Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

Advertisements

Chris Pickens, Carrier Of God’s Word


 Bible (2)

CHRIS PICKENS

His words are stored inside our hearts,

His life has been a work of art.

He’s planted seeds and grown new vines,

And he’s done God’s work all this time.

His eyes reach out and touch my soul,

his body is no longer whole,

this disease has come to take control,

to snuff the flame and take it’s toll.

But, life still lives inside of him,

the light dances, it won’t grow dim!

He still has lessons we must learn.

The fire continues still, to burn!

His mind is wise and he is there,

and hosts a heart, we’ve found so rare.

the numbers climb of those he’s touched,

the ones he’s taught, the ones he’s loved.

We can’t repay all that he’s done,

though if you are one of the ones,

and you are here now reading this,

Please reach out and help our friend Chris.

Diane Reed 2015

When I first met Chris, he had a Bible in his hands and that was always his trademark. He was and has always been the carrier of God’s word. Planting seeds and reaching out to anyone he felt led to approach. I am glad he felt led to our little store, because he changed things up in our lives as soon as he walked through the door!

I have said time and time before that I will never believe that pain and suffering and illness come from God! Or that bad things happen to punish us. I truly believe that God is not sitting up there choosing who to inflict with what. We live in a fallen world and that is just part of the deal. People suffer and die. They have financial successes and failures. Sure, some have brought on their own form of suffering through bad life or business choices or even health choices. But things like babies dying and ALS and meaningless accidents just don’t make sense and probably never will. Though I believe God allows opportunity in every instance and I have known people who have used their pain for God’s glory and Chris IS one of them!!

I will never forget sitting in a pre-marital counseling class when I was 21 with my on the fence non-believing husband to be. Our pastor at the time, Wayne Frase, shared with us something that even I never knew… that his baby son had died earlier in his own marriage. He was sharing the story to teach us that sometimes heart wrenching, life changing events that can come up in marriage, can either break it or make it stronger, and in that moment, I KNOW that a seed was planted in my soon to be first husband’s heart that would later lead to his own decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. At the time though, he was so confused at how this Godly man kept his faith, and yet very intrigued by his faith in God. Later, when my dad who we ALL loved died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband finally made the choice to believe after watching my mom’s strength through losing my dad and all the other little seeds that were planted along the way. Seeds like Chris has planted all throughout his lifetime!

I guess what I am trying to say is bad things happen to good people daily and it is how they handle them that can be used for God’s glory. And that life is not fair. And the formula has never been that bad things only happen to bad people and good things only happen to good people. If that were the case, Chris Pickens would be living on top of a hill in a mansion without infliction! But the fact is that he’s not. He is in need of our support. I have written about my friend before.  (Through Papered Windows) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/through-the-paper-windows/

But as this horrible disease progresses, my heart was pricked to share again.

One of my best friends, Michele, (Chris’s wife) has been her husband’s caregiver now for about 70 hours a week or more. Chris is totally paralyzed. He can no longer talk and with the occasional flick of one wrist, he is totally dependent. I have never seen Michele complain and she is always smiling. She is now in desperate need of funds to be able to hire capable caregivers to take care of her loving husband and take some of the load off of her. Another friend has set up a fund-raising site for him.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/caring-for-chris/288756 

Also Michele sells Shaklee. We all use cleaning products and need vitamins along with so many other things I never knew they sold that I use everyday!! Please take a look at the millions of things that she sells (on the handy link below) and instead of going to the store,why not support Michele and become a regular customer?! (she is even offering free shipping!) It doesn’t matter where you live within the United States. Why not just decide to order everything you would have gone and bought at a store, through her? And the products truly are so much better than any you might find on the shelves AND…. reasonably priced! If we all did it, we could turn their lives around financially by just supporting their business! Please click on the site below for information there! http://www.healthysteps.myshaklee.com

Michele Pickens

LifeQuest Health

Natural Products Supplier and Nutrition Consultant
714.536.6555 Cell 805.423.2064

lifequesthealth@aol.com

Improving the lives of everyone we touch

If you know Chris and Michele, you have probably read this all the way through because they have touched your life. I remember our friendship when Chris was the one who approached us, invited us to church and embraced our family. Even when they had to move back to Southern California to be closer to family and doctors, I’d hear stories about how he’d take his little scooter to town and witness to many, many people who came to the Lord just by Chris being Chris and sharing God’s Word.

The last time I visited, Chris could no longer take those rides to town and was in a wheel chair full time, by then, but those eyes and that heart still were strong. He is in there, still believing and loving God.  If he has touched your life or if you don’t know him and his story has just touched you… Please pray for them and then if you will,  reach out to him (them) in any way that you possibly can and thank you!!!! And along with just clicking LIKE (which I always appreciate!) How about stopping a minute and looking at Michele’s Shaklee site and perhaps sharing this post on your facebook page or send the link on email to your praying friends and any other site of theirs that you think might help!

