Me Reinventing Me


Life has a way of just happening. I remember wondering how I was ever going to survive a broken heart after something just clicked inside of me and I knew that I was finally letting go of a very rocky three year relationship with my first real boyfriend and fiance. And I remember a few years later, how  life  seemed to keep going on for everyone around me but me when my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. And when my world came crashing down around me as I experienced divorce after my first marriage of fourteen years ended. And  when our little store was lost after an earthquake shortly before Christmas over a decade ago. I’d given up an art business I’d built for twenty years to open our little shop and found myself once again…. in a place that I’d grown to know so well. Me, reinventing me.

I have come to realize that unless you live in a bubble, we all must survive those times of adjustment. As kids, if we are blessed, we are sheltered from most of it. We don’t have to worry about bills or deadlines, but life happens even to kids and as we grow, whether through experiencing family crisis such as divorce, or illness or even death of loved ones, we begin to toughen up. We are “survivors” and as we survive each obstacle, no matter how small or overwhelming, we learn that we can.

As earthquakes and hurricanes and fires and floods and wars and political discourse seem to overtake the news these days, my heart prays for us all. We are in a time of life changing events constantly. The thing is, it really is about surviving. When I was in College I took a Speech Class and one of the topics assigned to me was… The Instinct of Survival. Those cliff hanging events in life that make us stronger.

After the earthquake I had to reinvent myself. My husband had to reinvent himself. We had to get jobs and work for “other” people.  And we did. Funny how we both have landed back in a space we started out in. He’d worked with his dad for most of his life when we opened our store. And I had my own art business where I traveled doing art shows, which I was doing when I met him. To make a long story not quite as long… he is back working with his dad and I have been given the opportunity to go back to my roots and have signed up for the same art show that I did twenty years ago called Sugar Plum.   http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com (take a look, it is the largest, most successful of shows in all of California for the last four decades! And still going strong!)

It’s interesting how life works. I am not sure how I couldn’t believe in God. He has been so faithful in my life. Even through all the ups and downs, I know He is in it! I’ve had miscarriages and lost good friends and loved ones. I recently lost a job due to the business being sold and the higher paid jobs being eliminated first through the process. But instead of looking at it as just another defeat, I had a funny feeling that I was being given an opportunity, another shot so to speak, to go back and revive my dream of working for myself again. And you know what? I’m taking it.

So here I am. Me reinventing me, once again. And I have a hero in all this. My husband. He has supplemented my dream through this version of “unemployment” and gotten inside my head as I have tried to explain my vision and the way that I am trying to fit everything in a 5X10 booth. (Half the size that I used to get.)  I have described card & display racks in my head and he has designed them so perfectly, you’d have thought I’d drawn them out for him! And I think everything is going to fit! We taped off  a 5X10 space on our driveway and set everything up, and it all seemed to fit! (There still is small stuff not set up, but for the most part it looks as if it is going to work!)

I remember when I was going through my divorce 25 years ago and this guy showed up with one red rose at one of my shows. All my artist friends knew how heart broken I’d been and they were so happy for me as they witnessed me once again, reinventing me.

I will keep you guys posted! My next show is Sept 21 – 24th. I’d appreciate all the prayerss I can get. This will be a huge test for the me reinventing me part!

PS:

This is a side note that has nothing to do with the above… But some of my readers have asked me to repost this… I think I need to write a whole new post regarding this… But so many people are still not aware of it. See if you are among them… Click on your gravatar (profile pic that people see when you LIKE or comment on someone’s blog) Did you know that if you don’t have a link of your blog’s address attached to your profile, people who may click on you trying to find your blog can’t? Below is the best tutorial I know about this very thing and how to fix it so that people can find you! Soooo sharing again.

https://nostolencatpictures.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/gravitar-links/

Advertisements

Unresolved


Have you ever woken up from a dream that wasn’t particularly bad but unresolved? You were looking for something, or someone, you were lost yourself… It happens a lot for me. This morning it took me a minute to feel alright about waking up. To not have to go back to sleep to fix something or keep looking for something or to find my way back from somewhere that was all only happening in my imagination, in-between twighlight and dawn. It made me think. This unresolved feeling of needing closure seems to be a topic in my life. An earthquake that wiped out our little giftshop, My book still waiting to be edited, that I finished a year ago, a job that ended, with raving reviews but due to budget cuts would not be there for me again this year…  And now…. me reinventing me once again.

As I look back at my life I see the pattern. I moved quite a bit as a kid. Never feeling as if I belonged anywhere. Making friends was never hard for me until I got a little older. Maybe it was because I didn’t trust that we’d be anywhere too long. Sometimes I was in  two schools in one year. Being the new kid was never easy. And then later as I grew up, the guys I chose were never really good for me. The first guy I was really serious with was abusive pretty early on, he even gave me an out after a pretty bad fight that came out of the blue, blindsiding me, not even sure what it had been about. Telling me he was who he was and that I was too nice to date him, but I hung on for dear life, a few years later he asked me to marry him, and in my head I imagined something so different than what it turned out to be. For a long time, I thought that I could change things and make it happen the way that I imagined. I wanted to live in one place so that our kids could live in one place and never have to move the way I did. But I also imagined love being different than it was for us. Sadly, he came from his own unresolved childhood issues and poof thus began my pattern of severed, unresolved, life changing events.

My divorce with my first husband (another one of my guys never good for me choices) was probably one of my biggest unresolved parts of my life. I sometimes wish that I could dream about it more so that I could go back in my mind and try to fix things, or at least get closure. Sadly, he is dead. I can’t ever say the things I wish I’d said or change the things I wish I could change. I hung on with all my heart that time, for as long as I could, until I just couldn’t anymore. He was a good man. He gave me great kids. He was a hard worker. But he was a text book alcoholic with a gene that I think must have been carried from his dad’s side of the family because his sister died a decade or so earlier from the same thing. Living too hard. They had addictive personalities that I am blessed to say all of their children have seemed to break free of. But it is still a scar I bury deep inside of me as something so unresolved.

My husband now, is one of the good choices I made after all of the lessons learned. Almost 25 years! Something in my life has stuck! I love him. He thinks I am beautiful. Did I say I love him?  I still think he is handsome. He used to sing me a Garth Brooks song that had a line in it…. “We fight just so we can make up!” I used to tell him that we’d never fight and I really believed it. Well that didn’t happen. We’ve had a few fights! It’s funny because my parents never really fought when I was growing up. I don’t think that it is a good thing for kids to grow up with their parents fighting all the time, but in turn, I don’t think it’s good for you to grow up thinking that you shouldn’t ever disagree. Because THAT is a hard act to follow and when you do disagree, that kind of thinking makes you feel like a failure.

This weekend I saw the movie The Glass Castle. Though not really anything like my life. Cuz in theory, my dad “did” build that “Glass Castle” and in the end, I finally got to stay in the same Jr. High and High School from start to finish. But there were pieces of me in that movie that I could relate to. From my childhood and throughout my adult life. And it all still feels so unresolved sometimes. But it made me realize one thing. We ALL have our unresolved stuff. As I have gotten to know friends and have been privy to their “stuff” in their lives. NO ONE is truly without the unresolved stuff. I mean, you can watch a reality show and all those people with money and fame, they all have it… The politicians (from both parties,) our Pastors, our Doctors, our good friends, we all have that unresolved stuff from our past and in our daily life and we are all working on it. Sometimes thinking no one knows. But I have come to the conclusion that we need to give each other a break. Because, we have all come from our own stuff and will be working on it until we don’t have to anymore. And by the way, that won’t be here. We will always be working on it here.

It Really Does Start At Home


I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

Did You Know????


we lose ourselves

I recently was on an interview where this kid interviewing me, (that could have been my own kid’s age) told me that I was no “Spring Chicken.” He meant it as a compliment. I know,  because I was there and in the context of the conversation he was referring to the fact that I was experienced and would not be a flake like some of the younger applicants.  Therefore actually offending both age groups (young and old) at least he is an equal opportunity kind of guy, smile..

I am sure he would have been mortified if he thought about it and realized how politically incorrect that comment was. But I found it hilarious and let it slide.

strength quote

I think that I have grown a thicker skin and it feels kind of good. I just don’t care as much anymore. I mean, not everyone is going to think the way that I do. Not everyone is going to agree with all my views or believe what I believe. I have stopped making things matter so much. And in a way, it is kind of like taking a pill that numbs the pain. To finally be able to let go and realize that at this age I am still evolving and hopefully always will be. And yet, to embrace the fact that I am who I am and no one else’s opinion of me is going to bring me down ever again. Do you know how freeing that is?

I have lived much of my life buried under someone else’s opinion. Trying to be politically correct. Caring so much about what a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or the joe-blow on the street thought about me that I was consumed with so much self doubt that it has made me pretty negative.

artist studio

As I begin to create and really find my talents again, to work for me, and in turn for God, I am slowly feeling that wall come tumbling down. The one that I built brick by brick over the years. I am feeling fun and young again and slowly living in the moment and finding joy in everything that I create. I am the boss of me once again and though I learned a lot in the corporate world, I am back! I am so blessed to have a husband that is so supportive and friends and family that encourage me. And did you know, for the first time in a long time,  I know that I will be okay and have no doubt that I AM going to be a success!

paint brushes in a row

dachshundnew better fairynew 2 ballerinas (2).jpgnew gymnist upside down balance beam (2)girl dumptynew hanging ballerina (1)new jewelry fairy

Some of my recent creations….  Humpty Dumpty and dancing have been a kind of subconciousl theme for me….  maybe because…         I love the saying… if you stumble get back up and make it part of the dance… and as for the dachshunds, well I guess-  just because a special friend loves them!

The acknowledgment of the moment


View of the Peninsula from the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes

 

I have learned that checking off the things on my BUCKET LIST and really actually following through, can take me waaaay out of my comfort zone. So when we started planning our little YaYa weekend, it was fun to hop on board the planning train but when we actually seemed to have to say if we were “IN” I panicked.  It is one thing, posting the more flattering pictures of ourselves and sharing only the happiest of times, on our Facebook pages than actually spending a few days with our special old friends that we have connected with. Facebook is a funny thing. It allows us to paint a picture of just the things we want to share. You share bits of your vacations and funny or uplifting things, you over share pics of  your kids and then grand kids expecting everyone else to find them just as amazing as you do. But you don’t share your mistakes and regrets and definitely not your fat pictures! Sooooo agreeing to share four full days with friends you have not seen for forty years is a bit out of my comfort zone! But to my surprise I agreed. And I am from the old school… if you commit to something, you follow through.

 

Since I lived the closest, I volunteered to drive down with my car so we wouldn’t have to rent one and I’d be the designated driver. As I picked each old friend up from the airport, we thankfully just slipped right back into a comfortable place that must have been especially preserved for this exact occasion. There is a different kind of appreciation for friendships that have out-lasted almost a half of a century. And it was funny, each friend had a special place in my heart. Especially in the re-connection  as we bonded through messages. As we shared our stories, it was different than when we were kids. As High School friends we thought we knew EVERYTHING about each other back then, but we really didn’t. It was nice to share and listen to one another’s stories of our triumphs and failures, and just all of our history that came in-between forty years.

 

 

We spent hours catching up. Each having our own stories of  joys and heartbreaks that life brings. All of us coming into our own with the wisdom of our experiences. One thing I know we kept commenting on was how privileged we were to grow up in such a beautiful place and wondering if we really appreciated it back then as much as we do now. I think we all just took living so close to the ocean for granted back then. This weekend we spent a lot of time on a memory tour. We visited each of our old houses and all the places that held special memories for us. Our parents were a big part of a lot of our memories, especially the ones no longer here. We all recognized their mistakes maybe more openly than ever before,  but could appreciate where they came from and loved them for the good they brought to our lives. Hopefully our kids will do the same for us someday, forgiving our mistakes and appreciating our efforts. For I know that I’ve made many mistakes in my lifetime, but I think this trip helped me to let go of what I cannot change. We tried to stay away from the obvious stuff, politics, religion, etc.  Funny though, we all met at church and were part of a youth group. The only thing I shared was through all of my ups and downs, mistakes and heartbreaks, I’m not sure I could have survived without my faith. I KNOW I couldn’t have.

 

 

I think what I took away from this experience was that we need to really realize when we are happy. To live in the moment. And as my daughter has taught me, to not always have to take a picture, to put your camera away and just live in the moment and embrace it.  Even if for a second.  To forget about the past or the future. To forget about the finances and the ailments, to forget about what may be or what may not be and to really just take a picture in our heart of the seconds we are feeling happy. When I went to Seattle a few months ago with my daughter  (a BIGGIE  checked off of my bucket list)  and we were all standing in our grandparent’s home. I felt it. The acknowledgment of the moment! I remember thinking… “I am standing in my grandma’s house! WITH the two people who can reeeeally understand how much it means to me. Because they made it happen! I think I knew that this last weekend was important for all of us, for so many reasons and we needed to make it happen. I remember several moments that I embraced that feeling of being happy in those seconds and really acknowledging it. And you know, we don’t need to go on a trip to find it. Sometimes it is just spending time with your kids or husband or going out to lunch with a friend or finding that perfect song on the radio and singing your heart out and really just deciding to be happy. Being older brings a wisdom of appreciation that we lack in our youth. and being okay in our own skin. I loved that we were all happily married or happily single. We loved our kids or were perfectly fine not having kids. Those of us who had grand kids really were finally into being grandmas. Whatever it was, was. And as I get older, I’m not as sad as I used to be when something is over because I had a part in making it happen and now I have the memories!

The Four YaYas at our favorite Restaurant…. The Admiral Ristys in PV

(I’m the one on the right.)

Forever Connected That YaYa Sisterhood Kind of Thing…


 (Lynn is the blonde on the left)

I am getting ready to meet a handful of some friends from my past, way in my past… ones I called my best friends back then. The ones that  I met in my teens, and that I have a YaYa sisterhood kind of weekend planned with. We met in a time when every kitchen and usually every master bedroom had an attached phone. If you were lucky, you also had one in your own room, but with the same phone number. In a time when answering machines had not yet been invented and if you weren’t home to receive an important phone call, (unless someone was there to take a message) you missed it. Finding long-lost people in your past was through the mercy of a phonebook. If we had a report due, we would go to the library and look up our topics by going through the Subject Catalog in a bunch of long drawers that would give us enough information to go find the book with the information we needed. If we wanted a copy of something, we would pay ten cents and make copies on their copy machine. If we wanted to take a picture we did it with a camera and then had to wait for it to get developed and pick it up a week later.  And oh yes, there were Polaroid cameras back then too. and getting a semi permanent photo in a few minutes was the newest thing. (you can still make out most of mine but a lot are faded!) And if we wanted to send a message to a friend we would tear off a scrap of paper and write a note and pass it to them or if we wanted to write a letter to a friend or loved one that lived far away, we would  put a stamp on it and maybe a little sealing wax and the recipient would receive it in a few days.

 

Now days kids can follow each other on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and who knows what else. Our cell phone is our answering machine, our stereo, our library, our phonebook, our camera and our computer. We can email our letters and pass notes anywhere in the world by a thing called texting.  If any of those people that we are looking for are connected to a social media account, we can usually find them. And that is how this particular handful of friends reconnected. It is kind of funny. Two of them are sisters, Lynn is two years younger than me and Cindy is a little more than three years younger. And for a few years, I hung out at their house during my teens as if I was just another sister. Their parents were the coolest and their little sister Tracy, was like my little sister. I have a ton of sweet memories and I can’t wait to remember them all with them. Lynn was in my first wedding and, I actually saw Cindy more recently, (though several years ago)  when we ran into each other in a nearby town and discovered that we didn’t live too far away from each other and connected a few times until she moved and we lost touch. That is, until this thing called Facebook popped up into our lives. The other friend Amanda, was more a friend of Lynn & Cindy’s, but the funny thing is… I feel almost closer to her now, as we have reconnected a lot through writing back and forth with a kind of honesty and admiration that sometimes comes only from really taking the time to sit down and get to know each other all over again through the written word.

