Nineteen States in Nine Months

Between August and May, we have seen 19 states, and in hindsight I wish I would have thought of collecting their plates. First there was Florida, then there was Georgia, and in Tennessee we stopped because of friends we wanted to see. Next we drove through Arkansas in order to get to Texas, where it was Dave’s brother, niece, and her girls that we saw. Up to Oklahoma was our next stop to see my mom and dad, then back through Texas then New Mexico so that we could get to Colorado. Another brother of Dave’s we stayed with for a couple of days, it was great.

Back to Oklahoma we went. Picked up my folks, and the next few days in Nashville we spent. My nephew’s wedding was what we did, a real shin-dig.

It was mid-September before it finally came time to come home, for hurricane Irma had  hovered Florida like a drone. Waiting until we knew it was gone, we high-tailed it back and it still took us long. Through Oklahoma then Texas, we felt at home there by now, then going through Louisiana, I felt we had a sort of comradery, somehow. Mississippi and Alabama were the next states to go through, before back in our home state of Florida, where there were no rooms at any of the inns, period.

A little less than eight months later, another road trip we took, this time to northern Michigan, where our daughter graduated nursing school – Look!

imagejpeg_0001002003

Again we drove through Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, which I am not counting here, you see. But the next state, Kentucky – yes, which we thoroughly enjoyed – with beauty it has been blessed. Ohio was next, and their roads were so terrible, we joked about them having some kind of hex. Shortly after entering Michigan, we stopped for the night, seeing some old friends again.

On “Star Wars Day” we went further north, where Amanda’s graduation was on May the fourth. After celebrating and spending a few days there with her, the three of us went to Indiana – Indianapolis, as it were. Spending time together sight-seeing was mostly what we did, downtown we walked around just about every joint. Then finally, the finale – we went to Cedar Point! The “Roller-Coaster Capital of the World,” is what they say. Who they are, who knows, but what the hey!

Cedar Point is in Ohio, which we won’t count again because, you know. Next we went through a state neither one of us had been to – West Virginia. Is this now the most beautiful state I have ever seen? Yeah!

Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina we drove through before getting to familiar Georgia, and then the state we call home – Florida.

So there it is, nineteen states in nine months! And we loved every mile of it.

The Rock Star Tour of 2018

I was somewhat shocked to see the figure, after counting the states that Dave and I have driven through in the last nine months – nineteen. Nineteen states in nine months we have seen. “Pretty impressive,” I’d say. “Like a rock star!” Eleven states had us overnight and seven of the eleven for more than one night. This, I would like to remember. What a blast it has been.

Packing for this last trip went much more smoothly than our prior trip. Still, I brought too much stuff. But like I told Dave, “At least I’m getting better. At least this time, I only brought four bins of stuff we didn’t need!” Trying to be sarcastic and obviously exaggerate, this only made us laugh harder, as we both knew that I wasn’t exaggerating much. “Okay,” I conceded, and then added, “at least they were small bins.”

Because I wish to do different than I do, and not feel the need to lug around with me every little thing I think we might need on a trip, I am writing about it with the hope that it will help me continue to get better, for future trips. I am doing it for Dave, so that he won’t have to make as many unnecessary trips to the truck, hauling stuff. I am doing it for anyone who wishes they could pack lighter, including me. So while it is fresh on my mind, I will write of those things next. First, something I must get off my mind – saying, “I’m sorry,” to some of our Indy friends.

20180504_174903You see, we were in town last week and did not let most of our friends know. In fact, we told very few of us being around, as our goal was to simply spend time with our daughter and celebrate her passing nursing school. Yes, Amanda is going to be a registered nurse! And we are so very proud of her.

As per the plan, we had no plans for the three days we were there, and we stayed quite busy spending time together. We walked all around downtown, which is also where we stayed, and when we got tired of walking, we rented bikes. We saw lots and lots of sites. We also did “Escape Room Indy” one night and had a blast. The few friends we did see, we have known since Amanda she was four. Two of them had her in their childcare program until she started kindergarten.

My point is – some of you reading this might feel left out upon discovering that we were 20180510_143137in Indy and did not at least say hi. And if you know me, then you know that feeling left out is something I do not like – for myself or others. So at the risk of sounding defensive, well, yeah, I am.

It was our “Rock Star Tour.”

That being said, I can now share the many fun photos of our trip without worrying about a beloved friend feeling left out. If you still do, please know that we are sincerely sorry. We hope to return to Indy soon and when we do, we hope to see you!

