Equal Opportunity Employer: What I Was Missing

There is an odd melancholic of sorts as I wrestle with the male/female positions in society. I am not sure whether I am truly observing it as I am, or if my own prejudiced, my own personal experiences are tainting what I see. I see women as one’s who see themselves as victims, with feelings of less-than, weakness, subordinate.  I hear about the wage differences between men and women, and I question whether it is because we truly are devalued by the employer or whether we have this false sense that this is the only way I will get the job? Often times, is it not in the best interest of a company to get as much as they can for the least amount of cost? And do we not succumb to that offer out of fear of not getting the job at all and our families suffering all the more?

I have worked in a male dominate environment for over two decades. Often times I see other women as wish-washy or non-confrontational. I, myself had been that way for way too long. Somehow I had believed that eventually my work would be recognized, that I did not need to “blow my own horn”, so to speak. I have left great opportunities on the table, walking away from jobs because I felt that I had been passed over one too many times…never once trying to claim my own victories in the scheme of what had transpired. Almost a year ago I was in a bad place at work…between my own ears, anyway. I was angry that my wage was not equivalent to the male counterparts I worked with and trained on a daily basis. I contemplated my old way of doing things, get mad, not say anything to anyone, and when I got to the point of boiling over, I was going to quit. I ran this “great idea” by one of my co-workers who actually knew what I did for the company, but was over a different department. Then he asked me this crazy, off the wall question: “Well, have you shared what you are doing with your manager?”, he asked. I looked at him like he was nuts! Never in a million years had ever thought to do such a thing. I argued with him, “but he should KNOW what I am doing! I should not have to write it all out on paper for him!” Calmly, my male co-worker explained to me that often times these kind of things go unnoticed because things ARE running so smoothly. “OK”, I told him, “sure, I will put something together and present it to him, but I doubt it will make a difference.”

For the next few days I pulled together all the things I had done over the years to contribute to the company. Things I had fixed, policies I had created or changed to help the company run smoother, training I had provided for our parent company to help bring key quality  points to the forefront. Once I had completed it, I was actually kind of surprised by what I had accomplished with this company. I asked my co-worker to read over what I had written, and he made a few minor changes to my layout and advised I schedule a meeting with my manager to go over this.

Man, did I dread that! Because of all the beliefs I had built up in my head about the gender bias, I had already “heard” all of my managers arguments rehearsed in my head. Imagine my shock and surprise when, as we were going through my bullet points, he constantly nodded his head in agreement! Stopping me at some points and asking questions, not realizing that I had been the person behind those improvements and changes that had helped the company’s bottom line. We had a very good discussion and my contributions were fairly evaluated and acknowledged with the fair and equal compensation I had requested. It was in this moment that I suddenly realized that my biggest obstacle all this time had been me! The melancholy between my own ears had been what had been getting in my way this whole time. Some lie I had learned somewhere along the way had been my downfall…but the truth has been my rising!

I welcome your feedback and your experiences.

Grammie’s Granny Square Snag

Or, better stated, I THOUGHT I could see!

I always considered the typical granny square a walk in the park. It is easy enough to do the double crochet, cluster that sucker into three at a time, and make my rounds as I go, right? Well, a few months ago I had Lasik done on my eyes. My vision has always been pretty bad, so once I started healing from the surgery, I literally had to learn how to use my eyes again! Sounds crazy, I know, but for decades I had prescription eye glasses, around 15 years ago I got the bifocal, 6 years after that, the dreaded trifocal, so I went from almost blind to 20/20 practically over night! And, yes, it certainly does take getting used to. The way I used to have to focus on things and the way I focus on things now has changed a lot. The way, I suppose, I had to learn to use my eye muscles, has changed. Things people typically never thing about, like breathing or hearing, it is just something we “do”, right? Anyhow, since I was on a trifocal prescription lens, apparently, while I can see details I had never even realized were there all my life at almost every range, when it comes to close up detailed work with dark colors, I struggle. I simply cannot get my eyes to focus properly when I have the small detail work to do. Now I struggle to “connect the dots”, as one might put it.

A few months ago my Aunt Barbara asked me if I would make her a granny square afghan. I told her, sure I would! Piece of cake, I said! I set out to pick a wide array of colors to piece together and got started on those clean easy squares. I have already made a few dozen…but, when I started to piece these suckers together, I realized that the struggle is real! I had chosen a dark color to finish my rounds with, and as I was trying to piece these dark purple stitches together, I realized I could not see the detail I needed to line them up properly. What, in the past, would take me a few weeks to complete has now run into two months. At the onset of creating this piece, I was going to do single color squares, then two color squares moving out, then three and so on. Now I hope to be able to keep my sanity in the one set of sewing I will need to do. Fortunately, I have another 3 months to get this  afghan put together, but, it sure is tempting to just start doing the rounds on this medium size square I have managed to piece together.

