Forever Connected That YaYa Sisterhood Kind of Thing…


 (Lynn is the blonde on the left)

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

 

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

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

Advertisements

For All Who Took The Time To Read My Post Yesterday


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

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

That Comfortable Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my-studio

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

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

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

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


eq

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


christmas-tree

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

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

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

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

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

fireplacefire-in-fireplacetreejim-and-i

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

writing poetry

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

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

Looking Forward


plane in clouds

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

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

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

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

blue house

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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


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

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

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

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

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

Brooke and Chase Engaged

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

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

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

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

 

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

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

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

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

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

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

A Place


shower8

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

first dance

First Dance

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

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

A Place

Inside my shower I’m inside my head

As the years fall down around me

The water rushes as I am ten again

And then fourteen, sixteen, twenty

A place where I can finally cleanse myself

From all the day’s wasteful chatter

Where wisdom seems to find me

Giving me a sense of what really matters

A place where I can just find me again

Sometimes where I’m washed in my own tears

Weary from the pain I feel

A place to cry where no one hears

To cleanse my soul and to talk to God

and then to give it all to Him

to be grateful for every moment

that I’m allowed to do it all again.

Diane Reed ‘16

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


reading computer screen

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

city view with bridge

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

like thumb

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

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

jesus praying hands

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

blog readers

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

And it is here that I have discovered greatness.

 

 

To My Valentine


Love is a funny thing. It is a little like magic. The beginning is like a drug. You can’t get enough of. You can’t wait to see each other, and you want to squeeze in every minute. You never can imagine fighting or disagreeing about anything. And you are on your very best behavior. You dream big and you have a whole story written in your head of how life will be.

And then… slowly you relax and life happens. Bills and kids, sometimes health and jobs  all wrestle for a slot in the daily pages of the life that you planned to write. Sometimes even imperfections and failures of one another nudge their way in and well… “Hey wait a minute!” You think… “This wasn’t in the rough draft in my head!”

Some of us trudge on, some of us check out. Some of us muddle through and are rewarded. I am one of the blessed ones. My husband stuck it out with me. I have not been the easiest person to love at times. (I KNOW, shocker, huh?) Oh and yeah, I still have plans for that story… The best is yet to be!

So Babe this ones for you…

Happy Valentines Day Jimmy!

hugging kids

I remember when I met you

my heart fluttered like a little kid

No butterflies have ever quite felt

the way those first ones did

But over the years I’ve come to realize

and truly understand

that no one in this old world

can love me exactly as you can

For love is not just the way  you feel

When you first fall in love

It’s hanging in and pressing on

even when there’s not enough

It’s fighting and forgiving

and being able to “never mind”

That makes me know I want you

To always be my Valentine!

heartssss

Diane Reed

2016©

We are the Authors of our stories!


diary writing

A blank page has always inspired me. I remember as a young girl, receiving a new diary with a key and a lock. I remember the feeling of anticipation and hope. It was as if someone gave me the power of my own destiny. And metaphorically speaking, we each are given that. I feel a little sad that we have gone so electronic and our world has become so “techie” because I still feel that there is something special about opening up an empty book filled with blank pages and writing about our aspirations there. I guess you could do that with the blank page on a Word Document on a computer and even make a file and title it “My Diary” or “My Journal” but there is still just something about seeing your own handwriting and how it changes as your life does.

diary gram's

I have found journals from my past and it has been a gift to go back and read where I once was. And hopefully to see how far I have come. When my grandma died, the only thing that I wanted was her diary. It was this green little leather bound five year kind, that she kept when she was 16 through meeting my grandpa and ending with having my mom!

journals

One of my standard gifts has always been empty books. Especially to young people. I’ve told my kids that their lives are like empty books and every day they write a new page. It is up to them how their stories turn out. We are the authors of our stories. And I’ve encouraged those in their twenties that seem to be stuck, to go out and WRITE their stories. I can name three off of the top of my head that had their cosmetology licenses or a degree and stayed stuck making minimum wage because they were comfortable where they were. I nagged them to take that last exam that would give them wings to fly from the nest. And watching them soar, made me think…

choice quot3e

I finally had to admit that I’ve kind of been stuck myself, thinking that it was too late for me. Feeling very comfortable in how well I knew my job, I didn’t want to have to go out and re-learn something. Heck, I don’t even like to read instructions or have to learn a new game. Talk about being stuck. I felt that my pages had all been written on. And that I was too old to begin again. And I was feeling very beaten down as I battled the storm. Finally realizing that I was NOT alone! God and me had this one!

lighthouse

Though the wind hadn’t just gone out of my sail, it had been SUCKED out! I began to realize that I could make my own wind! I was the author of my story and it was NOT over! And so with a lot of prayer, I forged the storm and moved on!

suitcasess

I kind of feel as if I have begun writing in a new empty book as I begin my new job. I am the author. The job has been created just for me! It is a new venture for my company and I am pretty sure that everyone is rooting for me. I love my team and the people I work with. And I intend to write a BEST SELLER! How about you? I’d love to hear about your “COME BACK” stories!

strength quote

Happy NEW Year Everyone! Happy NEW story, happy new life! God bless you all!

Black Velvet Saddle Shoes


 

There must be something about the date; December 4th. It is a day of new beginnings for me. Twenty-one years ago today, my life began again the day that I married for a second time. I’d left a fourteen year marriage a few years earlier, devastated. When I stood up there with my childhood Pastor and my brand new beautiful husband, I’d had high hopes. And when I repeated those vows about… for better or worse and in sickness and in health, well… I reeeeally meant them! I think in a way, the last part of that little girl in me who believed in magic died on the day I walked out the door with my two young kids in tow.

Even though I wanted to believe, and said I did when I took those vows for the second time, I think I kind of felt like a fraud. I know that I didn’t believe that I was married with the same kind of childlike faith I’d had that first time around. The walls were tall and my heart was broken. And I came with a ready-made family. I really am not sure what my poor husband was even thinking! Or… what he saw in me. Even after almost two years of getting to really know us as a package deal before we got married, he said “I DO” and so did I. That day, though skeptical of the whole “Forever” thing. I had more hope, than I’d had in a long time.

Since then, we’ve had quite a journey. Together, we’ve been successful and way UP on top and then slammed to the bottom financially. We’ve dealt with deaths and births, illnesses and healings and some pretty catastrophic, life shaking times but we’ve stayed strong. Mostly because my husband is a man of faith and not loving me as he says is… “NOT an option.” And though sometimes in the fit of a fight, that is rather annoying. In the end… it is all I ever wanted. Someone who loves me unconditionally, flaws, walls and all.

It is all rather ironic because today is pretty metaphoric for me. As I close an old door on an old job that consumed a full decade of my life, I open a new door to a new job on the very same day in which I opened a new door to a new life twenty-one years ago. And though I know that I already wrote my “Anniversary” post. I woke up early today and couldn’t go back to sleep and so I got up and discovered a blog full of sweet congrats and well wishes from my consistently wonderful and supportive readers! (Thank you!) And I also remembered that this is the first day of my new job. Something that I haven’t said for over a decade! And I must say that I kind of feel like a kid on her first day of school!

For the first time in a long time, I have hope again. I remember when I was a little girl, maybe first grade, it was my first day of school. My friends and I walked to school in our brand new black velvet saddle shoes. (The kind that you had to brush off if someone stepped on them.) Funny, how I have to go sooo far back in my memory to feel that new feeling of hope again, but I’ve begun to understand that sometimes, you have to go as far back as you need to, in order to find the pieces of yourself that you left along the way, so that you can scale the walls and  truly begin to find a way to believe again, just like that young girl once did all those years ago, as she walked to school in her black velvet saddle shoes.

2edd18ca37acadc7e0d754d8a10c86c5.jpg (234×320)

TWO WEEKS NOTICE


This post may seem as if I am kind of puffing myself up. But for the first time in a long time, I am!  I need to! If you are reading this and feel stuck or under valued wherever you are today, I hope it will empower you to take a look at your own life and make some changes.

Today, is the last day of my two-week notice. It is funny, over the decade that I worked ‘there’, even the “cream of the crop” or what was thought of as the cream of the crop employee, didn’t ride the whole two weeks out. I am not looking forward to today as such. At 9AM we have a tourist bus arriving. Though I am scheduled at 9 and my final pay has been previously calculated and a check of everything owed to me has  already (hopefully) been cut, I intend to arrive early to help a new employee deal with everything. (I smile as I write, knowing that I will never have to ever do this  particular task ever again.) And make this an exceptional experience for the group and their guide. Ugh!

My best friend who has ridden the ride with me for the last ten years, and who has heard all the stories from afar (she lives out-of-town) texted me this morning and said: Hi Diane, TODAY is a day of celebrating your freedom. 1 last day of being under appreciated and under paid. Tonight, you need to celebrate your freedom from the chains that kept you tied down. This is a fresh start for you which is exciting. A new chapter in the book of Diane. Can’t wait to hear about it. I love her. She has been my sounding board over the last decade. Having had much success for many years in the Corporate world, she has practically climbed  through the phone in anger as I shared my experiences with her. Our emails could actually, be made into a book!

In leaving, I have two weeks of sick pay that I won’t be taking with me. Over the years, I never called in sick. I’ve come to work and been sent home because no one wanted to catch something! But at least, they knew that I really was sick. I’ve used a day here or a day there, to go to a funeral or tend to a sick family member but most of what I’ve used was pre-planned and not just calling in and making people scramble to cover my shift, which is the way most people work now days.

Since I’ve given notice, I’ve been approached by colleagues telling me that they will miss me but are happy that I’ve finally seen the light. I’ve worked years with some of them and we are like a family. But they understand and are happy for me that I  am finally moving on. How could I not see what others so clearly did? My best friend, my family, close friends and coworkers all saw it. Now, all I can think is…. I was TEN years younger ten years ago! And yet, maybe I really can take something more valuable with me that has taken me a decade to grasp. I AM valuable and the next door I go through will gleam my value and benefit from the lessons I have learned here. If I can really believe that and find my voice again, well then I guess that it wasn’t a complete waste.

So TODAY really is the first day of the rest of my life. Even if it is ten years later. As I close one door and cautiously open another! Never to make the exact same mistakes ever again. I know now, that I give 110% wherever I go. Though for a long time, I felt unappreciated and almost as if my value was raped from me. Though recently, as my co-workers privately have approached me with tears in their eyes telling me how appreciated I really am. I feel validated. I guess, I kind of lost knowing that. I think that I’ve been very depressed for a long time without recognizing it.

In a huge way, I think my friends here… the ones who come and faithfully read my ramblings, who pray for me and give me advice and share with me their own journey, have given me the best gift of all. The validation and confidence to stare right back at me and really see me for the first time. And for that I thank you all! You know who you are, and I love you!

My next adventure WILL be different! If anything, I have earned an MBA and have graduated with honors at how not to stay stuck! I take some valuable lessons with me. The biggest one is to never lose myself ever again. To stay true to me! Stay tuned for the next Chapter of Diane!

 

broken glass

 

Brand New Mirror

Standing in front of the mirror, I saw a stranger looking back.

Though faintly familiar, she was lost behind the broken glass.

Inside a world of old crushed dreams, I really didn’t look to see,

that the one staring through the cracks was who I used to be.

For a long time my world was broken, though I longed for a better view.

Until I finally received a gift… A brand new mirror from you!

Diane Reed

2014

 

mirror on floor

May Our Children REALLY SEE Our Hearts


In life, we have mountain top highs and valley lows. We have anticipation of joyful events yet to come, planned and unplanned. And we have pain that hits so hard we feel sucker punched. We are blindsided by how much it hurts. In my lifetime I have had friends come and go. The going is sad for me. In most cases, it has been a move out of the area that takes those friendships away from my everyday life, and things get busy and you lose touch but remain friends. And yet others have totally been removed from this life through death, which as you get older seems to be a bit more frequent. And then there are the ones you choose to no longer have in your life for important reasons of your own. Though, I think that if I’ve ever made that choice, it was with very good reason because the more I experience how quickly we can be snatched from this life, the more I value the people I love. And the more willing I am to try to work things out. I am a talker. I like to talk things out. I like to gather information. I’ve been called a story-teller, (Heck I’m a writer.) I can tell and retell the same story a hundred times. (My poor husband has heard them all twice.) When I was younger, I imagined my life. I’d fall in love and have kids and be a writer. All so simple. In my head, I had it all planned out. But life is not like that. Crap happens and you are constantly in clean up mode.

baby in hands

We imagine our children, We hold our bellies and pray that we won’t mess up too much. We want to give them the world. We want their lives to be better than our own. I wrote a song when my son was two or three… the lyrics were…

Little boy in my arms,

 tiny and new~

Sleepy eyed

and unaware

 of what the world holds for you~

Lump of clay in my hands,

 still yet untouched~

Oh Lord, please guide me closely,

I love him so much!

Eyes so wide look at me…

 What do they see?

Do they see you Lord,

 looking back through me?

Such a gift

You gave to me!

Yet, I always knew…

That the day

would some day come Lord

When I’d give this precious child

 back to You!

In my heart, I strive to do what is right. I am a hard worker. I love my Lord, I love my family, I love my husband and I love my children and now grandchildren. I am a good and loyal friend, and if you happen to be mine, I will be there for you to the end. My daughter “GETS” me. She is my Jiminy Cricket, my sounding board. I love her but I really like her too. I love the friends she chooses and that she lives life with a love of it that is inspiring. She is my best friend.

If we ever have a misunderstanding, it is resolved that day, usually that hour! But funny, we enjoy each other more and more without those rare misunderstandings of her youth. I think we both have kind of grown up together and just appreciate each other too much to have them. But I do appreciate my parental boundaries and try to respect them, as they make their own journey. I love my son. I love his children. And I love both the girls that gave me grandchildren.