And again…

THANK YOU!!!!!

micheld and chris

Chris and Michele before ALS hit hard

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

I don’t have to just sit there and be a jar of rice!


three jars of rice

My daughter has been telling me about this thing called The Rice Experiment. A Scientist took 3 jars of rice and for one month, he said to the first one, “thank you” and to the second one he said “you are an idiot or I hate you.” And the last one was just ignored.  Watch the link below to see what happened. It is pretty incredible. The result is that the one that was told “thank you” grew fragrant and flourished while the others grew bacteria etc. The video is only about a minute long and is worth the time you take to watch it.

rice pictures from top

 

Lately, I have been in a horrible funk. I have pretty much felt like the other two jars of rice. I am not sure what is going on. I do believe that outside energy does have a lot to do with our lives. The negative people that we give power to, and the power we give away is within our control. I have come to the conclusion that we don’t just have to sit there and allow someone to come along and ruin our day and create fungus in our lives. Too many times I have allowed the negativity of others to take over.

suspicious

I believe that it is a conscious choice to love ourselves and embrace our positive-ness and all the fragrance that comes with it. We don’t have to wait for someone to come along and spew the expected or unexpected words we have grown accustomed to that catch us off guard and throw us off kilter. We need to find the love. It is there just as much as the hate. They actually sit next to each other all day long. It is up to us who we give the power to.

happy looking at

TODAY I know that I am loved. By God and by me and that is ENOUGH!

 

 happy smile

http://karmajello.com/mind-spirit/philosophy/masaru-emoto-rice-emotions-experiment-video.html#_

 

My Aha Moment


I just needed to share this with you guys. It sounds kind of silly now as I try to explain why I was brought to tears by this funny little incident, but maybe it is one of those times where you just  had to be there… but I wanted to try because it was such a special moment. Seems that I keep getting reminders from God a lot lately.

 Jesus hem

I was in a hurry yesterday for no known reason. It was my day off so I’m not sure what was up or why I was so up tight.  I was just annoyed at everything. Stuff at work, at home… nothing at all and stuff I was trying to deal with, without going too crazy. I mean something was really bugging me that I couldn’t put my finger on, and even today I’m not sure why I was so impatient.  I’d run to the store to pick something up and was trying to get out of the parking lot and get home.

As I waited, I absent mindedly waved a family on in the cross walk, though they actually already stepped out. The parents were in deep conversation and didn’t even acknowledge me but for some reason I glanced at the little boy and saw that he was staring right into my face smiling and without missing a beat, caught my eyes and waved. Nodding to me as he mouthed “thank you” as he walked by. I smiled back and that little old soul  who couldn’t have been  much older that three and a half, changed my whole perspective and  every cell in my soul.

little boy

I can’t explain it but it was like connecting with God. As if He slowed me down and gave me a reminder what it really IS all about. My Aha moments usually involve someone homeless or sick but this little boy looked well loved and obviously well raised. But it made me remember how God told us that He’d use the children to be HIS messengers and to lead us.  I had to stop and thank God for that little guy who brought a message to me on a day when I needed a reminder that it’s all about love and connecting and being grateful for even the smallest things.

 

God’s messages don’t need stamps they are sent with smiles!

Diane Reed

What I know for sure!


Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!

I must apologize for being away for so long. Rather than writing a

“Gone Fishing” or “On Vacation” post to at least let you know I wasn’t here…       I kept thinking I’d be back sooner than I was… and figured that you’d figure out that I was not here all on your own! 😉

Christmas Typewriter

 I mean, I never even wished you guys Merry Christmas!  I really can’t believe that I haven’t been here for almost a month. I never even thought that it was possible for me to stay away this long! Though I have kept up with some of the posts you guys have posted… I really wasn’t that great at doing that either!

woman writing at keyboard

But… I am back! And So now… what to say? I have to admit that I almost forgot how to post… it took me a few tries before I found the NEW POST key! Arghh… getting old sucks! You forget those familiar places and how to do things…. This has been my first REAL vacation in over eight years! And it has been nice not having to go to work everyday…. But I did miss my friends there and so I do look forward to seeing them!

typewriter on wooden desk

Sooo now as I dust off the old keys I wonder… what to write…. besides my first poem of 2014 (at the end) I wanted to make a different kind of comeback for this one post… not just numbering off all of my new year’s resolutions… though I do have em….

Or….

