Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Reflection


July is a month of reflection I guess.  Should I be doing this?  Purposely reflecting?  Maybe not, but sometimes you just have to go where the brain and the heart tells you to and let the chips fall where they may.  Plus, I’m at an “all time favorite” location, Holden Beach, to start the month so I have lots of extra time and lots of emotions bubbling around just beneath the surface.

Now the emotion part is not anything knew as anyone who knows me can attest.  However, the last few months it has been bubbling more and more.  I’m short tempered, my sleep rhythm is non rhythmic, and I can go from smiling to sobbing in .05 seconds.  This was one of many topics when I visited with my physician last month for my annual physical.  At that time he suggested, very gently, that I consider seeing a psychologist.  Starting back therapy was not in my grand scheme of things but something has got to give.  We went into a little more depth as to the why’s and how’s of what might be going on with me but I’ll leave that for another time.

So here I am.  At Holden Beach with my family.  As of the writing of this sentence it is me, Phyllis and Woodie.  Tomorrow, Aimee and Sara are to join us.   Several things happened yesterday that were important.  I had dreaded the drive over the bridge onto Holden as in the past that was when Joe would perk up and start with, “we’re here!!!!”  The saving grace for that expected sadness was the extreme traffic jam stretching back a couple of miles ahead of the bridge.  What could have been a sad moment turned into an irritating 45 minutes of sitting in traffic, moving less than 5 miles per hour.  That occupied my mind long enough and strong enough to keep me busy.  The arrival at the house, where Phyllis and Woodie were waiting, the unpacking and the tour of the house kept us all busy for the next couple of hours.  Then we ventured down to the beach where Phyllis & Woodie sat for awhile and I went for my run/walk.  I have pledged to get in a good long run/walk everyday that we are here.  I have GOT to get back into the routine of actually doing something and what better place than at the FLAT beach!!!  So I ran a couple of blocks, then walked a couple of blocks, then repeat the process.  It felt good, until this morning.  My calves are exploding!  No pain, no gain.

Morning number one has brought me up predawn but not early enough for me to climb up on the widows walk to watch the sunrise.  I will do that one morning before this is said and done though.  But back to the reflection. this was not meant to be a day by day by hour by hour account…well not only that.

Reflection
One drop
Two drops
Three drops
Four
Floodgates open
the waters pour

Cool and warm and clear and red

How can I be alive?
and Joe be dead?

Reflection
Switch places with me.
Let me rest on the brink of that ancient flight.
You sit here and wait.
Where would you go.
You know nothing of the world beyond this dirt.
Nothing now, but I’m willing to learn.

Reflection
This sanctuary is all I have.
I’m grateful for it.
Grateful to have some place to wait.
Wait for the waters to recede. 
My path now visible.
Visible to lead me away from here.

Reflection
Walking up the steps to the church.
Each step bends and creaks from my weight.
Each step is a guardian deciding if I may enter.
Will they break in half and swallow me whole.
How ironic, that’s how I already feel.
Swallowed up by the earth.

Reflection
I just need a place to hide for a few minutes.

Dinner time end of day one.  7 beach hours. Pink chest, pink feet, pink legs, pink face.  Good day.  Good breeze, a little cloudy keeping the temperature just right.  Huge crowds today.  I’ve never been down here and seen so many people but then it is the end of the 4th weekend.  Phyllis is cooking dinner (actually right now she is playing on Facebook) but it’s CHICKEN night!  Woodie is firing up the grill.  What am I doing?  Not much of anything.  I’m so lazy.

After chicken night was cube steak night and then Taco Tuesday.  It’s now sausage Wednesday after 3 days of sun, wind and MORE wind.

Reflection
Loneliness should be the stranger
when you are alone.
Friends, family filling the space that is left vacant.
Alone and lonely are close cousins.
Their relationship can not be denied.
But they are also quiet different from one another.
Loneliness resolution requires company.
Alone can be a crowded room.
Alone inside.

