Call Me the Clay

On a Journey to See What God & This Life Has In Store

May 19, 2013
CallMeTheClay

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I WILL STAND AGAINST FEAR!

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Today I listened to a message that lead me further into my health issues.  And I now have so much rolling around in my mind, I’m not sure that I can adequately write this in a manner to convey what I’m thinking and feeling.

What was revealed to me today is that Satan wants us to live in bondage of fear and anxiety (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post).  He uses these things to keep us from living God’s will.  We are instructed over and over in the bible that we are not to fear – so we know that fear is not of God.

In the message I heard, my pastor said ‘There is a difference between sickness and a spirit of sickness’.  Just stop and think about that for a minute.  If you haven’t had a chronic illness, this may not impact you quite as much as it has me.

This really hit home with me though.  Because I have been in such bad health and hurting for so long, I had finally given in to the fact that this would be the way the rest of my life would go.  I would simply have to find a way to ‘deal’ with the pain and fatigue and go on.  However, as I’ve mentioned before – I DON’T WANT TO LIVE THIS WAY!

The devil can hold us in bondage mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually or even socially.  We must remember that through Christ we have been set free.  It’s out birthright.  Our gift from God.  Our Father has done His part and given us the freedom.  We simply need to accept it.  To stand up and refuse to live in bondage any more!

If you think about it – this can be applied to anything you are battling in life.  Not just a health issue.  Are you under financial bondage? Pornography? What about drugs, alcohol, cutting, anger or depression?  How about negative self-talk?  I used to do that a lot.  I battled the inner voice telling me that I am a disappointment to God.

God will never bless fear-based decisions and therefore, we must CHOOSE to become absolutely intolerant to bondage.  We must stand against the bondage that Satan tries to put on us so that God can bless us for doing His will.

Here is an example on a personal level.  As many of you know, I am working not only on losing weight but mainly focusing on improved physical health by going through a detox program.  I actually did pretty well in the beginning – but before long, the symptoms of my fibromyalgia got worse than ever before!  I was in a very bad place.  I missed work. I wanted to give up.  I wanted to scrap the whole thing and go back to the way things were.

However, after much praying – God revealed to me that even though I was on the right track with the clean eating, I was listening to others instead of Him.  Once I understood and decided to hang in there – I have been attacked like you wouldn’t believe.  There is so much information coming at me from all sides – that it is not even possible to sort through it and know which information is correct!

But Satan has misjudged me.  Tell me I can’t do something and it makes me even more determined!  I am still standing against all that he is throwing my way and trusting in God alone.  GOD is my anchor.  He is my teacher.  He is walking me through this and I will be victorious because I choose God’s will.  God is leading me through this journey and I am not giving up.

Have a great week, everyone!  And, choose to stand strong!

May 12, 2013
CallMeTheClay

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We ARE Healed – Did You Know?

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Over the past few years I have seen many friends and loved ones suffer due to health issues.  I’ve lost several to health-related issues.  It’s heartbreaking.  And every time something inside of me screams that THIS IS NOT RIGHT!  Why must we suffer so?  

 
Yes, I understand about sin in the world and how it creates havoc for everyone.  And illness is a direct result of such evil all around us.  I don’t question that.  However, if I am to believe that God loves me/us and that we can lean on Him – then I wonder how so many of us can suffer so much?
 
A few years ago, my dad started watching someone on television teaching that maybe we need to reconsider what we how we pray, how we really stand on faith and what we BELIEVE that God will do or has already done for us.  This led to he and I both studying and reading on what for us was a new concept.  Something we had never been taught in church.  Now, I am not one to preach or stuff my beliefs and scriptures down any person’s throat.  But let me share a couple of things here and then you can decide to take it or leave it. 
 
First of all – I believe that we receive further, deeper understanding and wisdom the more we study God’s word.  And that through His word, things are eventually revealed to us as we are ready to receive them.  So, before simply denying or refusing these ideas because possibly no one has ever taught it to us – why not consider whether this is something He is leading us to? 
 
Proverbs 4:20-22 (NIV): My son, pay attentions to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.
 
1 Peter 2:24(NIV): He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
 
2 Peter 1:2-3(NIV):  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
 
Matthew 8:17(NIV): This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.
 
For more scripture examples, see this article: http://www.awmi.net/extra/article/healing_niki
Bottom line for me is that we would see so many more blessings of healing if more people truly believed that we have already been given the healing – we simply have to accept the gift and receive it with faith.  It’s one thing to ‘say’ that we believe in God’s healing for us and another to simply accept and say ‘Thank you God, for the healing’ – don’t you think?
 
