Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.


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Budget 2020

I decided I was spending way too much money on frivolous things so I embarked on finding a budget I could live with.  The hunt was exasperating, each application telling me that they are the best in the land.  I landed on a budget application called “You need a budget” (YNAB as it is called in budget land.). The first month was frustrating as hell because I started in the middle of the month which meant I was “overdrawn” on all my budgeted accounts, compounded by the fact that all my “yearly” fees were due in January which made my budget even more out of whack.  I settled into my budget in February but it was still hard to stay within the budgeted amounts in all my categories.  I’m used to spending money when I want to spend money but this budget keeps me accountable of where my money goes.

The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is in the “Dining Out” category.  In the recent past if I wanted to go out to eat, I did.  (Which isn’t really good for the waistline).  Now, when I’ve used up my budgeted amount, I’m done eating out.  Ouch, that hurt, but I managed and lost weight in the process.  I guess that’s not a bad trade off.

In YNAB, you budget EVERY single dollar you make.  That was a tough job too because I was used to having a “stash” that I could go to if I wanted money.  Now, all my money is in the bank and if I want some, I have to go through the effort of transferring money from Point A to Point B and then put it in the category I want to spend from.  I know it sound complicated but it’s not.  It just has a learning curve and the first month (or half month as it was in my case) is when you learn to make all your mistakes.  This second month has been actually fun because I have a better idea of how much money I want to put where.  I suppose it will even be easier when I get into my third month.

The only part of YNAB I really haven’t mastered is my credit card account.  I have a credit card I use so I can get money back on everything I buy or use the card for.  Since I pay all my bills with that card, the money racks up quickly.  I pay off the card as soon as the amount appears online (which means I pay for my card almost daily).  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but, at times, YNAB tells me I’m overdrawn on my credit card amount-that I haven’t budgeted enough, but it doesn’t allow me to budget anything.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon, it’s only a matter of time.

Another thing I like about this program is that it tells you how “old your money is.”  The goal is to be able to pay this month’s bills with last month’s (or the month before) money.  Currently my money is 12 days old.  I’m excited about that since I’ve only really started using my budget fully on February 1st.

If you’re looking for a budget, I find YNAB the best budget I’ve tried for what I want to use it for.  I’m sure most of you don’t really “need” a budget like I did, but it has really made me more aware of where my money goes; and let me tell you it really went a lot faster before YNAB.

This has been a public service announcement.  🙂

 


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Dance in the Rain

It’s another rainy day in Ohio.  The rain is beating down on my metal roof and making soft music.  The sound is peaceful and calming; it’s soothing as it cleanses my thoughts in preparation of my morning meditation.  The rain beating on my roof somehow brings me closer to my Higher Power as I close my eyes and begin to concentrate on Him who brings me so much peace, joy, and serenity.  Slowly after watching God care for me in my meditative vision, I see all the people who love and cherish me as a family member and as a friend.  The vision makes me smile as it moves along like a movie picture to see my adult children and finally resting on the vision of my husband and I when he was healthy and healed.  This vision brings a tear to my eye before I hear the voice of my husband saying “Dance in the Rain.”

I used to love to dance in the rain.  In days of old, when other people’s vision was obscured, I would take off all my clothes and venture out in the summer rain lifting my eyes to the sky and just feel the raindrops on my face.  Most of the time, the rain is gentle as it embraces my body.  I used to smile and stretch my arms out and twirl around until I got a little dizzy and then I’d stop and stare at my husband beside me.  His face would be all blurred with the rain as it fell over his features.  Remembering it now, it was the most beautiful face I’d ever seen and I had to stand on my tip toes to kiss his lips – his soft lips.  I used to tease him that his lips were softer than mine.  His soul was softer than mine and I loved that about him.

Today, I still dance naked in the rain but it’s only in my imagination.  I don’t know when I stopped,  but I know it had to do with my children “catching” me.  I guess when you get older you get more “responsible” and begin to fear being caught with your proverbial pants down.  I miss dancing in the rain. I miss the feeling of being closer to God as I would lift my eyes to Him.  What a pure and wonderful feeling.


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Who is God?

God.  Who is He and why should we want to follow Him?  I can only tell you about what God is to me, my personal God.  I used to have a punishing God.  He held me in His hands but only because when I did something wrong He was ready to squash me.  He was only present in my life when I did something wrong.  Why would I want to follow a God like that?  I didn’t.  I disconnected myself from God in my teens because He was just too harsh.  Now I always believed in God, but I didn’t want to have anything to do with Him.

Today, I have a different conception of God.  To me, God is a loving, kind, benevolent, omnipotent, nonjudgemental, and just God; among many other righteous things.  But still I wonder.  I wonder if I am worthy to be in His presence.  The Bible says that I am worthy through Jesus Christ, but am I worthy to be in the Holy of Holies with God?  Yes, I am; but I still feel this nagging feeling that I am not worthy.  I feel that if I saw God in my presence today, I would fall on my face because His magnificence would be overwhelming.

Now I know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that I am clean in Christ Jesus, but am I really clean?  I sin.  The plain truth is that I sin.  I have crossed lines that I said I would never cross and yet God says He loves me still?  How humbling.  Jesus abolished the law and made a “new” law that always was but he drove it done hard in the New Testament of the Bible.  His new law?  That you love one another as Jesus loves you.  I fall short.  I love others, but would I lay my life down for another?  Would I lay my life down for strangers so that they can go free.  I would lay my life down for my children — probably —  but do I know for sure?  Do I love those that deliberately go out of their way to hurt me?  Probably not.  So I can’t even fulfill the ONE law that God gave me.  And yet, He still loves me.

I don’t understand this God that I serve, but I know that He is more just than any other god that I would serve.  I know that He loves me despite my sin.  I know that He has made a place for me in heaven with Him and that I will dwell in His holiness forever, even today.  I know that I am comforted by God even when bad things happen – and bad things will happen; just as good things will happen.

Who is God?  I have taken my God out of the box that I kept Him in for so long and released Him to do for me what I can not do for myself.  He has made me a more kind and loving person and for that I am forever grateful.   I know that I have a “right” to God’s love and redemption, but I want to feel worthy.  I want to be filled with His love and have that pour out to others.  Like David, I want God to say, “this is a man after my own heart.”  I want others to know God, not through my lips, but through my actions.

Today, when I meditate on God, He is holding me in his arms like an infant in swaddling clothes and He is looking at me like a mother looks at her newborn child.  He is looking at me with the wonderment that this adult…this child, is His.


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Widow’s Brain

I suffer from Widow’s Brain.  Don’t laugh! Widow’s Brain is real.  Widow’s brain is a very frustrating phenomena that occurs with grief.  Widows Brain makes you feel like you are in a fog and just going through the motions of life.  I’m not quite sure how long it lasts but I hope it doesn’t last much longer.

Widow’s Brain makes me forget about almost everything.  I forgotten when I was suppose to meet a friend for dinner, I’ve forgotten that I’ve had meetings to attend, and I’ve even forgotten that I’ve signed important contracts.  For someone who has always been sharp and on top of her game, this feeling, this brain, is unnerving.  Can you imagine someone saying to you, “don’t you remember that?” and you have no idea what they are talking about; not a glimmer.

Imagine this for a minute:  You are in an intense, intelligent, conversation with someone and you are just about to drive your point down and all of a sudden, you forget what you are talking about and have to ask the other person, “what were we talking about?” Yes, I say, the struggle is real.

Widow’s Brain even creeps in when I’m cleaning the house.  I’ll put things away never to find them again, well at least not for a long time.  I’ll forget where I put the dust rag and I’ll find it hours later.  Yes, I’ve even misplaced the vacuum for a short period of time.

My dogs; however, love my Widow’s Brain because they sometimes get fed twice for dinner.  No wonder they love me!  They do get a little frustrated when I’ve forgotten that I let them out in my fenced yard and don’t let them back in for awhile; but they let me know when they’ve been out too long by pounding on my door.

I thought for a while that I might have early onset Alzheimers, but my doctor quickly dashed that thought.  He said that with Alzheimers, the person generally does not know they are “slipping away.”  I know that I’m not at the top of my game at times.

Widow’s Brain.  Don’t laugh.  The struggle is real.  I’m just waiting until the fog lifts.  It has too lift.  Right?


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Time

It has been almost one year since I’ve blogged and I probably wouldn’t have blogged today except I got an email from WordPress reminding me that I have a blog.  I quit blogging a while ago because all I had to give was my grief at the loss of my husband.  Two years ago he left this earthly plane for his heavenly home.  You’d think after all this time I’d feel better about things, but I don’t.  You’d think that after all this time my fog would have lifted, but it hasn’t.  Today, I am still in as much pain as the day he left, I just can hide it better now.

I can hide my tears when I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night.  I can hide my feelings at meals with friends.  I can hide my raw pain when others talk about their husbands.  But it’s still there; that raw, aching, throat clenching pain that I feel most of the time during the day.  I cry inside a little every time I go to a place where they ask you for your status and I have to say, “I’m a widow.”  With close friends and family I can be myself.  I can cry when I need to and sometimes they even make me laugh, but my laughter never reaches my eyes anymore.  It’s almost like I feel I don’t deserve to laugh or be happy in the wake of my husband’s passing.

I know Bill would not have wanted me to go through life sad.  He would have wanted me to be happy and live my life to the fullest and trust me, I am trying to do that but it is so hard to be happy when you feel such a loss from the inside.  I’d rather just stay in my own house and wallow around in my own grief; but I don’t.  I have been the “traveling queen.”  Since Bill’s death I have been on 2 cruises and a week and a half trip to Colorado and I’m going back to Colorado soon.  I’ve gone, but I’ve felt guilty in some ways.  It’s almost like I don’t deserve to be happy since Bill died.  I should be in a perpetual state of mourning.  But should I?  Should I stop living because the love of my life is no longer with me?  I see other widows moving on and I’m glad for them but I think “how do they do that?”  They seem to have forgotten all about the loved one in their life but I know they couldn’t have.  It’s just me wishing I could be like them.  Wishing that I too can have those laughs that reach your eyes.