The Well


I was trying to explain something to my husband this morning and it turned into a huge discussion that kind of spoiled my good mood. He is the kind that can just brush his shoes off and move on while I am left wallowing in the mud where I feel my heart was dropped, feeling misunderstood and judged. I think that It might be a guy thing. Maybe I am just expecting too much from them~ or… of anyone for that matter, maybe it is a lot to ask to be understood.  Who knows, All I know is that it feels good when it doesn’t seem to take so much work to just feel “GOTTEN”. And at certain important times of my life, I have felt more understood than others and have appreciated the ones doing the understanding.

I tried to remember another time when I felt that way and it was with a different husband a couple of decades earlier. I was almost 8 months pregnant and something happened on a particular day that impacted me in such a way that I even remember her name. If you know me at all, I know a lot of people and it takes a while for names to register so it is especially impressive that I remember one that I spent just a few days with almost 25 years ago.

It was the day that Jessica McClure fell down the well. I began following the story as soon as it aired. It was about a little eighteen month old baby girl who had fallen down a well in her aunt’s backyard in Texas.  I was just one of many, who tuned in to pray and watch the story unfold. Hour after hour, even day after day, we listened to her mom call down as they sung “Winnie The Pooh” together through that small hole she was wedged into and it did me in. I think I cried and prayed more in those two days than I ever had in my life except for maybe the day that my dad died. I am not sure if it was because I was pregnant and emotional or my little niece was about the same age but I  bonded to that mom and her baby, praying and watching along with the rest of the world as the crews of heroes went about rescuing her and strangers began donating equipment to help with her excavation , after two days , even my husband was watching and praying with me.

But just as they were about ready to pull her out, he went across the street. I asked him to wait and watch with me but he just had to go get high at the party house. Even though we did not divorce until several years later, I remember knowing at that moment that our marriage was doomed.

And like I said earlier… I am not sure why that exact second impacted me so much but it has stayed with me like “A Kennedy Moment” for all these years. I watched as they pulled that baby out of the well and praised the Lord and loved the heroes involved. All by myself, as tears streamed down my cheeks watching it all finally come to cohesion  alone in my living room. I remember going across the street later and finding the coverage on there too. I let it all register for a few minutes without saying anything and then I burst into tears as I kind of surveyed the whole scenario, as if my future was being played out right in front of me (and little did I know right then, but it was) as my husband kind of looked at me cluelessly, as I said, “I can’t believe that you couldn’t have waited two minutes to share that experience with me.”

I am so sure that, my neighbor’s houseful of friends all in their haze of being high and all childless, had not a clue in the world what was the matter with me, but the fact that my husband didn’t “GET” it resonated clearly in that instance. Even though our divorce was due to something completely different years later, I think that, THAT day I knew it was just a matter of time before the other shoe would fall.

Today I have a wonderful husband who tries to understand my Jessica McClure moments and even though he may not get them all. And even though today it still takes a lot of work to really feel that he understands the things important to me, I pretty much know that he would not have gone across the street that day and he would have stayed to watch the rescue with me. At the very least,  I know that he makes the effort to stick around everytime  I wander back to the well. I can still feel the tears when I remember that little voice faintly singing up the tune; “Winnie the pooh, winnie the pooh, silly old bear.” And to this day, I thank God for the heroes that never gave up. The elation we all felt as a nation as we watched those beautiful men pull her up alive. It makes me realize that I have heroes in my own life that I thank God for. Especially, the ones who never give up on me.

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I love this perspective! This is a post from my baby’s blog… reblogged by her proud mama!

Fern & Bone

Tonight after work I ran to Michael’s for some water colors, trader joe’s for some english muffins and other such necessities,  and then I popped over to London.

I can’t quite explain this overwhelming connection I feel toward Beatrix Potter. I believe that I am quite possibly a piece of her, if I may be so bold to think such a thing. I’ve been inspired by many writers and illustrators. I can’t watch enough interviews with Maurice Sendak; his opinions on his work, and childhood, and life & death have stayed with me always. Judy Blume was a breath of fresh air to a pre-pubescent girl who, at 24 years old… is still waiting for her breasts to come in. (I’m positive they’ll pop up any day now.) And I have admired and loved and studied Shel Silverstein and Dr. Suess since I first discovered them at a early age. Yet Beatrix Potter, I…

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Finishing the Book


I am taking a chance by sharing this… but I’ve always believed that all stories worth  telling need to be written~ And hopefully,  you won’t judge me too much….

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When I started writing my book almost a decade ago, it had been inside of me for over thirty five years. Without ever really realizing it, I think it started out as a kind of therapy of my own.  It is about a young girl,  who finds herself  twisted inside a very emotionally abusive relationship and the woman she becomes because of her past. It is a work of fiction with a bit of my own reality woven throughout the story. My premise for the book was to shout out a message to vunlerable young girls about not losing themselves in the process of finding their dreams.

I think that I did a good job in teaching my daughter that lesson without the help of my finished book. She was the recipient of all the material I would eventually write down, the template I would use as my guide.  My goal in teaching my daughter to not lose herself was first on my bucket list. And I believe I did a good job. She is now educated in what she is passionate about, with a degree, and continuing her education, she owns her own business and is working towards her acting aspirations. And she is in love with a wonderful man who I believe she will marry someday, but never once did she stop living who she was to love him.

If my story can help other young girls not make the same mistakes that  I did then I have to tell it.  You see, when I was going through my version of hell back then, there was nothing out there telling me that other boyfriends were also hitting and controling  their girlfriends. Not that, THAT would have made it okay but I think I would have had a softer place to fall. I did not feel that it was the kind of thing you share with your family or close friends and so I was alone in my agony. Today there are  Oprah-like shows that “teach” you and inform you and pretty much kick your butt into being proactive about living a positive life. At least you  have the information now.

My daughter took a long time in choosing who she would hand her heart over to and I believe that because of my warnings, she really bypassed some of the standard faux pas many young girls have to experience. She doesn’t have to drag that extra baggage of relationships gone wrong, into her life that I have in all the decades that followed, as I blundered my way through several broken hearts since.

Today, I now  find myself in a twenty year marriage and  though everything is not perfect, I think in all of my lessons learned, I finally know that I have made the best choice for me and I am married to a pretty wonderful guy who I may not have fully appreciated,  if I had not experienced the second chapter of my life in the way I have….

Back when we were kids… my first love and I would break up and make up over and over again, a few phone calls back and forth, and we would get back together. We didn’t have emails or cell phones or texting and so breaking up back then was still hard but it must be hell for young people now, with all of the social medias of “friending and unfriending” and labeling ; “In A Relationship” or not.  I can’t even imagine! When it ended  for us the last time, it was horrible and  it was over. After several chance meetings of driving to where he knew I would be and hashing things out over and over again, He finally accepted that I was done and moved on.  He had a whole host of family issues that were far removed from anything I had ever experienced. I wish I had understood it all better back then. He really was a good guy, damaged by his own childhood and the abuse he experienced but it was too much for a young girl to take on, let alone comprehend so it ended badly  but not without first dragging me through the emotional mud that seemed to stay caked all over me for many years to follow.

Fast forward a few decades later, due to today’s technology… he found me again. In-between our broken lives lived, and asked for my forgiveness. I was so caught off guard, we began dialoging, he, looking for forgivness, and I perhaps closure…  My husband hesitantly gave me his blessings (the amazing man he is)  thinking maybe if I could say goodbye the right way, it would help me move on. I even shared some of our messages with my daughter because “he” had kind of been the guy in the lesson I had taught her. Kind of the template of who not to fall in love with. But she knows me oh too well, and became concerned at best  saying… “Mom, it doesn’t sound like he is looking for closure!” If  only I had listened.

I stopped writing my story. It seemed offensive or at the very least, cruel as I got to know the man who once was the boy I loved with all of my heart and perhaps, never really stopped. The flood of memories we shared was like a healing wave that washed over my heart. We became friends,  good friends. We connected.  The forgiveness I felt, was like taking a deep breath and finally being  able to actually feel  the oxygen run through me, as it took on a life all of it’s own. I even started writing my story again. But something didn’t feel right. For one thing, it didn’t stay so innocent for very long…my daughter knew something was up… my smart little chickadee… but like in Bridges of Madison County… it started out that way, so very innocently, I promise.

Fast forward almost two years later…. Marriage counseling and struggling to let go. (which is really hard with all of this dang technology always at our fingertips)

I make no excuses. I won’t even give the stupid ole’ devil credit in this one, which is very tempting to do… I know it was a series of dumb choices that I made all by myself. Though it started out innocently enough,  we even attributed our re-connection to God as a miracle of HIS doing.  And maybe, HE did  open up a window for forgiveness and closure but we took more and opened the door to other things not meant to be… As I look back, I see that I do that a lot…take God’s blessings for me and become greedy.   A good lesson for me today, as I reflect.