Now I’m going to be very honest and perhaps a little shallow. In a way, I don’t want to ruin it. The magic of creating or rekindling friendships on-line is just that. A little magical. I was always one of the thinnest kids back before becoming a mom and now grandma and well, just before life set in. And funny, I hated it. I wanted a little more meat on my bones and to have the kind of shape that would fill that bikini top a little more. Not even appreciating for a minute, that hard, tan, flat stomach! That I would kill to have now! Why aren’t we ever happy with who we are? Now I’m probably the heaviest. Lets face it. We don’t post the most unflattering pictures of ourselves on our pages, without make up etc… now lines and all POOF it’s me! But seriously, I think that every one of these girls (including me) will only see each other’s hearts at this stage in our lives. And I know that in a few weeks, seeing  these particular friends are truly another very important thing on my Bucket List that I need to fulfill. And you know what I have figured out? Bucket Lists take us out of our comfort zones but in the end, they make the best memories, not really to replace the ones that came before, but to add to them, to understand that we were all meant to be forever connected in this thing called life.

Readjusting Our Gratefulness


 

I can still get up from a chair without using my hands. But if I am sitting on the ground, forget it! I have to practically get on all fours to get up. And it’s not attractive! Okay, now a lot of you sitting in a chair, just tried to get up without using your hands didn’t you? I’m blessed to be able to. I don’t take it for granted. Especially as the years catch up with me.

The older we get, or at least the older I get, the aha moments seem to hit like darts. Little realizations that would have been handy to “know” a few decades ealier. Perhaps why they refer to the wise “old” owl rather than the wise young owl and so on. Unfortunately, with age and the beginning of loss, also comes losing loved ones, friends, family and mentors that have taught us all that wise stuff.

I am sitting here, early in the morning of the last day of a trip to Oregon. The visit that brought us here was for a Memorial for my husband’s sweet aunt. Recently, we’d bonded more with his aunt and uncle in the last couple of years and I’d gotten to know Carol in a different kind of way than just a part of my husband’s family in another state. They’d moved near us for a couple of years until health issues brought them back to Oregon. But during the time I’ve been part of this family that linked us, and all the stories my mother in law shared with me, the link that bonded us was writing. Carol was a talented writer and it connected us in a way that passions link people.

We talked a lot about attending writing seminars together. She in fact was the one who told me about the two writing magazines I still receive to this day. And the one that made me more serious about writing my book (still waiting to be tweaked and edited and tweaked some more but it’s finished because of Carol) and starting this blog. In fact, she was one of the ones who faithfully read it and usually commented. In all the other important places she has left a gaping hole for everyone else, I feel silly kind of silly saying I notice a great big hole here. But I do.

A large portion of Carol’s memorial was in the reading of excerpts from her writings. And it made me remember a time when my dad died and I scrambled, looking for anything my dad had written. I guess in a way to salvage a piece of his heart. Writing really is a little bit like a glimpse of being able to see inside someone’s soul. Whether just a note that someone wrote, or a blog or a book or a collection of poetry found in a tucked away journal. Though, I kind of cringe at  the thought of anybody reading  my journals.  I’m not sure I’d want ANYBODY to read a few of those

I guess like in life, you can’t help but wonder, or at least it made me wonder as I sat there remembering Carol,  what kind of memories  and stories would I leave behind? Like me, Carol’s life wasn’t always without pain or good and bad choices that effected her children and their memories, but as I stood a little as an observer and on the outside of all the history that came before I knew Carol, and watched everyone come together in honor of this amazing woman, I had no doubt that her love rose above it all. There was no doubt that she loved and touched every life that was there that day.

I know that I made some pretty significant friendships and reconnected with some others and it made me realize that life is this amazing journey. And it really is all about love and making an effort to make a difference. So someday when we are gone our life will make our loved ones reflect and heal old wounds and reconnect in important ways.

I wonder, why does it take us so long to slow us down enough to realize how important some things are, and how unimportant others are? Perhaps, why He has alloted our bodies a certain amount of time to move fast and then slow us down to GET the things we missed along the way? The other day, I watched my granddaughter jump up from down on the ground when I called her, not using her hands to get up, and I thought… I remember when I could get up not using my hands, when life was still so unlived, and my body still almost brand new and how I probably didn’t even appreciate being able to do that when I could.  And how the older we get, we learn to really recognize the little blessings we missed along the way. And sometimes  we readjust our gratefulness and it sticks.

Learning To Fight Fair


I am trying to post a little more regularly. After I came back from not posting consistently, I almost forgot how. I don’t want that to happen again. WordPress moved a few things around and I had to figure it out all over again. But like going to the gym, I just need to exercise this thing I do… write. My post, The Writing Room, made me realize that I’d pretty much decided that “that book” that I have talked about for the last seven years and re-written a dozen times is not as much of a burden for me to write. I think that I had to go through the process of just telling my story to me. If that makes any sense at all? I didn’t know the ending because it had’nt happened in my heart yet. NOW I think that I know it. It took about a half a dozen years to grasp it. I still think that I have a message that I need to share and I finally can.

In the mean time my story still resonates inside of me. And parts of that young girl that survived that story still hangs on by a thread, fighting for validation and to be heard. And I have come to the conclusion that life is all about fighting fair and sometimes I still feel as if I am that young girl trying to feel validated. In a lot of my experiences, I have gained the wisdom that would allow me to go back to my younger self and say: “Don’t be so hard on yourself, or don’t make this or that so important.” Because I’ve learned a thing or two. But I have never really mastered being able to just “let it go” when I feel attacked. For me, fighting fair is first not raising your voice, and the tone and respect you use when stating your argument.

I think because my story is about abuse in my very first relationship, I am more sensitive to times when I don’t feel heard or validated. And yet on the other hand, when I do feel that affirmation, I will give you the world. To me, it seems so simple. But in all of my years of trying to be heard, the one thing left to my story is learning how to fight fair. As I have been going through the pages, I look back at all the fights that kind of formed me into how I have this crazy need to feel validated now. And out of all the things that I have moved on from… the one thing that has lasted is the need to be understood and not have things twisted. I’ve learned to let go of  a lot of things by this scale I’ve learned to use… I ask myself, from 1 to 10, how important is it to me? And recently, I’ve used it a lot and let a lot go. Even if it is just me who notices. I just know that it is making it better for me. But sometimes… when someone misunderstood something I said or twists how I feel about something or misinterperts something else… I can no longer be that young girl again “just taking it” I can’t back down. I just can’t, because I promised myself long ago that I would never cower in the corner again.

girl sitting in dark hallway

Learning How To Fight Fair

Don’t raise your voice, I can hear you.

Don’t talk to me in that tone.

You always want to be entertained

I’d rather be left alone.

I wonder if you hear me,

cuz it seems as if you are just thinking of what you’re going to say

I wish we could discuss this in some productive kind of way.

You totally misunderstood

but I can only see the anger in your eyes.

If only you could see me on the inside

you might just realize…

That I wasn’t even thinking

what you’re accusing me of…

One moment we were laughing

but now shadows loom above.

What just happened here?

I can’t even begin to guess.

What started out as a joke

is now a crazy mixed up mess.

Sometimes I am confused

how we both are so on the defense.

And once the angry words begin,

nothing makes much sense.

You accuse me of things,

that were never in my head

and twist the things you heard

that I never even said.

You say I’ve made it about me now

making me forget words that never were there

I can’t even begin to understand what just happened

when no one is fighting fair!

Diane Reed© 2017

 

Not Forgotten


I don’t share this a lot. “I” who talk about everything … It is one of those things that not a lot of people want to talk about. It makes them uncomfortable. But it is not something that will ever go away. I am reminded of it when I am made to  mark the box about pregnancies when filling out my medical history. And after all of these years it may not be something I think about everyday now, but it is there often enough, that place in my heart reserved for the two babies I never knew.

The first one, was before I had any children. I could speculate until the cows came home what caused either one of them, but I feel the first one was caused by me. I’d spent the whole weekend in a jacuzzi partying with friends up the street from where my husband and I lived. I was barely 21 and not living the way I should, especially if I wanted to have kids. I was only three months along and though my doctor assured me that many first pregnancies end in miscarriage and he was sure it was just “one of those things”, I blamed myself and turned my life around that day.

Of course I saw every new baby for months and months after that. Until I became pregnant with my son, I feared that I could not have babies. But I did, I had two beautiful healthy ones. A boy and then seven years later,  a girl. The perfect family. Until it wasn’t perfect anymore. I divorced when my daughter was 4 and soon after that, met my husband now. The second baby I lost was his. We’d been married for about a year and didn’t waste any time trying because I was past 35 which doctors deemed risky  back then.

We were so happy when we found out that we were pregnant. I planned in my head and my heart all the things a mother plans. I was sure I felt it kick. And proudly wore maternity clothes and then when I was a little over 4 months, I lost it. Just like “that” it was over. I tried to be so healthy and barely took aspirin. It just wasn’t fair. And it was traumatic. I almost died. My husband went to work and came home right away even though I told him not to. It was good he did, because he saved my life.

It seemed after that, people didn’t know what to say, so they just didn’t. Or they said the wrong thing, like “At least you have two beautiful healthy kids.” Well, I knew that. I knew that I was blessed. But I really wanted that baby too. I don’t think I ever really got a chance to grieve. I still think how old that baby would have been to this day. I wonder why it happened. And it still makes me sad. But I did still have two kids. I just wanted my husband to have one of his own. But he did. He has been an amazing father.  Blood wouldn’t have made it different for him. Someone did say something that I will always remember… when I was talking about how I wished I’d given him one of his own. They said… “He will just have another one  up in heaven too.” That was good to remember. I liked that.

All I know is that in heaven it will all be different. I will have four kids there someday.

You Have Not Been Forgotten

Shadows fall around me,

I don’t allow my heart to even skim my thoughts

or it would break for it’s lost dreams

It’s been over two decades since I lost you

though it seems like a hundred years in-between.

I think of you more than just when I’m filling out medical forms:

4 pregnancies… two births…

But then, my mind travels back to my first baby,

and I’m surprised it still hurts.

Who would you have been?

You who came before all the others,

the first one ever, to make me a mother

It’s been almost 3 decades since I lost you

My stomach was much flatter then.

You have not been forgotten…

You, the two that might have been.

Diane Reed

“The Writing Room”


It was quiet. The morning’s summer sun flooded the staircase as the woman slowly walked up the steps leading to the attic. Imagining the room before she opened the door, she felt happy. She was finally going to start this project that she thought was only in her dreams. She finally set aside time and was determined to begin to make her dream of having a serious place to write come true. In her dreams she saw it all so clearly… The heavy old well oiled desk filled with lots of drawers and dents and hidden compartments that sat in front of the beautiful bay window overlooking the tree tops, as the little brook below sparkled as it jumped over the stones in the creek-bed below. The birds chirped and flew among the branches, dipping down from time to time to splash in the little brook to get a drink.

The floor was refinished with rustic old barn wood and the wall to wall shelves were filled with books. Of all genres, classics, and every other book about writing that you might imagine. The comfy over stuffed leather swivel chair sat in front of the desk. Her laptop, sat open and waiting for her as a fireplace consumed the other side of the room with an overstuffed window seat and throw placed just so.

Her imagination danced as she opened the door. She immediately was met with the musty scent of memories. It wasn’t a bad smell, kind of like when you take a whiff of a very old book, it is hard to explain just how great of a smell that truly is. Eyes still sparkling, she left the door ajar and surveyed her task at hand, only to be met with the reality of what really was behind the door… She did not see her beautiful writing room waiting for her to pen her first novel, instead she was met with boxes and boxes and more boxes, and stacks and stacks of books and old trunks all filled with things her family had accumulated throughout the years. Some marked with  names of her children, others of her and her husband. Some had names written across the tops or sides of them, of what was supposedly inside.

She looked at the place where her daughter had started helping her several years ago when she first shared her idea of making the attic a study to use for writing. Everyone was extremely helpful at first, promising to help clear out their own boxes. But now, several years later, nothing had been cleared out. It did look as if her daughter might have made an attempt at one time, and now it looked like a story standing still, as if her young daughter had been abruptly called away to go live her life. She smiled as she looked at a place where she once started to organize things. One pile might have been a “keep” pile and another, a “throw away” or” give away” pile, she was not sure.

Everyone was happily living their lives, consumed by their own busy schedules which truly made her happy. She side stepped the piles of teddy bears and books and kneeled down to unlatch a trunk among all the others. Not sure what she would find. The woman lifted the lid that she’d written her name on a lifetime ago. She dusted her palm across her name, as she read “Keri” in curvy round cursive that she almost remembered writing all those years ago. All at once, she was transported back into another time as if finding a time capsule. She lifted old loose photographs, and shifted a stack of yearbooks from every year on the floor beside her. She was just ready to thumb through the first one when something caught her eye. It was a box inside the trunk with packing tape securing each end. In big black marker letters it read PRIVATE with warnings of not to open, scrawled in her own youthful handwriting.

She sat with the box in her hands. So unlike the girl, who had packed that box away decades ago. She thoughtfully frowned and then slowly reached for some scissors and snipped through the aged tape easily. Inside, she discovered what she might describe simply as history. On top of everything she found her diary, still locked shut, but how silly, a key hung from the lock. She laughed quietly as she remembered always faithfully locking it and then hiding it with the key still attached.

She took the key and unlatched the little lock. As soon as she saw the familiar handwriting she felt a sadness as she remembered writing and the feelings of love and heartbreak and confusion that consumed her during that time of her life. The time when writing helped her survive, and it inspired her to go through the boxes and finally give herself that place to write, a place to tell her story.

Right?


A fellow blogger posed a conversation starter, basically asking us to reflect on a question that had been on his mind for a while…. “IF our life was over, how would we view it, right NOW at this point in where we each land?” Would we have done everything, we wanted to? Accomplished everything we set out to?

https://kingmidgetramblings.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/8070/

Jewel has a song called Satisfied.                                                                                                     It is probably my most favorite of all of her others.  A few of the lyrics go like this…

The only real pain a heart can know is the sorrow of regret when you don’t let your feelings show…        

 Did you lay it on the line?                                                                                                                                                      Did you make it count?                                                                                                                         Did you look em in the eye?                                                                                                                                                                                                              And did they feel it?                                                                                                                           Did you say it in time?                                        Did you say it out loud?

I think I have, said most of the things that I’ve needed to say that is, and if not I will probaly end up writing it. That is one of the perks about being a writer… you break open your heart and spill it out for all the world to see, whether they want to or not. And I guess they have the option of… the “or not” part and that is fine. At least I did my part.

In my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to say pretty much everything to all of the important people in my life, at least once. So I am satisfied that the people that I love know I love them, regardless of whatever the situation is when I am dead and gone, and if you know me, one of my strong suits has not been in holding back. If I think it, I say it. Though recently I’ve come to reflect on that and just maybe… the smarter you get, the more you learn to speak less. I mean, if you always share every card you  ever held, you would always lose. Right?

I have always been honest. And have come to the conclusion that, that is not necessarily a good thing. Since I expect no less from the people around me. I am just setting myself up for extreme disappointment. I don’t mean to sound like a cynic but expecting less of people is a lot easier than being constantly disappointed. And when someone shows you otherwise, it can be a happy surprise. Right?

I guess that is why I don’t reach out as much anymore. My circle has grown smaller and smaller, admittedly of my own doing. My husband on the other hand, is a people person. He would be at a party everyday if he could be. He is an entertainer and loves to be entertained. I am an observer. I have to force myself to be “on” and sometimes it is painful. And therefore I may just very well have to buy into the fact that I may have a touch of depression. It is hard to admit because I’ve worked in a Psychiatric Ward and been on the other side. The one with the key and the one who does the charting. I’ve transcribed doctor’s plans for his patients and carried out his order for meds for other people.

I don’t  close all the drapes and hide my head under the covers. I get up and cook and clean and work.  My house is the one that normally hosts all the family holidays and even though I am currently unemployed, I am out there trying to survive. I chat with random people and look for whatever opportunity I can find. I  strike up conversations and laugh and cry with my friends. But some days I am just so mad at the world and focus on the wrongs and the evil and hold on to resentments and just can’t seem to muster up the energy to try to let it go and other days I  just move on and don’t think about it all day. I recently had a whole week of fun where I just made myself stay happy and realized it was because I was actually happy.

So… What is depression? Can’t it just be circumstantial?  All I know is that some days I am so blue I just wrap myself in regret. And other days I am glad for all the times that have brought me here because what hasn’t broken me has made me stronger, what I thought I couldn’t get through, has made me a survivor. And when sh*t “stuff” happens to us that we feel is unfair or we run into situations that seem to be driven  by pure evil. It is only normal to feel kicked in the gut and a little more cautious to trust again. Right?

On the other hand, when  someone special (that you really want to see) surprises you with a special visit or you plan a special trip and have things to look forward to, when things are resolved, and you can breathe for a while, or someone pays you a compliment, or you have had a success that validates your efforts, or you just stop and breathe and see things from the eyes of a child and listen quietly in the moment of a prayer while you are down on your knees, and here God whisper ever so slightly…”My Child, it’s all going to be okay.” You lean back on HIS promises and whisper back…. “I know, right?”

