Adventures in Dating

Hey there! Long time no hear…I am sorry. I must be honest, I have not been feeling myself lately and I haven’t wanted to write about it. I still don’t, but I have to. I have to get it out or else I am going to be like a bomb and blow!

I began seeing someone. I was having such a good time and I think I forgot that I am great when he was being a smooth talker. Every day I tried to become more of the person HE needed me to be instead of the person I am trying to become. He wasn’t a bad person, just someone I wanted to please even if it meant losing myself again!

After a month we stopped seeing each other. No reason, no problems, just stopped. I am reflecting on how quickly I started to be absorbed into another person. Do I need to have someone else tell me how to “be”? Why?!

I am smart. I am beautiful. I can do anything I need to do and if I can’t I figure it out. I spent so much time being told that I was almost there that I go above and beyond as a rule. I am the definition of a “catch.” So why don’t I believe that?

I believe every relationship brings you closer to being the best version of yourself and the take away on this one is that I have to be super careful about handing over my mind, body and soul. Even if I don’t believe it all the time, I am a powerhouse. And the person I am is the person (fill in the blank) is attracted to so becoming an extension of them instead is not good! Also, I have been scared to try and start dating and now I know it is okay and I am ready. Dating adventures…take one!

Professional Room Temperature Checker

Once upon a time there was a girl who only thought of herself and how to make herself happy and comfortable. She was selfish without realizing, she honestly believed that by taking care of her own destiny she would be making everyone around her content as well. “You can’t love others without loving yourself”…”you can’t make people happy without being happy with you”…”you do you” and all those cliches. People around her pointed it out (a boyfriend dedicated the song Cold As Ice by Foreigner to her at a club during a fight) or they followed her around like the goddess she just knew she was. Life was good. Or was it?!

All the narcissism was an act to cover the fact that she didn’t feel important or needed. Fake it till you make it was the true cliche she lived by–she just knew someday she would find the person who would make her want to care about someone other than herself. She even got married right away so she could have a reason to put someone else first. She didn’t know that at the time, just like she didn’t know that caring for her younger brother growing up instead of being a kid who was incapable of caring for others like a normal 4 year old was a huge reason for her codependency and whirlwind relationships.

Then she met someone who was so much more narcissistic and self important. Now, instead of being the rule maker and the front runner, SHE was the follower. She drank the kool-aid, she didn’t make a decision or have a thought without getting his superior opinion first. And again, she was unaware. She fell right in line with the belief that she was less than, she did not think twice about the fact that she had no original content anymore. She had finally found the person who she loved more than herself. The person she checked the temperature in the room for to be sure it was perfect. She could just put on a sweater or a short sleeve shirt if she was uncomfortable, how she felt was irrelevant.

When he left, she began to wake up. She looked around and realized she was temperature checking the room for everyone in it, she still felt like she was irrelevant. Even though she tried to go back to being the leader of the pack, she knew she wasn’t happy in that role.

She is still growing and changing, she always will be. She has found a new person to love and adore, except he doesn’t have a “love me fully or you are worthless” vibe surrounding him. And the funny thing is, she feels like she has known him her whole life. With all the “if I don’t take care of me no one will” decisions she had to make in her life, it is pretty clear that He was steering her then. She knows in her heart that everything that happens, every choice she has to make are put in front of her to help her become her best version of herself. She knows that when she is unsure or worried about something she can go to him and talk freely. And when life is good and things are going smoothly, she knows that He is steering that as well. Turns out He is always with her and always ready to listen. Life is good, for real this time.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope…Jeremiah 29:11

Molly Ringworm

There is another outbreak at the shelter–the kittens have ringworm. I truly felt like the world’s worst person even though I knew it wasn’t actually my fault–it is not really anyone’s fault! I spent a lot of time feeling bad and sat in the cat room to watch tv with the shelter kitties (yup, cat lady!) but then I moved forward. The kittens were isolated in their own special room so that room just needs to be bleached and cleaned while they are being treated in the back building. Problem solved.

Except, God had a few more tricks up His sleeve. Right when I felt like I was getting a grip on reality and my mind was back at peace, I brought two different cats to the vets only to find out they also have ringworm. The vet is calling it an outbreak now and we have a plan of action to put into place. Oh, and I have a few different spots on my hand and my arm so I am also infected. Well, what the heck?!

Actually, though, I know. I am getting comfortable in my life and I have gotten lazy about my morning “thanking God for my life and my future” prayer. I have never believed in a God who holds grudges or who punishes the wicked or any of that fire and brimstone stuff but it is pretty obvious that this is what is going on. Is ringworm the modern version of a plague?! We are treating them all and using this time to disinfect the main cat area so it is a blessing in disguise. I am also having to ask for help from the other important people who run the shelter. Another push from God?