Though, I feel that my son and I totally misunderstand each other at every turn. I feel that he blames me for a divorce that he has no inkling of what really happened and probably never will because I will never talk poorly about the father of my children. He knows the basic reason we split up and I feel that is enough. I feel that he has his own issues with me that I don’t understand most of the time, but I’d like to.

Recently, I have talked to more moms than I can count who are not talking to one or more of their children for different reasons. A lot has to do with money. It hurts more than losing a friend, when we can’t make our kids understand our hearts. And yet, I won’t be silent anymore to just “keep the peace” Why should they be allowed to say anything they want to us, but if we are too honest, we are basically “hung up” on? Or “cut off.”  It astounds me how entitled our children are today. Not just regarding finances, but our personal business. I wouldn’t open up my adult children’s mail any more than I’d expect them to read my bank statement. I am tired of hearing the horrible things that adult children feel perfectly justified saying to their parents. But cut them off if they have a response. If this sounds like you, repeat after me….

I will not be held hostage.

I will continue to voice my opinions.

I will not walk on eggshells.

Nor will I butt into their affairs.

 Is it too much to ask for the same courtesy? We all want the best for our children and their lives. It is not a competition. It is just wanting the very best. I pray for us all. May our children see our hearts. May they GET where we are coming from and not guess. And may all of our relationships be restored. AMEN And if you are a kid who happens to be reading this…  it is not an accident that you are reading this right now. Go call your mom!  🙂

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  (3 John 1:4)

It’s a Hard Knock Life, but the sun IS gonna come out tomorrow!


girl at a new door out in field

 Transition is a place that we move from, after being stuck. A few words that come to mind are change, evolution, conversion, shift, move, switch, altercation, modification. Just a few synonyms that explain a little of how I am feeling right now. I’m not going to waste time on talking about where I’ve been. That would not be proactive, and I think that the words I just shared are words moving me forward and so as I climb out of the rut I’ve been in for oh so very long, I don’t leave it without a decade of education. Life has peaks and valleys, and if you don’t miss the stream of knowledge that trickles through, you will have gained more and learned more than any degree could ever offer. I have learned a lot. As ANNIE said, “It’s a hard knock life.” But the sun is gonna come out tomorrow!

valleys

And in honor of my blog’s title (THE ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE) and the fact that this is my 300th post, I will add another few from my list of things that I know for sure…

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. It doesn’t matter what happened in your childhood, or how great or horrible your parents were, (GET OVER IT already!) <<< I hate when people have said that to me, and I could probably write a whole post on the subject, but really we need to move on!) it doesn’t matter if you have made a ton of mistakes or if you have no money or a pile of it, it doesn’t matter if you are popular or if you feel that the whole world is against you. What really matters is what you REALLY believe about you. With all the other junk aside, what do you KNOW about who you really and truly are? There comes a time when you finally learn to NOT care what anyone else thinks, if you truly know you have done your best, if you have good work ethics and value others, if you know your heart is in the right place.

And well, if you have true character….

No one can take that away from you. Not your parents, nor your friends, not your kids, or coworkers, not your spouse or your boss, NO ONE knows your true value more than you. Except of course God and He values you more than even you value yourself. But my point is… that there comes a time in life when you know you are worth more than someone else is valuing your worth and only you can change that. Whether it is a significant other, a family member, a boss, a teacher, a coworker, or a friend… The operative word here is… TRANSITION. Ya gotta have one! One step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other… gets you out of where you are stuck and moving on!!!!! There was a movie in the seventies where the guy shouts out his window, how he’s not going to take it anymore! Well, neither am I. And it’s about time that I figured out that…. Only YOU can STOP the BS in your life!!!!!

Sure….It is a hard knock life sometimes, it’s unfair and people can be judgmental or just plain mean, and crap happens. And not everyone is going to toot your horn, or admire you. Not everyone is going to love you or see your value. And that’s okay. Because when you finally “GET it” and understand that you are valuable and worthy and can shine even in the most dismal places and maybe even change someone for the better but if you don’t and they are unmoving, it is so freeing to really and truly be able to say… “You know what? I don’t really care.” And truly mean it. You can stay in the pits and teach, you can get down in the fox holes and help others have faith. You can stick it out through the thick of things and it will be okay. Unless you are in a place of constant scrutiny, negativity and judgment and you lose faith in yourself, then you need to change, to step out and away and know that you are worthy and no matter where you are, the sun is always going to come out tomorrow!

vineyard

It may take a life time to understand

And yet the two go hand in hand

Poise and honor style and ease

Come in stages if you please.

 

Life has a funny way of teaching

those that merit the toil of reaching

they shine long after their words are but a ghost

for, they’re  the ones we’ll remember most.

Diane Reed

 ©2014

 I just realized that this was my 300th post half-way through writing this! I knew it was coming… and I really wanted to write something uplifting. But perhaps this is aprapos.I mean, I have stuck it out… who knows what I have had to say three hundred times. LOL. But I have tried to have a redeeming message through out and so maybe it is about time we started to toot our own horns without feeling dumb! Excuse me while I go find the nearest mountain top to blow mine! 🙂

mountain top

JUST HUNGRY


I cried all the way home today. I don’t know their story, she looked a little younger than my daughter, I drove right past her trying not to look, but kind of seeing it anyway. The sign she held said, “Just Hungry” As I passed her, I wondered how many people had just kept going as I just had. I couldn’t do it today for some reason. I pulled over and pulled out a few dollars and a few things from my stash of groceries that I’d just purchased without even looking at the receipt. I pulled up again and I noticed the guy sitting off in the background and wished I’d added something more. The girl jumped up and gratefully took what I gave her as I mumbled something about how I wished it could be more, and she graciously responded with, “Oh this helps a lot, thank you.” I wanted to go around again and empty out my wallet, to offer much more than a few dollars and some token groceries.

It all started with the sign. Just Hungry. I know that much. Such a simple plea and yet the combination of the girl and the guy and the simple fact that I can’t imagine my kids ever having to be; JUST hungry really got to me today.

I know some people might say they are going to use it for drugs or booze or that I was scammed and they have more money than I do. Well, that is not my place to judge. And who knows, maybe the lesson was all mine and had nothing to do with them. I have been in this total funk of feeling stuck where I am right now. Feeling so sorry for me and unappreicated. But I forgot something, it is not all about me! Hey wake up call and all! I have been looking for the wrong people to affirm me.

It puts things in perspective. We have grown suspicious and selfish and it horrifies me that I even drove by and  had to think about stopping. I understand that not everyone who holds a sign that says: WILL WORK FOR FOOD really wants to work, and I do know that some of the sign holders are actual scams and have witnessed a few of my own. But how sad that we have grown so hardened that we pass them ALL. God forbid that one of our kids ever needs help like that. But if every now and then my heart is pricked and I am touched when some other mother’s child is Just Hungry, how can we not just help?

 homeless

It’s in the discomfort where we learn the MOST


running through the field2

We live in a world of instant gratification. Of fast food drive thrus and microwaves, where the click of a key allows us to pay a bill, buy a birthday present or reconnect with your past, all in a quick minute. We have remote controls to change a channel, turn up or down the volume, and turn off and on lights, we can now, even start our car from inside our house! They even have new techniques where a machine does stomach crunches for you with electric shock rather than good old-fashioned sit ups! So we’ve become entitled creatures of habit and expectation.

I’m sorry but it’s just not that easy. A good old-fashioned sweaty jog around the block a few times is better than some magic pill. I know. I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained the same freaking thirty then forty and now fifty pounds over my lifetime and am heading toward losing again! Hopefully!!!! And have found that it is in the hard work of counting calories and maybe being a little uncomfortably hungry to see the results. Things worth working for take time. And it in the discomfort where we learn the most! I find it so funny when someone asks me how I lost weight when I have in the past, and answered Weight Watchers and seen their disappointment. Everyone wants me to have disovered this magical way of losing so they can get in on the secret. When in fact, there is no secret other than calories in and calories out. Sorry. And if you watch Bambi a thousand times, his mom still dies. 😦

 I think the same goes for all things in life worth working for. We have to go to school for approximately 12 years in order to graduate. Not all twelve years is pleasant but in the end the accomplishment is worth the work.

I know that when I was a young mom, newly married, with a baby and a full-time job and not much help from my husband in way of child care or helping around the house, I wished that I could fast forward everything to an easier time. And to all the young moms out there, I am here to tell you all that you don’t need to push that button, it happens faster than you ever can imagine! Suddenly, those babies are getting married and having babies of their own. I look back and remember how overwhelming it all  was and wonder…. how can I even miss those chaotic days  now? Well, I do. At least from time to time. And I wonder…  Did I remember to kiss those fat smudged cheeks enough? Did I breathe in the smell of freshly washed baby hair as many times as possible? Or did I just rush through their baths to get some “me time”? I am here to tell you that you WILL get your share of “me time” soon enough. So enjoy being without a moment to call your own, because eventually they will be abundant and you will want to rewind back to the crazy days when you had no help and thought it was too much to handle. Or at least put NOW on pause and someday realize that even though some days are really hard, they will someday be your Good Old Days. I know, I look back and wonder what was really that hard? Don’t get me wrong. I remember the panic and pain I felt, but wow, there were some pretty great times that I missed altogether just being so upset.

I also remember how disappointed in my marriage I was. How selfish my once very attentive and handsome young husband suddenly seemed to become. I mean, we were both working full-time jobs. It seemed as if he checked out as soon as he walked in the door. Popping a can of beer and turning on some game, totally tuning me out. I felt so alone and disillusioned. Hind sight is 20/20. I look back at all the hard times and see where I could have handled them differently, where my reactions could have been more clever. And yeah, if you want to call that game playing, well I wish I’d played more games!  I also see why I am so desperate for affrimation now. I wish that my marriage hadn’t ended in divorce the first time around. I wish I could show that I appreciate my much more attentive (somewhat more helpful)  🙂  husband now. At least he keeps my car maintained and fixes my computer issues and loves me like no one else has. I guess I can pick up his dirty clothes and rinse the dishes he leaves in the sink a little more lovingly. 😀

I guess my point is, that in that first marriage I was disappointed in, or the diet that seems to be a constant test, or the job where I know that I  definitely deserve better, or wherever it is that I need validating in, it is not a fast fix. Things take time, (as for my job… maybe ten years is enough! ) But in the meantime, we need to gather the lessons learned and see that the solution may not happen like an instant breakfast or flicking a remote control, it may take time to really get it right, but it is in the lesson where the magic is! And I guess the magic is…. realizing that every moment is important and it is up to us define every single one!

quoteYou-only-live-once

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

Sometimes I wander through my mind like rooms inside my past.

Going back to different places that left my life too fast.

little girl looking out window

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go and find,

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

If at any given moment we could go down memory lane,

and everything we left once, could somehow be the same?

DADDY & ME

I know exactly where I’d go and who I’d want to see.

I know if I could pick an age, just how old I’d want to be

my portfolio from the seventies

 But I know there’s no such thing as going back again,

to find our yesterdays in places where we’ve been.

peaceful forest

I guess in all that I have learned to finally understand,

that being happy is done best,  exactly where I am!

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014

You


 washing cars

You fall into my heart like a catchy tune

on a slow lazy car washing  afternoon.

We fit together more than I realized

you’ve touched my heart like a sweet surprise.

46637-love-happy-couple-lying-on-a-sofa

You never really had any doubts about us

and believed all we had would be just enough.

Even when  I messed everything  up

you hung in there and wouldn’t give up.

fireplace sofa

 Oh yeah, Lord knows we’ve had our go rounds,

when we were anything but on solid ground.

But we’ve learned to give and let go some more

and have come out even better than before!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

For falling in love and falling for you

was something I didn’t know that I’d do.

It took me a while to understand God’s plan

That you are the place He had me  land.

Diane Reed

2014

It’s Not Just About the Powdered Sugar


powdered sugar box

I just want to share a silly little story with you. It really happened and I know would happen more if I’d ask more. But with a grateful and rather humored heart, I wanted to share my story with you today. When I was about nine I had a little orange patent leather purse. It had eight dollars in it and back in the late sixties, that was a lot of money for a little fourth grader. I tore the house apart looking for that little purse.

praying little girllll

Finally I remembered Mrs. Anderson, my Sunday School Teacher telling us that all we had to do was talk to God when we needed something and He would listen. So I shut my eyes and Prayed believing full well that He’d answer: “Dear Jesus” I prayed… “Pleeeease help me find my purse.” And for some reason I just happened to look out the window as soon as I opened my eyes and there in our  car, in the garage ,was my little orange purse sitting right in the rear window of our car.

Okay, so I have lived a few decades since then and I have come to the realization that the answers are’nt always that forthcoming. Or at least the answers that we think we are or aren’t recognizing.  But I know God heard my prayer and He was right there when I ran out to retrieve my prized possession and knew my heart as I marveled at just how specifically HE answered my prayer. And on that day, that prayer changed my faith.

orange purse1

In the years that followed. I have prayed for things and it is not always like magic for me. But because of that little orange purse memory, I don’t doubt that HE hears my every word. And that if we ask for specific answers, He is not above giving them. Now, I dont mean to minimize the important prayers, and believe me, I have needed to pray for life and death answers before. But recently I have been pretty out of touch with my walk with God and I needed a reminder that HE is always there, even when I don’t always feel Him. On this particular morning… I’d decided to make cinnaomon rolls for work and my name to fame is the cream cheese icing that goes on top.  I buy powdered sugar by the bag and usually have a small stock pile of bags in my cupboard.

powdred sugar bags

This particular morning, I had to be there early and when the cinnamon rolls were finally in the oven. I usually make the icing while the rolls are baking. So I opened my cupboard only to find not even one half of a bag anywhere to be found.  I am not sure what the big deal was, and why I was so invested in making them that particular morning. But I pulled everything on every  shelf in my cupboard apart and there definitely was absolutely NO powdered sugar in it, anywhere. As I closed the doors I was about to give up and that little orange purse popped into my mind and I almost laughed at myself but I prayed: “Dear Lord pleeease give me just one box of powdered sugar.” Now I told you that I normally buy bags and I don’t remember buying a box. But I opened the cupboard doors one more time and there was one sitting right out in front.

praying woman's hands

Magic? No way. It was my reminder that God hears EVERY prayer, no matter how small.  In fact, I’ve always thought it was a lack of respect to ask for things like parking places or other things that aren’t life and death when HE has much better things to do. But I think God wants us to be in conversation with HIM much more than we are, or at least than I am.  And I know that  it was that same God who found the importance in answering my prayer almost  fifty years ago that took the time on that morning not too long ago,  to find a silly box of powdered sugar for me. I truly think I needed a reminder, that I need to talk to God more about even the little things. This was a refresher connection, personally with HIM to remind me what a specific God we love! Because after all, it really never was just about the powdered sugar.

powderd sugar sugar

 

 

There’s light at the top of the hole!


holezzz

First of all I want to say that…. I am so blessed to have you guys! Thank you ALL for your support and prayers! You guys are amazing! I feel that we have a little church or at least a prayer circle right here in our midst!