To tell you how much I appreciate all of you guys for reading and following me. I truly feel as if I have made some special friends here and have grown to love you all. Rather than write my ususal Happy New Year Post (though I do wish you all an amazing one!)  I wanted to come back in a way that reflects what I’ve learned this past year. My mother in law (the Psychologist by profession) just shared with me that we never stop learning. And our new knowledge is like tiny drops of water.

water drops1

As the master of metaphors I loved that one! And may all of our cups spill over in the coming year!

water overflowing

But as we shared… the one thing that I think stood out more than anything was the gift she gave me when she told me…”You are not crazy Diane.” Okay, so by now you may be saying… “She HAS to say that Diane, she is your mother in law!” But seriously, sometimes I do feel a bit crazy or at least as a writer, I drive myself crazy over thinking stuff.

stressed woman

But I feel that by her saying that to me… a light bulb kind of clicked on, almost as if I have kind of been given permission to feel the way I feel about things. Disappointed, frustrated, sad, confused… all are okay and probably pretty relevant for what happened to make me feel the way I did in the different circumstances that come to mind, and that I am writing about…  But I guess in the end, it is how we react to it all. By now we have heard it said in so many amazing ways: … It is not what is happening to us but our attitude in how we handle it.

quote about attitude

This year I know now… that being right is not as important as being kind. And that letting things go may be healthier for me in the end than shoving my rights to be right down the other person’s metaphorical throat. I have learned that people surprise you in both good and bad ways.

quote about not taking things personal

I have learned that money can make people feel and do things that are despicable and generous all in your own family.  And that your own children can disappoint you and make you proud on so many different levels but a parent’s love never changes. At least in  my heart I know that to be true. And that babies can take everything negative and turn it all into joy just like magic!

Sophia and her plug

I have learned that listening more than talking will always get you much further on the path of understanding and that being slow to say what you want to say is just about as important as being slow to react to anger. Just as I have learned that saying less is just an overall better choice all around. I have learned that life will throw you all kinds of curve balls but that faith is like a seasoned mit, the leather gets worn in the right places and we learn to catch the foul balls with ease as well as some great home run catches!

baseball glove

I guess in the end, I have learned that I can’t do it alone. That I need to let go and to give God the wheel. For without Him steering it is like sliding on ice.

Jesus steering

Happy New Year my friends! May this NEW year be filled with kindness and quiet reflections, home runs and peaceful and meaningful talks filled with more listening and a safe trip through the next year with God’s hands always on the wheel!

Jesus at the wheel

Giving Back The Wheel

Lord, thank you for the year behind me and the things that I have learned,

for the lessons you have taught me where my path took a different turn.

Thank you for staying by me, when I forgot to invite you along,

and for loving me during the times where I know that I was wrong.

This year I know is no different, and it is just another day…

But, we somehow all feel as if we can just blot last year away…

An opportunity of fresh starts and a way to begin again,

erasing last years mistakes, like a story that has reached the end.

We turn the calendar’s page and embrace the new hope  we all feel

as we metaphorically step aside, and give you back the wheel!

Diane Reed

2014!

 

God saying

Happy New Year to all of my special friends that find themselves here today! May this be a year of allowing God to steer your path!

                                                                    Diane

The Other Side Of The Fence


Today I have a wonderful neighbor. Their backyard is magical. And I appreciate living next to them everyday! I have been blessed with great neighbors in the different places that I have lived. Some have become life long friends. But I do remember once upon a time when my neighbor was horrible. She hated me till the day she died I think. It was sad. I even had dreams of her liking me. It bothered  me so much. I’d gotten a notice about BIG Refuse Pick Up Day that our city offered annually. It was a day that you could put big things out and the city would come and haul them away.

I was young and probably not as gracious as I am now  🙂  And looking back, I could have been a little more tactful. But I left a note on my neighbor’s van offering my husband’s help to move her washers and dryers out to the curb if she so chose. I thought that it was an innocently helpful and quite neighborly offer. The appliances had been facing my kitchen door since we’d moved in almost a year earlier. She’d never been particularly friendly even before we moved in, but that note caused WORLD WAR III between us. She was not a very happy person to begin with and later I learned that she had a lot of issues that I was not aware of.

They say hind sight is 20/20 and I think that I understand her position better now. She was probably about my age then, that I am now and I was barely 30. She might have been a little offended because I was so much younger and perhaps she thought… came across as pompous though I really just wanted to make sure she had not missed the notice. Though if we are being honest here… I really did not want to look at her appliances staring back at me for another year, I wish that I’d done nothing now. I don’t like when someone doesn’t like me. But then not everyone liked Jesus. So why should I expect more?  But it really wasn’t worth it. And looking  back if it had not been that note… it would have been something else. She was just looking for an enemy. There are just some people that I have run into in my life, that I haven’t been able to win over with my irresistable charm, believe it or not!  😉

backyard1

Though she did have a daughter that ended up being a blessing and we became friends when she found The Lord and we discovered that our birthdays were on the same day. It was a friendship that evolved with a lot more hard work than I am used to when it comes to cultivating  friendships; We had kids around the same age and when they did not get along, I think she expected drama between the moms, where I felt it was important for the kids to just work it out. But in the end, a friendship evolved and the kids grew up and got along and  it is a sweet memory how I see God worked it all out. And now I am glad that I made the effort.

