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Response Time

With COVID-19 taking breath away across the country – literally – I feel a need to respond.

I might as well chime in.

If you are not aware of what COVID-19 is, consider an internet search for some true facts. There is a lot of hysteria out there. While COVID is scary – and people are in fact dying – panic, fear, and hysteria are no helpers in this matter.

My humble opinion is this: Be serious. Be concerned. Be smart. Be kind. Above all, show love in a kind, yet distant, way. Because really, this is a true test of character and integrity. All this messed up stuff – people getting sick, dying, fear – all of it will show what is within me. I heard an interesting thought from a mentor. He said something along the lines of this, “When trials come and things are tough, it is as if a person is a sponge being squeezed. What comes out is what is truly inside. You cannot hide the truth when life squeezes you.” That’s my version of his truth.

Thanks, Scott Black, for this lesson, among many others.

The truth of it all is that since things are so tough, many people are having a strong response to God at this time. Not everyone is on board with the idea that God has anything to do with this, though. In my view, God cannot be taken out of the picture. Since God created the world and since God loves, why is all this happening? Why is rarely a question that is answered. And when I have gotten the answer it brought little hope, happiness or peace. No. “What now” is the question to ask.

What do I do now?
Now is a prime time to draw near to God. Study the Bible. Stop just reading the Bible and actually study it. Pick a topic, such as peace, and study that topic. Before all this started I began a study of James. I am still working on James chapter 1, which starts with:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2James 1:2

“Troubles of any kind” So death? Illness? Depression? These are what?

“opportunity for great joy” How do any of these things bring joy?

This begs the question, “What is JOY?”
I can tell you what joy is NOT. Joy is NOT happiness. They are not one in the same at all. Happiness is Christmas presents. Joy is the reason I celebrate Christmas in the first place – Christ.

So all these things are an opportunity for not just joy, but in this version is says “great joy?” Yes.

Tune in next time as I discuss how that is even possible. GREAT JOY in a time like this.

In all this, have a virtual HUG!

Be blessed in this time of trial.
Sincerely,
Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Hello. My name is…

It has been such a long time since I have published a blog. This disappoints me because I had committed to myself to write consistently – twice a month. Here I find myself typing when it has been I don’t know how long.

helloagain

So Hello. My name is Maggie.

Things have been a little tough lately. I mean, I know someone always has it worse than I do, but I do not believe in minimizing my issues — or anyone else’s issues for that matter — just because they don’t seem “that bad.”

My daughter is bi-polar. Wow it feels good to get that out there. The diagnosis made me cry. I have cried I a lot with her, for her, and for me. When a child is diagnosed with an issue that affects their mental state, I have learned there is a time of mourning. There is nothing wrong with mourning what could have been. There is nothing wrong with mourning the so-called normal child I expected to have. As long as I do not live in a state of mourning, but instead find joy in the midst of trouble. I will not let anyone try to convince me that it is bad for me to feel sad. I digress.

supposedtobe

Yes that is true. This is how it is supposed to be. I am supposed to have this child and she is supposed to have me, my husband, her sister, and her grandparents. Together we make a team. We are quirky and eclectic and sometimes even weird. But we need each other and love each other and that, my dear reader, is what matters most…

LOVE.

Be Blessed,

Maggie A. Spoon

Observations after a long and difficult day

Today marked the 11 year anniversary of the day my sister’s van hit a combine in the fog, killing her instantly, and sending her off to wherever God takes His children. I wondered what specific day of the week she died on only to discover it was actually Tuesday. So today was actually the exact day she died 11 years ago.

Morbid, I know. But bear with me here…

My oldest niece took the day off work so we could celebrate the life of her mother by enjoying a relaxing day together. Little did I know that lunch would cause havoc in my intestines and ruin half the day. I swear I used almost every restroom in every store we pasted by!! We were in a shopping district and I found myself spending more time in the restrooms than shopping! After a long, rough day I found myself the only one still awake. I began to look back at my life as I scrolled through social media.