Maybe I’m making it too simple…but for me it works.  Trust me when I say I can analyze the crud out of something until it drives me nuts.  But I have come to my own conclusion that God doesn’t play mind games.  He doesn’t make life such a mystery and a puzzle that few people will ‘get it’.  I’m sorry, I simply can’t believe that.  To me, making it so complicated that most people miss the boat is a cruel thing to do.  It’s not a loving thing that a Father would do to His children.
 
SO – my dad and I both have practiced this over the past few years – and we have seen miraculous healing!  Does it happen instantly?  It hasn’t in most cases….but we believe we must continually show our faith and accept the healing even when it’s not immediately produced.
 
Even with the Fibromyalgia that I currently have – I trust that I have been healed.  The healing is slow in being manifested because there is other ‘garbage’ that I believe I need to deal with first.  I believe that as I release some of the other issues in my life, hand them over to God as I should have in the first place, the pain from the Fibro will diminish.  I’ve already seen it.  When I let the stress go – the pain goes.  When  I pray and meditate on God’s grace and thank Him for His healing – the symptoms begin to disappear.  My weakness is that I fall back into the habits of trying to deal with things on my own….and before I know it, the Fibro pain is back.
 
Regardless, I am growing and learning every day – and I trust that I am where I need to be at this time in my life.  God is with me and I am healed!  Thank God!

May 7, 2013
CallMeTheClay

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Sometimes It Hurts First

imagesAs mentioned in my previous post – I am on the road to a better life, a better me.  I stumbled across a weight-loss program that focused more on the toxins etc in your body rather than the typical plans everyone is familiar with these days.  It teaches you how the things you put in your body such as preservatives, sugars, etc. can negatively affect the way your body functions.  It teaches you how to detox your system so you can get back on track.

SO – I decided to do the plan and get my system ‘cleaned out’ and refreshed – rebooted, if you will.  While building up to the actual detox process, you prep by eating nothing but vegetables and very lean chicken or fish.  No biggie – I like veggies and chicken!  I got this in the bag! Or so I thought….

Actually, you can’t have anything that has gluten, sugars, vinegar, grains.  Do you know how hard that is in reality!?!?!  It’s tough.  Every time I thought of something I could eat – I was wrong.  Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with veggies at all – but after a while, it’s difficult to find variable ways to prepare them.  Even dressings are near impossible to find that don’t have at least vinegar in them.

Needless to say – I’ve struggled.  However, I did stick to it enough to lose some weight.  So next comes the detox.  I started it on Saturday and instantly I have had the worst fibromyalgia flare-up ever!  The pain has been almost unbearable. My brain is foggy and I can’t seem to think clearly or to focus properly.  I was starting to get concerned.

During this time, I struggled in my thought life – did I ‘misunderstand’ what I thought God was leading me to do concerning my weight and more importantly health issues?  Is this the wrong thing to do?  Am I once again trying to ‘do it on my own’?  I could drive myself crazy with all of the ‘what ifs’ – which means I was falling back into my old routine – and stressing over things – again!

I decided that I was going to stick this out and shut those chronic negative thoughts down immediately.  I contacted my doctor about what was going on and he explained that it is part of the process.  He called it Health Crisis – where your body is actually ridding itself of the toxins and garbage that has loaded up over the years.  BUT, if I stick with it, I will begin to start feeling much better and have increased energy.

SO – I am in constant prayer and seeking God’s hand in leading me through this new but difficult journey.  I realize that sometimes we must weather the difficult, the stuff that hurts in order to come out on top at the end.

Thank You, Father for being there for me.  Thank You for blessing me with the ability to become victorious!

April 14, 2013
CallMeTheClay

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Fear, Anxiety, Worry – Consumers of Joy

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Let me first say I’m not one to go around saying ‘God told me this’ or quoting scriptures to people.  But I have chosen to seek a closer relationship to God and I am learning (slowly) to quiet down and listen for God’s voice.  So, this is a bit about what I’m learning in that journey.

 
As many of you know, I’ve been through a lot over my lifetime.  And it’s been quite a rough ride over the past couple of years in many ways.  But I also want to praise God for walking through it with me and showing how to have peace and happiness along the way!

 
Today I listened to a message about fear, anxiety and worry.  While listening I felt like this was just for me.  I have been living under chronic stress for many years – of course that is another way of saying that I’ve been a worrier and anxious about way more things necessary.  It’s like it is my character – I’ve always been that way.  
 
I always felt that some of that was a good thing in that it made me a hard worker (fear of failure).  It made me to be sensitive to others’ feelings and situations (good until you take on their burdens).  It made me keep going no matter what came along (fear of failure again). That fear of failure is what has driven me in a lot of areas – even as far back as making good grades in school.
 