Sara and Aimee left to return to their lives today.  Sara prepares for the move to her college apartment in a couple of weeks.  What a change that is going to be.  I’m not ready but then I have learned that I am not a fan of change.  At least not anymore.  Right now I have one change that I am hopeful for, although not expectant of it happening.  If you don’t get your hopes up too high, it’s not such a painful fall when/if it doesn’t happen.  Would it be a cure all fix?  Absolutely not, but it would be a step in the right direction.  One I have sorely missed for the last 4 years.


Reflection
Tears are running down my face.
Where do I run? 
I need to escape. 

I'm trapped inside, my thoughts flow. 
I'm broken, so alone.
Which way? 

Traveling through fog, needing to be found 
I'm cracked like glass.

I'm hurting inside.
I try to hide so nobody sees.
God, answer me. 

Falling into darkness being clouded by lies. 
I need to get out.

Slipping and tumbling into things that are unseen.
I need to escape.

Vacation ends tomorrow.  Long drive home.  Then hopefully a good rest in my OWN BED.  It was a great week.  Restful.  Peaceful.  Jovial.  Family.


Reflection
I feel no interest
Just force a smile upon.

I see no color 
But, I am not blind 
I see, the world is black.

What is this?
This emptiness I never felt before
Life of mere glass that can shatter 
Shatter at the slightest touch. 

I am breathless
As if someone is following me
How do people smile so easily?
Live so freely.

What is this? 
I feel alone, separated, anxious.
I am scared. 
I want to live.
No perhaps I don’t.
No matter where I search
Whom I ask 
They give no reply.

What is this? 
I am eager.
I want someone to share my feelings with 
I searched here and there
Tried to open up to many. 

Why is life bestowed upon us?
Why is it taken?
I am alone 
I call out with all my might 
But no one listens
I am tired.

I am really afraid 
Scared 
I am as if bound by invisible chains of 
Love, anger?
No perhaps emptiness

I am alone
In this darkness days pass 
But no one comes..

This life is itself,
Having no reason to exist.
Is there an afterlife?
A happy one?

A deep, deep week.  Home, safe and sound.  The drive wasn't terrible.  Good tunes playing.  Traffic moving.  I even stopped for the BBQ burger at Burger King that I kept seeing advertised on TV all week.  (Don’t bother, it isn’t very good….at least not to me).  Tomorrow, back to the routine.  Back to the drudgery.  Back to this life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

48 Hours to VACATION!!!!!!!

Even at the glacial place that the month of June moved, it’s hard to believe that it’s already July.  The year is half over.  Is that a pessimistic point of view like the glass is half empty?  I guess a more positive point of view might be we are half way to Christmas!  Assuming everyone looks forward to Christmas.  My verdict is still out on that one.  But I digress.  July is here!  You know what that means?….VACATION!  Just 2 more days and I’m free for the next 10 days.  I am so, so, so ready!   Holden Beach, here I come.  

June was a month that appeared to be spiraling down the drain, at least as far as my mood and attitude.  Although I could recognize with my head what I was doing, I was unable to stop myself.  Daily, almost hourly, I could feel myself pulling away.  Withdrawing into myself each and every day.  I didn’t go to the Y any.  I didn’t go out after work any.  I didn’t see anyone outside of work unless I had too.  I got up each weekday morning at my usual 6:15am and went to work.  On Mondays and Fridays I left work in Raleigh at 6:00pm and drove home, arriving by 6:30pm, ate dinner and would be up in the bedroom by 8:00pm and would either read or watch TV in bed until sleep overtook me.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I woke up at the appointed 6:15am, went to work and left work in Chapel Hill at 5:00pm arriving home by 5:30pm.  On those days, I could eat and be upstairs in bed by 7:00pm.  As exciting as the week days were, the weekends were even more so.  I went two weekends and didn’t even go outside from the time I got home on Friday evening until I left for work on Monday morning.  Now that is a thrilling existence, huh?  So, maybe a week at the beach will be just what the doctor ordered.  And speaking of doctor, during the excitement that was June, I did manage to have my annual physical.  With the exception of slightly elevated blood pressure (does your blood pressure increase as you get older??? I’ve never had BP issues before), all was well.  Blood work came back good with decreased cholesterol levels and even my PSA was within normal range.  The doctor was very happy with my weight also, but I did have a Big Mac for lunch that day afterwards!  That’s another thing that June brought….I ate A LOT!  2 pounds heavier as of this writing.  Just another reason to SNAP OUT OF IT.

