The SLOG of Joy

Grumble. Growl. Grunt.

.   Swear. Sweat. Stomp.

. Punch. Pound. Pant.

.  Breathe. Binge. Boss.

.  Shout. Scream, Smear.

.  Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.

.  There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.

.   There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.

This is where every. breath. matters.

.    DO YOU HEAR ME?

EVERY BREATH MATTERS.

Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry  in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.

.  I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.

.  I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.

Gratitude, More and More!

I have been reminded of God’s Love for me. I commemorated the Memorial of Jesus Last meal with his apostles on Friday. At Sundown, with my fellow worshipers’ of Jehovah, we gathered at sunset and  did just as Jesus commanded his followers to do: passing first the unleavened bread, then the wine .

The ceremony, and the discourse were beautiful, and I have been reflecting long and hard on how much God loves us to offer his Son as a ransom for us, a path to forgiveness.

I am so grateful, I wanted to share my love with you. Because soon all suffering and pain, tears and sadness, illness and death will be gone forever. Then the real life can begin! I can’t wait to see you in paradise!

I want to grasp my resurrected Mom and Dad, and dance in a field of flowers!

VERTIGO, INSOMNIA and PAIN (oh, my!)

Cant wake up. I feel like I am sick inside, hot and cold, sticky and uncomfortable one minute , all dry and freezing the next. I feel like I’m going thru withdrawals, and twitchy, jerky-but from what?!? I feel that it is the Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo that I have endured since a series of concussions in 2013…BPPV is a type of vertigo from crystals in your inner ear becoming dislodged from a blow or hit on the head, and generally rights itself after 1 Epley Maneuver, which a trained pt performs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is Sooo frustrating, because I don’t have a pt here, and the condition makes me so discombobulated and groggy that I can hardly go anywhere!So I have attempted the maneuver 4 times on my own, with no success it seems, and keep falling asleep everywhere I sit down. The other wrinkle to Post Concussion and TBI cases like mine, is the head injury caused a short-circuit from brain to diaphragm, so when my shuts down for sleep mode, I quit breathing. “Sleep Apnea!”, you exclaim, brandishing a Bi-pap and  Mask… (oh, I just want to interject that I have had brief BPPV free days when my excelkent PT Tom helped me for 2 years… he would do the maneuver when needed and I balance trained and did exerciwes regularly)

So, going back to the CENTRAL Apnea, I have been sleep studied a second time since moving here, and had my poor septum done again, and the Nose Guy (ent) who performed the surgey said, “If you cant breath thru this nose then I dont know what else to do for ya!”

He checked out my sleep settings on my machine, said they were fine and sent me on my way with a script for little nasal pillows instead of the “Alien” mask I wear now.

Insurance doesnt pay, etc, etc So I go to bed, fight with the Mask until I’m finally exhausted and angry, then I drift for 20 minutes before ripping the parasitic thing off my face , flinging it wildly across the room, knocking my water off onto my med box…This causes me to rise up like a crazed Mama Kodiak, comforter flying like a war hero’s cape, kicking my medicine box across  imaginary goal posts, with different colored pastel tablets raining down, as if confetti!

After this nightly comedy of errors and arrows, I give up and decide to paint faux chintz wallpaper onto my bedroom walls. At 4AM.

Is it any wonder I am tired all day?

Oh, the truly funny part is that I went to bed at 7pm. so that I could be alert and well rested today!!

Okee Dokee Then…

It has been AGES since I have been here, it seems that when I am on fire with my visual art , my written art suffers. Time is a factor, when I have 5 projects going at once, the voices in my head are rather subdued, because all the poetry is oozing out of my fingertips onto canvas, paper, metal, wood and wall. As has been the way this past year, with some success…

I had hoped top be able to exist on my earnings from my visual art, and while I am not there yet, I am making a dent. I have had one of my paintings put in a permanent collection, I have been highlighted with my artwork in a video for the nearby Mental Health Facility! Woohoo! I find that very satisfying and amusing all at the same time! I should have demanded money, but they didn’t offer, so I used it as a photo op. I gifted them the painting you see here, although I still have it here at the house , because I wasn’t satisfied with it… (never am, you know). I will have to take it in soon, to keep my word… and I need to see my wonderful therapist because memories are pushing their nasty little heads into my reality…

It’s the “holidays”… The time of memories… poo poo, bluck, bluck…. memories have too much power over me, so I guess I just stuff them. Me, the one always saying that “you have to let it out!” I let it out too much, which gave too many people too much power over me, too many ways to rattle my chain. I have been solitary, and sequestered here, and while it may be a little too much solitude I am glad to have my space. True, my sleeping habits could use improvement, but then I am a work in progress…

Just for today I don’t have to mourn. I can just be ok.