But, as we all know – life is full of trials and part of that includes failure – otherwise how do we learn?  But I couldn’t ever see it that way.  So, when something came along that I viewed as a failure, I spiraled into depression.  And that had been building for many, many years.
 
Along with that went my health.  I cannot even begin to tell you all of the ways that it has negatively impacted my health.  Many see that I am overweight and assume I’m lazy or that I eat too much.  But truth is, it is more directly related to my overall health and the inability to do much about it.  
 
When I was finally diagnosed a few years back with Fibromyalgia, I was somewhat relieved to be able to put a label on many of my unexplained symptoms.  However, I also started getting hard-headed and decided that there had to be a better way.  I refused to take prescription meds for my ‘condition’ – instead I started really paying attention to what was triggering the pain.
 
My progress has been slow – but through a lot of prayer – I believe God is leading me to the solution.  I am seeing positive outcomes with small changes and as long as I continue to speak with Him through prayer and tears, He is faithful to lead me to the next step.
 
Through this process I believe that all of this is directly related to what I have been calling chronic stress – but can now say it boils down even further to fear, anxiety and worry.  I believe that my chronic issues have greatly manifested to a point where it has taken my quality of life away.  It has contributed to failed marriage.  It has impacted my kids and my relationship with them.  It hinders friendships.  I could go on and on.
 
As this has become more and more clear to me I now know what I need to work on – right?  Well, sort of….  
 
You see, for many years, I knew what my problem was (to an extent) but tried to correct it on my own.  Wrong.  Can’t do it.  It’s temporary.  I have to keep reminding myself to rely on God….it’s not ‘habit’ for me because I am a survivor and part of that requires me to be in charge (Ha!) – so I’m still working on it, trust me!
 
So after working through my failed marriage and divorce.  After changing jobs from one that I invested everything I had into only to be betrayed by people who ‘claim’ to care about others to something much less stressful.  After working to straighten my finances up after the long, rough marriage.  I can now say I am on the right track!
 
I seldom have fibro pain – though I do find that it will flare right back up as strong as before when I let anxiety and worry creep back in.  My mind is clearer.  I have slightly improved energy.  I’m no longer depressed.  
 
Most recently, I was talking with God on the way to work.  I was telling him that I just knew there had to be more to life.  I know with every inch of me that He did not put us on this earth to be miserable.  I long to have energy and health to be on fire for Him.  I want to live the life He had planned for me.  So I asked Him to show me the way.  Show me how to get there, what He wanted me to do.  I asked Him to change me from the ‘inside out’ so I could be healthy and full of life.
 
From that moment on, I have seen changes in me like nothing before!  I have actually felt better physically – not that I’m ready to run a marathon – but more like I have energy at the end of the day to spend with my beautiful son.  I can concentrate more and I am now ready to do whatever it takes to keep progressing.  This is new for me folks.  Prior to this, if it required much energy or effort – it wasn’t going to happen.
 
I have many more things to say about things I have come to realize in the past few weeks – but I will save it for another post.  Bottom line is that I keep hearing over and over from various unrelated things/people etc that one must remove stress and anxiety from your life in order to maintain your health and quality of life.
 
As we have all heard this many, many times – we almost laugh when we hear it.  But really, when you stop to consider exactly what has it done for you or to you….it makes you pay attention.  And for me, because I was to the point that I just assumed I would always live my life unhappy and miserable.  I was about to accept it for my norm.
 
Not anymore!  I CHOOSE to be healthy and live!  I CHOOSE to make the changes now to have a better tomorrow!  I CHOOSE my friends and family over my ridiculous need to be in control of something that obviously was way out of control in my life!  I CHOOSE quality of life!
 
If you would like to hear one of the most important messages of your life click this link and choose ‘I Changed My Mind’ (Part 2).  http://www.tfc.org/sermons  
 
 

January 20, 2013
CallMeTheClay

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THIS is Going to be MY Year!

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A lot of eye-opening things have been going down around here.  And for the first time in a very long, long time I am thankful for it all.  I appreciate the opportunity to learn and to grow!  For those who have followed my blog for a time now, will know exactly what I’m talking about – for those of you who are new….hang around.

 
Let’s start with a few news items (don’t worry, I’m not trying to re-hash stuff)….
 
The tragic Sandy Hook shootings – that struck me, as it did everyone else, straight in the heart.  Shock, pain, disbelief, overwhelming sadness, fear were just a few of the emotions we all went through.  And what happens next?  Arguments about guns, ammo, rights, conspiracies – you name it.  I tend to stay away from all of the ‘politics’ of this country and simply live my life to the best of my ability.  But after this event….it’s difficult to ignore everything that is going on these days.
 
