The Story that is My Life

My life as it has been and as it continues to unfold is a story. One story made up of many stories. One complex, yet simple story. One sometimes messy, but so beautiful story. One story that I wonder if it might be interesting to be told.

This blog is my attempt to put part, or parts, of that story into words, pictures, or whatever form my mind can wrap itself around or create from within myself to express what it is like to be the one inside Cindy's Story. This is an exploration on my part and on yours in reading, and seeing, and maybe even hearing. It is not necessarily chronological. It might not always make sense, but it is my expression. It is me.

You are invited to see how my story unfolds.....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Fragrance of Being Crushed and Broken

Today I held a sprig of a pine tree in my hand.  It had been cut away from a tree, though I don't know how long ago.  I looked at the small piece I held in my hand, it looked nice and green just like you would expect.

I wanted to smell the fragrance of this bit of branch with its pine needles.  I held it to my nose and sniffed...I smelled nothing.

"What is wrong with this bit of tree," I thought.  I sniffed again, and still nothing.

Then, I heard a voice in the room say, "If it is crushed or broken, its fragrance will come out."

I took the sprig and bent its needles between my fingers.  Sure enough, I could smell slightly the fragrance that came from within.  The more that I bent its needles and crushed it in my hand, the stronger its true fragrance emanated from the inner core.

The sprig didn't look quite as perfect as it had been at first, untouched, with each needle in place.  I smelled the sprig that was now partly bent and broken.  The more I smelled it, the more I noticed something that I had not been there before.  A pleasant sweetness lingered in the air.  The sprig did not have the rough, harsh smell I had remembered from other trees.

Because of the fragrance that came from being crushed and broken, the beauty of the sprig of tree extended further that it could before and brought a comforted smile to my face.

I too have been crushed and broken.  In the beginning I thought that everything in my life was ok and in order.  I went along like everybody else.  Then mental illness came crushing into my life.  The pain and struggle broke me.  I didn't think I could be anything of worth any longer.  I wanted to die.

Time continued to go by, and I still lived.  Going through the brokenness, a new strength arose within me.  From being crushed and continuing on, I started to see beauty that healing brings.  Maybe I was and am crushed and broken so that the true, sweet fragrance of the life I choose to live can emanate from the inner core of who I am.  Maybe my life can become a fragrance that can be taken in by others and become something beautiful.

Being crushed and broken could be worth it after all.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Going Down. I'll Meet You There

I guess I feel fine.

But I think I have had enough of "fine".

Where is the intensity of my emotion and creativity?  Sometimes I want to just be down for a while.  I want to feel the sadness, to isolate myself, and to let my thoughts go back to remember those dark times.  I want to express the sorrow in the world that reaches within my heart.  I want to remember the glimmer of light I saw that was from the moon, that came through the darkness of night and the pressing cover of clouds.  I want to feel what a ray of hope is like again.  Is it really a sliver of a light of hope or just a reminder of the great darkness all around of which I cannot escape?

There is something satisfying in feeling a feeling to it's very depth.  It makes my soul feel alive.  To truly know sadness, hopelessness, fear, and pain completely; the utter rawness and purity of that emotion is my breath.

Do I make a difference in my own or anyone's life when I just feel "fine"?  Can my words contain any meaning without me having experienced those words to the purity of their utter core?  Can you have meaning from love if you have never been ripped away from that love or been without a love at all?

Does my life mean anything if I am always "happy"?  Is the sunshine anything to me if I have never lived in darkness?  Can too much happiness and comfort take away joy?  When I am up, I can only fall.  I hide myself from the light and look down.

When I lay down in the lowest valley and feel the damp earth below me, I peer up through slightly squinted eyes and am able to see the small bright points of light, and I wonder and dream.  Anything is possible in my mind when I look up and let my mind be freed to go as far as my thoughts can reach, and imagine, and feel.  Darkness makes each small light more brilliant than it ever could be without.

I say, "I think I will stay here for a night and watch the stars until the morning comes with its light, and the far points of stars light are swallowed."

The all encompassing light takes over each small point of star light.  It drowns my thoughts, and ideas, and it blinds me to the appreciation of the small hopes and glimpses of forever.  The glimpses that made me rest in the bitter sweetness of the soil of the lowest valley.

"Let me feel my sadness, my sorrow, my hopelessness, my fear, and my pain completely."  I feel, and experience, and express my life.  I find meaning in my pain, and I find connection with you.  I see through the "fine" that you say you are, to the emotion deep inside.

I am going down.  I'll meet you there in the valley, and we can lay on a blanket of complete surrender and watch the stars together.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Songs During Struggle...Songs During Joy

Music, to me, can be the expression of my soul's cry, of my soul's need and desire, or of my soul's joy.  I would like to share some of those collections of songs with you.

Below, I have listed all the songs, and the times in my life when they were important to me.  
Here is the link as well to my youtube playlist of all these songs: 

During High School:
Back in the 1990s before playlists on our computers and phones that we can carry with us, I used to make mixed tapes of the songs I listened to the most.  These are the songs from the mixed cassette tape that I made.  I listened to it over and over during the many times when I was sad and depressed hoping to give myself some hope to hold on to.

Side 1
  1. "With Me Anywhere" - Mark Farner
  2. "Right Where You Are" - Kenny Marx
  3. "I Know a Love" - Al Denson
  4. "My Father's Chair" - David Meece
  5. "When God Ran" - Benny Hester
  6. "Without You" - Mark Farner
  7. "Hold Me" - Benny Hester
  8. "Hold Me Jesus" - Rich Mullins
  9. "Nobody Knows Me Like You" - Benny Hester
  10. "Brokenness" - David Meece
Side 2
  1. "You Know and I Know" - Bebe and Cece Winans
  2. "Holding Out Hope to You" - Michael English
  3. "You're All I Need" - The Kry
  4. "To Know You" - Versus
  5. "I Will Be With You" - Denny Correll
  6. "I Miss the Way" - Michael W. Smith
  7. "It is Love" - Versus
  8. "Jesus Loves Me"
  9. "He Won't Let You Go" - The Kry
  10. "Brokenness" - David Meece
During My College Years:
In California, Oregon, Illinois, and Northern Ireland, these songs were some meaningful ones to me.

  • "On My Own" - from Les Miserables
  • "Castle on a Cloud" - from Les Miserables
  • "All I Ask of You" - from The Phantom of the Opera
  • "Think of Me" - from The Phantom of the Opera
  • "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" - from The Phantom of the Opera
  • "My Jesus I Love Thee" - Go Fish
  • "He'll Do Whatever It Takes" - Phillips, Craig, and Dean
  • "Holy, Holy, Holy" - (A hymn I was practicing on the piano at the time)
  • "Oh Sacred Head" - (A hymn I was practicing on the piano at the time)
Northern Ireland
  • "Jesus, All For Jesus" - Robin Mark
  • "How Great are You Lord" - Robin Mark
  • "When It's All Said and Done" - Robin Mark
  • "Thirsty" - Chris Rice
  • "Pour Out My Heart" - Vineyard Music
  • "Will You Love Jesus More" - Phillips, Craig, and Dean
While in Kenya:
During the first half of the year that I lived with a family in a village in Kenya, I did not have electricity or a means of listening to music, except when we sang hymns together in the Kenyan's tribal language.  During the second half of the year that I lived in Kenya I was given a battery powered CD player and cassette player to borrow .  I listened to the one CD that I bough and one mixed cassette tape that my sister sent me from the States.  These were the songs that were especially meaningful to me from that CD and cassette tape:
  • "Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)" - Chris Rice
  • "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go" - Chris Rice
  • "Put All Your Trust In Jesus Today" - Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
  • "Jesus Will Make a Way" - Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
  • "God is Able" - Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
  • "Hiding Place" - Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
  • "God is Gonna Finish Just What He Started" - Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers
At Home After Kenya:
I listened to these songs during my many years of time spent in the pit of depression after I came back to Oregon, USA from Kenya, Africa.

  • "Prelude To A Kiss" - Alicia Keys
  • "Piano & I" - Alicia Keys
  • "Troubles" - Alicia Keys
  • "Why Do I Feel So Sad" - Alicia Keys
  • "The Worst Day Ever" - Simple Plan
  • "Perfect" - Simple Plan
  • "Untitled" - Simple Plan
  • "Welcome To My Life" - Simple Plan
  • "The Wreckage" - Vanessa Carlton
  • "This Time" - Vanessa Carlton
  • "Fix You" - Coldplay
  • "Bad Day" - Daniel Powter
  • "Go" - Boys Like Girls
  • "Ten Years Older" - Jarod Gorbel
  • "Ring The Bells" - Satellite
  • "Your Beating Heart" - Brendan James
  • "The Lonely" - Christina Perri
  • "Sad Song" - Christina Perri
  • "I Cast All My Cares Upon You" (A chorus I liked to play on the piano and sing)
  • "Cry Out to Jesus"- Third Day
  • "I've Always Loved You" - Third Day
  • "Love Song" - Third Day
  • "Glory, Hallelujah (I've Got Nothing)" - Annie Bethancourt
  • "Maybe There's A Loving God" - Sara Groves
  • "You Cannot Lose My Love" - Sara Groves
  • "Less Like Scars" - Sara Groves
  • "Are You Afraid To Die" - Ricky Skaggs, Intro by Rev. Dr. Billy Graham
  • "Medley: I Need Thee Every Hour/Just As I Am" - Fernando Ortega
  • "If You Want Me To" - Ginny Owens
  • "Remember Me" - Ginny Owens & Mark Schultz
  • "Breathe" - Michael W. Smith
Having met my husband:
Songs that are our favorites and for each other:
  • " In Christ Alone / The Solid Rock" - Travis Cotrell
  • "Anything For You" - Brendan James
  • "Better Together" - Jack Johnson
  • "When God Made You" - Newsong
  • "Perfect For Me" - Ron Pope
  • "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" - Stuart Townsend
  • "Lord, I Need You" - Matt Maher
  • "Cornerstone" - Hillsong
Please share with me some of the songs that have been influential to you during years of depression or joy in your life.