Our first stop on our “Rock Star Tour” was in Tennessee to visit friends. Little did we know nine months ago when we made them our first stop on our “Wonderfully Wacky Road Trip” as well, that the next time we’d see them, Stan would be doing chemo and radiation. A real trooper he has been through it all, both of them, indeed! After enduring a dose of radiation, he insisted on taking us to their friend’s place along the river – a place and a person we have heard much about throughout the last three years they have lived there.

A real treat it was for sure. Thanks guys! I will be sure to write more about it soon!

20180502_134312-COLLAGETo view all the pictures from our trip, click here or go to https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102561194521147515210. Click on “Ask to Join.” You will then need to sign-in to your Google account (gmail) or create one. Keeping the site private through Google I have found to be the easiest, safest way to share my online photo albums. I will accept your request as quickly as possible. If you have any problems, please email me at admin@susieraffey.com. Thank you!

 

The HSCC

There was quite a spread served-up today at the weekly Wednesday lunch (as usual) and thankfully a handful of people walked in right at noon, helping to keep the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center open. Six bucks is all it costs to have a home-cooked meal, including dessert and an ice tea or ice water. The money goes toward paying utilities and insurance on the building, so that it may remain open and available for rent.

20180321_120133.2

Several of the area’s residents each bring a dish to donate for the cause. There is generally a variety to choose from for all courses – the main course, side dishes and desserts. I like to try everything. Today, to save room, I mixed together two different side dishes and thought, “What a coincidence, they are both pickled!” Or were they? I don’t know, but I know they were both good that way.

A few of the folks who frequent the lunch went to high school with my mom and dad. I think that is neat. We sat with one of such friends at lunch. This person also attends the UMC in Waurika and we discussed how much we loved last week, seeing The Master’s Storyteller, and discovered we have had the same song rolling around in our head ever since. So, again I will say but in another way, if you ever get the chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly doubt you will be disappointed.

And, if you ever happen to be in the Hastings, Oklahoma area on a Wednesday promptly at noon, stop by the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center for lunch. Not only will you get a great meal for only $6, you will be helping the whole town. No one wants to see the Center close down. It is located on Main Street across from the post office and available to rent for most occasions. If you go, feel free to say, “Susie sent me,” and, “hi,” to my mom and dad!

If you really want to know… I’m a Cathodist

Best I can figure, I am a Cathodist Misallievangelical with close ties to the Baptist’s. However, I am mostly Catholic, then Methodist. The other two churches I elected to become a member of, I did so during my seeking years. I spent a few looking for a place where I would feel that I “fit in.”

My mom might disagree with me and say I am mostly Methodist, since I was born into a Methodist family, baptized as a baby in the Methodist Church and where I attended for the first twenty-two years of life. A good case, but so is the one that claims I am mostly Catholic. I had to earn it.

After attending weekly classes for a year after we were married, I passed the test that declared me to be Catholic. I probably had an advantage as well, since I had graduated from Cathedral High School. The church accepted my baptism as a baby but not my confirmation, I guess because they called it first communion. So I took part in a ceremony with a class of second graders in order for the Catholic church to recognize our union under God. Whew, we pulled it off – married by the Methodists AND approved by the Catholics. Both in-laws were in luck.

0224180001 (4)

We did about a decade of semi-faithful Catholicism before long days at the community park took over the time commitment. Not for long though, for we started going to a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church after a neighbor invited us, which we loved, and then lost the pastor to a better town. A colleague invited us years later to an Evangelical Church, which we also loved, until the hour-long drive started to wear on us.

When my “church hopping” escapades ended up at the Baptist Church, my enthusiasm to study the bible really took off. For I had never heard of “the rapture” before, in all of my almost 40 years in a handful of churches. I was also looking for where the bible says that I would go to hell if I were not baptized Baptist. What I found was a little more shocking, at first, though so intriguing that I continued studying using the Strong’s Concordance. Suddenly, the bible made more sense than ever to me. And everyday, it continues to fascinate me.

Before I get into all that, I just want to say – my goal is to share what I have been studying about the bible, nothing more. I do not care to try to convince anyone of anything. I would simply like to share some things I have discovered, in case others are searching like I was and struggling with a faith not making much sense. And if what I have to share happens to add to your already sense-filled faith, well then that would be fine. This will be in an upcoming post.

As far as my faith, it is overflowing. Because of this, I feel I can “fit in” just about anywhere, even when I don’t. As far as what to call me, should you have a need to label it, we’ll go with Cathodist. Predominantly Catholic and then Methodist. And because Cathodist sounds better than Metholic.