Oh Happy Day!

I am happy to say, I was able to get back into my blogs here at WordPress, after a lengthy absence. I was unable to remember my sign in information for the longest time, but finally I was able to get back here!!! My sister blog, Out of the Gutter Art, has been languishing also, even tho’ I have been furiously creating beautiful “Outsider” Art this whole time.

WIN_20170828_23_38_19_Pro (3)
“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

I have had many upheavals ans bumps in the road as far as my emotional well being is concerned, but with the help of God, the Ultimate Therapist, and my human therapist (who is stellar!) I have come through victorious! The triggers were many, as this is the month my Parents died, and it also houses both mine and my Mom’s birthdays. I am a JW now, so I don’t celebrate my birthday, but it still holds significance in my heart, a marking of the passage of this fragile life.

Now my associations to birthdays is a very negative one, as my Mom died on her birthday, March 21, which also heralds the first day of Spring. Also my Dad was well into the dying process at home with only me there beside him on my birthday 2 years ago. That was a horrible, horrible time, as he suffered much. In the days that seemed to drag on forever, I remember at one point whispering to him “please don’t die on my birthday Daddy…” This sounds to me now like a rather heartless and self centered request, but he understood my trauma, I believe, even in the midst of his own, and did not. Rather, he fought his last fight during the wee hours of the next morning, finally succumbing at 6:15 the next morning. What a long, dark night that was.Picture 012

I am finally not grieving the devastating sword thru my middle grief this year, but I anticipated the day with much apprehension and mental nail biting, as well as obsessive compulsive behavior, manic activity and lack of sleep. I am still feeling the effects, and most likely will have them build to a crescendo as March 21st approaches. Mom died in a less dramatic, but equally disturbing way, having to be taken to Hospice House rather than dying at home as she so desired, surrounded by her kitties. I have imprinted on my brain her sitting in her bed like a deflated teddy bear, whose sad eyes cut right thru me as she said, “Susie, I’m not ready…” However the cancer was by this point ravaging her brain, and I could not physically care for her at home.

playing around 094
here I am after Mom had died, well into my Dad’s last years of Severe Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I was his, and Mom’s sole caregiver.

I had a fourteen day vigil beside her bed, singing, praying , reading the Bible to her and holding her hand. Finally at the point of total exhaustion and grief, I fell asleep beside her, and as I dreamed of happier times, she breathed her last. Ours was a bond stronger than death, and I so eagerly anticipate the day when they are  both called out of the memorial tombs in the grand resurrection , when I will run into their arms again.

This hope is made even more sure this month as  millions of humans around the globe, and me fulfill our obligation to mark the Memorial of Jesus Christ’ death, just as he commanded us to do at the last supper. On this occasion, just hours before his death, be broke bread an drank wine with his apostles, saying, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”

I praise Jehovah above for the undeserved kindness He has shown by providing the life of His perfect Son as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. By this loving act, every human on earth has the chance for living forever, without sickness, mourning, pain or death on a beautifully restored Earth. I raise my hands and my voice in praise to God, and thank him for his Son, My King and Savior, Jesus Christ!Picture 018

You can join the Witnesses all around the earth at sundown on March 31st , 2018 as we join in remembering the Greatest Gift Ever given. You can ask any of Jehovah’s Witnesses for an invitation, or directions, or any other questions you may have and they will joyfully tell you. Also, the website jw.org will tell you what you need to know!

So, despite all my challenges, and mental health issues, I can take comfort that one day soon I will be reunited with all my loved ones. I also am so grateful to God for forgiving my multitude of sins by way of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I hope someone else out there

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

can find this comfort also!!!

Hello from a NEW Perspective!