Okay, okay.  Enough moaning and groaning about being down.  It’s 48 hours to VACATION!  Although this will be my first trip to Holden Beach without Joe since many, many years before we met, I'm determined to make it a good one.  New memories, new laughs, new suntan.  Will there be photos?  Maybe, if I can come in out of the sun long enough. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Relay for Life 2014 is in the Books! YAY!!!!!

Instead of long prose about how this and that was, let me just give you the vitals.  I think you will be able to glean from them how special the night was.


The people at 2014 Relay for Life from PGUMC 

Caroline Bray Winters, Challie Sullivan, Drew Sullivan, Claire Sullivan, Danny Sullivan, Lucinda Sullivan, Kelly Werner, Chris Werner, Mark Potratz, Stacy Potratz, Hannah Potratz, Sophie Potratz, Ivey Dodd, Noel Currin, Kevin Currin, Sandy Jennekens, Martha Brown, Heather Jerman, Donald Jerman, Kara Lakey, Harper Minnick, Owen Cole, Christian Santos, Taylor Speri, Jeannette Day, Matt Day, Izzie Day, Jake Day, Chelsea Brown, Amos Brown, Asher Brown, Nikki Speri, Bill Speri, Kathy Lakey, Micah Minnick, Michelle Baitsholts, Todd Baitsholts, Mike Pfeiffer, Suzanne Pfeiffer, Leslie Schreiner, Martin Schreiner, Adam Schreiner, Tara Hardy, Jack Lakey, Mandy Cousins, Emmaline Cousins, Shannon Hardy, Vickie McGee, Sydney McGee, Allana Minnick, Molly Minnick, Derek Osterhoudt, Lindsay Osterhoudt, Chandler Osterhoudt, Brighton Osterhoudt, Maverick Osterhoudt, Jamison Osterhoudt, Grace Guinn, Harrison Sullivan, Jill Boliek, Mark Boliek and many middle school youth that I do not know personally.

Friends who stopped in from other teams to say hello and walk along side us: Dana Murphy, Sherwin Murphy, Jr., and many more who went unnamed.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The beginning: cheering on the cancer survivors during lap one at 6:30pm
  • I began on lap two, the caregiver lap - walking along side Chris & Kelly Werner.  Tears flowing freely.  Subsequently then walking shoulder to shoulder with Claire, Ivey, Kelly, Challie, Caroline, Drew, Danny, Stacy, Mark, Jill & Mark Boliek
  • Pausing at each of Joe’s 7 luminaries as they were put out along the side of the track. Shedding tears each time a new one was seen
  • Joe’s name & photo during luminaria ceremony slide show.
  • Quiet, darkness filled luminary walk.  Pausing just a moment again at each of Joe’s luminaries, then many, many, many laps over the next 10 hours.  
  • So glad to have the middle school youth there to take up the slack when the adults just couldn’t pull themselves up out of chairs in the middle of the night
  • Watching those participating in the hour long Zumba class.
  • Watching the belly dancer …a bit odd but the husbands & young kids in the first row seemed to have enjoyed.
  • The ear splitting rendition of Grease
  • The hourly game announcements
  • The lights
  • The high humidity
  • The cool overnight temperatures
  • The laughs
  • The stories
  • The tears
  • The aches & pains; the cramps & swollen ankles & feet; the aching backs
  • The dazed expressions of middle school kids going with minimal sleep
  • The even more dazed expression on adults faces who went with even less sleep
  • The breaking down of the campsite
  • Being told I came in second only to learn 5 minutes later of a mathematical error and I actually finished first in fundraising
  • The loud cheering from my fellow PGUMC team members when I accepted my little trophy for most individual fundraising 2014
  • The long last lap around the track and to the car
  • The even longer drive home, subsequent shower and brushing of teeth
  • The sheer exhaustion and being unable to sleep
  • The tears shed sitting typing highlights when thinking back to how this has become such a part of my life.  How did I get to this point?  Thats when the sobbing began.


A huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported me with a donation this year.  I am so incredibly grateful for your financial generosity and your generosity of spirit. Without you, walking around a high school track for 15 hours in muggy, cold temperatures with painful feet, legs & back would be just another Friday night.  But thanks to you, its RELAY FOR LIFE.   Making more birthdays happen with every lap walked.







Thursday, May 22, 2014

Only One Week to Relay. Am I Ready?

The time is drawing very, very close.  One week from today I will have my walking shoes on and come the end of the Opening Ceremony at Relay for Life, start walking on Lap 2.  For those that have never participated in a Relay for Life, the first lap is for Cancer Survivors.  Caregivers start on Lap 2, then everyone joins in from there on.  My plea last week to help me over the hump to hit my $3000 goal worked and as of this typing, I am at $3171.  Wow! 

However, you know me and I don’t give up easily so I’m still asking, begging, annoying anyone and everyone for more donations.  I’ve been at this since February 3rd.  I’m like a dog with a bone..I won’t let go!!  As with each of the many previous pleas for support, it is very easy to make a donation, no matter how small or large.  You can click the link below to make a donation online using your credit card or you can use the same link to make a donation with a check by printing off a donation sheet and mailing the sheet along with the check to the American Cancer Society.  Please also make the check payable to The American Cancer Society.

I am sure next weekend will be an emotional one for me, as it was last year.  This year during the Luminaria Ceremony for those that lost the battle to cancer that precedes the Luminaria Walk, when Joe’s name shows up on the big screen, his photo will be there too.  Like last year, unless I happen to be comatose by that time, I’m sure I will cry.  Just like last year, I’m sure I will shed tears each and every time I pass by one of the luminaries with Joe’s name on it that will line the track.  But just like last year, I know that Joe will be watching me, quietly walking by my side, holding my hand and holding me up. Urging me forward. 

The support of my friends & family have been critical this past year and I carry each of you in my heart as I walk this coming Friday and Saturday.  Thank you and Keep On Relaying to Fight Cancer!


All donations to Relay for Life/The American Cancer Society are 100% Tax Deductible.

TEAM PGUMC IS PUMPED AND READY!

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2 Weeks to go to Relay for Life 2014

I will make this short, sweet, and painless.  It is just over 2 weeks before Relay for Life and I am STILL behind what I had hoped I would raise.  Yes, I know, I have still raised a LOT of money, but the perfectionist in me won’t be happy with just a LOT.  More, more, more!  Anyway, I said short.

As of this writing I am at $2921 of my $3000 goal.  Soooo, just a little bit more (at least until I raise my goal).   Link below.


Thank you so very much.  Your support, prayers & donations mean so incredibly much to me.


P.S. -  See, I told ya it was short!

Friday, April 25, 2014

April: In like a lamb, out like a lion?