I know now, that my lesson is a warning to all women out there like me.  I was bored and curious and still terribly, terribly damaged by the past.  I know now more than ever, that hind sight is 20/20  and I realize that my message is not just for the young girls, but for all of us, young and old or  (at least …older… smile.) It is for the ones stuck front and center, smack  in the middle of  their own midlife crisies, the ones dealing with empty nests,  and grieving their youth, and the ones who never really believed in themselves, the ones who need to find a soft place to land and then stand up and take control of their own life and live it! The ones who look at their reflection in the mirror and see a stranger and want to scream out “NOW WHAT?!” But only a whisper comes out. It is to remind you that we all have second chapters, at twenty or at fifty. But it is in our choices and how we handle them that truly tells our story.

I have made some terrible decisions that I regret and yet had some experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It is just an art of knowing which are which. I have been on a wild ride these last few years.  Sometimes, I have hung on for dear life and other times, I almost let go ~ and yet, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it because it has made me become the person I am now;  Still A WORK IN PROGRESS and yet, someone very different.  I have forgiven and been forgiven.  I have gone back and tended to that young girl who once was me, the one I left behind so many years ago. The one who needed me to go back and love again.

And Funny, but it seems as if I have so much more material now,  I don’t even know where to start and so it sits… the four little chapters, waiting to be written. Kind of like me…God is not through with me yet. He is still writing His version of my happy ending if I would stop getting in the way.

Perhaps none of this is something that I could have possibly imagined, let alone penned at twenty.  But ahhh, wouldn’t it have been nice to have learned all those lessons back then?

So that leaves me to where I left off…  The twister….I have been about four chapters short of finishing my story.  Everyday we have a new canvas to begin painting on, a new stage to begin that new dance and a blank page to spill our heart upon….  As I finally figure out how to climb over the last of my baggage, to wrap up the last lesson learned, to let out that breath I have been holding, I look for the words and somehow… I know it will all turn out okay.

I know……….. our marriage will be my happy ending! As for my book…. hmmm… what do you guys think?

I take a deep breath and breathe as my fingers begin pushing those darn keys once again…

100 Posts


This will be my 80th post. I promised myself that when I hit 100, I would honker down and really seriously finish the last four chapters of my book. My daughter has really been pushing me lately. I say I will. I tell her about a deal I made with myself…. to do a little exercise of writing 100 posts of things that were important to me, and perhaps seeing if anyone even notices my writing style, and to figure out if  I really have something to say at all.

I have shared this before in some of my blogs so some of you already know that I have wanted to write since I was seven years old, and how my second grade teacher began reading  The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe to our class. I was mesmorized. I waited for those daily twenty minutes with a kind of anticipation that can’t be described. She was good, she always left us hanging. Our little rowdy group of kids would stay as quiet as a mouse listening to each word and then groan as she would close the book till the next day or even worse, Monday, if it was a weekend!

I am not sure what happened during those days but instead of just thinking that the story was great, which I did. I began imagining the person who thought the stuff in that book up. I learned what an author was and I wanted to be one. I used to pen my own versions of that story while I would wait for the next chapters and I would show them to my parents and I guess I must have gotten a good reaction which inspired me. I remember at an early age, NEEDING to write. I loved reading and I loved certain authors as I was growing up. I remember looking for Caroline Haywood books and then Beverly Cleary, and imagining my name sitting on a book cover as little girls and boys looked for my shelf of books.

Unfortunately, I may have waited too long for that. As Kindles and technology changes, the authors of our future may never have the book signings of the past but I hope that isn’t so. I do hope that we continue to want to smell the pages and actually turn them. I find it sad when today we are asked how many remembered to bring their Bibles  in church, and a hundred cell phones or other electronic gadgets go up in the air. Some things just can’t be replaced!

But I am getting off track, which leads to my point… Is my goal of 100 posts just my way of procrastinating having to do the work? I have a friend at work who I trust to tell me the truth. She is a little older than me and likes everything in it’s place. She has told me that I start little projects around work all day long and it drives her crazy. I always finish each one by the end of the day but it does drive her batty. Even though I may have perfectly good reasons…. if I am counting the drawer and the phone rings etc… I am an artist at heart and by trade for most of my adult life and my studio always had a couple different projects started. My house would be clean but my art room was always a little “busy” to put it nicely. My mom always taught me to make my bed before leaving the house. She would say “If you make your bed, half the room looks clean.” Well, lets just say that I have always followed that advice but there was no bed in my art studio! I guess I am wondering if my book is like one of those projects or am I just afraid to finish it?

I feel as if I have been stuck on the final chapters forever. I spend a few weeks, editing and then am stuck again… I spend a few more weeks on my blog… maybe more time than I should be…. stretching as I call it and then go back to editing… My biggest hang up, is always the ending… I feel it is the most important part of all books…  of all anything…. okay well, besides the beginning which is the part that grabs your attention or not and well then, I guess the middle is important too….cuzzz that is the part that keeps people reading… and so then I feel the ending should be their reward for having kept reading!!! Ya know? So I always take special care of the ending or try to… Maybe the ending is a reflection of my own life…  I haven’t quite figured out how “I” am going to end up (as if I have a choice) and soooo have been editing the heck out of me!  In turn,  I am stuck figuring out how my little character in my book is going to end up. Am I ever going to finish my precious book or am I going to edit the heck out of it till I have rewrittien the whole thing?

…. maybe I should be asking myself that very question?? Hmmmm?

Even Me


I have been kind of down on myself lately, I have made some pretty bad mistakes in my life and some of my choices have not been the best. I think that I have always felt that one of my biggest failures has  been my divorce. Even though I understand that I probably made the right decision in the long run, and I know that I am forgiven… I still have a hard time getting over the guilt of it… Though as the years go by, I have come to terms with things and have since moved on~  to make sure that I don’t just focus on my divorce, I have really taken care of that one beautifully,  I mean why just stop at divorce when I can become a “STAR” in my own series of even worse failures? At least I am consistent!  And have made a few whopper sized ones lately.

I have been like a rebellious kid, looking at my actions from  every other  point of view I can imagine. I’ve tried not to care, I;ve even tried to say that my failures are God’s will. But really, who am I kidding?

Sooo, I know that I am forgiven and I know all about laying it at the cross but I really have been wondering what God genuinely thinks of me as I fail daily to keep all my promises to me, let alone HIM!  I would love it if we could take a walk like in the book The Shack and have a heart to heart. I wish He could gently shake me into understanding everything. But I continue to loathe myself ~And just about when I have convinced myself that I will never be worthy…. I open up an email from a friend… the kind that I usually click on, skim through and delete but right about the time, I was feeling seriously unworthy…. with one foot in barely a prayer but making an effort… and the other foot in the other door, checking my e-mail, I read this…..

Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a daydreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Samson was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow,  John the Baptist ate bugs, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha was a worrier, The Samaratian woman was divorced more than once, Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy 

It ended  with a quippy little message…  So….no more excuses about your potential…. God can use you too… just the way you are!

It made me think….

He really does want us. He even wants me. I think that I have finally realized…  It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we have done… He genuinely wants us. But He won’t bang down our door or force us into His flock… Though, He will keep reminding us that His arms are open and even continue to nudge us gently to  follow Him…like a lost little lamb…

just as I am…He is carrying us like a lost little part of the flock that has wandered off…the prodigal son… He has sent us message after message that we are all worth it… even me.



Garage Sale For My Soul


We tend to hang out with people who make us feel good about ourselves. Recently, I have been very reflective and quite choosey where I spend my time. Lately, work has  been a place that consumes most of that time and I have spent more time than I would like to admit after work, complaining or frustrated about the things that happened while I was there. I know people who are constantly gossiping about other people. Did it never dawn on me that those very people “sharing” with me were not out there “sharing about me” behind my back soon after they left me? What ever would make me believe that I was above being talked about? I guess because I trusted them with my frustrations and thought that I could be REAL.

I have come to the decision that I will not participate in listening or commenting on negative things. I know that it will be a habit that may be hard to break and I may fail until it becomes a habit to just walk away… but I have realized lately, just how much of my time I allow to be consumed with negative things that suck the joy out of my life and then wonder why I am so depressed. I want to begin to see the glass not only half full but spilling over!

I love a good metaphor, and I see it all as a little neighborhood. When you look across the street what do you see?

When someone looks across the street at where you live, what do they see? Do you have pride in ownership in the place where you live?

And I really encourage you to look at yourself rather than thinking this is for someone else.  There is a cute cartoon out where Jesus is explaining about the footprints where he says; “Where there is only one set of foot prints… that is where I carried you, that long groove, that is where I dragged you a while.

I love it! Though I am sad to say I most likely have more grooves than one set of footprints, let alone two!

   I have decided that it is time to be proactive in all areas of my life…..

 time for me to clean out the garage of my soul and try to figure out what I am actually going to put back on the shelves. I want people to see me differently when my garage door is open and everything is all cleaned out!

I want them to pull up a chair and come sit on my porch and know that they are safe there and maybe after sitting there for a spell, they will look out from where they sit and see a different view! And hopefully the guy across the street will too!

I’ve learned that people will forget what you
said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made
them feel.

