Saturday, March 17, 2012

Those Peculiar People

There was a family of known eccentrics who lived in our town. The father collected old foreign cars of various colors, and each driver in the family cruised around in one car or the other.

The girls’ made a fashion statement every time they stepped foot out the door, styling and profiling, wearing whatever suited their taste. It didn’t have to be chic; it just had to be what they liked. My friend (I’ll call her Angelica) showed up at my 12th birthday party wearing a leopard print tam before anyone had ever seen such a thing, even in Vogue.


They were the talk of the town, especially after the mother spent a whole week up the flagpole at the county fair. That’s right; she spent one solid week living at the top of the flagpole at the Wayne County fair.  These folks were fearless, especially of others’ opinions.

David, one of the grownup sons, attended our church. One day something like a three-ring circus was happening in the sanctuary, some special service for the children. Clowns frolicked up and down the aisles with collection buckets for the special offering.

He sat back all blasé with arms crossed, taking in the spectacle. Finally he spoke ever so bold, “Money changers in my Father’s house.”

One day we heard that the mother had cancer; the prognosis was grim. It appeared that she was on her deathbed when we went to pray for her. She lay there, face and lips pale as moon, body languid and pond-still.

David appreciated all the prayers for her peaceful entry into glory land, but stated in no uncertain terms that he was walking by faith, not sight. His mother would be healed, he did not doubt in his heart

Within weeks, we saw the ill woman whole and riding a bike downtown as though she’d never seen a sickbed a day in her life.

That’s when I decided that being one of those peculiar people might not be so bad after all.


What about you? Are you one of them too?

When you hear the word “faith” what picture comes to your mind? 

80 comments:

  1. This is hard...since my faith has gone lost for a long time now..I have seen so much pain and suffering..I have seen people prayed for and still dying..I don't claim to understand it all...I just know my faith is missing...good post...As always...XOXOXOXOXO

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    1. Bonnie, I don’t understand it either. Why some are healed and others aren’t. It’s mean to say to the hurting, “Well, you should just believe.” Spiritual snobbery ain’t a pretty picture either. But I can promise I will pray for God to lift you up on healing wings and put a new song in your heart. I like this saying: "Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark." ~ Rabindaranath Tagore

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  2. Hi Debra! :-) I've seen some of these peculiar people around the city. When I was a little girl, there was this lady who always dressed like a queen. She wore shimmery clothes and a golden crown made of felt paper. I find them pretty interesting.

    For me, faith is believing and trusting something you don't see. I must say that my faith in the Divine is not perfect, but I am doing my best to grow in my faith each day. God is still a mysterious Being for me until now, but I guess we really don't have to know and understand everything about Him. I think that's part of having faith in Him. :-)

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    1. Irene, this made me smile big, the way you describe the Queen of Peculiar!
      Your faith is inspiring to me and everyone who reads your blog. Like the most recent story of your mom. I was so touched by your faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word. And all those timely scriptures you interspersed with your own words… you SHOWED you faith!

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  3. I've met my share of peculiar people, and I know some people think I am one of them. I am okay with that. It took many years to understand that I am not defined by other people's opinions, but by the God who made me for His own purposes. Loved this post!

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    1. I love meeting and getting to know other peculiar folks like you Andrea Dawn! We need to get together and write that book about God's Peculiar Children. I probably know enough, including myself, to have a whole collection!

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  4. Raised in a family where you should NEVER call undue attention to yourself bent and twisted me into a Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel. It's taken me most of a lifetime to unfurl myself and spread my wings.
    To this day, my mother still thinks I'm a bit strange and wonders why I feel so called to write daily devotions.
    Am I the peculiar one, or is she? :)
    Loved, loved, loved this story, Debra! And, while there will ever be questions in the arena of who gets healed and who doesn't, I leave that in God's hands. His will be done!
    Blessings to you always, my friend!

