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

Forever Connected That YaYa Sisterhood Kind of Thing…


 (Lynn is the blonde on the left)

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

 

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

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

To Put Me Together Again!


                          


My line of Dumpties  

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men…

I had a huge epiphany yesterday….  the older I get… The faster I recover  from falling down (metaphorically that is.) My body may take a little more time healing, but my heart seems to jump right back up. Once upon a time when something or someone tried to rob me of my joy, I’d dwell on it and let it knock me down and then I’d stay there and wallow in it.

Now, I just brush my shoes off and move on. And it is so freeing to be able to do that. To step back and evaluate the situation and the source and not be held hostage by someone else’s point of view. Over the years I have put so much value on the opinions of others (no matter how ludicrous)  and I have needed everyone’s validation.

Maybe… because I have  hit rock bottom so many times that I’ve learned to start building my foundation from down there. And have begun to finally  leave all the baggage of others behind. I have finally learned that by doing so, I can rise up faster and farther and stronger than I’d ever imagined. To look up from the bottom, get down on my knees and know HE is there with me as I  smile and say “I know that was you God, thank you.”  I don’t need All The King’s Horses and all the King’s men to put me together again because I am not broken! And will no longer allow anyone to tell me differently.

NOW,  I can just let it go. Where I used to beat something into the ground and let what other’s think, hold me hostage from my joy. Now I have learned to give others their space to think what they want but to no longer let it affect me, to know that my value is not someone else’s  perception of who they need me to be, or wish I was, but to remain 100% authentically true to myself .

I’m So Glad I Didn’t Give Up


Things I might say to my future self…

“I am so glad that I didn’t give up!”

I no longer look out a window as I write this. I am inside my brand new cozy art/writing studio that my husband lovingly built for me after we moved here and has since made new, and recently moved me back into.

my-studio

When our daughter was in the third grade we had an opportunity to move and so feeling that raising her in the country might be amazing, we packed up all of our things  and moved four hours away from all of our friends, my son (a biggie) 😦 who opted to stay, and my business and all of my art shows and resources. Though we brought all of the show displays and art stuff, planning to reboot a new customer base, it just wasn’t the same.

show-display

I ended up traveling back and forth to do my shows and for a while it worked. And then we opened up our little shop; Rose In The Woods, which if you follow me, you know our story about losing it. (If not, you can find the story here:) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

But that is not what I wanted to focus on today. It is just that today, I sit here determined to not let anything stop me. To somehow let all of those times when I felt slammed up against a dead end, not discourage me, but to encourage me. Because… I am still here believing in that same dream.

Years ago, when my neighbor took a little painting I’d painted for her as a birthday gift, to her corporate building where she worked, and came back with forty orders for me. I believed that God answered my prayer about finding a way to stay home with my kids and work for myself. Which I was pretty successful doing, for a couple of decades.

Today, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. I have read hundreds of very helpful tips and tutorials and I am still not reaching a very big audience. I realize that this is barely week two since I re-opened my Etsy shop and that my art needs to be updated (which I am in the process of working on) and that today there are so many more talented people out there toting their own wares. Some that were not even born when I began and that those little artists  are way more techie than I am!

But then I have to go back. Back, back, back. To my VERY first art show. It was  THE ONE to get into and there was a waiting list. I started praying that somehow I’d make the cut. I knew it was slim to no chance that I’d get into it that year, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But someone dropped out at the last minute and wahlah! for some reason “I” got in! I was not in the greatest spot and I was outside and it was FREEEZZZING and I only made a few hundred dollars that weekend, but I took the opportunity to walk around and study the booths that were packed with “buying” customers and took notes! The next year at that same show, (I had a better booth inside) I made One Thousand Dollars the first hour! Keeping in mind that this was in the late eighties and that was BIG money at the time. During that year in-between, I’d added dolls to my line and started making a line of actual kid-sized ones. As the show opened, a lady who lived in an amazing near-by neighborhood known for their elaborate Christmas decorations  called “Sleepy Hollow” bought all of my elves that morning.

sleepy-hollow

(Her house won the award that year)

I can’t say that I was THAT successful, every show after that, but it made me realize what I could do with a lot of preparation and understanding the market. Now, I feel as if I am kind of starting at the begining again, and I just need to research like I did for that first show. My kids, my husband and my friends have been great cheerleaders. Though, somehow I need to reach that customer base I was so spoiled having for so many  years . I’ve been wandering through the Etsy shops that have thousands of sales to see what they are doing right, that I am not. I know that I need better photos and to keep educating  and challenging myself technically. (Which is probably my biggest road block.)