To my dear Aunt Barbara, these stitches will be made with love…and with struggle…and with victory over my obstacles! See you in September~

Grammies grannies edited-Edit

 

 

It’s Not Pointless, It’s Passion

And there is a reason we have passion!

Today after work I was in kind of a blah mood. I have been wanting to find an escape of sorts. Somewhere by the water, a stream in the mountains…or maybe a place by the ocean. Somewhere where I can just kind of absorb into my surroundings…somewhere where my presence just doesn’t matter. Then I came to the conclusion that, no matter where I went, there I was…there is no escaping it.

While I was out today, some Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door.  I watched them on the security video that is set up by my front door. The lady was admiring the purple plant I have by the door in the flower bed. She remarked about how pretty it was. The man beside her asked, “is purple your favorite color?” To which she replied that she didn’t really like the color, she hardly ever wore it, but when she does, she wears it with black. This woman saw beauty in a plant that would normally not be an appealing color to her. I found that very interesting. Turns out that most of us find beauty through things that are not really appealing to us. I thought it significant that the woman was able to acknowledge her appreciation for the purple plant. Funny thing, as they were walking away from the door, I heard the man ask the woman, “what made you want to come here?” And the woman replied, “Jehovah told me to”. And so goes the song written by George Strait, “I Saw God Today”. While that woman probably has no idea that this Higher Power truly did use a willing vessel to minister to someone she may never meet, I pray she is blessed by her very successful “attempt”.

I have noticed over the past few decades that money really does not make people happy, nor do all the “things” money can buy. I mean, we can only have so much stuff. It never really fills the void, it just covers it up for a moment. Before long the material possession looses its spark, and there where the flashing was shot, there is now a bigger hole. In turn, we must find something bigger and better, only to be disillusioned once again. This got me to thinking about a persons life purpose. Why, indeed, are we really here? I am sure that it is not for us to keep filling our own houses, closets, pockets. After all, where does that really get us? For me, it just keeps creating bigger and bigger voids.

I have also noticed that individuals possess infatuations with things. I work with a lady who can make some of the best food you ever put in your mouth. She is an unknown Mexican cuisine genius! She builds accessories in a warehouse for a “living”. Her income helps to feed her passion…and her passion sure has fed me a great meal, actually, more than I can count! I know another who can make any kind of structure with their hands, beautiful furniture, even buildings. This guy fixes trucks for a “living”. His income helps to feed his passion. He has built me a sturdy storage bench and crafted my first child’s personalized toy box. Yet another I knows passion is in writing. Her occupation, for many years was that of serving others who could not really help themselves. She poured her life out into those people and onto pages and music. It was her “happy place”, and she soothed many other souls with her skill.

Well, I find my “happy place” in stitches. My grandmother sat me down long ago and taught me the craft, and my “job” feeds my passion. And my passion helps keep people warm. A place that really touches my heart is a program called Youth Villages. It is a place that takes in troubled children. They help lost and forgotten of our country, the abused and broken, and teaches them how to love, how to respect themselves and others. I personally know a young adult that was in one of these facilities in his teenage years. He told me that while he was there, other kids kept trying to steel his afghan someone had made for him. I asked him what was so significant about an afghan, and he told me that it was cold there. And he meant more than just frigged temperatures. He meant a cold glassy atmosphere, as well. He told me that the hand made afghan signified that someone actually truly cared about him. A lot of children there, he told me, do not have that type of nurturing. It was after his story to me that I realized my why. I have included the link if you would like to learn more about this program, and perhaps you have a passion that could help feed these kids souls, as well.

https://www.youthvillages.org/about-us/

 

Lap Blanket Therapy

Suicide isn’t the answer…

But, what is?

