Monday, July 23, 2012

Sh*t Happens

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Shit happens. It happens to all of us at some point or another. If you dare say to me it doesn't or hasn't happened to you I will get in your face and scream "Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!"

Because it does happen.

It's a fact of life.

It happens to me.

A lot.

Sometimes I feel as if I will be buried alive under the heaping piles of steaming poo. No amount of shit shoveling can rescue me before another mound of crap comes crashing down. These are the times I almost hear Life's evil laugh as it hurls one turd after another at me as if I'm a walking, talking target with a big old bulls-eye planted right between my eyes.

And let me tell ya...that sucker has good aim.

And poo balls hurt.

So what do we do when the weight of stinky stuff is determined to snuff the life out of us? When we are so tired of dodging flying turds that we just want to throw in the towel and claim defeat?

I was pondering this one Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church. Yes, I sometimes consider ridiculous stuff like crap and turds and poo balls in the early a.m.

Even on Sundays.

As I most often do when I'm home alone, I had the TV on for company. Living singularly for so many years has left me hungry for the sound of human voices. One would think I would relish the silence after so many years of rowdy kids racing through the revolving doors of home. But I don't. I miss the chaos. So I use the TV to fill my need for human interaction.

This particular Sunday morning, I had no clue as to the channel or program playing. I was pretty caught up in my comparison of life's trials to poop and trying to see how many synonyms I could think of for crap. Then, as if on cue, the voice on the TV overrode the one-sided conversation taking place in my mind. This is what I heard:

"Things don't happen to you. They happen for you."

It was as if God stepped into my thoughts, interrupted my ridiculous ramblings and gave me this morsel of total awesomeness! It was as if He was reading my mind and knew, even before I did, what I needed to hear.

Of course, He is totally cool that way.

Now I won't dwell on the fact that when I realized how closely He was listening to my thoughts I was more than embarrassed. I mean, the fact that I was dwelling on shit and how often it fills my life was more than enough to make me want to hide in shame.

Isn't my focus suppose to be on the blessings? Not the junk?

But there I was.

Dwelling on the negative.

And cursing in the process.

All that aside, I discovered the beauty of what I had just heard.

Things happen for me.

For me!

Although I'm sure the remainder of the TV sermon elaborated on the statement, I had heard all I needed to hear. I then began to consider where I would be without life's challenges?

What would I be?

Who would I be?

Empathy. Compassion. Strength. Humility. Gratitude.

All this and more comes from trudging through the muck of the mounds...even mountains... of life's crap! It is when we are buried beneath the smelly stuff that we learn to Let Go and Let God!

I know this.

Why do I so quickly forget?

Yet He is there to remind me.

In spite of my inability to keep my focus on the good stuff, knowing how quickly I can drown in the not-so-good, He comes to me and gently says

"Baby girl, I love you. I allow these trials to bring you closer to Me. I am with you. I have you. I won't let you fall. Trust Me. Through these things you will see My glory. My grace. My love for you. Believe in Me."

It is through the messiness and brokenness of life that my relationship with Him is strengthened. It is all for my good!

Shit will continue to happen. And I can't say I will be without moments of griping and complaining. I am still human...a human that will forever try to dodge those nasty poo balls. But when they hit their mark I will try to remember His soft words.

I will work to accept them and allow Him to use them.

For He is in control....

He is with me...


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Proof Asheville Is Weird

From time to time I have written about Asheville, the place I call home. It is honestly one of the most beautiful places I know. Not that I'm a world traveler. But I have seen my share of "pretty places" and Asheville ranks right up there. In fact, my little town has received many accolades and much media recognition for all it has to offer. That's the up side.

As with every "up", there seems to be a "down". The flip-side of all the praise we receive is that we are also known as a not-so-good place to live if you are single. Kiplinger's February 2012 article ranked us 8 out of the 10 worst cities for singles.

8 out of 10

Worst cities!
Actually, if you think about it, it is really  8 out of EVERY! FREAKIN' city in America!!!!!!