How’s that for organized religion?

The Garden Gym

My dad and I shared some laughs today when I started to ask what a hoe looked like. “Here it is,” I hollered upon seeing it, just as the image of what I was looking for came to me. I hurried over to the garden where he was waiting to show me where to plant potatoes.

“No problem,” I assured him, “I can hoe a row for poe-tay-toe!”

In fifteen minutes, I was feeling muscles in my back that I didn’t even know I had. Thank God they are not the same ones required to do the “asparagus cutting squats.” Between the two, I should be getting tone while growing good food – talk about a win/win.

20180313_162016
The row of potatoes I planted

And speaking of winners, it was another hit last night as The Master Storyteller played Gideon. Tonight I am looking forward to the story of Jonah and the whale. I’ll be there at 6 p.m.! (Spoiler alert – he already said he is not playing the whale.)

The Revival in Waurika

As I am not a huge fan of organized religion, my immediate reaction this morning upon hearing of the “Bible Quest Worship & Drama” schedule for the week at my parent’s church was, I hope my parents won’t want to come to this every night. Church every night, oh, that just seemed like a lot.

Ten minutes into the service, my thoughts changed to, I hope my parents want to come to this every night! It was awesome! One of their brochures says it best – You’ve never seen anything like The Master’s Storyteller. His name is Wesley Putnam, of Wesley Putnam Ministries.

Tonight, Elijah came to life as a New York Bronx cop. Tomorrow night we get to see Gideon as a Yiddish version of Barney Fife. The music was also amazing. A little mini-revival, is what I would describe it as, although I have never been to a revival before. I just know that it is absolutely entertaining and soul shifting – girls and boys young and old alike laughed until they cried and then tried not to cry when their heart started to stir. I saw it. I felt it. Powerful stuff, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of it at the First United Methodist Church Waurika, where I have been a visitor ever since I was born. I used to be visiting my grandparents, now it’s my parents.

On the way back to their house in Hastings, I took pictures of the sunset. Not bad, considering it is through the window.

20180311_192548

If you ever have a chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly recommend that you do. Until then, you can find him at wesleyputnam.org. (And yes, we plan on going every night. I am so excited!)

Fruity Weather – Please don’t Freeze on the Trees

Two days ago, my mom’s peach tree and plum tree were both just starting to bud, and today they are full of flowers. I love the colors, as do the bees that were buzzing around the trees.

 

 

I hope I get to see the next stage of growth, and that it’s not thwarted by a freeze, which is what we may get tomorrow night. Today it got up to 75. Talk about fruity weather.

Hola from Oklahoma!

Hola, Hello, Hi, from Oklahoma where the air is dry, and sixty-five degrees and sunny seems like the perfect day. That’s how it was the day after I arrived. On Wednesday, however, when I flew in, it was in the 30’s, and I sure was thankful that I opted on bringing along the extra layer of warmth even though it meant carrying it from Florida, where it was in the 70’s at 5:30 a.m. when I left. Because, if you know me, you know there was no room in my carry-on for a jacket.

And yes, I was glad to have it, along with my hooded layer and my gloves while waiting for my parents to pick me up at 9:45 a.m., which was a little eerie. Never have I seen no one in an airport baggage claim pick-up area. There were three cars at the curb, but no people. Seriously, I was the only person around, at all. I found that so completely odd and I took a picture. Three, actually, looking one way, straight ahead, and then the other way.

20180307_105531

20180307_105552

20180307_105559

Maybe it happens all the time, I don’t know. I am surprised though.

So my parents picked me up and we went to the buffalo ranch and spent the night, where I have no cell phone service. Therefore, Dave could not get a hold of me. The last he knew when he had talked to me, I was standing on the curb at baggage claim in the Oklahoma City airport where I had an eerie feeling because there was no one else in sight. Was everything okay? Was something going on? Was I okay? Well thank goodness Dave didn’t torture himself wondering any of this. No, that is not Dave at all. He was more concerned that I knew he did in fact call. And I am so glad I have grown-up.

The sunrise in Hinton is something I love seeing every time we stay there.

Here, you can see the buffalo.

20180308_065558

The next day we drove to my parents home and when we pulled up, my dad said, eyeing his garden, “Alright, we can pick asparagus for dinner!” I walked out there, looked, and said, “Where?”

20180308_145823

He showed me and I said, “Oh wow!”