To Put Me Together Again!


                          


My line of Dumpties  

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…

I had a huge epiphany yesterday….  the older I get… The faster I recover  from falling down (metaphorically that is.) My body may take a little more time healing, but my heart seems to jump right back up. Once upon a time when something or someone tried to rob me of my joy, I’d dwell on it and let it knock me down and then I’d stay there and wallow in it.

Now, I just brush my shoes off and move on. And it is so freeing to be able to do that. To step back and evaluate the situation and the source and not be held hostage by someone else’s point of view. Over the years I have put so much value on the opinions of others (no matter how ludicrous)  and I have needed everyone’s validation.

Maybe… because I have  hit rock bottom so many times that I’ve learned to start building my foundation from down there. And have begun to finally  leave all the baggage of others behind. I have finally learned that by doing so, I can rise up faster and farther and stronger than I’d ever imagined. To look up from the bottom, get down on my knees and know HE is there with me as I  smile and say “I know that was you God, thank you.”  I don’t need All The King’s Horses and all the King’s men to put me together again because I am not broken! And will no longer allow anyone to tell me differently.

NOW,  I can just let it go. Where I used to beat something into the ground and let what other’s think, hold me hostage from my joy. Now I have learned to give others their space to think what they want but to no longer let it affect me, to know that my value is not someone else’s  perception of who they need me to be, or wish I was, but to remain 100% authentically true to myself .

For All Who Took The Time To Read My Post Yesterday


I wrote the post below several years ago titled: The Comfortable Place, long before anyone really read my blog. When I wrote just for me and used this blog as a place to store my memories. Yesterday’s post was also written as a Thank You to all those that had something to do with my amazing Seattle trip and also a place to store my pictures that I took. Today when I came on to read everyone’s sweet comments, I noticed that wordpress had attached some of my older posts that related to yesterdays and HAD TO share this one. It really captures just how much last week’s Seattle trip means to me. I wrote it years ago, never dreaming Seattle would ever happen for me again….

Pictures of my cousin and me… (You can see the book case behind the chair) Also, the Lake  that we visited….              Image             Image

That Comfortable Place

Sometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.

Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.

I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.

Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, (which to be honest, I really don’t know what that building really had been) held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.

Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.

This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry.  It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.

They Say You Can Never Go Home…


I turned sixty this year and I told my very thoughtful husband and family that I wanted NOTHING. Forty and fifty were over the top costly celebrations and sixty just didn’t make me want to celebrate. Though I know that I am clearly blessed to be celebrating life at all and don’t take that for granted for one minute, I just didn’t want a party. Well, this year, my amazing daughter Brookie, and her Dad concocted an epic surprise for me. She faced timed me, holding tickets to Seattle!!!!

So for the last several weeks I had the most amazing gift to look forward to. You see, Seattle is my happy place. My childhood memories of all my summers all the way to sixteen were gathered there. My cousin Pammy and my grandma were really the glue that made everything so special but for more than half my childhood I knew that come summertime… I had a place to land. A place that made the world go away for a little while and to fall into the arms of a place that held unconditional love for me.

My grandparents lived just blocks away from Lake Washington on Seward Park Avenue. Their house was magical. It sat grandly on top of a hill that overlooked Mercer Island and everything about it was an adventure. I think because my cousin who was a little over two years younger than me, followed my lead and believed everything I said. (I am laughing out loud as I write this.)

My dad was up and coming in his career and had to travel and was transferred several times as I grew up. But he promised my mom he’d always send us home. And he did. I think maybe why I have to have “something” to look forward to now and if I don’t, I think I just realized that I get a little depressed. But there was nothing like looking forward to my Seattle days. I go there in my head now and walk through the rooms of that house when I am sad or just need a “HAPPY PLACE” to escape to for a while. I hadn’t been back for almost two decades. My last visit, my cousin drove me to the house and we walked around it, and as we were leaving met the owner who didn’t seem too impacted by the fact that our grandparents owned their house so never got to go in. And In my furthest dreams, and my most wished for  “check off”  of my bucket list… I never thought I’d ever get to go inside again. But the plan was that we were going to go and knock on the door…. Looking back now, I don’t think any of us thought any further after that.

This is the story of my journey as I truly got to go back home again…. 

This really is just a recount for me, but you are invited if you’d like to come along. I will only share a snippit of all we did because we packed so much more in, I will have to share it all in a few posts…

 Seattle bound!

I hadn’t been on a plane since my cousin and I went to Puerto Vallarta. It was such a blast to be going with my baby and this time she was taking me! Funny, how you start depending on your kids to navigate and find the baggage claim etc… 🙂

Pam surprised me with my cousins Katy and Jill and Katy’s kids that came along after I stopped going on my Seattle Summers and celebrated 60 with me! I was so touched and loved that Brookie loved them so much! It was as if no time had ever come in-between and we’d known each other our whole lives!

The next day…. Pam dubbed as our “Memory Lane” day. We got up early and headed for our old stomping grounds. First the lake that we spent many days sneaking down to…

It was so fun to stand where we used to stand and share the memories with my daughter who’d written that she was excited to have my stories come to life for her. I was so excited for her to see the house but the most I expected were maybe some good photos from afar.

Well guess what??!

THIS is a shot of the INSIDE of my Grandma’s door!!!!!!!

The most angelic lady opened the door and invited us in! Well, let me back track a little…  Pam and Brooke asked “Do you think that we should knock.” And I said “Oh yeah!!!!! I was not missing out on the opportunity. I guess at sixty you can do things like that you know. Anywaaaay, I knocked and my cousin and I kind of stepped back. I think I was thinking “Oh no! Now what?!” But Brooke stepped up and said as eloquently as I wanted to…. “Hello, this is my mom, and her cousin, and their Grandma lived here with their moms.” She invited us in right away. She was exactly my mom’s age and knew about our Grandma from the lady up the street who had lived the last 70+ years of her life taking care of her mom, our Grandma’s best friend Helen, who died a few years ago at 107!

She let us walk through each room. Even up the stairs that were probably the best memory I had of that old house. As we chatted for over an hour, I couldn’t help but feel this grateful emotional wave as inside my head I thought… “I can’t believe that I am standing inside my Grandma’s house with my baby and my cousin!” The two people in the world that could understand how much it meant to me and helped make it happen!

Entrance as you walk in the door (stairs are on the other side of the entry way wall)

            You see the Fireplace as you walk in the door and the kitchen doorway is to it’s right

r    Built in bookcase (view from kitchen) staircase to the left and front door on the other side of the wall with a little view of the sunporch my cousin and I used to sleep in.

Better view of the sun porch from the kitchen

side living room window (on the left as you walk in the door)

My favorite memory! The stairs! We’d sell tickets for our shows we had on that stage! I made my poor cousin perform on the landing as we did our nightly shows! (Since she had the better voice!) As well as other adventures we used to think up, using those stairs as our prop for most of them!

View from one of the upstairs bedroom windows

The above door is the one to leading to the basement. I tried to take a picture of the stairs where my grandpa used to come in after work and hang his pendelton before coming up the stairs. I was a little disappointed with the kitchen. I remember it with all the old fashioned appliances and squeaky “pink” cabinets! PINK?? and it had a bread drawer that always had powdered sugar dounuts in it! Maybe I should have known they’d change the pink cabinets. Smile…

Patty our Angel who lives here alone now since her husband passed away a few years ago.                                                       (Looking out the kitchen window into the magical back yard as she chatted with my baby)

       

The dining room and the built in china cabinet where we used to sneak sugar cubes out of!

      

Front of the card (me when I was little, with a ski mask on photo shopped by my crazy cousin and the beautiful ceramic sugar bowl she handmade for me with two pounds of my own sugar cubes so I would not have to steal them anymore!

The dining room french doors lead out to my grandma’s beautiful back yard.

It is still as magical as I remember it.

 

In Brookie’s card to me she wrote….

” I’m so excited to share this adventure with you & to see all of your stories come to life.”                                                   I am not sure how I ever got so blessed but as I was standing there in the moment… I was so grateful to my daughter and my husband and my cousin and Patty and to God who blessed me with all of the memories that I treasure. And I thought… Sometimes… in those very rare… serendipitous moments when the seconds and minutes all kind of work out just right. You CAN go home sometimes.

I Didn’t Take Care Of Me Then So I Have To Do It Now


If only we could learn to just expect the best from each other at an early age

I wonder why they say that our childhood affects us so much, and that the years; birth to twenty are our most formative?  So… approximately less than 20% of our life, (considering we live into our eighties) is supposed to be what makes us tick? Do you agree?

When I was seventeen I met a boy that changed everything. I felt so wrapped up in that relationship that I let my friendships suffer and walked away from my values and morals and let that boy become my world. I think that I had insecurities from my childhood that in turn caused me to allow the kind of relationship we had happen. Though I feel that I had a great childhood as childhoods go, my dad traveled and we moved a lot and I was never in one place or school for too long until about seventh grade so maybe that had a lot to do with everything. I was barely seventeen when we met. And in everything that came before that, I do feel that what happened next has made me who I am today.

I’d dated before but I was really swept up this time, like never before. I admired him so much. But there was always this ambivalent feeling deep down inside. Kind of like I felt so lucky to have him and yet wanted to turn and run like the wind to get away pretty early on in our dating. I wonder if it was my child inside me that had a little more spunk trying to give me the strength to hear my inner voice that I ultimately ignored. There were some really good times but some pretty bad times and I wonder why I stayed so long. It makes me want to analyze it more now.

Recently, a young girl I befriended a few years back, shared some abuse in her relationship on Facebook. Several people jumped in sharing how they were also in abusive relationships and how hard it was to leave. Not only was I stunned about what my young friend shared, but also about her friends that shared their experiences.  No one ever guesses what is going on. We all are experts in hiding and protecting our worlds as we know them. And… No one understands unless they are going through it. I’d hid what was going on for so long, I knew once I’d told someone  (like this girl did on Facebook) it would be my exit. Maybe that is why I didn’t tell. I wasn’t ready. I wonder why some people stay and some are carefully looking for the red flags long before they say yes to a first date? Well, I know that in my daughter’s case it was because she had a mom that drilled into her head to never put up with one second of someone with a temper. And she didn’t. She held out for someone who is her partner and best friend. I made sure that she felt valued and loved from the time she was born. So why did I stay? And why did I stay when I finally knew that I wanted to leave?

I asked myself these questions as I pondered writing a book about it. Back forty or so years ago, no one talked about abuse. Especially just dating abuse. Fortunately, I realized that if he treated me so badly before we were married, what would it be like married with kids and stuck? The thing is. YOU can only help you. We were engaged and slightly financially enmeshed but what if I only depended on him? I think that is why I’ve always found it so necessary to always have my own way of making money.

There are parts to this story that are so convoluted. Parts that I can barely believe ever happened. Parts about leaving, & returning and parts about leaving again. Today I have come full circle. I almost lost everything trying to get closure from a place in my life that changed me into who I am today. I had to go and get that part of me back. I don’t regret it. Though I regret hurting anyone in the process. The bottom line is that I didn’t take care of me then so I had to do it now.

Today I am not the same person that I was yesterday. And you know, I think that is what it is all about. To answer my own question… Our formative years are every year we are still alive living life. We don’t stop evolving and learning the lessons. We are a part of the lessons daily. I just needed to find the strength in the process and the tools to realize that I have learned that I don’t have to reside in my past ever again… only refer to it as needed.

IMG_3822

(I am beginning to dust my book off and trying to figure out what I want to say in my synopsis letter. This was just an attempt of the dusting part!)

PS:

Below (in RELATED) there is a link to  two past posts that explain everything much better.

1. Go to:  the click of a key in Facebook

& then

2. Getting Over It. In abusive relationships

(both below in Related) that will take you on this journey that will help you understand more & someday be part of the book I am dusting off & preparing for submission. I just need one week without interruption. 😏 Sigh.

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

It’s been a while since I’ve written and even longer since I’ve worked on “my book.”  It’s funny. Once, I couldn’t “not” write. Now, I am not in a major writing block but I don’t want to just write to write. I have fleeting moments when I want to share something but if I don’t move on it right away, it kind of goes away like blowing bubbles… they are there floating around and then POP! Maybe it is because my study is out there with my art studio now. I have to walk outside, unlock a door and turn on a light and warm the place up before I can begin, where once I just walked to my office inside the house. Or… Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my ideas in my head don’t last as long. Smile.

But in the time I’ve been away from my blog, I have a few things that have happened in life that I would like to share if you would care to pull up a chair for a while and chat with me…

In dreams… I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself. and you have to become fearless in doing it. Even when you feel you are wasting time, or doubts crowd in so you can’t see the whole picture, you have to realize that dreaming is a form of planning and that nothing worth while ever just happens. Hard work and persistence is the only way you reach your goals. You must run toward your dreams as if you were on fire! And believe that you are never too old to set another goal and another, to reach that ultimate place that you want to be. The trick is… to realize that there is no expiration date on your dream. It is terrifying at times, when reality gets in the way and you have to make the choice to stay stuck in your comfort zone or go for it.

In relationships I’ve learned that love is a funny thing.  It isn’t just about that “all wrapped up in a butterflies in your stomach, over the top Ferris Wheel, falling in love kind of feeling. It is leaning on each other in the good and the bad times. Growing older but still seeing the beauty in staying. It’s still having a few fights but not wanting to pack your bags every time you do. It’s caring about each other with unselfish fortitude and doing things the other wants to do and giving freedom without guilt trips when they want to go do something without you. It is supporting their dreams and getting behind ourselves. And realizing that a supportive spouse is about as HOT as it can gets! And it is wanting to be together while sometimes doing nothing at all. And it is appreciating things in each other that you may have missed along the way. Things that have always been right at the core of why you’ve stayed.

I’ve learned that our kids are small for such a short time. That in the blink of an eye, they will be adults with thoughts and opinions of their own. That we have a tiny window to insert the values that we want them to carry with them. That they learn by not our words, but by our actions. Not by what we tell them, but what we show them. And in the end, it is their choice what to take with them and how well we packed those metaphoric suitcases for them.

I’ve learned that life is short. Time is fleeting. Love is more than a feeling. And only we can choose who we want to be. God has given us all free choice. In believing in HIM and believing in ourselves. I know people in my life who have given up on both. And I have learned through all my choices… never to give up on God or myself or the people I love and that everything is worth it in the end.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta get back to work!

my-studio

(My new art studio/study my hubby made for me!)

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

(A start…. My Welcome Folk… Porch Dolls)

I’m So Glad I Didn’t Give Up


Things I might say to my future self…

“I am so glad that I didn’t give up!”

I no longer look out a window as I write this. I am inside my brand new cozy art/writing studio that my husband lovingly built for me after we moved here and has since made new, and recently moved me back into.

my-studio

When our daughter was in the third grade we had an opportunity to move and so feeling that raising her in the country might be amazing, we packed up all of our things  and moved four hours away from all of our friends, my son (a biggie) 😦 who opted to stay, and my business and all of my art shows and resources. Though we brought all of the show displays and art stuff, planning to reboot a new customer base, it just wasn’t the same.

show-display

I ended up traveling back and forth to do my shows and for a while it worked. And then we opened up our little shop; Rose In The Woods, which if you follow me, you know our story about losing it. (If not, you can find the story here:) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

But that is not what I wanted to focus on today. It is just that today, I sit here determined to not let anything stop me. To somehow let all of those times when I felt slammed up against a dead end, not discourage me, but to encourage me. Because… I am still here believing in that same dream.

Years ago, when my neighbor took a little painting I’d painted for her as a birthday gift, to her corporate building where she worked, and came back with forty orders for me. I believed that God answered my prayer about finding a way to stay home with my kids and work for myself. Which I was pretty successful doing, for a couple of decades.

Today, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. I have read hundreds of very helpful tips and tutorials and I am still not reaching a very big audience. I realize that this is barely week two since I re-opened my Etsy shop and that my art needs to be updated (which I am in the process of working on) and that today there are so many more talented people out there toting their own wares. Some that were not even born when I began and that those little artists  are way more techie than I am!