A little humor about this–one of the adult cats with Ringworm is named Molly 🙂

Hiding my Fear behind a Mask

Do you “believe” in masks? I am not sure actually. What I DO believe in is not dying LOL!

I am the Shelter Manager at an animal shelter and we have been closed since the middle of March. Next week, however, we will open back up. For appointments only, but we will actually be there for the people that inevitably pop in. I have installed a hand sanitizer right inside the door and I will have a basket of masks for those people who “forget” to wear one. I am NOT convinced they work but I would rather be safe than sorry! Today I have someone coming in to relinquish cat. Although I want to be a helpful member of my community, I have a sick feeling about meeting her. Not her necessarily, just strangers in general actually! It turns out that wishing for things to start moving forward was a nice little dream but I am pretty terrified of that happening. I know that if I am supposed to catch the COVID-19 virus, God has already written that. I know that He has plans and I am on a need to know basis with them. Does the fact that I am afraid anyway mean I don’t have faith?

I guess not doing something because I am afraid and I don’t trust that it will work out; and doing it EVEN THOUGH I am afraid because I know God has got me is the definition of faith for me. I am pretty sure if God didn’t want us to feel fear he wouldn’t have put that emotion in our makeup. Except when the Disciples were afraid during the storm on the sea , Jesus kind of chastised them for being afraid.  “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” – Mark 4:35-40. So which is it? Can someone explain this to me?!

Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!

I am a little thrown off lately, with the home lock down I am thinking a lot of people are. I have been reading Leviticus and it is dry and long. I am really hoping it ends soon but I am trying to absorb as much of it as I can!

I am having a big breakdown. The email at work got hacked and it has been a nightmare to get it restarted, the email security team promised me that it was finished but I am still not receiving emails. I can send them but then when people reply it goes…I don’t know where but not to me! One of the kittens that were born in March is not doing well. She (or he, I can’t tell and neither can the vet!) is almost half the size of her litter mates. She was still eating, drinking and using the litter box like everyone else but just a peanut; except that while her brothers and sisters keep growing she is staying the same. When I brought her to the vet today they basically told me that she wasn’t going to live but told me to try feeding her every two hours and stimulating her to go to the bathroom. I am doing that but honestly it is just so I feel like I am doing something. I got back to the shelter and there was a message from someone who applied and was upset about the fact that she applied and was turned down for a kitten after she was told they would be available and she wanted an explanation. I had emailed her already and maybe she responded but I didn’t get it because of the hack. I emailed her back today but it still isn’t sending me emails so now she is really going to be mad!

All this is too much and my mind is fried. I am having trouble keeping my anxiety Frank from trying to make me crazy. I keep thinking stuff like if I got hacked I definitely did something to cause it and that the little kitten is sick because I didn’t bring her to the vet when I first saw that she was smaller than everyone else. None of that is true or relevant, but that doesn’t keep my mind from spinning!!!

I need help at the shelter and I need to ask for it. Gone are the days when I can just do things by myself! Except that when I expressed my feelings of loss and hopelessness to my team, it makes me feel weak. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just ask for help and then accept it gracefully instead of always thinking I am powerless for asking? I know I need a team, I can’t do this stuff alone. Not that there is too much work, it is just better with more than one person shouldering the burdens. Jesus didn’t walk through the world alone, he had his besties (the disciples) with him as he traveled and spread the gospel. He didn’t just do everything alone, he told the disciples to go heal people and to spread the gospel. I have never thought about Jesus and said, wow, he was so weak! He didn’t do anything alone, he had to be surrounded by his people. Do I think I am better than Jesus and should be able to handle life on my own? If God wanted me to be alone he would have written that into my story!

I had a meeting with the team and we made a new schedule that includes help here. The day after I brought the little kitten to the vet I had to bring her back to be euthanized. That tore out my heart but at least I had my friends, my teammates, to help me grieve her. Driving home with the empty cat carrier I realized that it didn’t make me feel helpless to have them. Actually, they are a few of the only people who I know truly understand what it means and how it feels to have a little baby that I watched from birth not make it like her brothers and sisters. When I say I feel sad, they just sit with me because they just know. I have always said how much these people do for my mental well being and I can’t lose sight of that. If Jesus didn’t go it alone, what makes me think I should?

It won’t be easy to give up my feelings of “strength is only accomplished when you are truly doing everything alone” but I have to do it. Very few parts of life can be done solo! I have had managers in the past whose biggest weakness was the fact that they refused to accept help from their team, the reasoning being that they truly felt that they were the only ones to do it correctly and perfectly. The end result was them not being able to do anything well because they were spread too thin. By feeling weak and powerless when I ask for help, I am really making the same choice. Even if I don’t have the same reason, it will be my downfall if I don’t check myself before I wreck myself!