I have lived 6 years longer than my sister. She was 30 when she died and I will be 36 in April. During the years without her a lot has happened that I have been unable to share with her or talk to her about. When I had my second daughter, I needed an emergency c-section. She was a nurse and I know she would have been there for me during such a difficult time. But she was gone already.

I cannot help but play the what if game every year on October 30th. But I can’t do that anymore. It drives me crazy and just makes me feel sad.

I have learned some things about handling death since losing my older sister and brother (2007 and 2017). These are in the order I thought of them:

1) death is something we all face therefore since I know that I need to be prepared. Have a living will, God-parents for my children, and yes, assurance for my afterlife.

2) never, ever, ever bother to ask “why.” It only brings pain. Knowing why doesn’t take away the hurt of the loss. My sister is still gone.

3) I am not the only one who lost someone. My sister had kids, a husband, parents, 3 half brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. I miss her and am hurting and I am not alone.

4) Accept that she is gone and love the moments she was here. No, she isn’t coming back, but I have to think of the good times we had instead of struggling every day to be happy because I focus on missing her.

5) Someone else cares and I am loved. God does. He is there the moments I need and want Him, and waiting for me when I don’t. He is there and He loves me.

6) I must avoid ruining everyone else’s day just because I feel unhappy today. I know my sister died on October 30th, 2007, but the stranger checking my groceries out for me does not know. So I shouldn’t react unkindly toward the strangers who I think should treat me with kindness. I get what I give.

7) I remind myself every time I think of her (and my brother), I will see them again. It is within me to feel and know that we will all be reunited someday. That brings me hope that no human can take away.

8) there is no good day to die. Though some circumstances make it easier to let some people go, there is never a convenient time for a loved one to die. Hands down, it is never something I welcome. Death, for me, is the worst suffering of life. My sister died on my half birthday. I didn’t care because we never celebrated that day. But it kinda drives my point home…

I hope some of these observations provided some insight for some of you. And I hope I wasn’t too morbid on one of my least favorite days of the year.

Be blessed with a long and healthy life… emphasis on healthy!

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(Written and published from my phone. Please forgive all random errors and spellcheck failures. I did my best on the fly.)

who cares?

I have nearly 40 drafts of blogs I hope to publish someday. I am not lacking in the area of content. Why don’t I publish more often? Why am I not using this platform to express myself?

Simply put, I wonder to myself, “Who cares.” I mean that in the truest form: who does care to read my musings? I have a few followers, of whom I am grateful they are interested; even so I feel… I guess unworthy would be the right expression. I cannot help having hesitation as I read and re-read, and edit and edit again my 40-or-so blog drafts. Sometimes it makes me wonder what is wrong with me!

I cannot keep being so nit-picky about myself. Whether I have readers or followers or not! I have a voice and it should be heard, just like anyone else out there on any other blog or platform. This blog has given be the ability to express things that are important to me. I must take that step of hitting “publish” and start expressing myself more often!

What does all this have to do with you? I suppose I just wanted to express that you, dear reader, are not why I do not blog, neither is it because I have nothing to say. I hesitate to blog because I let my own judgement of myself get the best of me!

I sure find myself doing a lot of self-judgement! I have a frequent tendency to look in my mirror and only see all my flaws. Meanwhile my husband looks at me and sees a beautiful woman — more beautiful, he says, than any Venezuelan woman he ever saw in his travels! Then why do I judge myself so harshly!? Something I must ponder…

I am avoiding making this just another draft by publishing this tonight! I want to encourage anyone who reads this to stop procrastinating, stop self-judgement and go forth and do whatsoever you feel called to do (or say). How can I be the change I wish to see in the world if I sit alone in my house and do nothing? I choose to do something! I am a writer and I will write!

Be blessed.
Sincerely,
Maggie A. ‘Spoon

 

Being brave

Be brave enough to be authentic…

Authenticity comes very easy to me. What does not come easily is the ability to read people well enough that I ask the right questions at the right time, or say the appropriate things when I should. It has nothing to do with my desires to please others or not. It has everything to do with my unrestrained curiosity and my intense authenticity. Basically oftentimes I open mouth, insert foot. I know how my feet taste and the awful feeling in my gut when I have upset someone.

I can think of many examples which is unsettling. I recently scrapped a post about communication where I was basically complaining about my foot in mouth issue. But I did say at least one great thing on there… when I am the common denominator of an occurrence then I need to stop and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what the issue is or may be with me.

I have been considering the issue for over a week. That is when a caring frined told me that in her opinion I, “am difficult to communicate with, lack tact, say things I should not say and, I am inappropriate as well.” Fun words to swallow, eh? I was taken aback. I thought to myself, “This cannot all be true of me, can it?” But I listened as she listed a few examples. Then the more I thought about it the more examples I thought of myself. Times when people either said I hurt their feelings, upset them in some way, or times when people even left being my friend because I had said or done something outside of their consideration of social norms.

Conclusion: I am not socially normal. I am authentic, genuine, and I speak my mind with extreme curiosity. Oh, and I rush relationships terribly, therefore often sharing way to much too fast! I am just one big overload!!

And after considering this further I realized I was way overthinking this. Yes I upset someone… more than one someone. But I have to reconcile who I am with who I should be. I must also be at peace with myself during this process of growth.

I know the curiosity must be curbed. Also though I want to speak my mind sometimes it is better to just keep my mouth shut even when the conversation is about something I feel passionate about. Believe in it or not, I believe in the nudge of the Spirit of God. I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. I strongly believe that when I feel nudged to speak up then that is when I should speak my mind.

I have had such occasions. Last year a woman did not understand the perspective of the group and the subject matter of which we were discussing. She was sharp about it and almost hurtful, though I know in her heart she was not intending to be hurtful in any way. I could not keep my mouth shut. The Spirit inside me took over and I explained where we were all coming from. Those are the moments when my authenticity shines and I know I am being brave and speaking up for those who will not or cannot.

That is who I wish to be: the voice for the so-called “little guy.” I want to speak up only when God leads me to. Psalms 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” which is a prayer I will be praying daily. I have been meditating on Proverbs 16:1 which says, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” This is a verse that has comforted me when I have been too outspoken; those moments when maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. (There are great Bible verses found at: https://www.openbible.info/topics/guard_your_mouth if you are interested.)

Considering all of this I have concluded that since I wish to be the mouthpiece of God, I must have peace when things don’t turn out my way. It is okay if someone doesn’t like me. A friend today reminded me of that. Not everyone is going to like me. Now if I truly upset someone and am aware of it, I will do my best to make peace. Roman’s 12:18 says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As far as it depends on me… I cannot make someone like me. I cannot even make someone forgive me or make them let things go. What I can do is apologize, do my best to make amends and then I let it go! I have to let it go even if the other person does not.

I am giving myself permission to be myself even in the face of adversity and discomfort. I am an amazing Maggie. I cannot be anyone else. Just me.

Be blessed as you pursue your best self!

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Blog #108…

everyone can make a difference… Can’t I?

It’s another tomorrow where I am awake in the early a.m. (12:37 to be precise), with so much on my mind I cannot bring myself to lay my head upon my pillow.

Warning: This is not one of my happiest moments so it may not be one of my happiest posts.

I began watching “Mr. Church” with my husband. It was a very good movie & though it had it’s highs and lows – tears and cheers – I enjoyed it… until I didn’t. Without spoiling it I will just say that a quote hit a little too close to home. “You thought I saved you, but you saved me.” I lost it. I completely lost it. I am even struggling to type without crying.

In June of 2017 my brother, Dennis Mann, died. I don’t know any of the specifics of how he died and probably never will until I’m in Heaven with him and it doesn’t matter anymore.  But I do know that he wasn’t happy in the end of his life and it hurts… What hurts is that he pushed me away and therefore I couldn’t be there to help him when he was unhappy.

I know happiness is a choice and no one can ever truly make someone else happy. A person either feels happy or they do not. Plain and simple, right? But no. It is not simple.  Happiness is fleeting but joy is eternal as they say. But my dear cousin recently reminded me that there is an enemy out there trying to steal my joy. He will use any and all means possible. Yes, even movie clips.

[There are so many things I wish I could say. So many things I wish I could write. But in this crazy world where “everyone” is out to get you, I feel like I cannot always speak my mind entirely.]

A new friend recently called  me to accountability though. I have been promising myself and God I would write a book about my life and everything I have been through — including those things I cannot say or write in a public blog. And yet, where is this book? It is in journal after journal waiting to be written. I have been writing this book since I was in my mid-teens and it is still in pieces.

Why? Because of FEAR. I fear what my life would be like if the truth of my past came out. What would people think about me? What would people think about those I write about? Would people even read my stupid book? Very few people read my blog so what makes me think anyone would want to read a book that is pretty much all my blogs severely expanded.

Those are the thoughts that run through my mind when I think about writing and publishing my book. But those thoughts are all wonky. What does it matter what people think? Every writer, good or bad, has a fair share of critics. And if one person reads my book it would be worth all the trouble. My new friend who convicted me to write helped me to realize how therapeutic such a book would me for me.  So I know it would not be worthless.

Then I think of one of my favorite quotes:

OnepersonshouldmakeadifferenceJFK

But I remove the try…because there is no try – there is do or do not. I do. I mean I will. I AM. I do make a difference every day that I wake up, get up and parent my kids. I will make a difference with my book and I will finish it. And I AM making a difference by who I AM.

So what started out as a cry-fest, thinking the whole world was crashing around me, turned into a post ending with a slight smile and an appreciation for the life I have now.

Rest in peace, Dennis Mann. I love you. Always did and always will.

Thanks for reading my pity party.  I appreciate all my readers.

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

 

Nike Says…

Nike says… but consider their logo. Consider the correlation. This is part of my massage journey.

“JUST DO IT!”

Ever consider that their slogan is “just do it,” while their logo is likened to a check mark, which symbolizes completion? It is almost as if, to me, it says, “Just go for it, until it is completed. See it through.”

This is where I am in life right now. SO much is growing and changing. I cannot share it all right now, but I can say that becoming a massage therapist is the greatest educational choice I have ever made! I am loving it, even if my clients are currently sparse.

It all began when my brother died. Well actually it began 14 years ago with a conference… but my brother’s death jumpstarted my career in a strange way. My older brother, Dennis, died in June of last year. I considered to myself the seemingly amazing and exciting life he lived. He was married with a son and he traveled around the world. He went to many places including Japan, Australia, and to Europe (several times), all in the span of about 25 years. He held multiple Master’s degrees on various subjects — I don’t even know what they are all about! On the outside looking in, Dennis was destined for greatness. And while I believe he was great, due to his death he fell short. Additionally, many people who knew him best know that Dennis struggled. It is not my place to share his story, but I can say that he for sure struggled…

I have found that many people who are very intelligent often struggle or are tormented with their own thorns or demons. After thinking about it for a moment I realize that everyone struggles with something.

Perhaps it is marriage, or the lack thereof, or kids and all the challenges with that. Perhaps it is work that causes some kind of mental suffering. But whatever it is, show me a person who has never struggled or suffered or experienced anything negative and I will show you a person in denial.

My point got away from me… my struggles have made me who I am, up to and including becoming a massage therapist. If Dennis hadn’t died, who knows if I would have gotten that push. The push was, “Dennis did so much, saw so much, and accomplished so much… what about me?”

It was a thoughtful process to go to school in the midst of grief. But I am so glad I did. It made grieving much more bearable because I wasn’t alone. I had my peers and my teachers, many of which helped a great deal.

A shout out to Ms. Theresa, Ms. Karla and Ms. Kristen. Each one of them formed who I have become so far as a budding massage therapist. I thank God for each of them crossing my path and I wish them well.

May your path be blessed today and always.

(Sent from my phone so forgive any errors.)

Maggie A. ‘Spoon