Then there is the Lance Armstrong issue.  First of all, let me say that for the life of me I cannot figure out why this is such a huge to-do.  Can anyone really be surprised about his ‘confession’?  Really?  With all of the talk for so many years and the multitude of people coming forth – did anyone actually continue to believe in his innocence?   And now the media is picking apart his confession – was it heart-felt enough, did he actually apologize, blah, blah, blah.  Good grief.
 
Both of these stories lead to what I really wanted to express here – and that is how easily it is to lose focus on what is truly important in life.  We must strive to stay on track, stay grounded and never lose sight of where we are headed.  We cannot allow those distractions and the hurdles to get us off track or to lose hope.
 
Here is my story of late:
 
At the beginning of every year, my church has a special 3-day event called ZION.  We come together to celebrate God, learn new things and re-focus.  This year I came away believing that this is going to be my year!  My year for many things…
 
I believe that I will see victories in areas of my life that I have struggled over for years.  I believe that I will prosper.  Life is going to be good for me because I have connected with my Savior in a way that I never have before!
 
Will there be struggles and obstacles to overcome?  Yep.  But that is okay – because rather than letting them slow me down – I know that God is going to widen that path to help me journey through with success.
 
It’s the 20th of January today.  So far I have had victory over some long-term health issues.  I’m not 100% yet – but I just KNOW it’s coming….I can FEEL it in my soul.  Financially, I am better now than I have ever been since I’ve been earning my own money.  Mentally/emotionally – well, lets just say that I am no longer depressed.  I no longer feel lost or lonely.
 
I have a friend who is constantly dissatisfied with her life.  She always wants something different – something that she believes to be ‘more’.  She is always wanting to move to a place that she believes will change everything in her life.  I find myself thinking – that used to be me.  I used to always be of the mindset of ‘someday’ things will be better.  Or, ‘someday’ I will do such-and-such.  But not anymore.  I now know that it is the here and now for me, thank you!
 
I recently reconnected with a friend from my home town.  Though we weren’t ever close friends back then – we did run in the same circles for a time.  He and I chatted online for what turned out to be several hours today.  We found we had a lot in common.  Through our discussion, we were able to lift each other up and remind ourselves that what we need to do is let the struggles of our past go, pick ourselves up, dust off and continue on.  We agreed to keep our eyes on God and enthusiastically await for what He has in store for us!
 
SO – I choose to have a great 2013!  Hope you do the same 🙂

January 28, 2012
CallMeTheClay

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Why All The Hubbub???

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So I’ve been grumbling to myself about this for a few days now. While sitting around the house recovering from oral surgery – I finally had enough and decided to vent here. What am I rambling about? Paula Dean. Well, not actually her….but the public chaos swirling around her latest news about having diabetes.

It amazes me that with all of the worrisome things in the world that need attention – people find things such as this to pounce on and make a big deal out of it. So the woman has developed diabetes. It’s a terrible disease. She’s human – just like the rest of us. Could she have prevented it – most likely. Again, like many others who have diabetes…..or any other disease/illness for that fact.

We ALL have issues – things that need to be corrected or worked on. But we don’t always do that….and the reason? Who knows. It’s different for all of us. I’m overweight….I know it. I know what it takes to lose it too. Have I done those things? Nope….not completely. Sure, some weight is coming off now…..but it has taken me a LONG time to get the ball rolling. Why? Evidently because I had other issues in my life that I needed to face and deal with first.

So why can’t Paula have those same type of human traits? Why does everyone want to jump on the hate wagon about how irresponsible she is and how awful she is for having the cooking show that she does? Everyone loved her one day and turned on her the next all because they found out she had an illness?

Get real people…..

She owes us nothing. She’s a role model? Why? Why look ‘up to’ a celebrity at all? I will keep my eyes on Jesus, thanks.

January 15, 2012
CallMeTheClay

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Struggling In Life

That pretty much sums it up – I’ve been through a LOT lately!  But then again, haven’t we all?  So let me start this out by saying that my heart goes out to you in what you’ve been going through (and may still be going through).  I despise hearing ‘things will get better, hang in there’ – but you know what?  It’s true. 

I was telling my dad (he’s my friend, my confidant) that I feel like I’ve just come out of a very long and painful journey.  Feel like I’ve been beat up pretty consistently for the past 4-5 years.  And though I can honestly say that things are better and getting brighter….it seems to be a slow process.  I feel that my body is having to go slow at the healing process.  The awesome thing is – I DO feel the process.  It is getting better and as it is, I have time to reflect on what went down, how it might have been different ‘if’ and the lessons that I’ve learned.