But then I have to go back. Back, back, back. To my VERY first art show. It was  THE ONE to get into and there was a waiting list. I started praying that somehow I’d make the cut. I knew it was slim to no chance that I’d get into it that year, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But someone dropped out at the last minute and wahlah! for some reason “I” got in! I was not in the greatest spot and I was outside and it was FREEEZZZING and I only made a few hundred dollars that weekend, but I took the opportunity to walk around and study the booths that were packed with “buying” customers and took notes! The next year at that same show, (I had a better booth inside) I made One Thousand Dollars the first hour! Keeping in mind that this was in the late eighties and that was BIG money at the time. During that year in-between, I’d added dolls to my line and started making a line of actual kid-sized ones. As the show opened, a lady who lived in an amazing near-by neighborhood known for their elaborate Christmas decorations  called “Sleepy Hollow” bought all of my elves that morning.

sleepy-hollow

(Her house won the award that year)

I can’t say that I was THAT successful, every show after that, but it made me realize what I could do with a lot of preparation and understanding the market. Now, I feel as if I am kind of starting at the begining again, and I just need to research like I did for that first show. My kids, my husband and my friends have been great cheerleaders. Though, somehow I need to reach that customer base I was so spoiled having for so many  years . I’ve been wandering through the Etsy shops that have thousands of sales to see what they are doing right, that I am not. I know that I need better photos and to keep educating  and challenging myself technically. (Which is probably my biggest road block.)

I welcome all my reader friends to wander through my shop below & I welcome any feedback as well!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I am not sure what is in my future, but someday I pray that my future self says: “I am so glad I didn’t give up!”

May I never forget that on my best day I still need God just as desperately as I did on my worst day! believe-defined

 

 

 

Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

I feel as if my life is so out of control right now. I’m kind of having a little panic attack as I do the bills.  I have no job. I mean it simply hit me that I am unemployed! My parents are aging and I am worried about that, as roles reverse and I feel the pressure. It almost feels as if my life is like a little “flip book” as all the years just flash before my eyes.

From riding in the back seat of my daddy’s car and watching the moon follow me, I remember falling asleep only to wake up as he carries me in the house, feeling safe and so content. And then all of a sudden, first dates and the ups and downs of falling in love for the first time and a couple more times after that. Of weddings and having babies, of miscarriages and parties and funerals and then more baby showers, a painful divorce and another chance and another wedding, in-between the pain of failure and the whirlwind of just living life and trying to survive with all the joys and heart aches that come with it. Never feeling that the good times lasted too long but looking back “now” and feeling that even the bad times were kind of the good old days.

I remember shopping with my daughter her freshman year of high school. We had a budget every year. My kids always got the first day of school outfit and some other new outfits, new shoes and a new backpack with school supplies. I guess it was so special for me because my dad always took me school shopping and it was this amazing tradition that I treasure more than I ever did when it was happening.

The year I remember most, my daughter and I were on a vacation with my childhood best friend. She was blessed with never needing a budget and her kids usually came out with a bag of something from each shop we went in. The girls had run ahead of us and when we walked in the store they were all already shopping. My friend’s daughters started handing their mom clothes they’d chosen, when  my daughter ran up to me with a jacket that made her eyes sparkle. I looked at the price tag and with a raised eyebrow said, “you know this one jacket is a third of your school clothes budget!” Without missing a beat she just put it back on the rack as my friend purchased more items for her daughters as they ran ahead to the next shop and my daughter happily followed.

Something kicked me deep in my heart, the way she didn’t argue or even mope. At that moment I felt richer than all the money I could ever need. It only took a second for me to grab that jacket and take out my credit card and decide that I’d just have to figure out how to stretch the budget  for that year. When I reached my daughter I handed her the bag and said, “this won’t count as part of your budget.” She burst into tears hugging me and said “Oh mama, thank you but it’s too much!” It was probably one of my best purchases I ever made. Later my stunned friend asked me, “How do you make a kid be so appreciative?” I knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question so I didn’t say what I wanted to, but the answer is  you don’t buy your kid everything they want so they appreciate the things they do get.”

Today my daughter buys her own clothes and lives her own life. Both my kids have little parts of me in them but they are mostly themselves. And I am happy they are strong and have their own personalities and are creating their own way. But at the same time I wonder where it all went? The time of buying clothes and setting curfews and driving them to this place or that place, well it sends me to a place where I feel the pages flipping by. In a way, I wonder where it all went. So fast? in my flip book of a life!

I remember my grandma telling me how in her seventies she still felt seventeen. Me too! Now as I look to my future I feel that flip book, remembering the box boy who called me Ma’am in my thirties! Or the woman at Ross asking me if I wanted the Senior Discount in my forties! I remember being size five! Where did it all go?! That little girl I once was, is just a ghost of me, but still deep down inside somewhere.

Like a flip book, I want to slow it all down, I want a do over! But then I realize that someday, these will be the good old days and that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest I will ever be again!

Being nice… IS as Simple as That


bullying

When I was little I used to look at the mean kids and think when they grow up and look back, they will be so ashamed. But as I have lived life I know that more than likely, they just grew up to be mean adults. Funny how small our worlds are when we are young. We don’t automatically understand things objectively. It is all so simple before we are about eight or nine. We don’t understand about egos yet. But if we are blessed, we have adults that can teach us that it isn’t what others think about us but what we ultimately think about ourselves.

My dad grew up in a family of five boys. He was a twin and most of his life didn’t have a toy of his own. And the ones he did have are stories he tells about seventy years later. He recently told me a story about a big old mean coach in High School that told the class that nobody better return without gym clothes. He had $5 to his name and a horrible tooth ache. He went to the dentist and was told, “$10 bucks to fill and $5 bucks to pull.” Needless to say he returned to school without gym clothes or “that” tooth. He said that all the kids were standing there in new shoes and gym clothes and he was the only one dressed in school clothes. I won’t even give that horrible coach room on this page to say what he said. But my dad never went back to that school and later joined the Navy to be able to eat and get an education there.

In my life, I have discovered a lot more about mean adults. As Jane Austen said: “I was quiet but I was not blind.” in observing them, we  learn how  to deal with them. As kids we knew them as bullies. As adults we call them difficult.  I have strategically positioned my life around those people, avoiding them as best I could. I’ve viewed them a little like “land mines”  and tried to surround myself with amazing people and must say that I’ve been pretty successful in doing so.  Though, we all know that even though we choose most of the people we spend our free time with, there are a few who slip by that we can’t control, work related, family, and a few that we let in on our own omission.

Sometimes we have to look deeper and understand that hurting people hurt people. That where we see the two choices, to be nice or not, and  two paths that seem pretty obvious which to take, we must realize that in their pain, they are only seeing one. In the past, it has been so hard for me to not say what I am thinking. Let’s just say that the filter has been slightly in need of adjustment for a long time. I have to intentionally realize that the guy who cut me off or cut in line, has no idea who I am or is personally doing anything to me in particular, and that I have no idea what is going on in their life. It isn’t always easy to just be nice, to stay on the high road, to keep my joy and not give anyone else the power to to take my joy away. Nor is it my responsibility to punish them for their bad behavior.

Being nice is as simple as that. We can conquer negative energy with our peace.  But what about the ones in our lives that is not a stranger that we may never see again, but someone that we have to deal with daily? It takes practice not to react. It takes even more to be “nice” and understanding. Because sometimes the ones that challenge you more, teaches you the most. That people and situations are both powerless without your reaction. I remember once I accidentally cut someone off who was in my blind spot. I saw it all unfold in my rear view mirror as all I could do was hold my breath and pray. It was a near miss.

traffic2

As the guy pulled up next to me, I knew he deserved my eye contact and I gave it to him as I mouthed as sincere a “SORRY” as I could without him hearing it. It totally diffused the whole situation in less than a second. This big burly guy got a soft look on his face and accepted my apology all inside the magical moment of respecting each other. I was wrong. He deserved my recognition of that. How easy would it be if that happened every time on the road. No matter who we are, regardless of age, gender, race, we need to respect each other. It’s as simple as that.

In the end, the only power we have is to set an example. To realize that everyone deserves kindness and respect, even the ones being rude to you. Not because they are nice but because you are.

“It’s Okay Sir, There’s No One In That Car”


eq

Anyone who has followed my blog knows this story… but sometimes I just need to remind myself of all my blessings. So please bear with me as I remember.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, having recently been laid off, but still trying to finish out my “time” when it dawned on me what anniversary it was, and how thirteen years ago today, I was bustling around our little store, turning on the Christmas music and the fireplace. Making hot apple cider and setting out cookies.

My daughter and I had just pulled up in front of our little gift store, Rose In The Woods, to “open” as we waited for our employee Caroline to relieve  us long enough to go Christmas shopping.

All month long I’d hear our customers say… “This is my last gift I have to buy!” and I’d panic, because I hadn’t bought anything yet, besides the gold watch I’d ordered for my husband and just picked up from Pan Jewelers, a local merchant in our building , a few days earlier.

As we pulled up, my daughter Brooke asked to wait in the car but I coaxed her into helping me open, promising that with her help, we’d get out of there sooner to go shop! Just as the Fed Ex guy showed up with a back order of quilts, Caroline, our employee walked in the door as Brooke implored,”No mom pleeease don’t open that box!”  knowing that normally, I took the time to open each quilt and hang them on a fat dowel to display. I decided to compromise saying that she could just price them in their zippered plastic packages and was about to find a basket to put them in when the phone rang and my husband was calling from across the street where he’d recently moved his printing business in order for us both to have more room. Asking if Brooke could run over and  pick up a mug for a customer who was scheduled to pick it up that morning.

We both rolled our eyes as if to say “we are never going to get out of here” as Brooke ran across the street. And another customer walked in. I’d just found a basket for the quilts when we heard a loud bang and all of a sudden our painted wooden floor began to buckle and roll as the room began to shake for what seemed like several minutes. I can’t say why, but I directed everybody to get in the back of the store and as they did, the roof caved in, right where my baby would have been placing that basket filled with quilts.

Not knowing, that when our roof caved in, it had also slid off of the building onto the cars below, including our car that Brooke had asked to wait in! I ran outside to find my baby still holding the mug, crying in her Dad’s arms as they surveyed the crunched building that used to hold Rose In The Woods. Not yet knowing about the two women killed right next door, I ran to them. As we stood huddled in the middle of Park Street that day, we watched as heroes began pulling the bricks from things.  I  suddenly noticed as they started removing bricks from my car. So I ran over, and choking back a sob I tapped on the shoulder of one of the firefighters and said…”It’s okay sir, there’s no one in that car.”

IF ONLY…. I Could Go Back And Tell Keri What I Know Now


christmas-tree

When I was a young girl, I counted the days until Christmas. Both my parents made it magical for me. My dad was as big of a kid as I was about it all! Maybe because they didn’t have a lot when he was young. And my mom baked and decorated and was always making something and well, I was just blessed.

My memories are of festivities and Nativities and later…. of my mom’s holiday boutiques that she held at our home with all of her artsy friends, when for a few days our house was transformed into a kind of magical holiday shop that was constantly packed with people. Now looking back, I remember it as happy days, but I know I was annoyed by it as a teenager. Not being able to find a parking place when I got home from school, having to maneuver my way through the crowds as I walked in the door, having to smile and be as polite as a sixteen year old can be, as I trespassed over the barricades on the staircase to my room, flopping on my bed to call and complain to my best friend or boyfriend or whoever I was calling, only to find someone else on the line downstairs. Grrrr….

But as an adult, looking back those were The Good Old Days!! And I have tried to replicate it ever since. I tried to make each holiday magical for my own kids and hope that they have special memories. I even have done my own holiday boutiques. A few at my house, but mostly I have found ones like Sugar Plum Festivals in Orange County California  http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/  that I did for years, before opening up our own store Rose In The Woods.

Each period in my life, I look back on fondly and yet I remember constantly being annoyed with something or other. And I realize now that each time I complained, whether it was getting ready for a show, or being overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of owning a store, I missed the blessings a lot of the time by feeling burdened instead of blessed.

Even now I almost missed it. I have learned that due to financial reasons there will be lay offs at my job and my position as an Event Coordinator will be one of the ones eliminated. Just when I felt that I’d really gotten organized and each event was smoother than the last. My boss and I were fine tuning things as we would see the need and after the last event which happened to be a holiday boutique that I helped make a success, we were getting a lot of calls for quotes for more events. Not even sure what will be happening with that building, Corporate has decided that my position can be integrated. Funny, I never even felt resentful. But I am sad. I love my boss. She is one of my best friends now and will always be whatever happens. But it kind of sucks that most corporate companies have to make these changes by the end of the year so it falls on the holidays.

fireplacefire-in-fireplacetreejim-and-i

I guess with all the changes looming over my head, I really didn’t feel like doing Christmas this year. But lo and behold, I came home a few days ago and my husband (with his bad knee and all)  took down every single box marked Christmas and went about pulling everything all out and making it Christmas in our little home whether I wanted it or not! Yesterday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary and through all of our ups and downs, job or no job, I can’t imagine not recognizing right now that THESE are the Good Old Days!!!!!!!

writing poetry

Some of you know that I have been writing a book for the last half of a decade. It is about a fictional girl named Keri. But to tell you the truth, she is me. In every aspect. Though I thought it would be easier to tell my story in the second person. http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com  It starts out with Keri as a young girl. Before cell phones or the Internet. And moves to today. I started a very rough draft in a corner of my blog to see if I could get some feedback. It is VERY rough and I definitely will edit a few times and change the format before I seriously consider showing it professionally. In my blog I feel safer and know I will get honesty but a little softer (Smile) though now I think I can take the professional feedback. So who knows THIS may be the kick in the rear I needed to get serious with it.

I had not visited that section of my blog for a while and someone said something profound in a comment on my last post… about how we come with more experience than Keri. And I thought…”Oh how I wish I could go back and tell Keri everything I know now.”

I have always relied on everyone else to think for me


 

judy-garland-quote

The thing that I must remember,  is the “concept”  that not everyone is 100% good or 100% evil. Nor are they 100% right or 100% wrong. Navigating through this life, I sometimes feel as if I am being carried by this vessel called “me” who came with so many facets, all without instructions. I know that I’ve only used a tiny percent of my brain and my heart, well who knows where I lost the directions on that one! Though, over the years experience has been my guide. If you follow my blog at all, you know that I am big on where we come from, our history and how it has molded each one of us.

Some may say that I live in the past too much. I say that our pasts are our best teachers. And knowing about the past of others can give each of us a little more compassion for the other. I love to hear about everyone’s story. When I was little, I’d ask so many questions, people would jokingly ask if I was writing a book. Even back then, I knew it was a rhetorical question and was not always meant kindly. But finally I learned to answer, “You know, I probably will someday.”

It looks as if I may have the opportunity, to get serious about it sooner than later and just might have some more unexpected time on my hands. I’ve always been a believer in God’s Timing, not mine. And perhaps His subject, not mine. I’ve had this project in the works for several years now. But I’m not sure I am ready to bring it full circle. I feel that I have other things to write about for now. This last election was life changing for me. It opened my eyes to how I have always relied on everyone else to think for me. For the first time, I really researched and only now realize that I only tapped the surface. It has inspired me to be better, to know more, and be accountable for what I believe and basically who I want to become.

computer2

The one thing that I have discovered is the fact that no one is just good or bad, right or wrong. Sure there are some pretty bad behaviors and some opinions that to me might be wrong. But God created us with free will and no one can take that away from anyone. Whether they believe in Him or not. There has been so much hate and anger over the last year, friends un-friending friends, family and co-workers divided. And for some reason, social media seems to be the place where people feel entitled to behave badly. Kind of like when some people are behind the wheel in traffic. There is a mentality that certain people get on the Internet, like someone cutting you off on the road, there is this sense of false power.

I have been learning to look at both sides and research not via the propaganda, of either side but find the facts and the history of where that person came from or how an issue originated. Discovering that no party is 100% right or wrong. Every person has good and redeeming qualities. We need a template to help us move on. What  better example than  ground zero’s?  I’ve been reading about the personal stories of 911 and it is hard to believe that we’d ever recover from something so horrific! But we have. I remember for a short time, we all worked together in a kind of recovery mode. Enemies and friends, all one. We need to find that place and again, to look at each other one at a time, without race or gender or parties and stop hating.

If I Let You In… Please Don’t Break Anything


..

terri-scott-and-i In San Mateo… in my front yard… I wonder if I never moved who I’d be today… ?

At a very early age, I learned how to put up walls. Probably because… when I was younger, I was always the “new kid.” My dad was up and coming. A Mattel Executive, right when they were introducing Barbie and Hot Wheels. He rode the wave  and then in the 70s he seemed to settle into a computer Company called CSC in El Segundo and remained there for several years as one of their Vice Presidents. When I was nine, we finally landed in a Southern CA Community called;  Palos Verdes Peninsula, where other up and coming daddies also brought their families.

