Debts are just numbers you have to knock back to zero

When I was in my 20’s I “got” a woolworths credit card in order to buy clothing to wear to my new job as a sales assistant in a high end clothing boutique. I had gone to the interview in a half circle long dark green skirt I’d made out of extremely bad quality fabric, but coupled with my doc martens, an old black turtle neck top, great make-up and a dynamic smile …which were the only items vaguely “presentable” in my alternatively gothic and bohemian wardrobe. (I am a bit of a chameleon and rarely flow in one direction in terms of style).

But back to the VERY bad decision to obtain a credit card. I was so excited to be able to buy things and of course I simply HAD to buy my recently acquired husband fantastic woolies meals, gifts etc. Naive is an understatement for my state of mind. I have a really generous heart and bought friends lovely little gifts. What I had ZERO concept of is that I would be paying off those purchases for YEARS.

I eventually realised that my Dad had been right when he said “If you can’t pay cash for it …you simply cannot afford it”. It took me years of hard work and “living lean” to get rid of debt.

Looking at the debt as money owed ….and knowing how hard it is to earn the money is very discouraging for me. However … I found that looking at the list as “mere numbers that needed to be knocked back to zero” turned the burdensome mountain into a rather “fun” game… a challenge to be overcome with my usual zest. When I finally “killed” all debts I was ecstatic. No more chains …just freedom.

So you can imagine my absolute frustration when I recently found myself responsible for a rather large amount of unexpected payments.

Thinking of the money owed and how incredibly difficult it is to generate an income when you are in a weak emotional and mental state, can be overwhelming, but God and I are a majority. When I am weak He is strong. I am fortunate to have very supportive siblings and a few very close very committed close friends.

At first I could not face ALL the bills. So I took the most urgent 3 and started with them. Each day I worked and trusted God to bring in the finance. Some days were great and I was able to pay my “little bits” to each of the 3. Some days there was nothing and I felt discouraged, but my supporters urged me on, congratulating me for each victory. Thus the numbers reduced and I was eventually able to bring new bills into the firing line. Numbers …just numbers to be “zero’ed”.

As these numbers are wiped off my board I sense the wind picking up …freedom is in the air …and I will fly again.

For real: they were just silly numbers that stressed me out …

just numbers on a list.

Owe no man anything but LOVE.

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4 …as in 4got

Uhoh …I 4got to take my meds again”

A simple statement which is REALLY hard to admit because the realisation usually comes after some sort of mishap. A mishap people like myself spend their entire lives avoiding with a passion.

Why do people with mental health issues take their meds? For the benefit of those around them.

We take them to avoid “hurting” other people emotionally. We take the meds to make other people’s lives easier and we take the meds in the hope that we can function in “your” world. We don’t want to be a burden and we try everything we can to avoid “issues”; but just like a cat learning to scuba dive in an underwater world …or a rhinoceros atempting to pirouette in pointe shoes on a stage designed for slightly built humans …we tend to stand out. We tend to abruptly panic and gasp for air…or fall over and look ridiculous as we attempt to regain our composure.

So yes: a simple thing like unlocking a cabinet for a client to take a closer look at the items that they have NO intention of buying… (I know this because I recognize the clients who want to merely berate the items in order to proudly exhibit their superior knowledge)… this simple task which is possible when I am on my meds .. becomes temporarily impossible when the keys which usually work begin to “fight back”.

Yes this happened today ….

I have learnt that I must get out of the tricky situation as quickly as possible. So I apologised and explained that Monday might be a better day as the cabinet is stuck and I probably have the incorrect key. (My usual sidekick was not available for work today so there was no other alternative). The gentleman became upset at which point I excused myself (I had begun to lose control and my head was starting to spin). I eased out the shop …took the side entrance in via my dog who helps me refocus. I prayed I stayed low and when I felt less dizzy I returned to my desk whereupon the said gentleman felt duty bound to rearrange my life for me.

For the first time ever I openly explained that I was dizzy as I had not taken my medication … he persisted …I said “with all due respect Sir, could you please LEAVE ME ALONE” …he began to explain that I should close the shop …so I ever so maturely stuck my fingers in my ears, closed my eyes and prayed … probably outloud.

A few minutes later I opened my eyes and like magic…he had disappeared and I was able to continue serving clients. It took a while for my brain to rearrange itself but I was able to finish the shift and apologize to the other clients who seemed very understanding.

Forgetting to take your meds …. a big no-no. Mishaps…avoidable. Apologies …necessary.

Give up and die?

NEVER!

Take the meds and try again?

ALWAYS.

5

It’s been about 5 months since my husband and 16yo daughter headed to the Netherlands and although I really miss them there is a great comfort in knowing they are happy there. My daughter is pursuing her gymnastics dreams and being in a country that is “safe” is such a blessing. In S.A. I was constantly anxious regarding the safety and future of my family.

My 19yo son moved to the UK about 3 weeks ago and I am incredibly blessed that my niece and her lovely little family have embraced him and completely absorbed him into their family unit.

My eldest sister is also in the UK and her love for my family has always been deep and real…something every sister needs …unconditional love .. and that is obviously flowing through her daughter’s heart too.

This is grace in action …unmerited love and favour. This grace is difficult to grasp …I was brought up to “pay my way” and to “put others first” and not to “take advantage ” of people.

Sometimes one has to step back and say “Thank you” and receive the blessings … and hope that in the future one can pay it forward in some way.