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    1. Martha, your parents raised a prim and proper girl. I suspected all along that you were one of us though ;-) You have enough devotions to publish several volumes all by yourself. Who needs me?
      I’m still trying to finish at least ONE of the several manuscripts I started over the past couple of years. What does that say about a person who can’t stick with a single idea until it’s done? Pray for me.
      Talk about peculiar… talk about flights of fancy… talk about going off on tangents… talk about drifting about like a feather in the wind…

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  5. I have met many peculiar people and have been surrounded by them when I go away for these month long training...However within my own family we have peculiar and then there are THE peculiar!
    Needless to say my life is one big peculiar .... but then many see the others as peculiar and many see themselves as staying true to their personality or individualism.
    Peculiar to whom or what... is it not just another way of not conforming to the norm of society?
    :)

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    1. Savira, I’m sure you do meet some eccentrics on your training trips. I can only imagine ;-) Yes, in families there are just peculiar, and then there are The Peculiar! I get it!
      The paradox is that some of the not-so-normal people are often the true geniuses in the world. Like Dr. Seuss said, 'Why fit in when you were born to stand out?'

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  6. I would like to be one of them...but, yes my faith is unshakable.

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    1. Janaki, you might be one of them if your faith is unshakable ;-)

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  7. Hi Debra, I have met few peculiar people, but they've mostly have pretty sad stories behind their quirks. Faith comes to me in the picture of a tree. Always a brilliant green tree. :)

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    1. Claudine, let me guess... an apple tree?
      This week I dreamt of a tree, a single tree with new limbs grafted into the body of the tree. One of the new branches had pink dogwood blossoms, the other had white. Not sure exactly what the dream means but I’m seeking possibilities. Any ideas or thoughts?

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  8. I also meet a lot of them...and they are geniuses! They have a really unique way of viewing things and they seek for the betterment and welfare of the people.

    I remember Patch Adams. Many people would oppose peculiar ideas because they fall short of understanding but upon reflection, it makes more sense than logical thinking.

    I think I should I ask you if I'm peculiar in a way? LOL!

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    1. Melissa, they do seek to make the world a better and brighter place and offer a new and unique way. Patch Adams is the one that comes to mind when I think of medicine. You? Peculiar? Have you ever known a “normal” mystic? lol!

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  9. I tend to believe that we all have a "peculiar" side to us, it's just whether or not we are brave enough to let that peculiar quality see the light of day and be shared with someone else. Some of us (like your example) care so little about what others think AND feel confident enough of ourselves that we easily share who we are. Others of us are a little more shy and concerned perhaps about other's disapproval.

    The issue of faith is a whole 'nother ball of wax. Many of use have faith that is circumstancial faith, that is faith based on a particular situation where our desire came true or not. True faith I'm coming to realize is based on a different foundation. It is based on an overall belief that God will see the bigger picture, that His wisdom is greater than ours and that ultimately he will do what is best. This is quite different from getting what I want each time I ask. Thanks for a very intriguing and challenging post.

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    1. Lynne, if more folks were in touch with their peculiar side, wonder how different the world would look. But then, we know that most are conformists and sheeple and follow the Pied Piper wherever he may lead. That’s the way of the world. Thoreau, who said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” may have been right. Because there's so much noise and most have never tuned in to the distant signal calling them away, far away from the madding crowd.
      On faith… no God is not a genie in a bottle we can summon to grant our every wish when we rub our hands together!

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  10. The wonderful photo makes me think of someone from high school -- a girl who wore big hats and was offbeat, in her own poetic way. Yes, I admire people who march to the sound of their own drum, following the passion that drives them, as long as it doesn't hurt others. Faith raises different issues for me . . . and I continue to be mystified by whether it's faith that brings miracles or something else altogether.

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    1. Deborah,
      When you used the word “offbeat,” you conjured up the image of Rosemary, a woman I know from Dublin Ireland. Her site is called Offbeat Woman. And if you want to see offbeat, check this out :-)

      http://www.offbeatwoman.com/2011/04/07/signposts-and-roses/

      For some crazy reason, I find myself writing often about eccentrics – a recurring theme that keeps surfacing. It may be that my world revolves around other rare birds that sing from the same crazy tree!