Being a Mattel tester kid was fun. During our first move I met Terri. My first best friend, who ended up being the best thing about all of my dad’s transfers,  (& remained my best friend until she died a few years ago) admitted that she was jealous of me. She told me once, “Your dad went on all of these business trips and always brought you something back.” Little did she know, I was jealous of her. Her dad came home every night and she lived in the same town all of her life.

palos-verdes-peninsulaPalos Verdes Peninsula

 

Maybe it takes a kid with a better backbone to go to four elementary schools before nine, but I never really mastered the art of making friends back then, basically it was just plain awkward, coming in the middle of each school year. And kids can reeeally be mean. In turn, I tried to teach my kids to seek out the underdogs and welcome them into their group. Kids learn how to be bullies at an early age and I feel that if more parents would take the initiative and teach their kids to be more aware of the friendless kids, I think they’d ALL have a head start on becoming amazing adults.

The thing that saved me is that I loved to read and write and I always had Terri.We bought funny stationery and sealing wax and wrote to each other often. And where ever I went, I knew I had a best friend “somewhere.” Who knows if I’d remained across the street, if we’d have stayed best friends or even traveled in the same crowd. But there was something magical for both of us…  To her, I was the girl across the street that traveled all over and for me…  well, she didn’t even know. She just made me not feel so alone in those times of being the new kid and arriving after everyone had already made their friends for that school year.

Looking back as an adult, I see that every circumstance and experience made me into who I am today. And I am grateful for them. But back then it just seemed to suck. I think that is why I only need a few good friends now. And perhaps why I love my blog friends so much. It is a safe place and in my neighborhood here, I rarely have run into a bully. Most show up as the kind of friends I wish I could have found in my elementary school days. And for a magical moment it is just you and me. When I read yours and you read mine.

vallonVallon Drive… Street I grew up on since Junior High…

Today, I wonder who I’d be if I’d always lived across the street from Terri, and we never moved. I wonder if my kids would be the same kids, or if I might have had a totally different life. All I know is that  I over think things. I scrutinize the whys and try to figure out what makes others tick. I know now that as a kid, when I’d feel as if I wanted to disappear, I really wanted to be found. Though, over the years,  where I used to care, I have learned to not trust that many people. I appreciate people who are honest, those who keep their word, are not judgmental and especially are not bullies. When I was younger, I used to wonder how the bullies would turn out. As an adult, I’ve realized that a lot of people just end up being mean adults. Though a few have surprised me and had the depth to change and we have become good friends. I think that knowing where people came from helps and I don’t think that I could ever not accept an apology.

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the adult perspective and move past my insecurities. And I am still a work in progress. An “I LOVE LUCY” episode comes to mind where Lucy thinks that everyone has forgotten her birthday, while in reality Ricky and her friends are waiting at a surprise party for her as she goes out and joins “Friends of The Friendless.” As adults we see the irony in the humor of LUCY. And I think I have grown from that little awkward NEW KID into embracing my friendships…

But…. If I do let you in, please don’t break anything.

broken-heart

SHOUTING to be heard


you-are-a-writer

My daughter gave me a book last Christmas that I have been reading and re-reading this past year, called; You Are A Writer (so start ACTING like one) by Jeff Goins. And something he said really resonated with me; He shared an example of how every Sunday for the past 150 years Londoners have assembled in a corner of  Hyde Park as a place to share their views on anything from politics and religion and everything else in-between. Standing on a stage where they’d get up to speak and shout their views into the crowd. He goes on to say that today the Internet is our Hyde Park and the stage belongs to everyone from artists to entrepreneurs and yes, writers. And how it is important to not have to shout above the crowd but make your own platform where your loyal readers know that they can find you week after week.

speakers-corner

Always loving a good  metaphor, he gave a perfect one that really  made me think! He shares about receiving a newspaper that he didn’t ask for that lands daily at the end of his driveway. It gets rained on and never read and always thrown away. though he realizes that the editors and writers probably put a lot of work in writing and editing and distributing it, he doesn’t care and didn’t ask for it. That made me think. A lot of us write our blogs hoping that it doesn’t land unwanted, on that reader’s driveway, that we have   earned a platform on their page and have an unspoken permission to show up on our followers doorstep when we do.

newspapers

I actually got up today, intending to post this, when I got caught up with my previous post that I just posted. It is different than a lot of my posts, but for some reason I wanted to write about it. Not that I usually expect someone to read two posts in a row. As I never would want to be just another annoying metaphorical rolled up newspaper that’s  ended up at  the end of one of my reader’s driveways. I feel that it is important to recognize that you really must earn the space that make people actually read. Like the Hyde Park gathering where the crowd hushes to listen. To feel heard is an amazing feeling but also an honor.

computer2

I have some pretty loyal readers, no matter if I even answer back, they are always faithfully there reading. Not even a lot of my family members  do that! LOL. I know that some still have the mentality that if I read theirs, they will read mine and if I get busy, I can tell it is a give and take with a lot of other writers. And I understand. I just can’t read everything I follow and only try to follow those I know that I will read.  And love the new writers that I am getting to know and look forward to their posts. Sometimes I will spend a day off wandering through posts that I have missed. I just know that I never want to feel that I have to shout to be heard and that  I’d rather be one of those  newspapers that my readers are waiting for and not one of those soggy old unwanted ones!

I See The Light!


I have recently realized that light is very important to me. I remember visiting my cousin in Seattle several years ago. It was funny, as kids I was always the leader. Being two years older, I decided the adventures and she was my little follower. My soldier of one, following my instructions. In this particular visit we were adults and somehow I feel that she took the lead. I was visiting her and her home.  I admire her so much for taking a life that didn’t start out with a lot of the things I took for granted and worked hard to create a pretty great life.

sad-lights

During that visit, she worked as a Marketing Executive at a trendy Company which she took me to tour. I was so impressed. When we got to her office I noticed that she had a light on her desk that she described as a SAD light for those that had a  light deficiency (Seasonal affective disorder) and went on to explain, that a lot of Seattle based people seemed to have. I laughed thinking that she was joking about the weather and she got a little miffed at me. “It is a very real thing!” She’d informed me. And you know what? I get it now.

lampToday as I sat down in my office, pre-dawn, I turned on the overhead light and then quickly turned it off and turned on a floor lamp. And I would rather have the entry way light off and a near by lamp on. And it made me think… maybe there is something to this light thing. I know that there is a certain time of day that I love. When the light hits just right.

dusky-sun

And lighting that just makes me uncomfortable. Weird? Maybe. And not really relative to a cloudy day.

light-bulb-light

But I am beginning to notice what makes me happy. As daylight Saving time approaches I am already noticing the mood changes around me and believe that those people in Seattle might have something.

rain-on-window

Some people can tell it’s going to rain by their knee hurting… sometimes it is another part of their body that hurts… cloudy-wisps

My Happy Project & A little Konmari!


happy

I promised to come back and report on my happiness project. I always hate to announce publicly any new resolutions I take on because I know people will be watching and yet I feel the need to put it out there to make myself accountable. I have really been trying to notice what makes me happy and trying to be less negative. Though this election makes it a little hard not to feel negative or a little scared. But not going there today!

I will say that I’ve realized that though I had a pretty good childhood and great parents and so on, I have kind of come from a negative family. A little judgmental and gossipy and jumping to seeing the negative. I’ve noticed it more and more in talking to certain people and I know it has rubbed off on me.

I will go for a visit and return with a little more evidence that my theory is not so “off.” And so the question is… can you really teach an old dog new tricks? (Me being the dog.) Can I break the cycle? Is it too late? I am determined to!

junkyard-dog

I have always given the benefit of the doubt to certain people in my life knowing that they came from a pretty horrible background or childhood. But it is different when it is more subtle and you realize in your fifties that there were some things pretty off. Even if you were loved and adored and cared for as a child, the messages we learn are a little like a frog sitting in a tepid pot of water as it eventually begins to boil.

frog-in-boiling-water

I am turning off the heat and jumping out! Just watch me! I am going to be aware of my negativity and stop it. It may take a lifetime. After all a half a century of learned behavior is cemented in there, but I have my chisel and I intend to carve out the happy in me! One chunk at a time!

My daughter has recently gotten into Konmari (Google it if you haven’t heard of it.) It is a way of organizing, asking if an item brings you joy, if it doesn’t you thank it and toss it. Lol. She admits that I had the same ideas when she was a kid cleaning her room. (Take all the trash first, and then the papers, books, clothes, toys, etc.) I didn’t think of the joy and thanking each item… in her room that would have taken a month! LOL. But I find it hilarious that she is into this AFTER she moved out!

messy-babybrookie-really-in-her-bed My baby… she does everything with a passion! (love the one sock off!)

But I love that she is and I am so proud of her! (She does EVERYTHING with a passion!) She inspired me! And after 20 huge yard sized bags, I have donated to our church’s rummage sale, I love my empty and organized closet! And have moved on to our garage with my husband. Spending my last day off clearing half of my side of the garage!

messy-closetpile-on-the-bedempty-closet clean-closetclean-bedbags

 messy closet,  pile on bed,  empty closet, clean closet, cleaned off bed,  bags to donate!

Why I’m sharing this is… metaphoric of course… in the physical sense it is freeing to let go. And in the spiritual sense it is mentally healthy to release that closet full of metaphoric junk I’ve piled high for all these years!

I urge everyone reading this to take each thing you are holding onto and look back in your life and remember where once it came and ask if it brings you joy and if it doesn’t… toss it onto the pile and let it go!

Wiping Away That Heart On My Sleeve


heart on a plaid shirt

I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve. My what? Where?! Yikes! What’s it doing there?? I do. I know. I always have. I used to think that it was a good thing. I mean what you see is what you get. Right?

But seriously, as I get older, I am beginning to understand why that might not be the greatest idea anymore. Sometimes you have more power  when not everyone know what you are thinking and God forbid that you are so honest to let everyone know your feelings.

I heard someone say that they get up everyday and just decide to be happy. To find the joy in everything. Even the bad stuff. It kind of gets me excited to believe that is even possible. Heck, I can just at least try it. Okay sooo I will report back tomorrow and meet you here to tell you how it went!

Who Am I To Stand In The Way Of Anyone Else’s Grace?


woman typing

It really is easier

to make it all someone else’s fault.

To be so indignant and load the blame somewhere else.

To get lost in the anger and pain and to go back and forth

never quite figuring any of it out.

I just can’t understand  why it is so hard to just forget…

and get caught up in not knowing where to go with all these feelings.

I have filled my pages with words that sit in archives

not knowing where they belong.

Just storing them and forgetting that they are there

and then re-finding them again.

But when I started this thought and re-found it…

It just was too good to not finish it…

I have been told by someone I care about…

who is the source of a lot of my pain

 that they are falling back on God’s grace.

And I think…

I give up.

 I really need to just let go…

For who am I?

I mean really, who am I…

to stand in the way of anyone else’s  grace?

diane reed

2016©

That first Whiff


terri, scott and i                                I’m on the left, Scott is the one on the right

I think we all have them… that file of memories tucked somewhere inside of each of us that snaps us back like a rubber-band. That place when we smell or taste something familiar or hear a song that sends us back to a different time in our memories. I even have a time of day that hits me in a way that I just feel safe. As if someone has just told me that it is all going to be okay. For me it is around two PM.  That time of day must have been about the time when I’d wake up from my daily nap to my mom’s warm welcome back. A time before bills, a time when someone else took care of all my needs.

Whenever I taste chocolate milk, (BOSCO to be exact) I always think of my friend Scott who lived nextdoor. His mom would set up a little table under the tree in his front yard and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Such a decadent treat back in those simple days. I can still taste it. I remember walking into his kitchen,  and the scent of plums and peaches filling my head. His dad had a grocery store a few block away and every once and a while, I get a whiff of what that grocery store smelled like, and it snaps me back into those carefree wonderful days. It was a combination of the produce and deli departments and the memory of buying pixi stix for a penny each that still can prick my heart.

Bactine and Dippity Doo, Coppertone,  and the smell of tar and asphalt all have the same effect (The tar smell probably because there was a freeway close to our school that they always seemed to be working on. As a kid, I also loved the smell of a restaurant as you walked through the door. You know that first whiff. A combination of cigarettes and coffee. Every now and then I smell it but now that they don’t allow smoking in restaurants, that exact whiff is few and far between.

One of my favorite memories is falling asleep in the car as a kid. Watching the moon follow me home as I drift off and then feel my dad pick me up and carry me inside. As he unlocked the door and that first whiff of “HOME” would hit me. I can’t explain it, nor have I ever been able to duplicate it,  but I can still smell it in my head. And it was the BEST! I think it was a combination of a million things. But most of all, I think it was just  that it was that  time in my life when someone else was in charge of worrying about everything. Maybe there is a special scent for feeling carefree? If not, there should be!

How about you? What do you remember? What are some of your best  memory smells? You know, those first whiffs moments that you will never forget?

To Stop Fighting The Smile


 

my-buddies-and-the-twinsI’m the 2nd one from the left

Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.

From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking  back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid,  I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.

Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!

As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.

But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self,  she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain  is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or  fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.

I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.

For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.

I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe  in the dream  that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big.  And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.

my-smile

Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat


 

shower-spraying

I can’t explain it but the older I get… the more I notice things. I need room in my head for mundane chatter. Whether it is my iPod as I walk or my mp3 when I drive, or the background noise of the TV, to put me to sleep. I am not sure what it is but I don’t like silence in my daily life.  It’s not that I need to be around a lot of people. (I am around people all day at work.)  Actually, I like being alone quite a lot, and enjoy my own company. It is more like the need to have my mind occupied so I don’t have a lot of time to be overwhelmed by my own thoughts of what I need to do or worry about things that I really have no control over. And I’m afraid, it is a little crazy making.

jogger-with-ipod

And yet, I have discovered why. I have so many thoughts in my head, I think that my head might burst, if I just settled down to re-live every memory or think every thought. My boss laughs at me sometimes, because we share an office and at times the filter gets jarred and I just ramble on about everything, to a point where I am sure she gets pretty dizzy. She has a smiling raised eyebrow look that is a gracious way of helping me realize I need to shut up! (And I am smiling as I write that.)  Maybe because our office is one of those quiet places that I have to stop and think,  which is a good thing, because in that case I can focus on my tasks at work and get more work done!

computer-screen-frustration

I guess besides my office, there are two places that I must have complete silence, one is my choice and one is because I have not invested in the technology that can get wet yet. The first one is at my computer, while I write. I can’t have background noise and in fact, it is the time that I utilize all that clutter in my brain to write about all those thoughts in my head!

The other place is in my shower. Maybe it is because it is the place where I have closed my eyes leaned back and stood beneath the same water, and had to be alone with all those thoughts. From the time I was nine or ten, I took showers and the ritual of washing my hair and planning my day and closing my eyes and shampooing, rinse and repeating  has always been the same. Day after day, year after day, My shampoos have changed along with my body, growing taller, growing up, pregnant, losing weight, gaining weight, tanned in the summer, white in the winter. Excited for the day, planning what came next, crying and praying, and even writing in my head sometimes. A place where I couldn’t get away from me. A place sometimes where God would find me and or I would find Him, where my mind could stop and really listen and where my heart could catch up.

lemon-go-lightly-shampooherbal-essence

 

My shampoos have changed over the years, my body has changed, my hair has changed. But when I am in that shower I still can find that ten-year old, or remember that 30-year-old. I think of best friends gone now, lovers lost, family passed and it is all overwhelming. I think of vacations planned for and just a memory now and feel the water as I close my eyes and plan my day and pray.

paul-mitchell-shampoo

Shampoo Rinse Repeat…

I stand in the shower remembering

like reading a journal backwards

Seems like I’ve stood beneath this same water

almost  a million days before

Shampoo, rinse repeat, and then condition

as I continued to plan my days

The warm water running over me

as I close my eyes and pray.

d reed

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

Recently, I have been on this journey of self discovery. I kind of wish that I’d done it a lot sooner. It is rather frustrating to have discovered this simple key that helps me understand others more and never took the time to  apply it to myself. I think I was just so busy with being busy that I’ve only just muddled through being aware of things when it comes to me.

But the one huge thing that I’ve discovered and has become crystal clear to me now, is…. how we all start out as kids. And the key for me has always been the word… HOW.

mirror-broken

I know when I am aware of someone’s difficult past, there is a degree of forgiveness and grace that I automatically allow. It is so automatic that I hardly even think of it any longer. But somehow I forgot to allow myself the same grace. And that has been a pretty big revelation as I wander back picking up the pieces where I left off as a kid and who I was and why I am who I am today.