― Maya
Angelou


This is my daughter’s blog
They say that one of our Ancestors is: Elizabeth Barrett Browning…. We haven’t been able to prove that but I love that she is taking after her ole’ mamma and surpassing me at that!

Fern & Bone

He’s really quite an old soul you should know, with a passion for art and thing for Rousseau.

François the civilized chimpanzee, does most of his research atop a fig tree.

He finds the zoo humans so odd and unique, with their strange flattened faces and funny physique.

And he notes their unusual, interesting ways, from inside their cage where they spend all their days.

And though their habitat has it’s potential, he finds that his jungle is most preferential.

So remember the next time you visit the zoo,  be aware that the chimps may be watching you too.

© Brooke Griffin 2012

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The Gift We Almost Missed


When you found me, I was tired and weary. I had forgotten how to dream and I had walls up all around me. Some you helped build long ago, the same ones you helped me take down in our times together. You gave me back something that I had lost…  you gave me the gift of my youth.

The memories we shared were like the best tasting honey ever, and I remembered with an old weary heart, soaking up all of it until there were no memories left to remember. Every day was better than the last, we danced the dance of getting to know each other all over again… the one I once knew so well, had memorized and then tried to forget with the exact same passion I had loved you with.  And yet, we worked through it, all the painful memories. You asked for my forgiveness and in giving it, my heart healed and my world seemed to somehow feel more aligned with everything around it.

I began looking forward to your words, to your affirmations. Your words were like salve upon a wound, they had healing powers and I was lost in a world so rare, so right and yet so wrong.  And so… …..   all in the click of a key, my life changed. It all started quite innocently, the catching up, the remembering… so innocently…

But you wanted something  more, something that I could not give… In-between the youth that you offered and the life that had happened in-between the past and the present, the path had changed. I had changed. You had changed, yet we hadn’t changed enough. Slowly I tried to back away and even though you would say that you knew you weren’t entitled to be angry about any of it, you still were. And even though I wanted to go back and make it alright for you, I could not change the past. Though I was not sure what to do. I did not want to abandoned our newfound friendship, I continued to reach back through the distance but we knew nothing was going to make it right.

And you must have seen the writing on the wall because all of a sudden you weren’t there anymore. It wasn’t me this time. It was you.  I waited for your reply and wondered if you were okay.  But then I realized, you nor I were ever going to be okay when we weren’t in touch or when we were. Even though it felt so right sometimes, we knew the truth.  I had taken a thousand opportunities to just stop over and over again, and something always would happen that seemed to make it impossible to stay away. Neither one of us could “just” stop. And so the Merry Go Round kept turning.  Both of us, in our own way, would try to stop riding for a while but in the beginning,  the pain was so raw, the sting was so painful that a new  panic would set in. I remember feeling so wild with grief one time, that I felt a little  like Hellen Keller must have felt  in the Miracle Worker, floundering in my blindness, seeking to understand. And the thing that gives me hope is that Hellen Keller later, actually became one of the wisest souls to live. She literally gives us new meaning to: “I was blind and now I see.” (Hopefully in the places that I was blind in my life… I will see things with the same clarity that Hellen did.)

But slowly, as we began to play the game of jumping on and off, over and over again it suddenly got very old. And we realized it wasn’t fun anymore, but we kept riding, until one day, one of us just quietly got off. And this time it was you. Who woulda thought? There were no words of anger or tears cried, there wasn’t even a goodbye. The door closed just as quickly as it had opened.

And we were okay.

We still could breathe and we even  lived through each day, one at a time~ Though some were harder than others…  And we still looked in the places we used to go to find each other. Recently, I even caught myself looking at a star and “willing” you to look at the same one. Or found myself listening to the same radio station and wondering if you had just heard the same song.

And I can’t say that I haven’t wanted to reach out to you again, sometimes many times a day. To make sure you are really okay, to ask you what made you finally strong enough… But I know that it would hurt us more than it would help me and so I remain silent… remembering…

The love will never go away. The places you once were ~  still feel pretty empty when I look and you aren’t there, and  just perhaps, they always will.    I just know that I will never look at them the same way again…

You are still in my daily thoughts and prayers and I hope I will always be in yours… not so much as a possibility of anything more but a sweet memory of a gift we were given. One that few ever get to experience. I am not sorry for the time we shared nor am I sorry for our unspoken goodbye because it was all meant to be…..to remind us of God’s love. The perfect Gift. The one we almost missed.

A Thing of Beauty in an Unexpected Place


Our little historical clocktower building before the earthquake

Every once in a while I will run into an old customer that asks me if we are ever going to re-open our little gift shop, Rose In The Woods (the name was supposed to mean A thing of beauty in an unexpected place) that was destroyed in the San Simeon earthquake in 2003. The other day, someone asked me that again, they even told me that they saved an old receipt from my store that day and that she still carried it around with her all these years later, as a reminder of just how short life is.  That is when I  realized that I hadn’t talked about it for a long time.  But it is good for me to be reminded where we have been and where we are now and to remind myself that even  today… I am a survivor. Maybe you could even refer to my whole journey as a thing of beauty in an unexpected place.

But for those of you who don’t know my story…. I will tell it here…to share with you and to remind myself once again… to be grateful. And hopefully soon I will get this lesson I am supposed to be getting or quite possibly should have already gotten!!!!

It was a few days before Christmas, my daughter Brooke and I planned to drive about an hour away to a neighboring town with a mall, to go Christmas shopping. As I wrapped up each customer’s purchases in our special bags with ribbons and tissues, they would announce that “this was their last gift that they had to buy.” And I’d think to myself, how I hadn’t even started shopping yet and panic just a little!

 We’d planned to leave our little store in the hands of our employee and sneak away to take a stab at our own Christmas shopping that day and were looking forward to spending the day together shopping at other people’s stores!


As I drove up in front of our store, my daughter Brooke who was 15 at the time, asked if she could wait in the car. It was before ipods and maybe even texting but I knew that she could entertain herself with the FM radio and CDs for the time it took me to open. I used to put cookies and hot apple cider out during the holidays and for some reason, I was able  coax her into coming in that morning, explaining that if she helped me open, the sooner we could get out of there. Our employee happened to be late getting there that day and so she surprised me by jumping out of the car agreeing to help, and followed me in.

As we were opening,  a customer walked in and the Federal Express guy pulled up with a back order of quilts for me as my daughter pleaded, “Pleeease mom, DON’T open that package NOW!”  I used to hang all my quilts on a fat dowel with ribbons in order to be displayed better, and I told her that I had to open them because it was so close to Christmas and they were already late but that we could just price them in their plasic zippered bags and asked her to just put them in a basket up front to at least have them out.

About that time, our employee showed up as another customer walked in and my husband who was in his office across the street, above the chamber, called and asked Brooke to run an errand for him. We both rolled our eyes as if to say “We are NEVER going to get out of here” but she ran out the door to do as he asked. As  I finished pricing the quilts and my employee started dusting,  we heard a loud bang that exploded outside, shaking our building.  For some reason, I yelled for everyone to get in the back and they did. At first we thought it might be a bomb because we were in the midst of talks about terroists during those days back then, but as soon as the ground began to rumble and our painted little wooden floor seemed to roll like a wave was beneath it, I knew it was an earthquake. The women screamed. It was all just a little too surreal. Suddenly everything stopped after what seemed like minutes and once it was over, a wall of bricks fell through our roof right where my daughter would have been placing the basket of quilts.

Outside was mayhem. As we stumbled out, unhurt, I found my daughter crying as my husband held her and I ran to them and hugged them both tight. Brooke was in the middle of the street when my husband  found her still clutching the coffee cup that was an order for a customer, she’d been bringing back over for pick up . She watched the whole thing. She said after she walked down the stairs and started crossing the street, she heard the building crack and then saw our awning in the front of the store snap around to the side of the building and then felt the rumble and watched as the clock tower fell from our historical building

and then saw the roof slide down onto all of the cars below.

Someone told me later that my husband barely touched the stairs as he flew down them, knowing that our daughter had just walked out the door and went to find her. He immediately asked “Where’s your mom?” And she sobbed, pointing  across the street where the wall of bricks had just fallen into our store. They just stood there for what seemed like hours but was maybe just a few minutes until I opened the door and we all ran out.

My husband’s  brand new truck, was parked a few spaces from mine. The dust was similar to what happened during 911, it was hard to see. People immediately started pulling bricks from cars and my heart stopped as I saw my car and pulled the sleeve of a good samaratin explaining through my tears that no one was in that car. It was flattened to about the height of my waist. No one would have ever survived. (It is the blue Explorer above)

And that is when I realized how God had spared my baby, our whole family. Sadly they found two women who were working at the store next to ours. They had run out the front door and were found in-between our car and another. For several weeks I kept hearing how people had thought that they had been Brookie and I.

Cars Parked on Park St. after the earthquake

I am not sure why I knew to tell everyone to get in the back but I know it was not me. My daughter told me that she had cried to me later asking “Why did God make this have to happen to us?” And I replied. “He didn’t make this happen. He SAVED us.” A conversation I don’t remember ever having but one that impacted her in a special way, ever since.

