A Psalm of My Own

Written after Fighting With Myself All NightWIN_20200720_06_43_02_Pro_LI (3)

.           Jehovah knows my suffering, hears my pleas each day

.          He knows the pain this madness brings, knows I’m made of clay

.          I thought I’d be forsaken, and all my hope was lost

.          I struggled to awaken, eternal darkness was the cost

.          But my God cares for me, He hears my cries and screams

.          He pulls me out of raging seas, makes pleasant peaceful dreams

.          How can I show my thankfulness, show Him my endless love?

.          I’ll walk with Him in faithfulness, Praise God in Heights above!

.          I will love my God whole-souled, pray, meditate and preach

.          No matter how lame, tired, sick or old, new sheep I will love and teach!

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Big Sky.(not my photo)

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!

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Grief and Bipolar Disorder

Let me start this blog off by saying that I am not a health care professional, nor am I licensed in any form of mental health capacity. All I am is a person in pain, having lost a dear loved one, and who also happens to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

So, in a sense, that makes me an expert of sorts. I say that in a lighthearted way, coming from a heart that is anything but light. Ever since Daddy died I have been running in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Somehow, I am dealing with each necessary task: the funeral, the cremation, the memorial, filing for assistance for myself since Dad supported me in my disability, cleaning up all the evidence of his sickness and dying that were left here in the house. It feels like being in the center of a hurricane.

Knowing that I will soon be back in the raging storm, only this time I will be alone.

In my manic state right now, I cannot sleep, cannot rest. I either forget to eat, or I eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities. I baked a cake and cupcakes last night at 11:45, then ate 3 cupcakes before lying down. No wonder I did not sleep, right?

I keep getting up, in a half asleep stupor, thinking I have to check on him. Then I wake up sitting at my computer at 4 in the morning, all crooked and stuck like a pretzel. Once the other day I fell asleep on my face with my glasses on, and they had embedded themselves into my head. Not a nice way to awaken.

But the endless cleaning, and going from room to room carrying the strangest things, and the inability to breathe normally are also very disconcerting. I have the feeling of impending doom, the one I had for years in active addiction, the feeling that came back when Mom died in 2010, the feeling that follows me like a shadow. It keeps telling me that I am all alone now, that there is no one to love me, or hold me anymore.

It is a terrible, sad feeling, and my head knows it is not real. God loves me, and will NEVER forsake me. I am in a cloud of witnesses, all loving Jehovah, and He has tight hold of my hand. So-leave me alone, terrible darkness! Stay at bay, awful sadness!

Please God, help me have soundness of mind, help me to have a quiet heart, a hopeful spirit, and faith sure and strong!! I know that you hear me, in the name of Jesus.

I am loved, and I am safe. I will never walk alone!

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A ONE HANDED ENTRY

Picture 347
mommy with her sisters, before we knew she was sick.

Picture 433

mom and me at a JW Convention
mom and me at a JW Convention

this is tough, this being me.

i say all kinds of euphemistic things:

endure, be brave, be faithful…

a memory stirs,

i am back to missing you.

i am glad you are not suffering.

i am glad the pain is gone.

but here i am left,

wondering.

how do i carry on?

my life is like typing one-handed,

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle, one broken pencil,

one half of one one-dollar bill.

i remember the days of our freedom

the two of us crying and laughing at once!

sipping our vodka tonics and talking like schoolgirls

till we were tipsy and high.

your kneecaps jumped up and down,

so i put you to bed,

worried that i somehow harmed

those beautiful knees.

they parted to give me birth,

but i don’t feel alive.

the sunlight changed the day you died

left me all dim and damaged inside.

now my life is like typing one-handed.

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle,one broken pencil

and one half of one one-dollar bill.

my relief is coming, the shining day

you will return to me-free from any disease

it is our God’s promise to us!

the world will resound with our laughter,

our brothers and sisters will join in

we will all be perfect and no one will die,

not ever, no

never again.

i wont have to type one handed,

no more swimming uphill.

no broken paddles, no more broken pencils,

no need for one-half of one one-dollar bill!!!

Brainstorming

I am feeling a bit more positive than I was in this morning’s post, Dad got up for a while around 2pm, I laid on the couch dozing on and off, keeping my eyes and ears on alert. He fell on Wednesday, big gash on his head, poor Pops.

It happened while his caregiver was here, she called me saying there has been an accident. I believe the first thing you should tell a loved one is that the patient is OK before you dump the accident stuff on them. It keeps from shaving a couple years off their lifespan, because, as a family member, your heart just falls out of your chest when you hear,

” Hello, Ms. Kiko? There has been a terrible accident…”

What is the first thing you think of? Yup, I thought so: That he is dead or maimed or otherwise terribly injured.

