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


 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 http://reminiscepasorobles.blogspot.com/

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

Racks I use to build my santas onHostess Wine toppers

A selection of over two dozen from my 2018 Santa line

 

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

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

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

which is where it all began!

 

 

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

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

The Proverbial Bottom – “Just believe”


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3822

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

PS:

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

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

& then

2. Getting Over It. In abusive relationships

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

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my-studio

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

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

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

Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Lion Never Loses Sleep Over The Opinions Of Sheep


pointing

There are people in our lives that lift us up and others that are constantly Debbie Downers, no matter what their gender. People who gossip about everyone and those that listen. And those that won’t. There are people who light up a room when they walk into it and others that are hard to be around. Just like the people on the road that live their lives in a kind of constant road rage, with their hand always on the horn while they tail and cut everyone off in the process, never seeing their own flaws. And then, there are those other set of people who manage to get to one place to another without seeing the flaw in every driver.

traffic3

I’ve used driving as kind of a metaphor to help get my point across. Do you know someone who always has to be mad at somebody? One friend last week and a new one this week? A coworker, a boss, a landlord, a family member, or just some poor stupid stranger on the road? They obsess and talk about their issue of the week with them and then move on to the next victim. Sometimes the people they hate on have no clue, sometimes unfortunately they do. It is just sad that, that person just can’t relax and live their own life and stop worrying about everyone elses. At least until they get their own lives right.

sad man silloette

Some people can’t stand that you are moving on and constantly want to drag your past into today. Don’t let them. It is your life and your choice what today will bring for you. One of the wisest things I’ve ever heard is…. Just don’t react. When you remain silent, you have the power, because when someone does not know what you are thinking they have nothing to respond to.

breaking up

Recently I’ve been surrounded by the death of some very important people in my life and it has really made me slow down and not react so quickly. In a way in reflecting alone, I’ve been in this place of restoration. Choosing what is important and what is not and who I want to be around and who I don’t. Over the years I have systematically chosen to not be around toxic people, but I’ve always kind of felt guilty about it. Just recently, I have given myself permission to let go because eventually everything connects.

lost love on the beach

I may not be where I want to be this minute. But I am not where I used to be yesterday. Every step is mine to take and the direction I choose to go. I can choose to be miserable when I wake up or I can choose to be strong, the energy used in that choice is the same though the end results can be monumental. Anger destroys, it consumes all your energy and is toxic. People around you will begin to avoid you. The secret is to not focus all your energy on fighting the old but building up the new. Change is like a gift we can give ourselves. Do it now. Because sometimes later becomes never.

cemetery foggy

A Lion never loses sleep over the opinions of sheep. Don’t you love it? I just ran into this quote this morning and it rang so true for me today. We need to stop allowing the opinions of others to rule our day. Especially when we know that it’s coming from twisted anger.

sheep in our backyard

We must remember that the strongest people are not the ones who show their strength in front of us, but who have won battles that we will never know anything about. I am stronger because I’ve been weak, I am fearless because I’ve been afraid and I am wise because I’ve been foolish. I am working on the day when I won’t need validation from anyone but God. That is the day, when the world will fear me. For the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack!

lion-05.jpg (1366×768)

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!

JUST not fine


I heard somewhere, someone talking about that feeling of just wanting the night to be over. In my life, I’ve had those nights, even those seasons, where I’m constantly waiting for that JOY in the morning. The joy that we are promised if we just believe. And sometimes, I wonder did I just miss it?  When I drive by a dead animal at the side of the road. It makes me sad. I wonder, is their family waiting for them, as we just drive over or around them? Do they know that their poor little body is just lying there, for all to see? No respect.  Living in the country, that, unfortunately, is a casualty that is not uncommon. And it always makes me cringe a little as I imagine how they must have been just running across the road, when BAMM, they probably didn’t even know what hit them. Hopefully they didn’t suffer! But it makes me reflect on just how fragile life is and how in the blink of an eye, it can all be carelessly over. Metaphorically speaking. And…  How our lives matter.  And yet, I try to imagine the life of that little creature, now, just a dead carcass and it seems so simple and yet horribly complicated.

Yes,  there are those happy times that take your breath away, where you just want to take a picture and slow everything down and capture that moment in a time capsule, to be able to bring it out and experience it all over again whenever you like. “Those Kennedy Moments.” That make life worth it. Even the pain.

I am not sure where this poem even came from or even how it relates. But I am tired of always having to be fine when someone asks me HOW I AM? The right answer is “Fine.”  No one wants to know if you really aren’t fine. They look uncomfortable if you start to tell them otherwise. Well, maybe I’m not fine.

All I know is, that I am constantly fighting that feeling a baby feels as she tries to catch her breath after a long cry. That catch in her sigh that catches as if she is remembering and forgetting all in the same second what made her so sad. As adults, we learn to filter and guard and hide our pain. But sometimes, I feel as if my breath is catching and I am feeling it all in that one second.

