Taking that “Journey Back”


Sometimes you just gotta hug yourself!

They say we need to get in touch with our “inner child” and that will be the key to answering a bazillion questions and solve a lot of our issues. Well, whenever I’ve gotten close to my inner child I’ve felt so sad that I just run away again. But slowly I have begun to buy into the fact that maybe there is something to it. Try it. Close your eyes and go find her or him. Go back as far as you can remember. Feel the place where you land. Do you feel the magic? The pain? The joy? The fear? Smell the smells, hear the sounds. Really feel the place right where you’ve found them.

The thing is… THIS isn’t just about me or women for that matter. I know men that need to go find that kid they left and learn to love themselves for the first time. Not in a puffed up egotistical, macho kind of way. But in a nurturing, in your core, gut wrenching, finally understanding kind of way. So many of our damaged relationships could be healed by just learning how to embrace that kid we left at the wayside of our life.

Picture this. (And we all will go back to a different age) Your inner child waiting for you. Find him or her and sit with that kid. Say the things you needed to hear. Bring them with you. Hug them. Be kind and patient and learn to love them the way you needed to feel loved all the way back then. Try to remember feeling loved, feeling lonely. I think We’ve all sat on a bench in the gym waiting to be chosen to be on someone’s team. In a way, I feel that the adults that put the kids in the position of choosing and the ones being chosen in a certain order are narcissists. Or maybe just preparing them for “LIFE” who knows. I do feel there is a bit of poetic justice though… I’m thinking that some of those that got chosen last, may very well be in a reverse role later in life, as being the chooser of the ones that got to choose.

As I just mentioned, it’s truly interesting… that we all land at different ages. I know some people that can’t remember before they were ten or so. I can’t imagine that. I remember standing in my crib. I remember waking up from naps. I remember vivid moments before I was even two. I wonder why we remember certain things so vividly and big chunks of time are lost?  I used to be terrified that my mom would leave me somewhere. Maybe I thought she’d forget to come back. Who knows why? I mean, I know I was loved. I know I didn’t like Sunday school for that very reason. I hated the moments as everyone else’s parents would pick them up as I waited for my mom to come get me. And I hated being left with a baby sitter. As you go back and find that kid again, it will help you find the pieces to the puzzle. Why did we have the fears we had as a kid? As we remember the feelings, it’s interesting how remembering is our number one tool. And key to our journey back.

When I was five I got horribly sick. I had an allergic reaction to the strep bacteria and I got something called Post-streptoccal glomerulonephritis. Basically something to do with your kidneys. And I lost half of kindergarten and had my birthday in the hospital. And my whole 6th summer being bed-ridden, I had to learn how to walk all over again, as the kids in my neighborhood were getting their training wheels removed from the bikes we all got the Christmas before. I remember my friends gathering beneath my hospital window and waving up at me. Those friends are still my friends today. And they really did become my own personal template of friendship. The trouble was… I had to leave them in second grade. Though we’ve kept in touch throughout the years. That taste of belonging never left me, and I think I’ve always strived to find it again. And I have in so many wonderful friendships over the years. But in those formative elementary years, I don’t think I ever felt that sense of belonging that I left the summer before second grade.

As I got older, my dad got promoted a lot and that meant moving quite a bit. I think once or twice I attended two different schools during two different school years. So I was always the “new kid” All the friendships had already been made and I probably wasn’t the kind of kid with the kind of confidence that it took to integrate with the two grades at four schools I attended. And believe that all the transferring around had a lot to do with my foundation and why I don’t ever feel good enough. Though, I wasn’t always the only new kid and I watched as some of them just powered their way into those already established friendships and fit in just fine. (Interesting now how just now I realized I knew that.)

You see, as adults, going back and finding our “child” and making ourselves remember. Is one of the hardest but most rewarding things we can do. I know when I make myself go there, I am almost always on the verge of tears. Because the process is very painful but gives you some great tools to understand more about who we are and why so we can move on to a healthier place. So far I think I’ve discovered that I never truly learned how to love myself. That makes me so sad. But it also helps me realize why I let a lot of people in my life be the Alpha. I actually had a pretty great childhood. But when I started dating, I allowed myself to get into some abusive relationships and that is when I feel the real damage began. If I didn’t already love myself the next several years into adulthood really did a number on my self-esteem. So skipping ahead a few decades, I now fight to not ever repeat feeling that helpless and defeated again. To the point of getting in the way of my own happiness by ruining the good relationships in my life now. I see clearly how my need to control everything is crazy making for me and everyone around me. And so I keep going back and finding pieces of me as I try to makes sense of it all and learn how to take the next step. Which is going all the way back and loving that little girl I left back there in the past, so long ago.

I feel so much could be repaired if we all just took the time to take that journey back.

I had to write this!


Rob and Brookie and me

I have been reading these audio books as I drive, by Karen Kingsbury. And God talks to her characters. And I have been on this quest to hear Him like they do! It’s a funny thing when you really ask God to talk to you, You kinda don’t realize until later that He uses all kinds of vessels to do it! My daughter told me the other day that she was reading the book of Luke and so we decided to read it together. And as I read the first seven chapters or so, I began to hear Him. I love when that happens. So I started reading to catch up where she might already be. And I crashed right into the Beautitudes!

I really feel God has a sense of humor. And I don’t doubt that He has been trying to talk to me for decades. It hasn’t been Him not bothering to talk to me. It has been me not bothering to listen. I have always felt that He doesn’t ever push IN. He waits patiently until we are ready to hear Him.

Anger has always been a problem with me. And so in turn, has forgiveness. I hold on to things, well, forever pretty much. But I do have a story to share where I really feel God spoke to me and allowed me to see a glimpse of heaven and how it must feel up there. It’s kind of a silly story but it still makes me cry because it is about a time in my life when I KNOW God spoke to me and gave me the gift of forgiveness and so I do know how good it feels when it truly is purely Him and just letting go and giving it to God.

I was in my early twenties, and newly married to Randy, my first husband. When we met, he was living with a roommate named Rob. They’d played Little League together and were childhood friends. We met in February and got married in July. Nope, I wasn’t pregnant. I’m not sure what the hurry was, but he really liked my parents and didn’t want to live with me without getting married. And well, we were young and dumb and knew by April that we were in love and wanted to get married. And so my poor mom had to plan a wedding in less than 3 months! (We got married July 1st 1978.) Looking back, it was all kind of crazy. I’m sure both of us didn’t have time to breathe or think twice about it. Let alone, really get to know each other. But we were young and dumb and in love.

Though Rob was in our wedding. He made it very clear that he wasn’t too happy about any of it. I guess we were thinking it was because he had to move or find a new roommate. But maybe a year later, my husband came home and was blindsided with some information he’d discovered after a night out drinking with his buddies. He shared with me that Rob told him during a pretty drunken moment that he’d been in love with him for a long time. Randy was baffled because he said that in all of the time they’d lived together, he never had a clue. Though Rob and I had since become pretty good friends, it explained why I felt so much tension in the beginning.

So this was in the late seventies when being gay was still not something very many people accepted. And for me, it wasn’t about being gay, it was about loyalty. We were friends. We hung out at barbeques and had him over all the time. Why was he bringing this up now? Did he hope that if his truth came out, my husband might consider his overture?!

I felt betrayed, angry and a hatred for Rob that grew as the months went by. I’m sure my husband was sorry he’d shared that conversation with me but I couldn’t just let it go and as I said, we’d both been blindsided. Though he insisted he had no interest in Rob in that way and made it very clear.

But I was, in an extremely awkward position. This wasn’t another woman, but a longtime friend that went all the way back to Little League. As my resentment for Rob grew, I was miserable. He was still very much in our lives. We had a group of friends that belonged to a City League. The guys played baseball and then had barbeques at each other’s houses. I was close with most of the wives but only shared this situation with one very close friend in particular. One day she called me and told me that Rob was in the hospital with a liver infection and it was very serious.

It was no secret that I hated Rob. I’ve never been very good at hiding my feelings and he knew it and knew why. And I knew it wasn’t blessing me one little bit. I had just recently started praying about it and felt this strong nudge to buy Rob a Bible. My mom had been buying Bibles for people for as long as I could remember, she’d get their name engraved on the cover and then highlight inspiring verses and place ribbons to mark their pages.

So I went and bought a Bible, had Rob’s name engraved on it and proceeded to highlight verses. The hate hadn’t gone away but I was softening a bit. I didn’t want anyone to die. Even someone I hated. Smile. That sounds horrible. Huh? Well, here’s one even better… the part about God having a sense of Humor… As I was really getting into the highlighting part of things. I landed flat on the one about the log in your own eye. It kinda stopped me in my tracks! I could almost see God watching me. I really did laugh out loud, before it was ever a thing. And said, “Okay God.” So there I was GETTING IT. But still not there yet. I still couldn’t make myself go and visit him. I made my friend take the Bible when she and her husband visited Rob.

A few days later I saw her and asked her if she remembered to give him the Bible and what he said and she looked at me very seriously and said, ” Oh yes Diane, he cried!” I hadn’t expected that at all and I have to admit it pricked my heart. Later that week, God told me loud and clear to go visit him and to go alone. I soooo wanted to bring someone with me. After all, there’d been this very uncomfortable thing between us for a pretty long time. But I went alone. And he cried the minute he saw me. I remember pulling up a chair and laying my head on his chest as if it were the most natural thing to do and crying with him. I can’t remember the details after that, but I remember him having a full recover and running into him by the beach and spending the day with him talking not long after that. I also have a picture of him and me with my daughter when she was a baby, so I know he was in our life for a long time after his illness. And that I asked my friend, Jim Benfer to go pray for him while he was in the hospital and he gave his heart to Jesus.

I do know one thing. I grew to love him. And it was a different kind of love. A love that was free from judgment. I’d truly let it all go. And though it blessed us both. I have no doubt it blessed me more. because God allowed me to feel true forgiveness for someone that I hated with every cell in my body. And then who I loved with a supernatural kind of unconditional love that I am sure is the kind you only feel in heaven. I did hear that years later, like my first husband, he died too young. I’m not sure why God used Rob as His Vessel. But I do know he taught me so many things. A lot of the same things that Jesus preached about when he talked about the Beautitudes teaching. There is such a blessing in “letting go” and in forgiveness and in this case, it blessed us both. But I think in a lot of cases, it actually really blesses the one doing the letting go and forgiving the most.

Still looking for it… “The joy”


Just checking in. I have stayed true to my commitment and been pretty regular about reading Psalm 91. It’s funny in reading it, I feel it has given me a lot of hope I might not have had. And maybe a little better and more consistent attitude. Though centuries have gone by, it seems as if it was written yesterday. If you really read it and let the words resonate. In my lifetime I’ve read a lot of books more than once and feel, the second time is better. Though you aren’t getting the surprise factor of not knowing what is going to happen next. You are gathering the parts you may have missed. In reading the same scripture daily, I get something new out of it each day. The whole world is experiencing this pandemic. The whole world should read Psalm 91.

So Anywaaaay… After writing about depression, I was chatting with a blogger friend of mine about it. And he put things in a much better perspective for me. So much so, that it sidelined my post about it for today a bit. But I still want to share my thoughts on what I was thinking. Regardless of quarantine, I have been feeling for a while now that Monday comes around and all of a sudden it’s Friday. As well as seemingly being sucked into this time machine (see photos) where yesterday I was 19, getting pictures taken for my portfolio to become a model. (rolling my eyes) And then the next picture, is me, a mama of two, in my thirties, post divorce, pre second marriage. And the next one seems to be coming way too fast. Not of me… but the way I feel! Where did my size 5 body go? The one who could get up from the floor without using my hands? Just stand up like I watch my granddaughter do! What happened to all of those plans? The mystery of not knowing what comes next? Today, there are no surprises. It’s all a little like ground hog day. My dad came over for lunch yesterday, he said he was working on a Bible Study in Ecclesiastes so I thought I’d wander out of Psalms and take a look… And oh no! I landed right in the place that I was feeling in my life. Just reconfirming that we are not so different from the people in Jerusalem, centuries ago!

Ecclesiastes 1 5-9

5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again; there is nothing new under the sun

You see? All pretty overwhelming, right? But that is exactly how I’ve been feeling. Is it comforting to know somebody else felt that way all those years ago? Sigh. By skipping ahead, I know that this kind of depressing tone is not the message, it is just this (King) teacher looking for wisdom and sharing what he discovered. We all should take the time to read that book too.

We are all going to to grow old but instead of resonating in our regrets, we can start TODAY to start getting to know our Creator because in the end…. I’m betting that everyone goes there to consider the meaning of life. While we are still able. But I think in conclusion, finding the joy, is about living in the moment and taking the opportunity daily to keep seeking HIM. It is about opportunity and as long as we are breathing, everyday God gives us the opportunity to use the gifts He’s given us and the depression leaves only when we start living for today! May I never stop seeking the joy and may I recognize it every time I find it!

Kinda Like A Recharge


In the past, “depression” has been a word that I’ve resented. Whenever someone suggested that I may be experiencing it, I have sarcastically pointed out that circumstances might have a lot to do with the way that I react to things. Though when I was in my twenties, I worked in a Psych hospital and have seen first hand the way that certain treatments have meant night and day for some patients who were diagnosed. In the early 80s I was invited to observe ECT treatments (Electric Shock Treatments) by a doctor who took me under his wing. In this case, the patient was a woman well into her seventies, who was almost catatonic, and lacked any emotional affect. I’d been the one to transcribe his orders and was very curious about this procedure he’d ordered. This particular patient had once been a well known actress in Europe, whose husband brought in a portfolio of her, back in her glory. It was hard to picture this woman, now just a tired looking old lady, as that once beautiful actress in the photos he shared.

I arrived at 6AM on the scheduled day of the procedure as directed by my doctor friend. The nurses seemed a little annoyed when I told them I was there to observe. That was until the doctor arrived and treated me like his special audience. He explained everything he was doing. As the patient was put under general anesthesia. They put something in her mouth and proceeded to shock her twice. It took all of a few seconds. I have no idea if they still do this procedure, because I was told, once someone has it done, it has to be repeated every few years. Kind of like a recharge. But I must say that I have never seen such a transformation! In just a few days, she was this vivacious older version of that woman in the portfolio her husband had shared.

Where once she was barely sitting up in a wheelchair, She was going out on the outings we organized to the local mall, dressed to the Nines, in high heels and full make-up! It was astounding and nothing short of a miracle! I wish they could bottle and sell what happened to her. I’ve never forgotten it.

So you see, when someone talks about depression, I’ve seen it first hand. In my mind, “depression” is an an organic condition that basically has you sleeping all day and not interacting or engaging in life. A condition that needs Electric Shock Treatments or at the very least meds. I on the other hand, get up everyday, do what needs to be done, clean house, work in the yard, engage with others, laugh at the appropriate times, you get the picture.

The only thing is, as I write this I realize, I don’t wake up happy everyday like my husband does. Though I engage when I have to with the people and friends in my life, I force myself to do a lot of things. And I have to wonder, maybe being depressed is not just being catatonic. Maybe it is also the fact that I have to force myself to just do those normal things. And maybe when you lock a door so you can cry on the other side, and when you take a breath and a sob catches in-between, and when it is just hard to find the joy anymore…. that could be depression.