This morning I’ve been watching a marathon, a show called House Hunters, and one of the episodes was about a couple looking over into the neighboring  yard filled with junk and it made me flash on my memories of those neighbors….

Soooo…. I thought I’d write a more lighthearted post today with a little message to remind us all about judgment even when we feel we are on the right side of the fence. Today I am getting ready to work in my yard and it made me wonder what “my neighbors” see on their other side of the fence.

The Other Side Of The Fence

I looked over the fence and what did I see?

A few  piles of junk staring right back at me

two washers and three dryers lined up in a row

If they ever worked, I guess we’ll never know

washing machines

As I peeked through the fence I was so horrified

it looked like a graveyard where someone had died

a few bird cages, an old bike and a barbecue now twisted

all toppled on each other as if they never existed

backyard mess2backyard mess3

I tried to smile and I tried to be nice

and tried not to scream when I saw all the mice

I even waved hello when the neighbors came out

to see what it was that I was  shouting about

backyard mess

I didn’t want to offend them by gawking some more

even though I’d just purchased the house right next door!

backyard

Diane Reed

2013

(Sometimes we don’t always see past our own fences)

Lord help me to not be so fast to judge!

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Luke 6:27 ESV

In The Broken Pieces


praying man in pew with bible

Broken by the world, surprised by their angry words

I stand before you Lord, so tired in this world.

Weary and battered, by those I once called “my friends”

please take these broken pieces I now  hold within my hands…

praying bible

You find me on my knees as I begin to ask

Just how much longer you think that I can last…

praying man at sunset

And then I realize YOU’RE  the one who truly knows

the sting in the world’s curses and it’s flailing blows,

and so  I begin to let go, laying everything at your feet

Falling on my face, I know you see the real me.

Jesus answers prayer

As I realize it’s all just a speck in time

and it’s really about the piece of YOU that I leave behind!!!

Jesus' face in the clouds

Soooo Lord~

Jesus comforting man

Guide me as I talk, let your words be ones I choose

For YOU know today this mountain must be moved.

mountain

As I form the sentences let them come from YOU…

Filled with strength and grace and only what is true.

praying man with hand lifted

As I walk in faith, let me find YOU in every choice

And as I seek your will today, let them hear YOUR voice.

Jesus at a business meeting

Take these broken pieces Lord, for they don’t belong to me!

Remind me that in their “brokeness” YOU have the victory!

mustard seed

Diane Reed

2013

Safe Keeping


boo boo

Like a bruise, my heart has places that…

I don’t want to touch again.

Like paint that never dries

or a story that never ends.

beach book

My mind keeps wandering back

and I get lost in the past,

then you come and wake me up

writer asleep

like pushing forward fast!

Snapping me right out of

the nightmare that kept me sleeping,

a kiss

handing back the heart

you were holding for safe keeping.

young couple making up

Diane Reed

2013

Child Within~


I had to come back to this place

always heard whispering in my ear

Oh Little girl, somehow I knew

I’d still find you here.

reflection black and white

Among the memories waiting

wondering if  I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago

forgotten in my  past.

praying family of hands

I gather you up and hold you close

as we walk through the rooms of our soul

Pieces of you and me once broken,

healing and becoming whole.

little girl in mirror

Looking inside from the child within

I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound

before we  truly begin to heal.

lonely little hop scotch girl

We walk through the lonely places

that once held our yesterdays

oh how I wished I’d protected you

in so many different ways.

contemplating life

And yet I know that through the hurting,

we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered,

in all the times once burned.

bride walking in the waves

In every tear we ever cried,

and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd,

and felt a million miles apart.

crying girl

We learned to hold the truth inside

and somehow we got by,

we built the walls around our heart

and “they” never saw us cry.

couple on the dock

We learned that fighting to survive

was what we had to do,

and so I lost the biggest part of me

the day when I lost you.

hands sillouette

It’s hard to face the ugly truth

and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone,

living with the hurts and lies.

finding diane mirror

You were the child inside of me

and I failed you the most.

In the mistakes I made along the way,

in the different paths I chose~

reflection in mirror black and white

But I’ve come back to find you,

to finally bring you home!