And then I hear a song or hear a message with God in it. And I realize that it is all about the moments. The ones with Joy and the ones where I guess I miss the Joy. The ones that really suck. When life hits me upside the head and I am so overwhelmed with the pain of it all. When those I trusted betray me, when I am unsure of everything and the breaths I breathe shudder with pain? What happens when I am just not fine?

candle flame

In the subtle whisper of a cry                   

In the flicker of a candle’s light                

Within a well-rehearsed goodbye                       

Waiting for the ending of the night        

mirror renass

 

Like a mirror that’s been uncovered

Like eyes closed that now can see 

Like a flame that once was smothered

Like a light just my heart can see.

Hands in heaven

 

 No longer do I bend in fury

No longer do I shake with fear

No longer do I rush and scurry

Just because, you might be near

triumphant

I’ve  found strength in recognizing

That you are more frightened than I am

I am saved in the breaking and refining

 SAVED now, just exactly how I am.

By

Diane Reed

2014©

 

Through The Papered Windows


paper over windows

When we were in the process of  opening up our store Rose In The Woods This nice man with kind eyes started stopping in pretty regularly just to chat. He began showing up even when there was still paper on the windows and we were still setting up. I remember him peeking in one day, he seemed so interested so I invited him in.

peeking through windows

Even though it was pretty much more of a female type store, he said he was sure his wife would love it. I remember him being one of our first customers, buying his wife some little mice figurines.

store

When he was getting his wallet out he mentioned his hands. I don’t think that at that point, that I would have ever noticed them, if he hadn’t pointed them out but he shared that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease a few years earlier. He also shared how his wife Michele, was  helping to counteract it’s onset by being pro-active with her own research in nutrition and vitamins along with their strong faith in God. We began talking about where he attended church and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind going where he went.

micheld and chris

He told me that his name was Chris Pickens and I couldn’t explain it then, but as I look back now, I know he was planting seeds. There was just something different about him. It was as if I’d gone to church and been refreshed each time he visited. He would share a little something more about his life and his walk with God everytime we met and I was hooked without even realizing it.  Once my husband had been behind the counter at his desk working while I’d been talking. I knew he was trying to get a print order out but I was annoyed that he had not gotten up to meet Chris.

frustrated man behind desk

knew he’d like him.  And later told him that next time I wanted him to get up to meet him when he came in if he happened to be sitting at his desk. I also mentioned that if we ever went to church again, I wouldn’t mind going to his. Which I think perked up my husband’s interest because at that point in my life,  he was definitely more interested in finding a church than I was, because I was so busy getting the gift side of the store set up. But Chris told me that they had a great youth group at his church and since we both benefited from youth groups growing up, we wanted our daughter to experience it.

I’d met my husband at his church when a friend of mine invited me and my kids to hers when I was going through a divorce. But when we’d moved to our town where we currently lived, we just never got around to finding one. But we’d recently talked about wanting to find a good youth group for our daughter who’d just gone into Junior High. So the next time he came in, I encouraged my husband to get up and  meet Chris. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to meet him, it just had never been a good time. They hit it off right away. Just as I thought that they would! And that next Sunday, we all showed up for church and it turned out to be the one that my parents had sent my daughter and her cousin to snow camp from the year before, so she knew some people and felt right at home.

A few weeks later, we were invited to a friend’s 40th  surprise birthday party who we’d met at that church and we sat at Chris and Michele’s table and never looked back! We became fast friends. And Chris and my husband became the best of friends and so did Michele and I. They are those kind of friends that you feel you have known forever  and through them we met Art and Pam! Two more best of the best! The guys went to Promise Keepers weekends together several times over the years and served together  as leaders of the church. Until Michele and Chris moved to Southern California to be closer to family and medical facilities for Chris’s condition and Pam and Art later followed to help care for Chris, I was spoiled by being able to just pick up the phone and know that we could get together on a whim. I have a joke about the friends that I especially let into my heart… they eventually always move away! But I understand. And I am in awe of the friendship that the four of them have and that is why they are all my friends too.

art and pam

And  as I look back at our friendship and how it evolved, it amazes me… that we still question and prod God… begging Him to do this and that… not realizng that HE really DOES have it all planned out… all of these Divine appointments… if like Chris… we just listen and look through those paper windows when HE tells us to!!!!

lighthouse

 

Now I know that his life is just naturally Chris’s own mission field. He is like a lighthouse in this world. Regardless of his own storms he has always faithfully served His Lord!  Some of us may choose to go to third world countries, some may do it from the pulpit and some may do it one seed at a time…touching lives as we go! That goes for all four of my friends that I mentioned here! They have all been on their own mission fields! I love you guys and MISS YOU!

jim art and chris

Good Friends!!!!! (Because one listening heart kept peeking through those papered windows!)

 wizard of oz heart quote

*SIDE NOTE:

Please pray for my friends… for Chris and his healing for Michele and her strength and for Pam and Art as they support Chris and Michele and now for Pam as she has recently learned that cancer has returned yet again. We know God is a God of miracles and that He has answered our prayers before! Please join us as we pray for this wonderful couple. I am a firm believer in this verse:

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20 RSV)

Thank you!