I think that I think too much and it drives me nuts. It is funny how some of us are wound. I know that in my life, letting go of the excessive thoughts could have set me freer. Wondering what others were thinking, making up in my head what they were thinking…etc.  In my journey, I  realized that I set different expectations for people in my life. There are some, where I see their faults but overlook them for the sake of our relationship and can live happily that way. Others where I notice them, but if it doesn’t effect me in my head (and who decides that?!) I can co-exist on some level that is annoying but doesn’t blow my day away because I have learned to distance myself emotionally. And then there are those poor unfortunate souls that  don’t have any grace at all. I am constantly aware of every last sin and call them on each one. WHY?! Maybe because they matter to me. What they think of me, what I think of them. They are the ones that make a difference in my life.

I know that I want to care less about everything, in the way that it effects me negatively. Though I know that I will always over think some things, but  as I understand me more, it won’t matter as much. Like the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the rude clerk in a store, have nothing to do with “me” and more about who they are… If I could only give the people actually in my life the same grace, my brain could relax a little more.

I think the thing that really prompted me to go back on this journey is this question that really caught me off guard…..

And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?

What about you? Hopefully you haven’t lived fifty years and just now realize the importance of the answer to this question.

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

Like A Boom-A-Rang


doorknob

I have been spending a lot of time in the archives of some of my favorite wordpress writers here. I have always found it funny when people have told me that they wish I would write more when I have over two years worth of posts in my first archives that I am sure that they haven’t seen or for that matter, no one has ever seen.

When I began this blog, my daughter had just left for school and though I hadn’t been a stay at home mom for years, and had a full life with a full time job, the hole I felt was deeper than I’d ever expected and so in working around my feelings, I found a blog called Empty Nesters that really helped me not feel so alone, where other people talked about their feelings too and it really helped. As an all my life writer wanna-be, I took the plunge and after starting a few different blogs, found wordpress and settled down here. Writing mainly for me. Never expecting anyone else to read my silly ramblings.

book store

 

Now over 2000 followers later, I feel blessed to have settled down in my little blog neighborhood with people who I actually consider my friends. It is hard to keep up with everyone. But it is fun to go back in their archives and read their earlier posts. It made me wander back into my own before anyone ever read any of them… Mostly before 2012. It is like going back and opening up an old door. And it is funny because I find the words I wrote so long ago a little useful to me. I used to say if I could help just one person by sharing my story than that was enough. Never imagining that the one person that needed my advice would be me.

writing signature

Maybe we need to backtrack and from time to time go back into our own posts and find some good advice. You know what they say, sometimes, all you have to do is look in your own backyard for what you are looking for!

Try it. If you are looking for some answers in your life today, go back and look through some of your old journals or posts and see if you might find something helpful there. You might find that you have grown a little wiser since writing. But you may also find that you actually can learn something from yourself all those years ago.

Too funny…. Like a boom-a-rang I have to swallow my own words.

reading on the floorPerhaps we are smarter than we give ourselves credit for and we need to find the answers in our own lessons learned.     d.reed

The Best Things In Life Are Not Things


 

bracelet.

My Grandma B was my dad’s mom. It is funny how there is always a grandma who is a little closer than the other. Grandma B wasn’t it. Though I loved her and I know she loved me. I was the first grandchild so for a while I was pretty much it for everyone. But slowly the other kids came and my Grandma Nina-Mae was the one that was my soft place to fall for most of my life. I was born on her birthday, I was her first grandchild and up until she got really sick, we had a very special bond.

My Grandma B was closest to her daughter’s kids. So it surprised me that shortly after I’d had my daughter I received a funny little note. It came with some old pearls in a special clasped box and a few baby pictures of my dad who had died a few years earlier. The note said: Your dad bought these for me when he was over seas in the Air force. I thought you might like them. They may be worth something since he bought them for me in Korea.  It was a funny note. She didn’t end it “Love Grandma” she just ended it. About a month later, she died talking to her best friend on the phone. She had a brain aneurism.

I didn’t care how much they were worth. They meant more to me than I could ever say because of the random way my grandma had given them to me right before she died. Maybe she had a premonition. I am not sure. But it wasn’t so much the pearls, it was that she’d thought of me.

While she was still a little girl, I decided to give them to my daughter on her wedding day.  I knew in my heart that they would be hers someday. And always planned the giving to be special. I actually gave them to her at a special gathering of her brides’ maids at a sweet little brunch  she put on for those involved. My best friend and I were also invited to it and I thought that it might be the perfect place to gift her with the pearls so that she could decide if she wanted to wear them or if she needed to match a dress to them. She cried and it was a sweet moment. Just as I’d imagined it would be.

When trying to decide if they actually “worked” with the dress, her photographer suggested that she wear them on her wrist instead of around her neck, I have tried to be the kind of mom that sets my kids free and  not to barge in with my  own agenda or what is in my  head or in this case heart. But I have to admit that I was a little disappointed and annoyed with her photographer…. especially when during a dance they broke all over the dance floor, scattering pearls everywhere!!

I think my heart lurched a little, and of course, my daughter was devastated.  But what actually blew me away was how all the groom’s men got down on their hands and knees and deposited 4 pearls, and 7 pearls and 5 pearls and 4 pearls and 8 pearls… into my daughter’s hand. It was the sweetest thing I ever experienced. Sure the string of pearls seemed so important at first. After all my daddy gave them to my grandma….  But over the years I have had to remember….                                                                                                    That the best things in life aren’t things.                                                                            

And that it is those sweet unexpected moments where these grown up boys got down on their hands and knees to rescue my baby’s pearls. I knew without a doubt that these friends her husband had chosen to stand up there with him as he married my daughter represented what I’d always wished for, for her and that the best things in life are definitely not things!

marquee

I am in charge of the Marquee at my work; Today’s saying

The Chimney Rock Fire


 

 

E VIEW FROM OUR STREETview from our street

For the last week, my neighbors and I have been sitting on the edge of our seats as we watch the surrounding communities being evacuated as a fire rages around us. Since losing our store in the 2003 San Simeon earthquake,  (link below  -I’ve been asked about)

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

I have never looked at people going through a Natural Disaster in quite the same way since that earthquake. Not that I didn’t care, but things like that just seem so far removed  from  your own life. I didn’t truly understand. NOW I do. Before, it all seemed so distant. Now, not so much. Something changes you after experiencing something like that. It is not just strangers going through something on the news. Now, I stop and pray for them and understand. I’d like to think I learned more lessons from that experience; I know at the very least…  I view “things” as just “stuff” a lot more easily since then.
It became clear last night when things got pretty close and I was shaken awake by a very loud, reverse 911 call alerting our area that the neighboring community, where many of our friends reside had just been given their evacuation notice. Even now, it is not clear that we are out of danger. The electricity has gone out a couple of times and that kind of freaks me out because besides the layer of smoke resting on our whole town, I just assumed that our amazing firefighters were getting a handle on things. But have since learned that weather conditions have a lot to do with containment and growth and that it is just unpredictable.

I guess you might say that my bubble popped and I stopped living in lala land and began looking around trying to figure out “IF” we were notified…What would I take? I began taking pictures of things that I might need for insurance purposes and made a mental note of everything sentimental that I would grab. Notes from my dad and my kids, ones from my husband, & my mom. Pictures, important papers,  And then my eyes fell on my Bible. Now days I use an electronic app  as my Bible, and that, not often enough. It is worn and weathered with highlights and underlined verses and something about it comforted me, as I held it for a moment and then placed it inside my “important box.”

Today we still are on stand by but it seems to be moving away from us. We never know until we hear a new report. But I just sat down to take a break and glanced at my Bible and took it with me to read. And realized I’d been missing something so special by not sitting down with that old worn out book.  I flipped through it and God started speaking to me as I read highlighted and underlined verses. It is so crazy how each verse that I’d marked at another time in my life was meant for me to read today…

As for me, I shall call upon God, And the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur And He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me.    PSALM 56: 16-18 

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.           JAMES 1:12

Jesus knocking

I love how God finds me

right where I am.

whether on solid ground

or on shaky sand

sometimes stepping off the foundation

away from the rock

sometimes ignoring His calling

and  gentle knock

Always so busy

and as

rushed as can be

while He ever so patiently

waits for me.

d. reed

FIRE 2

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

PHILIPPIANS 4; 6-7 

One last thing…. Whatever you may be going through… God is nudging you to remember that HE is just a prayer away.  Praying is like a soft rain after a long drought, it is like falling into your daddy’s arms after a long absence.

 

God Bless you.

Looking Forward


plane in clouds

I have come to the conclusion that I will always need something to look forward to. I was born in Seattle and four years later, my dad was transferred to California, and then Colorado, Missouri and Illinois and then back to California where I grew up in a place called  Palos Verdes. When we moved, my dad promised my mom to always send us “home”. He kept his promise, no matter where we were, every summer, without fail,  we would pack our bags and fly to Seattle. So no matter what, I knew that every summer I had something pretty big to look forward to.

I think that I zeroed in on this particular discovery after my daughter’s wedding. I was so focused on the planning and whatever part I played in the tasks I was given, I didn’t have a lot of time to go to that corner of my mind that is clouded with those things that bring me down. When I was a young mom, I did art shows. I created all year-long and knew that almost half a dozen times a year, I had a place to go. I was a part of a creative group of people who added to my life in ways that I am only just now recognizing.

I have been back in the corporate workforce for over a decade now. (Working for someone else.) My husband has turned my art studio into his office and our indoor office into a guest room slash office that was supposed to be where I was going to write.

Not really the place I had in mind inside my head. But I am there now, writing this. The plan was that I would work part-time and start writing my book. I did write my book. But as I have read and learned, I see the flaws and mistakes in it, and well, at least I have the bones. I know the story. I just need to rewrite it. Easier said then done.

blue house

When I was first married, before kids, I had  the sweetest landlord, Mr. Allen, that was working on the house in front of our apartment. It was an amazing craftsman’s style home and I think that he saw that I loved it as much as he did. Everyday, he would take me on a tour to show me all of the things he’d fixed or installed the day before. Good ole’ Mr. Allen, we were buddies.

We had a little agreement that someday, I would move in there. We even shook on it. But I remember talking to my friend who lived next-door and us agreeing that if he ever finished it, he would probably die. His daughter had a friend that wanted to move in there and so she stepped in and thought she was helping her dad by hiring a carpenter to finish it and sure enough shortly later, he died. I have no doubt that we all have the need to contribute and create and when that seizes, we all seem to falter.

I am not sure if I have a great or profound message here. I guess I just needed to write this out for me. To give myself a kick in the butt so to speak and understand that I am the only one who is in charge here. Regarding my health, both mentally and physically. I can’t wait for anyone to do it for me.  I also know that I am a creative person and I need to create again and look forward to something.

I have not shared my; What I Know For Sure-isms…. for a while so here are a few for those sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for more! (JUST kidding!!!)

  • I must always try to keep myself busy enough so that I don’t pause long enough to allow my mind to wander too far away.
  • Only I can create the version of myself that I want others to see.
  • Success starts when you  believe in yourself.
  • Your own opinion of yourself is what matters first.
  • Telling people your plans does not work as well as showing them.
  • I am my only limit…. people have achieved much more with less.
  • The past is a place of reference, not a place that I need to reside ever again.
  • Sometimes what consumes your mind, can control your life.
  • I can live my life with people but no one can live my life for me.
  • I want to live my life in such a way that someday someone says to me:                        “Because of you I didn’t give up.”

 

 

You Have A Memory On Facebook


I wrote this several years ago when I was going through something that hit me like a Mack Truck. My first husband had recently died and my nest was empty. I was in the process of re-inventing myself and a Friend Request on Facebook literally rocked my world. For almost a year I took a powder. Pouf and I didn’t even know who I was. Once I’d been loyal and honest and felt that I had a decent amount of integrity. And the next, I was falling down a rabbit hole that didn’t have a rope.

Through a lot of work I found my way back but I am not proud of who I became for a while. The Friend request was from someone who’d destroyed my confidence when I was a teenager. The relationship was subtly abusive and hard to describe other than that of a frog sitting in tepid water, who finds himself smack in a pot of boiling water. The getting out and getting over it and the memories almost did me in.

Today I read… YOU HAVE MEMORIES ON FACEBOOK…. It was the post below. I’d written it before too many followed my blog. It was safe. We were all strangers. I am writing a book about my journey. Of abuse, of reconnection, of second chances to say everything you ever wanted to… Like I said, I am not proud of my choices but I don’t regret them because they made me who I am today. Someone who appreciates today and has stopped looking back.

The Post was titled;

YOU CAN’T LOSE SOMETHING YOU NEVER HAD

You remind me of the ocean, the smell of the waves, the scent of summer, of heartache, of endings… of beginnings… of engagements and breaking up, of learning for the first time how to put aside dreams and learn how to survive the pain of heartbreak, you gave me my very first broken heart, you remind me of a never ending love that has weaved it’s way through the decades that have passed, the place in my heart that still hurts if you touch it, you are the reflection of my youth and my hopes and sorrows.

You taught me how to love and were the keeper of my tears. You challenged me and you suffocated me. You believed in me, maybe more than anyone ever has and yet you smothered me, snuffed out all the confidence in me. I sailed boats with you and flew planes!  I mean “I” actually FLEW a plane without an engine because of you! When you believed in me. I believed in me! I discovered that I could do things that I never would have thought of doing, if it had not been for you. Oh how you took me to the top of the world and then, oh but then… you dropped me and oh how I crashed. And even today, I’m not sure that I ever recovered. Maybe that is why I let you back in, to go back and get pieces of me.
You loved me and you hurt me over and over again, you left me found me over a lifetime of hellos and goodbyes, I loved you and I hated you, and yet I forgave you , fantasy and reality cloud into one, I see so clearly and am blinded at the same time, I understand because I know your pain and yet I can’t overlook my own, I give up everything for you and  escape with my life, I never look back and remember it all, I am safe when I am falling, I am silent when I am calling, I lose my soul and find it again, i pray for forgiveness, I believe and I doubt, I fail and I succeed, I dream and then I look back and remember, I laugh and I cry all in the same breath, I dance in my head and ache in my heart, I grasp at my youth and cling to my wisdom, I crumble where I am and gather the lessons I have learned, I turn around and find you, I let go over and over again, I sing from the mountain tops inside the silence of my imagination, my heart is stopped, I thought that I could change things, somehow fit you in to that place you left so long ago and yet the space has been filled, maybe not perfectly but slowly, I think that as I fill it with new dreams around the healing wounds, I might still have a chance at surviving this whole crazy place that I have found myself in, I take a breath as  I fall on my face and pray for strength to stop the madness.. and feel my heart begin beating again. And finally realize that …..

Someday I want my book that I am ripping apart once again, to give hope to the broken hearted and strength to those that haven’t even reckoned with their own strength yet!

Letting It Go


frustrated on computer

As I was waiting for my AOL to kick in, I had to restart it twice. Sometimes I just stop it  mid way of signing on because I know it is not going to do what I need it to do. I reboot it and wahlah it pops on! Such is life… Sometimes I feel like AOL. It takes me a few times, but then I finally “GET’ it!

All of my life, I’ve had certain instances where I know that I have missed a life lesson that I was supposed to get, or at least one that wasn’t supposed to take me so long to grasp, it was so obvious. Recently I have experienced being consumed by my own anger in regard to a wrong doing. Though I am not saying that I was wrong about what had happened. I am saying that sometimes I get so stuck in the negative, that I’ve convinced myself that it feels good down there in the muck and the anger.

sad girl on stairs

Forgiveness just feels much better than anger or harboring ill will or a grudge. And true forgiveness does not need a recount of all the wrongs or even a discussion about what happened. All you need to do is let it go!

girl being free

The times that I have wasted being offended or angry about something and the release I have felt after forgiving that same offender has been epic. In fact, I have realized that I have more room in my heart for them, sometimes in a much more profound way than others who have not hurt me. Perhaps, because that new love is a gift straight from God and the lesson He has given us over and over in so many examples in His Word.

It is a lesson that I have mostly fought and yet one that impacts me greatly each time, I let go and allow Him to take over. And it blows me away each time, how truly amazing it is that I can’t just go straight to that place rather than fighting it the whole way. Though I think that I have finally mastered the concept. Putting it into practice is still a work in progress.