Being grateful even when it isn’t obvious!

It has been a while since I talked about my 21 Days to a grateful heart, sorry I didn’t finish! Things have been so busy and insane between the new job and the state lockdown. No excuses, though. I was on day 18…so without further adieu–

Day 18 focuses on thanking God for the people in my life. Not just the normal people like your family and friends, but thanking for the people who serve my coffee at Dunkin Donuts and the people who bag my groceries at Stop and Shop or deliver my mail. How about the people who do stuff behind the scenes? Like the people who keep my electricity on so I can see at night and be warm when it is cold. Or the obnoxious people at Comcast who make me so furious and still keep my internet running smoothly. Do YOU thank God for them?

The reflect on day 18 is to take a look at the people around me, the ones who interact with me on a regular basis and ask myself if I exhibit gratitude to them. Am I friendly? My gut feeling is that I am. I love talking to people and I love especially when I feel like they truly love their job and it shows. But am I grateful? I have done my best to thank God in my prayers for all the people around me, even the ones who have wronged me because I know there is a reason for their presence in my life. The respond section tells me to make a list and write one specific thing about them I am grateful for and so I will do that. And not just saying thank you for keeping my electricity on because that is their job and not them!

Sorry this is a lame post but it is one that needs to be said. Who are you grateful for in your everyday life?

What kind of prayers are you afraid to pray?

I follow this woman om Instagram who goes to my church actually but she is a published Christian author. Today she posed the question: what kind of prayers are you afraid to pray? (She reposted the question from another Instagram, @thebiblerecap.)

After rolling it around in my mind for a little while I came up with this. I am afraid to pray for what I want for fear that I will be disappointed. When my Beloved was getting treatments for his cancer, I prayed that he would get better. I knew it was a long shot but at the very least the poison he put in his body should be working, right? I prayed every day that his tumors would shrink and we would have more time. When his first scan showed that his tumor had not shrunk, his Doctors were overjoyed. His agressive cancer had slowed down a bit and the tumors had maintained their size. I guess I should have been rejoicing with them but I was too busy thinking how stupid I was for believing that God was going to heal him. From that point on, I always add “or how ever your will needs this to be” or something along those lines so when my way is not His way, I am not flattened like a dried up worm on the sidewalk!

We are going through a crazy, unbelievable time right now and my prayers focus around the people in my life. I pray that if they get sick they will recover. I haven’t thrown in my “if that’s what you want” clause at the end for some reason, maybe because I am not praying for the disease to go away completely or for it to spare my loved ones?

I need to figure out how to move past this hurt and love my God with my whole heart–NOT if that is what his will desires. Of course he desires for me to love Him completely and I am holding back just a little. The thing is, I am not sure how to build that trust back up. Guess I have a little more thinking and praying to do!

 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Hanging up the Pity Party Dress

Hi there!  I trust you are all safely tucked in your homes while we wait out this pandemic.  I know I am. This is such a scary time to be living through–I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, You know how you thought your grandparents were weird and your parents would tell you it was because they lived through the Great Depression?  Our grandkids are going to think we are weird and our kids will tell them it was because we lived through the coronavirus pandemic. I laughed, and then realized that it was true. 

It has become habit for me to wipe down all the doorknobs and cabinet handles several times a day.  I now think nothing of putting on latex gloves when I take care of the dog or the cats at the shelter, and it has become something I do when I am just getting the mail or really doing anything now.  And grabbing one of the face masks in the adorable wicker basket by the front door before I leave the house is as normal as grabbing my car keys. My new version of normal will be one that sticks with me (and you, I bet!) for a long time to come, even when the threat of illness has gone away.  It is kind of comforting to wear that mask when I am going out in public. I think it will be scary NOT to wear one anymore when we get to that point. And now I know I am going to tuck a few away to be more prepared for the next virus. Gone is the innocence of thinking that there could never be an outbreak like this.

With all of this turmoil and uncertainty, there have been good things as well.  For instance, I was promoted to Shelter Manager and moved into the onsite housing right before the world really went crazy.  You know, back when we SHOULD HAVE been taking the protective measures we are taking now, except no one thought this was real?  (For the record, including me.) I had been working closely with my team to get everything in order. Even when the shelter was closed to the public, it was still me and our assistant shelter manager taking care of the business.