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  11. Dear Debra

    Thank you for your St Patty's wishes and for sharing this AWESOME post at Friendship Friday! I love not only how God works miracles in our lives, but how He uses the "foolish things of this world" to open our eyes to His glory!

    I am hosting a giveaway for a wonderful new book called He Heard Hannah which also testifies to how God worked in two people's lives. If you'd like to read the review and enter, be sure to stop by this week!

    Create With Joy
    http://create-with-joy.com

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    1. Oh yes girl! I like that phrase, “the foolish things of this world.”

      Absolutely. I’ll be right over pronto! I’d LOVE to read that book!

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  12. I love this! I was imagining the colorfulness of the people you describe. I guess I can be peculiar sometimes, I like my hair big and I don't conform to fashion, I wear what I like and can afford! LOL! What did Jim Morrison say, 'People are strange,' yeah, I guess I would have to agree.

    Regarding faith, I fluctuate back and forth, sometimes when things become uncertain I may focus so much on how to solve the problem that I lose sight of God in the plan. I am getting better at this though. I am going through a test now and I think I'm handling it much better than I would have in the past.

    Lots to think about. Thanks for this. I needed it.

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/03/lyric-fire-creative-collaborations-what-ive-been-up-to.html

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    1. Tameka, People are strange. I'm with you girl; sometimes (like lately) I confess to have focused on a certain problem. And it ain't fun! It looks like a mountain that needs to be removed and cast into the sea. How about I pray for you and you pray for me? Whatever your test is, I believe you'll pass it. Amen? Will you agree that I'll pass mine too? Here's a good quote by Tom Bodett, “In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” What lesson are we supposed to learn from our current test? Maybe after we pass it we'll know ;-) Hugs!

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  13. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Bless you Karen.
      Have a great week!

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  14. "When you hear the word “faith” what picture comes to your mind?"
    Someone with whom I'm very close is an atheist.
    Once we were discussing beliefs.

    When asked about my beliefs, I replied, "More than 'faith,' I have to 'hope.' I hope that what I believe in and have faith in is real."

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    1. Chip, oh yes!
      Hope is the thing with feathers
      That perches in the soul,
      And sings the tune--without the words,
      And never stops at all…
      We must never lose hope, or we may die with our music still within.
      Sad thought

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  15. Great post and I'm definitely eccentric Bonnie. One day when my youngest was little we passed two 'Herbie' cars in a driveway in two different colours. Grace said: "When I grow up I am going to have two Herbie cars in two different colours just like that." "Now Grace," I said, "You know you can only drive one car at a time, so what would be the point of having two?" Not missing a beat she said: "I'll drive them when I'm in different moods!" When I told a friend about this she said to me: "At least she comes by it honestly!" LOL

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    1. Elizabeth, yep, Grace takes after her mommy ; -) Colorful, whimsical…
      And did she ever get a Herbie car when she could drive?
      Adorable story! Have a great week!

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    1. You have peculiar syndrome too J.R.?
      ;-)

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  17. Peculiar or not I guess faith is a big thing. As for being different and not caring what others thought of them also I think shows that they were comfortable and happy being who they were. People like that are content with themselves and have no time to think negative of others.

    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/03/aftermath.html

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    1. Good point Rimly. Those who are comfortable with themselves are the least likely to judge or criticize another. And that’s a good place to be.

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  18. Great post Debra,I have had my share of peculiar people also,and rightly said,I may be one also.
    And faith...after all the tribulations,I finally got mine again.

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    1. Oh Alpana, it takes one to know one, as they say ;-) Someone wrote on my wall of themselves, "peculiar pride."
      I'm so thankful you made it through the fiery furnace alive and well, and your faith is stronger now because of it. Tribulaton works patience in us. No fun while it lasts though.

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  19. Sometimes I'd like to think that I am peculiar, maybe I am but I always wonder. Maybe when I compare myself with those who are not like me, then I am peculiar. But when I see certain others who are absolutely over the top, then I am not as peculiar. And faith always holds me, Deborah. I can't imagine my life without faith. I hold fast onto it.