So that together we can learn to live

and never be alone!

finding Diane two

I want to find the kid inside,

and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me,

that I forgot to love in you!

triumphant

And as I pack up all your things,

I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

A Little More


poverty3

Perspective is such a great thing to consider! But it is all relative.
I am blessed. Though we lost a prospering store in 2003, we were  given the “opportunity” to be able to open up a restaurant shortly after that. Well,  That was a joke. Due to a very mismatched partnership (don’t get me started!!!) We lost the last of our nest egg and were like 20 year olds starting all over again from the beginning. We went about getting “REAL” jobs and until last year when my husband was laid off, we were sitting pretty fat and happy without missing much of a beat except that I had to work for someone else which is something I promised myself that I would never do again. Though… I have gone back on my word with myself on many occasions lately so what the heck~

Most recently, my husband has been working with his dad on a project that has been a lifelong one they began many years ago when they used to work together. Since being laid off last year, my husband has stepped on board again and it looks as if things are going to take off for them. It is an amazing environmental  project which basically takes toxic waste or waste in general, ( it can be plastic, wood, tires, you name it) and turns it into bio char for farming or energy, etc.   I BELIVE in what they are doing, and with so much interest in the environment recently, it has gotten a lot of positive recognition. I  know that in God’s timing it will all come together. But in the meantime, we are living on my paycheck and his unemployment. It has defintely been an awakening. This month, we have come to the end of the line. I have managed to pay all of our bills on time, for all of this time. But next month is going to be tricky. We are going to have to start picking and choosing bills to pay.

For the first time in years, since the earthquake, I am living  in a place of genuine faith. God has answered recent prayers about health and other personal things and so I know HE is a God of miracles! I have watched other fellow bloggers live their lives in faith and I know it can be done. But I can’t say that I have always been such a good sport about all of this. It is all relative, but if you don’t have it… money becomes more important. And yet I keep trying to tell myself it is character building. Though all you prayer warriors out there, I would appreciate prayer! And I thank you ahead of time because I know I will blogging about a miracle soon!

So anyway, as I was wallowing in my own problems, I read today’s post from my sweet friend whose blog name is : free penny press:

http://freepennypress.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/live-below-the-line-year-2/

poverty2

Talk about perspective! I thought it was a wonderful reminder that it is not all about me! Feeding ourselves on $1.50 a day…. it made me think! I get so caught up in “needing” always wanting a miracle… and usually getting many. God is good and so generous. He always come through in the end, even when I ask for more.

Oh Lord,I’ve found myself

on a pretty selfish path,

forgetting to be grateful

for everything I have~

praising by ocean

Making my prayer time,

all about me and what I need~

Losing my perspective,

consumed by my own greed~

sad woman3

Today… I want to thank you

for the GRACE you’ve given me!

Not seeing my flaws

that I know you might have seen.

swan

May I be reminded

just what I’m asking for

when I forget and come to You

asking for a little more.

Diane Reed 2013

poverty

Where ever we happen to be, we can make a difference


cartoon

Some days as I walk around I feel scattered. My mother in law, the psychologist (no, seriously, by profession she actually really is one, okay, okay, I know all the jokes coming… how perfect for me… etc.. lol.) and more recently one of my most valued friends… might call it compartmentalizing. But in a way, it is even more than that. Not just in a way of different feelings I am feeling and from what aspects of my life, they are coming from but a little more abstract than those different places where I find love and sadness and hope and joy…

I don’t know, maybe I am finally going crazy but sometimes I feel as if I am just the carrier of my soul. I mean, I get that my heart and liver and brain… and every other important organ come along for the ride… but there have been days that I have been so disconnected from “me” that I have felt like I am air traffic control, looking out as my eyes kind of navigate “me” around as I go on my daily journey.

I am tired. So very tired. And I know that though, this is not true at all, I sometimes, feel that there is not much more to my life than working a job to just pay the bills. Yesterday, I took two cold pills. One had broken, so I took another. So all in all I took two and a half and it knocked me for a loop. I had to leave early, and go to bed. I slept for seven hours I was down for the count.. Though this was not planned, it made me more aware of the way I kind of just check out in my life. (And pleeease, NO lectures, I learned my lesson!)

Today, I feel drugged and wiped out but a little better. Cold-wise.  I am sure I needed the rest. I guess my point is that I miss a lot of the joy when I just let my life go on auto-pilot.  I think that I have been doing that a lot lately. But yesterday, before my self induced drugged coma happened… I learned an amazing thing and almost missed out on it….

There is a young boy that I work with. He has an incredible story. (And by now you know, that I am all about everyone’s “story.”)  He was an orphan from Russia. He is quiet and I guess if I had to describe him in one word, it would be gracious. He is grateful for everything he has and it is humbling to be around somebody who never complains or talks bad about others, who always has a smile and is patient and kind to even the most frustrating customers. And over the months I have grown to know him. I have not found a glitch in the grace he exemplifies. And to make the story even better,  he is by no means spoiled, but lives a privileged live in comparism to where he came from and remembers it all and so he is grateful for everything and his attitutude is refreshing.

I think that the kids I work with truly like me. At least I hope they do.  I know that they don’t forget me. I most likely, am a character in their memory that will remain and hopefully they will smile when they are my age… remembering me. I ask a lot of questions. They know it is because I am a writer and I am genuinely interested and care, so they all have slowly opened up. And I have been blessed by their trust.