My first example that I can remember was a childhood friend of my first husband’s though both are gone from this world now, I let my hate for this man consume me. In the end, (to not get too lost into an entirely different story) he became gravely ill, I ended up giving him a Bible, that I had another friend take to him… she told me that he cried, in a split second, I was over it, visited him the next day and we cried in each other’s arms. He survived that illness.  And a supernatural kind of healing took place that day and we had an amazing friendship after that.

hugging crying man1

Whether it was a misunderstanding with a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, I have come to terms with the fact that the magic is just in “letting go” not retracing the  words or steps that brought you to this place. (I kind of tend to waste a lot of time obsessing on the wrongs.) But regardless of the gossip or the facts that led you to the negative place, whether it is an actual apology or just a genuine hug. The act of letting go is a little like running around and gathering up all the poison and throwing it away before it harms anyone further. It is only wishing the other person well, and really caring about them so much, that where you literally felt hate just a second prior, it is replaced by a magical kind of love. For, it is in that split second act of forgiveness that you will literally experience the quickest “miracle” that you have ever experienced.

triumphant

       Proverbs 10:12 Proverbs 15:1  Proverbs 15:18 Proverbs 19:11                                                            Matthew 18: 21-22 Hebrews 10:17

You Should Have Been There


ceremony site

We are told that life does not come with an instruction book. “It is what it is.” Terri, my bff who died last summer, said that a lot her last year. I didn’t have time to stop. Or no, let me rephrase that, I wouldn’t let myself stop and linger too long in the places where I might miss someone not there the weekend of the wedding. Someone, that should have been.

During the course of the planning, deciding who would sit where, & who would walk who, and what side was which, the reality of who was missing  came in a wave and I let it pass. And then, just walking around the bales of hay, alone after the rehearsal, the night before the wedding… as dusk was falling, and I was caught up in a moment away from the  happy chatter … another wave… But I wouldn’t let it hit me.  To really think about the people missing, the ones who should have been there. Because if I’d let myself I would have come undone. And this wasn’t about me. And I know they each would say, it wasn’t about them either.

My dad. Terri, Lucy, Randy… my grandma…. all gaping holes. All there in spirit I know. My mantra to avoid the pain, to grasp that it really  is what it is… was: just breathe. Sometimes to stop and feel would just be too excruciating. Though I knew you were here. I felt you all. The reason I won’t go visit graves. you are not there. You are in the joy and the love, in the moments that have led to now… but as I look around I still think… It is what it is… And yet…

Yes, You should have been there.

Ceremony day prepping the site

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Maybe there is an instruction book after all. Yes. I know there is.

Part Two – From the Mother of the Bride’s Perspective


This is “it” I promise…

I will try to keep this short. Though my blog is usually about my life and my reflections of it… this is more of a personal gratitude account for all the people that came through for the last year or so and more recently the biggest event that has happened in a while. My baby’s wedding! This is part two! I will try to get it all in… in one more post.

 (Now continued after Danielle – Part One

Wedding dress shoppingrachelrachel2Continuing with Rachel (The Maid of Honor)

I knew that when Rachel came along that she would be Brooke’s “Jody”. Fun and caring and honest and real. With Danielle, the two of them planned one of the rocking-est bachelorette parties I have ever heard of. Rachel was there from the beginning. From trying on the first wedding dresses to helping set up many of the events, she has been there through it all! I have never felt such sister love! They truly care about each other in the most honest kind of way. So happy they have each other forever!bridesmaidsThe Brides Maids…

makeupBrooke has a new sis! And her name IS also Brooke! And she is an amazing addition to my Brooke’s life! She gifted her the make up for the rehearsal pics & the wedding day! And also assisted some of the brides maids! I was so touched as she worked effortlessly and created flawless beauty! We are all blessed in this combining family thing! We all get along! And love each other!

shower fun

Karyn is the one on the right by the door… I claim her! When we were sitting waiting for our financial meetings  at AADA we started talking cuz their last names were next to each other, by the end, I kind of jokingly and kind of seriously, asked her if she would watch over my baby since she’d been in LA a few weeks longer than Brooke and had the most nurturing old soul type of personality in someone so young! Well, she obviously took that job seriously because she is in her wedding almost a decade later! Can I pick em or what?!

Kimmy (of the three in the middle of the pic above) is the one on the left. I’d been hearing such sweet stories about Kimmy for a few years. I knew she was special but had not met her until at the brunch Brooke threw  as a pre- thank you for her bridal party and invited Jody and I! And she did not disappoint. Love her!

Anne (in the middle of Kimmy & Karyn) is a newer friend to me. But also one that I’ve heard so many great stories about –  so that she has also been cemented into my mother’s heart as special friends that make my baby happy!

They all were amazing throughout the process, sitting on the floor at the coffee table gluing and cutting invitations and showing up to all the events. I was impressed with her girls. They all came through with loyal and undying love! They were truly the best bridesmaids in the world! From designing the wedding dress, to running back to town from the cabin to pick up the Rehearsal dinner soup! To setting up tables and chairs and doing dishes. These girls were the BEST!

lars

Lars was the Coordinator, setting up and taking down, it was soooo amazing to have him and Steph as a very amazing presence steph dj               (Am I saying that word too much?) Not sure how else to describe it! Cuzzzz Steph was one of the best and most amazing DJ’s around! I don’t think any of us expected such a professional job! They worked tirelessly through out the event. Hardly stopping! And the groom’s men were also great! Unloading the hay and tables and chairs and helping where ever they could! Amazing ~ friends and family all made such an epic team!

ChrisChris was awesome. Tirelessly catching every moment.                                                       Starting on Friday to the Father of the Daughter Dance the next night. He worked so hard catching the magic and it did not go unnoticed! And Kevin, Oh my. Brooke and Chase sure had some of the most talented people in the industry at this special event! What an accumulation of magic!

kevinKevin singing the First Dance song

And Jared. What can I say? He and Danielle went and picked up and hauled the tables and chairs and bales of hay to and from the site. I love this guy! And I might mention he is one of the greatest dads I know!

jaredceremony site

And Chadly! I’ve never been so proud!! He drove back and forth everyday and showed up looking so handsome with his amazing family! To walk me down the aisle and be there for his sister. He even helped me cook the next day brunch! (And was the muscles behind getting Jim up from the hay seat, a few times!) I love him to the moon and back!

Chad and SophieChad walking me down the aisleflower girls                                    And Amanda. “LOVE her!” Thank Goodness she was there to walk the flower girls down the aisle!

mod_1467043719216And Grandpa! What can I say? We almost lost him a few years ago. He was the perfect choice to officiate! You would have thought that this was his millionth wedding! So eloquent and amazing. Every word was blessed!

 

darwinsFather of the Groom and newest addition to the family besides Brooke!                                                              A few of the  Darwins…..          &…       This little guy… the newest addition to the family!                                             Can you say love?

And Chase’s family! Where do I start? His parents could not have been more amazing. Rolling up their sleeves and helping make everything perfect.

Setting up and cleaning and welcoming us into their family! Tate, Chase’s brother and Arlene his mom, and I especially bonded as they created the most amazing slideshow of Brooke & Chase! I learned a lot about technology and Tate was ever so patient as I fumbled along, trying to contribute all the photos  from Brookie’s life this far! (Unfortunately I don’t have more photos that I have permission to share here… but they are amazing!)

dar 2Brookie's Grandma and MamaMy mother in law and me! Isn’t she beautiful? And an amazing Grandma! Generous and kind and the Matriarch of our family! I love her! And so does Brookie!

JasmineJasmine showing us how to take a picture! Taking pics of my oldest granddaughter Jasmine… When she said…. “Here, Grandma I will show you how to take a picture!” Jody and me and Jas! Lots of loving!

And for all you praying for Jim and his bum knee! I saved the best for last! He was able to walk his baby down the aisle! He gave the most amazing speech and even danced the Father Daughter Dance!

walking our baby down the aisleJim and Brookie baby

She may have been holding him up this time around…

father daughter dance4

You will have to wait for the ceremony…..( I didn’t take any of that in honor of their wishes) I am letting them post those when they get them from their professional photographer. But that’s it for now…  Thank you to all my readers for letting me share here! And thank you to everyone who drove to this destination. That alone was a labor of love!

k and sKeith and Sarah…. Family love!

pinning on the groom's boutineereAnd now I just close by saying May God Bless this couple for many years with lots of love and health and happiness and great success! And together may they make a difference in this world and… live happily ever after!

The end…

(or until the next photo opportunity! :p )

bridal bouquet

Part One – From The Mother Of The Bride’s Perspective


This is going to be a two-part thank you. Because I know I'd lose your    interest if I tried to fit this all in one post. And because when I     began blogging, I once read that you lose your readers if you go too far past 700 words. But so many have asked about the wedding I wanted to try to share with you and to thank everyone for everything!

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

When I was a young mom, I was invited to a bridal shower that my friend was throwing for her  soon to be daughter in law. I sold my paintings and cards in her Bible Book Store and we became good friends. I remember her telling us all a story at the shower; she said “When the doctors placed my new baby boy in my arms, I began to pray for his wife.” And she continued,  “every year I continued to pray for you, and now here you sit.” She said to her daughter in-law to be. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day. And it stuck with me for all of these years.

This woman taught me many things in our friendship and that day she taught me how to pray for my kids. So when the nurse placed my new little baby girl in my arms a few years later, I prayed for her husband to be. Not many boys had come and gone before him. But no one that she brought home, ever felt like Chase did. From the moment I met him. I knew he was the one I’d been praying for all those years.

God is so good. He tends to answer me in detail. I rarely doubt that it is just a coincidence anymore. He probably does that for me (answers me in detail) because I am a doubter. Though there is no doubt that Chase is that little boy and then man who I’d been praying for. I prayed for a man who would love my baby, and have integrity and be honorable and that he would love God and my daughter with an everlasting kind of love. That he would be funny and patient and slow to anger. He is every one of those things and more. And when I listened to their vows this weekend, it was good.

Brooke and Chase Engaged

The days leading up to the wedding since they were engaged have felt like a whirlwind. Though we had 18 months to plan, we were on a tight budget & Brooke & Chase paid for a lot themselves, we were blessed with everyone that contributed generously, their own friends from the industry, family and life long friends all were so amazing.

And from the very beginning my boss & sweet friend, rolled up her sleeves & out of the blue would nudge me to create action plans for the shower and wedding and the day after wedding brunch, creating lists & sharing menus for the shower & then brunch that I was in charge of. Not to mention generously gifting them with their honeymoon! (she’d kill me if I posted  her pic – so just imagine an Angel!)       angel

jody and usAuntie Jodyflower crownBrookie and her pre wedding flower after a day of flower shopping with Jody

My bff Jody, “Auntie” to Brooke,partnered hosting  the shower with me at her house,  (because she lives near where Brooke lives and I live 4 hours away). She made all of the flowers, both at her shower & the wedding! Gifting it all!  Though now retired, she opened up her shop again (metaphorically speaking) & created everything! from the the corsages, bountonniers, flower girl & bridal party & bride’s bouquet & head wreaths, all the center piece garlands & hoop, working to the very last-minute. And her husband allowing all of it, driving the drive to and from a very destionationy destination spot! Brooke had a vision in her head and they worked together to create it like magic.

 

Brookie and DanielleThe other Ring Bearer and maker of the wedding gown! Her sweet cuz and nephew! (Ring Bearer #2!)more changescousin lovethe making of the bridal gowndanielle helpingBrookie in her first role as flower girl - a few more followed after that!

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

And her girls were Amazing! Her cousin (Matron of Honor) Danielle, made her dress! I mean she MADE her wedding dress! Seriously! When they were little they spent many hours in my mom’s sewing room as Grandma would set them free to snip and sew and create their own creations. It was so sweet watching an actual wedding gown being born as they worked tirelessly together, Danielle trying to decode the vision in her cousin’s head! As they changed the pattern several times to create the perfect dress. I watched as she patiently re-created it to perfection! Patient and loving and generous and oh my her husband? Well he has been dubbed “FAVORITE Cousin -in law!  To be continued in part two.

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

And Rachel! Who could have ever imagined a better Maid of Honor? But like I said…            (I didn’t know there was going to be a Part Two when I started this. But just had to go back up and re-title this post to Part One!)

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

A Place


shower8

I have been so wrapped up in work and life and my daughter getting married that I have neglected my writing for far too long. Posting posts from my archives, and just trying to stay afloat. So now that the wedding was magical, and my baby is successfuly married… I can officially announce that I am back! Though it is a bit like Double Dutch, trying to jump back in with both eyes closed. Where to begin?

first dance

First Dance

I will come back to share all of the wedding notes & pics with my loyal readers that might be interested, but in the meantime, I just penned a few silly thoughts that I have written about before. And I have found it all so interesting. It is a bit like the “CALGON take me away”  concept. We all just need that place to land each day. I would love to have a waterproof laptop because I seem to think all of my greatest thoughts while I am in the SHOWER and then pouf* they always seem to wash down the drain before I can find a pen and remember them, or aren’t as profound once I am dried off!

Anyway, I have really needed that place a lot lately. Perhaps I am cleaner than usual! But those long showers tend to clear my head and in the end, life happens and it is what it is. Isn’t it? But I am grateful for it all. The good, the bad, the lessons learned. The chance to make ammends with your past and to embrace each day. I’ve always kind of been stuck in the past or the future and I am finally just learning that today is the answer. To find that place where you can gather yourself and not just face the day but embrace it!

A Place

Inside my shower I’m inside my head

As the years fall down around me

The water rushes as I am ten again

And then fourteen, sixteen, twenty

A place where I can finally cleanse myself

From all the day’s wasteful chatter

Where wisdom seems to find me

Giving me a sense of what really matters

A place where I can just find me again

Sometimes where I’m washed in my own tears

Weary from the pain I feel

A place to cry where no one hears

To cleanse my soul and to talk to God

and then to give it all to Him

to be grateful for every moment

that I’m allowed to do it all again.

Diane Reed ‘16

I Will Always Remember You


 

 

daddy playing the guitar to me

I am blessed to have the dads in my life that I do. We celebrated them today. And I am so grateful for them both. Having said that, I am not sure why this year was especially tough for me. It started out looking for cards. Funny because as a greeting card creator, I usually have taken on that task myself. But my daughter is getting married next Saturday!! And my plate is pretty full. Though I did manage to throw a little BBQ  in honor of our dads, I just couldn’t shake the one that was missing.

You see my dad died at 51 jogging around the block. It is funny to think that he was younger than I am now. Just a few weeks after Father’s Day thirty-four years ago. You would think that the missing him would subside. But it never does. If I think about it long enough, I usually can fall to pieces, at least inside. Like looking for cards. I found some pretty good ones this year. But I had to put back the ones about carrying me and putting band aids on my knee and being there to watch me grow up as I silently whispered…”Daddy I haven’t forgotten you, thank you.”

I remember the long talks and the Saturday drives, You being the one to take me school clothes shopping every year and going to the top floor of your office building so you could make Snoopy Calendars for me and my friends. And you telling me that someday all the disk drives that filled that floor would someday, maybe even in my lifetime, fit on one desk and maybe even in my hand! Oh how I wish you could see just how much your predictions all came to pass.

I remember loving to make you laugh and wanting to show you first when I got an A or learned something new. I remember you loved to read my poems and said you thought I had something special. Sometimes I wonder what you would think of me and I have a million things I want to tell you and a million more I want to ask. All I can say is thank you for being there when I needed you most, whether to just sit there with me through a broken heart,  telling me that I hadn’t even met anyone who deserved me yet, but I would.  And being so happy for me when I was happy again.

You were such a great grandpa for such a short time. But you showered your new grandson with such love. And I have a feeling that you hand picked my baby girl for me from up there in heaven. As I looked through all the pictures to go back and find ones of us. I watched as a whole lifetime passed me by. You missed so much. It isn’t fair…. that the good ones die too young.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I will always remember you.

daddy playing the guitar to me

My Dad singing … “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” (For those born after the sixties, it was a commercial jingle. He was always a funny guy. The hole still is raw if I stay there too long. Today,  I just had to wander back. I am sure there are many that stood in front of the cards this year and remembered too… That the good die young.

The Release of Missing Kylie


A Generous Helping

I am excited to announce the April 9th release of Missing Kylie!

What is it, you ask?

Missing Kylie is a compilation of my writing from Kylie’s diagnosis to the first anniversary of her death. Like everything I write, I have triedto mix laughter together with theheartache of cancer treatment and losing a child. You’ll smile some, cry more- and most importantly, I believeyou will feel somethingwhile reading it. And despite what my macho side has told me all of these years, feelings are good.