It’s not all that easy to just break out of that dark hole that I’ve been stuck in and just shake it off as if I’ve just fallen down and skinned my knee. When it is something that hurts from the inside out, it takes a bit more than a bandaid.  I remember once when I’d just had my daughter, she was three days old and we’d both come down with chicken pox! My first husband and my son, who was seven at the time, had gone to his baseball game and come home early with a huge black eye! From what I could gather my son had been beamed in the eye and my husband was not happy about it at all! He was the kind of dad that said; “Hey man just shake it off!” Okay so you can imagine how I felt. My poor baby was hurt.  And I wasn’t there to comfort him and his father was no help at all! On top of it, I was not feeling too well myself. Later my husband apologized and realized that he’d been embarrassed and made it all about him but I guess my point is… sometimes you just can’t shake stuff off.

baseball glove in the grass

We all have our broken times. Our losses, our heartaches and crisis. Some of us are dealing with life and death, some of us are dealing with catastrophic financial issues and debt and then others can look at their own lives and realize that they don’t have it quite as bad but still can’t seem to snap out of it. My grandmother used to say that someone’s hangnail is just as important to them as the other guy’s broken finger is to him. It all depends who is feeling the pain. I guess that makes sense in a selfish kind of way and I guess I’ve been feeling kind of selfish lately. The funny thing about being “selfish” is you don’t really recognize that you are being it until much later. Hind sight is always 20/20.

shel riding bareback backwards

 I remember once going to marriage counseling and having our therapist tell me that I was depressed. I wanted to shout. “Ya think?” I was abused by my first boyfriend, My dad who was my best friend, died from a heart attack too early in life,  I had two miscarriages that pretty much did me in. I finally divorced after struggling to keep my marriage alive for my kid’s sake for far too long, I remarried and then we lost our business in an earthquake…. yadda yadda yadda…  my husband  had to take a job beneath him that required him to work EVERY holiday and then after nine years got laid off and now I am still stuck in my going no where job after almost ten years. After being my own boss for the last twenty years, working for someone else. Depressed? No. Just circumstances.

INSTEAD… I could be thinking…. I was given a second chance with a wonderful Christian man who helped raise another man’s kids and has been a wonderful father to them. I had a chance to have a cute little store that was very successful for a while. And though our store did not survive. It was pretty amazing that WE DID! And I need to remember that everyday!

Rose In The Woods after earthquake

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

 

And by the grace of God we both were given the opportunity to slip into some very good jobs. My husband always wanted to be a youth leader and being General Manager of our local movie theater gave him that opportunity for almost nine years! He was paid very well. His boss was very generous and offered him commissions that many larger city theaters probably don’t offer and so it was nice while it lasted.  And just when those doors closed due to the theater’s finances, his boss generously provided him with a severance package which allowed him to go back to work with his dad as God opened that door, just as his dad needed him again for an old job they’d done years ago. Which he may not have been able to do, if he’d still been working at the theater due to the demanding work schedule.

As for my job, it has given me the opportunity to meet some great friends and learn humility! I am learning lessons I may never have learned without the experiences I am having each and every day.

Also…. my daughter just checked in and told me that though she felt the recent 5.2 earthquake in Southern California and it upset her, she is okay! If you have read our story in the link above (right below the photo of our crunched store)… I have to be reminded that I appreciate and need to live for every second of every minute of every hour and looking too far ahead is just too overwhelming…. For God reminds us that THAT really should be Enough! Though… The next few weeks… If I could ask for prayer for health and business stuff for my father in law and  their business there is power in prayer and I am a believer in this little prayer group!

Sooo…. Though I am not checking in with some profound life changing aha momentish message…. I am telling you there is light at the top of the hole!!!!!

hole1

 

Come on Come Clean…We ALL Need Affirmation


sally field you like me

After my last post on my blog it started a conversation about numbers which I thought was interesting. A lot of us say we don’t care about the numbers and yet we know how many followers we have and though I have noticed that some blogs don’t have the LIKE icon on their blogs, most do. Even in our private lives we seem to keep score to a certain extent. While my daughter and I say” I love you” freely. My son seems to feel the need to ration out his “I love you s”  thinking that they will mean more to the receiver if he doesn’t say them at the end of each visit or phone call which is just a natural place for my daughter and I to say it. Well, I can say that they don’t mean more or carry any more weight than my daughter’s ten “I love you s” to his one. But I must admit that I do notice when he says “I love you” because he doesn’t say it as often. Is that what he is aiming for? I think it must annoy my daughter if I am impacted by my son’s rationed out “I love you s” though in the scheme of things… we are the ones that actually are experiencing joy more of the time but I guess it is all perspective.

bulletin board

I think that from the time we are little and our parents put up our refrigerator art or our teachers put our first papers up on the bulletin boards or later,  read a story we handed in out loud to the class that they especially found well written….  we feel that affirmation and like it and want more. It can be an A on a paper. A membership in a club. A spot on a team. Even when someone in your family says I love you. We need it all. Can we live without it? Sure. But not without it affecting us.

I remember when my first husband and I were just married. He’d never had a birthday party before. Which I found rather odd because my mother in law was a wonderful woman. But for whatever reason she’d never given birthday parties. It affected him. And I kind of am just realizing it now. Because he sucked at birthdays.

birthday

Anyway, I decided to give him a surprise 25th. His sister came over to help. I had been raised to always say I love you as I walked out the door and so I said it when I walked out, and he said it back to me. I think his sister saw the opportunity and said it too. He didn’t say it back. It really hurt her. We talked about it later as we were getting things ready. I just told her that they hadn’t been raised that way and to not let it bother her and that she knew that he loved her. I know he did. (He really loved his niece (her little girl) I’ve always felt that if you love someone’s kid, it is a reflection of your love for them whether you ever say it or not!) Years later before he died, he said he “I love you” all the time. I think it is just a maturity thing.

I think it all starts in the beginning… how ever we start out…. even if our mom says I love you all the time to us… and puts our papers up on the refrigerators, whether we get birthday parties or never have ever had one… we may end up saying I love you everyday or ration them out… we may also end up rationing out our LIKES to only the very special posts…. which are the ones I covet. But I must say that I do care how many followers I generate and what kind of interest my posts attract and I will take a thousand I love YOUS and just the few at a time. I admit it. I want them all. I am a writer. I think that makes me a little different. I think we all need it… bit I am willing to admit it!!!   I NEED AFFIRMATION!!!! to me…. It’s really not just a numbers thing. I need need to know that you like me. You really, really like me! And if you are my kids… I will take as many I love YOUs as I can get! 😉

numbers

Twenty Years


What is love?

 I mean really, really really love?

Wedding

It’s feeling the spark when we first said hello

and kissing you good-bye, not wanting to let go

it’s every time you’d call and the feelings I’d feel

it’s all those and more that made our love seem so real

It was dreaming the dreams of what was to come

and making me feel brilliant when I’d say something dumb!

It was the hope that I felt when we both said I DO….

and the million other things that makes our love true…

But It’s also…

the dirty laundry,  budgets and bills

and  loving me still, without all of the thrills.

Sometimes…. candlelit dinners or just good old Taco Bell

It’s giving me space when I’m giving you hell!

It’s loving my kids and making them yours

It’s all of my baggage that you have endured

It’s twenty years of some pretty big ups and downs

it’s sticking it out and hanging around

Ahhh yes the meaning of love has changed a bit through the years

and for me I know now it’s because you’re still here!

Happy Twentieth My Love!

In Twenty years I have learned this….

    “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

― Audrey Hepburn

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and is it really all small stuff?


I follow a blog by a fellow blogger and follower of my blog named Dyan, that challenges us to find  things to be grateful for in life. She is faithful in her commitment to write a daily word of encouragement and it has become an easy read. Today’s seemed to trigger a memory for me. It made me STOP and really see what I have been doing for over a decade… I realized that I am afraid to just let go and be grateful. To live in the moment to not worry about yesterday or tomorrow to just be grateful for something as simple as the ability to enjoy jam on my toast in the morning. I know it sounds funny… but some of you GET me so well…  I know you’ll understand.

Here is an excerpt from her post today:

It may be small, like the peach jam on your toast in the morning, pretty flowers that you pass on a walk – or it can be big, like a job opportunity we are presented with.  But if we are watching for things to be grateful for through our days, we will find them.  Living gratefully, purposely taking time to be grateful every day will bring us more things to be grateful for.  That is a great reason to keep a gratitude list every day.

To read the whole thing… here it is:

http://dyandiamond.net/2013/09/03/why-be-grateful/

Well over ten years ago, I remember picking up an article in the waiting room of a medical office where I had my yearly exam. It was an excerpt from the book…”Don’t sweat the small stuff… And it’s all small stuff” We’ve all heard about it since. But it was new to me then. As a child, I always worried. I have since realized I’d become a co-dependent at an early age and always seemed to be waiting for something bad to happen.

I remember really reading every word and deciding that I was going to stop and smell the flowers just as I was called in for my turn… I remember light heartedly changing into the paper gown and waiting for the doctor. We made the usual small talk and then the expression on his face changed. It got more serious. He’d found a lump in my throat. It was strange… I never felt it……….  I think at that moment the whole thing about not sweating the small stuff was extracted from my memory.

For the next few weeks, appointments for surgeons and ultra sounds all filled the parts of my brain that was going to not sweat anything. I’ve always tried to protect my kids from my problems but somehow my daughter found out and demanded to know what was going on and then promptly prayed for me. It was a sweet simple prayer but ever since she was little, when she prayed she believed that God really heard her and kind of just expected Him to take care of everything. (If only we all could have that childlike faith!) After an ultra sound and a surgeon not finding anything at his exam it all seemed to have been a mistake or had it? Perhaps there had been something there and God heard the prayers of a child…my sweet daughter.
I just know that as I read Dyan’s blog today… it triggered a memory. I think at that moment in the Doctor’s office… I’d decided to truly not sweat the small stuff and then in the next moment… I’d been hit by a Mack Truck… not small stuff by any sense of the imagination. I am not sure what happened… maybe it was a mistake… maybe even the devil… but I think I was afraid to not sweat the small stuff ever again…. I think that I have been sweating it ever since… trying to be grateful… but always with one eye cocked over my shoulder… All I know is that this little reminder pricked a memory about never trusting anyone or anything with the free abandonment of thinking it is all small stuff because it can change at any moment. I guess that since then… I’ve always waited for the other shoe to fall. Nor have I ever completely relaxed since.

I know that life isn’t necessarily without catastrophe. Since that day… I’ve experienced illness of loved ones, earthquakes, and even death. But I have also experienced answered  prayer, good health and the miracle of birth.  I know it’s not all small stuff. But this little daily reminder, this once a day dose of being grateful really made me take a look at where I stopped appreciating the moment and began trying to deny it’s existence. I’ve been seriously robbed by the joy of relaxing in my gratitude. Like a thief in the night it was snatched from me. Today is a new day and I am just grateful to be sitting here knowing it. And I am grateful for all of God’s Vessels who come into my life with messages as way of their blogs. Perhaps this one might remind you to not sweat the small stuff and though it might not all be small stuff… to recognize when it is and to trust God with the rest! Have a grateful day!

Sophia's smile

A baby smiles and I see a glimpse of heaven.

A flower grows from a crack in the cement.

daisey through cement

A stranger holds the door open…

holding door

Are these messages possibly Heaven sent?

A garden’s fragrance, a butterflies wings

little girl in the garden

A sunrise inside the warmth of dawn

sunrise golden clouds

A child’s laughter, a friend’s simple note

laughing

when you thought you couldn’t go on…

A slice of toast with some special jam

toast and jam

warm socks on a cold morning

warm socks by tea

Ahhh such is the joy in feeling grateful

that appears in my heart without warning.

girl running

Diane Reed

2013

Our Blogging Neighborhood


I know that I’ve written about this before. But I just can’t get over the connection I have with some of you.  When I started blogging, I was pretty much doing it for me. A place to store my rambilings and perhaps share some of it with my close friends. But then… Oh and then…  something magical happened.

You guys did!

Thank you for happening to me!

neighborhood at the bridge neighborhood at dusk

I used to pick up my pen to write

when I was there, at my desk alone.

I would write and then re-read

and my feedback was  my own.

WRITER BLACK AND WHITEmy storywriting in the windowseattypewriterwriter

But somehow through the scheme of things

I opened another door

door

and all at once you guys came in

and I was not alone there anymore!

followers on blog

Somehow we’ve formed a village,

a neighborhood of those who understand.

neighborhood

Some of you are not too far away,

and some are in other lands.

But somehow through our passion,

through our need to feel heard;

we all have connected

through our love of the written word!