Recently I’ve shared that I really have the need to have God speak to me the way I’ve been reading about. I have been reading Karen Kinbsbury books and I find myself yearning for the same voice the characters in her books hear. More than I ever have before and so I asked God to speak to me and a voice inside my head said, “Read my WORD.” And it has changed me.

Recently, A few of my sweet friends have taken my challenge to read Psalm 91 with me daily, for a month. So everyday I am reading the chapter and I have to say that it is “kinda like a recharge.” Though circumstances are still the same. I’ve realized, I’ve noticed the highs a little more than fixating on the lows. It’s funny how so much of the Bible seems to relate to the times we are going through today. Decade after decade, we fail HIM. Decade after decade, Century after century, He comes when we call. It’s just so amazing to me that I am just realizing it now. Please join me and read Psalms 91 this month. Anyone who reads this is invited to join us. I promise…. It really is kinda like a recharge!

I think my Guardian Angel must look like this…


In my quest to “hear” God, so far I’ve read Joshua, Daniel, Ruth and then I started reading Samuel and all of my last posts here, seemed to tumble on top of each other. Especially the one about Turning Over A New Leaf and all of the others that were holding me accountable. Let me just say that Samuel made me just want to skip to the New Testament when I saw it was over 30 chapters and there is a 2nd Samuel! But I continued to read and am loving it.

But THAT is my problem. I have been so lazy about really wanting to dig into anything that requires any real time. To investigate the facts, to really understand. But once you get past the names and places that I can’t pronounce, I am finding God’s messages to me specifically all over the place and I’m realizing that from the time I was a student, I got distracted easily. Even during a sermon, I’m embarrassed to admit, that I like the personal stories shared, but have tuned out when they’ve been applied to scripture verses.

I do believe that God appoints each one of us our own Guardian Angels and that they follow us through all of our mountain top highs and our valley lows. Our stupid choices and some good ones too. Mine must be weary by all of those mountain top highs I’ve been on, where everything was going to be different. Whether away at camp, around a campfire, or going forward in church and landing on my knees, or praying quietly in Sunday School or on my face, in the privacy of my room, alone with God. I am sure my Angel has stopped being excited about my metaphorical forest of leaves I’ve turned over and promises I’ve made to myself and God. Maybe why all of a sudden I’ve been inspired to paint these poor, tired looking exhausted Angels! It’s made me really think about this pattern I’ve been on. Once my daughter told me that when I write, I use the same formula. And that’s stuck with me since she told me that. Perhaps because it really resonated that it’s not just in my writing. But how I’ve lived my life.

All I know is… you can only do better when you finally realize what you’ve been doing wrong. So Here I go, still trying to find the joy, digging into Samuels… One and two! Until we meet again… I’ll check in after I’ve read them BOTH!

Finding The Joy… Continued….


This past weekend. I had an AHA moment. My husband and I were just starting our Saturday, out driving. I’d been home most of the week due to life’s circumstances and it was just nice to be out in the sunshine. I was just day dreaming out the window and enjoying the moment and realized I was happy. In that moment, in those seconds, I felt the joy and I recognized it. I love my husband. But inside that minute, I realized that I liked that guy sitting next to me. His integrity, his ethics & morals, his sense of humor and just him! I’m not sure “I” could say that about me. It’s sad. I know he loves me. I know he enjoys things about me. But if I were him. I’m not sure I really could say that about me. That I “like” myself. I feel that I basically see the negative in EVERYTHING. Well, maybe not “everything” and maybe not 100% of the time. But I don’t always wake up happy and I am annoyed easily. The glass isn’t always half empty, but it’s usually not always half full when I first look at it. I have to talk myself into being positive a lot of the time.

Depression is something I have fought, most of my adult life. I’ve resisted it because I feel that circumstances weigh into this condition. I mean negative things happen and it’s hard not to succumb. It’s not rocket science. If bad things happen, it’s hard for me to make lemonade, period. But having said that, I told you guys I was going to find the Joy and so on our drive this Saturday afternoon. I found it. Well, until some idiot ruined my mood. Okay I am joking now. But something really did happen that stole my joy and I let it.

So I haven’t shared something with you guys, but my in-laws moved in with us a while ago, and it has been an adjustment for all of us. But recently I have been reading the Bible in a different way and like I shared in my last post, I’ve really been wanting God to talk to me. I’ve kind of needed all the help I can get with my attitude. And I must admit, it has helped me a lot. That is, until I feel guilty, knowing I fall short a lot. Even so, I’ve been feeling Him and I am hopeful that maybe I can change. And be less negative.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my mother in law fell and broke her ankle. She has been pretty tough and is braver than most. But it has been an adjustment for her to have to sit still and depend on others. Now I’d like to think that I am compassionate and can help where needed and not be as much of a brat as I think I am. And this isn’t really funny, but it is in a way because I feel God has a sense of humor and talks to me sometimes in ways only I understand. Yesterday, I was talking to a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and told her that my mother in law had broken her ankle and she said… “Oh no, are YOU okay?!” In that minute, we both laughed. That pretty much told me everything I needed to know. I AM that much of a brat. Sigh.

The Master’s Hem


My dad and I have been having lunch every Thursday for several months now. It’s just been a nice way to stay connected with him since my mom died. I usually make it and since the Pandemic. we either eat it on the deck or we’ll grab salads and meet at a local park for a picnic. He has shared hundreds of stories with me during these Thursdays. Some, I’d heard before, some I’ve heard a few times. But then I’m sure he’s heard mine more than once as well. Funny, because someone asked me “What do you talk about every week?” I’m thinking the older we get, the easier it is, because we sometimes can hear the same story over and over again, as if we are hearing it for the first time. 🙂

The thing is, a lot of my dad’s stories are from his childhood. Some are from when he was a Pastor. He has a few stories about miracles that happened right in front of him and those are ones that inspired this poem. One Thursday he was talking about the woman who touched Jesus’ hem and was healed. I told him his story made me want to write a poem. I’d heard that Bible story before but for some reason I didn’t remember all of the details and so I looked it up. And this flood of emotion came over me as I realized that I really hadn’t opened a Bible for some time and totally didn’t know the story the way I should have.

There are times in our lives when we have to own some of our failures. And for me, this was one big one, realizing that I really wanted to have a better spiritual relationship and in reading a few verses in opening God’s word, I felt a door open and I’m not sure I will ever go back to being content without wanting more. Maybe even write a poem for each verse I’m inspired to write about.

But for now, here is the poem about the woman who touched The Master’s Hem.

The Master’s Hem

Oh Lord why don’t I know your words?

Why haven’t I taken the time?

Oh Lord why do I not know you now?

Why are you so hard to find?

Oh Lord I want to find the hope

that makes me new again

I want to find the kind of faith

like the woman who touched your hem.

I know I’ve failed you in my walk

and all the times I should have grown

all the times I forgot to ask

and tried to handle things on my own

I’m ashamed of my hardened heart

and when I didn’t let you in

but oh dear Lord, please hear me now

as I reach for my Master’s hem.

by

Diane Reed

Another New Leaf


Hi guys, it’s been a while. I am forcing myself to come into my art studio where I write, without the TV on or any other interruptions and try to remove this writer’s block I’ve had for the last few months.

I had a little epiphany the other morning when getting out of the shower. (I told you, I have my best moments in there!) I guess it is because I have to be in my own head without the white noise that I like to hide in. Anyway, I was remembering how easy it was to take a bath or a shower as a kid, jump in and out and wahlah! Now, I move a little slower and notice more, the things like eye sight and other things not so fine tuned as they once were. But for a split second, almost magically, my eye sight really focused on something I was doing and seemed to become crystal clear without the help of my glasses since everything was foggy and they wouldn’t have helped. And this question popped in my head… What if God granted me one thing? IF I could choose anything to change about me, but it could only be just that one thing.

My eye sight? A sharper brain, where my memory would kick in more often? A body that is fit and healthy without the extra weight or pain in my back and neck after a recent accident? And then it occurred to me. There are people who would just be glad to have my eye sight or the ability to stand up and be able to walk like I can. Or a million other things that I complain about. I have friends that didn’t make it to this age where I am now. It made me realize that the one big thing I should choose to change is my attitude! And to be grateful for the things that I do have. And how in the blink of an eye, things could change. Things I’d treasure, and pray to have back if something happened to them. I do need to change that attitude… To not get so offended, or quick to anger.

As we approach the New Year, I am hesitant to try to turn over yet another “new leaf” because I’ve been doing that since I was a little girl. My dad used to tell me, I’d definitely have a forest with all of my “New Leaves!” He would sing me that little song about the girl with a curl and how nice and horrid she could be…

It kind of makes me sad that, I need yet another one. Why can’t I ever learn? I have written dozens of posts about my epiphanies and revelations, my AHA moments and plans to not be so negative. But it helps me to know that even Paul felt that way.

Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

So I am in good company. But I have to admit I am still a work in progress. Have you ever reread some of your own posts and realized that maybe you should take some of that advice you penned years ago? It’s funny, I went back through almost a decade of posts I’ve written here. I rewound and found some pretty inspiring stuff. That sure made it sound as if the author had her act together.

Finding The Joy


Hi you guys! I know I haven’t been here for a while. I’m thinking it’s because when I come on here, I am in a state of accountability and reflection and recently I have just wanted to run away. Between the virus and politics and everything that comes along with it, I have been trying to make sense of what everyone else is saying and what I am thinking. I’m also feeling stuck in a place in my life where I don’t feel I have a lot of control. And frankly I know that other’s have it much worse than me and my own circumstances and I am blessed more than many, but you know when you’re a kid, you feel that you have your whole life ahead of you and even as a kid you kind of know that you can change things. But there have been times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed, wondering… Is this really as good as it gets? What if this is it? I mean, if the world continues to be so self centered and grace and kindness are replaced with greed and hate and anger?

I’ve survived deaths of people that meant everything to me. divorce, earthquakes, loss, miscarriages, and some pretty devastating things that have caused me to be who I am. But I can’t make that statement without saying, I have experienced great joy in the birth of two healthy kids, and grandkids, I’ve fallen in love a few times, and have a husband who really, really, loves me and puts up with a hell of a lot. For the most part we all have our health, I survived a horrendous accident recently that should have killed me. I know God put His Angels around me that night, as well as an off duty policeman who was my witness. And that alone should have made me “snap out of it.” And it did, for a few weeks. But the part that a drunk driver totaled my car and almost killed me, got to me and the anger took over. I guess I could have thought, it was good he ran into me instead of killing someone else, because he was raging drunk and it could have been much worse for someone else.

I have good friends, relatively good health (for my age) and kids that are resourceful and can figure things out if they need to. I know that politics, and covid have thrown us all for a loop and my living circumstances hasn’t been ideal. But we own our own home and cars, and live in a nice lakeside area. And I know I am basically blessed. Recently I have been listening to one of my favorite authors, a Karen Kingsbury’s series and it is basically like going to church as I get through it. And to be honest, the only church I have tuned into for a while now. But the way she writes makes you feel as if God really can speak to you in words that are not just in your head. She has touched on 911 and it’s devastation in a very personal way that makes you feel as if you are living it with the characters in her book. And it’s made me think about just how fast things can change. In my 6 decades here, I know that first hand. But it’s a good reminder.

I’m constantly telling people younger than me, THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS! And I know that I need to realize that for myself. Every day… we walk out that door to face our day, there is no guarantee that we will return. We are blessed, each time we wake up and breathe our first breath of air, are able to stand, to hear, and see and walk, to smell and taste and drive. And… at the end of the day, to walk back in that door!

How many times are we impatient with our phone or computer when three decades ago, a cordless phone was still a luxury item, and facebook wasn’t even thought of nor was it’s creator barely out of 2nd grade? We are all pretty spoiled, impatient, easily offended, judgmental, opinionated human beings and I’m one of them. Every natural disaster or health crisis is a reminder (for me at least) that I am blessed. And I need to snap out of it. But it’s easier said than done. I can continue to write these enlightened posts and never change things or put my money where my mouth is and commit to changing! But it’s easier said than done. How does one truly begin to live in Joy? I guess, I am inviting you to join me. I am going to find out! This is going to be a series on me figuring out how to find the Joy!

ALWAYS The “D” Word


We all have dreamt of living in that house behind that proverbial white picket fence and having a couple of kids. A boy and a girl would be ideal, but I used to say that I would just be happy with healthy. I did have a “healthy” boy and girl and we were happy for a while. I remember the first vows I ever repeated, I said with my whole heart. I believed every word. “Till death do we part.” As a believer of love and the Bible, I think that when we finally divorced, I felt like such a failure and a liar of those vows that I didn’t think I would ever recover. I’d fought for fourteen years to survive the alcohol addiction, my very handsome Prince Charming battled, but when it came to the drugs, I said “ENOUGH!” I remember, for several years, when he would walk into a room, my heart would do a flip. I mean I really truly loved him.

Prior to my marriage, I’d been engaged to someone so intense and exhausting that when I left that relationship after three years, it did something to me. In a way, I think I grew up in a huge way, and in another way, I think it stripped me of all of my self confidence, pretty much forever. I believed that I was all the things that he said I was, and that “no one would ever want me” but him, which is what he drilled into my head. But then came along my first husband. Chiseled and perfect. Or so I thought. And THAT theory flew out the window as I realized that I could fall in love again and someone actually could love me back! It was a whirl wind romance. I loved the way he laughed. We talked and talked those first weeks. I used to joke that the first month we were together, we talked so much that we didn’t have anything left to say. For the rest of our lives. Because it didn’t seem like we had a lot to say after that. And when I did have something serious to talk to him about, I got really nervous and had to plan out just exactly what I needed to say. But having said that, at first it was magical. We met in February and married the first day of July. And NO, I wasn’t pregnant, we were just head over heels in love!

I guess that I divulged the spoiler and you already know why things fell apart. When I realized that his drinking was a genuine addiction, I thought that I could save him. He was brilliant. He started out at the bottom and worked his way up in his company as a Manager in charge of a lot of people and worked hard to get there. I was so proud! And in his case, I’m not too proud to say, that saying behind every great man is a great woman was true! I backed him and supported him every step of the way. But he really did work hard so when he’d come home at night, he was not interested in taking care of the kids. Even though I worked full time too. I understood. I guess. Later when I had my daughter I decided to stay home and build my art business and he supported that decision but he stuck to his guns about not babysitting (his own kids) so, I had to pay for childcare when I did my weekend art shows out of my earnings. Was he a good dad? Well, I’d say he loved his kids, and he always provided for them. But he wasn’t very hands on.

When drugs came into the picture, I was pretty much DONE. The fantasy had worn off by then and he no longer made my stomach flip when he walked into a room, and I no longer got nervous when I wanted to talk to him about something important, at that point, I don’t think I cared enough to be nervous anymore. It had been over for a while. We separated and he moved out. I was devastated. It was just not as easy as writing two sentences, explaining what happened. I was crushed beyond repair. Even when my dad died, I wasn’t so completely Done IN. It made me remember breaking up with my fiance’ right before meeting him. That had been another experience. When I finally had enough in that case, he didn’t let go easily. I’d come home from work or school and he’d be waiting for me in his car. Or even worse, at school or work. This time, we just separated without protest. I remember thinking, I’m not sure what is worse. Feeling stalked or discarded. I guess I looked at it in a kind of warped way, though the stalking was disarming, at least he cared enough to try to get me to change my mind.