I welcome all my reader friends to wander through my shop below & I welcome any feedback as well!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I am not sure what is in my future, but someday I pray that my future self says: “I am so glad I didn’t give up!”

May I never forget that on my best day I still need God just as desperately as I did on my worst day! believe-defined

 

 

 

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!

Letting It Go


frustrated on computer

As I was waiting for my AOL to kick in, I had to restart it twice. Sometimes I just stop it  mid way of signing on because I know it is not going to do what I need it to do. I reboot it and wahlah it pops on! Such is life… Sometimes I feel like AOL. It takes me a few times, but then I finally “GET’ it!

All of my life, I’ve had certain instances where I know that I have missed a life lesson that I was supposed to get, or at least one that wasn’t supposed to take me so long to grasp, it was so obvious. Recently I have experienced being consumed by my own anger in regard to a wrong doing. Though I am not saying that I was wrong about what had happened. I am saying that sometimes I get so stuck in the negative, that I’ve convinced myself that it feels good down there in the muck and the anger.

sad girl on stairs

Forgiveness just feels much better than anger or harboring ill will or a grudge. And true forgiveness does not need a recount of all the wrongs or even a discussion about what happened. All you need to do is let it go!

girl being free

The times that I have wasted being offended or angry about something and the release I have felt after forgiving that same offender has been epic. In fact, I have realized that I have more room in my heart for them, sometimes in a much more profound way than others who have not hurt me. Perhaps, because that new love is a gift straight from God and the lesson He has given us over and over in so many examples in His Word.

It is a lesson that I have mostly fought and yet one that impacts me greatly each time, I let go and allow Him to take over. And it blows me away each time, how truly amazing it is that I can’t just go straight to that place rather than fighting it the whole way. Though I think that I have finally mastered the concept. Putting it into practice is still a work in progress.

My first example that I can remember was a childhood friend of my first husband’s though both are gone from this world now, I let my hate for this man consume me. In the end, (to not get too lost into an entirely different story) he became gravely ill, I ended up giving him a Bible, that I had another friend take to him… she told me that he cried, in a split second, I was over it, visited him the next day and we cried in each other’s arms. He survived that illness.  And a supernatural kind of healing took place that day and we had an amazing friendship after that.

hugging crying man1

Whether it was a misunderstanding with a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, I have come to terms with the fact that the magic is just in “letting go” not retracing the  words or steps that brought you to this place. (I kind of tend to waste a lot of time obsessing on the wrongs.) But regardless of the gossip or the facts that led you to the negative place, whether it is an actual apology or just a genuine hug. The act of letting go is a little like running around and gathering up all the poison and throwing it away before it harms anyone further. It is only wishing the other person well, and really caring about them so much, that where you literally felt hate just a second prior, it is replaced by a magical kind of love. For, it is in that split second act of forgiveness that you will literally experience the quickest “miracle” that you have ever experienced.

triumphant

       Proverbs 10:12 Proverbs 15:1  Proverbs 15:18 Proverbs 19:11                                                            Matthew 18: 21-22 Hebrews 10:17

It Is Well With My Soul


I have written a fictional memoir. It basically happened exactly the way that I described it, but to protect the ones involved who may not wish to be called out, I changed the names to avoid embarassment.

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/the-end/

It is funny, that though that was a time in my life that was pretty dark, I also have some pretty great memories during those very same days. And now, I really can’t say that I would like to change a lot about my life because I am in the midst of this amazing revelation between me and myself. Amost as if I have found a new friend… in me….

I have a new appreciation for the sentence: “I have been blind and now I can see.”

clouds of joy

I have been in such a dark place for so long that it is just nice to really feel the sunshine and smell the rain, to kiss the soft cheek of a baby and laugh really hard. To love the people I love with every cell of my being and to try to understand that this life is not the end and really have the faith that there is something more. And to try to get in touch with the journey.

BeFunky_triumphant.jpg

We all have this vessel that carries our souls around. But those vessel are all just temporary. What is important is the soul inside the vessel. God gives us each a journey all of our own. And lessons to go with it. We may not have a choice of the vessels we are given. But we do have complete control of the soul it contains.

It is not all about the bad times, it is about embracing the joy and the good that comes out of the lessons that have brought us to this place. Life is not ever going to be perfect. No movie nor best selling book will ever have a story that doesn’t have some ups and downs. That’s just how it is. And it is what we do with the downs that help us appreciate the ups. You can stay stuck in the dark or you can seek the light. And everyday we have the exact same choice. And today…

It is well with my soul.

I do hope that you take the time to click here. I promise it will be worth a few minutes of your time.