Is it April or March that comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb?  Or is it in like a lamb and out like a lion?  Regardless of what month is associated with saying, or the order, I will attribute it to April.  April 1st the company I work for merged with another company.  Changes ensued, of course.  Now as all of you know, like many people, I have had my fair share of change.  The last few years, maybe more than my share.  I’m not one that embraces change as my own personal history has not associated change with “good”.  However, when there really isn’t anything you can do about it, you really don’t have any other choice but to make the most of it.  So that is what my mindset has been for the last two weeks as the whirlwind of work activity has settled into a manageable routine.  With the merger, one of the guarantees that the owners of the former company negotiated was that staff (me and one other) would still have employment opportunities.  That guarantee made the Chapel Hill office different from the other offices because there is typically only one staff person filling our particular positions.  There are aspects of the jobs that we do that is not replicated in the other offices however.  Therefore it presented a dilemma.  What to do with two people??  Short term answer is that I will be splitting my time between my Chapel Hill office and our corporate office in Raleigh.  The reason for me doing the splitting is because of my particular skill set that can be utilized in Raleigh, especially during spring market.  So for the time being, I will be in Raleigh 2 days a week and Chapel Hill 3 days.  Not a problem for me as I have enjoyed the break from the agents in my office and the camaraderie at corporate…thus far.  Even the commute is about the same with only a 3-5 minute extra travel time to get to corporate.  Is this not interesting???  :)   The point of the above paragraph is basically that I’m going through more change.

Also as April comes to a close, it means that Relay for Life is only a month away.  We have some great fundraising events coming up.  First up is the PGUMC outdoor plant sale going on today and tomorrow at the church.  Three gallon plants, $12-$15 each depending on the variety of the plant.  Come out and get your flowering plants & bushes for your yards.  Spring is here!  Next up will be the “Paint It Forward” event at Wine & Design.  Come out for an evening of fundraising and walk away with your very own painting.  After that comes what may be the most fun: “Homebrew for Life”.  Three home brewers will have their wares available to sample away.  Make a donation for Relay for Life and have a tasty brew(s).  Information on all of these events can be found by visiting the PGUMC website of just email me and I will gladly send you any and all details.  Caroline & Leslie have worked really hard to make these events become a reality and those of us involved in Relay are very excited and grateful.   What isn't so exciting is the fact that I seem to have hit a brick wall with my own fundraising.  Yes, the number has ticked up some, but not what I had hoped for. (hint, hint….sympathy…poor pitiful me).  I had expected a slower year this year than last but I haven’t been quite able to get the momentum going as we head into the home stretch of the last 45 days.  

So of course, here is my plea.  Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society is responsible for more birthdays being celebrated in 2013 & 2014 than ever before.  Each extra birthday represents a person whose life has been extended due to new treatments as a result of research funded by these events.  Most everyone reading this has been affected by cancer in some way.  A mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a husband, a wife, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a relative, or a friend.  We all know someone.  Someone who has been diagnosed, who has battled, who is battling, who has won, or who has lost.  I know a large number of people who have fought and won.  I know a group of people who are currently fighting and who I pray win.  I know those who have not won.  My mom did not win her fight against colon cancer.  My husband did not win his battle against pancreatic cancer.  I walk for both of them, to remember.  I walk for Paxton, Charlie, Mary, Mitch, and Cathy, who either are battling or who have battled and thus far won the fight.  I invite anyone who is reading this to come out to our Relay for Life on May 30th-31st.  Come walk with me one lap, or ten laps, or just hang out and talk.  Feel the energy.  Feel the hope.  Feel the love.  Feel the need.  I know most can’t be there (although if you do, you will be forever changed).  If you can’t, you can be there in spirit by making a sponsorship donation for my walk.  As I’ve said before, last year changed me for the better.  With each step, I feel Joe beside me.  Through the laughter and the tears of the fellowship that we share at the event, we all are touched in some way.  A link to my Relay donation site is at the bottom of the post.  All donations go to the American Cancer Society.  You can make a donation online or you can print off a donation sheet and mail in a check to the Raleigh American Cancer Society.  Please make the checks payable to the ACS.   I ask for your support.  I need your support.

Only as a community working together can we ever effect change and make cancer in all it’s terrible forms a remnant of the past.


Thank you for your time, your prayers, your friendship and your support.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday 4.18.2014

Good Friday is a time of deep reflection. As we feel and think about what happened that day on the hill called Calvary, let us at times recall that we are not alone, but rather part of a great tradition that has reflected upon and responded to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for nearly two thousand years.