I have no doubt that God sent HIS Angels that day

For a while I thought that the experience would have changed me. It has in a way. I realize that those two women could have been us. I realize that my baby could have been waiting in the car that day or putting the quilts in the front of the store where the wall of bricks fell. I realize how everything was finely orchestrated that day. Every step, every phone call, right down to our employee being late to the spot in the road where my daughter safely stood as if Angels surrounded her there as she watched the world as she knew it, come crashing down around her with not so much as a scratch on her.

I don’t know why not us when the two other ladies were found dead, but I know that I learned that day that stuff is just stuff and even though we lost everything materially (though our vehicles were covered by our insurance)  this story would be totally different if it had ended another way. I know that dents in cars, spots on carpets and material things are not as important as they used to be to me. I also know that we were pretty spoiled back then and I didn’t appreciate then, what I do have half as much as I do now. And that if nothing great happens ever again. THIS is ENOUGH.

 I don’t know why bad stuff happens to good people, but I do know that God did save us and He can take anything and make it beautiful again. Even a little rose in the rubble. Even me. As I am…..still and always will be…

a work in progress!

Do you guys realize if it weren’t for Thomas Edison we’d be watching TV by candlelight?


I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the above quote and HAD TO use it as my title here today. We are living in an age of tech brats, all so spoiled and entitled. The other day I saw a homeless person texting as he sat next to his WILL WORK FOR FOOD sign. Maybe it should have said, WILL WORK FOR MINUTES! I know, I know, there before the grace of God go I,  but Really? We have become SUCH  a technical world.

In my archives, I have shared stories about my dad taking me to his office when I was a little girl. We would go up to the top floor of his high rise building so he could print me SNOOPY calendars for my friends at school. He had moved from being Vice President in a division at Mattel Toys to an up and coming computer company. I remember him saying. “One day all these disk drives that fill up this whole room will all sit on one desk, and maybe even in our lifetime, they will fit in our hands! I am sorry to say that my daddy did not live to see his prediction come true but he knew!

Today that little computer that he spoke of back in the late sixties is what we now call our cell phones. Funny how we complain about the reception or the texting not working correctly. When back in the day, when I was a kid, we marveled over pulling a string in the back of our dolls and hearing it talk! As a “Mattel Tester Kid” once upon a time, I can tell you that we have come a long way! Where once we tied two cans together and talked between houses with my nextdoor neighbor and we were ecstatic to hear what we believed to be words coming from the other end. What have we come to? I will tell you…. to giving our eight year old kids Iphones!

Recently, I have signed up as a leader for a program called Team Kid. It is kind of like a weekly Vacation Bible School and since  my kids are grown, I’ve been kind of out of the loop about what kids are into now days.  And it has kind of been fun getting to know my group of kids. I wanted to go buy  prizes for incentives for different activities and asked them what they were into and one of the things that they said was “Angry Birds”  And a number of other things that I hadn’t heard of. Where have I been? (Smile). I guess most of the names that they supplied me with were either video game characters or names of Apps for their cell phones which were also games.

I remember when staying out until the street lights came on, playing who knows what till then, was my idea of fun. It all leaves me wondering…am I just totally out of it?

or….Are they missing out??

We have come a long way. I remember when each house had one phone and it was in the kitchen and not until a lot later, was it even normal to have a phone in the Master Bedroom. If you had an extra long cord it was really cool because then you could take the phone and talk in a different room! When cordless phones came out, they weren’t that affordable and cell phones were still just a far off prediction my dad made…     Until one day something called car phones came out! Boy were we impressed! Back then, we didn’t even know how funny it would be somday that they were as large as a shoe box. Just being able to talk on the phone in your car was a hit! Though the idea of being able to remove them from our cars was just a dream.

Which leads me here today…

I was trying to google the reviews on The Razor and Galaxy, verses the Iphone and realized I have fallen into getting mad at my poor little phone for having battery or reception problems and almost feel guilty when I make my poor little phone call herself “dumb phone” when I text it back to the person that I am trying to explain that “my phone” got the text wrong.

I found it such a crack up the last time the newest Iphone came out, observing the lines of people wrapped around the building as they were either talking or texting on their cellphones, waiting for the store to open.

Maybe next time we start to complain about those little miracles we have in our pockets we will stop to remember where once we came.

Now What? (caution, graphic pic)


My heart was broken many years ago

and I get to relive it again…

A thousand times yesterday

and a thousand times today,

and most likely, a thousand times tomorrow~

Through a number of blunders

and wrong choices

I am right back there,

feeling every prick and prod

And… I begin to hate the part of myself

that believed….

that allowing you to touch my heart again

would make the pain go away.

It makes me kind of crazy to realize just how close I got to letting go…

to  wandering to the edge and almost jumping

convincing myself that landing wouldn’t hurt.

And now  I have no idea where to step next

because I really have decided that I don’t want to fall

and it is almost as if

my heart was removed

and given back to me

and I am standing there holding it asking….

“Now What?”

Diane Reed

2012

Really


I have been going through a pretty dark time lately. I feel that on the outside I hide it well and go through the daily process but on the inside I am a mess. Though…. I am also a work in progress. I don’t automatically wake up with joy in the morning and yet I know it is possible. Though I am at the very least, suspicious of people who do it! (My husband wakes up happy every morning. No lie, he really does. Argh!)

I let everything annoy me lately. I don’t see anything half full, , from my perspective, there is barely a drop left!

Ahhhhhhh and the people in my life, are just so annoying! All but a very precious few, seem just plain ignorant. From the view where I sit I am judge and jury and only have been saying one word in my head lately and it is: REALLY?  As in REALLY? You just turned right in front of me without even looking?” Or you really just said that?” It’s not a good feeling to always feel so negative about everyone. It’s downright exhausting! And on certain days,  it is just too much to carry. On those days, I want to fall on my knees in a big fat clump and ask God, “Really?”

Ahhh but as always,  HE is amazing. He knows exactly where to find me and pick me up. He knows that I am feeling as unworthy as I see everyone else as being. HE is the first ONE who should be pushing me into a full length mirror and asking me “REALLY Diane now come on?!”He should be making me take a long hard look at the stranger that I see staring back at me and doesn’t even stop to remind me about the tree in my own eye. He gives me mana and holds me close as if HE never is going to let me go and you know what? He doesn’t. I am the one always climbing away from His grace sometimes daily. Today I make myself look in the mirror and see that the best reflection of how my day is going to turn out is staring right back at me.

Really.

Those Chains That Bind


I love a good metaphor and so when I learned about paradigms I  really tried to remember some of the lessons, so that I wouldn’t jump to conclusions and would make slow down and try to look at the whole picture before I’d jump to conclusions. Which in the past, I’ve had a tendency to do.

Sometimes…..I feel like an old junk yard dog, chained up and forgotten, protecting a bunch of old junk inside of me. Barking just to be mean, or at least to try to sound mean. Daring anyone to get too close. But my fear is wrapped up in the chain being removed and not having any idea what to do with the freedom I might find.

Never allowing anyone to really get close enough. The trick is how loud and long the barking can go on. It is as if I am watching me from afar wanting to scream “Just shut up already!” Am I barking just to hear myself? I wonder. My water dish is dry and I am trapped in my own world that I have created, dragging that damn chain around and barking and barking and barking long enough I am driving myself crazy. Until a kind man appears with a clean bowl of water.

I am so thirsty and I want to drink and yet I can’t reach it because of that darn chain. He walks closer and I bark. He doesn’t flinch, but gently removes the chain so that I can drink.

The chains are gone and I am free and yet I must remember the changing is something going on inside of me daily. I can choose to wear the chains or become new by drinking from the Spring!

Directions


It’s really not about all the things I complain about,  the things left undone or not done right, the things you say or don’t say, it’s not even about  the way we can’t seem to find our way back to a place on our path where we can re-connect.  Any place, just a starting place would be nice. I find a spot and think that if you could hear me, I could call to you and you might try to find me there and yet you never seem to be able to hear me calling.

We seem to be stuck in a place where it is all me, the reason we are where we are. I catch you nodding your head as if to say “well, it is all you.”  And I can own most of it. I really can. I know I have made some big mistakes and I am really sorry, and yet you just don’t seem to see the bend in the road that tripped me, the place that you missed too.

Somehow, we lost our way and  it is really hard trying to follow the same signs to get us back to where we started.

And it really scares me… whether our path leads to an old shack

or a beautiful mansion, will not matter if we never seem to have the same directions.

And so I stop to rest, I unfold my map and try to see where to go. To give it one last shot. I rub my eyes. The directions look so faded and I am so tired ~ I fold it back up, almost giving up but in the distance, I see a tiny bit of light and it makes me squint, trying to see and that is when I realize just how lonely I am. And that I have been on this path of ours,  alone far too long. And suddenly my heart is so sad, I realize that I have been trying to read the map all by myself and forgot to invite the most important one The ONE with the right directions!