A few weeks ago, after a great Mothers Day lunch with the adult “kids”, in-laws, great-grandmother of honor and grandchildren, I returned home thankful for all I have been blessed with. Who knew that less than 24 hours later that I would find myself in a hospital ER room next to one of my children, hanging on for what he considered a not so great life. Early Sunday morning, following the previous Saturdays late Mothers Day luncheon, a group of family members received messages from him letting us
each know that he was sorry for all of the problems he felt he had caused.
That was pretty much where it had ended, but something “felt” wrong with his
statement. Isn’t that how mothers are, though? That instinctual “knowing”,
so I replied with questions. “What’s up?” with no reply. A few minutes
later, I replied again, “Answer me!” “HELLO?”. Still no reply. I had been
over 50 miles from the area I had been familiar with him living. I reached
out to others, at which time I learned about the other 3 people he had
contacted, as well. Between the 4 of us, we started bombarding his phone and
messaging account. His grandmother called 911, and when the police went to
her house to investigate, the 911 operator was finally able to get him to
answer and talk to them. One county reached out to another and a team of
different county officials connected the dots between 3 districts to ping my
son to his location. I, meanwhile, was on the other side of the state, a
passenger, not a driver, none-the-less. I actually felt trapped and helpless
at that point. But, I am learning, all things tend to work out for the best.
By the time I was actually able to get to a place where I could drive myself
to where he was, there was finally a “where he was” located to drive to. I
will never forget how he looked when I pulled up in the hotel parking lot.
Paramedics and police were attending to him. He appeared to be made of soft
rubber as they ere wheeling him down the stairs of the two story extended
stay motel room. During the whole episode, I can completely comprehend the word “helpless”. Helpless, yes, but not hopeless. For the next 3 days I sat with him in the ER. The first day and a half they were detoxing him, running tests on his liver and kidneys and checking cognitive functions. On day one he was upset that his attempt had failed. There was a dire hopelessness in him, in his spirit. As he was interview by the doctor, I saw his dark abyss. Swallowed up by so many fears that he was blind to the support and love around him. And, so I sat with him, listened to him and stitched. This blanket in particular is for someone who unknowingly supported our family in a way he could never imagine. He just gave advice that he knew in his heart to be true, yet his impact was felt throughout. The ripple effect keeps on giving. These therapeutic stitches are for him and the strong council he gave to my daughter when she called her boss to let him know about what had transpired over the weekend. When he told her that she was a strong person and God made strong people so they could provide support for people like her brother. I also heard in the words my daughter shared with me from him, that love is healing. And this is so true. Almost everyone has wounds that are not visible to the naked eye. They dwell deep in our souls, hidden from society, buried in BullShip, even, at times, hidden from the eyes of the person who possess them…until tragedy hits. I finished 2/3’s of this blanket those three days in the ER waiting with my son for an available bed in a hospital specialized to treat such conditions of the mind. In each stitch was prayer, prayers of thanks, prayers of blessing, prayers of faith, prayers of hope. Mental health is not a game, and yet our insurance programs in America
threat it like it is an “elective” type of issue. Like those who suffer
from these types of illness actually have a CHOICE as to whether or not
their brains chemistry will or will not allow them to have a good day. It
is treated as taboo, a dire sin. During my trips around the sun I have known six people that have battled these deep inadvisable wounds. One third of these people were successful in taking their own lives. That is a high percent in my opinion. God knows how many other people I know that have these battles raging in them, that have experienced this level of pain. A pain that is much deeper and fierce than just about any average physical pain one can even begin to imagine.

6 2 2018 afghan

Currently current occurrences

via Daily Prompt: Jolt

What an awakening! An experience that jolts one out of the normal day to day experiences can only be defined as awakening. Typically in one’s lifetime, we experience many jolting experiences, that of a little child playing with an outlet comes to mind.

I recall a time when I was very young when my cousin had dared me to stick a bobby pin into an electrical outlet. Of course I was game, but he had to do it first! And, do it, he did! Followed by an ear piercing scream and the smell of burnt flesh! My cousin and I had snuck out of bed and were playing with my aunts make-up in the bathroom when this occurred. It did not take long for our moms to bust through the door and find us, make-up strewed and smoky black fingers as my cousin, crying, pointed his good finger at me crying that I was the one who had done it! Now, THAT was a jolting experience, as our mothers evaluated the situation and pulled both of us up by our hand and popping our rear ends…I never quite understood that. I was not the one who had tried to catch the bathroom on fire…but, I suppose the make-up all over me had given our mom’s some other ideas. And, do you know how hard it is to get lipstick off of a mirror? The jolt, or the lesson learned, the current it carried, was that we are to respect other peoples boundaries.

How about the jolt of pleasure, one that perhaps starts as a buzz or a high. One who’s first occurrence is typically with family or friends. That first cigarette or that first swig from the bottle. For the addict who is oblivious to its danger, it seeps pleasurable at the time. An experience where they are able to open up for the first time in their lives. A time when they do not fear the outcome, and are able to make large strides towards what they believe to be independence…only to learn years, sometimes decades down the road that it was the key that unlocked the door to hell itself. It jolted them into life, then it jolted them into dependence, though for a moment, sometimes for the rest of their lives, a dependence they do not even see as such. Or the jolt of recovery…learning to truly feel, to deal and to be fully alive again. Both experiences are scary, we are dared to jump, to join in, to surrender to a new way of living. Addiction surely does take us to levels we never dared look, and only in the throws of the turmoil it ensues do we ever realize the effects. I have a dear friend who has smoked for over 40 years. He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and the doctor said it was related to his tobacco usage. He has quit smoking now, too little too late. For the rest of his life, the doctor gave him between 8 and 30 years…my, how treatment has changed over the years…he will have to attend chemo sessions at least once a week. Every illness will be a thousand time harder for his body to combat. Those things, that at one point in his life, seem easy to do, now take the greatest effort. What a jolt to ones life! What a jolt to the lives of those who love him. When an electrical current hits water it radiates and affects anything in its area. Life changing experiences work much the same way.