The book contains short chapters, many of which started as blog posts, and it is divided into three sections: The Struggle, The Loss, and The Search for Meaning. Although it is organized chronologically, it is less a history of treatment and more a tango with God as I try to maintain my faith through the hardest two years any parent couldimagine.

View original post 469 more words

I will read yours if you you will read mine… Really?


reading computer screen

I am having another one of my reflective mornings,  with a mug of coffee, watching as the fog tethers over the road in front of my window. I think that I have shared with you that I live near a lake in a gated community. In the summer it can be very busy as boats are pulled in and out and I love it. There is just something about the hustle and bustle of  people living life that makes me happy and I don’t mind living so close to the gate (we are right on the corner.) But my very favorite view, if I could choose is that of twinkling lights of a city and a bridge at night. Watching the world below live their individual lives is kind of comforting to me. But today it is a quiet morning and I just felt the need to check in. Because the hustle and bustle of my own life has me missing out on this side of the bridge so to speak!

city view with bridge

I have not been writing or for that matter, reading a lot here lately and have found that when that happens, my sweet loyal followers still faithfully check in and I know we are a kind of cyber family.  You KNOW who you are! We (hopefully) will always be each other’s inspire-ers and eventually find our way back to one another’s door steps, cyberly or not.  But the others fall off. There is a kind of networking mentality among us here… “I will read yours, if you will read mine.”  And slowly, if your life becomes busy and you don’t  comment or at least “LIKE” all of their posts regularly, they tend to move on. (I just find that so sad. I read when I have time and love to find new bloggers to encourage.) And then there are others that are still just finding me trickle in and it feels good that something is working.

like thumb

Soooo even though this is a soft place to fall, for me… it takes work and I do notice the numbers. As with anything, you make a deposit and you can make a withdrawal. That’s just how it works. You get what you put in. Though there are always those friends that give without expecting anything in return and I am so blessed as I recognize who you are. And strive to be like you!

And how could I miss an opportunity for a good  metaphor? (Ya gotta have seen this one!)     There is Someone else who is always there, … HE is just waiting for me to talk to HIM but whether I do or not, remains ever so faithful and is always there, never moving on. How blessed are we to have HIM as our friend? A constant soft place, whether we check in or not, HE is always there waiting for our next “post.” And ALWAYS to follow HIM!

jesus praying hands

As far as this blog, I started writing here as a place to store my book and my poetry. So it surprised me when one reader started reading and seriously critiquing my first posts. (If you look back you will see in the comments that I was a little taken aback, until I actually began to look forward to those comments.) At first it was annoying, and then I found it pretty affirming. That someone took time out of their day to read every post I’d write. Our friendship kind of evolved. And then abruptly stopped. I think there was a kind of a pattern there that had nothing to do with me… but it made me aware that other people might actually read what I wrote. And to also go out and read other’s posts. I discovered kindred spirits and an amazing little family of validation and affirmation and really have learned to not only admire other writers but love and care about you guys!

blog readers

In my life I have learned that at times in life, everyone is lonely, sad, angry, easily offended,  and that the most annoying and prideful, boasters are usually the most insecure. But I’ve  also been taught great lessons by the  forgivers and joy seekers, the ones that don’t notice the wrong in everyone, the ones that don’t judge, the ones that share their own stories to build others up and to help us know that we really are not alone… the ones that  make me have something to strive for, to always be better.

And it is here that I have discovered greatness.

 

 

Time Is Like A Silent Whisper


 

retro timerI’ve had so many moments that have been capsul-ized by other people stopping me and telling me not to miss them, to embrace everyday, to stop and smell the flowers, that it is rather ironic to be the one telling  the young people I know now in my life, that message of Carpe’ Diem. To enjoy these moments, all of them, even the tough ones, “because someday they will be your good old days.”

I’ve shared before in another post, how my grandma once asked me how old I thought she felt inside. I was about thirty and she was in her early seventies. I asked, “I don’t know grandma how old do you feel?” And she’d said, “about 17” So matter of factly, I never forgot it.

 

NOW I GET it! Sometimes, when I am in the shower, with my eyes closed, there  is something so familiar about doing something I’ve done since I was ten that makes me feel kind of ageless, trying out a new shampoo, takes me back to when I was a teen with my youth in front of me. My hair was a lot longer and my body a lot younger, but I sometimes feel like that young girl when I am standing under that water, and not someone’s grandma!  Maybe everyone has those certain times that just catch you off guard like a rubber band and you are snapped back in time. A scent, a song, a taste, hearing an old friend’s name, sends you there. I know swimming or riding a bike, mowing the lawn or even weeding the rocks takes me back in an instant. As if time stands still while I take a magic carpet ride into yesterday.

A few years later, an older woman, (probably younger than I am today) stopped me in Target when my little baby girl looked up at me (less than 2) and said “Mommy I love you.” And the woman said, “Cherish these days, my daughter just got married and I’d give anything to have these days back again.” I smiled and kind of knew what she meant, but I do feel as if I did cherish every minute of those baby days with my kids. I loved when they’d wake up and it was a new day with new discoveries. But I did kind of rush them, I mean I loved the progress, the first sign of recognition, the first words, first steps. Looking  back,  I could have just been  a little more patient, instead of always looking forward to what came next. Now my daughter is getting married this summer and those memories of those women’s words, one my grandma, and the other a complete stranger resonates more for me now than any other time in my life.

Sometimes when I am in Target, I hear a little baby’s voice  chatting to a half listening mom and I might say something to plant the same seed that was planted in my heart a little less than three decades ago, other times I hear a screaming kid and I wonder if I’d still have the patience. But think… yes I would, it is different when they are your own. Howling or not. You want to scream yourself at times, but in the end, it is the best thing I ever did in my life.

Today there is a part of me that looks back a lot, that knows that someday I will look back with regret if I don’t stop and embrace these days. Because you know what? Every moment, now will someday be our good old days. I have a favorite Winnie The Pooh saying that goes like this:

“Though honey is a very good thing, sometimes right before you taste the honey, is almost as good as when you do!”

winnie pot upside down

 

It is all about embracing the moments before the good things happen. To live in the moment. Even the frustrating ones. To look forward, but not too far ahead so you don’t miss the minute you are in.

Time is like a silent whisper,

a gentle moving nudge

trying to hold it too close

as it evaporates

through our fingers

or letting it go

embracing the moment

as the memory lingers

Diane Reed©

2016

 

Or did you just know?


book shelves in library

What comes first, the reader or the writer? For me, first being read to, and then reading, inspired me to write. It made me think at a very young age,” I can do that.” Or perhaps, I want to do that. I know others do it better. And yet, when we do something well, we just know. A dancer, a singer, a baseball player or an actor. We may have encouragement from parents or teachers and adults prompting us to hone our craft. But it is something more, there is just something inside of each of us when we have found that one thing we want to improve on without anyone telling us to.

It is funny, I remember in about second and third grade, grasping the concept of writing and my favorite authors that inspired me to want to do it too. Roland Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Ray Bradbury and C.S. Lewis, just to name a few.  I know that as an adult, I now have my accrual of favorites and I know that they are both similar and different than my style and that I am always aiming for improving and use them as a sort of an archetype. A model of sorts to sharpen my own skills by their style of writing and their formulas.

When I knew that I could write poetry, or could write verses and rhyme sentences, I studied the greats and it wasn’t as black and white as a certain genre such as Fiction or non-fiction. Poetry is an entirely different concept. I have always loved T.S. Elliot and Of course, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who intrigued me when I’d heard she was an ancestor. Whether or not, I ever have proof of that, just learning that, I think helped to inspire me and for me to feel as if talent might be inherited and hopefully a few blood cells found their way into my bloodline!

Every once and a while don’t you just stop and wonder, why am I doing this? Why can’t I not do this? When did I ever come up with this concept that I might have something worthy of sharing? Do you remember when you first had the notion? Was it some encouraging word from someone else, or did you just know?

Most of my poetry is very Hallmark-ish I always loved Hellen Steiner Rice and I think I tend to count cadence and beats and rhyme accordingly. I am trying not to rhyme. To  dig deep and attempt new things.

Below is a brand new style for me. Not sure I am there yet… It is dark, always dark lately. And very random, no cadence, no formula. I will write a happier one tomorrow! It’s so hard not to rhyme!!!! Not good at not doing that yet! (this is just what came out of me this morning…  I think sometimes, whatever rises up is what needs to be shared… maybe for someone else somewhere…)

On The Brim

cliff girl looking down

as I smell the storm passing

trying to escape where I’ve been

the rain fights with the fog

the storm wins

broken glass eye

it’s hard to see

behind the pain

barely holding on

as it rains

the clutter in my head

crashes in

pieces of glass stare back at me

broken glass3

shattered on the floor

as each finger lets go.

cliff stepping off

Diane Reed

2016

My half of friendship


A Michele's Latte

Friendship is a funny thing as you get older. You understand more. You tolerate more and you cherish more. Hopefully because of what we learn in the end, we give more.  Recently  (all my loyal readers know) that I lost my childhood bestfriend of over a half a century. It has made me reflect on a lot of things this last year, especially since her birthday just passed. A few years earlier, we’d had a silly falling out. In all of the years we’d known each other, that had never happened. Not to say we hadn’t been annoyed with one another in all those years. Probably, no absolutely, her with me and me and at times me, with her. We’d just weathered our feelings silently and moved on and never had so much as a cross word with one another.

This one had to do with one of her friends repeating a conversation she’d overheard me having with my husband. I’d been annoyed at something she’d said to me and was venting in private. This gossip she shared with my best friend was very silly and yet damaging and it took a good month for us to repair, and get through it. Though it probably made our friendship stronger in the end. NOT what this other friend was hoping I am sure. Later, at her funeral, this friend of hers came up to me, pretty drunk and apologized. My daughter said that “liquid apologies” don’t count. But it did for me, because I am all about validation, and sometimes the “liquid” provokes more honesty than anything ever could, and it told me that this woman knew what she’d done. I forgave her. But I do regret that she was allowed to steal even a month of my friendship with my best friend. Something, I must take partial responsibility for allowing.

In all the things I have learned from my friendships, I have learned to embrace every minute. March Madness is a good way to describe the birthdays I have to remember in March. Having one less, made me realize that I am blessed to celebrate the birthdays that I do, and one less is not better!

The other day one of my friends who has recently lost her husband to ALS (one of my husband’s best friends) messaged me to tell me that she’d be in town  and asked if I “had time” to meet. My first reaction to a question like that, usually always is me scrambling to make excuses. And it’s a bummer for me that I have that automatic attitude. In my head, I have so little spare time, that I am selfish with it.  Over the years, I have never been one to have many friends. I hone the ones that I hold dear and for me that is enough. Though there are those few friends I will drop everything to be with and Michele is one of those friends.

I went through a particularly hard time a few years ago. One that I couldn’t share with a lot of friends and Michele didn’t judge me or even nudge me, she just listened. No advice, no opinons, just prayed with me and continued to be my friend through the worst of it. As I was driving to our destination, I felt blessed. A feeling that I usually feel after I’ve met and am glad I ended up saying yes. But this particular morning I was so happy to be going and excited to see my friend who I’d not seen for a while. And it made me think about all of the other times I missed out on by feeling I didn’t have time and saying no to other friend’s invitations.

This special woman that has taught me so much about friendship, who comes to town and seeks “me” out and wants to share “her” time with me. And our time was so special, I kept pushing back the minutes, not wanting to leave.

A Michele

Our place to meet -At Spearhead Coffee in Paso

It made me think… Of all the special women in my life. The ones who have evolved. The ones I would do anything for. The ones that you realize are worth the time. The ones who feel you are worth the time. The ones who you have known for decades, the ones who you work with and suddenly realize that they are one of those ones you include in that small handful, the ones who come through for you in ways you never could imagine, and make you want to do the same. It really is all about the blessing of being the other half of something pretty special called friendship.

A Michele and me

Michele insisted on this selfie!

 

 

Growing Up


 

 

women writing at desk

I wrote all day yesterday. Everyday last week was taken up with different things and so besides getting out there in the beautiful sunshine and mowing the lawn and catching up with my friends next door for a few minutes, and responding to a few work emails and then turning those off, I had a “me” day and made myself sit down and just write. I mean really take the time to relax enough to take notes and regroup and take more notes and focus on that little project I keep promising myself I’ll finish.

woman writing in the sun

It seems as if every day off I’ve had lately, has been consumed with other things that take priority. So yesterday I literally closed the door and spent 8 hours making myself work on my book. Last night my husband complained that I’d barely said four words to him all day. Well, that was an exaggeration. I could tell he wanted to talk about it during a show he doesn’t approve of me watching. And even though I had it recording and could have stopped to probably argue about me taking a day for me, I just didn’t. I probably should have stopped and talked. But I am still working on boundaries and at times my interpretation of them, can be a little selfish.

In the past, if I’d known anyone was remotely upset with me, I’d prickle like a porcupine and get defensive. Today, I think the difference is that I am growing up. Though that kind of sounds oxymoronish here as I still watched the show my “daddy” didn’t approve of. And no I’m not going to tell you what it was, cuz I’m not proud of the fact that I love reality shows! LOL.

The problem with having experienced abuse in the past, is always expecting abuse in the present. I have a friend who is a fellow blogger with a story much worse than mine and she always makes me think. Today my comment to her post made me think about the fact that survivors of abuse have one thing in common, distrust. We are always expecting a repeat of the same.

She got married last year. Found love and is still pinching herself over how happy she is. My comment to her was that I think the secret to her success is that she waited until she grew up. And that the problem with abuse is that we just begin to expect everyone to be the same as our first experience and to not realize that abuse is not the normal. We don’t learn how to argue like grown ups. We just learn to fight back and make everything a drama.

couple talking seriously 2

I am really trying to break that cycle. I tend to over-react to a normal disagreement and feel backed into a corner before I ever even look at the other side. I have just begun to grasp the fact that not everyone comes from that warped abuse perspective and I need to stop dropping that hat on the heads of people who don’t deserve it, while giving myself a break and embracing  my own choices.  Right or wrong. If I want to have a day off, and someone takes it personally, I need to just explain that I need a break, and nothing is wrong.  And to realize that not everything has to be a drama.  Hence; me growing up? Perhaps.

typed to be continued

Like A BAD Haircut


blog make over
I thought my blog needed a little makeover. So I wandered on over to the Admin side of things and giving myself much more technical credit than I  actually deserved, I proceeded to click on “theme” and color swatches. And when I clicked on  “View” it was like looking in a mirror after a bad hair cut. Reality check. “Hey girl, you DON’T know what you are doing!” And I had to go to work reeeally early yesterday! (WHY do I always do things when I don’t have time to do them?)  So I sucked it up and closed my page and jumped into the shower hoping for the first time since I’ve had my blog, that I’d have no visitors. 

gate

A special friend is someone who looks past your broken down gate and                                                   still admires your garden!

But I really do love my readers because even though it looked like a big fat mess, (you know the kind when you are moving around your room  and you are stuck in the middle of a bunch of furniture kind of mess?) A few still managed to muddle through, leaving sweet comments without ever mentioning the state of my blog which looked like a very BAD make-over by someone who had no idea what she was doing!

salon cartoon

So back to the proverbial Salon I went to try to fix things. And still not sure I like it. But I think it is a little easier to read than my last look. Sometimes you just need a change. I’ve always admired the techie people. I find it kind of hot when someone remotely hops on your screen from somewhere completely different and works on the likes of the little mess I’ve gotten myself into. Showing up on my computer screen and wahlah! It is fixed. (So amazing!) But we all have our limitations and I know mine. So weird that my dad was one of the first computer dudes out there and I am his off-spring. But oh well. We all have our talents.

Whatever my limitations, I needed a change!!! Like when you want a new look so you get a hair cut, or change a room around kind of thing. My blog needed a little dusting off. So I took the scissors and gave it a haircut and moved some things around.

hair cut

Just wanted to warn you guys if you came looking for me and it looked as if I moved. Still here, just with a new look.  What do you think? I am still trying to get used to it. But like hair that always will grow back, WordPress has the option to return to the old look if you guys liked that one better. Also beware, I may keep trying new looks.  Poor Linda! (my hair stylist) Knows that about me after over a decade of working on me and sweetly following my lead and going along with stuff I ask her to do even when she knows that eventually I will want to return back! After all these years you’d think that  I’d learned my lesson by now. (At least with my hair!)

make over cartoon