I have been spinning my wheels today, trying for hours to get my blogs here on WordPress all straightened out. It is very difficult to keep settings and numbers straight in my head since I sustained that TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in a fall in 2013. Along with all the other physical and Mental challenges I have, I just did not want to accept the fact that I have more struggles now. 0

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

It is amazing, however, that the life I have now with Jehovah helping me, no matter what the challenges may be, I am more content inside than ever before in my life! I used to wish I was younger, but when I look back the only real times of loving family memories are ones that I have created in my imagination. I had buried myself under so many layers of fantasy, that I believed I was happy in the World. Happy doing drugs, happy smoking stinking cigarettes. Happy letting people use me. Beautiful in my filth.more self portraits 028

But I cried every single day, I hated the way I looked, I never felt safe, I was always jealous and insecure…I wanted to die most of the time. But I was young and pretty, right? No, I was tired and sick and overly made up, and either starving cause I was doing speed or puking cause I thought I ate too much… So beautiful… Did you ever see a stung out 20 year old who has been awake for a week so wired that she can only drink beer to try to come down. Make up all smeared and clothes stinking from sweat and alcohol and cigarettes, in skiiiinnnn tight jeans that leave red imprints on her skin, and her hair all stringy? No, you never did?

Believe me, you don’t want to.  Nothing very attractive to see there. The eyes were the worst , though. I had dead eyes. No light, no twinkle, no shine of good health and vitality. No glow of clean living on my skin.  And fear was my constant companion, though he took many forms. Fear of Judgement, fear of running out of drugs or drink, running out of love, running out of gas, losing jobs, fear of having no money for bills, for food, for gas. fear of not being able to explain where I was , what I was doing, who I was with. I feel a knot forming in my gut now, as my fingers fly over the keyboard, like the dogs are behind me now, panting, jaws dripping teeth glistening, necks straining, moving in for the kill…

STOP! STOP THE MERRY GO ROUND!in a forest like this...

I breath a deep sigh as I write this, and I feel cool rain on my skin, a cool breeze wraps around me and the wretched image disappears. Like a steaming apparition, fading away into the night. No more to chain me down, no more to lure me into dense darkness with promises of belonging, promises of fame, promises of beauty. No, I have seen the errors of my past and I have

REPENTED, TURNED AROUND, HAD MY SINS BLOTTED OUT SO THAT THE HEALING LIGHT of HIS LOVE has HEALED ME…

For the longest time after I became a baptized servant of Jah, I hated my old self. I had to create a whole new persona for myself, strict and unflinching, upright and uptight. I never wanted to look the way I had in the past, it was as if I physically cut that person out of my life and off of me like a surgeon divides Siamese Twins. Just as I cut out my ex husband who hurt me so bad, and just as I cut all my old “friends” out of my life, I also cut myself off from the music I listened to, the tv shows I watched, the clothes I wore, and the books I read.

Picture 089
striped reflection

 

Was this necessary? Did I have to be so stern, so strict? Yes, at that time I did. The break from my past had to be as sure and swift as beheading a chicken with a hatchet. Like Jesus said, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out! for it is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye then to be pitched into fiery Gehenna…”

This had to be the way for me, I was so determined to show Jehovah that I want to make Him happy, that I never, never wanted to go back to the way I was. And that is as it should be. But in my zeal, I was actually running away from myself. And I know that Jehovah does not hate me, but I hated that me. I hated her, and I blamed her for my “fall from grace”.  That person, that Me was evil, she was bad, rotten to the core. I never wanted to look at her or acknowledge her ever again. I spent the first ten years as a Witness trying to figure out who I was now, how should I look, act, speak, dress. And here was a big problem: How Should I Feel?

Any time I had bad thoughts I shut them down and cast them, out like throwing out the trash. But the self loathing would not go away, and I could not forgive myself for them. Even though I asked my true friends how they felt, and how they thought, and I tried very, very hard to mimic them, I felt cursed to always be bad. I even told people I felt like Pig Pen on Charlie Brown, carrying all the bad around me like a cloud of dirt. I blamed it all on that Me. And I was suffering.   Jehovah did not want me to feel this way, and I know now that I never have to feel that way again.

