Again, let me reiterate this is my site and this is how I've seen things and how I have perceived them to be. I know it is soooo true as women, but even as I have seen leadership in religious centers (which are supposed to be a spiritual and unique entity) instead of finding what direction is right for that people, at that moment, they find a model and start this quest to build their group just like the other one. So, often, by the time you attain the cookie cutter effect that "other" groups has either changed or moved on to something else. I feel a real stirring in my own personal being to be open and honest about some things today. It seems everything in our lives is somehow staged. I am new at this blogging world so I went to the Internet and started looking. Wow did I feel small and "unfluffy"! I don't even know if that's a word, but it best describes, the best way, how I was feeling as I was browsing. They were mostly nice, neat, either, little homeschooling Moms or very knowledgeable Bible Women; background music, roses climbing up the sides, links to this thing and that thing, free book offers, oh, too much to even remember. So I narrowed my search to "family in financial crisis", "women in crisis", "homeless families" and boy did a million sites come up about refinancing and loans and foreclosures, blah, blah, blah. Nothing really addressing being authentic or displaying the day to day realities families face living on the edge. And unless you have been living under a rock there are thousands of families living week to week not having enough to eat with the threat of losing there home, or not being able to pay there utilities, or counting out change to buy gas. I think there is secrecy and shame involved with having to live not knowing how you will survive until the next day, because we have all gone around portraying a life that does not exist behind closed doors. I am sure it does exist, but I was not able to find a blog of the nature of mine. Well, back to the blogs I did scroll through, as I looked through them, my confidence growing smaller and smaller, redoing my page over and over in my head, thinking my site (I still feel way to old to call it a blog) will never survive. At one point in my life I had horrible anxiety , about having to stand in line and have people stand behind me, or being in church and having people sit behind me, it all caused me great fear. It was a phobia about people having to look at me. I didn't understand it and there was alot of shame with it, so I didn't tell anyone for years. When I did tell Kenny we came to understand it is called body dysmorphia (of course another psychiatrist term). I was put on medication and, within a few years, my anxiety and fear leveled out and I was able to rationalize and know these feeling where not logical, but the medication allowed me to do that. I don't know that, outside of a divine healing, I could have "talked" myself through it. We get so good at hiding who we really are, and what our fears are, I think we lose sight of what our gifting and talents are. When you are constantly hiding and covering up you use so much energy, you have none left to put into the things that make us unique, and things that would develop naturally, and flow easily, if left without interference. I am naturally drawn to people, people of all classes, all ages, all genders, but my problem so crippled me I could not do what God had created me to do. I think the beauty in true friendship, and I have very few true friends, is that friends are people who have very diverse talents, and spend their energy drawing from all those talents and giftings without being jealous or envious. So, as I was looking through these sites, these successful sites, I thought back to when I decorated our 6th Ave house, it was unique to "me". I didn't copy, I didn't buy furniture in sets, and I didn't care if it wasn't matchie-matchie, I decorated to suit my style, to suit my family and make my guest feel welcome and comfortable and at the end of the day I was completely happy with what I had done. My house was a reflection of me and my family. So often we try to wrap people up in the same type of package; to look a certain way, talk a certain way , act a certain way, when really that is of no concern of ours, our responsibility is to show them authenticity and let God reveal himself to them, and as He does, these things take care of themselves. So back to my blog, I guess ignorance is bliss, I am so grateful my focus has been on content not on layout, or all the "fluff", all that stuff is fine, but I just don't feel that is my calling, I don't feel that is my uniqueness, so I will continue in the manner that I have started. Those were not my STRENGTHS. The greatest casualty of the endless pursuit of covering up who you really are is the loss of connection with other people. In our present financial crisis in our great nation, there is a shame that goes along with not having the money to pay your light bill, or have enough groceries, or counting out change for gas. The sadness in that is, if you really thought of it rationally and not with your shame and emotions, you would know there are millions in the same boat, just they too are behind closed doors, barely hanging onto the life they have known. When will we began to open our lives to each other? As my son said, "Mom what a great country, a country that would buy a kids lunch when his Dad lost his job". No shame, no secrecy, just a fact, this is life. Is a mans life over when he loses his job, is a women's life over when she has lost her beauty and she is not what society considers attractive. Maybe if we have based our lives on the premise that who we are is dependent on what we do, what we make, what we look like, where we live, not who we serve, how we raise our kids, how we share our lives with others. When we don't let people see our true selves we sacrifice connection, and without connection we struggle for purpose and meaning. "Mommie you look mean!" I said, "I am going to get mean because your Dad is sooo dead! It just a miracle my mouth is not open and my hand is not giving him and unfriendly gesture. My husband is the worst "Picture Taker" in world history. He pays no attention, looks away during the shot, doesn't care about color or scheme, and, then says, "O, it looks great!" So here it is.....One of his infamous shots, and I might say, a little too "real" for my comfort, but that is what this particular blog is all about....honesty!