home and grab one of the eight (yep….count ‘em EIGHT) bottles of Palazzo shampoo and enjoying an overly long, hot shower is fantastic.  Closing my eyes, breathing deeply, inhaling the distinctive lemon verbena-ish scent transports me right back to the opulent bathroom at the Palazzo.  I once again feel as though I’ve been completely relaxed by a massage at the spa and am looking forward to a one-of-a-kind dinner later in the evening.

One deep breath and it all comes flooding back to me.  Ahhhhhhhhh.  Being in the moment…even though the moment is in the past.  (Hmmmmm…that’s not really being in the moment is it?  Okay…..how about this?)  Ahhhhhhhhh.  Reliving a moment of perfection.  Of delight.  Of everything being right with the world. 

It’s amazing what one (ahem…EIGHT) small bottle of shampoo can do isn’t it?

It probably still makes you shake your head Doctor.  And that’s okay.  J  Sometimes being odd (even really odd) serves a purpose.  An odd purpose, but a purpose nonetheless. 

That’s all for now.  My hands are a little dry from the winter weather and I have to go find the hand lotion I “liberated.”

J

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At the beep……

Hi!

You’re reached Spudsie’s blog.

Spudsie’s not here right now.  She’s celebrating the Buckeye win over Michigan (go Bucks!) and is headed out for Thanksgiving.

She hopes you enjoy (or at least are amused) by what you read on her blog while she’s gone.  Feel free to leave comments on the November gratitude page if there’s something you are thankful for.

If you need a dose of humor and cuteness while she’s gone please visit Maggie Mae’s blog.  That’s one smart doggie!!

If you’d like to leave a message, note or comment please do so at the beep.  Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you soon!

Beeeeeeeeeeeep.

machine

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Here’s a song to get everyone in the mood for Thanksgiving.

“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
‘Cause even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away
Oh, there’s black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on every deal
All you need’s a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas with you neon flashin’
And your one armbandits crashin’
All those hopes down the drain
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again

I’m gonna keep on the run
I’m gonna have me some fun
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke up well
I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time
I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got
Lady luck please let the dice stay hot
Let me shoot a seven with every shot
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas,Viva Las Vegas

Viva, Viva Las Vegas”

What?  What??  That doesn’t get everybody in the mood for Thanksgiving?? 

????????

Oh!  I think I understand…….this song gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving this year. J

Mr. Spuds and I are getting ready to leave for vacation this week.  We are packing and prepping.  Wanna guess where we are going?  Yup!  We are “running away” to Las Vegas to eat dinner on Thanksgiving at Bouchon.  Yuuuummmmmmmmmm!  I’m drooling just thinking about it.

So clearly it won’t be a “traditional” Thanksgiving for us.  We are trying something different.  It should be tons of fun!  Lots of good food while we are there, a good show, a great spa facility (I actually packed 4 days worth of work-out clothes for vacation!!), a great room.  Ahhhh….good times.

So, since I won’t be around to post a note on Thanksgiving I thought I would mention (perhaps a little early) what I’m thankful for this year.  

God.  I’m thankful for God.  Do I need to expand on that?  LOL!  There’s so much he does that I’m thankful for….I could probably blog for pages and pages.  I am especially thankful for his very clear presence in my life this past year.  He’s always around.  I know that.  This year I’ve been able to see him more often, more clearly.  I am thankful for his gentle guidance.  For his mercy and grace—something I need to learn to extend to myself.  I’m thankful he continues to extend it to me even though I try to reject it.  Thanks God.  You rock!!!

Mr. Spuds.  I have the best husband on the planet!!  (Even though he does make fun of me knowing what the Vulcan IDIC symbol is.  J)  He has been so supportive of me…….well…ever since I’ve known him.  His patience is amazing.  He allows me to be me.  Even when I’m trying to change, he still lets me be me.  He encourages me in so many ways.  He’s my rock on earth.  He keeps me centered and grounded—even when I feel like I’m lost, when I look at him I know I am loved and treasured and know I am where I belong. 

Family.  My family is amazing.  I love them all and am so thankful for their love, support and examples.  They are some of the most remarkable amazing people you could ever meet. 

I am so thankful for my mom’s example of dedication and commitment and protection.  She sacrificed some of her emotional safety to try and protect me and my siblings.  I didn’t recognize that at the time, but she put herself in harm’s way to try and stem some of the abuse that was headed my way, and my siblings’ way.  She couldn’t divert all of it, but every bit she could turn aside gave us a better chance.  She’s stayed with my dad through some of the toughest time I can imagine.  If Mr. Spuds treated me the way she’s been treated, I’m not so sure I would have stuck around.  But my mom?  She’s committed.  She’s in this for the long haul.  She’s worked to improve her marriage from within the marriage.  What an awesome example she is!

I’m so thankful for my dad’s example of a completely generous spirit and heart.  He’s not a perfect person—who is?  I often wonder how unhappy he must have been (and may still be) in the core of his being.  It must have been an excruciating pain for someone with the compassionate heart he has to lash out at those he loves the most.  His heart longs to give everything he can and to help everyone he meets.  His wry sense of humor is hilarious!  (At least it is to me! Must have inherited that from him.  LOL!)  I am very thankful he is my father.