This young man has been different. His story is different. The questions I have asked have been much more sensitive. I have been more careful and respectful in waiting and letting him share rather than barging in and asking. And the most amazing friendship has formed. I told him that he has a wonderful story. I never truly knew if he heard me when I said that because he just smiles a lot. I told him that everyone has at least one “book” inside of them but he has something even more valuable in his memories, an amazing story many others would be interested in hearing and that writing it all down might even be a kind of therapy for him.

writing in a notebook

Yesterday, I noticed in my haze,  that he was seriously writing and writing in a notebook during the slower times at work. Finally I had to ask. “What are you writing?” Never dreaming he had even really listened to what I said in our conversations many weeks earlier. Until…. he turned to me and said… “I am taking your advice and writing it all down.” Perhaps it was something he had heard on the news recently about Americans not being allowed to adopt from the Russian Orphanages any longer that prompted him to consider my advice but it made me realize that no matter where I am, I can still make a difference.

“I am taking your advice” Five little words that changed my day. And my outlook on how I view each new one….

Each day is an opportunity  to make a difference where ever God has me… and whatever job I might be doing.

Chapter Eight


I know that I said that I was not going to post another chapter, but I had some special requests so here is one more.

WARNING: You will probably not understand this chapter… if you have not read the seven chapters posted before this one.

I am going to request one thing… please don’t click LIKE unless you actually have read it. I noticed that as soon as I posted this… I got several LIKES right away. There was no way that anyone could have read this THAT fast! Though I appreciate the support. I really do need real feedback. This is my baby and I am truly serious about it. But don’t get me wrong I LOVE those LIKES when they are truly genuine! Click away! Please!

 Thank you so much for all who take the time to actually read the chapters… you have my heart. To the others,  I understand that your time is valuable and appreciate that you follow me and read other parts of my blog!

Happy New Year!

******Chapter Eight******

Both Jack and Keri worked long hours during the week and cherished their weekends. They fit in as much time together as they could. Instead of being tired at the end of the week they both seemed to have renewed energy. They shared one adventure after another, wrapped up in their new young love and Jack loved introducing Keri to so many new things that she had never experienced or even imagined before. It was like a new high for him watching her learn.

Though they never mentioned the bouts of Jack’s rage after they were over, they always hung heavy in the back of Keri’s mind. They continued to sail but she could not deny the tension she felt each time they would leave the dock.  She dreaded finding herself in another similar situation and would make excuses when he suggested that they take the boat out.

sailing lesson

Finally, Keri took it upon herself to be proactive and decided to take lessons. She had seen the signs at King Harbor where they sailed, and so stopped in one day after work to check out the details. She ended up booking  the first few sessions right there on the spot. She paid for them all by herself, figuring that she was making an investment in their future.

She would get up early on the Saturdays that she knew Jack would be working and learned to sail like a pro. She never said a word to Jack as she learned all the terms and how to maneuver the boat in and out of the harbor. He didn’t seem to suspect that she was taking lessons and she never told him about them, because she did not want him to expect too much. Though, he seemed impressed that she was such a “fast learner” and she just smiled and said that he was just a good teacher and he seemed pleased.  And she left it at that.

Jack loved to look at boats and cars. He introduced Keri to them both. They would go to car lots late at night in order to avoid overzealous salesmen and look into the windows of all the latest models.

new car shopping1

Jack would run through different options and all of their statistics as Keri listened, impressed at how much he knew about each model.

boatshow

When boat shows were in the area, he would take her to all of them.  They would spend all day climbing on and off of boat after boat. They both fell in love with one called; The Fiji 41. As they toured the boat, Jack talked about them one day living on a boat like that and almost had her believing that they really would.

sailboat int

Keri knew that Jack was smart, and that he would be successful in whatever he decided to do. She knew without a doubt that someday, he could have whatever he wanted. And if he wanted to live on a boat, they would. Jack loved that Keri believed in his dreams and in him in ways that no one else ever had before and yet he remained suspicious and Keri knew it. She did not know how to break down that last wall of trust but she did not give up.

newspaper

One day, it was a particularly beautiful Saturday afternoon. Jack’s dad was at work which was not unusual, and Jack had finally stopped working weekends. They had spent the morning messing around and then lay sprawled out on the living room floor reading the paper when Jack suggested that they wash their cars. Keri who would have been just as happy messing around all day on the living room floor, had grown restless after reading each article from the front to the back page,  and jumped up laying the folded paper on the coffee table, thinking that getting out in the fresh air was a fine idea.

washing car

As they pulled their cars alongside the building, they took turns hosing each one down, soaping and rinsing playfully, they began throwing sponges at each other, while taking turns with the hose, both spraying the cars and each other. Jack loved that Keri was such a good sport, as he flashed on a time when Maddie stomped off after Jack had playfully gotten her blouse wet. After polishing their cars, they washed Jack’s motorcycle and as they admired their work, Jack suggested that they take a ride. Keri got a pair of cords out of her trunk and ran up to Jack’s apartment to change. She pulled on her pants just as she had promised her mom several months earlier. Soon they were headed towards the ocean, and ended up pulling over to watch some fancy, and very upscale Radio Controlled Sail planes soar over the cliffs of Palos Verdes.