How did the situation resolve, you ask?  Let me explain…

I have been seeing a mental health professional ever since I quit using drugs and alcohol. The reason I began to was that I was still VERY depressed after being clean for a year and  when I sought help they diagnosed me as Bipolar. (more about that another day…)  On a therapy day, not long ago (maybe six months) Dave , my therapist noticed my loathing for the Me of the past. He was very intuitive and suggested a type of play acting. I had no idea what was about to happen. He placed the other chair in the room across from me, and had me turn my chair to face it. As I sat looking at the empty chair he asked me to visualize my old self.

“What does she look like?”, he asked.

“Well, she’s kind of pretty,” I saidM, “she’s got long dark hair, and a bunch of earrings, and tattoos.”

“What is she feeling?”, he asked quietly.

” I think she is very sad,” I repli ed, continuing,”She has the saddest eyes and I think she wants to die.”

“Tell her what you told me, Susan. That you hate her..”

“No! I don’t want her to know I said that!” I had tears running down my face…

” Well, what do you want to tell her?” he gently nodded at the empty chair.

As I sat there seeing old Me as clearly as I see this tablet, I began to talk to myself…

” hey there, don’t cry… You will be ok… I know you are scared right now, but God loves

Picture 017
one day soon!

Picture 013you… I…I love you… poor girl.”     With  the tears just pouring down my face, he helped me to realize that old Me wasn’t evil, or someone I had to hate or shun… I did not have to cut myself in half anymore. I was seeing myself in a new light, as I would look on any other sick and sad individual who was beaten up and trodden down by Satan’s system of things.

This therapy tool had a profound and lasting effect on me, and I still can use it when I lose my focus and start berating myself for my sinful nature. Jehovah knows we are dust, as our Creator, he knows we want to be happy and He knows exactly what we need to live meaningful and purpose filled lives.

I am so grateful to be just me today, a whole person joyful serving God, under the rule of His Son, Jesus Christ, alongside millions of other faithful ones all around the world!

Whipping Up a Storm

Yes, I believe a storm IS coming. And I believe it is on the verge of changing everything around, on this whole earth.  I am not the only one who believes this, but many people think the coming storm will hurt our beautiful planet home.

I find so much comfort in the pages of God’s Word, the Bible, where it talks about how  humans who obey God have the chance to live forever in a paradise here on Earth! And how nice it is to know that God made the Earth to be inhabited forever!

So, no matter how bad things might get in the days ahead, I can rest assured that God keeps ALL his promises, and God IS Love, and God Can Not Lie!!!! I stopped writing about these things here on my blog quite a while ago, and I have gone through some VERY trying times. I still do not think I am done grieving over the death of my Dad in March 2016, but I am MUCH better. I do not cry everyday from sadness, or loneliness.

I have put myself in a very challenging place here in the new town I moved to. On one hand I am SO glad to be out of the house I lived in with my parents, and I feel sure it was a good idea to move. Even some of my sisters felt that there was something holding me back in that house, and I was sad and sick all the time. I knew I needed OUT , but I sure didn’t have much time to consider where I was moving To. After all is said and done I am glad I made  the decision to move here to St. Petersburg, because I love my new congregation! I have even auxiliary pioneered once since I moved here, and that made me feel so good, to go out in service and help people day after day.

However, it IS more expensive to live here, and I only get my disability income, my plan to support myself as an artist has not panned out…yet. I find that my confidence has waned over here unfortunately, after so much success on the East Coast. I pinned so many hopes on getting into one particular show, and it was a huge letdown not to get in. But I had to remember, and I HAVE to REMEMBER every single day, that it is JEHOVAH I must rely on. Not myself, not a career, not anything I can get from this world. I must TRUST IN Jehovah with my Whole Heart, and not lean on my own understanding, for He will make my paths straight!

I am learning to budget better as far as buying food goes, even if I can’t have all the things I used to eat, at least mBRIy belly is fed, and I have a warm bed to sleep in. And I am SO grateful to have my Bible, when I think about my fellow JW’s in the country where they banned the NWT bible My heart aches for them.

But I know, and they know that Nothing and NO ONE can stop Jehovah’s Will from happening, no mortal man can stay the hand of God, or stop His Promises from Transpiring Exactly On Time!! His Time!

And there is no human that can silence his Witnesses from praising His Great and Holy Name: JEHOVAH!!!!