I’ve been hurt deeper than I ever thought possible – but I CHOOSE not to allow that to make me an angry, bitter person.  I’m not allowing it to make me a person fearful of my future or of relationships with people.  I just have to remember that everyone is on a journey – everyone screws up – and though their actions in relation to me were unacceptable on so many levels……they will figure it out one way or another.  What goes around, comes around….right? ;-D

Lost my mother.  That one hurt too.  And lonely – because she was my best friend.  I think that was because we moved around a lot when I was growing up….so it didn’t make sense to become too close with anyone because before you know it, we were packing up and moving on.  I made LOADS of friends….just not close friends.  Sadly, I’m now realizing the full impact of that these days.  I long to have true friends – REAL friends – but because I never learned how to be one, I suppose….I don’t have any.  And now that I’m single once again – I’m finding that to be a very lonely situation to be in.

The non-stop stress that I’ve been under both in my personal life and work has really taken its toll on me too.  Yes, I am over my ideal weight.  Yes, I hate it.  But no, I can’t just ‘fix it’.  This seems to be a part of my healing that will take some time.  But I have faith that I will get there eventually.  I won’t get into all of the physical ailments that I’ve acquired through this crazy mess right now – but let me say, I am definitely paying the price for not being more attentive to my own well-being!

Through all of this – I know that one cannot let the hardships of life get you down.  Or, at least you can’t let it keep you down!  We all get knocked off of our feet – but we must get back up and keep on living.  Yes, it can seem like the darkness will never go away…..but trust me, it does.  For example – my light at the end of the tunnel is shining in many ways for me! 

  • Yes, I experienced a painful divorce, but through time I have healed to the point that I can now see the stress of our marriage was not good for me.  I can now feel myself getting healthier and stronger.
  • I am losing weight slowly just because the stress has been lifted. Meaning – I’m not dieting, but it’s just coming off now!
  • I have a new job with practically no burden of stress…..and I ENJOY it!!!  It’s been a long time since I’ve actually enjoyed working.
  • I am under less financial strain
  • I have time to read – which I love!
  • My mental function is operating better….we are still working on this one….but its better
  • I FEEL better physically!
  • I’m laughing out loud again
  • My kids are happier too!

My list could go on, but you get the point!  And to top it off, I stumbled across a wonderful book and author who reminds me often to laugh and to live life at the fullest no matter where you are at the moment!  You can check her out here:  http://stephaniemcafee.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/what-my-book-is-really-about-by-stephanie-mcafee/

And get her book here: http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Mad-Fat-Girl-ebook/dp/B004H8GVHC


July 17, 2011
CallMeTheClay

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Life Goes On….

So, things have been hectic to say the least.  Our divorce was final on July 5th.  And I took him to the airport on the 6th – so he could take off to Mexico and be with the one he claims to love.  How crazy is that!?!?  Most people think I’m nuts for doing that.  But my reasoning is that I could then know 100% where my son was when the ‘ex’ was leaving the country.  I wish I could say I trust him to do the right thing when it comes to our son….but honestly, I don’t know who he is anymore.  His own family and coworkers say the same thing.  No one knows how one person could possibly change so completely.  How can one’s personality completely change practically over night?

It’s pretty sad.  As mentioned in numerous posts, I hate that we couldn’t make it work.  But more than that – if we couldn’t succeed….I was hoping that we could be on friendly terms for our son’s sake.  And so far, I believe my son has not felt any ill feelings or animosity between us.  HOWEVER….I’m not sure how long I can take the hidden agendas and secrets and back-stabbing that comes from his father.  He is really good at manipulating people.  He plays mind-games.  And if you aren’t careful, you get caught up in it before you know it!

I could go on and on about all of the manipulation he’s attempted lately….but I’ve decided to move on and I don’t care to rehash it.  I can say however, that I truly believed that I had forgiven him…but after some things I’ve discovered recently (some of which proves that he was in this relationship PRIOR to his leaving – as I suspected and he denied)….I am going to have to work on the forgiveness again.  Because right now, I’m pissed.

I have also decided to take charge of my life in other areas too.  For as many years as I can remember, I’ve allowed my life to revolve around men.  All I’ve ever wanted was to be loved and wanted by a man.  This doesn’t mean that I can’t stand on my own two feet….because I can.  I have in the past and can again.  But I prefer to be in a relationship.  However, because of this way of thinking – I depended too much on man to complete my world.  To make me happy.  To feel loved and worthy.  And, of course, I’ve been let down greatly because let’s face it – we humans are…..human.

I know that I should have had my focus on God first.  Actually, I thought I had that one down.  But for the past few years, I’ve come to realize that I did not put God first.  I am still struggling with that.  I want to depend on God and have that relationship that I’ve always desired.  But I can’t seem to ‘remember’ to put Him first.  I can’t ‘remember’ to go to Him daily.  I can’t ‘remember’ to read His word. 