Diane Reed

2013

This was my reply to the first comment that came in…

(It fit perfectly for the way that I feel about many of you… I thought I’d cut and paste it and add it in the actual post so you understand just how important you have all become to me and how much I appreciate you!) 😉

I am so glad to have met you as well! YOU were one of the ones that inspired this. Some come and go and then come back into each of our lives. No guilt trips or expectations. Just glad to see ya when you’re here and miss you when your not. But thrilled to reconnect with those who haven’t been around a while and excited to make new friends here each day, who I might find that connection with… and when it happens… it is like magic!
I don’t need to ask anyone to read my blog or what they think… I have you all who do that for me. I loved one of the pictures here with the lights all on at night. I can just see us all inside one of those lit windows blogging away or writing our words. Regardless of where we are, in what town, in what country…. our hearts are strung together with our understanding of how important our words are!

                                                                                    Thank you!

Turning Around


hokey pokey annonomys

What if… this is as good as it gets?

Stop and think. I mean really think. We all have our own state of existence and sometimes it is really hard to stay in the moment and not hope for what is ahead. But what if “This” (picture me waving my arm around where you are) is as good as it gets? Would you be okay with that? Are you grateful for right now? I’ve begun to wonder if I am stuck because of me not being grateful enough. I KNOW that I am definitely in a learning place and just may be not getting it!  Not in the sense of really bad things happening. I mean we can take responsiblity for some of it. But some is just life and the deck we draw from.

I am talking about that “happy place” I can’t seem to find or at least stay there and I am wondering why. And… if this (me again waving around) is as good as it gets, would that be okay? I know I need to be grateful… that these someday, will be the good old days… but is there something wrong in hoping for something different? Always striving for a little more? Not necesarrily just “stuff” but more happiness. Ya know?

I won’t admit that I watch those poor “Housewives” on the different corners of our continent.( At least  not regularly.) But however scripted it may be, I have to admit that sometimes I find myself mesmorized by their drama. I think WHO SAYS THAT? Or screams like that or fights like that? When they’ve gotta have cameras in their faces.  it makes me feel better about my own life and the lack of drama.

Though, just recently my friend of over a half a century and I had a silly misunderstanding. At first I felt time and distance would help it blow over. But never really ever having any kind of “anything negative” with her in our adulthood, the more time that went by, the more apparent it became  that it would take more than an email to blow this one over. Yesterday we had an almost two hour conversation. We laughed and got serious and then honest and then laughed again. It felt as if a wall of bricks had dropped off of me afterwards. I felt light and ready to do the Hokey Pokey… just getting ready to put my left foot in…..

hokey pokey duck

when bamm!! Some other drama with a completely different person in my life slammed into me.

I felt ready to throw my hands up and give up. Or at least to sign on to some reality show because my drama lately is just as worthy as some of the best episodes of the Housewives anywhere!

But really have you ever felt like that? Sooo happy and ready to celebrate and then Wham! You are thinking… “What Next?! Can’t I at least enjoy the moment before you pull me down into the sludge again???? So I have decided to not be a victim!!!!!!!! In fact I refuse to be! You have heard the saying… “Don’t kick em when they’re down” Well, I am never going to be down again. Sooo just try to kick me flying in the sky! Ha! Okaaay… I know… one extreme to another… But literally,.. I intend to recognize the things that I can control and control them better. To not feed into the negative. To keep my mouth shut when at all possible. Wow I made that sound difficult didn’t I? Well, you know… sometimes it has been for me. But no more. I will lead by example. The next time I feel like being negative. I am going to march the other way!

Because This is not as good as it gets! And it’s not about the Hokey Pokey. It’s about being willing to shake it all about!

So you have caught me in a silly kind of nonsensey type of mood so don’t expect anything profound… just wanted to hang out with ya and have a layback blowing bubbles connection!

Turning Around

My mind is filled with butterlies

Wait! I’m scared of bugs.

My heart holds forgiveness

while my head still holds a grudge.

shel head

I do the hokey pokey

and turn myself around

hokey pokey retro

I paint on silly smiles

over  stitched on frowns

norman rockwell mirror make up little girl

Life is filled with chances

and lots of give and take

Sometimes it’s just the  small things

And the choices we all make

to know when to  just stop talking

so we can hear what others have to say

to learn to step aside

when pride gets in the way!

shel bridge

to stop when the sidewalk ends

and learn to go around

to only kick me when I’m up

and never when I’m down!

Diane Reed

2013

shel sidewalk endsShel Silverstein / Norman Rockwell  illustrations

An Unexpected Afternoon


Yesterday I spent an unexpected afternoon with an amazing woman.  A decade or so ago, it might have surprised me that we would be having these kinds of afternoons together. You see the woman I am talking about is my Mother In-law and I guess it took a while to really appreciate her amazingness. She is a Psychologist and I’ve always felt as if I were “kind of crazy” and so I was constantly on the defense. Let’s just say in my “maturity” I am appreciating her wisdom and she has invested a lot of patience and time in getting me to this place of acknowledgment.

mother in law and daughter in law

I love it because even as a Psychologist, she is just now discovering new things about herself as well, so at times I feel as if we are unwrapping presents as together….  As we wander around our own souls. Talking about dreams and realizations, fears and hopes and faith and it was shocking how fast five hours flew by. Several years ago, I may have felt like it was a wasted day off. But now I gather it up as a cherished memory.

Recently, I have realized that I have begun to stop questioning myself as much. Giving myself permission to actually be right without asking everyone and their brother for their opinion.    Today, I have decided to give myself permission to be right without any feedback. Sometimes you just know that you know that you know that you are right and you have to just make some painful decisions in life and own them.

Today we talked about learning to FEEL the pain when we are hurting and to actually recognize that IT is really real.  I realized that I’d been  making excuses and apologizing for how I feel. But my pain is usually reasonable and not some crazy misunderstanding that I’ve had with myself. Today I am learning to trust my own feelings and to start to give myself permission to heal. And to make choices about who and what to allow in my life and to  not second guess myself nor need anyone else’s opinion. I wish I could bottle this ephiphanie so that I could share it in elixcer form! But I think we each have to figure out certain things all on our own sometimes.

girl carrying huge key

I can’t explain it but when you recognize for the first time… something you have been doing wrong for decades and truly understand it. AND… can change it by just thinking differently it is like opening up a door to a wonderful room you had not allowed yourself to go in.

SONY DSC

And you know what?? When you finally figure it out….It is freeing. It has made me feel lighter and yet strong enough to move mountains! It really is freeing when you finally allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. And not need everyone else to confirm that you really aren’t crazy after all. Try it. It is like a “click” that turns the light on so that you can almost see your own soul!

Agreeing With Just Me!

girl with round light

Inside of me I’ve begun to find

a place I go to clear my mind

it’s there that I’ve begun to know

the greatest feeling of letting go

to know that I don’t need to fight

to always prove that I am right

I’ve climbed to where the view is clear

I’ve gripped the vine and dropped the fear

girl jumping off cliff with umbrella

I’ve felt the pain in holding on

somehow I’ve known all along

If I am right, that’s all I need

for… I just have to agree with me!

Diane Reed

2013

Traffic Jam


 no traffic

The other day I was on my way home from Los Angeles. I thought that I’d left early enough to have missed the traffic hour and  was moving along quite well for several minutes, when all of a sudden it stopped. I am not sure why I am ever surprised anymore. But I’d really hoped for an easy drive that day, without a lot of glitches… Though it never seems to fail… something always causes a traffic jam when I am in route!

traffic best pic

Slowly we inched along, maybe a mile in fifteen minutes and then a steady 30 or 40 miles an hour until it slowed again and we passed what was causing the traffic jam. A car had overturned. Though I have seen worse and heard people lived. I prayed as I passed it. I prayed for it to be one of those miraculous accidents where the ones involved survived without a scratch but I gotta tell ya it didn’t look good.

upside down car

As we passed it we all started moving until we were going about sixty miles an hour but I noticed that the other side of the freeway had begun backing up and as I drove further, I saw that the traffic wound around the bend for what looked like miles.

traffic on the 101

Stopped in it’s tracks! And I could see why. It hadn’t even happened on their side of the freeway but everyone on the opposite side was bottle necking to see the overturned car on our side.

traffic

People were almost stopping to take a peek while others behind them began slamming on their brakes and honking

traffic horn

and it was one of those metaphoric moments that come to me every so often that made me realize that you never know why you hit those spots in life that hold you back, what is around the bend… and why things don’t always happen as we expect them too. Sometimes it is our fault and sometimes it is just something we couldn’t forsee and  you can’t do anything but go with the flow patiently trusting that God is ahead of us clearing the way when we finally see the full picture and the mistakes in our life more clearly and hopefully learn from each one!

Jesus steering

Sometimes, life just happens and there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes we focus on the negative, staying stuck. And other times we see our mistakes and learn from them.

Life is all about moving past the accidents,

side mirror

keeping the faith…. and appreciating the ride when it moves along nicely. But knowing that the traffic eventually breaks and if you are patient… and give The Lord the steering wheel…you will always get to where you are going…. And hopefully if we are very patient…. the place HE has for each of us!!

traffic calming sign

Psalm 130:5 — I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

My Story… Excuse me while I shout it from my mountain top!


My Story

Some people are private, they don’t understand the need to be heard.

shhh

They could never understand the concept of bearing  it all. But ever since I was very small I’ve felt different.

little girl writing

I am unique in that way. I’ve always considered it a waste to learn life lessons and not share the lesson learned. Whether in the way of written word or sharing in other forms… even if just over coffee.. It’s all in the relating. And you’ve got to know that  somehow, each and every one of those times of relating will somehow find their ways to words I write someday. Not in a bad way, but in way of a lesson or a moment worth sharing. For when we write we are never truly alone and when you are lonely just write! I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt lonely as an adult. Even as a lonely child, I learned to create my own friends on paper, to read books filled with towns of people I was glad to know that I had that kind of power! And… Through our memories, our experiences and our lessons we learn to share so others don’t feel so alone. Think about it. There would be no books, or poems, no plays or movies or even sitcoms without writers! There would be no speeches or sermons, no quotes. Even God used writers to write HIS WORD! They need us!

Recently,  I’ve had this need to go back and understand my mistakes in order to help others not make the same ones. If my lessons can help others… why not shout them from the mountain tops? Or at least fill the empty pages with words that can give hope to others who are hurting? I mean… what’s the big secret?

friends talking

I also like to tell my story and relate it to yours. For we all have one. A story that is. And I have always felt that your story might help me and my story might help you and if we miss the opportunity to share a lesson we have learned it is like an empty schoolroom filled with unread books.

class room abandoned

If you are a survivor of anything, you have a story! You have hope to offer. You have a gift to give someone going through what you have survived. What a waste to not give that hope away. An illness is cured, a heart is repaired, we are all survivors! When you are in love don’t you want to shout it from the mountain tops? Don’t you want everyone to feel your joy? Well, THAT my friend is just a chapter in your book waiting to be read by someone else who waits for that same kind of love.

When I am happy, I want to tell everyone about how I am feeling, to talk about it and explore it. If it is stifled, if you can’t share it… it almost robs you of the joy you were feeling. When I am sad, I want to talk about it, when I am angry I want someone else to understand.  To be silenced is like being held captive.

hand over mouth

Like a writer without paper, like a pen without ink.

To write is like shouting it from a mountain top.

mountain top kneele3r

To not be able to is like our own private  hell.

crumpled paper

We are all different and that is what makes the world go around.

winnie the pooh and piglet conversation

 I can honestly say that I’ve never written anything I didn’t mean. Writing gives you a chance to backspace and be very thoughtful about what you say…. unlike just blurting it out. We tend to take more time when we are telling our “story” it is a pretty magical process. It really is about our stories… Those are all we ever really have left of value in the end anyway, isn’t it? So regardless of how tactful or private everyone else is… or isn’t… Or if they do or don’t understand what I share or why I need to… I will never stop writing my story… never stop writing the words on the pages of my life.  Even if I am the only one who learns the lessons I was supposed to learn.

my story

Falling In Love AGAIN


This one is for those who remember these words from a verse I heard long ago…

“Oh my love come grow old with me… for the BEST is yet to be….

So many times when we are young we don’t grasp that we are actually living our “Good Old Days” we have bills and toddlers to deal with and then suddenly in a blink of an eye it is over… our toddlers have grown up and moved on to have families of their own and we find ourselves living like strangers wondering WHO is this person I am living with? Perhaps with much water under the bridge where we even forget why we fell in love in the first place… It is up to us to remember. To realize that we almost missed the BEST in the part we promised each other long ago.

If you are in that place… lonely and wondering; WHERE the the heck is the BEST you promised me?! Look inside yourself. And remember LOVE is a verb!

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Why I hang out here!


A girl I work with shared with me that she reads my blog. I sometimes forget that it is posted automatically on my Facebook page and that people who I actually “know” read it as well. And I have to admit that it warmed my heart. It is hard to explain how validating it is to know that someone takes time out of their day, to care what I have to say. Unless of course you are also a writer and in that case, I KNOW you understand!

I write because I have to. I can’t imagine not writing now. I’ve put it on the shelf for far too long.  Always needing to create in some way.  I had an art studio for years, did art shows and made a living doing them.  I guess I just got tired of doing the shows cuz they really were  hard work. Though they will always remain some of my most wonderful memories and where I met some of my most cherished friends.

sugar plum

Writing really is no different. I just don’t have as big of a mess to clean up or brushes to rinse out…

PAINT BRUSHESART DESKPAINT BRUSHESSSS

But the connection is the same. My artist friends “GOT” me. We got each other.  As an artist, I used to have a following. I had customers at each show that would come and seek me out. I also had artist friends that GOT me. We would set up our booths together and then break them down. It was funny, we used to laugh about how our customers would show up without having a clue what it took to create our shows. The lugging the tubs and displays back and forth was just something we did  behind the scenes. When our customers finally got there, the only thing that they saw was a magical place to shop

craft showsugar plum booths. craft showw

Though it was a lot of work, I always looked forward to seeing them again and hanging out with those who understood my passion, and also stayed up late into the wee hours creating.