And suddenly things seem clearer. I can see the road ahead with a different heart. I feel excited to share the road with you again, to invite you back on my journey, our journey, the clouds have cleared and it is a NEW day!

And maybe just maybe, the true blessing is on the inside, in the lessons within the bends in the road, the times we have fallen and the places where we have tripped and to finally realize that no matter how rocky our path or where it leads, home is where you are!

Again


I find myself searching

even though I look the other way,

I  try to stop the madness…

but can’t seem to stay away.

I’m still learning how not to look

in the places you would hide

in the corner of my heart

where all my tears reside.

Lost within the pages of

a story left untold

with a never ending message

that has grown very old,

like a bruise upon my heart

I cannot feel the pain,

and so I let you touch it

till it hurts me once again.

By

Diane Reed

Walking Backwards


I look forward to the weekend and then wonder where it went on Monday. Life seems to be moving so fast. It seems as if only yesterday I was looking forward to falling in love and getting married and having kids. My Easy Bake Oven was my first kitchen,

and I played out the stories in my head with Barbie and Ken. Only very rich people had color televisions and you could still go and buy things from a catalog with things called Blue Chip Stamps.

Gas attendants still pumped your gas and washed your windows. Bosco and Dippity Doo, Chatty Cathys and Wish Books, all hold a place in my heart.

I look back at my first car and then my first apartment and I wonder where did the time all go? Why did I want to push so fast?? Babies and life all happened and it all feels as if I am walking backwards as I remember it all. Life was so simple then. But I didn’t see it. I just made it all so complicated when it really wasn’t at all. I have to wonder, am I doing that now? Not appreciating that TODAY may be tomorrow’s “Good Old Days.”

I grieve for my youth, for not realizing the special moments even in our struggles when money was tight or our marriage wasn’t right, or when bad stuff happened. Sometimes I just got stuck. I prayed for things, always looking behind my back, never really giving God the chance to work on anything because I kept snatching it back, right out of His hands. I would ask patiently for about two minutes and then be too rushed to wait for an answer. I feel like I really am walking backwards, not even turning around to see where I am going, just one step, two steps, three steps, all with my  view straight on the past.

Recently, it hit me that I missed out on a lot living in my world of retro regret and realizing that there are no U turns where God is concerned. There is only hope in the future because….

Painting Hallways~


I think that I threw everything off kilter by my last blog.

I always try to be  reflective and have a redeeming message that pulls everything together  with a “moral” of the story, but I usually try to make it appear a little sooner than it did in that last one…

Though most of you still allowed me to vent and overlooked my bad mood… (and for that I thank you.)  I just wanted to remind you that our blogs are written for a ton of different reasons. Some use their’s as a journal inviting whoever wanders by to take a peek. Others, only share with their friends. Some of us are strengthening our writing muscles within our blogs, preparing for mightier projects and some of us are procrastinating moving toward those “projects” by staying stuck in our blogs instead of editing and rewriting or even starting the first page of that novel we know is inside of us! And others just are hoping that maybe in their struggles, they can share something that will help someone else feel they are not so alone in their own dark hole and that there is eventually light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel that there was one person that kind of took offence and took what I was saying far more personal than I’d intended. Perhaps they saw themselves in what I was joking about, or had just visited a spa recently but I definitely did not mean to offend. However, I’d like to point out that… Our blogs are like our diaries. Someday, I hope to look back and see how far I have come, what regrets, I have, if any and what lessons I have learned. But if I am not allowed to have some blips when I just need to vent on my own blog it is like someone kind of coming into my house and yelling at me for the color I decided to paint my hallway.

I need to be able to keep a record of my down days filled with frustration and my grateful days filled with praise and give myself the space to allow “me” to figure it out. Even if it takes a stack of journal like blogs to get there!

God allows us to have  both good and bad days to help us grow and hopefully others won’t take it so personally. I remember when I used to fly sail planes, The tow plane would pull me up and when it hit turbulence, I knew that a few seconds later, I would. Kind of like watching a car in front of you, hit a speed bump, if you kept going, you knew you would hit it too, so you slow down and proceed with caution. Looking back, doesn’t always allow you to see the upcoming turbulence, some days, you just got to hold on and fly through it.

WARNING! One big FAT Vent!


(Please read to the end, I promise there is a redeeming moral to this rant!)

I have a dirty little secret that I really am not proud of. I don’t make a habit of bragging about it and I really never thought that I would ever watch them when I heard the concept of the first one. But I kind of like those Reality Shows.  I even remember making a comment like “they will never catch on.” But from the start of Big Brother on, I have to admit, I have my favorites. And I think if I could just stick to the ones on HGTV I might be able to salvage some kind of respect from you guys but I have to admit that one of my all time favorites is “Flipping Out” I love Jeff Lewis and want to be just like Jenni! If only! She should win an award in patience and looking the other way. And I should take her lead! Like I said, If ONLY!!!!But the other day I was watching a marathon of re-runs when I heard someone talking about one of Jeff’s assistances always being nervous and rattled and how instead of working in such a high stress job for Jeff, he should work at “a spa or something like that.”

I had to laugh. My coworkers and I have joked about how we could have our own sit-com at the spa where I work! The computers are constantly going down, or one of the spas that rent by the hour  are not always working and the staff is LESS than Zen sometimes!!!! My friend and I joke that sometimes it just feels like we are Lucy and Ethel trying to keep up with the conveyor belt at the candy factory. Some days, we have asked; “Do you want to be Lucy or Ethel today?”

The customers never know what they want. They call in and usually just tell us that they want an appointment and  then get annoyed if we ask too many questions and yet if they say that they would like an appointment on Thursday, we are supposed to be mind readers and KNOW their name,  what kind of service and when and for how many people. It is like taking a multiple question quiz before we finally book them! After we ask, “What time on Thursday, they will usually ask “what time do you have? My response will politely be.. .”So, we are open twelve hours, you just tell me when you would like to come in and I will try to fit you in as close to that time as possible.” And their usual response might be…. “ANYTIME is fine”….so I will say “well then, I have a ten AM” and they will almost always say something like,  “Oh we didn’t want morning, do you have something after 4PM?” Ahhh… well, then that’s not ANY time… right? When we ask for a credit card to confirm, they want to know why or have to run to their car to get their purse! WHO leaves their purse and/or wallet in their car? I guess half of our customers!!! (Seriously, if you are leaving your purse in the car…. WHY? didn’t your mom teach you that was not a good idea?)

Even though it is on our site, they want to know prices etc. I am happy to give them any information or offer to give them our website, they tell me they are looking at it. Funny thing is… every question they ask is freaking right there in front of them. Not until after I book their appointment do they mention that : “Oh I wanted four appointments.” Okaay then.

So then when they get there and I ask them if they have ever been there because clients also get annoyed if they have to hear the same script and will stop you half way through if they know it, some will say yes, that they actually were just there so I hand them their locker key to save them from having to hear my little script and they they turn around and ask where to go. (I thought you said you were just here?!) But of course I just sweetly and Zen like, (whatever that is) lead them back to their locker and deliver the speech that I give all NEW customers. But that’s okay, the CUSTOMERS are easy!

It is all those Zenny Therapists that really make our day! Sweet as a sugar cubes to our faces as they gossip and write emails to each other and management about how inept we are behind our backs. But then maybe why “backs” are their specialty, they know the perfect place to stab us when we aren’t looking.  Of course it is our fault when the computers go down or a Customer doesn’t show up. And God forbid if they feel we didn’t give them an appointment that they feel was their turn to receive!

Last week the computers went down and we were literally blind. How did we do it back in the day? I remember a thing called pegboard bookkeeping. We had to learn it in school. I mean, what would happen if all the computers went out? I don’t know but  I do know it wasn’t Zenish nor do I think Jeff Lewis, let alone his assistant would have wanted my job last week! But reeeally, not to worry! I have had an attitude adjustment and have been redeemed for another work week and even if I hadn’t~ usually the customer is none the wiser and never sees the behind the scenes break downs I have described nor knows anything different than the Zenniest experience they were looking for!

And…..

When someone comments “What a nice place to work” I smile and nod and I really am thankful that I have a job and that I get to work at such a beautiful place out in the country and yet as I am piling another load of towels into the washer I think to myself. “It would be even nicer if I was the one in the robe once in a while!”

And then I remember…. A little quote I heard and stop all my whining and seriously decide to have a better day regardless of the sometimes airbrained questions or feelings of not being fully appreciated ….

Hmmm… so I go through all of my venting and rambling and realize that I need to book an appointment  for a Mammogram at our local Imaging Center so I call to book the appointment, and all of a sudden my mind goes blank and I am in the midst of doing  ALL the things I just complained about… As the sweet sounding woman on the other end of the phones says… “May I help you?” And I say… uh… yeah, I need an appointment……” And wonder if she is sighing….she doesn’t sound like it… and that is when I hope that I sound just as compassionate to my own clients, on the other end of my own phone today!