I don’t know if it’s all of the stress I’ve been under for so long or the ‘fibro-fog’ or peri-menopause that has my brain barely functioning any more.  But I do good to make it through the day anymore.  My mind is so scattered.  Forget about reading.  Or praying most days.  It’s not on purpose…..I just can’t slow down….or when I do, I fall asleep.  Part of it is that I just can’t bring myself to think too deeply for too long.  I guess I’m afraid that I might have to deal with some issues or emotions that I just don’t think I can handle right now.  Does that make sense?

This has led me to consider making a few more changes in my life.  My job for one.  I have come to the conclusion that I need a change.  If I simply processed paperwork – it wouldn’t be so bad.  But, because I also have to deal with everyone complaining and whining….it’s gotten really old.  I do not believe I’ve ever seen so many ugly, hateful acting people in my life!  For a place where we are supposed to have a heart for others….there sure is a lot of backstabbing and lying and outright deceit.  Oh don’t get me wrong…I understand that this goes on in most places.  But not to this extent, believe me! 

Then when you add that somewhere, somehow the employees feel entitled to have everything their way and immediately.  They do not feel accountable for anything and they don’t care about their responsibilities.  It definitely makes you dread going to work.

So, I find myself thinking about other employment these days.  Problem is….I don’t have a college degree.  I have a couple of certificates of completion….but no actual degree.  Yes, I could go back to school….but again, I don’t think my brain and my stress limit will allow for this.  The other problem is pay.  When I look around at what people are being paid…..I feel I better stay where I’m at for now.  I guess you could say that I’ve kind of worked myself into a corner and can find no way out just yet.

The other is my daughter.  I love, love, love her.  And she has been a great kid.  I’m proud of her.  However, she’s been going through some stuff of her own.  I believe that my divorce was the breaking point for her.  He and she got along great in the beginning….but as the years passed by, it became more strained until it was complete bitterness.  He played mind games with her too many times.  He hurt her greatly.  BUT – bottom line was that he was her ‘dad’ when her own dad was nowhere to be found all her life.

So, when we split up….she became very angry. She was/is constantly mad at everyone around.  No one can do right by her.  She became the most hateful and hurtful person to me…..I’ve never experienced anything like it.  And most times, I simply sat there stunned and looked at her because I had no idea who she was anymore.  She and I were always close and could talk about anything….but that is no more.  I was to the point of telling her to pack her things and move out (she’s almost 19 now).

She then decided to go ahead with her plans for school (after taking a year off).  However, she needs me to pay for part of it because her scholarship and grants won’t pay for it all.  I agreed to help her on one condition – and that is she has to seek counseling to work through the anger and whatever else she is experiencing.  She agreed.

So here we are.  I have decided to take no more bull from the ‘ex’, the angry daughter and/or the folks at work who seek to make life miserable for everyone around them.  Don’t bother….I won’t accept being walked on any longer!

I’m also considering a move.  I like small towns.  I’m sick of the big ones.  I don’t need to live where there are nightclubs etc.  I want peaceful.  I want simple.  Less stress.  I want friendly faces that you recognize.    And I want water (we are all running out of water due to the drought in this area).  I now have to find one where I can make a living….

So like I said in the title….Life Goes On…..and I will continue…..and I will strive for happiness and contentment…..and guess what?  I WILL SUCCEED~!!!

June 5, 2011
CallMeTheClay

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Today’s Teens/Young People…..

So I’ve been thinking a lot about our young people – I suppose that is because of the struggles I’ve had recently with this person living under my roof.  This person….whom I used to know as my daughter.

It seems that with all of the technology that is out there – our young people are growing and learning now at warp speed.  At least they know how to fiddle with all of the electronics.  Don’t know how to get your phone or computer or microwave to do something?  Just ask a young person.

However, somewhere in all of this it seems that there is a HUGE gap in things that we once called ‘common sense.’  You know….things that you either logically figured out on your own, your morals simply guided you, or maybe you saw someone else do and realized it was the right way to do it.  Most of the ‘common sense’ things weren’t actually ‘taught’ by our parents as in them telling you, but rather it was just done that way and you picked up on it.  You learned by example. Sure, you may have asked a few questions – and you may have learned a thing or two that way.

It seems that because all of what technology does for us – we’ve lost the ability to THINK for ourselves.  We no longer know how to process thoughts, to analyze things and make decisions.  It’s all done for us.  Good grief – our cars parallel park for us or tell us when we are too close or wavering in a lane now!!!