Shortly after our separation, I met my husband now. He wasn’t really my type. (I think I liked the harder to get tough guys) And I am sure with two kids and a LOT of baggage I wasn’t his! But as I got to know him, I fell in love. I think he won me over with the way he was with my kids. And I’d like to think that I’d grown up a little and realized that the tough guy wasn’t always the best choice. After feeling so abandoned in the parenting department, I knew in my heart that he was the way it was supposed to be and not being so hard to get wasn’t such a bad thing after all. I guess I had to look at why I felt that just loving me was not as attractive to me, as fighting to be loved, in both of my previous relationships.

As I began to settle into my new relationship, it was a little surreal. You have this plan in your heart, or at least in your head, mapped out. The picket fence, the two kids, and maybe a dog… and then not once but twice, you have to readjust and change the direction you were going. In a way, I felt empowered, that I survived. Maybe even a false sense of strength. But in divorce especially, I hated that I failed my vows. For better or worse, in sickness and in health. You know? Where was my loyalty? Divorce was taboo. Sunday School definitely did not teach you that it was okay. I think it was never being able to justify my choice that bothered me so much. He hadn’t cheated. Which is the one OUT the Bible gives for divorce. I had to ask myself… Was this the for better or worse? The in sickness and in health that I was ignoring now? It bothered me a lot. but I left and he let me leave. Though there was one time, when he told me he regretted it. When he saw me with my husband now. We’d come home from a little vacation and he was really distraught watching another man bringing his family home from a family vacation. I told him it was too late. He’d made his choice. Another time my niece told me that he’d told her that he was sure we would have gotten back together if I hadn’t found someone else so fast. I have to admit, that has always haunted me.

When I said my vows for the second time, I wanted to feel more aware of how important they were, that I had to mean them this time. But oh how I meant them the first time. My little 21 year old heart was so full of love and faith. And then there I was, standing up in front of everyone saying those vows again to someone else. I couldn’t believe that I was saying… for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do we part all over again. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It was surreal. My first husband has since died. Several years ago, pretty much because he lived a hard life. I’m sure if we’d stayed together I’d be a widow right now.

When he told me he was dying. I remember saying “I should have stayed with you. I could have just kept nagging you!” He’d said, “I knew you would blame yourself, that’s why I told you last.” I always thought that was a weird thing to say. I didn’t blame myself. I was joking, not in a funny, laughing kind of way but to lighten the seriousness of what he was telling me. He made his own choices how he wanted to live. He lost his family because of it. At that moment, I remember detecting the first sign of my hardened heart. And realizing I’d built some very high walls around it. When he apologized on his death bed. I remember saying I forgave him a long time ago. But his brain was so ravaged by then, I’m not sure he heard me. And remember thinking about the phrase: “Too little, too late.” and wondering if my heart would ever be soft again.

I guess I am writing this because it just dawned on me that I have relied on the “D” Word ever since. Like it’s some kind of weird badge of honor. But… If I was being honest, I think I’d have to admit that, that word actually terrifies me, even knowing that I survived & could do it again. I don’t want to. Though, every break up made me stronger in the sense that I found a way to move on and I know it is possible, in reality, it’s not an option that I want. I know I live in the past. And I am not stronger because of the walls I have built or because my heart is hard. I KNOW I am missing out and sometimes, wonder if I ever truly embraced my vows the second time around. In a way I was thinking that “until death do you part” has become a lie. Maybe God has made divorce so hard because He knows, like abortion, no one truly gets over it. It’s always there. I GET that He forgives us, and that if I keep beating myself up for my divorce, I am not fully believing in His forgiveness. But I think from my very first relationship, I started building walls and dragging baggage to my next place that I landed and then the next, with that hardened heart growing harder. My husband tells me that I have a problem “ALWAYS” seeing the glass half empty when he “always” sees it half full. I remember a time, when I believed he and I would never fight. We didn’t for one whole year. We’ve been married for over 25. You do the math.

Though, it’s hard to be married to someone who views me that way. He says he loves me. I love him. But I still don’t want him to view me as ALWAYS doing anything, especially something negative! The answer? I guess for me to change my way of thinking. Or maybe for him to consider my perspective. Because maybe my half empty glasses are just having a different opinion than his. Anyway, it’s a work in progress. Bringing God into it is the answer I suppose. No. (Smile) I know it is. He is the only one who can break down my walls and fill my glass. And know and answer my prayers.

I guess my biggest prayer would not be the white picket fence anymore and He’s already blessed me with the two healthy kids so I know my glass is more than half full! And maybe I still would like the… “happily ever after” but a biggie for me would be…. that just for once, someone would say. “I’ve been thinking about what you said the other day, and I understand now.” On that day… my glass will be spilling over!

THIS is NOT how the story is going to end!


 

I believe… The stories we are living now will someday be someone else’s survival guide. That there is hope in the darkness, and that the battered and the scarred have the loudest voices right now  and that they are the ones that will rise up to tell their stories.

We need to stand up for what is right. Not look the other way, or let the lesson get lost ever again. IF  only we could just see the souls among us,  and look past the vessels carrying them. Maybeee the world would be free from so much judgment For someday, the vessels will be cast away and we will all only be left with our souls for all eternity.

No matter how educated or wealthy, brilliant, or perfect we think we are, we just have to care to make a difference. Nothing is a waste if it can teach or change someone, and no lesson will  go away until it has taught us what we needed to know.There are many chapters in our lives. We just need to learn to turn the page and not get stuck in the one we are in now. To keep making the same mistakes is to keep reading the same page over and over again. We all should  want to to live our lives in such a way that we each leave a lesson of how we conquered the battles we were given and until then we need to learn how to take back our power and say with authority that “This is not how the story is going to end.”

 

Diane Reed

Every time I write I find you


It’s a funny thing. No matter how long it’s been, since I’ve been here. I know that I can come back and find a neighborhood of loyal friends. The people in my life that are just there always supporting and showing up without an agenda, no matter what. The ones that don’t read me because I read their’s. They just are that unconditional handful of people that I can count on to be there. Though several have fallen off over the decade that I have been here. There is just this unspoken sense of unconditionalness (<<< I know, I know, that’s not a word!) But I can’t find anything else to describe it. And I just wanted to say that you guys are a gift! You pretty much know who YOU are. My peeps. My tribe. My friends. And I just wanted to say thank you.

Our blogs are a little like inviting people over. For a cup of coffee, a glass of ice tea or maybe a little Chardonnay, depending on the occasion. There is a familiar feeling of warmth when I pull up my page and begin to write. During this time, we have had so many interruptions poking into our lives that connecting here is like a lifeline. A soft place to fall, a safe place.

Maybe friendships are easier here because they are unconditional. Maybe because we are writers and readers and we have this uncanny connection that sets us apart. Or maybe even because we don’t hold each other accountable. I know that there are those that stopped reading my posts because I am not great at reading all the ones that I follow. I have tried to become more selective so that I can have more time to devote to supporting my fellow writers. But it is always fun to see someone pop back in, that I felt a deep kindred spirit with for a season, but for some reason, we lost touch. Those unconditional people that find you again. Those are the ones I call my tribe. You know the kind of friendships where you can come back to, months and even years later and start right back up where you left off, without missing a beat? Those are the ones I treasure the most! No guilt trips, just sliding back into the space you shared together. I love those kind of friends.

I think that especially during this time of sheltering and then watching the hate in the world slap us in the face, it is hard to not want to reach out and find that soft place to hold us tight. I find that place in my faith. But it’s also nice to have somewhere in the world that you belong. We are faceless friends, caring not about the color of our skin, or where we live, or our physical appearance, our wealth or lack of… We are all just souls bumping into each other and appreciating the words we write. Sometimes pouring from our hearts in such a way that leaves us naked. And at the same time, know we won’t be judged here. We are each other’s tribe. And I am so glad I have you ALL! Thank you for being there every time I write, I find you.

Silver Linings


 

Yesterday, as I was driving to town. I felt something that I haven’t felt in a long time. It was a glimpse at the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, a simple realization of just pure happiness. Maybe just an untainted moment of appreciation. And a raw awareness to grasp that moment and really be IN IT! In a life of interruptions, I began to feel a nudge to sit in that garden while it was happening and smell the flowers. I think that what I have learned in life is that it happens. Life that is.

Nothing is going to really explain why good things happen to bad people and why bad things happen to good people. Recently having lost a few really good people, And knowing that the older we get, that losing people is not such a shock anymore. I remember as a kid, I was blessed that death had not touched my life until I got a lot older and when it did, it was a raw concept that I wasn’t ready for. When my grandparents died. I was devastated, but it was kind of an expected reality. But when you lose a parent, no matter how old you are or when you start to lose friends, there is this gaping hole that never seems to fill back up in quite the same way. I think after losing a few loved ones in my life, I’ve begun to recognize how much we take for granted when we are happy and how that saying “stop to smell the flowers” is much more than whimsical advice. And being stuck in sad or mad mode may just be my way of protecting myself from being robbed of joy. But suddenly I am realizing that building those walls is keeping any kind of joy OUT.  And how sad, because sitting there, feeling happy and hopeful for the few minutes I did, really was  me making myself stop and smell those metaphoric flowers and it felt great! I can’t even explain where it came from. Maybe just validation from new friendships or letting go of things easier… Or feeling hopeful again.

I’ve realized that letting go of things is key. If you are going to lug around all your hurts and baggage, you are never going to get to where God wants you to. The other day I was offended and I felt for a very good reason. The person in this instance said…. “I didn’t mean it that way.” And in my head I was thinking… “Yeah you did.” And I don’t think I was wrong.. But I have realized that if I choose to carry anger around, it is only hurting me. I can choose to move on or stay in my pity party of one.

I started this blog with the back drop  quote… “The One Thing I Know For Sure” and have randomly shared with you guys the things I am learning along the way… So I felt today while I was stopping to smell the flowers… I’d hang out in my garden a while and weed through my own seeds of wisdom….So here you go!

Being happy is a choice… Taking back the power and deciding that this is not the way that you want your story to end and starting to rewrite it is key…. Forgive others. Not because they deserve it, but because you deserve the peace it will give you to let go…  Live more in Corinthians 13 and decide to just love without noticing how other people are doing it wrong….  Never let go of your dreams. Ever. Walk on the beach often. If you feel joy. STOP. And roll in it! Consider your life a series of footprints that God will show you someday, and imagine viewing the paths you chose with HIM. Kindness doesn’t hurt. Everything can change in the blink of an eye so forgive often and love as if you will never get that chance again. And always look for the silver lining!

Early Diane


“Early Diane”

             

“My recent work”                                                                                       

When I was a teenager I used to write poetry and draw. So it made sense when I created my greeting card line. It gave my passion for both drawing and writing a place to land. when I started doing art shows. I remember being inspired by a sweet card line by a little girl who’d passed away. Her parents took all of her artwork and made them into greeting cards with her story on the back of each one. I was  so awe struck and  inspired, I created Angel Talk (now Diane On A Whim.) And thought how wonderful to be able to leave pieces of your soul behind  in something tangible for others to share. Maybe someday  my great grandchildren might find bits of me here if they ever go looking for my story. I imagine them finding me inside my cards and my art and here in my blog.

The other day I found some of my “early diane” cards, I didn’t know I’d saved. I guess that’s one good thing about this sheltering, cupboards are getting cleaned out and drawers are getting organized and things are being re-discovered or thrown out. I am not one to just sit around & so I am determined to have a project going everyday. We used to own a little gift shop several years ago,  and if  someone would cry when reading one of my cards, my husband would joke…. “she gives them away for free if you cry!” In a way I didn’t always feel that it was really a joke because it was almost enough to understand that they’d been touched enough to cry. Ya know? What higher compliment could you ask for? The other day I was on a forum on Etsy (an online shop for artists) and was reading a thread that asked “What do you consider a successful shop?” There were various answers from financial stats to stories about people generating so much income that they could quit their day jobs and others answering their success came in just doing their art for the joy of making other’s happy. I still feel that way, but lets be honest, during this time of financial upset,  I am really at the point now, where I need to find a way to make a living doing this. And I can’t give stuff away for free any longer and yet I will always feel that unbridled joy that comes when someone cries!

Anyway, finding those little black & white cards sent me down memory lane. Before colored ink was even an option or very expensive and I had to rely on somebody else to print them for me. As I thumbed through them. It was a little embarrassing. “Early Diane” meant “Early Diane!” If you know what I mean. I kept shaking my head and thinking how did I think these were good enough to sell but even more…. thinking these actually SOLD??

I think as artists following our dreams,   whether writers, actors, artists, singers or whatever our dream,  we all have a day of reckoning when we take inventory and either let go or hang on for dear life. I have a caricature of myself  as an artist that has hung on my bulletin board in my art studio for a long time. It was a party favor drawn at a shower I attended around the same time I began my card line and it is funny to see how young and excited I was through the eyes of the artist drawing me. And I wonder… How can I give that up?

The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will – Andy Warhol

For those interested in strolling around my Etsy shop, I’d love it if you would!

My etsy address is:

etsy.com/shop/DianeOnAWhim

Art is what you make others see


Sharing a few of my latest inspired versions of the studios in my head.

I have a memory of being in an attic when I was young. It is a happy memory, We are at the home of one of my dad’s colleagues and I am playing with his kids. Our dads are executives at Mattel Toys and we are all tester kids. (Not a bad job for a kid!) We’d just gotten out of their pool. It is summer and I remember feeling so carefree. The smell of their BBQ drifting up the stairs,  assuring us that we will soon be fed. Life is good. I’m leaning back on the landing  laughing. And then *poof* the rest of the memory is gone. I’ve actually also dreamt of that scene though I know it “is” an actual memory and both the dream and my memory always end at the same exact place. All I know is it is one of my happier memories of my childhood and I think one of the reasons that I love attics so much. Think about it. I bet you also can find a happy memory from your own childhood that you land on that reminds you of those carefree days. Like your dad carrying you in the house after you fell asleep in the car and that whiff of home as you walk in the door or just feeling taken care of by someone else. I just wanted to post something a little lighter considering everything!

During these last couple of weeks, I’d do anything to have someone else in charge of me and my life about now. Actually I guess there is. In a way. But that’s not what I meant about being taken care of. I remember a funny story my mom told me, it was right after she was newly married,  a man came to her door and asked to talk to her mom and she’d  indignantly told him “I am the mom.” even though she didn’t have kids at the time. There is a funny saying about how being an adult was the stupidest thing I have ever done!

I think maybe why I paint whimsically. Adulting is hard! Someday I want an attic where I can write and paint, with a window seat overlooking a babbling brook and the tops of some very old trees where I can wander back in my imagination and find happy memories and paint them so others who need a happy place to land can join me there! And if you haven’t tried it, try writing a story or drawing a picture (maybe inspired by your own childhood memories) during this time when you have the time. Who knows you might surprise yourself.