Or the jolt one receives when he has been attached on the military battle field. This seems to me to be a place where you are quickly jolted into reality. One becomes dependent on their colleagues. A literal life and death dependence on the decisions of their team…or, under much more difficult circumstances, the decisions of their foes. Once through recovery, what will one choose to do with the lessons they have learned in these circumstances? Will it come full circle to help others who will travel their path(s), or will it come to not, a life wasted in the mire of self pity and despair?

Even our brains and bodies are current carriers, jolts of energy spread though our body via transmitters. Always growing, always changing, and always influencing. It is never in the peaceful easy times that our character is built, but under such jolting experiences. Just as the clay does not make a pot without much crushing and molding, neither do we, as individuals, become what we were meant to be with out life giving jolts of experience.

What will you do with your next jolting experience? May it be one of growth and great benefit.

 

 

 

Herbal Awakening

This morning I prepared my water for the day, taking mint and basil from my garden, breaking the leaves up and putting the broken leaves into the 2 quart container. I then put ice in the container and shook the broken leaves and ice together, crushing them even more. During this process it dawned on me that, it is not until one is broken, perhaps crushed by tragedies and circumstances, crushed by bad decisions and heart ache. It is not until we are broken, to what seems like beyond repair, that we are able to truly give back to our fellow travelers. It is in these crushing blows, this turmoil, these hard choices, the roller coasters of life that we are molded and shaped. This is where our spirit is broken and the healing ointment pours out.

The leaves of the herbs I picked this morning help no one by remaining on the plant. Over time, they just grow up and die off. If not picked regularly, the plant itself suffers. It will slow its growth and produce less fruit. Isn’t that how all plants work, though. Consider the layers of bark shed as the mighty trees grow bigger. We all have those layers in life. Those periods that seem unbearable, yet have you noticed that there is always someone that pops into your life? Someone who has, perhaps experienced something similar, someone who has learned from their past mistakes and has something to offer you…even if it is nothing more than an ear to  listen. The brokenness turns into an ointment, the support into a salve. Our own brokenness, if recognized for what it is, in turn, becomes a healing ointment for our fellows, as well.

Today is Good Friday. A time to remember the beating, the indifference, the disrespect of one who was able to see deeper than the physical realm that was attacking him that week. He knew the healing ointment would pour and the Spirit would be free to flow. It has troubled me for the past few years when I hear the statement, “He died…” For, indeed, he did not die! Indeed, the Spirit of God transcended the body and revealed itself to all who had eyes to see. Why else would the followers not recognize Jesus on that road to Emmanus. “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:15-16) And, “Did not the Messiah have to  suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:26) My God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living! In crushing, we are healed. May our hearts eyes be opened, may we recognize the Spirit of the Living God, even…especially…in our turmoil!

God’s will, not mine, be done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Ovation

via Daily Prompt: Ovation

After years worth of hiding, afraid of anything that could possibly go wrong, I was given a diagnosis I had not expected. It is amazing how a “fateful” diagnosis can open a persons eyes…bringing to realization all the things that they had truly been blind to for decades past. By the end of 2015 I knew that, if I were to continue, that nothing…absolutely NOTHING, could remain as it had been. I truly heard the song, “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw for the first time in June of last year. There were so many things I had on my “To Do” list, that, at the rate I had been going, would never get done. That all changed once I came to grips with my diagnosis. Did I want to spend the remaining years of my life wishing I could, or was I going to pull myself out of this pity pot and start living.

I chose the latter. There is absolutely nothing today that is the same as it was a year ago for me. I have learned that faith truly does move mountains. I have seen tremendous mountains moved in my life over the past 12 months. I have met a power greater than myself, and that as long as I listen to this Higher Power, no matter how insane or impossible it may seem in the moment, during a period of only being able to see a step or two ahead, that all things truly do work out for the good…not just good, but so much better than I could have ever created on my on plans and vision.

I used to fear traffic, time tables, what other people might think of me. I have faced many of my demons this year. I have overcome my fear of crowds and attended many venues. I have stood for ovations of others, and have had the honor of receiving them, myself. I have conquered mountains, and seeped in the salty waters of the sea. I have felt deeper, climbed higher, heard the hearts of others, and seen things that could only be given in the spiritual realm. It is a beautiful place. I have finally started to Face Everything And Recover! Recover from that which I had been so lost in that I had not, before the diagnosis, realized how dead I truly was.

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