Now, however, I am alone here.  A couple of weeks ago I realized that I might have been exposed to Covid-19, and everything changed. I met with the Board, and we decided that since we had only one dog on premises, I’d try to manage it until it’s considered “safe” to go back to some form of normal life.  The truth is, it isn’t too much work to handle; I just had no idea how isolating this would become. New house, new job, then the quarantine. Also, I am not open to help like I should be. I just don’t know how to say, I am feeling lonely or I am crying and can’t seem to stop, can you help? That pesky voice in my head just reminds me that if I express feeling  bad then I am just going to make everyone else feel bad, and it won’t accomplish anything except killing everyone else’s good vibe . Best to just suffer in silence and keep the peace.

I am reading on social media about other shelters and how they are delivering pet food to people and how they are acting as a temporary shelter for animals when people are sick.  It feels like yet another way that I am failing- as a shelter manager. We are not doing any of those things and the whole team has agreed that we don’t want to take in sick people’s pets.  Today, however, I reminded myself that I am running the place completely alone. No matter how you slice it, that’s just hard..

I started to feel a little better, but then I talked to a friend and she went over all she was getting done while still working.  She is also running things solo for the safety of everyone. It occurred to me that I don’t do much of anything outside of the normal care and love for the animals here.  I mean, yes, I am answering emails and such. Honestly though, that is about 2 hours of a day. When I really thought about it, I spend a bigger portion of my day laying on the couch watching movies or laying in bed because I am just tired.  I am not a psychologist but I would say that sounds like a pretty clear case of depression!

Maybe it is the self isolation that has thrown me into a pit but it is going to be me to start digging out.  Tomorrow morning I am taking a yoga class online and following it up with a 30 minute rebounding video. I am not going to sit here and say I am going to be productive and Superwoman, but I am going to keep track of my days.  One of two things will happen–either I will realize that I actually do have productive days, or I will realize that I am wasting time and be more motivated to fix it. I am not usually a pity party girl and I don’t intend to start now!  

Moving on up!

When you write a story, do you name it and then write about the name you chose? Or do you write a story and then come up with a name that “goes with it?” I realized today that I typically make a name, write a story, and then pick a brand new name that matches better. I like to be difficult hahaha!

I am not sure what to write and I don’t want to just make up a filler story so this one will be short and sweet. Been spending a little more time with my friend from church and I am enjoying his company. I am enjoying that fact that we are friends and we are getting to know each other without any pressure. I am a little more relaxed because he goes to my church and we pray before meals and stuff so he is probably not going to try and move into another stage of the relationship until we are both ready. It is pretty great!

He (my friend) and I talked today about forgiveness and how it is a daily prayer to forgive someone who has wronged you. I mentioned how it took probably 10 years to ask God to allow me to forgive my ex-husband for the bad marriage but there are very few things I need to pray to have God remove these days.

So my question to you is this–is there someone or something in your life that is just so huge that you need to ask God daily (or more!) to help you give it to him and not take it back at the end of the day so you can stress and worry about it again? I think I could give Him something every day to stop stressing about and just have faith that it will work out in His timing. But as a whole, I am really pretty good at not trying to solve these problems on my own. Another tool God has given me for my toolbox!

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Genesis 12-15

I know I skipped the beginning of Genesis. No excuses, I just started writing down my thoughts 🙂 So Genesis 12 through 15 is about Abraham (Abram at this time) and him moving away from his family and friends because God told him to. My question is this–would you do it?

I try to be a good Christian. I try to follow His plan and I try to ask His opinion about every big and little decision. But I have to be honest, I am not sure I would just pack up and leave. I mean, I live about 30 minutes from my family and friends. And that was by choice. I really appreciate my family when I see them I think the distance makes me enjoy them way more. But would I move like miles away? I guess if God asked, I would do it. But I wouldn’t be happy!

The other part of Genesis was about how Abram told Sarai to lie about being his wife. God punished Pharaoh for taking Sarai as one of his wives. Ok. So I get that Abram was worried about being killed for his wife. I am not sure how I would handle that situation so no judgement. But why doesn’t God punish him? Not only does God punish Pharaoh, but after giving him a stern “talking to” about it he gives Abram a bunch of stuff. I don’t know about you but in my world lying doesn’t get you rewarded!

One of the highlights of this passage for me was the side story about his nephew Lot. Lot loves his Uncle and chooses to uproot himself to go with him when he leaves his homeland. Lot becomes a successful person and has a lot of livestock and workers. When Lot and Abram’s workers start bickering and fighting over the land they were sharing, they decide to split up before it ruins their friendship. Abram decided. Ok, so maybe he isn’t just a jerk for making his wife lie. He felt so strongly about his nephew and their relationship that he sent him away. Just like God to put his faith in someone who has flaws but ultimately is a pretty great person. Kind of reminds me that even flawed, I am still chosen!


Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I 
will show you. Genesis 12:1