  “ If you want others to be happy, practice
compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

― Dalai Lama

Connecting


fighting couple back to back

I try to connect with you and you ask what that means, I tell you,” that if you have to ask, you will never understand.” It is not something that a string of words can ever convey. No sentence can reveal how hearts connect, they just do.

hugging in the rain

I have learned just recently, that I haven’t forgotten how to connect. How easy it would be to not work on us and just settle back and allow this new connection to take me away…

For I have learned that…

 

Connecting is lying on the beach with my eyes closed listening as you read my words back to me just the way I heard them in my head, all with the same tones and inflections that I felt when I wrote them. Connecting is looking up and finding tears in your eyes when I am done reading something that I wrote. Connecting is “just” kissing until our lips are chapped, or washing the tar off of my feet. It is buying me a warm jacket when I am cold or a flashlight when I tell you it is dark at work at night. It is making me call when I get home to tell you I am safe. It is knowing what is important to each other and just doing it without asking. It is saying I love you a million times a day because you need to hear it. And it is finding the place where my glasses waited for me and paying the balance so that I could pick them up. Even though I didn’t want to succumb to finally admitting I needed them, glasses that is… It feels good …to feel important again. Not just in words but in actual actions…  Even though it took a lifetime to appreciate each other, it still is nice. And yet it is scary because our connection is so wrong in ways I can ‘t explain here. You know it is.

And so I remember and try to hold on for dear life and try to remember when “we” connected. And I remember, And I even still feel it sometimes when I remember ….

Jim & Brooke

Connecting is telling you that story about the woman whose husband surprised her and went grocery shopping for all the stuff she needed for a dinner she was having that night and crying silly tears because I was so touched by her husband’s connection with her and having you understand and not laughing at me for crying.

Connecting is when you called me up to wish me a Happy Birthday when I was going through my divorce. Or when you asked to take my son on a Father and Son boating thing and then turned it into a family thing so I could go too, and pretend for one day that we were a family. Or when you followed us home during the LA Riots to make sure we got home okay. Connecting is when that warm feeling came over me when I watched your car lights as you drove away. Connecting was talking for hours about our lives, our broken hearts, our dreams and never wanting the night to end. Connecting is when you took my kids with you when you asked me to marry you and made them a part of the celebration. Connecting was when you made us a family.

 

Connecting might be things that other people do. Or it might be things that I have found in my friends or my passions, it might find me far away from the place I thought connecting was yesterday and it is scary for me to wander off too far trying to find it. But I crave it and yes, I have wandered and it felt so good and so horrible all in one fragile breath, gasping just trying to breathe.

holding hands at sunset

It is not asking me to take a walk and  then joking about the different word counts our counselor told us were allotted to  men and women  by telling me that you were pretty sure that you had already used up your 5000 words for the day and you were darn sure that I must not have too many of my 25,000 left!  Not connecting is not about the crumbs you leave on the counter or the bread you don’t put away, those are just silly things that wouldn’t ever be noticed if only we had never disconnected. But somehow life happened and the link that seemed to connect us broke


.love never fails

So many years have passed. So much water has gone under the bridge. So many mistakes have been made, mostly by me but maybe because we forgot what “connecting” really means.

 

 

Blown Dandilions


You came back, not to interrupt my life, not to hurt me, but to ask for my forgiveness. I thought that I hated you. I spent decades trying to forget you. I couldn’t even say your name for months after you left me. I spent hours writing really good poetry because of you. I spent years trying to overcome my pain, trying to prove I was better than you said I was when you left.

When you found me, I was trying to figure out where God figured into all of this, I was on a journey with Him. A journey that had been a long time coming. And I was finally there. Right smack in the midst of finding HIM again! You found me in a state of grace and confusion and somehow you found that part of my heart, way back in the dungeons of my pain that I didn’t even know existed. And between the grace that I was learning about and that part of my heart that found it’s way out, I forgave you and it felt so good.

When you release something like that, the relief is overwhelming. In my imagination, I was seventeen again and you were twenty. But your voice was rich with age, of life lived, that did not include me. It was weird to feel a kind of jealousy of not getting to be a part of that life and yet perhaps in a way, relieved that I wasn’t. From the things you shared, I’m not sure we would have survived it and found the forgiveness we have today. The few friends who I shared our story with cautioned me to be careful, I was treading into un marked territory or even more, territory that was “marked” out of bounds. I went anyway, in a way, I felt entitled, empowered, this time I was going to be in charge. And yet I forgot one thing, to take the ONE who had opened my heart up to forgive in the beginning, and I pretty much entered alone.

You let me talk about my memories, about my pain. And then you began to share about yours. The things I never knew, the things I had forgotten and through the wisdom gathered over the decades that had passed, I understood your pain better. Hate changed to love, and anger to forgiveness. And I forgive you, I really do but you did interrupt my life. There is a huge place inside of it where you just don’t fit in anymore and I am not sure what to do with it.  Somehow that feeling, is lost in the world I live in and I know it doesn’t belong there. And yet, I can’t seem to let go. And I don’t know if it is you or my youth or just the feeling of connecting with my past that I don’t want to lose again. I try to stop wanting you in my life. I try to stop needing that connection…But….

Like a dandilion,  I try to  blow you AWAAAAY, and I blow over and over again, but the seeds scatter and take root and it is like an endless question that has no true answer.

Day Interrupted!


Yesterday was my day of rest. The computers went down at work last week and stressful wouldn’t even describe it! I normally never have a Saturday off unless I am going out of town and request it and Sundays have just recently been a normal day off for me. Which never turn out to be, since after church there is always something that comes up.  So I gave strict instructions to my husband to not plan a thing! He always seems to have plans or to say “I told you” about this or that…like don’t you remember that pot luck I signed us up for where you are supposed to make the Main Course?” I told yoooou!!!” Argh!

I took a long shower and then stayed in my pj type clothes all day! My mom scolds me about getting dressed and putting my make up on daily but I say let her try to have the week I had and see if she might give me a hiatus for just one day.

I think I felt guilty starting out. I had looked forward to a day of getting a lot done and yet having nothing at all planned.  I woke up excited for a day off and kind of angry for no reason. I felt like a rubberband, wound up tightly. No one was putting anything on me. I was putting it all on myself. I kind of felt like a cat batting at the wind, just daring anyone to disturb my territory that I had allocated all for me. I puttered for the most part. Caught up with my emails, paid some bills and filed them! And then wrote all day. In the background I played Redeemed about 899 times on my Itunes. (have you heard it?!) I felt so connected to those words. Now the sun is rising and I feel refreshed. I had been so stuck last week. Yesterday,  I started out so tightly wound, wanting to connect with God and yet not allowing anyone in. Protecting my right for nothing to interrupt me that I missed the plans He may have had for me!

Live and learn! My day off was interrupted by ME!!!!!!!!

You can accomplish ANYTHING if you don’t care who gets the credit!


We are in the midst of an election year and I must say that I am already weary as I watch the gas prices fluctuate and hear all the rhetoric from both parties and wonder where has character gone? Where are the Mr. Waltons and President Regans of yesterday?  Are they really a thing of the past?

My favorite saying has always been something I saw on President Regan’s desk several years ago when I visited his library. It basically said: “You can accomplish anything if you don’t care who gets the credit” He will always be my very favorite president.I loved Regan and feel he really lived that.  I wish I knew more people who did. I wish I could say I did.  If I really think about the people I know who hide behind their good works, it is barely a handful. Politicians are notorious for NOT doing that during elections, they are continuously boasting about their accomplishments which are usually more fabricated than not. Even Ministers have incorporated their acts of goodness into their sermon and it is surprising. Don’t people realize how transparent they are when they are sharing their own good deeds?

After the earthquake, I was given a column in our local magazine called Acts of Kindness. I had started writing about the kindnesses people did for us after we lost our store and vehicles and it kind of snowballed into a regular column.  I was given an article a month for almost a year and filled it with my own words of gratitude for different people in my life. Later,  I offered to tell other people’s stories and not one person submitted anything. It was weird. I knew people read my column because I always got lots of good feedback but  it was funny, I thought if someone was given the chance to thank someone else publically, this was their opportunity. And even though I could probably write forever thanking people in my own life, the column ran it’s course and I just began doing random assignments until I had to get a “real” job. But it was fun while it lasted. To be able to thank wonderful people for doing wonderful things for you, and get paid for it while doing it, was pretty cool!

There is a new little blirb in a woman’s magazine that has the same idea and publishes submitted stories of acts of kindnesses weekly. I love the ones where people share what other people did for them but it is hard for me to read the ones where they are telling what they did for someone else. I want to say, “really?” It includes their name and town and state and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

I wish I could be more like people who donate without telling anyone or work in a soup kitchen weekly or volunteer at a shelter and you would never know it unless it came up by accident. My dad is that kind of man. He has bailed me out of more than a few financial crisis and loaned me more than a few loans that he has forgiven. He goes and mows another churches’ lawn on a pretty steep hill and doesn’t even go to that church. His tithing does not just stop when they pass the offering plate. He quietly keeps on giving everyday of his life. Whether it is to mentor my son or to love my daughter or to lend a helping hand at whatever he can. A widow who needs yard work or chairs that need to be set up. He quietly does it without wanting anyone to know.