But I don’t believe that we can blame it all on technology, either.

I understand that any teen or young person reading this may take offense to what I’m getting in to here.  But let me clearly state that this is in no way trashing the young people of today or calling them stupid or incompetent.  It’s merely a concern about the direction our world is headed.  After all – today’s young folks will be the ones running our countries – right?

To get an idea of what I’m talking about – go to town and hit the fast food places.  Or stay home and call customer service….doesn’t really matter which one (although calling customer service may also provide the experience/hassle of dealing with the companies who ‘outsource’ to other countries – and that’s a whole other issue).

So here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

A friend recently told me that she ordered coffee at a drive-thru.  She requested that ice be added to the coffee.  When she got to the window, the young girl told her that it would be a minute.  She finally came back and told my friend that there was a problem with her order.  She was putting the ice in the cup – but when she poured the coffee in it – it melted!!!  Okay folks….those of us from a few generations back know how funny and yet pitiful that is – right?  For those of you who don’t get it…..the purpose for adding the ice is to melt and cool the coffee.

I recently wrote an email to everyone in the company providing details for an upcoming company picnic.  I provided everything from activities to time, location and how many guests each employee could bring.  In this explanation I told them that the company would pay for each employee plus 3 guests each.  And, if they wanted to bring additional guests, I provided the cost that would have to be paid by them.  In less than 10 minutes from hitting ‘send’ – I receive a reply from one of the younger employees – “Who are we allowed to bring and how many can we bring?”

I was at a drive-thru one day.  My total was $8.06 – so I gave the young man a $20, a nickel and a penny.  He proceeds to try to hand me $11.94.  I kindly tell him that is incorrect and that he owes me $12.00 (assuming that he simply forgot what I gave him).  He looks at me like I’m green or something and closes the window.  I wait for a full minute or two and some girl comes and tries to shove the same $11.94 back at me telling me it is correct.  I again in a kind tone explain that what I gave him and therefore I should receive $12.00.  She looks disgusted at me and closes the window.  Again I wait.  And wait.  And wait…..finally a manager comes to the window to explain to me why my change is $11.94.  I finally lose my cool – raise my tone and say, “No! My total is $8.06.  I gave him a $20 and 6 cents – this means I do NOT want coins.  I want $12.00 in change!”  Manager says, “Oh.”  And I finally got the correct money back – however, I’m still not sure they understood what the problem actually was and how it was solved.

A few years back – there was a problem with a medical claim.  So I called the insurance carrier to discuss it.  Long story short – they paid PART of the claim and denied part of it…but the reason made no sense (btw – I went to school for and worked medical claims – so I have a really good grasp of how it works!).  When I inquired about it – the lovely young person on the phone proceeded to tell me that due to ‘privacy issues‘ she could not discuss what the doctor filed on the claim.  Excuse me!?!?!?!?!?!  I pay the darn premiums…..it’s MY medical claim, MY doctor and she can’t discuss the claim in which I was sitting there on the phone with a paper in my hand from that company!?!?!?  I almost had a stroke over this one before it was all said and done….and guess what?  I lost….they never did discuss with me.  And – I no longer have that insurance, thank you very much!

And finally – I had a gym membership but have not been able to utilize it as I had hoped.  So, I went down to cancel the membership on a Monday.  They gave me the appropriate paperwork to complete.  They explained that there is a cancellation charge involved.  Okay – I can live with that.  However, I wasn’t expecting it – so I asked if I could pay it on Friday (payday).  They agreed and said they would run the charge through on Friday.  I watched my account for the charge to come out.  It finally showed up on Saturday.  Great – so I went on about my business of paying my bills etc.  Then comes Monday…guess what?  My account is charged….again.  I call to let them know there is an error.  The young person cannot do anything but ‘can see that it was indeed charge twice’.  She says she will let a manager know and have them call me back the following day.  Following day – no call.  So I call.  I get the regular apologies and it will be corrected immediately – from another young person, not from the manager.

So now I’m watching my account for the refund.  Instead, on Wednesday – there is another charge – but for a different amount.  Grrrr!  I call.  The girl tells me that she has been assured that the original refund has been made and that the other charge is for the ‘annual renewal’ that happens each year.  I ask her why they would be charging me a renewal fee when I had canceled my membership.  And she just sat there.  Couldn’t come up with an answer.  Then she tried telling me that any changes made to accounts after the 25th of the month would be too late to stop what was set up to be charged the following month.  I explained to her that my cancellation was done on the 23rd.  By then I’m pretty frustrated – so I tell her I want it corrected immediately.  She starts telling me there is nothing that can be done.  Wanna bet!?!?  By the time I was done with her – she agreed to have the General Mgr call me when he comes in at 3:00.