Coaches.  This is a new category this year.  “Coaches?  As in plural?  Spudsie, do you need more than one coach??”  Oh yeah.  Coaches.  Plural.  More than one.  Oh, I have only one “official” coach—Coach Jim.  But I’m realizing that I have seemingly countless people in my life who are coaching me in one way or another.  People who are guiding me—some without even realizing it. 

Friends, co-workers, strangers, all kinds of people are setting examples of how to make deliberate choices.  Showing me how to be more of what I want to be.  People who encourage me.  People who pray for me.  People who listen to me, who read my ramblings here.  People who are interested in my life and who look for ways to encourage me.  Friends from all over the country—some who have never met me in real life.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them as they help coach me through life. 

And of course my “official” coach—Coach Jim.  I am so thankful he’s been willing to help me, willing to work with me.  Willing to continue to be patient with me (much more patient than I am with myself).  I’m thankful he’s always willing to say the same thing 83 different times and 24 different ways until I finally understand it.  Without his patience and gentle guidance and calm example I’m not sure I’d have made any progress.  When I find myself getting frustrated with myself in our conversations I stop and remind myself “Hey Spudsie, listen to Jim.  Listen to his tone.  Is there ANY frustration with you in his voice?  Is there any hint of irritation?  Nope.  Then let go of yours.  Just be in the conversation.  Leave the assessments on the sidelines.”  I’m thankful for Jim and the effort he puts into working with me.  Because of his efforts I’m really excited and curious to see where I’ll be at this time next year!

I’m thankful for my health.  I’m thankful for my employment.  I’m thankful for my home.  I’m thankful for my yard.  I’m thankful for my turtles (even when they try to bite me!).  There is so much I’m thankful for this year. 

And for the first time in a long time, I’m thankful for me.  I’m thankful for who I am.  For who I am working to become.  Not that I’m perfect, or finished, or where I want to be.  It’s just that I’m beginning to realize that Spudsie, just as she is, is kinda cool.  And I’m thankful for that.  And for everyone who’s helped me get here. 

For all of this (and more) I give thanks.

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Just a “quick” note tonight—I could use some good luck, positive vibes, kind thoughts….you get the idea.  J

I’m going into a setting tonight that is causing me a fair amount of anxiety.  Well…perhaps that’s overstating it a little.  Let’s just say I’m a little nervous.

I’m meeting a new study group (from the church Mr. Spuds and I have been visiting) for the first time.  I know only one person there—the minister.  And I don’t really know him all that well.  So this is my one shot at making a good first impression.

Meeting groups of people who I hope to “fit in” with is always cause for a little nervousness in this potato.  In addition to that “normal” set of nerves, I’m trying something new this time.  I’m trying to go in with a more open spirit.  I’ve got all kinds of new tools to help me out—new body postures, new ways of carrying myself, new ways of listening, new ways of speaking.  Lots of new stuff!

I’m not entirely comfortable with all of the new stuff yet.

Coach Jim keeps reminding me that “Fake it till you make it” is an excellent thing to do.  So that’s what I’ll be doing at least part of this evening.  Which seems a little at odds with the appeal of this church—their authenticity. 

I feel like this is my first “large scale” road test of the new Spudsie (so to speak).

I’m kinda nervous about it.  It’s an excited nervous—which is better than an anxious nervous—but it’s nervousness nonetheless.

Will I be able to do it?  Will I fall back into old “habits” 15 seconds before I walk in the door?  Will I come across as really “fake?” 

(Actually I’m not overly concerned about that last one.  I shouldn’t come across as “fake” because I’m being who I am.  I’m just trying to carry myself and present myself in a more positive light.  It’s all still the Spudster!)

So……will it work?  Stay tuned…..only time will tell.

Gulp.

What have I gotten myself into???

Wish me luck!

fingers-crossed

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Yeah….I know.  10AM hardly qualifies as “early” morning!!  😉

So Obama won last night.  I was happy.  And sad.  (Kinda like a sweet and sour emotional stir fry. ;-))

Why sad?  I really missed seeing Tim Russert on MSNBC’s coverage.  His enthusiasm really cannot be replaced.  It was unique to him.  He beamed whenever he talked about politics.  And that energy isn’t on this earth any more.  And that makes me sad.

And I’m sad for John McCain.  I wish we had a political system that wasn’t by default adversarial.  McCain and Obama are both remarkable men.  And remarkable leaders.  I wish there was a  way for them BOTH to have won.  A way for them to bring their stregnths together to lead our nation.  But our system doesn’t work that way.  I hope John McCain continues to be honored and respected and looked-up to for the amazing leader he is.

First thing this morning none of these thoughts were running through my head though.

What was I thinking about?  I was thinking about an early morning 14 years ago.  Waking up after a night of more cat-napping than sleeping.  Leaving a house in Florida in one set of clothes and changing into another set of clothes a couple of hours later.  Of walking down a path way and joining Mr. Spuds.

Did I mention the set of clothes I changed into was a beautiful bead-filled white dress?  🙂

Yep.  14 years ago today I became Mrs. Spuds.  Mr. Spuds and I got married!

It’s been better than anything I could have imagined!!!  I love Mr. Spuds.  I love being married to him.  I love how he helps me see a point of view different from my own.  He helps me grow.  He loves me.  And I love him!  I cannot imagine my life without him.  He’s simply the best!!!

Love trumps politics any day.  You just can’t find more happiness than that!

Happy anniversary Mr. Spuds.  I luv ya!!!

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