#enptynest #grace #family #5

Doodling beach sand 26 Jan 2017

I am ALIVE!!!! For years I felt like “the living dead”.. but not today! Oh no …today I woke up just before 5am …the grateful recipent of a “5 hours in a row” sleep. For almost 2 decades I have felt grateful if I managed a 2 hour slot of sleep so 5 hours is like being 49 and waking up in your “teenage” self’s body.

Off to the beach! This time I picked up a signboard on the way out the front door. Said signboard was in the pantry of our rental (I noticed it in there about a year ago but did not throw it out as it did not belong to me). Now I have been brought up very well …yes, I know you wouldn’t have guessed that by observing me. My Mom would’ve insisted that I ask before using it, however I am quite positive that Andrew Meyer of Pam Golding properties, Port Alfred, would NOT have appreciated a 5am call. (Sorry Mom – I know I shouldn’t have borrowed without asking).

The point is this signboard was extremely useful as it protected my pile of freshly compacted, wet sand from dryimg out too rapidly. (Did it really take me 5 years to think about cutting sand in the shade?)

Today I used one of Peter Charter’s 25 litre paint buckets that I had adapted (Peter had GIVEN them to me – no need for permission…yay).

93

My Dad would’ve turned 93 today. I still miss him so much. I always wanted to say “I love you” just one more time, but as my brother said, “Cal one more time would’ve never been enough for you”. Although my Dad was a good provider (he worked so damn hard all his life and taught us to do our best and persevere and to take care of others)…he was emotionally disconnected from me.

Apparently it had to do with a parenting issue between him and my mother when I was a child. She was a very strong woman but forced herself diligently into the “submissive” role that she thought God required of her, so it came as a surprise to me to find out she had stood her ground on something, but I don’t know what it was.

Recently I came to realise that “being there” emotionally in relationships and consistently tapping into that “love that covers a multitude of sins ” and the forgiveness and grace that God provides and encourages in us, is essential to mental health.

Blame is no victory flag to be bandied about. We simply need to take the cards dealt to us (and there are far worse cards than emotional abandonment out there)…and learn from everything.

So I loved my Dad with an overwhelming love …was never embarrassed by him and only ever so proud of him. Eventually towards the end of my father’s life, the Lord sent me to take care of him. My husband loved the Lord and I am forever grateful that he too felt this burden for my Dad on his heart.

My son (3 yrs at the time) and daughter (8 weeks when we arrived in Port Alfred), breathed fresh life into my father. Of course I was able to take care of my Dad and he in turn took care of me. He really tried harder (God’s sense of humour in sending the black sheep of the family always amuses me)…he softened as time went by. His mental health and mine improved with the giving and taking of love … my affection was returned …and a lovely flow of expressed love meandered gently through our relationships.

Love really must be expressed in more ways than “just provision” …the languages of love are varied and each heart speaks best with their unique dialect.

Yet always I believe AFFECTION must be present … human beings need physical affection …an expression of emotional connection.

I found that just sitting and rubbing cream into my father’s dry hands helped him (of course he said he hated it but he allowed and eventually enjoyed it once the walls protecting his heart began to crumble). But I had to be cautious not to damage that sensitive heart and he had to reach out and love and forgive…and he did…and I am grateful for that because therein lay the healing for me.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY DARLING from your Monkey

Thinking clearly 1

Good mental health is best cultivated in soil rich in unconditional love and encouragement.

Criticism is a cruel companion – he hides in the wings of the stage prompting vicious unnecessary lines. His only goal to stand on a pedestal of your failures and raise his hands in victory.

He is not your friend.

Now that you are free …choose your travelling companions wisely.

PROFIT …the ungod

My son calls it “pure art” …the art people produce for pleasure rather than commercial gain. The world does not respect it and it’s difficult to make a living doing it.

Think about when you first made something …the joy of creating something unique …it’s a really fulfilling experience. When shared with the right people it becomes a double blessing…the blessing continues as the item is viewed and appreciated by other people too.

BUT the “ungod” PROFIT demands to be worshipped and he really can NEVER be satisfied. He will bleed you dry and crush you into the ground with his demands for more.

There’s a strong trend developing called minimalism. Hugely successful professionals are realising that making money and buying things is incredibly unsatisfying.

In real life you are prepped to make money…lots of it. Become a productive member of society. No focus on helping others…taking care of the environment…minimising waste and focussing on family and healthy relationships. You are generally deemed to be unsuccessful if you do not have a high paying job, a huge house and the latest vehicles, technology etc.

Everything everywhere is designed to make you dissatisfied with what you have …what you look like…what you wear …where you live. Marketers convince you that you need bigger better and newer items…they HAVE to …but is it truth?

Do you REALLY need all those things? Do you REALLY need to burn yourself out in order to pay for things you have no time to enjoy? CAN YOU FREE YOURSELF from the ever demanding worship of the ungod?

Get off the bus. Look around. What really gives you peace and joy? Could you live in a less expensive space? Could you lean out your budget? Do you need to watch tv and of course adverts to find out what you don’t need? Is the latest technology really necessary or does it just force you to be continually available to demanding people? How many pairs of shoes do you really need? Have a look at the 33-3 challenge. Wear only 33 items for 3 months. You will soon find out what is really important to you.

Your boss sets a goal …if you hit the target everyone is pleased with you but you can be assured that your success becomes next season’s baseline. Why? Why do you need to make your company more money? Why do the shareholders need MORE money? Why do prices HAVE to increase? What if we all just stopped worshipping profit? What if each one just did their best …loved their families and those around them. Did their little bit and shared. What if there were no greedy people?

What if being the richest/having the most was seen as waste?

What if we walked away from the ungod?

The overflow of my heart – perfection is overrated