For anyone interested in my other designs… Now that you have a little time…. I invite you to stroll through my etsy shop and if you need a card maybe you will find one here! Or… I can always customize one for ya!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianeOnAWhim

Tired of that crap… That’s not supposed to kill me but be making me stronger!


Yesterday I have to admit that I played right into my post about how I don’t follow through  with my best intentions, and promptly had my :”I give up” melt down. Regardless of my attitude adjustment declarations, I became an example of the very thing I wrote about. Just like Paul wrote about his own frustrations in

Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

I think that I have referenced that verse a thousand times!!! I could have written it! I have to admit that I  feel so angry with everything. I could have almost said that I questioned my faith. Which leaves me  pretty devastated. I’m no martyr. My life has been pretty good. Though when I take an inventory of heart aches, I’ve had my share. But I don’t think I’ve ever just sat down and not believed. Yesterday I was just MAD. Not just at the virus, but at the stupid people not taking this thing seriously and for the ones going WAY overboard!!!! And just the stupid things  happening in my life! Not to mention, our car breaking down after one was already totaled by another stupid person, (my own personal drunk driver) that decided to crash into me last year right before Christmas. And, and, and… I could go on… But on the other hand, I have so many blessings! I KNOW God is out there! He constantly is trying to talk to me! I am such a fool. As I was looking up this verse, It referenced Joni Eareckson Tada, an Evangelical Christian author, and radio host that leads a ministry in the community for people with disabilities and who was paralyzed from the neck down due to a diving accident. I know her story well and God is so good! He doesn’t miss a beat, finding me right where I am. In the muck of my pity pot. (NOT that I won’t be there again and probably a thousand more times! to the dismay of myself and those closest to me.) But for the moment, I am pulled out. I am reminded of two of my friends with ALS both with amazing spirits. One now with the Lord, and one an amazing soldier for Him!) And of one of my very dearest friends that just lost her life after her two decade struggle with cancer, who was another one of God’s solders, always with a smile on her face. So I berate myself as I attend my own little church with just me and God who has given me a personal revival all of my own. Always finding me right where I need to be found. Reminding me of my amazing friendships. And though I’m dealing with a plugged ear right now… I roll my eyes at the minimal physical complaints I have and am awed by the spirit of those who have so much more to deal with. So at the risk of continuing to write in my usual formula, I just wanted to check in with everyone and kind of journal my way through these times that are supposed to be making me stronger. I’d love to show my character through all this and be a shining light… like I see everyone posting… but for those of you that have had a melt down I just wanted to share you are not alone and I think it’s okay as long as you have a stupid formula to rise above it all and can post about it, in your blog. Right?? Stay safe everyone!

The writer inside of me


Today I decided to share some of my own artwork with you guys! And who I invision                                     

 “the writer in me” might look like….

I guess this question is actually for my wordpress bloggers… though the message here is for everyone so please stay with me! 1st, for the question… You know how wordpress chooses 3 past posts at the end of your current post that they feel is somehow related to what you just posted? Do you ever find that the posts that they choose, are the perfect messages that you needed for that particular time in your life? (Now for my take on this…)

I guess it is not so crazy to find our own messages we wrote a few years ago, or even several years ago poke us in ways that make a huge impact. Our own wisdom so to speak biting us in our own proverbial butts.  I mean who can teach us our lessons more than the one INSIDE of us writing them? The one who seems to kind of  be claiming to have  all the wisdom, & once had all the good intentions, and the one who intended to keep the resolutions they promised to themselves.

Yesterday I wrote  a post and good old wordpress chose a few of my old posts for me under the “related” section at the end of my new post. And it made me curious enough to wander around my old posts they slipped in. And so I began going back as far back as 8 years ago, long before I allowed anyone else IN. Well, it was pretty enlightening, I found that I was full of good intentions and knowing I needed an attitude adjustment way back before anyone was following me. It’s kind of sad, but as I was reading backwards, I could feel the “writer inside of me” feeling very dissappointed that I didn’t follow through with all her positive messages and that great advice I DIDN’T take. It seems as if they were all met with broken promises. As I read how  I was going to be  less angry and meet each day with a better attitude, and how it was up to me what kind of day I would start to choose to have,  I read all of my declarations and felt annoyed with myself.

One of my favorite sayings is… “Today is a good day to have a good day!”On one particular posting day several years ago, I announced with crazy authority… You choose whether you are going to have a good day. Today, for some reason, I feel overwhelmed by trying to embrace that concept or to take my own advice. I can almost feel the writer inside of me feeling the wind slipping out of her sail and her soul welling up with tears, feeling so very, very, sad. Wondering where WordPress might find this relatable, and fit this one in, amidst my over 400 posts? I feel bad that that writer inside of me feels so defeated. I am just now beginning to grasp how horribly I  have failed her since that post all those years ago. I’m wondering where my hook is, and how I am  going to wind this all back up with a neat little message  about how it’s all going to be okay. How I am going to find the good in all this somehow. As I’ve surmised is my  rather annoying formula. But I’ve got nothing. The little kid in me stamps her foot and huffs out. Though she can’t go too far because she is literally grounded, sequestered today (due to this virus that is quarentining us to our perspective corners!) So she finds herself sitting down and reading many of the messages that the writer inside of her once wrote! And in some small way she finds hope in her own wisdom of choosing that Today is a good day for a good day! At the risk of using that transparently annoying formula. It will be interesting to see what posts Good Old WordPress chooses to attach here. (see the 3 below) As I click on them and recieve the advice from that long lost wise one, The Writer in me!

That Perfect Picture


The other day as I was cropping a picture, I thought how nice it would be to crop out the things in our life that’s interrupting “the perfect picture” If we could filter the part of the photo with as much saturation or brightness that we wish and crop out the parts that don’t fit “in”  with what we are trying to portray. Cutting out a part of our body or a weird expression or  even a person, that makes the picture less than perfect.

Today especially, I bet a few of us would love the use of an App with that little feature, that could adjust our lives with a click! Right? As we sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the next shoe to drop or the next statistic to poke into our bubbles, we have the sad reports of  people dying and viewed the empty shelves as people have hoarded in a panic. It has made me stop and realize that there is no App that technology can give us to fast forward to better days. We all just have to wait it out. It’s scary when even the experts don’t know. I for one, appreciate the ones we’ve appointed to be in charge, to try to keep us safe. And as the numbers grow, those who scoffed at the over dramatic approach, is sitting back and shutting up and watching in alarm as our cities and communities are basically on lockdown until further notice. Nothing like this, in most of our lifetimes has ever happened and we need to take it seriously. I know that I will never take the things for granted that I once did. Though, we have grown  more concientous  of germs, as many of our public restrooms have motion sensors to avoid touching fixtures, and (before the coronavirus, there were) antibacterial wipes offered near most of the cart stalls in retail stores.

But for the most part, we still hugged or shaked a hand without fear of dying, could attend church or school or PTA Meeting, call a friend on a whim to meet us for lunch and a movie. Now, I’m sure that we will appreciate all of those things much more when all of this is over. And it will be. I remember when 911 happened and for a sweet minute, there were no political parties, Republicans were hugging Democrats, and Democrats were shaking hands with Republicans. It was how I believe God planned His world to be.

Maybe I am just too simple minded to wish that good things could come out of bad. But as everyone is left with nothing better to do than get down on our knees. We need to!

 

I pray that this world  ends up in a place of faith, depending on God.  Not “A higher power” or the “Universe” (I hate that we can’t give HIM the honor of HIS NAME & recognize WHO HE IS!! & that people feel the need to be politically correct by not saying God!) I pray we can find our way back to that place when we prayed for our country. Our world. Well, God’s world. HE is the only GREAT ADJUSTER of all the pictures and of what is going on, the only ONE who can adjust the filter or crop it to make That Perfect Picture. He is the one who is in control of that APP in our lives! The one who calms the stormy seas and is the light, guiding us through the darkest night! I tuly  believe that  during this time, we all need to go and read Ecclesiastes 3. The verses that  remind us “there is a time” for everything. I pray for our government  and would encourage us all to get down on our knees and do the same. And pray that our future will lead to : “a time for”…  healing and building and and laughing and dancing, embracing and mending, and for  love and peace. And not to forget to thank HIM when HE Answers! Because I know HE will!

“You’ve always had the power my dear.”


The other day, I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda told her that she’d had the power all along but that she had to learn it for herself. It was such an AHA moment that I had to share this little epiphany. Who knows maybe someone else might need a nudge. I’m grateful for the wise counsel of a few good friends that nudged me.

I’d been struggling with something for several months and was resigned to the fact that I had no choice. Until something better came along, I was stuck. And then finally, I’d had enough. Not in a spoiled kind of way. But in a way where I felt that nothing was worth how I was being made to feel. And yeah, I “GET” that no one can make you feel any kind of way. But if you allow someone to treat you with disrespect over and over again. You lose that power. And in the middle of a conversation I was having with that person, I realized that I was too old to put up with such disrespect and a supernatural strength filled my soul and I took my power back. And without drama or even caring to understand their reasons for why or explaining mine, I brushed off my shoes and moved on!

 I could have felt as if I wasted three months of my life, I changed the course that I was on thinking that this was what I was supposed to do, and several things happened during the course of that time that really interrupted where I’d been  headed. But I realize now that I needed that lesson. Not  loving myself enough or believing in who I am has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I took charge for the first time in a long time and it feels so good. The joy inside of me has not stopped bubbling over. Despite any interruptions and my future being a little ambiguous… I am continuing right where I left off. Because… you get in life, what you have the courage to seek!

QUOTE DOROTHY DREAMS

It was the best money I ever spent


Sometimes in life, we give a little more than we have to give. Whether it is an extravagant gift, a favor, or just time we really didn’t think we had to spare. And sometimes the reaction of the recipient is so over the top grateful, it was worth every penny or second. But what happens when you never even get a thank you? I taught both my kids to say “thank you” it is kind of a parenting 101 no brainer. I wonder why or how some adults lose that lesson along the way? I know that there are many people who do things because they are just good and kind people. They don’t expect a thank you. They don’t notice when it is not given. They see a need and step up without even thinking about it and do whatever they did or gave whatever they gave because they wanted to. My dad is a lot like that. He has given to so many people just because he has a good heart. And I think maybe because once upon a time no one gave to him when he needed help as a kid. He is a self made success in his own right and through the grace of his Lord that he lives for daily, has it to give now.

I wish I could be more like my dad. Not letting my left hand know what my right hand is doing. (A quote my mom used to say that means not expecting acknowledgment for something we’ve done.) Not talking about it, or wanting anything in return. But lets face it, when someone truly appreciates something we’ve done for them or given them and are truly thrilled, there is something powerful that happens, that makes you feel well a little like, “that was the best money I ever spent.” Right?

It makes me think about all of the times we pray for something and our prayers are answered and we don’t even stop to thank God for answering something in such detail that we can’t believe it was just a coinidence. It was God coming through for us. I have to wonder, does God notice when we don’t thank Him? I believe that He answers in such detail sometimes just so we know it was Him. I know I fail to recognize all the prayers He answers daily. I know I complain a lot. But when I heard someone say recently, “It was the best money I ever spent.” in commenting on how grateful someone was in receiving a gift that they never expected they could ever afford but really wanted.  I felt the power in that statement and understood the feeling it emulated. When someone is truly grateful, you want to feel it and when you do, you want to feel it again.

We are forever asking God to do this or that for us. And when He does, do we stop and thank Him in a way that makes Him want to answer our prayers again? Of course, I am talking about earthly, feelings, I know He is above all that human nonsense. But we are told in Exodust 34:14 that God is a jealous God. He made us in His image so He does have feelings. What IF we are missing something ? What if we made a point of stopping and counting our blessings and thanked Him daily for answered prayers? We might notice Him there in our midst and just maybe it might change our lives and us for the better.

Oh Lord please forgive me

when  I don’t stop to say

“thank you” for the answered prayers

you answer every day.

Or even stop to remember

all the blessings that you send

and end up asking you for

something else again.

 

1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Colossians 3:17

 

God’s plans interrupted by me


 

I read this quote the other day and it really made a huge impact on me.

“Whatever God’s dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.”

Stella Terril Mann

Wow. Right? Sometimes I read something that makes me really stop and think.  I mean obviously God could have created robots, but He didn’t. I know some people that I love very much, that don’t believe the exact things that I believe. They think maybe Noah and Adam and Eve and the other prominent stories in the Bible may just be a bit of symbolism, a metaphor of sorts that God used to give us a road map. But if I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, I figure, that even amidst the different interpretations, He is not going to allow the words to be so twisted that we are just reading a bunch of stories that never happened. So lets take Adam and Eve for instance. Even if just metaphorically… God had this pretty great plan for all of us. The Garden of Eden. A metaphor? Whatever it was I GET IT! He had something in mind that far surpassed anything we could ever imagine. No illness, no sadness or death, no anger or guilt, or wars,  just a beautiful life in a beautiful world. And good old Adam and Eve screwed that up royally for us now didn’t they? But within that story we learn about “free will” and choices that we are given.

Reading that quote, stopped me in my tracks. I know I’ve been pretty uncooperative in this process called life. I have gotten in my own way so many times I couldn’t even begin to count. I’ve always blamed Adam and Eve for interrupting God’s plan throughout the years, but I know without a doubt that I’ve interrupted His plans for me. The only question I have is, why couldn’t these darn ephifanies have happened in my twenties?

Over the years I’ve had these fleeting glimpses of God, but never this clearly. I am interrupting my own journey. Not believing in the gifts that He has given me. Not seeing the messages He wants me to hear. Not getting out of my own way. Not seeing God’s plans have been interrupted by me! His plan has always been better. I can look back and see the times I took a different path than the one so clearly laid out for me. And then asked why? How many times did I just barrel ahead without really seeking His will? It is all so clear now. And even though I wish I’d seen the light sooner… I will not get in my own way again and brand my soul with the excuse of it’s too late for me. Instead, I will be an example of it’s never too late to salvage that dream and march on!

Oh Lord, if I turn around I can clearly see

the treasures that I missed that you designed for me.

The times I overlooked the path you’d have me take

and how you always forgave all of my mistakes

As I stop to ponder, I finally understand

the wisdom in following the much greater plan!

Diane Reed 2020

Interruptions


Recently, I have been reflecting on my life. The good, the bad, the not so good and the not so bad. And I have come to the conclusion that life is going to always be filled with good and bad moments. Nothing will stay good all the time, and for that matter, nothing stays bad. I remember as a little kid, feeling as if my world had ended at times, and then not long after, having such a great day! Even when I was pretty young, I recognized that bad times pass and if I’d stayed stuck in one of those bad times, I wouldn’t be enjoying the good time I was having at that next particular moment I was having it. When I was a teenager, those moments became more good and bad & I had higher highs and way lower lows. And much more often. My heart was broken a few times and each time I fell into a dark hole that I couldn’t seem to climb out of as fast as I did when I was a kid. I felt that desperate feeling of overwhelming pain. One particular time, when a boy hurt me, my dad knocked at my door and sat down on my bed, and told me that this might happen a few more times but someday, I’d forget about this stupid boy and have more important ones than him come and go after, and someday the right one would come along and  be worthy of my love. I don’t think I grasped his wisdom then. But looking back almost 5 decades later, I realize that, that “stupid boy” that I loved and lost and thought was so important in my life was not. Not even close to the ones that came after him. Or one that I’d really call a “boyfriend” for that matter. And as I look back, I realize that the highs and lows aren’t all about lost loves or the things I thought were so important back then, but the everyday  stuff that happens all the time. You feel happy for a good stretch and then something happens to topple the fantasy that it’s all good all of the time. When my dad died, I thought I’d never stop crying. It was so sudden as heart attacks are and he was so young and it just wasn’t fair. He was my rock. But he also  had an alcohol problem that was a part of my low times. So you see, life isn’t always something we can control. He gave me some of my happiest moments and also some pretty dark ones. When I met my first husband “the happy” was pretty short lived. Though there were some incredible highs and some very dark and low, lows.  The main reason was because…  I married an alcoholic as statistics predicted. And for fourteen years, I tried to believe that there was a “happy” at the end of the dark tunnel. There wasn’t. Though two great kids came from him, and so that was my “happy” that I still have from him.