 

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

Sowing Weeds


Sowing Seeds

I laugh in the face of  your anguish.

My revenge is in your unrest.

sad man silloette

You came back to claim my innocence,

your anger, my  last test.

siloette of couple fighting

You cried for my forgiveness

as you tried to steal my soul,

sad guy under tree

cleverly claiming ignorance

as you continued to dig the hole.

Planting seeds beneath the surface,

as they grew to strangle me.

sad woman

You told me you were planting beauty,

when you were only sowing weeds.

dandilions

Diane Reed

2013©

Once again… I want to say that this is just for my book! I need poems that go with the stories I am writing. This is NOTHING to do with now… so no worries!

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

No where in-between


As I write my story. I feel many emotions. And the words just flood out of me. They don’t really represent any place that I am now. But they will always represent a place that I will always be. This one is for me when I was just turning twenty and over three decades later…

walking on glass

Like stepping  on glass, I test before I stand

but you jump right in not caring where you land

glass jumping

It’s all or nothing where ever you are concerned

I begin to wonder …. if I’ll ever learn

sad couple

I need to test the waters, before I jump back in

Just so you know…. I won’t go back to that place again

sad image of girl crying

That place where I left “me” behind

That place where you could seek but not find

more doors

I’ve found my footing and am on solid ground

I’ve been lost and now I’m found

Tara

I’m not sure if you’ll ever GET what I mean

but I’ll never again be stuck in your in-betweens.

Diane Reed

2013

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

Transitions


She wakes up to the scent of aftershave

and soft lips beneath a scruffy kiss,

knowing he’ll be gone for a week or so

she steals one more, sure they’ll soon be missed.

kissing illustration

She wanders around the empty rooms

as she put the coffee pot on

memories flood her heart

as she watches the sun slip through the dawn

woman drinking coffee

Nonchalantly she passes a mirror

as she brushes back a wisp of hair…

She shakes her head not recognizing

 the reflection of the woman  there.

older mirror reflection

“How did time slip by so fast?”

She asks the woman inside the glass…

It seems as if in the blink of an eye

the last few years have passed…

reflection in mirror black and white

She sighs as she stops to take the image in

and then quickly looks away

as she brushes another wisp of hair

that has suddenly gone astray.

Diane Reed

2013

Our Heroes


We don’t know why bad things happen,

our hearts can’t begin to touch the pain.

Some things seem just so senseless,

as we are left with nothing but disdain.

earthquake fireworkers

And yet we find the heroes

in the darkest times of trouble,

they seem to rise above the rest

amidst the broken rubble.

Boston heros

They make us believe in good again,

they make us want to fight!

Through the blackest part of dark,

they  help us see the light.

prayer boston candle little girl

Here’s to all those souls

that run into unknown danger,

those ones we now call heroes

who once to us were strangers.

pray for Boston

Diane Reed

2013

After 911 I was positive that the blast I heard outside of our little store in 2003, was a bomb. In fact, I had no doubt. At the time, we were in the midst of all the Terrorist scares and it never occurred to me that it was anything else. Though it happened to be an earthquake that rocked our little town and destroyed our building, killing two women as they ran out of the store next to ours. They were found between our car (that my daughter had asked to wait in) and another. I will forever be grateful that my daughter decided to come inside that day and help me open. (But that is another story that you can find on my ABOUT page here on my post.) The thing that I want to touch on today is not the tragedies themselves, man-made or natural disasters, but the heroes that rise from them. When I finally got out of my store after the earthquake and had been reunited with my family, I ran over to my car where strangers were pulling bricks off of it and cried out to them, “Oh thank you so much but there is no one in that car!” That memory still brings grateful tears as I thank God for all the choices that were made that day that saved my daughter.

The thing that I remember most about that day, is how all of the strangers band together. Neighboring merchants became family as did the customers that had been there. Years later, there still is an unspoken bond that seems hard to break. I will never forget all the bonding that went on in our local park that day, as we waited for instructions for what would come next.  But even more, are those heroes that ran into the dust trying to save the trapped and hurt. Funny how character really seems to kick in during those horrific times.

I write this for  all the unsung heroes that may never know the ones they saved the day their hearts just kicked into gear. I am grateful that those men pulling bricks off of my car didn’t save my daughter that day because she was not in it. But God forbid, they may have… and I know that their hearts were out to save anybody in need that day.

I saw “that” same kind of courage in the Boston clips. The ones running towards danger… the ones putting their lives on the line for total strangers!

I think one of the most moving statements that I have read so far has come from comedian Patton Oswalt’s Facebook page. He is typically known for his sardonic, witty posts about current events, but I think he said it better than anyone else here :

 “I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity,   “But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopath. But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out … So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good out number you, and we always will.”                Patton Oswalt

Bottom line is that GOOD outweighs evil. Always!

angels protecting fighthing