ARTIST

Lets face it, we want to hang out with those who get us. And…. that is why I hang out here! You guys are like getting to go to a Writer’s Conference everyday!Though,  I sooo want to go to one someday… actually, to as many as I can! Education and  continued classes are great and have their place  but I hear that you really get down to the nitty gritty at the conferences with published authors and agents. I have mentioned a writers hang out in my metaphoric posts, inviting everyone to a coffee shop in my imagination and it warms my heart just thinking of you all there in my dreams.

writers workshop

Sometimes, I get home and just want to relax, by tapping away on my laptop and signing onto my blog to find you guys and share what we have all written.  I don’t know about you, but not a lot of my friends GET my need to write, let alone the time I invest on my blog. But then, the same ones really didn’t understand when I would stay up late working on my dolls or illustrations.

So this one is for you. All my friends and family who take the time to actually read what I write. The ones who understand what I am talking about.

Thank you.

For My Friends Who Read My Words

….

What I Have To Say

Inside my heart you reside

in that place of understanding,

the windowseat of my soul,

girl writing in window

the sofa by the fire with the throw

that comfortable spot

only you will ever know

woman reading by the fire

you want to read what I have written

You click on my newest words

in true anticipation and you fill me like a cup.

coffee and computer

you come here without prodding

with your words…

I feel you nodding….

You are my  friends

We meet at different times of the day

sunrise morning beautiful

slipping in with the sunrise

Knowing that you care about

what I have to say

 writing signature

Diane Reed

2013

My Strength


baby smile

I have been working a lot lately, so when I come home, I just kind of zonk out and recently have not been writing too much. But I had to share this one that came to me the other day while I was at work (of course ~ since I’m always there!)

Have you ever been in a funk and totally zoned out? Perhaps standing in a line at a register waiting to be checked out, and a baby catches your eye and smiles at you? In a split second, you are transported to a place of innocent joy between you and that smiling baby. You smile back only to receive an even bigger smile. At that moment, nothing else matters, not bills, being late for an important date, or even what has you really worried. It is as if God Himself, reached down to hug you. The innocent exchange reminds you of bigger things. Maybe even a glimpse of a speck of what heaven will be like. Nothing but innocent joy.

0413011039 hot tubrohss

The other day I was ouside at work. Even though I work in a beautiful piece of God’s country where squirrels scamper just inches away and birds sing to me as I do my job, I feel a bit like Cinderella having to clean out the chimney, (in my case tubs) waiting for my Prince to rescue me.

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

(after all of my work… they look like this…)

hot tub

hot tub2

I have to climb up and down hills all day long, and under hot tubs that might have snakes and spiders where I have to go. And I have to admit that I don’t always stop to smell the flowers as I head under each tub.

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

I asked God to give me something profound as I walked around the other day in a particular funk. And I amost heard His voice as He gave me:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

Wow!! It was such an intense and fast answer that it brought quick tears to my eyes. I asked for more and was given the vision of how I love to make people laugh. Particularly  people who I respect, like my dad or a person that I place a little above myself. And I realized that laughter translates into joy and giving joy is empowering. Hence; maybe the same goes for the meaning of  strength in the verse God gave to me? I pondered a bit more. (Funny how if you stay focused, God will talk to you as long as you talk back and sometimes even when you don’t!)  I realized that desiring to give God JOY is my strength. When I know that I know that I know that my heart is only wanting to make God “laugh” or make Him proud or happy, I am as strong as Samson!

I have been feeling blue lately and disappointed by people. From the time I was young I’ve had a habit of looking up to people; Teachers, Politicians,  men and women of God. And ultimately have discovered that they are all human. And unfortunately, all eventually succumb to pride and prejudice in their own ways. And maybe that is a good thing. Because when I start to admire someone too much, I usually am disappointed. I have just begun to learn that it is not fair to them. No one is ever going to not disappoint me. No one but God that is. And so my focus should be finding my strength in His joy!

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

You Did


At the risk of sounding like an old country song… this one’s for my husband… I’m proud of you babe! I BELIEVE in you!  I miss you!

This one’s for you……..

church pew

Went to church with a broken heart and two kids,

wondering if anyone would ever love me again

and then you did.

img172

Saw you up there in the front,  leading songs,

my heart beat a little faster after that first date we went on.

Seems so long ago since those days when we first met,

if I’d been a gambler, I might not have taken that bet.

crying in the sand

And yet twenty years later we seem to have survived,

Rose in the woods 1

in-between lots of heart break our love’s still alive!

Wedding Garter

I’ve become a grandma

and you…

a Papa to our kid’s kids.

