About My Blog


I created this blog for myself.

The title comes from part of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13.  The imagery I use is from the verse highlighted below.

The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love
.(This version from “The Message)

When I started blogging in February 2010, I was in the midst of recovering from a long period spent in a deep clinical depression.  Many years ago, while battling a long term illness, my difficulties in dealing with the pressures of misdiagnoses, pain, countless tests, arrogant physicians, and hundreds of high-powered drugs to combat multiple severe infections, caused an ancillary illness known as Bi-Polar II.  This particular type of Bi-Polar disease is characterized not by rapid cycling between mania and depression, but by the majority of time being spent in either one or the other, with only occasional trips away from that state.  While I did go through some episodes of mania, early on in the illness, depression was the form it most often took.

Because of a recent drug, not new, but untried by me, I have been improving by leaps and bounds, feeling as much like the person I remember I was – happy!  The medication was initiated in December of 2009 in another attempt to slow the downward spiral in which I was traveling emotionally.  I had almost completely withdrawn into myself and was very despondent, finding little or no joy in anything.  Believe me, it is an awful, horrible way to feel.

After about a month on this medication, the change was becoming quite noticeable – I once again felt like participating in my life.  I began contemplating doing some writing, something I had not done since high school, and not much of it then.  I remembered my very dear Aunt Ida, a college librarian, who always told me that I was the one who would write “The Great American Novel.” I never quite believed her, although she frequently asked me if I had started on my book yet!  She always smiled when I said, “No, not yet,” and told me to hurry up so she could read it! I still haven’t written it – haven’t even begun on a novel – and Aunt Ida, who passed away at the age of 97 in 2008, never read anything of mine (since my high school days) other than letters and occasional bits of silly verse.

When I finally pulled out my laptop and started putting some of my feelings on paper, I occasionally would read some of the entries to my husband, Ashley.  He encouraged me to save it, and create a “book” with it, which led to my creating the blog now known as “Reflections From a Cloudy Mirror.”  Initially, the blog was an opportunity to try and brush up my writing skills, in addition to finding an outlet for expression – to “clear my mind” of the surfeit of extraneous thought that continuously crowded my mind.  They were my “reflections” on my life as well as observations of the life around me.  The reflections that I perceive from myself are cloudy, indeed, but the more I continue to write, the better picture I have of myself.  I believe someday I will emerge from the clouds, come out into that bright day, and see things as they are.  For now, I write.

I also never intended on opening this blog-journal to anyone else, (other than my husband on occasion.)  As my  enjoyment increased, I started reading the blogs of others, and decided that I did want to get some feedback.  I wanted to read what others thought – not so much about my writing, but their responses and thoughts on what I was writing about.  People I met in the “blogosphere” encouraged me to work on my writing in earnest, and with the help of a number of wonderful, unselfish, and accomplished writers, I am endeavoring to do just that.

The writing I do in my blog, with few exceptions, is in the little-edited, stream-of-consciousness style.  Having always been sort of a long-winded speaker, I have found that I am verbose on page as well.  For purposes of my blog, this suits me.  It is also a format in which I feel free to post whatever I think or feel about any particular subject.  I write the occasional – hopefully humorous – rant on topics that intrigue me; I write memoirs of different life-events; I write poetry, which has so far been in the form of my “Odes to the Everyday” – limerick-style nonsense in which I attempt to work on one of my favorite poetic techniques – the internal rhyme.

I am also learning to edit myself through participating in writing “challenges” of “flash fiction.”  Writers are given a topic on which to write a brief (usually 200 words or less) story that encompasses the guidelines set by the moderators of the challenge. This has been enormously challenging for me, to edit and cut material that seems at times absolutely necessary for my expression, but which I am finding to my dismay and delight, are not!  The site I have joined that offers these challenges, as well as a number of other projects, is called WEbook, and can be found at “www.webook.com.”  Anyone who desires to improve their writing skills for whatever purpose, is invited to join this community. Writing submitted is published on the site for any other members to comment on, make recommendations, corrections, additions or reviews. It is always fun to see what others think, and to read unbiased feedback on your work (members choose pen names), as well as to offer your own critiques and advice.  It is a genuine self-help community!