Life is full of choices. Some we don’t recognize were wrong until decades later, some, we know when we are making them, that they are not the smartest choices. And some like heart attacks or accidents or illnesses, again, obvioulsy aren’t our choices but just a part of life’s interruptions. I was recently drastically interrupted by one that came out of no where when a drunk driver hit (rearended) me going 80 miles an hour on my way home from work two weeks ago. It was a few days before Christmas and my kids were coming for the holidays and I guess I was in a happier place right before it happened. Not at the top of the world, but in an okay place. I didnt’ have to work for a few days and life was in a medium happy place for me. Then BAM! The guy’s bumper was wedged under my rearend so hard that my tailpipe was flat, making my car undrivable. They totaled my car. I still don’t know any details. If the guy is in jail, or the hospital, if he had insurance or not, we are still waiting for the police report. The good news was an Angel was my witness. Well mine, and an of duty CHP who stayed and wrote his own report. So I am confident that I am covered in more ways than one. But I am out a car. My car was an older Lexus SUV  and it saved my life. It was meticulously maintained and though I know I have so many things to feel blessed about that didn’t happen, Give me a minute while I mourn my poor car. It saved me from so much worse and it had to die doing it. I loved that car. Even though it was older I was grateful that it held all of my art supplies perfectly for my shows. So sad! Just another low time, that is an example of a good and bad moment all in one. I am not in the hospital fighting for my life. It was just a car. I get it.

My life right now, is not the way I would have written it. BUT…  As I look back, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the good times I’ve had or the people I’ve loved. And I know from experience there WILL be happy times again. It’s kind of a proven fact.

 

You can’t always plan your life out and the way that it will look

as easily as writing it’s story on pages in a book

for when you write the words down, you can read them over again

you can erase or back space from the beginning to the end.

But life is just not that easy,  and you don’t always get to choose

exactly the way the story goes, or the things you gain or lose.

You can’t always go back and change a word or choices that you made,

or rewrite the places you left, when you know you should have stayed.

I wonder what I would do if God handed me a magic pen,

allowing me to erase my mistakes and rewrite my life again.

I wonder if I changed all I wanted to, who I’d really be,

and if I’d actually end up being the better part of me?

Rewriting every page from the time I was just a little kid,

or realizing I needed to learn the lessons that I did!

by

diane reed

2020

Those rooms inside my head


my grandma's front door

I wander through the rooms I carry with me in my head,

they go with me where I go, it mostly just depends.

stairsdown the stairstop of the stairsVIEW FROM UPSTAIRS BEDROOM

There are rooms that I’ve abandonded and barely go inside

and others where I’m there a lot, and others where I hide.

girl carrying huge key

There are some I  leave wide open where anyone may go,

 some I lock up tight, and would rather no one go in those.

girl sitting in dark hallway

There are some that are neat and tidy and some that are a mess,

there are some where I’m creative, I love those, I think the best!

messy art studio5

I wander through those rooms when I’m trying to fall asleep

the rooms in my past when I’m praying my soul to keep

bed

They’re comforting to walk through when I’m lying in my bed

those rooms that I wander through that live inside my head!

 

 

 

 

 

On A Warm Summer Night in 1963


In the backyard blowing dandilions and make’n wishes,

I can hear my mom inside doing after dinner dishes,

on a warm summer night in nineteen sixty three,

my life consists of just my mom and dad and me.

Back then, no one in my life I  really loved had ever died

 I don’t even think I understood the meaning of goodbye.

That was more than ten thousand warm summer nights ago,

seems like we all have to learn things we didn’t want to know.

Like all summer nights aren’t just warm and breezy

and saying good bye has never been easy

It’s hard to believe that everyone I loved back then has died

and it hurts like hell when you begin to understand the meaning of goodbye.

Diane Reed

10-2019

My mom died today, well two years ago today. And it sucks more and more everyday. I still catch myself regularly starting to call her to tell her something. I know she is in heaven. I know she is so happy. Her body is new and she gets to be with Jesus. Who she’s loved since she was a little girl. But I wish that He could give me a dream or a sign, or one last conversation with her. I sometimes just want to go back to that summer night in 1963 blowing wishes while my mom was still inside doing the dishes. I guess it’s okay. For her at least,  I bet there are no dishes to do in heaven.

“I Always Will”


My mom was a memory making mom. She baked with me and always made a big deal about me smelling the vanilla, taught my friends and me how how to paint rocks and play candy store. She got a coffee can  and punched holes in the lid so the neighbor boy and I could catch frogs, she took cardboard boxes and made doll houses with curtains and bathroom tile, beating anything you could buy in a store. She took me to Seattle every summer and at Christmas time, we’d go shopping at the dimestore every week  for a new piece to our Nativity scene. When I was older, she began doing art shows and took me to her botiques or shows and even though I didn’t realize it then, I am sure that is why I have this dream to be a success in doing them now.

Last night, my heart was so pricked by my friend’s son. I had to write about it this morning. My friend and I met many decades ago at a baby shower of another friend. Our husbands were our boyfriends back then, and the girl was my boyfriend’s best friend’s wife, who actually was the only one I knew there that day. Though it was a teensie bit  uncomfortable showing up at a party only knowing one person,  I’d always been pretty okay about going somewhere I didn’t know people, and making new friends. But I went for my boyfriend who wanted me to go. And that is where I met Shari.

Shari’s boyfriend was the brother of my boyfriend’s bestfriend. She welcomed me with open arms, we ended up sitting together and then making a date to go to a movie we both wanted to see, later that night. (A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kirstofferson) to really give you an idea of how many decades ago this was!

After that, Shari became one of my best friends and we never looked back. Literally.

We made so many memories together. We married our boyfriends. She stuck it out. My husband and I lasted 14 years. (another story) But Shari and I have lasted a lifetime. We both got pregnant within a few months of each other, her first. I remember going to the beach after having hard, flat little stomaches not too long before that and digging holes in the sand so that we could lay on our stomaches! And together, experienced the magic of having our entire lives ahead of us.

She had a grandma who made her memories with her and so together, we had that memory making trait, wanting to make memories for our kids. We used to load up our babies in their strollers and walk downtown all the time. Or take them to the mall or the park. I remember peeking in the windows of empty houses together, looking for rentals as our families grew. We had (2) two traditions we kept for years. The first one was, meeting at Toys R Us late at night, after the kids and our husbands were sound asleep, (they would open 24 hours a day, a few weeks before Christmas) and shopping together without having to fight the crowds and then going out to Bob’s or whatever was open at that time of the morning to have some kidless time was something we looked forward to every year. The other was also at Christmas time, we’d go to The King’s Table in Torrance. It was a kind of smorgasborg where the kids could serve themselves cafeteria style and  then we’d exchange Christmas gifts that we budgeted in especially for each other and we did that for years.

Last night Shari and I were messaging each other on Facebook and her youngest son, now an amazing man and daddy himself, got on and joined our conversation and the subject of memories and the King’s Table came up and I told him, I loved that he remembered that memory. And he just said three simple words that made me cry….  he said, “I always will.”

You see, as I reflect on my life, sometimes I feel as if I’ve made so many mistakes. And worry maybe that those will win out over all of the memories I tried to make. But last night, well, it meant a lot to know that we really did succeed in making some good memories that will always be remembered.

 

 

Growing through it all


lawn

When I was young my dad told me  I had a forest worth of leaves I said that I was turning over. The fact is, I wanted to be “good.” I tried hard. Whatever I was doing wrong, I wanted to stop and figure out how not to keep doing it. Today, some 50 + years later, I feel a little stuck in that little kid that never seemed to ever win the battle with myself. And if we are talking about buttons, my biggest one is, the guilt button. Feeling as if I have failed everyone else, but mostly myself.

I have been in places in my life, where I have thought. I’m never going to do it right for EVERYONE so, I just abandon all of my efforts and selfishly do what I want. I have always had this wild fantasy of just running away. Luckily as I grew up and learned about responsibility and then became a mother, I stopped running. Though I think when my marriage of fourteen years failed, I went through a mini-breakdown inside of myself and laid the first row of bricks that later would become the wall I began building around myself years ago.

As a kid, I never was one to not say what I felt. I mean, as I grew up, I grew a filter. But have been known to wear my feelings on my sleeve. One thing I have learned is that there is power in not telling people everything you are thinking. I have come to the conclusion that no one is entitled to KNOW everything until or if I am ready to share it. Though that wearing my feelings on my sleeve thing gets in the way a lot, because between the wall and having trouble not showing when I am hurt or angry, it is like an oxymoron raging inside of me. That ambivalence between wanting to do what is right but finding myself doing the opposite.

If you have followed me at all, you know by now, that I love a good metaphor and as I walked outside to turn on my studio the sprinklers turned on, it came to me just how to explain how I feel inside of me, this very minute. I am our lawn. I just mowed it a few days ago, so it still looks freshly manicured. Part of our lawn is pretty real grass that my husband just recently planted, part is still just dirt, (some still struggling to sprout the seeds planted) and the other half is dying old real grass that is having a tough time surviving this summer’s triple digit heat, and the other is just weeds that we pretend is grass or try not to notice isn’t, that we mow and water along with the other. Do you see where I am going with this?

Like the lawn, I am STILL a work in progress. Still worth being worked on. Still learning. Still struggling to grow new seed. Though, there is still a lot of work to do, wasting time on watering the old weeds, seems to be senseless.  But anywaay, my husband tells me that he has some weed killer he is planning on using out there when he can get to it! 🙂

I guess my point is… That I have learned, only God can get the weeds out. But He still tends to the places that I allow. The dead grass, the dirt, and the weeds are where I waste a lot of my time. Even though I see growth where the seeds were planted. I just need to realize that until I stop and hand it ALL over to HIM, I will remain stuck watering the weeds.

March


 

 

 

My mom

 

My mom and me

Terri, her sister (Pam also one of my bffs!) & me

Terri, Allen and I at his Oscars Party a few years ago…

 

March birthdays have always been tough! My mom’s was the 3rd and Terri, my bff’s  was the 5th, my oldest granddaughter’s is the 6th, my dad’s is the 11th, my daughter’s is the 15th and my mother in-law’s is the 17th and our nephew’s is at the end of the month.  I used to complain. But the older I get, I realize that I am blessed to have that many special people in my life born in March!

Sadly, my mom and Terri are no longer with us. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday and tomorrow will be Terri’s.  It’s funny, you really don’t know what to do. I mean, it stopped being their earthly birthdays for them when they entered heaven. But as long as I live on this earth, I know that I will always remember their birthdays.

I guess I am just writing this to remind everyone that life is short. And well… if you have a big birthday month too… where all the birthdays seem to be crammed into one month! Embrace it and realize how blessed you are!

It seems as if just yesterday my mom was carrying me around or I was sitting on the curb with my best friend. Or attending an Oscar party with her that our Kindergarten friend Allen has annually! March is still full of birthdays of people I love. But I wouldn’t complain if I still had two more to celebrate again!

A Heavenly Birthday Wish

I remembered you today, even though you are not here.

I lit a candle in my heart and shed a wistful tear.

But somehow I know you’re celebrating in a different way,

and don’t worry about earthly things like specific kinds of days.

Everyday’s  a celebration in heaven up above,

filled with joy and peaceful things and the most precious kind of love!

And so I blow out the candles and wipe my tears away

knowing you are celebrating with the angels, every single day!

Diane Reed 2019

 

 

 

 

Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

It’s been a while since I opened up my blog page. I’ve missed writing here and checking in with you guys. Though I have been writing. I kind of got a new spark and have slowly been re-editing my book. I’ve lost count which time this would be. But I feel good about it. And now I am grateful that I didn’t try to publish it with all of the things that I have since changed and continue to rewrite still in it! As for the rest of the time, I’ve been getting ready for shows and restocking a little cozy booth I have at a store in town, called Reminisce. And working 12 hours a day doing it!  NOW that I am seriously attempting to make this what I want to do until I die!

Once upon a time, when someone asked me what I did, I would say that I was an Artist. And I was and always have been. In my heart. If you know my story, I worked as an Artist for over a dozen years and then moved to a small town in Paso Robles and opened up a little gift shop called Rose In The Woods which was supposed to mean “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.” It was a favorite of the locals and tourists and was doing extremely well for a few years until an earthquake demolished it. (You can find the rest of the story in the ABOUT section of my blog. https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/) But that is not what I want to talk about now, I just wanted to explain why for a while my  title was not “Artist” but Event Coordinator. And that was great. I learned a lot and had an amazing boss that has turned into a “forever friend.” But in my heart I always knew that there were more cards and dolls inside of me.

My husband built me a cozy little Art studio in our garage and created displays for me and has driven back and forth following me to Southern Californ to help me set up. And I do an amazing show that is still going strong called Sugarplum Festivals in Buena Park. I started doing that show almost 30 years ago and it is one of the largest family owned Arts & Crafts Show in California. With over 12 cash registers and a few hundred Artists, they have built an empire! The last show, A February show (mind you!) had customers wrapped around the building waiting to get in! They know how to Market their shows! They welcomed me back with open arms when I first approached them about trying a few shows again and each show I am learning new things. I think I could write a book on the dos and don’ts of doing shows.

But for now, I just kind of wanted to share a little of where I’ve been when not blogging!

 

My cozy little booth at Reminise in the heart of downtown in Paso Robles CcA. And when I’m not there, I am traveling to Sugarplum in Southern CA….

When you are traveling to do shows and have to be there by 9AM there are some perks to the challenge of getting up early to drive the four + hours to be there on time. That’s actually my sweet husband ahead of me, loaded up with half of my stuff.

This is what my booth looks like before I set up. I used to do this with no help at all. I’ve gotten so spoiled lately. Though I am trying to start doing it on my own again, just to see if I can since my sweet husband may be busier in the near future!

This was all set up

This was towards the end of the show! Blessed to take a lot less home! Gotta love me some of that Sugarplum!

My new line for 2019… My Antique Dolls and  if you notice my Shower Doll… Funny story, I was stuffing her and the stuffing got stuck in the middle and so I just went with it! So my new pregnant Shower girls are part of my line for this year!

Some of my cards out of my line… with a brand new line being introduced this year!