I picked enough for us to have for dinner, with some left over. I also left some in the garden to pick the next day. I have never had such fresh asparagus in my life. Man, it was excellent.

20180308_151013

 

Love and Fear

On this day a decade ago, Dave got to wake up at home for the first time in 9 days. He had finally been released from the hospital on March 1st. How appropriate it was, then, that on this day, Dave and I went out for the first time, just the two of us, on his newest, biggest project. I call it “the big boat.”

20180302_135608

It was also on this day 10 years ago that the magnitude of his accident hit me. Clients had to be called, doctor’s appointments had to be made, and prescriptions had to be picked up. And guess who had to do all the driving? Me. Can you guess that I did not have a very good attitude about it? Well I did not.

This is one of the things I needed to work through, as I mention in The Trauma 10 Years Ago, and a large part of why thoughts of his accident gave me such anxiety – I had a hard time accepting my own behavior during this time. Especially my attitude towards Dave. I was extremely selfish.

It took me a while to even see this, as I thought that anyone who was going through what I was, would feel the same way. My nice, comfortable schedule was getting all screwed up and I didn’t like it. Our income stopped and I really didn’t like that. When I found myself getting mad at Dave for the accident even happening, I knew I needed to change. I knew this was not the kind of person I wanted to be.

One day not too long after his accident, Dave bumped into something on his blind side, and I said in a not so nice tone, “Watch where you are going!” He turned to me and said, “How come when I get hurt, you get mad at me?” I know I wanted to deny it and couldn’t. I simply said, “I don’t know.” What a turning point this was for us.

I have since found out that this sort of behavior is typical of people in fear. I remember when I first heard that everything we do or say either comes from a place of fear or love, I had a hard time believing it. Now I have no doubt. Knowing this has helped me to change. Instead of yelling, “What are you doing,” when Dave docked the big boat, I was able to ask, “Can I help you with whatever it is you are trying to do,” and then actually try to help with a cheerful heart.

20180301_152720

My own stubbornness almost got my attitude stuck on the fear side, and then knowing full well this is not who I want to be, I silently said, “Oh God, please help me,” and He did. Instead of reacting in fear, I was able to respond in love. And for me, God supplies that love.

Afterwards, my truck wouldn’t start and fear struck again. We had driven separately since I had things to do in the afternoon. I felt the panic strike and immediately, my mind went to, “He’s going to leave without knowing I’m stranded, where’s his cell phone, will he hear my call?” All sorts of things raced through my mind in the 10 seconds it took me to reach him, the last one being, “God, help!” Today, I am working on it being the first thought, along with thanking Him for the many blessings He bestows everyday. Including Dave being able to fix the loose battery connection quickly.

A Last and A First

We seem to be going a bit slower here, compared to other pictures of us 4-wheeling.

0224180029

This was in late 2008, after Dave’s accident. It seems weird to me now that I would even want to go. And I likely did not, but did just to keep my eye on Dave. And no, it’s not weird that he would want to go. That’s Dave. And here’s me, keeping my eye on him…

0224180046

It didn’t do much good though. Before we knew it, we were calling our friend.

“Here comes Harold,” I hollered from where I was standing look-out for him.

0224180047

“What’s the problem,” Harold asked.

0224180048

“Dave is stuck over there,” and I pointed to where Dave was, waiting for us with the 4-wheeler.

Harold looked and then exclaimed, “He’s not stuck, he’s flooded!”

“Well, uh, I guess he’s flooded and stuck,” I said.

0224180049

So they tied a rope to it and did their thing.

0224180050

Thank you, strangers, for your help.

And thank you, Harold for coming to our rescue.

0224180051

This was our last ride.

0224180052

Harold towed us back to his trailer, where we laid looking up at the sun, shining through the trees. And then we took our first selfie. This was in 2008.

0224180053

0224180054

When we were muddin’

We had fun in our 4-wheeling days, it is just not something I want to do anymore. We went out with our neighbor once after Dave’s accident, and that was it. I hadn’t given much thought to exactly how I felt about the activity until just a couple of days ago when I was talking with my neighbor about it. I don’t remember thinking anything bad about it, but I don’t remember having fun either.

As time went on, I couldn’t give it much thought because when I would recall Dave’s accident, I would feel some sort of anxiety. It happened to me when I came across pictures of us 4-wheeling and anything that reminded me of his accident. Well I have decided that I have had enough of that. I also decided that I am not against ATV’s in any way, it is just not an activity for me anymore.