So, my friends, there you have my not-so-brief explanation of how this blog came to be.  It has expanded to become a place to display some of the results of my recently begun hobby of photography.  I am having a ball, and I hope, if you have ventured this far into my “Reflections,” that you will decide to drop by frequently. Perhaps you will become a follower and/or subscriber, and most of all will enjoy the journey as much as I am!  Remember – your posted comments are not only welcome, but desired!  Let me read some of your reflections, too!  I could never get enough. . .

28 thoughts on “About My Blog”

  1. Thanks Paula – pleased to have discovered your heartfelt blog. Regards Thom.

  2. I love your NOT SO BRIEF introduction…and that opening verse made my morning. Thank God I found you…pardon my rush to take credit because well, you found me first. And did I say I love your writing.

  3. Five Quick Minutes said:

    I Cor. 13 is one of my very favorite passages. Thank you for your “story” and for following my site!

    Christian

  4. Thanks for following my blog Paula, good to meet you. I’ve known a couple of people with depression and find your story inspiring. Tim

  5. Hi and thank you again for your day-brightening visit to my blog! I really enjoyed reading about you and the story about wishing someone enough has touched my heart in a singular way. I, too, was surprised to see we have so many things in common – a love for the written (and spoken!) word, trying to express our creativity through writing and photography, a prolonged battle against depression and a very supportive spouse 🙂 Even though some days are cloudier than others, I believe our tribulations shape us in a way no happiness can. I admire your strength and resilence and I hope we shall enjoy each other’s musings as often as possible.

    Andra

  6. Hi Paula.. nice to meet you.
    Thank you so much for following my blog… 🙂
    Blessing to you…

  7. God bless you – I am looking forward to walking this journey with you. I like what Lilian said, “A ray of sunshine on a cold, snowy, grey, British afternoon.”, I am finding your page insightful and meaningful. You are as I call a day brightener!

  8. Paula, your honesty and vulnerability is very touching. Thank you for being transparent in your writing as I am sure it touches many lives and brings hope.

    Becky

  9. Hi, Paula. I have ‘seen’ you around the blogs, mainly Nancy (SLTW) and Seph’s blogs (yay, bad poetry!), but I never visited your personal blog until the Trifecta challenge. I was intrigued by your “Lost” poem but didn’t have time to dig deeper into your blog until today (only because the kids are at my MIL’s for Spring Break :))

    I have enjoyed your writing, chuckled at your sometimes-lengthy comments and always had a sense you were a kindred spirit – a believer in God. After reading your ‘about me’ page, I have a whole new respect for your courage – your strength to fight depression (which I have seen ravage those I’ve loved) and to share your story here.

    Well, it seems that I, too, am prone to long comments. Sorry 🙂

  10. It’s amazing how many people (this person here as well) have chronic illness. And, how many with those conditions have taken to writing……..

    Those who have never experienced this either first hand or in close quarters with someone who is affected- simply cannot understand the challenges of every day living- including mundane tasks- of those who exist in the state of chronic illness……….

  11. Hi Paula! thank you so much for following my blog 🙂

  12. I’d say you’re doing great! There is excellence to be found right here.

    Glad to see it! 🙂 I get around, believe it or knot. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    And may peace, love, and joy invade your household this weekend!

  13. I am not a writer at all but I would love to learn. Having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue makes everything difficult oh and ADD to that and gee I might as well be a first grader! Blogging is helping me with the writing though. I don’t want to appear stupid. Oh enough of my babbling, nice to meet you. I’m sure we have spoken before but of course I can’t remember. It’s a miracle that I know my name is Linda.
    +1

  14. Thanks for telling your story. It is inspiring. Good wishes.

  15. An amazing fight for life. I know about depression and I admire your strength.

    Your blog is lovely and I will stop by again, to read your stories. Thank-you for your inspiring words, here. : )

    • Thank you, Thingy! Glad we “found” each other. Despite the ups and downs of my life, each day I feel is better than the next – the world is always turning toward the morning!

      Come back any time, and I will be around to visit you frequently, too! I’m not getting around to comment as much as I used to – I’m in the middle of writing a memoir and collating an anthology of my poetry. I spend about 8 hours a day on those two alone, much less blogging – which I love, both to write and to read, but since I tend to write wordy comments, I never get around to all on my blogroll in addition to others each day – but I try to see everyone at least once a week and do some catch up!

      Have a wonderful day and week and beyond. . .filled with enough. . .

      • Know what you mean. I often leave wordy comments…so I don’t travel WordPress as much as I’d like to…only so many hours in the day. Blogging takes up a considerable amount of time as it is.