Thank you for taking the jouney with me. I am excited to see what this year holds for me! I am  definitely not ready to give up. I am praying that this year brings me enough success so that I can say that “I make a living” doing it!

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

I just lost my mom almost two years ago. She was a children’s artist during my whole childhood. I’d like to think that I am continuing her legacy!

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

Letting Go


Yesterday, a friend stopped me to ask how I was. She will never know how much it meant to me that she stopped her day to ask. She’d posted something on her Facebook page that we’d discussed earlier that week. It really helped me put things in perspective. It was about the verse; “Be still and know that I am God” and how the original root of “Be Still” doesn’t actually mean be quiet, but let go! Which we both agreed is hard for us.

“Letting Go” means a lot of things to me. My control over everything out of control. My prayer requests, and my anger. Believe it or not I am a grudge holder. I know, I know, doesn’t seem possible right? THAT my friends is a rhetorical question. I mean, I am being sarcastic but I really do hold on to almost everything! And it’s exhausting. That is why letting go would be such a relief! I haven’t claimed any real New Year resolutions for 2019 yet. But I do believe that REALLY “letting go” would be a good start for me. To let go of any plans I may have, and to really believe that God’s GOT this! And that He’s working things out according to HIS will! Which sometimes is hard to understand at the time.

My son sent me this verse this morning….

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

First off, to have my son sending me Bible Verses IS a miracle in its self. But TODAY especially I needed this one! I am in kind of a Spiritual Warfare right now. And I need the Armor of something much more powerful than me. Funny, I asked God to let me know He heard me. He is so faithful if we stop to really listen and  yes…. let go!

 

When I’m On My Knees

 

In the darkest corner, or on the raging sea

when everything looks bleak,

I find You

when I’m on my knees.

No matter where I am, I know where You will be

and that I can always find You

when I’m on my knees

I don’t mind all the lessons that forever are reminding me

that I mostly find the answers

when I’m on my knees.

And when the dark has lifted and You’ve answered all my pleas

may I always remember

to thank You when I’m on my knees!

d.reed

2019

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not about what’s under the tree this year


When you are in Junior High, friendships are made because of many things, your parents are friends, you live in the same neighborhood, you sit next to each other on the bus or in class and somehow you discover you have certain things in common. In seventh grade, I met a girl that liked to write like me. Usually kids play sports or are in some kind of club and connect that way. But writing is different, it’s not really something that is considered a “kid thing” so it was pretty cool to meet someone that had the same passion…  and slowly we began reading each other’s stories. And probably because it was not the normal kind of “kid” connection, I always remembered her and have written about her before here.

Today, because of Facebook, old friendships are being re-newed and we have recently reconnected. To go back with someone that’s shared in your history and remember is sort of magical. In the case of this friendship, we still have writing in common. And today, she proposed that we encourage each other to write prompts. This one is supposed to be about holiday traditions, what we treasure and what we miss as adults.

I know that I have written about knowing just how privileged or perhaps “spoiled” I was being a Mattel Toy’s Executive’s “tester kid” and how the presents were piled ridiculously high around our tree. More so because both my parents were from meager beginnings and I think(that at least my dad) may have tried to make up for what they missed. But it’s funny, because of this prompt, it has made me realize that some of my best memories are not about the most expensive presents but of the times  when my mom would take me to the dime store before my dad had “made it” (when money was still tight) and buy one or two pieces for our little dime store nativity set. It started out with the Stable  and each week we’d buy another piece.  Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus, a sheep or donkey or shepherd or wiseman. And with each piece my mom would teach me about the story of Christmas

The other day, I was in Walmart, in the Christmas section, and ran into one of those little nativites,  complete with all of the pieces already packaged in the set. And I am not sure what happened, but I just lost it and had to stand in the corner of the aisle so no one else would see. Maybe it was because my mom died last year and I just miss her. Or maybe I miss how simple it was just being a kid. And how kids really don’t care about the presents in the scheme of things. Sure, I remember a few that stand out in my memory, but mostly I remember the memories that my parents took the time to make with me, and the things under the tree are forgotten. The way my dad would take me Christmas shopping and decorating the tree with my mom, it was those things that mattered to me in the end.

I just realized that in my line of 2018 Christmas greeting cards, I have two cards that say what is in my heart this year. One says: Maybe it’s not about what you can buy at a store… Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.... And… the other says: It’s not about what is under the tree… It’s about who is around it that matters.

This year is going to be very different. I have been out of work and trying to make it with my art business, and some other stuff has come up. And I have realized that ever since my childhood, I have tried to fill my dad’s shoes. Piling presents under all of my trees since I’ve been an adult. Well, this year is going to be a little more like those dime store years, And maybe I had to write about it, to be okay with it, and really believe that maybe it’s not about things you can buy at a store. Maybe Christmas really means a little bit more.

Never Give UP…Great Things Take Time


 

My first show at the Marriott (yesterday) Today’s show… at the winery at Tin City Cider… 

Well, I have two recent shows behind me and just one more to go. These back to back shows are killing me! Where did the time go? It seems as if just yesterday, I was in my very early 30s listening to the older crafter ladies complaining about this ache or that, and I am afraid that I wasn’t very empathetic. Tonight, I am ready to fall into bed. A nice soft feather one would be fine. But then, I am afraid I would never be able to get back up!

The last show left is Sugarplum the first week of  December down South Though I appreciate the efforts that each show maker makes. Sugarplum is still at the top of my list. It is really like a well oiled machine. After over 3 decades of fluffing and tweaking, it is nearly perfected. They have to hold back the lines on certain days and only let a few in at a time due to room capacity laws, and if you have ever been to the Buena Park Sugarplum Fesivals, the room is pretty huge!  It just is so magical and well attended. And even those lines move swiftly in both entering and checking out and everything is managed so well, you rarely will hear a customer complain.

Though it is a lot of work setting up and tearing down, it is all magical to me. I am literally as happy as a kid on Christmas morning when I am doing these shows. I pray that they will keep being more and more successful because I am much happier creating than working for an owner feeling owned and unappreciated. My pinterest (under my name, Diane Reed) has a section (under the title: (“Things I’ve learned”) filled with advice to me about what I am going through right now as the time limit (end of the year) is quickly approaching! As I wait for that message … “What am I supposed to do?”

I have given myself a financial  time limit, that has to yell the answer to me. I will know after my next show. It will be kind of sad if I don’t reach my goal because I feel as if I have finally begun to gain a decent momentum and a  pretty decent customer following and feel appreciated again as an artist. Today I am literally  hitting that fork in the road and it is iconic for me as I read…  “Never give up, GREAT things, take time.” And… “Worry is a mis-use of your imagination.” and TAH DAH…. “Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering & doubting. Have faith that things will work out. Maybe not how you planned, but just how it’s meant to be. It is as if I gathered everything I needed  and stuck it somewhere for me to find which I am doing right this very minute! Okay! I got the message! But is time on my side?

Funny, I just was wandering around other sections of my pinterest and found……….            “THE BEST ADVICE EVER” section that I created a few years ago and just looked and there are 347 posts! I had to smile at that because sometimes I go  way back, when I first began my blog and I read some of the first entries here, and I find myself reading posts that I wrote that I totally needed to hear now. Me giving me advice. Now if that’s not validating or at the very least an oxymoron! Lol.

I had to share one more of my pinterests… It doesn’t matter what’s been written in your story so far, it’s how you fill up the rest of the pages that counts!

I

Do-Overs…. Always take them if you can!


 

Sorry guys I just realized that I started to share the link for my next show and it published it here, as my last post without an explanation or a title. Whoops! Though, some of you still supported me and checked it out! Thank you!

 

At my last Sugarplum Show I kept having to remove shelves as things kept selling and finally just gave up! If I had to choose a problem to have… “THIS” would be it!

I am in the midst of a huge bend in the road. Not a great place to be, in this season of my life. But I am excited to find out what God has in store for me because I know that He is in charge. I sold OUT at my last show. It was incredible to feel that feeling that I used to feel all those years ago! It has taken almost two years to finally get to this point and gain back some momentum and start rebuilding my customer base. I prayed for God to show me if I was making my own plans or following HIS. And along with my other amazing prayer warriors who have been praying for me, I feel that I am headed on the right path.

Though, finances have been tight due to some major bends in the road and just starting up a business, so the great shows profits are usually already spent. But the thing is… God ALWAYS provides. And is good ALL of the time. My mom used to always quote the verse…  Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 And I am hanging on to it! For some reason, I have  more faith now that God has GOT this one, more than any other time in my life. Maybe because I am old enough to finally look back and see all of the times He’s answered my prayers. Not necesarrily, with the same plan I had, but even a better one!

So please pray for my upcoming shows and my new little venture, I feel as if I have been locked away in Santa’s workshop preparing for the last couple of months. I wanted to share my progress for this year and some of the things you might find. I’ve  introduced a small selection of my line of this year’s Santa’s to Reminisce, a local shop of shops where I have a space, and have already started selling them!

 http://reminiscepasorobles.blogspot.com/

So I am working away to have enough! All of my racks in my art studio have been filled and emptied dozens of time over the last few weeks!

Racks I use to build my santas onHostess Wine toppers

A selection of over two dozen from my 2018 Santa line

 

I am doing my first Christmas Boutique this next Saturday at The 805Boutique  

& then the very next day at the Tin City Cider Company at 3005A Limestone Way in Paso

and then a few weeks later I will be off to another Sugarplumfestivals.com

which is where it all began!

 

 

You guys have been so supportive and so I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to! I feel that there are so many things that I could share during this journey. First, about faith, and my history of how I started and ended up back here, tips for making your business a success, dos and don’ts, always remembering to thank the supporters, husbands, family, friends who over the years have been such an encouragement to me… In trying to re-establish myself. Over the years, I have been given a few opportunities for Do-Overs that not a lot of people get a chance to have, and I know that I have been blessed. I also know that I have missed some opportunities by not taking them. One of the things I have learned is… always take them if you can!

Also find me and a selection of my cards on Etsy at dianesdesignsbydiane.etsy.com and may God bless us, everyone!

The Proverbial Bottom – “Just believe”


There comes a time in everyone’s life where we each have a day of reckoning. Much more than an “AHA” moment, more like a series of lessons that all come together at once. Similar to those mountain top highs that we experience at a High School youth camp when we are touched by a certain speaker’s message or just the praise songs sung around a campfire. Promising to God and ourselves the magnificent change we are about to make, really believing that we can make those changes…. That is, until we come down off of that mountain to face the real world. And are hit by “life.” When we are younger, it may be peer pressure, school, home life, whatever pushes our buttons that help us fail at being that person we really want to be. And yet as adults with decades behind us, we have a clearer picture and are more aware of our daily mistakes. Though we try to live right, have faith, be patient and kind, love our neighbors, our family, even our enemies until something happens that tests that faith and we  hit that bend in the road or the proverbial bottom of where we end up in a crisis, when we feel as if we have failed.

The older we get, more “stuff” gets in the way. And we feel more of an urgency to take account of our lives. But in a more surface matters of the heart kind of way. Believing that it is genuine but still becoming easily discouraged or offended. And not remembering that down on your knees kind of faith. Until that is, we start losing loved ones, or dealing with health issues, or financial crisis, relationship issues,  or whatever will send you to that proverbial “bottom” of where we hit when we feel helpless…. It is only then when we stop and take a good look at everything in a way that we haven’t for a while, maybe even not since that High School Camp experience.

I’ve had several crisis in my life. And have tried to renew my faith each time. But looking back, in a very primary kind of way. Though I genuinely meant it each time and was going through a kind of information gathering process. I don’t really believe that I understood this thing we call faith as much as I feel I do now. (And am still learning about it.) Through deaths and divorce, illnesses, financial stuff and getting on my knees kind of catostrophes. Everytime, making promises and praying for answers and receiving those answers but not continuing that walk of faith in the good times as well. NOW, realizing that even as I failed to follow through, I needed to go through those times of not following through, to land where I am now and to know that I need to keep getting down on my knees,  going in my prayer closet and giving it all to HIM daily. Not just when I need something but also to thank Him for His answers.

Recently a friend of my husband’s died and at the Memorial they gave away a book called Proof of Heaven, written by Eben Alexander M.D.  a Scientist and Brain Surgeon who got sick, and had a near death experience that he didn’t believe in as a Scientist and Surgeon beforehand. I highly recommend the book!  The one thing that really poked my heart was where he shared the (3) feelings of heaven that impacted him most… He said that he felt this overwhelming feeling of… (1) Love, (2) no fear, and (3) that he could do no wrong. The last one hit me the most and I was overcome by something inside of me that is so hard to explain. The realization that everything the Bible teaches us is about forgiveness and non judgement hit me with such a powerful impact it made me cry. I never really truly understood just how much I have felt like a failure in my life. To feel as if I could do no wrong would simply be heaven for me.

I believe that when we hit bottom, we are supposed to learn from those times. To rise up stronger than before. God has put people in my life with examples of strength that humble me. And make me count my blessings. To think that I don’t have it “so bad” and yet I wonder, why are they so strong as they continue to be a servant without complaining? And somehow I think that as I go through each trial, I am just beginning to learn how to fall on my knees, on my face and just believe. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Why haven’t I gotten that yet? Though mountain top highs are great memories of times when we felt as if we could almost touch the hem of our Lord, there is something about reaching a point in our life where we have to stop snatching back those prayers we  lay at HIS feet, and truly get down on our face where we are closer to the hem and just humbly believe that He is in charge and let Him be. Only then will we feel what it truly feels to be free.

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, “for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor fasake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight Proverbs 3:5-6

The Thing About History… It lasts forever


I have realized recently that there are iconic words of wisdom offered up to us throughout our journey in this life. Sometimes we listen and let them tweak the way we think about  things. And some reach us at the perfect time and change our lives forever. But many are lost on that busy path of ours as we keep rushing around and heading for the next goal along the way. The older I get the more I think about things like this…  How many of those messages did I miss?  How many sunk in? And I guess the biggest question is… How do I want to be remembered 100 years from now?  What would I like to be remembered for? I remember my grandma as being my soft place to fall. I remember listening to all of her stories about her childhood. And when she died, all I wanted was her diary. This little green leather book with tiny spaces for her deepest thoughts.

I remember realizing as I read it, that it was written during the time before she met my grandpa, and then as they courted. It ended around the time she had my mom. It is a treasure. I loved hearing her stories when I’d come to visit her during my summers and later when she’d come to visit me. I miss her. I missed her for a long time.  I still miss those phone calls when she would answer “Hi Honey Girl.”  Now I am used to her being gone. The gaping hole isn’t quite so gaping but I still would love to talk to her and ask her questions I didn’t get a chance to when I was still too young to appreciate the value of knowing those things I want to know now.

And so I ask myself… How would I like to be remembered? I think, no, I know,  exactly  the way I felt about her when I was a kid. The problem with growing up, is we listen to the people who knew our childhood heroes differently, and we realize that no one is perfect. Everyone is always going to be judged by someone. My grandma was judged by her kids, she wasn’t perfect. I even remember a few things as an adult that I noticed  was a little off. But as my cousin told me once, “she was an amazing grandma to me” my cousin wouldn’t listen to the gossip and I think it was then when I really began admiring my cousin’s character in an adult kind of way.