Auntie me

grandpa and jas

After I thought no one would love me again…

holding hands

 you did.

~~~~~

Diane Reed

2013


This is my Musician friend’s blog who surprised me with a melody attached to my book I am still in the process of finishing. At first I wasn’t so sure what he was all about… He is very honest, sometimes painfully so… He came in the backdoor and critiqued my posts from the beginning to almost the end. (I have almost 200 so gotta give the guy a lot of credit and a little break! Smile.) He praised some and constructively shredded others. And oh how I have learned. Some kicking and screaming but I mean when someone just reads one post, it is validating! But several at a time, commenting on each and every one, well that feels amazing! Even when he challenged me to do better! Anywaaay~ now I am positive I have found my very own Mr. Holland! (Remember Mr. Holland’s Opus?)
I don’t think he gets enough recognition for his talent so just wanted to share his blog with you.

No Stolen Cat Pictures

Luddite: a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology: a small-minded Luddite resisting progress.

DVDPicI try to stay current on technology and how it can benefit me. Before 2006 I had ripped all my audio CDs into digital files and while living in Thailand I gave those physical optical disks away. Why do I need them when I have all the quality and contents in one folder of one drive? Similarly I handled my DVDs of movies, ripping them to standalone computer files and discarding the disks. Years later, very recently, Apple Computer is once again leading the industry in eliminating optical drives from their computers; first they lead the charge to smaller hard-shelled floppy drives, then to optical drives, and finally to getting rid of these optical drives altogether declaring them irrelevant.

View original post 611 more words

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made


sunrise 1 pink sky

“Sunrise”

As the day open’s it’s eyes…

sunrise pink clouds

painted skies

fill my heart~

country sunrise

God’s canvas

splashed with pink,

praising God3

His work of art

is my day’s start!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Diane Reed

I woke up to a beautiful sky filled with pink cotton candy and my entire heart softened. I opened the blinds and sat there in awe as I watched the miracle of the morning welcome a new day and knew that God had orchestrated that very minute and me sitting there, possibly hoping that I would realize he was there with me. At that moment I just had to STOP my life with a screech! And wonder WHAT AM I THINKING? I often forget to thank God for what I do have. I just tumble into a long list I am asking HIM to give or solve for me. How would a friend feel if we did that to them? I have decided that I need to connect with God more. I feel that  in a way, a sunrise is God’s text to us and that HIS intentions for us, was always to have  a Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden

He never intended us to have illness or relationship issues, His plan for us was not to go brankrupt or lose jobs. We interrupted God’s plan and let that snake of a devil worm his way into our world. Well, I say enough! It is time we took back! what has always been rightfully ours!

 We have God on our side! He is BIGGER than anthing we could ever be afraid of!

snake biting shoe

 We need to fight for what He intended us to have!

Are we going to let a little snake steal our joy today?!

 I say NO… I am not…

What do you say?

It is your choice.

This is the day the Lord has made photo

Thank you Lord for this day. May I bless you in all that I do today.

Rain Check Please


raincheck

We live in a world of microwaves and instant dinners. From the time that I was ten years old we had easy bake ovens

easy bake oven

and creeple peeple machines that baked a cake mix with water or heated up plastic in ten minutes or less. Giving you a little rubber toy or a pretty much; less than edible dessert. But it was all in the “magic” of the minute.

creeple people

Tonight when we go to sleep, we all basically expect to wake up tomorrow. The old saying about ….. “We make plans as God laughs” has always made me smile and yet makes God sound as if He is up there flicking us off the map one by one. And that is not how He operates. We live in a fallen world. And the state of the world is our doing, not His.  Who knows why some of us will be affected by Obama’s new tax on the rich and some of us were praying for the unemployment benefits to be extended? (By the way that was a rhetorical question, not getting political this morning here.)

finger map

The point is, that we all our dealt our own hand. Some of us have disabilities or illnesses, some are born healthy and screw up our bodies due to overeating or smoking or drinking or taking drugs. Some walk out the door and get hit by a bus. Some are born into poverty but somehow come out of it as a bigger success than the ones who were born into wealth and don’t know how to make a living.

God gives us all talents. Whatever our situation is we can do something to glorify Him daily. I was thinking about the books that I fill with gibberish and mourning. Yes even I, the one who pretty much is an open book in all my shame and glory have things I would not want my family or friends to read. They are my pathetic cries to myself, my prayer journals to God, my processing the thoughts in my head. But am I guaranteed that when I walk out the door that I will return to them, the things I wish to hide? Will I be proud of the life I leave behind? Whether today or thirty years from now?

jogger

My dad walked out the door for a Saturday morning jog at 51 never to return. In all of his brief cases and papers, his bills and credit cards, his life seemed in order. He always told me what to do if something happened, where to go, what to find. I remember searching for something more. Not just his insurance papers. I wanted to know more about who he was. Not really bad stuff, just things that would tell me more about what was in his heart. He was a vice president at Mattel Toys and then at his CSC for many years. He had just changed jobs. He was a professor at Pepperdine and taught Computer Science classes as a hobby. I wish I had known him  as a teacher in the same way that all of the hundreds of students who came to his funeral did.

funeral

We plan for our retirement and we expect to grow old. But what if we knew otherwise? What would we do differently? I have met a few people who know that unless a miracle happens, they don’t have a lot of time left on this earth, and they are the people who live life to the fullest. Maybe not physically, but they are some of the most spiritually active people I know!

sunrise morning beautiful

They appreciate the sunrise and sunset and they seem to have a better understanding of God and His word and they have a relationship with Him that I envy, though I know I too could have. The only difference is that they know they are dying. But don’t we all to some extent?  They live like this is their last day and yet they appreciate every minute of it and treat it like a gift when it’s not. Shouldn’t we all live like that? Appreciating that yesterday was not our last and not assuming that today won’t be?? I bet a lot of us would be smiling more and a lot more kinder to one another if we actually took that approach.

lady yelling cartoon

The other day, I heard a lady who rather loudly was complaining about an item that the store I was in, was out of. She was frustrated because she had made a special trip to come and pick it up when she saw it in the paper on sale. No matter how the employee tried to explain it, she was not going to be satisfied. She finally huffed out of the store with a rain check in her hand as we all sympathetically looked at the poor employee who had just been blasted for something totally out of his control. It made me think. Sometimes we treat God like that. Demanding a raincheck for what we think is due us. We don’t like the life we are dealt so we snatch up our raincheck and storm off to live life as one huge hot mess. And what is our guarantee? We don’t get a second chance here. (I am sorry, I don’t believe in reincarnation. My theory is get it right the first time.) We feel that we have missed out and expect God to do something about it. We sit there and wait and wait. Well honey, I am done waiting and expecting and being huffy about it all. Because it really is ugly to watch. I was glad I was there to watch that woman’s little tantrum. I wonder, what do I look like to God?

God sees poem

I know what I am doing when I can’t seem to find the joy in the morning, only living in the past and being too afraid to feel the love again. But do I want my loved ones to find joy in the messages I leave behind or dark pitiful ramblings? I am not sure if any of you who have begun following this blog can relate but as we embrace the new year I will use this post to officially try to embrace every minute. To not just atutomatically expect health or wealth or life but to appreciate it! And next time when you take a rain check for whatever it happens to be… a date to do something later or that thing at the store that is sold out, remember to appreciate when you get to cash it in but don’t always expect it. Because  though we live in a world of instant breakfast and wanting it all NOW…     It’s not always about immediate satisfaction. In fact it isn’t all about us at all. I am glad I got to see that woman stomp away with her raincheck clutched in her tight little angry fist. It made me realize one thing….

coupons

I know that I don’t want to end up with just a drawer full of rainchecks. Do you?

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

  Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Merry Christmas To ALL my friends here!


Christmas Typewriter2

Somehow in a corner of my world

I found you

or maybe….

you found me.

All I know is that…

 we have found each other

You…

The one who actually reads my words,

 who shares my passions

and takes the time

to find me

each time I write something new

to LIKE and to comment

and then share your words,

and your time

clock stained

and in the connection

we have found magic.

Thank you to all of my readers

and now my friends.

May the true meaning of Christmas fill your soul

all year long!

Baby Jesus2

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Typewriter

With Love,

Diane

Ironing Boards Inside My Wall


 

orange crate shelves

Orange crates beneath some wood

Ironing boards inside a wall,

ironing board cupboard

Dancing on that empty floor

back then we thought we had it all~

 moving day hug

Defrosting the fridge with a hammer

defrosting with a hammer

Glass door knobs and yellow tile

yellow tile in kitchen 2

Wooden crates and mason bricks

mason shelves

Still somehow,  make me smile

Long before Pottery Barn or Thomasville

writing a check

Before credit cards statements each month…

There was a time when we lived on dreams

And somehow that was enough.

cute romantic couple dancing

Diane Reed

Second Chances


traffic school

Today, I was going to work on my book. But I had this stupid issue of traffic school looming over my head. I scraped together the money to pay for my dumb ticket and the added cost of having the “prvilege” of going to traffic school and I just wanted to get it over with. And so I got up early to honker down and choose a Traffic School to get it off of my To Do List (of all those things you know you have to do but just don’t wanna!!!!) So I went on line to find one. The first one that I chose seemed easy enough to pull up and PAY…(I mean, of course the PAYING part worked really well!) but as soon as I tried to push PLAY, I had all kinds of problems and after waiting twice on HOLD,

frustrated blonde 2

I just nicely asked for my money back and they are supposedly refunding it and I moved on to the next school. And found a great little one that had great reviews and was animated and seemed user friendly… or at least friendlier! It was easy and cheap enough with no hidden costs. I could stay in my sweats all day and they will electronically send my certificate to my courthouse.

And though it took up most of my day,  I do have to say that I gained a lot of respect for what I learned, cartoons and all. I have been known to pass a few cars on my way to and from the Lake where I live. It may have well been worth the $3o0+ I had to pay for learning a good lesson. So I must admit that I was passing one of those hair brained Sunday afternoon puttzzzers, on a Friday morning… late again to work because of the lalagaggers on what the locals in my area call “hell hill” perhaps dubbed by drivers not too far off from the description of lil’ ole’ me!  As I passed Mr. Slow Puss I saw out of the corner of my eye behind some bushes, the fender of a well hidden Highway Patrol car.

ticket signs

As I cried out in a moment of panic, pleading, using the name of Jesus mingled  with a few words in my head that should not be in the same place as my Lord… I slowed down to those ever so familiar red and blue lights that we all dread to see behind us.

police

Well, you know how you feel as if you have been given a second chance? For some reason, I didn’t argue or even get mad when that Lalagagger passed us on the side of the road giving my friendly Highway Patrolman a thumbs up as he passed. I didn’t even care, I knew that I deserved it. When he told me I was going 86 in a 55, I tried to tell him, it was hard to pass someone who was going between 30 and 50  all the way down the hill only to have him speed up when I tried to pass.  He took pity on me because he said that he could tell that I was “a nice lady” ouch!!!!  Smile… And told me that I had almost beat the record but he would clock me at 65  by then, I knew he was not going to let me go.

ticket

I do have to say that I knew I had been driving pretty crazy lately. Always late, always in a rush… and why? Today,  I sat back and took a personal inventory of my driving attitude and realized that I was out of control. It was almost as if I were getting a second chance. Recently, I have taken my time getting to wherever I am going, and I realized a few weeks ago, after getting the ticket that I usually get there within 2 or 3 minutes of the time I might have shaved off by driving crazy. I had pictured myself going over a cliff at times in my head.  I think that God allowed that ticket and I think that I deserved it. But let me tell you… this lesson did not come CHEAP!!! But it was worth it if instead of saving a few minutes, it saved my life.

And I must say that after about 7 hours, I was ready to see the rainbows and butterflies in my head when I heard:

Congratulations Diane YOU PASSED!!!! Yaaay!!! Applause!!!

rainbowsEven though in the course of taking this class I watched the day pass by my window as  an empty Budget Rental Truck drove by  and then back out  the other way filled to the brim. I mean, don’t tell me that in the time that it took me to do my little traffic school class that someone else had loaded up everything they owned and I was just finishing up! But I’m done and it is finally crossed off of my list

It is funny how a silly little thing like Traffic School, even with some comic value, can slow us down and humble us with their cute little statistics and make us a little more aware of the lessons we need to learn. And for me, it wasn’t just about driving. Today I found a blessing in what started out to be a big interruption in whatever day I was going to have to sit for seven or so hours and take this class. (They have it designed so that you can leave off, and come back and I did a few times during the day but I decided to finish it all in one day) But just maybe it was more than just a lesson in driving, maybe it was  a second chance that made me look at things a little differently.  I guess we all need to be more aware of those second chances. You know?

Unexpected Love


Our store was called Rose In The Woods.  It was supposed to mean:    “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.”  My mother in-law thought it up and I always loved the sentiment. Sometimes things of beauty are so unexpected they go unnoticed.

Recently I had been feeling very sorry for myself. My daughter’s dog Buddy died and I was blind sided by my grief. Silly old dog! Everytime I turned around that dog was underfoot. And whenever I left the house without putting the trash cans up, I could count on coming home to a mess. That dog countersurfed like there was no tomorrow. No matter how far removed I thought an item was, that dog seemed to be able to manuever his fat little body up far enough onto the counter to retrieve his prize! Like he was on a treasure hunt! I am sure if I had put up a spy camera and video taped him… it would have won the prize for Funniest Home Videos!

I would wonder who ate all of the tortillas or all of the buns and sure enough I would go out to his yard to clean up his messes and would find empty plastic bags out there. He would make me want to scream!

But that dog was so smart. From the time my daughter was young, her bus would drive by and he would sit at the end of our deck and h000owl… knowing that his girl was on board! He would roll over, high five and speak on command. He knew the difference between shaking and highfiving! He could sit or lay down and  when she would call him, if he didn’t come right away, she would start counting and he always came before she reached three!

When Brookie went to look for apartments, her main prerequisite was that they had to allow dogs. She finally found one that allowed them. I am glad they had that time together. They spent many hours at the dog park near where she lived. But he howled when she went to work so eventually after several months of trying, she relented and had to bring him back home.

My dad and I started walking with him a few years ago and they fell in love with each other. Some mornings it was very dark and we could barely see my dad who lived up the street. We would meet half way. On foggy mornings, before I could see him, Buddy would start crying for me to let go of his leash, and my dad would squat down to greet him. My dad ended up paying for surgery for Buddy a few years ago that prolonged his life by three more years. Below is a poem I wrote about our walks….

It began kind of quietly in a shy kind of way

“Maybe I’ll walk with you” is what I heard him say

And when my dad joined us, it became our group of three

The day my Dad began walking, with my daughter’s dog and me…

Each morning I’d think, I don’t want to get up

But then I’d think …it’ll be good for my dad and the pup!

As I climbed the road behind those two

I heard my dad say “this is soooo good for you!”

Just a few minutes a day became my most treasured of times

In the steps that we took, and the wisdom I’d find

All fit into the little time that we had

As I would keep step as I walked with my Dad

We walked up hills and around bends

We started out as family and slowly became friends

Talking about politics and old time religion

I loved hearing his passion behind his opinions

I followed him up hills and behind doors unopened

I heard new stories I’d never heard spoken

He sparked a new interest in things I’d not learned

And made me care~ where I’d been unconcerned

We laughed and joked as he remembered times as a kid

And the hilarious things his brothers and he did!

He taught me things about the constitution

And his own ideas about different solutions

No school could teach me the things I have learned

No time I’ve invested could earn the return

And in all the gifts I’ve been given or treasures I’ve had

Not one could compare to the walks with my Dad!

Buddy’s illness hit so suddenly and before we knew it we were making the decision of what to do. Brooke was in LA at the time and was devestated. When her Dad was talking to her, I called up my Dad and asked him to call her when we hung up because I knew she was going to need her Papa! Later she said both her grandma and papa prayed with her and said the perfect things. Another moment in my Scared Of Daddy Long Legs experience of not getting to be there for every moment your child needs you.

Even though my husband and I had grown children, we realized that in all of our adult life, we had never had to make that kind of adult decision. Deciding whether or not to put down a beloved family pet.

I would not allow Brookie to drive home in her devestated condition and we did not want Buddy to suffer so she came home later the next weekend hitching a ride with some of our best friends who were coming to our area for a visit.

My husband and I had buried him and when my daughter came home she pretty much collapsed on his grave. It was devastating to watch her grief mingled with ours and we all were suffering. Unfortunately the grave was too shallow and the next day she noticed that it was unsettled and so she added more dirt and one by one carried more rocks out to it. I think in a way that was her closure and a good exercise for her to help get through the grief but it was horrible for a mother to feel so helpless as she watched her baby in so much pain over losing her beloved friend.

The other day I came home and found my son who lives in town at my house with all kinds of garbage cans filled and gardening tools and shovels out, totally clearing out the side yard where Buddy lay. I had told him the story and kind of felt he seemed a little removed from the whole situation but was blown away by his explanation of what he was doing He told me that he wanted to surprise Brooke the next time she came home and have a nice garden growing near Buddy.

At that moment I knew I had done something right. I saw the love in my son’s eyes. My first born kidlet who was stubborn and independent even as a little boy. He showed me in that moment how much he cared and how much he loved his little sister. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift that day and realized that I had just witnessed another example of a thing of beauty in an unexpected place.

We don’t always see the best in each other because we are more alike than either of us would like to admit but my son has proven that when the going gets rough, he is the first one there to step up!

Reblogged from my other blog~

Chapter One


Hi Guys!  Soooo…. I know I am not supposed to be here until I finish my book… but just consider this like a post card or something like that….

By the way for anyone new to my blog… I am trying to finish my book… so I have taken a reprieve… but I have 120 posts that should keep you busy reading in the meantime! Thanks for understanding… and I will be back! 😉 I miss you guys too!!!!