I will stay strong and focused, no matter what trials befall me, and I know all my brothers and sisters all over the world are enduring despite persecution, just as Jesus Christ, The Son of God, and King of God’s Kingdom said his followers’ would.

I must keep pushing on, even when I feel so sick and tired, even on the dark and melancholy days: because I know there is Light in the darkness.

And it keeps getting brighter…and Brighter…And BRIGHTER… AND BRIGHTER… AND BRIGHTER!!!

I am so grateful to have all of our beautiful songs to learn and sing, they keep my mind focused on spiritual things, just like the brothers in the Concentration Camps used to sing that beautiful song that the one faithful brother wrote.

I want to have faith like his, like all of theirs, who endured faithfully even some unto death,

knowing as I do, “..that the last enemy, Death, will be brought to nothing.”

I love the passage in Isaiah  where it says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about…for I am your God”, and then a few verses down, ” I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you. For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand.” Please forgive me for just saying that from memory, I am sure I did not quote it perfectly… I am so tired right now. But , if anyone wants to read it I believe it is Isaiah 40: 11 and 13. I will make sure tomorrow.

I am going to try to post my thoughts on Hope, On my Faith, thoughts about my Creator Jehovah and how I want to show my gratitude and praise Him EVERY DAY. I know that By doing this I will be keeping my mind on spiritual matters in these critical times. I welcome your visits, and I hope you find seeds of truth to grow your own garden of faith.

Day of Remembrance

LOVE ONE ANOTHER FROM THE HEART. LOVE JEHOVAH OUR GOD WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART, MIND, SOUL AND STRENGTH. TAKE IN ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR GOD, AND PUT FAITH IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. DEDICATE YOURSELF TO JEHOVAH, AND SYMBOLIZE YOUR DEDICATION BY FULL IMMERSION BAPTISM. HELP OTHERS TO LEARN THE TRUTH OF JEHOVAH’S LOVING KINDNESS, AND HIS UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY, AND UNDERSTAND AND SHARE WITH OTHERS HIS PROMISES OF RELIEF FROM PAIN, DEATH, SORROW AND TEARS. BELIEVE IN HIS PROMISE OF AN EARTHLY PARADISE, AND LIFE ETERNAL. WE HAVE SO MANY BLESSINGS TO PRAISE HIM FOR. PRAISE HIM FOR BEING WHO HE IS, ALMIGHTY GOD, CREATOR OF ALL, AND THE SUPREME SOURCE OF ALL GOODNESS AND LIGHT. PRAY TO JEHOVAH THROUGH JESUS CHRIST AND JOIN ME ON THE ROAD TO LIFE. “TRUST IN JEHOVAH AND DO GOOD”

 

 

The Wind Blows into The Gutter!

Stay tuned, big things to come! I am merging my 2 journal blogs into one, here under THE WIND, and yes, this is Susan T. from Out Of The Gutter Art! If you were enjoying my journey on my sister blog, you may enjoy some of my earlier posts, as this is my FIRST blog ever!

I am moving upward and onward in my artistic life, as in my spiritual life, so to keep my work apart where potential patrons and clients can view it without my personal life intervening, I am revamping “Out of the Gutter Art” . The Artist Portfolio is entitled Susan*T*Martin, The Artfull Mind.

I am glad to have you as a visitor to either site, and I hope I can impart a spot of sunlight into your life!

Thank You for Following!

(See you in the Funny Papers!)

Susan T. Martin

KODAK Digital Still Camera     #outofthegutterart

I Am Blown Away…

So much suffering in this world, that anything I may go through just pales by comparison. Just pales.

A night out for friends at a club, a few drinks. A few laughs. Dancing. Happy, young, upwardly mobile.

Beautiful. Did I tell you how beautiful they all are? Faces shown on smartphones, tv screens, computes. They look like me, and you. They look like our kids, grandkids, cousins. Daughters. Sons.

Many ask , “Why?” There are answers to that question, but that comforts not. There will be no comfort here…or will there?

Yes, there IS comfort. It can be found in the pages of a book written by our Creator, Jehovah. He hears our cries, and He sent His Son 2016 years ago to show us that there WILL BE A Resurrection!!!

That is knowledge we can take comfort in, and we can be there to welcome them back. Ask any one of the millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses earthwide how to do this. See you there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.