        Was referred by Nancy because of your youtube clip on dogs and their funny antics. I posted a clip, gratis another blogger, of a motorcyle riding dog.

        pets…gotta love ’em…good luck with your writing projects. 🙂

  16. Hi and thank you so much for coming to visit my blog. It is really great to meet you!

    Indie

  17. Hi Paula, I’ve been meaning to tet-a-tete with you for awhile but I couldn’t find your email so you can copy-paste and delete this from here because it’s long and rambling.

    Ya, phew, I seem to be open to a lot of pain right now. I remember watching 9/11 live with my Dad and it was horrifying.

    I bumped into a family on the net the other day who lost a brother who was donating liver to another brother.

    And I’ve been intensely…um…blue I think. I mean, I’m not suicidle or anything but I’m experiencing very strong feelings of regret…like I didn’t do everything right, that there’s stuff left undone, that I’ll never accomplish what I wanted…etc.

    I never feel like this for long. I’m ADHD so I run the whole gamut but this cycles typically within the 24 hour day.

    I’ve been feeling this way since the start of the year!

    Anyway, I forgot what I was going to talk to you about…can you believe that?!

    I love reading you, you’re good people, and very funny, and I can loose myself for a few minutes there.

    Hope your weekend is going well!

    • So good to hear from you Kenneth! Life sometimes is like that: Ups and downs, yes, but it feels more like downs sometimes – and one can only go down so far without getting stuck and needing help to climb out.

      Your extraordinary talent at poetry sets you apart from the crowd. I frequently e-mail your poems to my husband, who is equally impressed as I. I hope you can take heart from that. You have within you the resources to find a way out of the place you occupy right now. Actually, your poetry is one of those resources. You should really read your own work! 😀

      Also, something I would like for you to consider is finding an agent and a publisher. I know I keep saying it, but you are really one of the greats, and I think more people should get the opportunity to partake of your talents.

      You also appear to me to be a man of faith. Use that faith, and also explore your doubts and misgivings, and all your regrets with God. God can take whatever you dish out, believe me! God has put up with me all these years, and I have always considered myself sort of an advisor to the Almighty. Fortunately, God sets me straight, and at least temporarily puts a stop to that! 😀

      Speaking of regrets, I did a post about my own regrest. You can find that here:

      https://paulatohlinecalhoun1951.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/sorry-grateful-regretful-happy/

      Write me anytime! I’ll answer when I can. My e-mail is: paulatc@hotmail.com

      Unless you want me to, I will leave this comment here. Let me know – I’m famous for my LONG, rambling comments (like my posts), so I never mind getting them back!

      Take good care of yourself, Kenneth.
      I wish you, always, peace enough –
      Paula

  18. Well I don’t know where to begin. I am so glad that you decided to share your story, I know that must not have been easy. I too suffered through years and years of miss-diagnosies (sp?), too many trips to the hospital, doctors, emergency room and worst of all arrogant ill informed doctors! I also have suffered from depression, how can one not if they are sick or hurting all the time and no one will listen, care, or try to help.

    I am not a writer at all but I would love to learn. Having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue makes everything difficult oh and ADD to that and gee I might as well be a first grader! Blogging is helping me with the writing though. I don’t want to appear stupid. Oh enough of my babbling, nice to meet you. I’m sure we have spoken before but of course I can’t remember. It’s a miracle that I know my name is Linda. 🙂

    • So sorry I haven’t responded to this terrific comment. I don’t know how I missed it! Linda – you are doing very well at expressing yourself, and i totally enjoy your posts and most especially your photography! I am a rank amateur at it, but I absolutely adore it, and i want to learn and do SO much more!

      As of now, I only have a “point and shoot,” but I have dreams of getting the DSLR that will let me really explore and expand my capabilities, and to get the shots i envision in my head to actually show up in my “cloudy” lens now!

      Please, give me your advice and critique of my photography – the composition and subject matter, as well as ways that you think i might do better – I’m sure there is much you could teach me!

      So! Did you know that you would become one of my blog-friends and be counted as a mentor when you woke up this morning? Well, you are!

      Be at peace today and always. I hope your pain decreases, your joy increases, and that each day brings you enough. . .

  19. Hello, just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I’ve enjoyed dipping into it this afternoon. A ray of sunshine on a cold, snowy, grey, British afternoon.

Reflect back to me here. I covet your comments. . .

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