****************************************************

Pieces of The Circle

 

 References to real people, events, establishments or places are intended to only provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously.

“Your life is like an empty book, with pages still unwritten, each day you fill another page.”

 May this story encourage every young girl who still has an unwritten book, pages yet to fill and a life yet to be lived, and may it also inspire those women who think that their pages have already been filled, their books already written, and their lives already lived. May they realize that there are always new chapters or even sequels just waiting to be written and life still waiting to be lived…

 And for all women, both young and old, looking for romance no matter what the cost, to understand what the cost could be…

 Prologue

It was 1973, the summer of her sixteenth year, when secrets were still kept in little locked journals and the words that filled the pages were just fantasies of what she hoped for. Images of a house with a family, behind a little white picket fence

danced through Keri’s head as she wrote, pouring out her dreams in way of poetry. She was sure that she wanted to be a writer and would stay up late into the wee hours of the night slowly filling each page with raw and corny poetry, waiting for her innocent prayers to be answered, for her Prince Charming to come and, whisk her away into the life she was so sure that she was meant to have.

That old book had since, been packed away for dozens of years, still holding all of those dreams. Keri had since grown up and so much of life had happened in-between.

 Years later, while going through storage boxes in her attic, the book was discovered again by Keri, the girl, who was not so young anymore, nor hopeful or optimistic. Now much wiser and a little more tired and worn out, she held the book close and slowly opened it, breathing in hints of yesterday, flipping through the pages now yellowed with age. The memories flooded her heart and seemed to blindside her with a force she had not been prepared for.

*****************************

 Chapter One

The rain was tapping with such force outside of Keri’s window that it woke her up. It was a blustery Saturday morning; the kind that seems to still have one foot in winter and the other, in spring. Keri knew that it was just the kind that made her fifteen year old daughter Brynne, very lazy. But affected her in a totally different way…She had decided that it was the perfect day to talk her daughter, into getting a head start on some spring cleaning. She had spoken to her husband Tim, about cleaning out the attic and making it into a study to write in. An aspiration she had put on the back burner for a very long time. Tim had thought that it was a wonderful idea and told her that he would even build a little loft in their garage to store the boxes that were left after clearing everything out.

Inspired by the thought of moving closer to her dream, Keri put a roast in the oven and headed up to Brynne’s room with a glass of orange juice and a bagel with cream cheese. Keri pushed open the door singing a song that her dad used to sing to her to get her up on school days and Keri had continued the tradition. “Good morning breakfast lovers, welcome to ya, I got up bright and early just to howdy do ya, first call for breakfast, first call for breakfast!”

“Oh mom it’s Saturdaaaay!!” Brynne pulled up the covers and groaned but after a little coaxing, she reluctantly crawled out from under her warm down comforter and followed her mom up the attic stairs, munching on her bagel.

As Keri turned the knob, a rush of warm air and a comforting scent, filled with memories enveloped them, snapping them to another time.

Soon they were laughing and chatting while the rain drummed against the roof above them as they got caught up in all the memories.

“Look Mom” said Brynne as she held up an old floppy dog and danced it over her head  then hugged it tightly with an expression of such love, that for a moment, it flashed Keri back to another time, long ago when that old floppy dog was not so old and floppy. She tried to remember the Christmas morning when her daughter had received it. As she leaned back against the wall watching Brynne pull out old toys and clothes with all kinds of memories attached to each one of them. She smiled and sat down in front of another trunk of her own, filled with old papers and notes and books that had since been long forgotten.

As Brynne got caught up in looking at some old colorforms, Keri reached down into the bottom of one of the trunks and found the little diary. She recognized it right away. A surge of energy seemed to run through her as she held it. The lock still latched, she clicked the little button and felt for its release. It unlocked easily but for some reason she froze and did not immediately open it. She stood up feeling uneasy.

She was puzzled at her reaction, as she looked out the large picture window at the top of the trees swaying in the storm and walked over to it, feeling very melancholy. The rain had started the night before and remained steady. She could see the little brook below and saw that it had filled and was running over. She felt comfortable inside the warmth of the attic and imagined herself, looking out the same window someday, as she sat at her desk and wrote.

The smell of the roast wafted up the stairs prompting Keri to go check on it. Promising a quick return, she left Brynne still sorting through boxes. She had fully intended to just check the roast and go right back up to encourage her daughter into getting rid of half the treasures she had stored up there over the years but Brynne had gotten caught up in her own little journey down memory lane and the whole project seemed to have turned into an all day event. Keri smiled; picturing Brynne in the pile she had left her in as she gently closed the oven door and turned the temperature down a bit, wiping her hands on the kitchen towel, she turned to go back up and then remembered that she had brought down the book, she went over and picked it up from the counter feeling slightly unsettled.

She played mindlessly with the little lock as she clicked it open and shut and walked into the living room, poking at the fire in the fireplace, then sitting down, she pushed the little button and the lock released as she opened the book. Things that she had not allowed herself to think about for a long time consumed her in an instant. Every word on every page snapped her back to another time in her life. She felt as if she had been given a time capsule, opening up such sweet but sometimes painful memories immobilized her as she turned each page. Noticing the initials of Mrs. Walker scribbled on every single page, she recalled how it had all started out as a writing assignment but had grown into so much more. She remembered writing the words and the exact way she felt when she had written most of them down.  The memory of that young girl seemed to take on a life all of its own, as if she were reading about a fictional character and yet the memories those words triggered within her caused her to want to go and find that girl again, to somehow get her and bring her home.

Keri pulled a fuzzy throw over her legs as she read. Every page she turned seemed like opening up an old door and peeking inside. The love and pain and memories consumed her as the glow of the fire filled the room and the sound of the rain hitting the roof seemed to be lost in the background as she continued to read the words she had written a lifetime ago.

She hadn’t noticed how much time had gone by until she heard her daughter padding down the attic stairs. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking into the room, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. Keri looked up and smiled. Brynne was puzzled. She had been lost herself in a magical mood, pulling out old dolls and stuffed animals that had sent her back to another time all of her own.

Brynne had fully expected to find her mom in the kitchen or having gotten caught up in something on TV which she always seemed to have on for background company, even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. “Have you been crying?” Brynne frowned, sounding slightly concerned as she sat down next to her mom eyeing her with a look of uncertainty. She wondered what it was that may have caused her to stop her day like this. Looking amused at catching her daughter’s interest, Keri wiped a tear away and smiled. She was a little surprised with herself, crying over an old diary but the only way she knew how to explain it was to be honest.

Keri had not mentioned the diary when she found it at the bottom of that old trunk. Not really hiding the little book, but not knowing if she even wanted to go there herself.  She had thought that she had put all of those feelings behind her but over the years she realized that they were not as easily packed away as old things in a trunk might be. Like this diary, they would show up when she least expected, like today. Keri tested the waters by reading a few of the pages aloud to Brynne. After a few minutes, she stopped and looked up to make sure that she had not completely lost her daughter’s interest but noticed that Brynne looked quite captivated.

Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured, Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested. “I was so smitten with the idea of being in love and so boy crazy back then, then adding for good measure, ”even though I really was not allowed to officially date until I was sixteen.” She said smiling with a wink. “I hung out with a few boys and then the summer after my birthday I met someone.” Brynne’s interest peaked and she asked, “A boy that was not daddy?” Recently, Keri and her husband Tim had been negotiating curfews and dating rules with their daughter who now, found this all very interesting to say the least, picturing her mother with boys when she was her age was a concept Brynne hadn’t broached.  “Yes.” Keri answered, “I met a boy who was not daddy, a boy who changed my life forever.”

A look passed over her mother’s face that Brynne could not read. They had shared a mother and daughter bond that few can boast about, they finished each other’s sentences and usually knew what the other was thinking with very few words. Both Keri’s and Brynne’s friends envied their relationship. And without ever giving it a name, they had been best friends from as far back as either one of them could remember and Brynne felt as if she knew everything about her mom, until today. Brynne listened with interest.

Keri wanted her daughter to admire her. She felt as if she had made so many mistakes in her life but had managed to rise above most of them. Brynne had always been so level headed and unaffected by the silliness of young love. When her friends would seem unusually boy crazy, Brynne had always been the one in control. She was a dancer and she would not let anything get in the way of her dream. Least of all, what she called silly romantic drama that she witnessed her friends going through much too often for Brynne’s taste. She felt she had plenty of time to find the right one and seemed in less of a hurry than her other friends. But even as level headed as her daughter was, Keri knew that it was only a matter of time, and it only took one boy to turn her heart upside down. And so she decided to share what she had written.

But before she started reading more, Keri scanned the pages that were filled with such innocence and details about her first real love, her first real everything. Each page seemed to captivate her with memories of their first dates and their first kiss and first argument…all of their firsts captured inside this locked little book. She read the sad little poems randomly placed throughout the pages, and even found some very passionate accounts of some pretty explicit moments that she barely remembered actually writing about and blushed as she read each sentence silently to herself,  remembering it all as if breathing in a scent of long ago and not getting enough of it… And then she finally got to that place. It was a place when everything seemed to change. A place where even her handwriting  changed. A place where eggshells and tension seemed to become a part of her life. She began recalling some very unequivocally painful times as she continued to silently read to herself as if she were searching for a happy ending somewhere in the pages. And yet she knew how it all ended.

Realizing, that she had never really shared any of this with anyone she panicked at the thought of sharing her pain now. The anger she was feeling again, distressed her. When it was all happening to her, she had been ashamed. Her friends would never have understood why she stayed. And as for her parents, they wouldn’t have stood for it, especially her father, and so she had remained silent. Even though Brynne and Keri talked about everything, this was a hard one. She didn’t want to just blurt out things that she hadn’t prepared her for. However, she reasoned, if she was going to share this with anyone, the most logical one would be Brynne who was just beginning to be interested in boys.

Keri had always planned on talking to her daughter about this.  She had never wanted her to feel the way she had all those years ago. She wanted her to feel as if she could talk to her about anything. Keri was snapped back to another time as she glanced over the pages. She remembered how she had felt back then and how it was a lonely place to be. Feeling as if no one would understand, so instead, she had found comfort in her writing. She remembered pouring her heart out in those journals like loyal friends, late at night in her room. They were always there for her, like good listeners, to catch her words as well as her tears. She had always kept each one, secretly hidden and then once one was filled she would begin another. It was as if writing relieved her of the ugliness inside.

Over the years, she had never had the heart to get rid of them. They had been like faithful old friends, a kind of reminder to her. A reminder of that young girl she had left behind, so long ago. It was almost as if in opening the pages of the little diary, she had found the innocent part of herself again, the part that she had given up, the part that had been packed away like those old dusty journals, still hidden in the bottom of that old worn out trunk. She was not too sure if she wanted to mess with the feelings that she had managed to neatly pack away. And yet had she really? Had she ever totally forgotten? She knew she wasn’t fooling herself. Her life was different because of all the things inside of those pages. She was different. And nothing could change that.

She knew that she could have gotten rid of those old books a long time ago and yet still would have never been able to forget. And so now, holding onto them symbolized a promise that she had made to herself, to never go there again. And so where ever she moved to, She brought them too, tucked deep down in the bottom of that old trunk, stored away, like her memories. Knowing that someday, she would use them as a message, a template so to speak, of things she wanted to protect Brynne from. But it had all caught her a little off guard today.

She was just grateful that she had found that trunk. In all the years that had passed, her memories had been confined to the privacy of her journals.  She didn’t know if she even wanted to remember. And yet, Keri had always felt that everyone’s story, good or bad, was worth telling if it could help someone else not make the same mistakes. Keri thoughtfully considered her story and wondered if today might be the day she would share it and just perhaps, telling Brynne her story would help guide her in her future.

Long before Brynne had even been interested in boys her mother had encouraged her to make a wish list that included the top ten things she wished for in a husband.  Keri had read the list and then added one more…she told her daughter that if any boy ever showed any sign of a temper that she should run like the wind! Brynne never quite understood why her mom had always been so adamant about that rule but had respectfully added it to her list.

Sitting there with her book in her hands, her life’s story literally tucked inside the pages, and her daughter a willing audience she considered everything. She held the book tight against her chest and looked into Brynne’s eyes filled with questions, with the crackling and popping of the fire raging, she opened the book and said;

“I never told you about this part of my life, maybe it’s time I tell it to you now.”

 Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed another throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but instead she motioned for her mom to continue. All the pieces were fitting in place now Brynne finally knew why her mom had added that extra rule. By the time she was done, the fire had died down to a flicker and more than two hours, maybe more had passed. Keri closed the book and she looked up and noticed that Brynne was in tears. “Oh mama” she cried, “It is all just so sad.”

*******************************************************************************************************************

So there it is… I am making myself try to stick to my guns and between working fulltime, and the stuff going on in my life… just finally finishing this… I still have 20 more chapters and some of those have been the ending so this is just a dent but I did want to check in and say I actually AM working on it…   I will share a few more as I go and would love feedback!

Thanks for your time!

Love you all!

Di

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clicking “LIKE”


This morning I came on and found that someone had liked 47 of my posts! It made me have to wander back with them in my archives because I thought if they are going to take the time to read and then “LIKE” something then I should take the time to at least click on each “LIKE” and re-read the things they clicked.

Blogging is a funny thing. It is like leaving your journal open for anyone to read. There was a day when I had a little diary with a lock on it. I carefully hid the key and wrote my tiny daily paragraph of all the most important events in m life… “Went to school today, came home, and maybe just maybe the boy I liked “looked at me!” Ahhh so much has changed… One BIG thing is… I could NEVER fit all of my “important”  daily thoughts in a little 5 year diary thats provides you with five little lines to chronicle your life!

When my grandma died, I wasn’t there. My mom flew to Washington and my Aunt and cousin went through all the things they wanted. I was in a different mind set then. I didn’t want to come across as greedy. I was so sad. It seemed inappropriate to “want” something of hers after she was gone and yet… she always would tell me “I want you to have my china Diane” I was just about ten when she started telling me that. I was just a naive little kid back then and even remeber thinking “Why would I want your China?” But when my mom asked me if there was anything special I wanted her to bring back… I did say “Well she always wanted me to have her china.”

Today I love it. It is actually pretty nice I think… as china and antiques go… it is Franconia from Germany. And now I realize it was probably very special to her because it was so nice and she wanted me to have it. She was my age now when I remember us talking about it… Which I thought was NOT old enough to be talking about her not being here and leaving me things. And I was right. She lived a long life. I was born on her birthday and was the first grandchild. We always had a specal bond. So besides the china… which was the one thing I knew that she wanted me to have, I asked for my grandma’s diary.

It was one of those five year kind. The thing that is so  unique, is…she started it the day after Christmas her sixteenth year and it ended when she was 21. She talked about her school events, and young girl crushes, dated a little  and then finally,  met my grandpa, fell in love, got married and had my mom all within those five years! It was as if I got to see a little glimpse of my grandma’s life all inside that little leather bound, worn book. It is an amazing treasure to me. I can almost imagine her in her bedroom, after a date writing in it.

Today as I re-read my journals, I wish I had saved one of those childhood ones with the locks on it. But I do have one that I started when I was sixteen. Filled with silly poems and pictures and such innocence. It snaps me back to a time where I had not yet experienced life. I only wrote about, dreaming of what lay ahead and then it also is filled with pages of new love and the passion that comes with it and then heartbreak and sorrowful poems of young heartbreak. It is kind of funny now. I still remember the reasons behind some of those poems that I wrote.

Today, I click on some of my old posts. The ones before I knew you guys… the ones no one “LIKED” because they didn’t know they were there. Or I hadn’t really invited anyone to share yet… I followed a friend’s blog, they followed mine… I was more vague back then. People didn’t really know what I was writing about. Now it is kind of like a puzzle.. I still have not provided all the pieces and yet you can begin to see the picture I have painted and yet you are still following me!

It makes me realize that we all have a story and our stories help each other live our lives, somehow making us feel not so alone in what we are going through, just by knowing someone else out there may understand just a little. I still have some posts in the proverbial little locked diary inside my imagination but waking up to find someone took the time to read 47 of my posts sometime in the night is the best compliment I could have as a “wanna be writer” and it inspires me to keep writing. Hoping that something I might have to say can touch someone enough to keep reading….

I know I have a lot to learn… a lot to tweak and edit and going back and reading some of my older things has made me realize that this blog has done just what I set out for it to do… helped me grow… and stretch my writing abilities to a place where I might not have to beg my family or friends to listen to something I wrote… but people actually go and click on me and search me out and sit there and read my “stuff” all by themselves! Like Sally Field said… “You “LIKE” me you really like me!” And for that … I say thank you!

A thing of Beauty in an unexpected place