radio control sailplane

Keri laughed at Jack as he stood with his mouth open, she smiled as she watched his eyes twinkle with such joy. His face looked like a little boy with a new puppy on Christmas morning. He grinned back and closed his mouth. “I have always wanted to do that ever since I was a little kid.” He explained standing in awe as he looked up into the sky. “There’s a place not too far from here, in Lake Elsinore where they have the real things.” He told Keri. She remembered him talking about the  Sail Planes he had read about when he was a little boy, in the National Geographic article She understood now, why he had been so impressed. She watched him watching the planes fly overhead,  and couldn’t resist as she walked up behind him. Wrapping her arms around his waist and whispered in his ear. “So what are we waiting for?!” As she gave him a light squeeze. Jack looked at her and then at his watch. His eyes twinkled as she grinned back at him. They dropped off his bike and hopped into his Triumph Spitfire. Driving with the top down and an eight track of Bread playing all the way to Lake Elsinore, Jack explained more about what to expect. Keri had never seen him so excited.

convertable

As they pulled up, they found a mobile home sitting on a dirt field with a few people walking in and out of it while a half of a dozen others wandered around the glider port, looking as if they all had a purpose for being there.. They all seemed very friendly and Keri smiled as they passed a few guys that looked to be familiar with the place and   Jack tipped his chin in greeting as they passed while Keri followed.  Keri thought that they were going to just watch a few take off but before she knew it Jack was paying to go up!

sailplane

Keri watched the plane take off with Jack in it. When he landed, She watched until the plane rolled out to the chalk line and then ran out to greet him.  As they popped open the plexi- glass over the cock pit, she could see Jack’s expression and it was priceless. He was that young broken boy, finally finding some joy.  Keri enjoyed just getting to be a part of his experience. She had never seen him so happy. That was enough for her to make their ride there worth it. But when he announced, “You are next!”  Keri hesitated. She had never been scared of an adventure. She loved roller coasters and all the E ticket rides at Disneyland but she had read the brochure and saw what the prices had been for just going up. But Jack insisted and when she landed she was equally as hooked. “That was so cool!” she exclaimed as Jack came running out to greet her as she climbed out of the plane.

“I just signed us up for lessons.” he announced. Keri was concerned. She had seen the prices for just a ride up. She knew that private lessons had to be much more and assured him that she would be happy waiting for him while he took the lessons. There was no way that they could afford both of them taking lessons at the same time. But Jack insisted. “We are a team, we do this together or not at all!” he said. Keri looked up, “Really, me too?” she asked? “Panicking remembering how hard it was for her dad to teach her things. “Do you really think I could do it?” Jack held her away from him, with his hands on her shoulders and such love in his eyes and said in a serious tone, “Keri, you can do anything you want to do and don’t ever forget that.”

sailplane open cockpit

Soon they were in a contest who could solo first. Every weekend was filled with trips to fly. It was very expensive but Jack always budgeted in both lessons. Keri never actually thought about it but she was happy flying and enjoyed it much more than sailing. Even though Keri had actually taken the initiative, Jack ended up soloing first but Keri did it with less flights. And they laughed about it but she knew how proud of her he truly was when he took home movies as she soloed for the first time. It was such a good feeling to be the one who made him proud or laugh. They had so much fun together and Keri was so in love.

sail plane jantar

Weekends consisted of trips through Corona, and staying at little motels in Riverside while studying for their future Glider license exam. They would joke and quiz each other and fall onto the bed laughing as they climbed all over each other until they got enough and then they’d repeat it all over and over again. Their love was endless. But at times, Keri felt a restlessness in Jack that she could not shake or joke it away. She never knew when to expect the dark moods but slowly she learned how to handle them. Sometimes, she could slip under the covers trying to tease him out of it and try to get him to talk about whatever it was bothering him but other times, he would get irritable and shut down. Keri knew by then, that at those times Jack was less than approachable and so she would let it go. One night after flying and having an especially wonderful day, Jack just turned his back to her without warning.  She began running her hand down his back and he stiffened.

sad couple in bed

She knew not to touch him or push, so she  just turned over. And contemplated everything as  they lay with their backs towards each other. She understood that was all she could do. There had been times before when she had attempted to get him to talk about what was bothering him. Those times had not gone so well.  It was a terribly helpless feeling to not be able to show the one you love how much you love them and that you were different from everyone who had ever come before. She had no idea what had caused the turn in his mood and realized that perhaps she never would. Jack would most like wake up with this behind him, perhaps even apologetic. She had begun to learn the patterns.  Keri lay still as tears slid down her cheek, trying to picture a life filled with nights like these. Finally, she turned over her wet pillow and fell asleep.