There is this mantra that I have heard before but just recently have begun to understand its meaning in a new and enlightened way… “I Embrace the things of my past that made me strong and let go of the things that held me back.”  Okay well, if you’ve read any of my posts you know that I  kind of have this  pattern of writing about the past and according to my sweet daughter who shared with me the other day that the  “writing formula” I use is slightly over-done, “ouch.”Smile.

So…I heard this mantra again today,  as I sat in my art studio and listened to the words of a show which had been playing in the background as I worked. And I wondered what  my grandchildren would remember about me?  I thought about the things that I’d been holding onto and realized that I had been made strong by those hard times. At least I knew I survived them. Some of those times seemed never-ending. My heart has been broken a few times. I’ve lost loved ones and the shoe has dropped so many times it felt like they were raining on my life. And through it all I am stronger and braver and I think that is what it is all about. I have slowly learned to have the faith of my grandma. Maybe I am not there yet but I am in the process of making my own story. And maybe because I understand more, but it almost brought tears to my eyes when I heard the same words today that I’d heard a hundred times before… the thing about history… it lasts forever.

 

 

 

 

The thing about history is… it lasts forever

Just CRAZY or just really, really Blessed?


How do you explain passion? There are days when  I need to create, and nights when I just have to get up to write something. Like a pilot that has to fly, a surfer that has to surf, a teacher that has to teach or whatever your passion happens to be. It calls to you. At a young age, I knew that I wanted to write. I had it all planned out. I’d write children’s books and they would know my name and look me up in the library and check out my books. I may have missed my mark since now librarys are being replaced by the likes of Amazon. But I did recently check out our local library and it felt so comfortable there. I loved it. Now I write the messages in my cards and if I am lucky to have a few free minutes, I try to write my blog. And from time to time re-visit my book that I keep promising myself that I will finish. And so I sit pondering this passion of mine. I feel blessed. I’ve just returned from another Sugarplum. The craft festival that I did back in my 30s for ten years. And once again travel about four hours to do, about 7 times a year.

I love every single bit of it. Their summer show (the one I just returned from) has turned into one that is quite different from all the rest. It is not “just” the regular Artsy stuff, but also where antiques and vintage, shabby chic and lots and lots of  sales are showcased. It is called Remnants and that is what it is…. a little of this, and that, crafting tools and supplies, material and just exactly what they have named it; “remnants” accumulated by the original vendors to share with the customers that flock to the tune of thousands of shoppers looking for a deal. The first day was so crazy! But because it is a one of a kind sale, dealers as well show up first. I am sure I gave a lot away for a steal of a deal because I am still learning and researching this kind of thing. But this show gave me a new found respect for the collectors of yesterday. It is definitely an education. Between my mother in law’s collections and the odds and ends of my daughter’s mismatched china business I was able to participate in this show and it blew me away how well I did. I’d sold a rack that I was going to use before the show even started so I had to scramble to make my booth look halfway decent (to explain the baskets on the floor!) But people managed to clean me out and make room for me to keep stocking the shelves.

This show was fun, but I am ready to begin creating again and showcasing new art for the upcoming holiday shows again. The thing that I have noticed over the last year of re-entering this world and doing these shows again is, how far they have come, how fast the lines moved and how this once little show has grown into something so magical it is hard to explain. Customers never really GET what is involved in every booth, I remember doing a Sugarplum in the 80s with maybe 50 artists. The check-out station was just a long table with about 5 people checking out everyone. Today they have about 14 cash registers, and 4+ times the amount of artists and vendors. They really have fine-tuned this little show into something so GRAND and  I have to wonder if the customers have any inkling of all the hard work that goes into hosting these events?

I really am talking about what goes on behind the scenes of the magic makers of Sugarplum. But also wanted to share some pictures of  the process of being a participant in that magic. Just in my own set up. As my sweet husband packs me up and follows me down there and returns to pack me back up, to spending a week down there, working my shifts and fluffing my booth. It is a lot of work and as I pass the other vendors setting up and tearing down, we smile at each other and nod, wondering if we are all just crazy or no…. just really, really blessed, doing exactly what we want to do! In my case I feel that I am on my way back to doing what I love.

Working on me, better late than never… Right?


I have been spending a lot of time with my child. Not my children (though I love my time with them!) The child I am talking about is “me.” My mother in law, a Psychologist, and I have been spending a lot of time together lately as she goes through her “stuff” trying to minimize things ( at exactly the time I am doing a show called Remnants so it’s a win-win for both of us!) And while she has shared her memories of the items she is getting rid of, we have begun talking about life, and family dynamics and it has helped clarify a lot of who I am.

One thing that has come up is how our buttons get pushed and her philosophy is that whatever is triggering a negative reaction is based on something in our childhood, so we need to go back and find that child and figure it out now for them so that they can become unstuck at the place you left them. That has been unusually painful for me. My childhood was pretty great. My mom stayed at home and was always artful, whether it was ceramics or painting, sewing or crocheting , I know I got my artfulness from her. My dad worked at Mattel most of my younger years and give me a break, how could I not have lucked out more than that? I never worried about money, and never really heard my parents fight.

I remember trips to the Mattel Outlet in Hawthorn where their offices were and getting to pick out different things. I grew up in a house overlooking Marineland and the ocean and came home to freshly baked cookies. I know my parents loved me to the moon and back. My dad was the one who took me school clothes shopping at the beginning of every year and who I spent many Saturdays with just hanging out, going to the Barber shop and hardware store and car wash and talking about his childhood and life. And every Sunday my mom taking us to church without my dad most Sundays but faithfully making sure we went to Sunday school.

My childhood was pretty “Leave it To Beaverish.” Except because my dad was up and coming in his career, he had to wine and dine clients and in turn he drank. I am not sure when I really understood it but I remember when  I was nine and my mom woke me up in the middle of the night and said she had to go get my dad out of jail for a DUI. She wanted me to know in case I woke up. I was told to babysit my little sister. It happened again when I was eleven. And as far as I know never again. But that was enough. The damage had been done. My mom shared with me that once they were driving and my dad had been drinking and swerved off the freeway from the left lane to make his off ramp. As an adult, I wonder… Why did I need to know that? Once after a company picnic my dad drove us home drunk and then started talking about wanting to go to a restaurant called Latitude 20. My mom panicked and asked me to try to talk him out of it. I did and he got mad at me but ended up falling asleep. Once again, it was all on me.

My dad used to tell me that if he ever died there were important papers beneath the master bathroom’s drawer, later he’d tell me they were on his computer. I used to get upset. Nobody wants to think that about their parents dying. Especially when you are still in Junior High. But my dad didn’t feel my mom could handle it. My dad did die early. He may have known something was up with his health. Though because he traveled for his job a lot I think that he thought he was going to die in an accident. He had a lot of life insurance but more accident. He did end up dying at 51 of a heart attack. I was married by that time with a 3-year-old son. He was jogging around the block.

My mom just died last year at 83. She was an amazing mom. And a memory making grandma. But also made her share of mistakes. I have realized just recently that I never really got to be a kid. I had so much responsibility heaped on me at a pretty early young age. I didn’t need to know the adult things that were happening in my parent’s life. I think I am angry at both of them. My dad for his alcohol issues and my mom for telling me about them.

I remember asking my dad every single morning when he’d be home that night, and  my mom getting annoyed with me for asking her every single night, if she was worried if my dad wasn’t home when he said he’d be. I remember feeling sad and confused and angry that she was annoyed but feeling that it was my fault and I was just a weird kid that worried too much. I wish I could have understood enough then, to realize it wasn’t my fault and to tell her that she was the reason I was worried. Actually they both were!

Now, I hate the knowing that anyone is annoyed with me, I hate feeling worried and guilty, and today I know exactly what and why I have those buttons and I am working on them. I know that I react more quickly to certain triggers that someone else might just let go.

I wish I could go back to find that little girl and make it okay. I think just by giving myself a break and realizing some of those things have made me really melancholy lately. I wish I’d figured everything out sooner. But better late than never. Right? I guess I could have turned out a lot worse. I guess the message I want to share here is…  If you have worries, and we all do. Share them with another adult. Not your kids. Spare your kids. Let them have their childhood.

 

Those Unconditional Followers


 

I haven’t been terribly supportive in my blog world lately, or any other part of my life right now, because  I have been trying to prove that I can make a living in the art world  again. I plan for this next one, to be one of my most successful shows yet!  I have given myself a time limit to prove to myself and my husband that I can once again, make this “running my own business thing” a success,  and the deadline is quickly approaching.  I have really been working hard in trying to re-build my customer base.

artist studio

You see, I was pretty spoiled a couple of decades ago. I had a rather nice following of customers. I did my shows and made good sales,  finally, landing at one show called Sugarplum (Festivals)  ( sugarplumfestivals.com ) that made all of the others seem to pale to the magic that they created in every way. And so I have signed on again to do almost every one of their shows. I have also moved into a little local shop called Reminisce and have had a booth there for a year.  And just recently reopened my Etsy shop called Dianes’s Designs by Diane. Though as life happened and I slowly stopped doing shows, I slowly lost that “Once Upon A Time” long ago following. Since my customers  couldn’t find me anymore, except for a handful of loyal ones that I still am in touch with and are excited for me to re-enter this part of my past and still boost me up by reminding me of their loyalty.

That also has happened here, on my blog. I noticed the less I write, the more I am losing a lot of my readers. I once tried to write daily, and to keep up and support other writer friends. And notice that there are those sweet readers that pop right back up and support you unconditionally as you write. And then there are a handful of writers that do the same. Regardless, if you have ever supported their writings, they always support you, and then the others that  just stop supporting you if you don’t support them. Though I have shared before that I really started writing here, to basically write my book and my poems….  and to find a place to store my words… but I began kind of getting a charge out of realizing people found me somehow and began reading what I wrote. Just like when someone would purchase one of my paintings or cards, seeing that someone else liked something that I wrote and commented and followed me was a little (for a loss of a better word) addicting.

 

To be honest, what you put into anything is what you get out. Period.  work, writing, hobbies, friendships, relationships, when you really think of it that is how life is. Right? Sure there are those priceless friendships that can start right back up,  where you left off without guilt trips or expectations and those are to be treasured. And other relationships such as maybe familial ones, that are unconditional, but even those will fall away if you don’t nurture them a little. So in my business I must come up with new designs and verses for my cards. And here on my blog, I need to check in rather regularly. I do intend to continue my book series that I promised  (in my last post) that I would continue to work on and I will! But I wanted to let my facebook readers know that I will not be posting my book posts on facebook so if you are interested, please follow me and you will be notified by email when I post a new post and those will be included there. Though I will post other blog posts on facebook, just not my book.

I would like to take this time to stop and thank all of you who are reading this now, because unless you are a first time reader, I know that you are one of those faithful readers who inspire me and comment and continue to unconditionally follow me whether I deserve it or not.

Have you written your synopsis yet?


writers trash can

I think that when I finished my book I knew that I just had the bare bones. A writer friend of mine edited a few of my pages and then another writer friend did the same, but I didn’t want to waste their time, and I knew that I’d be changing things, several times before I’d consider it worthy to be read as “finished.” Or at least that is what I told myself as I only gave them a few pages at a time. I think that it is scary for most writers… because when you finally offer it up as a completed, you are putting yourself out there for the real critiques. You are now saying… I think it is good enough, not… this is still a work in progress. You imagine that raised eye brow reader thinking…”REALLY??? She seriously is done?”

And right now, I know I’m not. I am not even hiding behind the pretense of really thinking that I have told the whole story and now am just editing the grammar. I know that the whole story is not really there yet. It’s getting there but it still is not there.

reading on the floor

Someone recently asked me if I’d written a synopsis of my story. An outline so to speak of my intentions. What I’m trying to convey. Why I even felt the need to tell my story. I think that when I penned the first word several years ago and now, sit here today, a lot has changed in the way of technology and social media, in just the last decade. And so my story continues to evolve, even sitting on the metaphoric back shelf.

However, I do believe that if I am ever going to seriously put this one to bed I need to sit here and write this.

Though this book is presented as fiction, 90% of it really happened. The other 10% was just necessary fluffing and primping. But as I introduce the main character… Keri, she is my vessel that carries me through this project.

woman typing on bes

My goal from the start has been to make others aware of abusive relationships and the blur that keeps us asking… Why did she stay so long? Why doesn’t she just leave? In my story it is important to understand the chronological emotional pull that draws each of us in. All in very different scenarios. And yet to hopefully have even if just one person see themselves in the pages I have written. To maybe have an AHA moment and save themselves.

For anyone interested… I will continue my journey through these pages. “My little work in progress” so to speak. But I have learned that in the world of blogs… if you write 800+ words, you begin to lose your audience… and I do want feedback along the way. So for now I will  just say… To be continued. But I will come back and finish this. I promise.you-are-a-writer

Remnants of love


attic treasures

Please excuse me as I have had yet another epiphany of sorts. I know that I tend to use that word a lot and so actually looked it up because I wanted to make sure that I was using it correctly today and I was. The definition I was looking for was: A moment of sudden revelation or insight. 

I spent the afternoon with my mother in law the other day. She is in a place in her life of wanting to minimize her “stuff” and is getting rid of a ton of  “treasures”  she has accumulated throughout her lifetime. It has come at an opportune time for me because I have just begun to learn about antiques and vintage items through my daughter who has recently introduced milk glass and bone china to me because the next show I am in called, Remnants. So it has been a kind of rushed course in all things vintage, shabby chic and collectible.

In the end, it wasn’t just about picking up boxes. Or about just going through  “stuff” but more about reliving with my mother in law the history behind each piece.

hour glassIt seems as if I am always feeling pinched for time. (In my last post, I talked about how I feel as if time is rushing by.) But this particular afternoon I stopped to really listen to all the stories attached to each thing. Even the remnants of material had stories of what she made from them and where she purchased them (several things in Europe.)  I could envision her as a young wife and mother  choosing these things for her perfect home. And because she invested a lot of time and money in these items I have had to research them all. There was one vintage piece that is worth well over $500.00 that I might have put a $40 price on! So I guess I have to really slow way down and educate myself a lot more than I figured. And have since realized that I may have to take even more time than I figured on and find markets other than a remnants show for some of her more valuable treasures!

Ever since I met her, I could see that she painstakingly cared for everything. Her family, her home, all sooo cared for by her. Though… When I was younger I reluctantly am ashamed to say that I may have judged her a little for having or “needing” all the “finer things.” But as I’ve grown to know her, I have grown to love her and realize that all she has ever wanted is the best, not for herself necessarily but for her loved ones and suddenly on that day, I realized I was blessed enough to be one of them. All of her choices, whether in planning a meal, setting a table or planning a vacation has always been with us in mind. Wanting to create a special memory. And so as we sat through the remnants of her life, I realized that it’s not about the money, or the “stuff” it’s always just been about the love.

 

It’s Friday AGAIN????