I waited.  I finally called them at 5:30 and asked to speak with the General Mgr.  Young person says “I’m a manager – I can help you!”  I recognize her voice.  I explain who I am and that I haven’t heard from the General Mgr that she was going to have call me.  In her perky little voice says that he left for the day but was going to call me the following day…but that everything had been taken care of.

I could go on with that drama – because believe me, it didn’t end there.  But all of those scenarios show that people don’t actually LISTEN to what is being said.  They don’t THINK things through before giving you some scripted line of b.s. And, they simply don’t care.  There is no longer compassion towards other people either.

And customer service?  The backbone of a successful business depends on it – right? Not any more apparently.  Now you get responses such as ‘yea’, ‘no’, and maybe a ‘come back’ all the while they are offering no eye contact and could care less whether you feel like you are appreciated as a customer.  Do they not realize that if the customer is not happy, then there is no repeat business and therefore NO PAYCHECK?  Not a problem….just flood our society with that type of business/work ethics and people have no choice any longer in where they go – it’s all the same.  And if you want it, you come to them – take it or leave it!

Take Wal-Mart for example.  I hate that place!  Lousy service, low quality items and they NEVER have what you need.  Does it matter?  Nope – they run all the smaller places out of town and so….you are stuck unless you have a butt-load of money!

As a side note – there is a McDonald’s that I stop at in the mornings that actually CARES about their customers.  I enjoy going there because of this older man who works the window – he is the one who would take your orders and collect the money at window #1.  What impressed me the most is that without fail, he said thank you and looked directly at you each time.  And his smile?  It was REAL….it was reflected in his eyes.  So – I took it upon myself to write a letter to the headquarters to tell them of this very valuable asset they had working there.  I suggested that they recognize him, give him a raise or promotion and possible have him train the other goobs (okay – I didn’t actually call them that in the letter).

Guess what?  They LISTENED and they implemented my suggestions!  Now when you go there….EVERY employee is looking you straight in the eye and saying thank you!  Do you think I will be going back now?  You betcha!  And so do many of my friends because I’ve told them about it!

After that experience – I’ve made a point of notifying management and telling them of the GOOD things I see and experience at the various businesses.  Some appreciate it.  Some could care less.  But I feel it’s worth it.  Our young people NEED to hear when they’ve truly succeeded at something…..not the silly b.s. that they’ve been raised on – where ‘everyone is a winner’ and they had to share in the limelight.  What was the point of working hard when everyone else got the same recognition for sitting there like a lump?  By ‘making everyone equal’ we went a little overboard in making sure no one gets their feelings hurt (which by the way is part of the learning process, people!) – and therefore our young people now have a sense of urgency (I want it NOW!) and entitlement and are many times down-right hateful, disrespectful individuals.  BTW, before someone gets their panties in a wad….I am NOT labeling all young people here.

Oh – and another side note.  There are a few other places that I feel I must recognize as providing excellent service in spite of the generational gaps.  Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Firstbank Southwest, Anything in Stained Glass, Glass Crafters and Melaleuca.  Thanks to these companies for staying on top of what REAL customer service means…..first step = training!!!

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned my daughter.  You see – I believe that I did a darn good job of raising her.  Many others have told me the same.  However, even in her I see the ‘common sense’ that we used to have and rely on is lacking.  It scares me.  I’m not sure where or how we got here…..of course I have some opinions…but overall it is baffling to me.  This beautiful young lady I’ve raised is starting to show what I would call disrespect for her elders and it shocks me.  She wasn’t raised that way.  But somewhere with all of the instant gratification that our young folks expect – if they don’t get it when and how they want it, they get angry and rude and down-right ugly!

I remember having to actually sit down and EXPLAIN how to think past the end of her nose!  Think ahead and plan.  The first time she tried it – she came in all excited and said, “Mom, I did it!  I thought things through and considered the outcome – it works!”  Please understand folks, this is a girl who made A’s & B’s (mainly A’s) all through school.  Scary – isn’t it?

So here I sit….wondering about our future with these young folks and wondering what will happen if things don’t go quite the way they want….what will that lead to?

May 29, 2011
CallMeTheClay

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Fire Prompts Evacuations Near My Home…Again!

Fire Fire prompts evacuations in Tangle Aire.

These pics show you a little of what folks are going through.  It’s difficult to put into words what you feel when you see it up close.  When you see that it is heading towards your friends’ homes….or your own…..or your parents’ (as in my case).

It’s heart-wrenching.  It’s emotionally draining.  It’s scary.  It’s tiring.

All I can do is pray for everyone involved.  And thanking the fire rescue people who put their lives on the line for the rest of us!