So, I had been dropping off a painting at the Art Gallery, so I raced the 10 miles to the hospital in rush hour traffic, all the while telling myself that, as a law abiding Christian, I should be setting a good example and pleasing God by obeying the speed limit. I really tried, and I do always try, but that is a difficult task when your Dad is lying helpless and afraid in an Emergency Room.

I hit the Hospital doors at a trot, had my ID already in hand to be checked in, and rushed down the hall to his bedside, ready to find him at death’s door.

Of course, the scene that greeted me was quite different!

“Hiya there! Where have you been?”, he laughs with a big smile.

He smiles his most charming at the cute little nurse who is taking his blood pressure.

“Are you Ok, Dad? I heard you had a bad fall!”

He looks at me quizically, “Did I?”

I could just pinch him, but he looks so little and frail in the big hospital bed, so I kiss him on the cheek instead. Now I can see the big gash on his scalp, and blood all over the pillow. Oh, my, I think, here we go again. I just cannot bear him spending any time in this hospital, this is the place where he fell twice in May, the place that caused him so much anguish mentally, the hospital that hastened his Alzheimer’s Disease and broke his spirit, and the place where I had to face the reality of my losing him. Imminent. On the Horizon.

I hate that hospital. I told Dad’s doctor that I am trying to sue them for what they had done to him, and the doctor brings me back to reality: I am going to do whatever is necessary to get your Dad better from this fall…

Now I feel like a real heel, like that wasn’t what I wanted too?

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs:

  I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH MY FATHER DIE!!!

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS FALL TO ME? TO SEE MY PARENTS, TO SEE THE PEOPLE I NEED, THE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVING?

TO SEE THEM ALL DYING.

TO BE LEFT HERE all alone.

But, I did not say anything except , Ok. Thank You.

Now you understand a little more why I am so tired today, this month, this year.

Each day that goes by I feel a little more dead myself,

all tied up in my solitary cell, watching my life pass by.

I know deep inside that I want to do this, and I want to be with Daddy till the end. I just get so lonely at times. But I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am grateful for everyday I have. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. It will get better- I promise!

I will place my burdens on Jehovah tonight, He will hear my cries for help. I will pray in Jesus dear name, and Jehovah will breath new endurance into me.

His promises will all come true.Picture 731

Profound Joy!

Profoundly Alive. Zestful. Happy.

Hopeful. Forward Looking. Lifted up. Elated.

Active. Alive. Aware. Absolutely Positive.

I am these things, I am all of them.

I must believe that I am.

Loveable. Loved. Free. Truthful. Beautiful.

My heart healed, my wings mended, my joy complete.

I am now the person I always wished I could be.

I am not responsible for anyone else’s decisions, for anyone else’s pain.

I have paid the price for my past mistakes by enduring the consequences for my actions. I am not required to flog myself  any longer. I do not have to grovel before an abuser ever again.

I am fine, protected by God’s Love, able to fight the fine fight with the tools He provides, and His Holy Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word the Bible.

The Breastplate of righteousness.

The Large Shield of Faith.

The Helmet of Salvation.

Loins Girded about with The Truth.

Feet shod with the Good News of Peace.

” There are are more who are with us than there are who are with them…”

I am no longer a victim, alone in my suffering and fear.

There is a way out of an abusive relationship. It starts with telling yourself the truth. It is not going to get better, his gifts will not make it better, your family does not hate you like he says they do. You are not ugly. You are not stupid. You CAN survive without him. You have everything you need within yourself, it is just hidden under all the fear and lies. Listen really close, and find the voice of the person inside you who spoke before he hit you the first time. She is calling out to you now, she is ready to come home. Just reach out, turn that doorknob, and don’t look back!

promises fulfilled
promises fulfilled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Down!!

This is the part that hurts. Feeling a vague feeling of guilt, knowing that this ebbing manic period has left devastation in my life again, not sure yet what it is. I feel like I’m coming down from a drinking/drugging binge, coming out of a blackout. Sick and hurting, depressed and angry at myself.

I had a sneaking suspicion, the last few days, that my bank account was in crisis, but in my addict’s brain I refused to check the balance, forging ahead with my spending. My head has cleared enough today to check the balance, and of course I am overdrawn. I knew I needed to have enough left to pay for framing for my new paintings, that is impossible now. Oh my….sigh…

Bipolar Disorder is a terrible illness, and I long for the day when all humankind will be relieved of the suffering we now endure. My faith is strong, my hope is sure, because I know that Jehovah can not lie, all His promises come true. I must hang of tightly to this knowledge so that I do not become immobilized with fear and guilt, falling into Satan’s trap of discouragement, and of the hopelessness he wants us all to feel. Hopelessness and despair can snuff me out like a windswept candle flame. ” Poof, she was gone! “, like the line in an old Hee-Haw song.

When I was still in active addiction, I would have to look at the clothes in my hamper to figure out what I had done the night, or weekend before. Seeing the outfit, picturing myself in it, and perhaps finding a pack of matches with a bar logo in the pant’s pocket, helped me figure out where I had  crashed and burned. The memories were like glimpses in a shattered mirror.

Now days that tactic doesn’t work too well, so I have to get up looking for food wrappers to see if I binged on chocolate, or paint on my clothing if I was up at 4 am creating a masterpiece. Oh, and I find crumpled up receipts and refuse to unfurl them, in the likely event they harbor some bad, bad spending. Ooohhh. Sends chills up my spine. I think I have come out of this manic phase relatively unscathed, I was able to straighten out the mess at the bank and I finally slept a real sleep of 4 hours last night. And I finally stopped repainting my latest oil painting, and put it under a fan to dry for the next show.

I have been beseeching my God to help me calm my burning mind, soothe the racing thoughts and awful images, and He does, Jehovah is the Great Therapist, and He leads me into quiet, safe places in my mind where I can heal. When I pray for His Holy Spirit he gives it freely to help me worship and serve Him, helping me to endure through these difficult times. And Jehovah welcomes everyone to take advantage of His assistance, He does not wish for anyone to die, that is why he gave the greatest sacrifice ever given: His perfect, only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

I just found out that one of my JW friends has lost a daughter in death, I am so grateful that God already has a ressurection planned for all of us, He promises that we will see our dead loved ones again. I will pray for the family tonight.

Thank you for listening tonight. Keep looking to the Bible for answers in your life! In it you will find peace and love.

Goodnight!

I am the cutest puppy in the world!!!
I am the cutest puppy in the world!!!

Working Again!

A dock at sunset on White Sands Island in the Maldives.
A dock at sunset on White Sands Island in the Maldives.
A green sea turtle swims past a school of Raccoon Butterflyfish near Hawaii.
A green sea turtle swims past a school of Raccoon Butterflyfish near Hawaii.
A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.
A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.I did not take these photos, they are in the public domain.

Ahh! I am an active creative force, taking the images in my mind and painting them on canvas, writing them on paper, sharing these thoughts and images with the human family. It is so cathartic, so freeing. All the pain rushing out of me-all the light rushing in.

I love my life today-I feel alive today- even the pain of my physical body does not shut off the colors flowing out of my fingertips!

I am working on a couple paintings for my next show, it is a group show about Water. We have rivers here, beautiful lagoons and estuaries full of wildlife that is crying out for help. Our local politicians are finally interested because the sick rivers are giving the tourism industry a black eye, and a light is finally shining on this area’s darkest secrets: Pollution and sewage being dumped into the water by Big Sugar, by Cattle Ranches, by people cheating on their permits and laws regarding dumping.

So this show is about the artist’s interpretation of a body of water, the ocean, a river, a pond, and the surrounding area. The works have to have water in them.

This is a subject close to my heart, my love of God’s magnificent creation makes it very painful to see the ruination of our planet. To me it as as if the St. Lucie River cries out in it’s pain. I live a stone’s throw from the river, I can walk to the marina  and I hear the motor boats and jet skis when they go by. The beautiful variety of water birds and wildlife who call the river home come through my yard every day. Hawks, Eagles, Caracara, Sandhill Cranes, Herons, Egret, Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Bobcat, Gopher Tortise, River Otters, Racoon, Opossum, Alligator, Wild Boar, the list goes on and on… And Oh! the fish! Fish that we now cant eat, green algae poisons the river and suffocates the aquatic life, stealing the oxygen out of their water.

I am very motivated and inspired by this subject matter, and I will share my work with you soon.

Remember to care for our garden Planet, this Beautiful Home Jehovah gave us.

Thanks!

the dustbowl.

