Carol Lee

…Gentle one, so broken-hearted, tenderly I kiss your…cheek…

Gentle One, so broken-hearted, tenderly I kiss your chemo-roughened cheek

Moving us toward unknown tomorrows, on rivers of. words we will not speak.

Tears trace down well-worn trails; heart bleeds in a blue, familiar way.

We read Memories journal of us enwrapped, entwined, entangled as we lay.

Your memory dwells in a plastic framed photo; recalling embraces that comfort and soothe.

This sweet swelling of daughter’s sorrow: white-hot knot of longing never moves.

Your kept my demons far at bay, my sickness hidden from the others.

Bestowed gifts I cannot repay…Such love only comes from Mothers.

©SusanTMartin2010

A Glorious Day to Remember!

I am filled with gratitude today. Living on a very spiritual plane these last few days, glorying in the the knowledge of my God’s immeasurable love for mankind-for me! This time of year those who worship my God are meditating on the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

On Nisan 14, 33CE on the Hebrew calendar, Jesus was nailed to a stake and executed as a criminal. He died so that those who worship his father can have an opportunity to be reconciled to God, have a chance to live forever in perfect health on a healed Earth, and a chance to be with all those who will be resurrected. Like my Mom and Dad.

My Mom died on this day, 11 years ago. It was also the same date as her birth, 3/21/36. Extraordinary, just like her. The comfort I have recieved-knowing that she no longer suffers, but is sleeping and in God’s memory, has been crucial to me. Sure, I grieve, every day she comes to mind in a hundred different moments, bittersweet. Knowing I can be with her, my best friend, again is such a marvelous gift, and Jesus sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection makes this possible! How can my heart not rejoice ?

The Memorial of Jesus Death will be held at sundown on March 27, 2021. This date corresponds to Nisan 14 on the Hebrew Calendar, the Anniversary of Jesus death. In the Bible at Luke 22:19 Jesus told his followers, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” As his follower today I do the same and meditated on the wonderful blessings his sacrifice has afforded me. The best one is to have a clean conscience before my God, after a lifetime of flaunting his instruction and leading such a degraded life. I am SO grateful to be loved by my Real Father, one who will always be beside me, as long as I walk with Him. And to love Him in return, a love I had never known I had in me. Such a full heart I have today.

You can go to JW.org to find out how to join me and millions of others worldwide on March 27, 2021, to remember the greatest act of love ever performed: The ransom sacrifice of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.

(this Memorial is virtual as a safety precaution)

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)

Who Do I Think I Am?

I do silly things sometimes. Fairly often, in reality. Most of the time they are thoughtless mistakes, quickly forgotten by all who have been effected by them. There was a time, in the past life I lived, the one I talk so much about on this site, that I did intentionally bad things. Things that hurt people. People who loved me, acquaintances, strangers, it really did not matter. My warped bipolar, drug addicted brain could only seek it’s own gratification, usually with no apology attached. Selfish. Mean. Low down.

.   I lived 20 years of my life in Pittsburgh, and went to school in a large predominately white suburb. In the large community I lived in there were 4 black children in my school, that I knew. Out of hundreds. I never wondered why, never asked why, it was just “the way it was”. These were times before forced bussing and desegregation. I never had  learned to be predjudiced, it was a non-issue. The first black child I ever saw was about 4 and so was I, I clearly remember running down the hedgerow and meeting him at the opening, breathless.

.  He looked at me, and I at him, and I loved him. I wanted to play with him, and he smiled happily back at me. That was 40 years ago-I remember it like yesterday. Mother used to tell visitors that I ran inside that day telling her I was going to marry him and have gray babies. That seems bizzare for a four year old (black plus white making gray) because I don’t think I even had a concept of my being “white”. (A born artist, I probably thought I was pinkish yellow or something…) But I do believe I loved him, on the spot, at first sight.

.  I never saw him again, when I ran back outside the family was gone. No black people ever moved in next door, or anywhere on my block for that matter. After I grew older and went to secondary school I saw the other black children who were my age, but we never made friends. But they are stamped on my memory, because they were beautiful. They had a hard road at that school, I know, because they were talked about as being half white, like it was a curse or something. When I brought them up at home, my parents knew exactly who they were, because a “mixed race” couple must have really blown up the town’s skirts back then.

.  I must have been talking about it in front of my Tennessee born Grandpa, because I remember being shocked at his reply, and the venom in it. He then said that I had black in me, because I had big lips. So, the realization dawned that prejudice  was closer to home than I realized. But I still didn’t feel it, I just thought how nice brown skin would be, it wouldn’t show my pimples. A few years passed and I got my first real job, in a Sambo’s restaurant (yes, that was really the name). I was 15 and my manager was 30. He was black, and very handsome. I was besotted and we dated a couple times. I thought the age difference was exciting, and so was his skin color, and the danger was exhilarating. A danger I was now old enough to understand. He spoke of love, but never wanted me to meet any of his friends or family. I told my Mom about him, and she nearly fainted. She was not racist( I don’t believe), she sat me down and talked a long time about how my grandpa and my father would disown me, how hard the world was on mixed race couples, and it was, at that time.  I said goodbye to him on the telephone and that was the end of our friendship.

When I turned 20 I moved to Florida with my Mom. I was very addicted to cocaine before I got there, and I was now living in a county where the sheriff had shipments landing on his own airstrip! It did not take long to land in jail, and then I had an epiphany.  I did not hate black people, but they hated me! At least in that jail they did. There were 21 girls in a 6 man cell, we laid on the floor like sardines. When the matron first shoved me in, I saw only one other white girl, and she the meanest of the bunch. “Who did you kill? ” was jeered at me, and the verbal abuse began. I was scared, alone, jonesing and locked up for the first time in my life, and I could not understand why they hated me so bad.. I hadn’t done anything to them, had I?

.  I became the brunt of their jokes, being called things I hadn’t heard before. The girls made a habit of stealing my food, taking my blankets and making my life miserable. I was learning, though. When they saw that I could draw and write pretty, I started a little letter writing racket for 1 cigarette per letter. I wrote fast and soon made some memorable friends. When I took the time to learn about my cell mates I began to be enlightened about racism. I was enlightened about my own sense of entitlement, I saw how unequal we were in our education , and in how we were treated by the guards and the police. My fear had subsided, but now I knew that racial differences could be dangerous.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.  The turn my life had taken led to being around very racist white people when I got out of jail. Hateful, gun toting people. I wanted to be accepted, I wanted friends, it was not long until I learned the drawl and wore the flag. I never talked about my northern roots, I talked about my relatives in Tennessee. I played the part, got high, got drunk and said the “N” word. I hated everyone who was different, hated everyone who looked at me cross-eyed. I disliked myself most of all, for my two-faced , hypocritical ways.

.  Yes, I finally cleaned up my life, got away from violence, cussing, drugs. Got away from my abusive, hateful husband when he went to Prison. Been clean and sober 20 years now, and I am a baptized  worshipper of God. I preach to others about love of neighbor, love of family, obedience to God. I changed my wicked ways, I yell it from the rooftops…

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“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

It made me physically ill to watch George being murdered. I was, and am outraged. I felt like he was my friend, and all those feelings I posted in my last post. But when I went to the store in the days after his death, and a black man walked down the aisle I was in, I felt terrified. I could not look him in the eye, my face burned with shame and I wanted to run away.  I did not mention this in my last post, yet that was my motivation to write it in the first place . I actually wrote about it, then got scared and deleted it! Rewrote the post without talking about my discomfort, my shame, my guilt, my anger at myself. I wanted so much to understand why I reacted that way, why I felt scared to reach past his wife to get my margarine. Why I think if she had said Boo to me I would have peed myself. Why I was unable to say how outraged I was, how I understood their anger, why I was unable to say Anything…IMG_20180909_002734_526

.  But good old Sue, she changed her chameleon colors, again… Instead of peering deep into the wound to get to the heart of that ugly splinter, to pull it out and see it in the light of day, to clean the wound and bind it up to heal…I chose to cover the wound, leave the splinter, let it fester some more.We are all Innocent Image2 (2)

.  In my dishonesty, not only to you, gentle reader, but to myself, I had the audacity to presume that my family’s history is comparable to the Floyd’s. While I am sure my ancestors experienced the pain of predjudice it was not a bit helpful to bring that up in this context, as if saying what happened to their son was just a predictable passage in the history of mankind. No, I have to do better if I truly want to clean my heart of the stain it bears. I am part of the problem too. I am not the one to act like I know what black people feel. I tied that emblem on my forehead too many times to be so saintly now…

.  I’ve still got work to do, tonight and tomorrow and every day hence. I have to go sharpen my knife, and sterilize my tweezers and get that damn splinter out…I think it’s time.

We Are Going To Make It

Is anyone out there as old as I am? I grew up to the Mary Tyler Moore show, on every week as I recall. When I was 10 or so, she was beautiful to me, not just as a pretty woman (which she was and is, if she is still alive, is she?…)but as a woman in “the workplace”. I was too young to understand the dynamics of discrimination against women, I was buying into the whole “be a good girl, speak when you are spoken to” misogynist mantra.

That is where the slogan “We’re going to make it after all” first made me feel warm and fuzzy. My folks both worked long, hard hours to feed my brother and I. We saw them briefly each morning. Mom on her way to bed after all night at a local “old folks” hospital, and Dad on his way to the Speciality  Steel Mill. The only thing “special” about the steel mill that I could see was the fact that Dad was “‘specially”angry when he got home.

.  We didn’t want for anything that I ever knew, except that I never got designer jeans like my best friend, with the rich dad. No, my belly was full, and I was as happy as a chubby pre-teen with thick glasses and a mouth full of braces could be in the late 70’s. The only thing lacking was joy, any kind of joy, at home. Even “The Holidays”, when I still celebrated them, were joyless, because there was always disappointment lurking under the tree. Family gatherings were nice before I got old enough to feel the undercurrents of dislike and tension that flowed thru the affairs, like the lambrusco in the fancy glasses.

.  We are going to make it. After all.

.  I’m in the ” after all” phase of life now. And I have made it, thus far . All the family drama is distant history, now that my parents are dead they don’t fight as much.(chuckle). I have learned to live without them here, and I have gleefully learned to live without my abusive ex and now deceased husband. (No, I’m not gleeful at his being deceased.)

.  I have lived on my own for 4 years now, Dad died on 3/7/16, and Mom on 3/21/10. The grief did not stab me like a bayonet to the stomach this year, no, it was a dull, ongoing ache that I thought I didn’t feel, until this very moment. A heaviness inside my heart, a gray, damp blanket on my view. But I have made it, after all…

.  I want to share happy tidings, tho’, not the fear mongering that is flying all around the internet and all the airwaves. Yes, this Pandemic is a very, very bad thing. Many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors will get very sick, and many will die. More people will die than usually do in a “regular” time period. It will be very difficult to work, to shop, to meet with friends and family. However, we must endure these difficulties with a hopeful demeanor, and share our hope with  Everyone we can!!! We All need to support our fellow humans, and we CAN!!!!!

You may ask why, and I understand how hard it is not to have a pity party when one has no access to TP or Oreos. I am not immune to this situation, especially the Oreo thing. But as a person who has lived with chronic intractable pain all over my body for the last 20years, I do have experience with the power of positivity shared. This will be a HUGE HELP TO ALL OF US: BE UPBEAT AND POSITIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO OTHERS! DO NOT BOG OTHERS DOWN BY SHARING NEGATIVITY SUCH AS WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT FOCUS ON STEPS WE CAN TAKE. 

One thing we must do to help is STAY POSITIVE when we talk to others. Just as you would not talk to a Child about negative outcomes of a storm, we all, ALL need comfort from our fellow humans right now. Just as we would not want our Mom to be overly anxious about a situation, think of your friends and neighbors who are anxious also!

.   We want to help the people we love, and hopefully we want to help our fellow man who we don’t even know. I am going to work on this, and I already know it helps, because people who cared for me when I was incapacitated did it for me. And I made it thru to better days. Picture 346

. I hope you are doing well, that you can see the sky today, wherever you are. One thing that helps me so much is prayer because I know God is close to me when I pray to him in his Son, Jesus name. Reading the Bible books of Psalms and brings me peace, and talking on the phone to others about God’s promises soon to be fulfilled.  If I can just smile at someone, it lifts my mood and hopefully theirs as well. I send out my warm hugs and smiles to all of you.

.  We’re going to make it, after all!

Jehovah created a paradise...
frannie-pannie…

I’m Sorry

for all the things I forgot to tell you when you were here

for being so impatient with you

for wanting you to go to bed so I could have some time alone

That was written not long after my Dad died. It seems to be that no matter how you try to care for your terminally ill , so that every single want, need, wish and prayer are covered, there will be regrets.

There will be “what-if’s” , “why-not’s” , “why-didn’t-I’s” galore. So, in a note to my past self I say, “It’s OK Susie. You did your absolute best. YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST. No regrets, just love. Love for you, Susie. They are gone, they do not hurt anymore. They don’t remember the time you stole a dollar out of their coat to buy a coke. Memories like these are for people who did not love, Susie. You loved. YOU loved. YOU LOVED. And you are still loving them today. That’s good, to be loving them still, to feel that empty space in your heart for them, still. That is real and it’s grief, and it has no timetable. But guilt? SUSIE, GUILT IS NOT A LIVING THING. IT’S A THING THAT BRINGS DESTRUCTION WITH IT. LOSS OF HOPE. PAIN. SO MUCH PAIN. PUT DOWN THAT GUILT YOU HAVE AIMED AT YOURSELF. JUST DROP IT… That’s a good girl…put it down. Give it here, give it to me, let’s take those awful bullets out…that’s a good girl, Susie… Come here, Child…Yes , I know you still Hurt, yes I know…it’s OK to cry…I will comfort you till you can carry yourself again…Just leave all that self hate and guilt lie, I will throw it away for you. Yes, shhhhhh…I know you miss them, that’s alright, love…”

But missing them won’t kill you. Guilt will.

And somehow, by writing that, and feeling it, and seeing it on the page, I feel relief. I am grateful to my God, at this very moment. Goodnight.

sunset in paradise

Back to Dirt (continued)

I get to this point, late at night, when my eyes burn from staring at my tiny detailed artwork. And this is the time I want to stop and write to you my musings on the day. So, here I am, bleary eyed and hurting, attempting to communicate something meaningful from my storehouse of wisdom….Perhaps this is why my entries are all centered on pain! If I read something I wrote a year ago, it all sounds like the same Song, the same endless litany .

That is no way to treat you, is it? Your time is valuable, as is mine. What burns in me is this need for a primordial scream of anguish, a voice from my depths against this physical ball and chain. I dream of jumping up and running away, fast enough and far enough to leave my physical being behind. Oh, Dear God, please hear me beg for a way to endure…I know that my faith and prayers are heard and known by you, and that You continue to uplift and sooth my troubled mind…

I don’t want to wish for the pain to end, because the only thing that ends it is blissful death, or the oblivion of street drugs. Both things that would destroy my relationship with you, my Father…So All I ask is to endure, to know that one day pain and death will be gone forever.

I know I cling to sanity by a tendril…You, my God, keep that tendril from snapping. Thank You. thank you. thank you.

Plugged. Digital painting by Susan T. Martin2018

the greasy fast-food-wrapper of death

…he was the one man I adored, a happy glance…would gave made my life perfect…

It took soul-searching, or rather “skinning” myself to get down to the layers of pain in my hard heart. I think I finally peeled off all the bandages that I had wrapped around the wound in my heart, and I came to the thorn…the nugget of truth about what was hurting so bad.

I am still grieving for my Dad who died three years ago on March 7, 2016. I have been doing God’s Job, judging him by my flawed human standards, and thinking I will never see him again. My heart has just been rent in two, He was like my child in the Dementia/Alzheimer’s years. Before that, he was the one man I adored, a happy glance and kind word would have made my life perfect, but he wasn’t that guy much. He was an angry, selfish and hateful man to nearly everyone in his immediate family (including me, most of the time), but once in a while the Sun broke thru. Oh, and when it did we all basked in it’s glow.

He was like the smartest man in the world to me, and as a small child it was Dad who sparked my love of nature, especially birds. He could tweet as sweetly as the cutest songbird, and when he was funny and joking around all of us would roll with laughter, even Mum. He took my brother and I sled riding, and out for ice cream. He came to my basketball games and cheered me on, and saw me hit home runs in softball, and he puffed up with pride. In my memory he had a charismatic glow, and he would reel people in with his magnetism, and dark Sicilian good looks. In other words, he was my hero. At least during my youngest years.

I idolized him, and devoted my life to the impossible task of pleasing him.

( I am coming back to this post after a couple weeks away, been battling some serious physical ailments that have culminated with steroids and antibiotics and bedrest.)

While re-reading this I am struck be how this love/idolize/hate/regret thing has just repeated itself infinitely in my conscious life. As I come closer to letting go of this horrible baggage, I see this thing, this greasy fast-food wrapper of death languidly twirling in the wind, it’s grey, spindly arms trying to latch onto me again.

I DO NOT HAVE TO CARRY THIS ANYMORE.

I DO NOT HAVE TO GRIEVE ANYMORE.

I DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL ANY GUILT ANYMORE, FOR JESUS CHRIST’S RANSOM COVERED MY SIN’S AND CONTINUES TO.

JESUS’ RANSOM COVERED DAD’S SINS TOO.

I DO NOT HAVE TO FORGET DAD, BUT I AM ALLOWED TO, AT LEAST UNTIL IT DOES NOT HURT SO BAD…NO ONE CAN SEE INSIDE MY HEART EXCEPT GOD. JEHOVAH.

so quickly the dark tries to rush in, the way a black tide sneaks up the white beach at night, as you lie with your cheek to the sand… see? this time it came to there, the next time up to there, ah, now it’s tickling your finger…oh! now its falling away….but wait..wait,,,wait for, wait for it….here it comes and UP! we leap and run for our lives!!!!

In Happier times!

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.

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“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.

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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

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can find this comfort also!!!

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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