I knew a few years ago that I wanted to write about his accident and other stuff that I just was not ready to tackle at that time. “Maybe when it’s been 10 years,” I said to myself, making a mental note to deal with whatever I needed to deal with to be able to talk about it and do the online photo album I have longed to do and share. It’s weird, but I could not start this journey of sharing my photos until I felt that I was not purposefully skipping over a big chunk of my life just because I was uncomfortable with it.

And Dave, well he is different. He has always said something like he sees no sense in using mental energy for anything other than what he is doing right now. In other words, whatever it is, if it is done and over with, then there is nothing to “get over” because it is over. He is very accepting of the past. Me, not so much. However, I have decided that I would like to change this. Therefore, being a person of sound mind, I should be able to change this!

So when I look at the photos of us 4-wheeling, I will choose to think of how much fun we had in that chapter of our lives (and secretly be glad that it is closed), and not be afraid of my feelings any longer.

These were taken in 2005. And it wasn’t always mud. Trail rides were fun, too.

I just came across the photos from our last ride. They tell a story. I remember now. Coming next.

Day 2 of the Trauma 10 Years Ago

It was a Friday night, around eight o’clock, when Dave flipped his 4-wheeler. We had not even been at the camp site more than a couple of hours when it happened. We were meeting friends from the close west coast, but they were not coming until the next day. Their young adult sons, however, had arrived that same evening as us, and I thank God for the one who pulled the ATV off of Dave.

“Oh my God, get it off him,” I screamed. And like a super-hero, the young man leaped into action. I was horrified. I could not believe what I was seeing. Next I was screaming that I had no cell phone service and a stranger hollered that an ambulance was on the way.

Some of this and what happened next, I wrote about in the previous post, The Trauma 10 Years Ago. And then I had to tell the kids. Both our son and daughter offered to do whatever they could to help. “Actually,” I said, “find a friend who will drive you out here so that one of you can drive my truck and one of the ATV’s back home.” I towed the RV with Dave’s truck and our other ATV on the back with my flashers on the whole way, afraid to go over 40 mph. What would normally take a little more than two hours to get home, took me four.

0222180001I arrived home totally exhausted an hour before dark and decided to wait until the following day to drive the 4+ hours to Tampa General. Our friends from the close west coast had been keeping Dave company in the meantime. Still, it would be another seven days after I got there before he could come home. Pneumonia caught him and did it’s best to keep him down, but if you know Dave, you know that he refused to stay down for long.

Finally, Dave was discharged on March 1, 2008. Still, it would be another six weeks before Dave was cleared by his doctor to go back to work. In that time, we went to many doctor’s appointments to see about getting his eye fixed. He even had an appointment with a world renowned eye surgeon in Miami, but upon further investigation, the doctor determined that it could not be done. It impressed me that we got back every penny of our deposit, which was a good thing because the economy was headed for a meltdown. Thank God we hadn’t a clue.

By the time Dave was cleared to return to work, we were wondering what in the heck happened to the construction industry. At first, I thought perhaps people were afraid to hire a one-eyed contractor. “I don’t know,” a friend suggested, “don’t you ever close one eye to get a better look at something? So it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” and we laughed. Not at him, of course, but with him, because if we can’t laugh, then we are taking life way too seriously.

The Trauma 10 Years Ago

On this very day ten years ago – February 22, 2008, at this same time – 8 p.m., I took this picture.

 

I was following Dave, who had flipped his ATV. The ambulance took him to the nearest hospital – Lake Placid, I think, and they said they simply could not handle such a case. So they set forth to find the best place for him while I whined, “Why not West Palm Beach?” When they said, “No,” I said, “Okay, then Ft. Myers.” I could not imagine not having the support of friends and family, and I hadn’t even a clue yet of what he was in store for.

Tampa General Hospital was where he would go and when I asked, “Why,” they said, “Because there, they have the best brain trauma unit.” I tried to keep it together for Dave’s sake, and it was hard. Our friend Patti, a nurse, stayed on the phone with me and was a huge help.

According to the hospital records, it was 10:07 p.m. when Dave arrived at Tampa General. At 2:47 a.m., it was decided that he would go to OR and at 3:11 a.m., the hospital tried to contact me to let me know. Awakened by the call a little too late, I tried calling back almost immediately. I was transferred to a nurse who transferred me to the coroner.

The coroner then put a priest on the phone who generically started a comforting spiel. “No, wait,” I cried, “for crying out loud, what happened,” I demanded. “Well, we are checking on that,” the priest said, and then explained how they did not exactly know where my  husband was at the moment. He was soft-spoken and gentle. The more gentle he was, the more I wanted to reach through the phone and scream in his face. I was the most terrified and shocked I have ever been in my whole life.