I like the concept of finding happy surprises. The best things are unexpected, like a gift for no reason. My mother in law came up with the name of our store that we lost in the earthquake. It was Rose In The Woods. Later on Good Morning America, I told Charles Gibons that it had turned out to be a Rose In The Rubble. When he was interviewing my daughter and I, the morning after.  I still remember the feeling of finding something beautiful in all that followed.

One huge one was that my daughter had survived it. If you follow this blog at all, you have read about her wanting to wait in our new Explorer that had been flattened by the roof that slid down on all the parked cars below…. I remember thinking stuff can be replaced but thank you Lord for saving my baby!

Life is not easy. People are not always kind and sometimes we don’t stop to consider where the other guy came from or why they are who they are. I have been pretty hurt by a few people in my own life. It is the times when I have stopped to make the effort to get to know their history that I have been rewarded with a thing of unexpected beauty so beyond my expectations. To understand their hurts from the ground up! Lately, I have taken the time to understand some major people in my past and it has been the most freeing experience I have ever gone through. Forgiveness and understanding have amazing medicinal powers and the miracles that follow are intoxicating.

As I grow older, I find blessings in the most unexpected places. This blog is one of them! In my time of need for prayer or friendship, a soft place to fall, support for my writing or just  a lot of encourgment…. I never dreamt that I would find it here… the place I go to store my ramblings!

After I lost my store, the spa where I work hired me as an Event Coordinator and when the economy took that turn we all are so aware of, my position along with my boss was removed from my place of employment. Though I am grateful they found another position  for me and kept me on, I had to take a pay cut and learn how to become financially creative. Which is how I began to be the retail “Buyer” for the spa. It gave me my “retail fix” and provided us with the extra income I had lost. It is kind of a win/win situation for us both. I do all the work, buying, displaying and they get a $$ cut. It has been a blessing because I know the area and the clientelle and what they like from owning my store, in turn, I have been successful at creating a revenue for myself and the spa.

I have a co-worker at work…  Who in the beginning, I have to admit that I missed her good points. TOTALLY overlooked them!!! Smile~ I only saw the annoying ones coming head on in front of me like a Mac Truck.  She is sometimes abrupt and opinionated and loud and  sometimes a little defensive when you remind her to use her “inside voice.” She is a bit  controlling…. and can be a know it all at times….

Anywaaay…

I have been working on trying to see the good in everyone, slowing down and finding beauty in a very unexpected place, and really taking time to understand others. I have learned in my efforts that she is just a very insecure young woman. Since I have befriended her, she has shared with me that she doesn’t feel very many people at work like her and she has dealt with those feelings pretty much, all of her life. I have found that…. she has a  big heart and that she is funny and sweet, a very hard worker when appreciated, helpful and very talented, especially at displaying all the retail I have brought in. It is funny, just a few months ago… I might have been annoyed that she just barreled in and “took over” without asking me if I would like her assistance. I came in one day and everything I had brought in the day before was all rearranged.

I was kind of fit to be tied until….. The Lord grabbed my shirt tails and reeled me in a bit!!! I could almost hear Him tell me to slow down and look at her heart. And you know what I saw? Not a busy body thinking she could do a better job than me. But a loving friend that had true talent in displaying the things I brought in, and willing to do it for me. And you know another thing?  God has a sense of humor! He made me see that she is better than me at doing it!

And then HE gave me a gift. A friend. Someone who cares about the details… sure maybe the details she thinks are important, but she does care. And maybe some of those annoying thing that  I saw were things I have seen in myself… Because… I know that sometimes when I get really excited I can be known to talk a little loud too… and you know, I have learned she does  know a little about a lot of things and when I gave her the time of day she has taught me a lot….

Mostly about being a friend….because she is a good one.

I love it when I find friends like that. So unexpectedly. It makes me realize how much I miss by being judgmental rather than compasionate. But when I let God open the door to my heart just a little bit… he opens the floodgates of joy and gives me a littley tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like!

Understanding a perosn’s thoughts is as hard as getting water from a deep well. But someone with understanding can find wisdom there.         Proverbs 21:5

In Honor of my 100th Post!


This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting….  I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…

My Mom…

She was born  March 3rd in  1934.  My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.

When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids  went exploring,  and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)

     My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)

The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.

           I’ve always  loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!

She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help…  pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!

Mom and me 1958

One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!

My mom with my son (her first Grandchild)              My beautiful mom and daughter on the boat in New Port Beach, on my wedding day

She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.

When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.

Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to  her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.

The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~              and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!

A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend  at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died.  He ended up coming for a visit.

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it.  The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.

I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.

I love you mom!

Nothing compares


Pooh said…

  “Eating Honey is a very good thing to do,

 but there is a moment just before you begin to eat it.

which is better than when you do.”

I remember a friend telling me that they had planned all year for a trip to Hawaii. They lived in California just blocks from the beach. But I mean Hawaii is Hawaii. As adults we see the differnce. The beaches in Hawaii really can’t compare to here. But to a child, maybe not so much. So they saved and scrimped, and finally when the day came, they packed up their two little boys and off they went on their much anticipated vacation. The next day when they had settled down on the beach and she was admiring the white sand and turquoise water, her younger son turned to her with an utter look of disappointment and in a totally dismayed tone,   said, “So this is it mom?” It’s funny now but I have understood that same “So this is it?” kind of feeling more times than I would like to admit. The looking forward to it seems to trump the actual doing it.

I have gotten myself into some stupid predicaments trying to taste the proverbial honey. Feeling that there was something I was missing out on, something I was entitled to have and so I went for it. Abandonding all signs of intelligence I might have appeared to have, once upon a time.

It was wonderful while it lasted.  But you can only eat so much honey and then it is too much. You realize you can’t live inside the honey pot forever even when you have lived without it for so long. Honey is honey and too much of it is not a good thing either. It is sticky and very hard to get off of you once you have dipped your whole body into the batch! And so I find myself stuck more than I would like to admit.  I get so wedged in that I know that I am going to end up having to ask for help  in getting unstuck . I hate to ask so many times  but God always seems to send me answers to my pleas..

And  somehow I can always depend on being rescued.

I’d like to say I learn each time, But not always…. Sometimes I have to keep  learning the same lessons I need to learn, sometimes,                             over and over again…

And I know that I could have saved myself a whole ton of trouble                                                                                                                                                         if I had only figured out that giving me all the honey in the world may seem quite grand at the time and may even be what I think I really must have, what I need and want…

but I really do know….

That NOTHING compares to HIM!

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psa 119:103)

Scatter Rugs


We have had a box of flooring ready to be added to, for over two years. It seems as if there is always a bill to pay or something else that trumps over me getting my new carpet or wood floor. And so I have strategically laid scatter rugs to cover up all the horrid spots on our rug. Yesterday, my husband and I were moving our living room furniture around in preparation for company we were expecting. My husband told me that they wouldn’t notice. But I argued that their house was so beautiful and I was embarrassed. So we fevericiously went about our day of cleaning, focusing around those darn spots. And God forbid, finding spots on the scatter rugs!

We were actually having a good time laughing and joking as we positioned things just so. I had gone grocery shopping and was confident about the meal I had planned to serve. It was just those darn spots. My husband kept saying that they wouldn’t notice. It was our turn for our small group to come to our house for Bible Study and I was really stressing over it when my husband suggested, maybe we will get new carpet when we finally don’t care about the spots. You see, we had almost gotten new carpet several times but like I said something always got in the way of our plans.  It was the little thorn in my side.

That is when I began to really think about it. Our life has always been a little bit more of a struggle financially than I would have liked. We both were raised without really having to worry about money. And yet, in our adult lives it has always been an issue. Sometimes less than others but never really getting comfortable. And something dawned on me. I never really just let go and gave it all to God. I have always been leaning on my own values rather than HIS. I dont’ think I have ever let HIM really  carry anything if I am being honest here. And so I am leaning back and letting it all go. Everything. Financially, and every other aspect of my life.  I think that I have finally realized that I have to let go.  And…when it comes right down to it. It doesn’t really matter if spots are showing or I have a beautiful floor. For if  HE is there, my eyes won’t be on the floor.

The Scent Of Shopping


There is just something about the scent of shopping that calms me. I walk in the doors at Target and instantly my bad mood vanishes. Why is that? And I am not trying to be metaphoric when I talk about the scent of shopping, it is the kind that hits you like a rubberband and sends you right to that time in your life that makes you remember. My memory of shopping has always beeen a good thing. It seems as if I can always count on seeing something new or something that I “want” or “need” and as I drop it in my cart, a feeling of satisfaction follows it.

Maybe it is the memory of my dad and I shopping together. We always had the best times and I was dubbed his little shopping buddy. As a young child, he didn’t have a lot, though, as an adult, he quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was pretty successful.  I grew up in what you might call a privileged childhood. The window of my bedroom had an ocean view and I grew up not hearing the same discussions that my kids have had to, about money and the lack of it,  about bills, due dates and the arguments that sometimes followed…

My childhood had it’s issues but one of them was not money though I was not spoiled. I had an allowance and was taught the value of the dollar. However, I do remember oddly enough, the one thing my dad was worried about was retirement. He was always planning some new retirement investment and  even discussed his strategies with me. Unforunately, he died at 51 jogging around our beautiful neighborhood and never really got to relax and enjoy much of it , which made a big impact on me through the years.

I have never needed a lot. I always looked at price tags and would even tell my dad I didn’t like something if I thought it was too over priced. Even so…  I have an inkling that I have had lessons that I have needed to learn about the value of several differnt things in my lifetime. I am not sure what God is preparing me for but I have learned a lot by my own mistakes and the mistakes of my friends. I’ve had friends who had nothing as kids and then made it big and lost everything and have had a difficult time dealing with their lack of. Having nothing and then almost too much and then nothing again. Jesus is a story teller, he taught many lessons with metaphors. Perhaps, why I love them so much. But I figure there has got to be a lesson in here somewhere for me.

I have been reading the Prodigal God  http://eprodigals.com/the-prodigal-son/prodigal-god-tim-keller.html?gclid=CJWXqry_7LICFcV7QgodPxIAaQ And it is so timely for me! It is from such a different perspective. Not really about just forgiving the younger son. But Jesus was teaching a lesson about the older brother’s attitude more than anything. I have found myself in both places through out my life. I have been the Prodigal son, needing my Father’s forgivenss for squandering what I had foolishly and then also the Prodigal Brother, resenting what was given in what I determine as being  unearned.

I have been there a few times. Financially devestated, but by the grace of God, always having “just enough” Always working towards more and sometimes even getting it. But maybe that is the lesson.  God’s Word is like that scent, the familiarity of walking through the doors feeling the want and need rise up inside of me, always the chance to find something new. But how much do I drop in my cart? How much do I take with me out the door? I have finally realized I have been looking in all the wrong places to fill up my cart.

I don’t have to walk through the doors of a store with an empty shopping cart in anticipation of getting filled up, I can go back to that familiar place, the one that always seems to welcome me with open arms… and everyday, find something I “need” and “want.”

●The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  (Luke 15:21) But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  (Luke 15:22) Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  (Luke 15:23) For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.  (Luke 15:24)

The Ring


The first time I got married, we bought our rings at Gemco. I still remember, they were just little bands of gold. Mine fit perfectly inside of his. Our Pastor made up a quick little off the cuff sermon about them when they were placed in his hand. Something about, how the circle was unbroken and how the man protects his wife. Well, that didn’t work out too well now did it? The circle was eventually broken and as for protecting… well my heart was shattered into a million pieces and so I think not.

I remember once after we had separated, I had taken mine off. It had been almost as painful as removing my actual finger. Over the years, after we were more financially stable,  he added to that little band of gold and had given me a beautiful diamond engagement ring  for Christmas one year. Several years later, the diamond fell out and I had been devastated  and stopped wearing it until we could replace the diamond. We never did. But I always wore that little band of gold. Always, till I didn’t.  I remember noticing that he still had his on long after we had separated and it kind of tugged at my heart in such a way, I still can feel it today. There is just something about a man wearing your ring after you have taken his off that gets to you.

I have since remarried and  was given a new beautiful diamond ring that I’ve worn since. It has weathered many years. Last year, the band broke, it had just worn down and split right in the middle. It kept pinching my finger and so I finally took it off. My husband (the giver of that ring) and I were going through some rough times and so it was kind of apropos. I placed it in my jewelry box and I remember feeling sad but kind of free. Though when I saw my husband wearing his ring, I felt that same pain that touched the core of my heart again. And yet, I reasoned that my ring was broken and so it remained in my jewelry box.

A ring has a lot of symbolism for many of us. We all probably could share a story or two about a ring  in each of our lives. I won’t go into exactly what was going on in my life, but I went ringless for almost an entire year. All I will say is that it was timely and pretty sympbolic. But every time I would see my husband’s ring on his hand, something struck me. Perhaps it was his loyalty and steadfastness, because no matter what happened, he kept that ring on.

Christmas was on a Sunday this last year. My husband had to work. We had done presents earlier because we knew we had to go to church and he would have to leave early from there to go to work.  I was not expecting it when he squeezed my leg to say goodbye and pressed a little velvet box in my hand. I looked down as he walked out of the church. I opened the box and there was my shiny diamond ring with a brand new band. I sat there holding it. Feeling as if I did not deserve the ring nor the husband.

It wasn’t as romantic as it could have been. He hadn’t stayed to slip it on my finger or even to see if I would do it myself. I felt kind of empty sitting there looking at it as he walked out the door. There I sat in church with my sweet daughter who had come for Christmas, sitting beside me. She knowingly watched me. she had known, been in on the “surprise” she knew too much as it was. I put on the ring and smiled at her. She smiled back. The singing stopped and we sat down to listen to the sermon. So much was going on in my head,  I don’t think I heard any of it that day.

Today I look at that ring. Several months have passed. Several emotions and conversations later and it still remains on that finger since I slipped it back on, in church that day. Yesterday, I was noticing that in all the rings I have ever worn, this one just seems to fit perfectly. Maybe it is the great job the jeweler did in fixing it, but just maybe it is the ONE that is supposed to be on my finger. The one that The best “REPAIRER” of  all rings and hearts and all good things is still working on.

Jody


It all started with a phone call. We were young little skinny things. I was 26 and she was 35. We both had boys. And went to the same church. We happened to be cutting up fruit in a mutual friend’s kitchen who was hosting a friend of ours surprise birthday party who we both knew. We had individually offered to come early to help out.

We chatted shyly, not really knowing each other too well, asking all the “get to know you” basic questions back and forth. When the phone rang, she was closest to it, so she answered it.

I didn’t mean to eaves drop but I couldn’t help but overhear her side of the conversation. When she hung up, I was dumbfounded. “Was that your husband?” I inquired. She smiled and nodded. “Did he just call you to apologiiiiize?” I marveled.

“Yeah, she answered looking kind of embarrassed. “My husband would NEVER do that!” I said.  (And he wouldn’t have. Apologizing was not something he did easily. Let alone call me to do it!!! At that very minute, I wanted a husband like that!) It was a funny thing that caused us to really start talking.  Somehow it broke the ice. We started chattering and laughing and found out that we had a lot in common. And that is how our 29 year friendship began.

I have since had a daughter and changed husbands who by the way is the kind that apologizes and has called me many times to do it over the years. Our friendship has taken us on a path filled with many twists and turns caused by life, but the journey we have gone on together is one that I would never trade in a million years.

We have had a billion shopping trips, and learned to stretch many a dollar!

and have had some of the greatest “foodie” moments together ever!

We have gone through births and deaths,  and have become mamas and grandmas all  through the years we have shared.

We have been there for each other in the happy

and sad times and have prayed and cried together a thousand times over the years.She was in my wedding and did all the flowers, lugging them an hour away and not missing a beat, attending the rehearsal dinner and standing up for me. She has been a wonderful Auntie and Best Friend and I can’t imagine having gone through any of my life without her Having her share the journey has made my life better and I don’t doubt just how different it would have been without her.

Recently my daughter who is 24, and I were talking about friendships and she was kind of reflective and envying my relationship with Jody. And I told her that I hadn’t even met Jody for two more years when I was her age….and she thought about it. And I have no doubt that she will have a Jody in her life too! They just come along when you least expect them to, and you pretty much know it the moment you meet them.

 I have some amazing friends. I have been very blessed in my life.  But Jody really knows me and doesn’t judge me even when I am pretty stupid or grouchy. She knows all of my secrets and still loves me.  I love her like a sister.

 

I look back and remember that first talk in that kitchen long ago and realize that it was not by chance that we were there that afternoon almost 30 years ago, it was a Divine Appointment. And oh yeah,  that guy who called her? I love him too! A lot!

Just a few weeks ago…          “Auntie” Jody with me and my baby ~ who wasn’t even born when we met…