    I really enjoyed this post. It led me to think of many things. In fact I read and reread your post for it struck a chord.

    Thanks, Deborah.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Susan Deborah, peculiar is relative, as you say. I’ve met over-the-top types, and that’s when I feel normal :-) Like the time I was in a café and the woman serving my Americano had a wiggling bosom. At first I thought my imagination was running away with me. But then she pulled out a baby squirrel named Peco. She kept him inside her bra like a baby in a Snugly.
      Have a great week!

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  20. I admire strange people and wish I had the guts like the family you mentioned to do and wear whatever suited my fancy! But alas I do not have courage and hence I conform. I don't know if being strange is what brings the faith but I am sure faith of a strange person will not be any less powerful : )

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    1. Kriti, from what I know, it is faith that makes one strange. It’s like the saying “which came first, the chick or the egg?” Does faith make a person strange? Or is a person strange because they have faith? :-( On fashion… those who wear what they please, regardless, are just unique and ‘strange’ in a different way. It takes all kinds...

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  21. THAT is a pretty pretty faith story my friend. And your last question – at first I thought of a butterfly – the picture of setting a butterfly free – then I thought of a blanket, and how faith envelops me, warm, safe, then I thought of a road with the bridge washed out, because faith is a risky proposition, and then I thought of a heart, an open and believing heart, and how if my faith isn't in there, it's not in me – and I need it In. Me. thank you for the inspiration Debra – thank you, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

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    1. Craig, my friend the visionary… I can’t think of better images to depict faith than the butterfly, blanket, a road with the bridge washed out, a heart. These are all pictures of how faith feels and fears (yes, even faith fears at times, especially when life or death are on the line). In the end, faith soars like a butterfly or a bird welcoming the morning.

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    2. I think you Craig have explained it better than I could ever attempt to! What a great post and a much-needed reminder of the power of faith. Thank you for sharing....stumbled through from the Friendship Friday hop and was very inspired by this!
      Thank you both!!!

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    3. Michelle, thank you. Indeed, Craig has a way with words and beautiful way of expressing them.

      I'm sorry I missed your comment earlier. I'll check you later dear one. Have a great weekend!

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  22. Oh Debra, I definitely consider my family and myself of the "peculiar" variety. Our personalities border on the histrionic! hee hee! I've been marching to the sound of my own drum for as long as I can remember. Nana said, "It's a lonely road, Bella, to stray from the rest of the sheep. Are you prepared to be your own guide?" I remember shaking my head energetically and saying, "Just like you, nana!" I've never looked back. Have I stuck out in a crowd from time to time? Yes, I believe so. But then isn't this part of the choice you make to be different; to follow your own route, create your own path? Debra, I could never be mainstream. It's not in my DNA, though I'm sure life would sometimes be a lot easier. But the real question is, would it be as much fun? I don't think so! :)

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    1. Bella, Nana was right, wasn’t she? It can be a lonely road to stray from the sheep. I love what you said in reply, “Just like you Nana!” Being mainstream? I can’t even imagine following the herd.
      Like Robert Frost said,

      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

      vive la différence!

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  23. Sweet post on faith and how it can be unaffected by every sign around because it is sure from within. For me faith is a voice within; and it is quite strange that I should have responded to your comment on my post in the same words! do check my reply to your comment (I have replied separately to you too as you had pondered on a question)

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    1. Jerly, I checked out your response to my comment and see how much we have in common. There was a near-drowning moment in my life too. But a major life lesson learned from that moment in time, which I will write about in the near future. I’d like us both to write our individual stories of our near-drowning experiences in an upcoming post, but let’s wait until summer, when everyone’s mind is set on water! I like what you say here too. “Faith is a voice within.” Yes it is!