I did not want to hear this person, or any person, say one more word unless it was to say that Dave was okay. They tried to assure me that they had every reason to believe he was because there was no evidence suggesting he was not, and that they would get to the bottom of it and call me right back. I hung up the phone and called my friend Debbie in the middle of the night.

“What’s wrong,” she said, answering her phone at three-thirty in the morning, and I proceeded to tell her all that had happened. My call-waiting beeped and it was the hospital. They had found Dave. He was in the operating room and was expected to be there for some time. They must have been on their way to the OR, and were in “limbo,” they told me, when I had called. Mistakenly, I was put through to the coroner and the priest just happened to be there.

The next day it dawned on me that I had two trucks, two 4-wheeler’s and a 30-foot RV to get back home, over two hours away. I thought, “I’ll call our son,” and then, “oh my God, I have to tell the kids.”

 

Let No One be Left Behind

My previous post, Up One Rung, really started out to be about the following stuff. I decided the post was too long. So here is part two.

Having passed people-pleasing on the rung below me, I am now on a new rung. A new rung does present new challenges, however, I feel ready for this rung. For I saw this quality in myself some time ago and shared these thoughts with friends.

I shared with them how, ever since I was a little girl I wanted to save the world, yet my parents had to remind me twice a day to brush my teeth. I reminisced about friends who had “slipped into the trenches” and how, although my motive has been to help one out of one, after a while what I really found, was myself down in the trench with my friend. Not fully knowing how I wound up there or how to get out, one thing I did know – I could not just leave someone I care about, down in the trench.

And then, thank God, I had a great moment of growth.

Never before could I fathom the heartlessness required to be able to walk away from someone in the trench. Thank God I was wrong. For heartlessness is not what it takes for me to leave the trench. What I need is my own worthiness.

I gained worthiness by doing the right thing when the wrong seemed so much easier or profitable. I attained merit in my own mind when I stopped talking about other people’s woes. I am enjoying a life of self-esteem simply by doing esteemable things. And when you do this, I believe, it becomes impossible to remain down in the trench.

When I am worthy of stepping out of the trench and I know it in my heart, then what my friend does or does not do, is really not a factor for what I do. But when I am harboring hate, guilt or some other negative emotion, then my soul knows I am not worthy of stepping up. When this happens, it is much easier for me to say, “I can’t just leave my friend here in the trench!”

Today I can see that stepping up a rung on the ladder of life is not the same as leaving a friend behind. A friend who feels left behind, simply may not be ready for such work. Rest assured, my friend, I am not leaving you. Instead, I say, “Here’s my hand, holler when you need me.” I just hope you don’t let my arm stretch out too long.

Up One Rung

Most of my life, I thought that the secret to self-esteem lie in not caring about what other people think of me. That, and thinking highly of myself, were the ways to good mental health, or so I thought. Even after being told that I was wrong, I still remained convinced that the trick to getting over anxieties about what others might think, was to not care. Or at least act like it. But forcing myself to not care when I really did, created worse problems, causing me to set my site here to private. So if you got a message saying you do not have permission to access this blog, please know that it was not just you – it was everyone.

My seven faithful followers (as of 11.30.17) may remember my post about anxieties I experienced when I saw that people were reading my posts. While I have no way of knowing exactly who is reading (and if there is a way to know, I do not want to know), just knowing that someone is reading, really presented problems for me. When I saw the statistics, my heart would start racing and a sort of panic presented itself. I did not like this feeling and wanted it to stop, yet it did not.

All my wishing in the world did nothing to improve this. In fact, it sometimes made my anxiety worse. So I set my site to private and embarked on a mission to either give my fears merit or get over them, once and for all. I analyzed exactly what I was doing here and why I had this fear of what other people thought. This time I went about it differently, this time I prayed. And so far, this tactic has worked.

Today, I no longer concern myself with what people think of me. Neither do I try to fool myself into thinking that I do not care, for of course I care what other people think of me. The fact that it is none of my business, well that takes care of my caring. Just as it is no one else’s business what I think of another, what another thinks of me is none of mine.

And finally I feel free to be the me God intended for me to be. Finally, I can live with everyone not liking me. Finally I have moments of feeling happy, joyous and free, all at the same time even when life gets overwhelming. Finally, I feel like I am up one rung on the ladder of life.