It is very dry here in South Florida. I mean popcorn-fart dry. I do not enjoy these droughts we have, I am sure no one else does. I find it particularly painful to watch all the foliage crisping up while I sprinkle my whole Social Security check’s worth of water onto it. In futility, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

I save what I can, moving the plants who still have a chance into shady areas, and setting up areas close to the water hose where I can set the most fragile ones, to be watered daily. We have a very large lot for this area, I like to see the astonishment on my friend’s faces when I show them my backyard garden with the most enormous oak they have ever seen. And my most beautiful gardens. Actually it is God’s garden, I just tend it.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with a Master Gardener in a Paradise called Sailfish Point on the very southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island. His name was Lynn, and he knew the nuts and bolts of every plant that grows here. How to grow it, feed it, water and prune it, until it gives the most glorious display. And I tried, every day, to absorb some small kernel of his knowledge. Any tree or flower growing on that golf course was fair game for me to take a seedling, a cutting, a pod- even an entire plant-if Lynn gave me the green light. This property has some interesting specimen plants who had their roots (ha ha!!) on Sailfish Point. This is a favorite of mine, he called it a “Pine Palm”, and I have only ever seen these near the ocean.110 Banyan, abandoned and vandalized 001

It actually looks much better than it did when this was taken- I have since learned to keep the centers of each group of fronds as dry as possible, or they start to rot. I eventually had to prune the whole near left section off for this very reason. I had not noticed in time that my sprinkler was dropping exactly over the center of that bunch of fronds. The tree frogs told me about it. I believe that, on the wind-swept dunes near the beach where this species grows naturally, the stiff ocean breeze would keep these trees quite dry. One thing I did learn when landscaping: Pay attention to the plants natural surroundings, and plant in as similar a position as you can.

This means that if your new shrub came from the sunny side of a slope, but under a tree that shades it in the late afternoon, then you should give it a well-drained west facing partially shaded spot. Shady in the late afternoon, that is. And pay attention to the soil where your specimen came from. Sand? Deep moist black earth? (Boy, I wish we had that here!!! That is what Pennsylvania earth is like, in the western Appalachian foothills.)

Anyway, I digress. Just be an observant gardener, and your results will please you and make all your girlfriends jealous when they come over for coffee. Another great trick to fool them into thinking you are a master gardener is to find some cheap, aged pots and planters from a Thrift store and fill them with good potting mix and fresh. blooming annuals from a nursery. Then just make sure to tend to these three or four, moving them from place to place near your front walkway or doorstoop (stoop?) (stop?) area. Even if the rest of your yard looks like poo, keep tending these few- Miracle Grow anyone?-and you will blow them all away with your mad skills. Observe:my new hair, and stuff to sell 022

See how the yard is pretty plain behind my little front patch of flowers? I am SO sneaky! I rearrange the pots as some flowers fade or I just have a whim, taking the shabby looking pots around back to be reworked at a later date.

And I just love taking objects that totally look like they do not belong outside and placing them around my garden for focal points. Broken plates (pretty ones) make nice edging, old chairs you were going to throw away make a great plant stand with a coat of bright spray paint!

That old carved owl was a throw away from a friend- I kept it in the garden till it just fell all apart. and we had bunches of leftover ceramic tile from when I did the house, so Dad started using it to edge the beds, and it looks pretty spiffyIMG_20140507_114010I Has been fun sharing this with you all, I feel ready for my own T.V. show now:

” The Sneaky Crafty Artsy Lady Gardener Show”!

I am keeping my prayers focused on Jehovah’s promises for a new world where righteousness will dwell, and where there will be no more pain, suffering, war or death. I pray that we can all be there one day soon.! I’m ready to live in a peaceful world!

Goodnight!

Muncie Spumoni

We love our pets, don’t we? When you have no children, and you are trapped for 10 years in a house with elderly, sick and dying parents your pets come to have a whole new meaning to you. I always was loopy about them, and as time has gone on my family and I have raised passels of kitties, feral and tame, and a couple dozen dogs and pups have held my heart over the years.

Then there is Munson or Muncie Spumoni, also known as Little Big Ears as a kitten and then Spoops as he matured. He is a wonderment, and a more loving,intelligent kid there has never been.

Spoops in a drawer. 2008
Spoops in a drawer. 2008

Munson arrived here at the house as a teeny-weeny days-old kitten with his 2 sisters after being gently placed in our newspaper bin by his feral Mom cat, Teddy. Teddy was one of a large colony of feral cats who my Mom had been spaying, neutering and working on taming for the years after our moving to Florida in 1984. Back then there were no organizations taking an interest in wild cats, Mom did it out of love and a sense of duty to help these abandoned and discarded animals who were left here by snowbirds and vacationers when it was time to head back North. Our house backs up to a large 55 plus trailer park where most of the tenants only winter here. So the colony was about 20 cats in the early days.

Munson instantly has a special place in Mom’s life. With 2 huge ears the size of satellite dishes, he was a strikingly beautiful kitten with his brilliant white blaze, socks and belly on a black tabby background. He also bears a little “light” in the tip of his extraordinarily long tail, a white beacon that my brother Eric always called his “landing lights”. He was really stinkin’ cute! (and is.). His litter mates were little girls, Ebony: a psychotic coal-black cat with 1 white hair at her breast, and Tiggy: another hot mess of gleaming black with  a true psychotic streak. (Possible sign of inbreeding?) At any rate these two would like to bite you hard as let you pet them. (Ebony used to gag when Mum would run her fingernail along the edge of the flea comb- where was YouTube back then?) Then there was Gretchen, a dainty tiny cat like her mother who danced along like a ballerina, light as air on her tiptoes, with a tiny meow you could barely hear.

But Muncie and Mom were inseperable, and when Mom was fighting the cancer, he would lay right next to her thru $%#! and high water, letting her pour out her tears into his glowing fur. He would have the most loving look on his face, as if he were the size of an Siberian Tiger and could carry Mommy off into the forest, away from all the torment and pain. Munson. Dear Munson, and dear Mom. He spent those years as faithfully as any Lab you have ever heard about sleeping by their master’s bed. She would hold him in her arms and stare down into his face, saying,”muncie. Muncie.” and kissing him a thousand times on his white striped nose. One of the last things she asked me to do was to, “Take care of my Muncie for me…Please take care of Muncie for me.” Of course I promised. (Like she had to ask…Oh, Mom…)

Well, now Munson has come to the end of his life. His nutty sister Ebony died 2 weeks ago, and I’m sure it was typical kitty old age, where the kidneys just shut down and she stopped eating and drinking. She lingered about 5 days before sleeping herself away. All this was happening while Dad was in the Hospital, so I grieved for her,but not as much as I am for Muncie.

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Fast forward three days, I had to stop writing because I was crying too hard, and the grief exhausted me. Poor dear Muncie still lingers on the brink of the great beyond, and I have crumbled. I wanted to let him die here at home, i hate it when we put an pet down at the vets office-they are so frightened. But the stress of losing him by drips and drabs has cost me my sanity, having to hide his dying from Dad, who just goes to pieces over these events. So I have been disappearing every 5minutes to go hold Muncie, carrying him to all his favorite places in the yard and house. I can sound just like Mom when I try, and when I speak her love talk to him he looks up with his blinded eyes with such adoration.

I never fully appreciated how truly magical he is… until now. I knew he was special, and I loved him dearly; I stopped short of giving him my heart completely, out of fear of the pain that would surely come i  the future. Last night, however, I gave my heart to him completely, when at 3in the morning I awoke with him snugly settled in my arms, head resting on my chest. Somehow, as weak as he is, he climbed up the side of the bed, out of the basket of towels on the floor, into my warm embrace. I will never forget that act of devotion as long as I live. Oh my…

Today I just can not allow him to go on like he is, so frail he is barely breathing, dragging himself to the door so h can go lay on the cool cement where the garden hose drips, trying to quench the unquenchable thirst that death brings.  Somehow he had willed himself to Dad’s door, and in his dementia, Father let him outside a little while ago, and did not realize how sick the poor kid is. I just can’t let him die alone, although that is probably what his instincts tell him to do. No, the mother in me wants to hold him to the last.

Aren’t we humans a useless lot when it comes to the animals. Here I am, refusing to let him do what he wants to, even at the end of his faithful 18 years as our pet. And now trying to be humane after letting him linger for a week, for a reason I am not even sure he feels? Do I take him down there to the vets now, can I keep myself from collapsing if I let him die here?

Oh God, I wish I knew. The stress is crippling me, as is the grief.

I want to run so far away from all this pain, and leave Dad and all the animals here where they can’t hurt me anymore.

But that is not what Mommy’s do.

That is not who I am.

Jehovah made the animals instinctively wise, and He loves them even more than we do, because He created them. He gives them their gifts to be our companions, our comforters, our friends. It is my human failings that give me all this doubt, all this worry. Munson is not crying out in pain or sorrow. He showed me last night who the wiser one is. And he said goodbye already too. It is me who has to let him go…

I want to live again, with his memory to keep my heart warm.

Goodbye, Muncie Spumoni.

PS. I just cancelled the appointment to have him euthanized, I will let him pass here, with his sister and me and Dad, and the only home he has ever known. He is a great cat.