Happy Anniversary My Love


I am going on a little anniversary get away with my husband this week. We plan to  go find the boat we were married on and visit good friends. And then  go to my daughter’s first movie premier! She starred in  a little Indie that will be showing along with other Independent films at a Hollywood dinner theater and we are so excited to go and support her.  While all that is planned I have to fit in a “retail” buying trip for the place where I work.

Our trip is our gift to each other and yet I wanted to stop a minute and write a little something on our anniversary here. Excuse me, as I use my blog as a place to store my gift to him. He reads things here when I send them and so I will send this to him on December 4th… The last couple of years have been a little crazy and so the words may only be ones he understands but I thought I’d still share them as I know others here might relate.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I have a lot of memories of times before we met

slowly they’ve been forgotten but some I can’t forget

sad girl

You have been so patient as I’ve  tried to let things go

to share things with you, you never should have known

tears

But I love the way you love me, the way you’ve still held on

I can’t say if it had been reversed, that I wouldn’t have been gone

arguing couple2

You are a better person for loving me the way you do

And I am so very blessed because honey… I love you!

01p055

So… NOW, I want my memories to be the ones that WE have made

and begin to make new ones so that you will be glad you stayed…

img073

Nineteen years ago on that day in December

YOU are the  only one that I want to remember!

img072

Happy Anniversary my love!

The Prodigal Father


Oh Lord make me like the Prodigal Father,

steadfast, forgiving and strong ~

So that even when I have been wounded,

and I feel that I’ve been wronged,

Lord, You will help me to look the other way,

and celebrate the Love within,

that each time someone  says “forgive me”

that’s where I can begin.

Help me not to be like the older brother

Who resents his father’s grace

But Oh Dear Lord let me learn the lesson here,

in the mercy of your embrace.

By

Diane Reed

Finishing the Book


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gift We Almost Missed


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

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

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

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

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

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

And we were okay.

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

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

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

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

Painting Hallways~


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

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

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

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

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

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

WARNING! One big FAT Vent!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And…..

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

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

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

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

― Dalai Lama

The Difference Makers


A child is supposed to feel safe. And yet if that is the case, why are so many adults in therapy?

Some people had wonderful childhoods and were raised with caring and loving parents who taught them right from wrong, others had good parents and comfortable childhoods and their parents made mistakes but did the best they could. And still, others had horrific childhoods and terrible parents and seem perfectly fine. And yet all of these people have one thing in common. An inner child who is still there.

Recently, I have gone through a process of recognizing my inner child. She is the one who doesn’t trust because those who she trusted hurt her. She is the one who was never allowed to talk about her anger and so she learned how to lash out. She is the one who always wanted a voice, and now speaks too loudly sometimes. She is the one who felt so out of control most of her life, so that now she needs to control EVERTYTHING!. She is the one who was disappointed and so only sees the negative in things so she will never be disappointed again.

Ahhh, that feels so negative. It really isn’t. My inner child remembers the great things too. She loves to learn and organize and create and run and laugh and play. She has a special handful of friends that she trusts with her life and would do anything for. She always looks forward to a good time. She is in there too, all of her. Experiences and memories, Lessons and moments, all moving her along like editing a motion picture.

Stop and close your eyes and find your inner child. Who is he or she, really? If we all got a chance to go back and meet each other’s inner children, and really understand where the guy who cut you off on the freeway or the back stabbing, coworker at work first began, perhaps maybe we would have more compassion for all of them.

The little girl who was always worried that her Daddy wouldn’t get home safely because of his drinking, the little boy who felt brushed aside because his mother was too busy getting ready to go out. The kid who always heard fighting and never knew when the next explosion would take place. The little step son who never could do anything right, the kid who always waited for his dad to show up when each time he never did.

Always lonely, always worried, always brushed aside, feeling unimportant, abandoned,  the one who started out not fitting into his own family, always seeking the perfect place where he could feel as if he belonged. The little girl who had to grow up fast because she wasn’t allowed to be the child. Always fixing, always nurturing.  Always performing, and yet she was just a little girl, but today not quite a grown up.

And yet the parents that did come through, the other family members who stepped up to the plate when they were needed most, the friends and mentors, the teachers, the ones who gave them a voice, the protectors and rescuers, of those who were lucky enough to have them, all MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Today, if we look inside of ourselves, we all can find a piece of that child still lingering inside of each of us. Perhaps if we all reached out to just one child we recognized as hurting, and began mentoring instead of criticizing, hugging instead of scolding, teaching instead of berating, sharing with instead of rushing away, we might just break the cycle and begin to lead the way, to find the children and to become the protector, the mentor and the difference maker, in a way helps lead the child inside of them to a place where we all can grow up and be someone else’s hero. Because…. all of those children eventually grow up to remember the difference makers in their own lives and hopefully, someday will grow up to  become somebody else’s hero.