 And I'm single.

But this place is a part of me. It's in my blood. In spite of all my childhood dreams of moving to a big city and becoming famous, my heart will forever be tied to this place often referred to as the Land of The Sky. No doubt this place is unique. It is a small town with a big city "feel". It is also home to a very diverse population. People watching is a prime activity. In fact, the last few years there have been various "campaigns" aimed at keeping Asheville weird. What I saw today is proof the campaign is working.

While at the Post Office, I saw a man getting into his car. A manly man. Masculine. Looking as if he just left the gym. As I walked past his car, I caught a glimpse of his feet. He had brightly painted pink toe nails.

Chipped polish, no less.

I would have assumed they were the result of a daddy letting his little girl have her way with nail polish. You know, a willing participant in a game of dress up. Not sure why he would wear it long enough for it to look so worn, but whatever.

However, my assumption lost all merit when I realized he was also wearing pink and purple plaid sandals.

Perfectly fitting, bright pink and purple sandals.

Not man-dals.


You just gotta love this place!

Monday, July 16, 2012

In Search Of The Complaint Department

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to express my concern toward various undisclosed issues with your "product". Upon receiving the "merchandise" roughly two years ago, I diligently read all warning labels, perused and often referred to the "how to" guide, as well as sought counsel from other "users". Having worked my way through various stages of development, I am now at the point where I should be experiencing the benefits associated with having surpassed your grueling guidelines. Although I would be remiss to state I have received no benefit, as I certainly have, I must bring your attention to the fact your company is liable for lack of full disclosure.

Recently  I have encountered many complications. While no harm has come to my physical being as a result of these issues, I am suffering from mental and emotional distress. With no warning as to the severity of this condition, I am requesting some form of compensation for the added pain and suffering. Should we be unable to come to an agreement as to what form of compensation I should receive, I will respectfully request a full refund.

Actually, after much consideration, I would like to bypass the complaint department and speak directly with the General Manager. I will share my concerns with the "higher up" before asking for my refund. It is my belief the only way to resolve the issue is to be directed to the "Cancer Return Department" as I am no longer interested in owning your "product".

Thank you in advance for your time and attention.


Lisa Howard
aka...The Girl Who Is Simply Over It!

P.S. It has come to my attention this letter of complaint is misleading. Please understand the cancer is still dormant. No active cancer cells to be found. I am merely working my way through the ups and downs of changes brought on by this nasty beast...all the while trying to use a little humor to get me through. A follow up post will come soon explaining the prompting of this post. To all those who voiced their concerns for my well being, please know I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fire In The Sky

Every sunrise ushers in a new day.

A day of abundant hopes, dreams and possibilities.

And every day's end brings a sunset...

A setting sun as unique as the day it is married to.

Some sunsets spread out in painted rays of orange and red...bold colors of vibrancy and warmth.

Others softly meld into the mountains. Quietly fading. Leaving no particular mark to signify days end other than the inky darkness brought by night.

Still others leave a skyline made jagged by the lofty landscape as it is enveloped by a sea of deep, dark blue... giving way to purple... easing into a vastness of pink. Creating a feeling of peace and serenity.

All are beautiful. All are unique.

However, every once and again, a setting sun will catch me by surprise.

Literally take my breath away.

Giving birth to a sunset so magnificent I can't help but stop and stare.

Photo taken with my phone. Oh how I wish I had had my camera.

It is this kind of sunset that fills the sky with fiery flames as the sun crashes into the horizon. Making a statement. Refusing to go quietly into the night.

As I watch with utter awe, I feel a stirring in my soul.

Just as the sun explodes in glorious color at day's end, I recount my moments and wonder.

Can I create a life that splendid?

In my own way, I want to live like the sun.

With a fiery spirit.

With a desire to make a difference.

To make a statement...

To spread warmth...

To leave a mark.

I want to create my own fire in the sky.

Tell me. Does the beauty of a setting sun speak to your spirit?