He paid for our dog’s vet bill when we were struggling and gave us Buddy back for a few more years. And you know what? I KNOW he has done many more things that I don’t even know about because he truly lives the words of not caring about getting the credit.  Yep. When I grow up, I want to be just like him. My dad.

Exchanging Points Of View


They call it depression.  I call it life.  I mean it happens, life that is. Really bad stuff and kind of medium bad stuff have happened in our life and somehow we survive but it makes us sad, it makes us wary and weary and so darn tired. But somehow we each in our own way, figure out a way to move past it. Or tolerate it, at best. We build defenses, like a shield guarding against the elements, retreating from the pain.

Death and illness, broken hearts and divorce, unemployment, setbacks and just plain old disappointments seem to be a constant. Sometimes I find myself shaking my head at it all. Like a heavy sigh that fills my life. I can still find the joy but it takes more effort. Is that depression or just victimized by circumstances? I mean if life’s hammer comes crashing down on your thumb, the pain is real. I always thought depression was feeling pain that wasn’t really there, or feeling pain that was real, but somehow not being able to move past it.

But just maybe, it is recognizing that crap happens and not being able to shake off the chains or the feeling that the other shoe is going to eventually drop and just waiting for more bad stuff to happen, rather than enjoying the joy in the happy parts of life.

I am protective of my time and getting too close to anyone and so the handful of friends I choose to “let in,” are carefully chosen. I have a hard time really letting go and loving. My theory is if you don’t love too deeply and too many, there is less chance of getting hurt when they leave you or disappoint you. But wow. What a waste. How much do I really miss out on, by not allowing myself to be vulnerable? I mean what do they say? Having loved and lost is better than having never loved at all? Perhaps. But I can tell you right now that when you are fresh in the middle of the rawness of a broken heart, you may not buy that bunch of bunk… smile… But really, I “get” it. We miss out on the joy by not being willing to feel the pain. We gotta feel it all.

When you actually put it into words, my theory of protecting myself verses admitting that I might possibly be a little bit depressed….  sounds worse than I imagined. I have found myself reverting into a place that is not really dark, just very reflective. I mean could my passion for just wanting to be left alone to write a symptom of being depressed? Maybe, maybe not, depends on what day you ask. I do know that I have finally recognized that I need to be more aware and so I have begun arguing and bargaining with me… talking myself into just making the effort… And so slowly, I have stepped outside of my box and aside from working sometimes forty hours a week, have signed up for a committee here, and volunteered to help out with a program there and suddenly I feel that there is more to me than just my little world. I have realized that it is not all about me not getting hurt. it is about just looking at things a little differently that somehow changes me…

and suddenly I realize that slowly I am not the one that I used to be. And I am set free.  It is all in exchanging points of views inside of me. I wasn’t going to make this one about God. But how can I not? He is the one carrying me home… someday… in the mean time….. I am redeemed!

The Sparrow


In my despair I questioned

Your Name~

I cried out to you in

My deepest of pain~

Saying….

Your eye is on the sparrow

You count every hair,

But Oh Lord my wing is broken,

And my hair’s no longer there!

Seems like I only see the storm

And the rain in the clouds….

But then Lord you lift me up

Straight out of my doubt!

I don’t mean to hesitate,

Don’t want to complain…

I know in my suffering

I find Your Name!

I’m sorry I question YOU

and  have  much regret

You just hold me tight

And whisper… “I’m NOT done with you yet!”

“My eye is on the sparrow

Even with the broken wing

Because in his healing

He’s found a new song to sing!”

Finding Happy inside the moment


I am sitting here writing as I watch the sunset and I realize that even though my life is unsettled and there are many things that I need to work on, bills that need to be paid, loose ends that need to be tied up, this second is good. Inside the moment, I find peace. All is well and I am content with feeling happy right this minute. Too many times, I allow those times to pass me by. I am doing one of the things that I love the most, writing. And I am watching as God paints a beautiful masterpiece right in front of me, I can worry about all the other stuff tomorrow. Today I am happy and I know it and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

You Can’t Lose Something You Never Had


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

You taught me how to love and were the keeper of my tears. You challenged me and you suffocated me. You believed in me, maybe more than anyone ever has and yet you smothered me, snuffed out all the confidence in me. I sailed boats with you and flew planes!  I mean “I” actually FLEW a plane without an engine because of you! When you believed in me. I believed in me! I discovered that I could do things that I never would have thought of doing, if it had not been for you. Oh how you took me to the top of the world and then, oh but then… you dropped me and oh how I crashed. And even today, I’m not sure that I ever recovered. Maybe that is why I let you back in, to go back and get pieces of me.

You loved me and you hurt me over and over again, you left me found me over a lifetime of hellos and goodbyes, I loved you and I hated you, and yet I forgave you , fantasy and reality cloud into one, I see so clearly and am blinded at the same time, I understand because I know your pain and yet I can’t overlook my own, I give up everything for you and  escape with my life, I never look back and remember it all, I am safe when I am falling, I am silent when I am calling, I lose my soul and find it again, i pray for forgiveness, I believe and I doubt, I fail and I succeed, I dream and then I look back and remember, I laugh and I cry all in the same breath, I dance in my head and ache in my heart, I grasp at my youth and cling to my wisdom, I crumble where I am and gather the lessons I have learned, I turn around and find you, I let go over and over again, I sing from the mountain tops inside the silence of my imagination, my heart is stopped, I thought that I could change things, somehow fit you in to that place you left so long ago and yet the space has been filled, maybe not perfectly but slowly, I think that as I fill it with new dreams around the healing wounds, I might still have a chance at surviving this whole crazy place that I have found myself in, I take a breath as  I fall on my face and pray for strength to stop the madness.. and feel my heart begin beating again. And finally realize that …..

Post Script:

I share this for all the young girls out there struggling to understand love. Perhaps in the journey of my youth, they can learn from my mistakes.

Never, ever, give up yourself.

Your life is like a book filled with empty pages, you are the author, it is up to you how you fill the pages.

Love One Another


All of a sudden everything is a lesson for me. It is as if a window has opened and I can see things much more clearly now. Every test, every frustration, all of my struggles are not wasted. It is finally as if after all of these years, I can finally SEE. The hurried driver, the rude waitress, or impatient client, the guy who didn’t smile back,  the politician who doesn’t have the same views as I do, all have their own stories, their own pain. Even the constant trouble making co worker who hovers, that one family member or two who disappoints or annoys me regularly, every single one of them are loved by God just as I am.

The whole reason He came was to teach us how to love. I have to say that I fail Him pretty regularly but the realization that we are called to be His Ambassadors has hit me more lately than ever before. We are the light of the world. It doesn’t matter how other people shine or how He uses them. We are only accountable for our own hearts.

Recently I found myself touched to the point of tears, watching a story about a dog who pulled another dog off of a busy freeway darting cars, putting himself in harm’s way to save his friend.

And then about another story of a service man who had just returned from Iraq only to survive a plane crash here, pulling out a girl from its burning fuselage  and then dying shortly after. I can find myself so moved by those stories and yet every day, every minute, every second of my life I should feel that same overwhelmed sense of awe when I think of the story of Jesus. He came and saved me. He came and saved you. He gave His life for us so that we might be saved. He gave His life for the rude driver that just cut us off, for the annoying acquaintance, for the prisoners in the prisons, no matter what they have done. He chose us all. We all are that broken, and wounded dog being pulled off of the freeway or that girl being pulled out of the burning plane by the hero. Our hero is Jesus and all we need to do is believe.

I have begun to really see how ungrateful I have been by not loving all the ones He has saved. No matter what their flaws, and began to think, if the wounded dog bit me in his pain, I would understand, I would realize he was hurt and scared and would want to help him in honor of the dog who pulled him to safety and gave his life to save his friend. I would want to do everything in my power to tend to him until he was healed.

If only I could remember this lesson daily. If a dog can love so much to risk his own life, can’t I love my brother a little better than I have?

John 13:34-35       

New International Version (NIV)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Little Jewel


Just a pebble in my own life, scarred and scratched upon the sand

but then you found me worthy, it’s still hard to understand

You refined the roughened edges brought a glow for all to see                                                                                                                                                            and yet you used my broken life Jesus, all in spite of me

Chorus: I can hear you softly saying Little Jewel shine for Me Little Jewel shine for me

So unworthy in my own eyes still uncut within your hands                                                                                                                                                                  like a jewel amidst the pebbles hidden in the rocky sand

So unworthy in my own life till you died and set me free                                                                                                                                                                        so you died for just a pebble made a jewel on Calvary!

(repeat chorus)

My friend Linda and I used to write songs… this is one of them. It usually started out with a melody that I would have taped and play and rewind until I got the words to work with the cadence…  I miss those days….

A Friend Is Some Who Looks Past Your Broken Down Gate and Admires Your Beautiful Garden


Friendship is an interesting relationship. My husband, my daughter, my mom, my cousin, have all had the title of best friend in my life pretty consistently. But family, ahhh family, they are the people we don’t choose. Friendship in family is just the cherry on top if it happens that way.