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  24. It's taken too long to comment on this post! Every time I went to read it my kids would distract me! Finally I got to it. :) Intriguing indeed the eccentricities that some have! I think all of us who are apt to march to the beat of our own drummer will be seen as different by some, maybe most, the family that you illustrate in this post is definitely a bit more "peculiar" than most! People definitely have a tendency to see me as a little different, as my interests aren't always the usual and I tend to speak my thoughts no matter how much they might differ from the majority. I'm not sure if I'm seen as peculiar though!...I'll let those around me decide that. ;)

    A beautiful story of faith told at the end. Some are healed, some aren't, but one can't help but find stories such as these as inspiring.

    ~ many blessings :)

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    1. Dear Jessica, you might be peculiar if the center of your thinking is God, and most conversations with your online friends revolve around this subject. You might be peculiar if you write about spiritual matters from every different angle. You might be peculiar if, as a child, you aspired to become an astronaut and explore the vast unknown, and are still exploring on the metaphysical plane ;-)

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  25. OH, this is just beautiful! It reminds me of the book, The Glass Castle. Have you read it? It's beautiful and given your wonderful writing and thinking, it makes me think it would be something right up your alley.

    Thank you so much for visiting See Beautiful. We're so happy we've found you and have become your newest follower.

    Happy seeing beautiful!

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    1. Lydia - what a beautiful name! And your place lives up to the name. Today I scooted over and saw a baby laughing hysterically at his dad ripping a rejection letter to shreds. What a symbol of overcoming obstacles through sheer joy!
      I’ve heard of The Glass Castle, but haven’t read it yet. Oh, but I will now! Thank you for the recommendation. My eyes are always open for good new books!

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  26. OH I loved this! So inspirational. And I actually like the clowns in church (as long as its not disrespectful) - clowns always bring love and humor with them, and what better place to do this than in a place of worship.

    I am your newest follower and look forward to more inspiration!

    Thank you.

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    2. Meryl, I just posted your link on the WAHE (Wilson Area Home Educators) message board. It goes out to around 100 families in one fell swoop via email. I titled it “Literary Fun for the Young Ones.” Of course the adults will enjoy it just as much!

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  27. Debra what I wouldn't give to be one of 'those' people. I was always too worried about other people's opinions...Now I know better and am trying hard to walk by faith!

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    1. Corinne, still working on it myself, still trying to move those mountains... I guess you could call people like David role models. Some things you just never forget ;-) Memories, like so many other things in life, teach. This was faith illustrated! You gotta love those peculiar people!

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  28. I suspect each of us is a little peculiar. Those who say they are not are stranger than those of us who admit it. I think being different from the masses is tough. In my experience I've people more willing to sacrifice who they are to fit in rather than stand tall. It takes strength to be who you are on both the inside and the outside, Facts are, not everyone is willing to do this.

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    1. Oh yes girl! You tell it like it is! Most people find it easier to fit in than to stand out. But we were BORN to be our truest selves. We should say what we mean and mean what we say. Sometimes I hesitate, I admit. Do you ever proceed with caution in what you write? I think that may be an upcoming post. Yeah.

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  29. Yes, I am one of those peculiar people too. I went to Oral Roberts University against my parents better judgement. They didn't understand why I wanted to go to a school to learn about the Holy Spirit, the bible, and pray for people with the expectation that they would be healed. I am so glad I followed my heart. Thanks so much for your encouragement Debra, it means so much to me - really!

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    1. Shelly, I had no idea! Kidding ;-)
      Actually, I felt a connection deeper than meets the eye. Your path has been really, really interesting and diverse to say the least. I’ll bet you have one amazing memoir, girl! Is this the genre you are writing? Memoir?

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  30. More and more, I think normal is over-rated, and perfection is boring.

    I'm loving living my adventurous life. Sometimes it takes a little more "nerve" not to care what others think or say, but by and large, I enjoy being different.

    Blessings,
    Daphne

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    1. Daphne, I like the way you put it. "...normal is over-rated, and perfection is boring." Do you write about your adventurous life? I find writing a way to reveal what "nerve" we have without seeming too Crazy ;-) Where can I read about your adventures?

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    2. I do write about my adventures--sometimes. :) I have some I've yet to write about. Maybe too much "nerve." LOL.

      Looking forward to reading more from you.

      Daphne

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  31. Hi, Debra! ~

    What a wonderful story -- brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face ;-)

    Reminds me when I first bought a home for my kids and me in a 'nice, suburban neighborhood' and the other kids in the neighborhood would never come over to play. One day my boys were playing in the yard, one dressed in a ballerina tutu and cowboy boots and the other in an old leopard Halloween costume and batman cape with their faces all painted like faeries or something magical. I noticed a group of neighborhood kids standing just outside our backyard fence peering over into the yard. I motioned for them to come in, but they shook their heads. I thought "What a weird group of children!"

    One mom told me later that her kids thought of our house as kind of like a 'zoo' where you go to observe but you don't go into the cages -- haha!

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    1. Linda, how many eccentrics do you know who live in a nice suburban neighborhood? Looking back, weren’t you and your brood square pegs? I love the picture you painted of your boys in their get ups! And I can only imagine what those “nice suburban children” thought of the weird new neighbors ;-) Talk about a paradox! And you thought THEY were weird. You set the standard for the new normal: express yourself! Which you do so powerfully. Oh, the stories you can tell! And no wonder your son is a fiction writer and you an artist.

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  32. oh, "peculiar" is the best, dear. Far most interesting. I mean, I could easily spend a week at the top of a flag pole. Thanks for stopping by to read my weekly tale. This tale itself, is a keeper.

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  33. Sandra,I wrote back and told you my own brief running away tale ;-)Loved yours!

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  34. As many have so eloquently stated in this amazing thread of comments, I, too, state what I feel is the obvious - we're all a little bit weird. A little bit different, whether we display it outwardly or give it voice, or whether we keep it quietly bundled inside. I've often said one of the world's biggest maladies is that disease of alone-ness, of feeling that we don't fit in, that we're apart and misunderstood.

    I certainly have walked a different path my whole life, and I was fortunate to choose (because I know I chose her) my wonderful Mother to be born to. With her as my champion, I was encouraged to be who I am, in all my "weirdness". It was a long road and sometimes a challenging one, to be Me, defying conventions and stereotypes. Even as an adult, I come up against the occasional "glass wall", or the occasional quizzical stare from those who do tow the Status Quo line. That's okay - perhaps those of us brave enough to stand out give those who are quietly on the sidelines an example that will inspire them to step out a bit...and shine their own weirdness to the world! :)

    - Dawn

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    1. Dawn, by example, you give others permission to shine their own lights, just as your mother gave you permission. What you said here reminded me of Marianne Williamson’s words “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Have a wonderful weekend! xoxox

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  35. When I hear the word Faith, I picture a child smiling when facing a great danger!

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  36. Hi Debra:
    Will be using this as a starting point for THIS Friday's blog. Of course I'll credit you, this column and your blog. Love this column!
    --
    Chris

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    1. Chris, yeah! You were able to comment;-) I've been out of commission for weeks now. I need to catch up with your wisdom on life. Some things I just miss.

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    2. Hi Debra:
      Yeah, I figured out that I can use my google account. My blog is gone from blogger but my account is still active. I've just added my blog to the "My Web Page" link.
      --
      Chris

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    3. Great! It'll make you easier to locate for some.

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  37. Definitely!!!! What a great story....is it true? I love it anyway, I could do with some of that recovering.... Positive thinking to the MAX, eh?
    Just dropping by to say I'm hanging in there.

    Hugs x Jane

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    1. Hi Jane, it's stranger than fiction, I know. But it's all true. You can't make this stuff up ;-)

      I'm glad to know we're both hanging in there.

      Hugs back at'cha

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  38. I've visited, but been quiet, figuring that your lack of posts just meant that you were really busy with life. But I'm not used to NOT seeing your words for so long – I'll be back soon to read more – I heart your words – but you already knew that. God bless and keep you Debra!!

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    1. Craig, I've thought about you often and missed your words too. I haven't been in the blog world lately but rather in the middle of a crisis. Pray for me.
      ~ Love and blessings

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