Today is Friday and it seems as if just yesterday was Friday. I remember when I was around 18 and flew to my best friend’s house to go to her dad’s 50th surprise party. I remember feeling that 50 was pretty old. Now, I’m a decade older than 50 & am in a little panic. When I was a kid all of the Fridays seemed as if they took “forever” to get there. And now in the blink of an eye it is Friday AGAIN! I think that the older I get, the more I feel as if though the days and weeks and years are wooshing by me, the things that I wanted to accomplish are not. Almost two years ago, I began my journey back into my art business and though I am in the thick of it now and I have gotten a lot of my ducks in a row, I think I expected more happening by now. My daughter kind of accidentally started her mismatched china business a little over two years ago and she could definitely support herself by now. What is the difference? The thing is, I think now days the youth have mastered the art of marketing through social media, which I feel I may be a bit challenged in. She has gotten into photo shoots and Event Magazines that list her company fernandbone.com regularly. She is constantly booking events and works hard doing it. When she had her hand-made shop on Etsy, she was far surpassing me in sales and charging much more and getting it!  Though my shop had been opened longer. It is funny, when your kids are a success, you are so proud and not the very least bit jealous but at the same time, it makes me wonder what I could be doing differently by learning from her?

fernandbone.com an early glimpse of Brooke’s mismatched china business at her own wedding!

My cousin was in Marketing for most of her career and so successful that she created her own little niche in the business world, specializing in demographic research and ended up with Alaska as one of her biggest accounts! So I know that it is possible to just learn a new thing and figure it out. But I wonder if my time has come and gone? Once upon a time, I had a huge customer base, was taking orders and  was the one supporting myself. Though my husband at the time, had a very good job, I was definitely supplementing our income and for a while, I had reps and a following that I’m not sure I appreciated as much back then as I should have. Now that I am back trying to revive my art business, a few of my best customers from back in the day,  have encouraged me and been very inspiring. But the trick is zeroing in on today’s market. What are people looking for? I mean the last shows I did regularly were before this century, right before we opened our store in 2000.

Lets face it. I was spoiled by my success. It all just fell into my lap once upon a time when my friend took a painting that I painted as a gift for her to her work just to show a friend, I’d painted one of her kids in a tub,  and she came back with 40 orders for me! I have to wonder, did I rock the boat by not sticking with it? I mean the message was pretty clear with that first order. I was talking to a friend yesterday who reminded me that when things happen so easily we need to be more aware!  Though opening that little store made me have to put things on hold, it was very successful  for just the first year, which is usually unheard of.  Though an earthquake shut down our little store. Was that just a fluke or…  Am I not descearning the messages correctly? Should I have revived my art business back then instead of going to work for someone else? Is it too late? My dream has always been to write my poetry and reach people and make them smile with my art. I don’t necesarrily love working for someone else.  I love what I do. I want to succeed. Though, I know that doing shows, having a little corner in a consignment shop and selling on Etsy is not paying the bills like I thought it would…. and that the Fridays are all landing in my lap way too fast. I know I just need to figure it out. Though I realize that it is not officially a Bible verse in the Bible, I do believe that God helps those that help themselves. And yet I am not sure how much harder I can work. Some nights I don’t close up my studio doors until well after 10 PM at night after a day of creating. And yet I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. Pray for me please.

Some of my designs both old and new… DianesDesignsbyDiane on Etsy

 

When my phone makes “that noise”


I have to admit that I have been on a little hiatus lately. Trying to create for my next show in June, has turned my creative focuses to art rather than writing for now at least. Where I used to post several times a month, it seems as if I have no ink in the well lately. But my phone makes a different noise when I get another follower who has found me for one reason or another and for some reason even though I haven’t written for a while, people are finding me and reading my blog. And though it is a low number for many, I am kind of blown away to have 2,222 followers as of tonight. It is crazy to think that I just wanted a place to store my thoughts and suddenly some friends, but mostly strangers are reading my ramblings for some weirdly encouraging reason.

While driving in the car with my husband last week, my phone made that noise about seven times. I had to tell him what it was. I told him I had over 2,000 followers and he said… “You know, if just half of those people would buy just one of your cards a month regularly, you would never have to worry about working for someone else ever again. We laughed. But it made me think. How could I get everyone LIKING my cards to actually take the time to buy one?

So I thought why not just put that out there? I am in Reminisce locally and have a large selection there. But if you don’t live locally, I have a shop on etsy that I keep adding to daily. Please check my shop out the next time you need a card! Every card is just $3. At the price of cards these days, you can’t beat that price. So when you get a chance browse around, and share with a friend…. Mother’s Day is coming up… Next Father’s Day… and if you don’t see what you are looking for, private message me.

Here is my Etsy Shop link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane/items

Oh yeah and when I make a sale on Etsy my phone make a different noise. It sounds like a cash register ringing!

Thank you for supporting my dream!

 

(A few samples on my Etsy shop)

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Please find more selections here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane/items

A Change Of Plans


I miss my mom. It hits me when I am least expecting it. For a while I wondered why I didn’t cry like I thought I would. I felt numb. But now sometimes I feel the sting from the pain so deeply, I can’t breathe. A few years ago, back when she was still driving and working in her art room or cooking in the kitchen I took it all for granted. She used to make all of the holidays so special. When I knew it was getting too much for them to have it, I tried to take over as graciously as possible. And I willingly did.

My dad used to make a big deal about Christmas. He spoiled us rotten. Because he didn’t have a lot as a kid, there was barely enough room for the Christmas tree with all the gifts he would pile around it. When he died, I tried to take over for my dad.  I think I felt he’d passed the baton to me. But no one could have really filled his shoes. though I went in debt trying!

My mom died the month before Thanksgiving last year. And as usual, I tried to make everything as normal as possible and the celebration went on as usual. Christmas too… But for some reason Easter was hard this year. The numbness was wearing off. And I was feeling especially sad.  I wanted to crawl in a box and come out when it was over. Maybe it was because though my mom taught me about Jesus all of my life, she led me in the salvation prayer on Easter morning when I was seven. So I would always remember when I chose to follow Him. So we have always shared a kind of special bond on Easter.

hand over mouth

I’d planned to do Easter this year. And was in the midst of planning when some  circumstances beyond my control messed up all of the plans. Which actually caused more drama than I was prepared to handle. So, I decided that this year I was going to take my own advice and realize “how many things don’t require my comment.” And to reserve judgement.  It is actually kind of freeing to not allow negativity to infiltrate an entire day which is what I used to do.

I would have gone through with the day but it was actually nice to just go with the flow and let someone else plan something and to go out with my dad and my husband and his parents and be able to go home and cry if I wanted to and not have a huge mess to clean up (which is usually on me to do.) So instead of ruining everything and being mad at the wrong people, I just changed my plans in my head to not let the circumstances that had nothing to do with me, rob me of the joy that has been kind of a pattern on Easters since my childhood. My daughter commented once, how every Easter seems to be ruined by “something” and I thought about it and it was as if a force not of God would come in and try to sabotage all of my adult Easters.

So this year I stopped the pattern. I took back the control and realized that it is always a choice. To decide to make the best of things or not. It is as simple as that. And you know what? It is freeing to stop the crazy making family dynamics or whatever is happening and say enough!  And while we’re at it. Everybody better plan something for Mother’s Day because I won’t be doing it this year. The gaping hole would just be too much. But like my sweet niece said….my mom (her grandma)  is with her in a lot of things she does. All the memories of her faith and encouraging talks will live on in all of us and the best thing that we can do is to keep her  faith alive through our babies. But in the meantime I am not ruining Easter over a silly “change of plans.”

In My Doubt…


 

It has been a while since I have felt that feeling of “having to” write. I am not sure what it is. You know, that thought that gets you out of bed in the middle of the night? The one that you can’t go back to sleep until you write it down and then find yourself still writing way past dawn? Well, it hasn’t happened for a while now. But this morning I was reading a comment from a post I posted today on this day in 2013 (5 years ago!)  and it inspired me to come in here and try to write something.

I’ve had a rather sucky time lately. Just really sad. I try to snap out of it but I have all of these questions running through my head. Maybe it is because when my mom died recently, I don’t think I really grieved. I’m not sure I know how to anymore. When my dad died, I cried for weeks. And then as other loved ones followed,  it all just made me feel, I don’t know. Numb. Maybe because my dad died of a heart attack, I wasn’t prepared and all of the others were sick and it was a relief to have them not struggle in pain anymore. But numb about covers it. I haven’t really been able to really cry for a long time. Even when we lost our store in the 2003 earthquake, I never really cried.

And then the recent California fires happened. It was all so devastating. After losing our store, I never look at devastation like that in the same way. Your world just stops, while life goes on around you. People are still joking and shopping and eating out, when you don’t know what your next step will be.  I know the feeling all too well. And then in Montecito, the people who didn’t lose their houses in the fire, lost them in the mudslides.

My poor husband just sat there one morning as I had a total meltdown and let me have it. Maybe I just needed to cry for all of the things that I hadn’t cried for when I should have. And just used this latest sad thing as my melting pot. But I began almost hysterically questioning  him why God didn’t stop the fires, or why He didn’t make it rain when the fires were happening, or why He made it rain so hard when it did rain?!! All metaphoric because there really is no good answer.

Though, I remember a day when we stood in the middle of the street, looking at the devastation on the block where our store once stood minutes earlier with Christmas trees twinkling in the window and customers packed inside just the day before, while my daughter clung to me sobbing asking “Why God made this happen?” I don’t remember my answer, but she does. She said that I said, “He saved us. He didn’t make it happen.” He did save us. Though the two women in the store next to us both lost their lives. It still is a mystery to me. Why not us? Why did they have to die?

I guess I will never know His ways until I can ask Him. But it scares me that I even have these questions. It’s not the kind of thing that people admit. You know… doubting. So I have asked God to speak to me. And it has kind of been amazing. So many things have come up about why bad things happen to good people. To children, and little innocent babies, and slowly I am hearing Him. Not really understanding, but I know He uses us even in our doubt to be a blessing to others and Glorify Him.

I know, I know, all of the right things to say… We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. Period. He could stop those things from happening, and He does. Sometimes. I know, because He has answered a lot of my prayers.  God does not want us to be His puppets.  Why create something that does not have any choice but to love you? That is not love. Love is a choice. He wants us to choose Him. He showed us love by sending His only son to die for us so that we can live with Him forever. This place is just temporary. So temporary. We are just renting these earth dwelling things called bodies. I AM actually understanding that more and more as so many of my loved ones have left this earth.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He cried. Even though He knew that He was going to bring him back, Jesus wept because He could feel the family’s pain. I think that tells us a lot. Though Jesus could have been there to save him so Lazarus wouldn’t die, He wasn’t. Perhaps to give us this message today. Jesus cares what we are going through. Illness, death, devastation. Lets face it… life is hard. Divorce, accidents, catastrophes, financial struggles, relationship disappointments, they all matter to Him. But this world is our school. A place of lessons, some really hard ones sometimes.

The other day, I was telling a friend about my meltdown. And she said she knew of my faith and she was glad I was questioning things. I am still not sure what she meant. But I felt really bothered by it. And felt that I was not representing God in the way that I felt I should. And then I realized that I have always felt that I have never represented Him in the way that I should. And hopefully will never feel that I have arrived. I may never be the believer that I want to be. The one who gets to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” Though that is my biggest prayer. And still… Everyday I  feel the need to fall down on my face and worship Him. To understand that He loves me so much that when I ask for Him to speak to me He does. I may never understand why He can’t just heal every sick and crippled body,  and give every homeless person a home, and make every mean person kind. So that this world would have no more wars or natural disasters. But I do believe that someday we will live in a world like that for eternity.

I loved when Jesus said  to Thomas, You are blessed because you can see Me. But blessed are the ones who don’t see Me and still believe.

So I guess I will just be sad sometimes. I will still cry when people I love die or when people I don’t know suffer. And I won’t understand a lot of it. And  I may have a few questions from time to time but that is okay. Maybe it’s good to let others see that we all have times of doubt. It’s just about trusting that all things work together for those that love God. And not letting the stupid devil dig up in doubt what  I have planted in faith!

God puzzle piece

 

 

 

 

My Memory Maker


My mom and me in our backyard

I am not sure why I have such a good memory. I think it may be because of my mom. She made the best memories. I remember things so vividly I can still taste the grape juice she always gave me when I woke up from a nap almost six decades later. I can smell the vanilla she always made such a big deal about us smelling together every time we baked. And I can even still smell the kiln that seemed to always have something in it during her ceramic phase when I was just a tiny little girl.

My mom died yesterday. She was a memory making mom. In turn, a lot of my kid’s memories are because I carried on the ones she made with me. She was a natural born artist as was her sister. My mom was always creating. She made all of my gifts for parties I was invited to, and all of my party favors. The flip side of having a good memory are the regrets you also remember about your own attitudes and the things you wish you’d said or didn’t say. Praying you said thank you enough or apologized for the things that you regret. I don’t think I appreciated not having store bought things to give my friends back then. But years later, my best friend told me that she was jealous of how talented my mom was while she only had store-bought things to give. Funny how as adults, we see things with a different clarity and  appreciate now the little things that truly matter.

When I was in Junior High, my mom began painting and doing art shows and had quite a customer base. Though she had a lot of pain from having polio as a child, she was pretty active. We’d always help her set up her A-frames and sometimes she had every weekend a month scheduled with shows. Funny how now I am doing the same thing as has my daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my mom planted many fruitful seeds in her life. She had an art room up to the very end that my daughter and my niece made special memories in as kids. My mom loved making memories for them too. Generously sharing her paint and sewing supplies. She was always trying to teach one of us to crochet. And setting up endless little tea parties. But the best seeds she planted were the ones rooted from her faith.

Everyone knew she loved Jesus. She made sure that we all knew Him personally and I have no doubt that the ones that met her when she arrived in heaven ran to greet her to thank her for planting those seeds in their hearts. In regard to Jesus,  my daughter said, that she was His biggest fan. And my son said that out of all the people he knew who’d gone to heaven, he knew without a doubt that his grandma belonged there most. And my cousin said that it was probably a BIG DEAL when she arrived there.  And we are comforted that our moms are together again, there now. She would always say “Take Jesus with you” when we’d leave. I began saying it to my kids when they learned how to drive. It’s just become the thing to say to each other now.

My mom lived a good life. She was 83. She had two great marriages and during her last years, I could not have imagined a more loving caretaker as my dad. Faithfully taking her to what they call the 2 store. Letting her buy whatever she wanted… even if they didn’t need it. Telling us it gave her joy. Because of her polio she had bad memories of being in a hospital. My dad took care of her as she slowly faded all by himself and thanks to the help of our little Amanda who shared her caretaking experience weekly and helped us get Hospice at the very end. My mom never had to go to the hospital. It was bittersweet. I knew that we’d miss her but both my dad and I and my husband prayed that towards the end she would go fast and not suffer long.

My mom was always my soft place to fall all of my life. It was hard when the phone calls stopped. I tried to help as much as I could. Tried to get the last conversations in while she still understood. To fit in all of the thank yous and I’m sorrys as much as possible. And to laugh and remember all of the memories. The last days were filled with visits from her grandkids and great grandchildren and all of her loved ones who gathered to love her one last time. Ironically there was a baptism at their house the day before she died. Her Pastor and his family prayed for her and the next day she went home to the arms of Jesus. And then, probably attended the best party ever.

Goodby mom. I’ll miss you. But because of Jesus and you, I know that we will be together again.

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/

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.)