Friends are the people we don’t have to have in our lives that we choose to keep.  We have friends from our childhood, friends from our youth, friends who we have lots of things in common with and other times not too much. I have friends my mom’s age and friends my kid’s age. Friends of different gender, I have gay friends and straight friends, and friends of different races and with different political views. Some who I have known for a life time… and some I am just getting to know… Some who I have never even met but somehow, cyberly we have connected and they are all special in their own way.  I have co-workers who have slipped into the friendship status as well as acquaintances who slowly have found their place in my heart. And I have friends who have quietly slipped from that place and other who have fallen out with a bang for various reasons.

Yes, friendship is many things. It is that comfortable place where you can fall and say anything you want to. Or can you? I think over the years, I have taken a lot for granted. Everyone has their boundaries, even family. I mean we just need to censor some things. I look at my handful of friendships that I would fight for and  I am fascinated at the different layers, the history, the love that has brought us to where we are today in each other’s lives.

I realize that if I could have the kind of relationship with everyone else that my daughter and I have, my world would be a better place. The mutual love, respect and admiration we have for one another seems so natural and yet, is it? I just take our love for granted but it is as tough as nails and yet as fragile as a butterfly. I know my boundaries, I have learned to not ask so many questions, to not offer so much advice, to be patient and proud and unselfish and it is so easy in the name of love.

Unfortunately, I know that I’m not so forthcoming in any of my other friendships the way I am with ours. They all have their own level of love in my heart but if only I could bottle the formula my daughter and I have cultivated I think that I would be a lot happier. I have begun to realize that it really is what you contribute to anything that makes it worthwhile.

Any relationship is great in the beginning, especially friendships. A new friendship is a bit like courting… That feeling of excitement that comes with finding someone who you connect with is powerful. I remember falling in love. If we could all inject those first few months of getting to know each other into our stale marriages, we would never need marriage counseling. But too often the “water under the bridge” feeling of life happening contaminates our thought process and we want to feel the charge that new beginnings bring.

Bottom line is, friendships worth working on are more valuable than anything money can buy, they are the ones who know everything about you and decide to hang around anyway, they are the ones who look past your broken down gate and the overgrown wild flowers and can see that beautiful garden just beyond the weeds.

And then there is the ONE on the other side of the gate, always there. My very best Friend. Who never notices the weeds or mistakes in my life and loves me anyway.

Seedlings of the Past


The seed dropped and the soil took it without hesitation

The rain fell and the roots ran deep~

Weeds and thistles wrapped around  them

as new seedlings grew~

For a while they bloomed together

and then the season ended and the blooms fell,

the path grew long and the roots grew deeper

and more seeds began to grow~

Along the long path of long ago

the roots wound around to a new place

and bloomed again~

And for a while they bloomed together

but all the seeds along the path

got caught up in the roots and weeds in-between

and slowly the blooms fell again.

Drive In Days


One time when I was about four years old, I had gotten into an argument with a neighbor kid and I came home crying. I remember my dad saying “That’s okay YOU get to go to the drive-in tonight!” For some reason I remember feeling that, THAT made it all better for me. I stopped crying, grinned and said “Yeah huh?!” And my day was perfect again. I can remember that day so clearly, it was a Saturday because my dad was home in the middle of the day and I can even picture where he was sitting in the living room of a house that has been followed by many more since.  It was so easy to fix my broken spirit back then. Not so much now. For one thing, I don’t have my daddy around anymore to make things okay again and drive ins are just a nostalgic memory.

It is funny because as kids we set up patterns for ourselves that we tend to follow throughout life. This memory makes me realize that I always have to have “something” to look forward to. Like a vacation, or an event, or just something happy. When there is nothing in the radar I can’t seem to be content in the present. And so I have been working on figuring out little quirks I have that have made me into who I am. How funny that in that one little lesson, my dad unknowingly set me up to always need something to look forward to in order for me to feel better about things.

I wonder how many other memories I have left to uncover, how many layers I have to peel back before I can relax in today. Sometimes I feel so alone. I can feel lonely in a room full of people. I can feel hopeless when I know there is so much to be grateful for. And yet I want more. Not necesarrily materially, but from people. The feeling of never feeling  satisfied kills me. I fear that these are the good old days and I am missing the whole thing by checking out of where I am right now. And yet I can finally close my eyes again and be in God’s presence in an instant. I can lift my praises up to Him when I feel far away and feel Him fill me. I know I am the one who moves away. He is unmoving. He is always right where I left Him.

I have realized that when the molding and refining hurts the most, that is when He is truly changing me. When I let go of my own will and fall before Him, He will find me where I am, in all my brokenness He is always there for me to run to and make things better, and remind me of greater things… far greater than any drive in or vacation I could hope for. He has a place for me in eternity with HIM and that is good enough for me.

  • He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense      and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6 (AMP)
  • ·         “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

 

  • Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of      it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently]      righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22      (AMP)

The One Thing I know For Sure

We all have “containers” in life and we all find different ways to fill them. The idea is to fill them with purpose. Things that make our life better. As we fill our containers, the level rises. Just educating ourselves about ourselves begins to plug up those holes that we have made over the years. Some people use people, others use drugs or alcohol or food to fill the holes and what hurts us usually only helps to make our holes bigger.

Spiritual and emotional growth and a whole host of other goals  are all the things that help  fill the holes and raise the level in our containers. It has taken me years to recognize the good and the bad things I use in my own life to raise the level and the task at hand is becoming more aware of the difference which is a work in progress…

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A Sunrise From A Different View


I have been so focused on the past and wishing things for the future that I have not stopped to be in the present. I already know that this is a big problem with me. But lately, I have really gone to God with it. To prick my writer’s heart and fill it with things that I can turn into stories that might help others as I learn my own lessons. Today He gifted me with a pretty good one.

I have been writing about the past a lot. And I have really been dreaming about the future… focusing on the somedays when I will have my own writing room,  with a wonderful window that I will write in front of and it will inspire me with it’s wonderful view…etc… you get the “picture.” So I got up today and turned on my computer and pretty much had no inspiration. Nothing at all.  So I prayed an absent minded prayer asking God to give me something. You know the kind of prayer you pray half heartedly, half not expecting an answer?

So as my computer was booting up I decided to open my blinds.  Only to be met with a dirty window ~

With the most amazing sunrise just filling it’s frame!!!!!

And there was my answer. God is amazing! Over the years God has reminded me that HE is there and that He also has a unique sense of humor if I really slow down to SEE it. So I sat there and was immediately inspired to grab a bottle of Windex and tackle the dirty windows head on. So I slipped on my shoes, still in my PJs,  and proceeded to wash the outside of my dirty old window which is not an easy task, I had to walk around to the side of the house in full view of a somewhat busy street even at 6AM, remove the screen, and began cleaning the smudges and to try to figure out which ones were on the inside and which ones were on the outside outside, then when I came back inside, I realized that I still hadn’t gotten all the outside smudges.

Sooo, when I finally thought that I had gotten them all, I sat down to write and AHHHH would  see smudges from a different angle and so then I’d go back outside to try again. As the sun kept rising, I was able to see the smudges from the outside in a totally different perspective and realized that they were on the inside. This went on for about three or four times until I finally realized that I may never get it perfect. That is when it hit me. I knew God had answered my prayer. And it made me realize He is listening!

I smiled as I realized my lesson for today wasn’t at all what I thought was so obvious. God is funny that way. There are always going to be smudges. And you know what? God doesn’t see any of them. He has the biggest bottle of Windex there is! We are crystal clear in HIS sight when it comes to HIM, inside and out! “We” waste so much time seeing all the streaks and spots on ourselves and others all throughout the day that we ruin the gift He gives us. God gave me a beautiful sunrise and I totally missed it by being so critical and only seeing the spots and streaks. That is when it hit me, What else am I missing?

I think it’s kind of amazing how many lessons He gives to us daily and how few we actually GET. I think He really had to work with me on this one. At first I thought that the lesson was that I finally realized that He had given me a sunrise even through my dirty window and that this window was just fine. I didn’t need to waste my time wishing for the future, waiting for my NEW writing room or my NEW writing window and realized that a clean one was good enough. And I also thought that He was showing me how much time I waste being so critical, looking at each defect or problem from all the different angles and worrying and fretting and that I needed to work on the inside and outside and all the different perspectives we need to see things from and that in the end, a lot of the stuff we take on really is unecesarry. Though all those are good to ponder…. The reality was that, THAT wasn’t the true lesson.

I had almost missed the whole thing once again! I am now sitting here writing in front of a pretty darn crystal clean window if I do say so myself, though I still can see a streak here or there… But I know that God sees through a bigger window and HE has a plan. I don’t need to worry about yesterday or tomorrow or what is to come or what isn’t. All I need to do is enjoy the view TODAY! And cleaning a window or two is a good thing, in fact it is okay, just not in the middle of a beautiful sunrise! Duhhhhh!!!

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

(2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV