Redeemed

Redeemed Song Lyrics

Have you heard this song? Sung by Big Daddy Weave.

I hear the beginning piano strains and I know what song it is long before they start singing.

When I first heard it so many words within the lyrics caught my attention.

Struggles.

Ghosts of my past.

How long.

Unworthy.

Shame.

Regret.

All these words struck a blow day after day of my life. Pummeling my days and haunting my nights.

Day after day after day.

In the beginning it was from others.

Then, well planted in my mind and self, from me.

Repeated again and again.

They are still there.

The story is still revealing itself.

But, Thank you, Jesus. I understand now.

I understand as much as I am supposed to right now, this minute.

I understand that there is a reason. There is a plan. And I look forward to total understanding; without fear.

The Story is still being recalled and written down, hoping others may see hope and understanding in how it may relate to them.

I know, however, that I am redeemed.

Listen to the song.

Really listen.

Lab Adventures

It’s been two weeks now with this little darling in the house.

IMG_3241

No, the dog. We’ve had Mary for a while now.

We’ve had a few bumps along the way. Maddie is playing with her a lot now and it sounds like a herd of elephants falling down the stairs when their antics take them from upstairs down.

Annabell is calming down, but she is really not interested. Her growl toward Ellie is serious business. She is letting us all know that she is not happy about not being consulted in this matter. She hasn’t connected, but has snapped at the pup, letting her know that she is not ready to be friends. And that’s okay. Ellie is learning to leave her alone.

IMG_3289

Ellie is quite comfortable in her ‘terrible two’ stage. So far the damage consists of:

First thing Ellie chewed up.

1 TV remote; just the back cover. She popped it off and chewed a bit on it. I was terrified that she ate a battery, but I found them both. The remote now resides out of her reach at all times.

IMG_3424

1 kennel pad. I think she just got bored. There was enough strewn around that I don’t think she ate too much of it and there was no evidence of any residual foam in the back yard while performing ‘puppy duty’.

1 crocheted afghan: She found the corner of a red and black afghan hanging down and probably thought it was good to floss her teeth. We did find a bit of evidence of that out in the back yard during ‘puppy duty’.

They are all learning to leave each other’s food bowl alone. Ellie does a fly by and steals a morsel from Maddie and Anna’s bowl, but there has been no real issues. Sometimes it is more than a morsel. She swoops in like a pelican diving into the ocean and drops a mouthful of food on the floor to munch in the comfort of the living room carpet. Maddie will growl a bit if she is at her bowl when Ellie strolls by, but if she’s not right by the bowl when Ellie is thieving she just watches her, waits until she is gone and then goes and checks the inventory. Annabell gets a bit of special treatment with her food. We have to pick it up because she’s a nibbler. She eats a bit now, a bit later, whenever she’s hungry. But Ellie will clean her little bowl out in a flash, so Annabell gets to have her bowl here or there whenever Ellie is asleep and not stalking the bowl.

Potty training is going well! (Thank God for the invention of carpet cleaners.) Since Ellie was already 4 months old when we got her and with all the confusion of coming to a new home, we knew there would be accidents. She’s slowly learning how to ask to go out, but we take her out after every meal, every nap and every play time.

I think she’s actually training us.

With teething in full swing our most often direction to her other than ‘potty outside’ is ‘Don’t eat the house!’

Laying at the top of the stairs it is just too convenient to chew on the carpet a bit.

Don’t eat the house, Ellie!

Lounging over the back of the couch, big paws hanging over the back, watching us in the kitchen…

Don’t eat the house, Ellie!

This morning on the patio upstairs, enjoying my coffee and the sunshine, I hear nibble, nibble, nibble on the banister.

Don’t eat the house, Ellie!

After every admonition about eating the house we insert a chew bone in her mouth.

She’ll get it.

All in all, she is doing really well; growing in leaps and bounds and fitting right into the pack.

All the dogs in a row

The Story Part 2

 

clip_image002

The embers are still warm.

The fire is still capable of flaring up, but it doesn’t always.

It isn’t only the bad I remember.

I remember the excitement of going somewhere with Dad. Just me. Not all of us. Just Dad and I.

Many times we would head over to his parent’s house. Seeing Grandma and Grandpa Yates was always a good thing.

Underneath, though, the threat lingered.

We were not to do anything that would cause us to be disciplined at home.

It was a silent threat.

It was a look. It was a feeling. It was always present.

We would stop at In‘n Out Burger on the way to Grandma’s house sometimes. Dad and I would enjoy a shake; sitting out at the picnic tables in a shaded area, the sounds of the cars rushing by on the freeway behind us, watching the cars file through the drive through.

It was a rare treat and one I always hoped for when we drove past.

Grandma would usually give us a quarter to spend while we were there, either at the little store at one corner or at A & W on the other. Balsa wood gliders were a favorite of ours. We would run back from the store and play in the back yard, setting the little planes off into the sky hoping they wouldn’t go over the fence into the alley behind or the rubber bands that spun the propeller lasted as long as our time there in the yard.

As we got older and Grandpa was gone, we would go over for a visit bringing along our big dog Dad had saved from the pound one year. He was a huge German Shepard mix with a huge head and an even bigger heart. He would bound out of the van and run into the house, then gently go behind Grandma’s chair and around until he was sitting next to her where she could pet his giant head. He would sit there, with Grandma’s arm laying on his back for the whole visit, her hand stroking his fur while talking to Dad.

I never knew what my Dad and my Grandparents talked about. It wasn’t for me to know. Sometimes Grandpa and Dad would sit out on the patio, talking and having a beer. Sometimes it was Dad and Grandma in the house talking. It never occurred to me to wonder what they discussed. It was their time.

We were to be seen and not heard. Don’t speak unless spoken to.

My time with Grandma alone was not often. Most times we would tell her about school; about our grades and our time in band. My oldest brother played the clarinet, the other, the drums. I would play the flute later. My favorite thing to do, though, was to go to the secretary desk in the alcove by the front door. Grandma would fold down the lid, shuffle through a drawer or two and bring out boxes of photographs. I would sit entranced as she pointed to this person and that person and tell me all about them, how she knew them, who they were related to.

One day I asked her why Dad was always angry.

She sat quietly for a moment and then looked me in the eye and said,

“When he was a boy he would throw a fit when he didn’t get what he wanted and it seems that he is still doing that.”

I honestly cannot say what I thought of that statement at that point. It wasn’t until much later that I thought, ‘Well, why didn’t you do something about it? Don’t you know what he puts us through?’

Anger and alcohol were the legacies of the Yates family.

I just never knew the extent of it.

How long was this legacy tended and fed?

Was nothing good enough for my father’s father?

What did he go through as a child; the youngest of five children.

When were the embers lit in his childhood?

I will never know.

Ellie is in the house!

Mary started working recently and the deal was this; your first paycheck you can do anything you want with, then you have to be a grown up.

She got her first check on April first and she had Saturday off, so off we went! First stop was to go to PetSmart to buy Maddie and Annabell a new bone to chew on, then we were headed to the outlets in Pooler, then up to Bluffton, SC to the outlet stores there to see what she could find. She had clothes, shoes and a new purse on her list and a few handy dandy coupons for the Tanger Outlets.

Bill was off to get new tires on the Explorer. It had been running on a wing and a prayer for quite a while and it was time. He dropped off the truck and walked over to get his hair cut.

As Mary and I pulled into the PetSmart parking lot I noticed this old guy standing behind a parked car texting. I didn’t think it was a good idea to be texting standing half way into the way of the traffic. I thought, ‘Hey, he looks like Bill.’

Well, it WAS Bill! Mary had just sent him a silly text telling him we were stalking him because we saw the Explorer around the block at the tire place.

So, Bill went in with us to PetSmart. He and I both knew that Saturday was pet adoption day there.

And, oh Lord. There were Lab puppies. Lab puppies and a bunch of other dogs all there with happy faces and wagging tails delighting in all the attention.

Mary was a goner.

She pet and played with all the Lab puppies, giving just a tiny bit more attention to them than the other dogs all around her.

Half an hour went by and I joked with her, “Shopping or …….”

“Puppy!” she shouted, pure glee in her face and sparkle in her eye.

She unequivocally stated she would definitely use her paycheck to buy a new Lab puppy.

Price was discussed. Policy was discussed. Threats were made (by me regarding care and poop patrol). Papers were filled out. Plans were made.

We didn’t go to Bluffton, but went into Savannah instead because we were now shopping for puppy stuff instead of Mary stuff.

A home visit was scheduled for Wednesday to introduce the new pup to our dogs and to make sure the house was suitable; no secret puppy mill or animal abuse here, thank you very much. And on Friday, Mary and Bill got to go and pick up the new bundle of joy at PetSmart.

Bill and Mary at Petsmart

I think both Mary and the new pup are very happy.

IMG_3241

Her foster dad named her Kealoha, but she is Ellie for us. I hope she doesn’t mind.

She is getting along quite nicely with our girls. There are little bouts of playtime and then Annabell pretty much ignores her. She is, however, the prima donna of the house so it was to be expected. Maddie is a bit confused, I think, seeing a miniature of herself in the house, but she has been really good, too. A few growls and raising of the hackles a couple of times when Maddie was not wanting to share her humans during play time, but that is also to be expected.

I think Ellie will fit in quite nicely.

And any donations of poop bags would be greatly appreciated.

The Story Part 1

I love to write. I have written a lot over the years, but now I am starting at the beginning. I think. I’m writing for myself and sharing it here with whoever wants to read it. Maybe it can help someone, but I am writing for me. To think it through. To lay it to rest.

I need to write. I don’t need criticism. I don’t care if you don’t like it. I don’t care if it is not journalistically correct.

Please feel free to leave comments if they are productive.

Remember, my life; past, present and future; but mine.

cbj_togather_washitape

Fire is Essential to Survival. Right?

It starts when we are small.

You’re too loud.

You’re too quiet.

Your room is not clean enough.

It continues as we get older.

Your grades aren’t good enough.

You’re not pretty enough.

You don’t fit in with ‘us’.

Then they start asking why?

Why are you so quiet?

Why are you so loud?

Why don’t you fit in?

Why are you mad?

Well, because someone along the line told me how I should be through a criticism.

It started as a little girl.

I don’t remember the exact time or place.

I don’t remember the feelings.

I don’t remember the thoughts.

I remember some stories told to me.

When I was born my grandfather left the hospital after finding out I was a girl. I wouldn’t carry on the family name.

My feelings were never taken into consideration. They were not allowed.

Why are you crying? Stop or I’ll give you something to cry about.

You’re laughing too loud. I learn to be quiet.

Stop mumbling. I can’t understand you.

The words, the atmosphere of the house, the noises, the loud crashing noises.

So much comes into play when a child is developing their reality.

It doesn’t matter how many times you tell someone to let go of the past. The past has created this path with no direction, no road map, no idea which fork to take in the road. That fork has a million prongs, any of which can lead you down another unimaginable path. So many paths that still take you nowhere.

Which do you take?

How do you make that decision?

I was on a road I had to navigate so young. The day I turned 16 I had to figure things out for myself. There were a few people in my life that tried to help along the way for a second or two, some may have lasted a minute. I found no one in my life until many years later that stayed; that offered wisdom from their own experience, but first there was running into the fire, being burned, trying to heal, but always choosing the wrong medicine.

Basic survival instincts were first. My brother came to me two weeks after our mother died and told me to go to McDonald’s where he worked and fill out a job application. I needed to work. He was going off to the Air Force and I think he knew I had to have something. I had gone from having a ‘family’ of 5 in the house to being alone. Mom was gone; one brother off to the Air Force, another older brother out looking for his own path, too. And Dad. Dad rarely came home now. I was literally alone.

My father had come to me at one point and told me I should go back to school. It was late in my sophomore year in high school when mom died. I tried a few days, but it didn’t go well. Shortly after I got my work permit and began working, I didn’t go back to school. I worked through the summer and when school started there just didn’t seem to be a point.

Later my father and my uncle sat me down for a ‘talk’ but what came out was just how much of a failure I was. They weren’t surprised, by the tone of the conversation. It just was. I wasn’t going to school, but at this point I was working to pay for my own food, my clothing, the utilities in the house, and actually had paid the mortgage payment for quite some time.

At work I watched and listened. I copied what other people did. I anticipated what people needed. I was good at that. My short lifetime was filled with this. I anticipated what mom needed before she was gone. I knew what would happen when dad got home and I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. All, of course, was never predictable, so I anticipated, determined what I needed to do and waited. Waited for the sound of the truck or the slamming door or the raised voices or the crashing of furniture or fists against the wall. This all depended on the mood of dad when he returned home.

Home.

Be home by dark!

Be home when I get home.

Go home.

What home?

Home was the house we lived in.

We had that house.

You know the one.

The one with the overgrown yard.

Cars sat where they died, weeds growing, rust slowly covering them.

Paint dry and curling off the house. Windows broken. Doors that did not lock.

Years and years of neglect because it wasn’t a home really. It was walls and a roof and the place that darkness was always present.

Depression and alcohol filled my childhood.

But I didn’t know this until later.

I didn’t know that not all kids lived like we did.

I didn’t know you should bathe and brush your teeth. We were told to, I’m sure, but I don’t remember direction from my parents; only the occasional inspection. Not good enough. Go do it again.

I didn’t know that there were houses where the water and electricity did not go off with no explanation.

I didn’t know your cupboards were supposed to have food and your fridge should be cold.

I remember the first time I saw my neighbor’s pantry.

I didn’t know what a pantry was.

She opened the doors (plural) in search of a snack while yelling, ‘Mom! Can we have a snack?’ and Mom answering, from somewhere in the house, what was allowed. This mom was always moving. Cleaning, cooking, tending to whatever needed to be done. There was always something to be done in this house. In my house mom sat in the recliner, television on, book in her hand, cat on her lap, many times tears running down her face.

The pantry shelves in the neighbor’s house were full from floor to ceiling, crowded with cans and bags and things I had never seen. This family had eight kids, one already living away from home, and the seven kids remaining had friends over often. There were always people in the house. I never quite knew who actually lived there sometimes.

In my wonderment of this pantry and all that was in it, and even though it was offered, I declined the snack. I wanted it, but I didn’t think I should. I surely wasn’t supposed to take a snack.

This may have been the moment I started noticing so much more.

As I started seeing little things in the world around me, started really seeing the difference, the anger was lit; the fire trying to start, smoke curling up from a small spark and it would consume my life. Sometimes hidden; sometimes a flare, unexpected and unexplainable. It would die down, but the flame never goes out. Sometimes just the embers would remain, smoldering and waiting for something to come along and fan them.

And something always did.