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

Repairing The Keys


path in the woods

I’ve realized that the paths we take, may not always be the ones we envisioned. They may be charted out for reasons we don’t understand right away. In my journey, I’ve discovered that it is not about the job, nor definitely  the title, and it may not have anything to do with what you feel you bring to the table or what your talents are. You may just have to “be there” because God wants you right where He has you. It has taken me a long time to realize that. And to know the difference. Am I trusting HIM? Or am I just stuck? Even in writing, I catch myself thinking one or two words ahead and am constanly having to back space. It is not even just a mispelled word. I have actually observed that when I back space, it is because I have written words that I am thinking of, ahead of my current thought. And it has caused me to reflect on how I’ve lived my life.

door little girl peeking out black and white

I’ve gone through many doors in my lifetime, and have been PUSHED through a few! Recently that has really been the case for me.

typerwriter keys

It was as if some of the keys on my keyboard were stuck and I couldn’t really finish the story. I’d just typed around the broken keys.  NOW, the keys have all been repaired and I have been freed! I see the path before me and though it wraps around many hills and valleys, I am writing this story! It is not finished! I must stay on the path and continue the journey to the end! Even if it’s not really the one, I would have written into my own story. Sometimes I just need to let God do the editing!

 typewriter keys2

In my lifetime, I have realized it is not about the power of others, it is about the power that you define as yours. I’ve met some very brave people in my lifetime and I have met a few cowards. It has all been a measuring stick for me. WHO I have become and am becoming. Do we ever stop becoming who we were meant to be? I don’t think so. No, I really don’t. You only must believe.

woman leaving

“How can I get there?” Asked Dorothy. “You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic I know of, to keep you from harm.”                      The Wizard of Oz

 

 yellow brick roato Oz

 

The Funny Thing About Doors


doorknob

I am starting a new job in a few days. And though opening new doors gives me hope, I have learned over the years that happiness is not found behind some unknown door or even in closing an old one that has filled me with so much frustration that ANY new one is going to be better than the one I feel like slamming!

I know that “happy” is found inside of me. And in discovering that,  I have learned some valuable lessons that I will take with me. In leaving, I leave friendships that I’ve made over the decade since I’ve been there. And yet, I know it is time to move on, to give myself permission to climb out of this quicksand that has sucked me in for far too long. To understand that it is up to me to make the change, and never again give power to someone else, trusting that they will make it.

And in making that change, I am free! Instead of feeling that I wasted a decade of my life, (though it wouldn’t hurt to have the age I was ten years ago, back!) It is my choice to leave with my convictions in tact. And to understand that I have learned some valuable lessons. So as I close one door and open another, I leave with a wealth of knowledge that I WILL use inside that next door that I walk through.

The funny thing about doors is you have gotta close one before you open the other, or you leave a lot of doors “ajar” in life. I’ve always loved doors. I collect photos of them. They’ve always fascinated me. I imagine the people who’ve walked through them, lived behind them, opened them and slammed them and feel the magic of their power.

SONY DSC

The Funny Thing About Doors…

The funny thing about doors

is…

you must walk through one

before going through another.

And every one you open

leads you to something  to be discovered.

There are grand ones and small ones,

creaky ones and tall ones,

ones you open quietly,

and ones you just want to slam!

Ones that lead you to the light,

and ones…

 well,

to be damned!

But every door I’ve chosen to go through,

has taught me things I had to know.

From them, I’ve taken things with me,

and others I’ve let go.

Each one led me to a place,

to find new parts of me.

But not one of them was the “only” one,

that held the happy key.

Diane Reed

2014©

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


girl at a new door out in field

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

valleys

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

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

And well, if you have true character….

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

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

vineyard

It may take a life time to understand

And yet the two go hand in hand

Poise and honor style and ease

Come in stages if you please.

 

Life has a funny way of teaching

those that merit the toil of reaching

they shine long after their words are but a ghost

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

Diane Reed

 ©2014

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

mountain top

JUST 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©

 

It’s in the discomfort where we learn the MOST


running through the field2

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

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

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

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

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

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

quoteYou-only-live-once

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

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

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

little girl looking out window

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

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

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

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

DADDY & ME

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

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

my portfolio from the seventies

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

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

peaceful forest

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

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

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014

You


 washing cars

You fall into my heart like a catchy tune

on a slow lazy car washing  afternoon.

We fit together more than I realized

you’ve touched my heart like a sweet surprise.

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

You never really had any doubts about us

and believed all we had would be just enough.

Even when  I messed everything  up

you hung in there and wouldn’t give up.

fireplace sofa

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

when we were anything but on solid ground.

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

and have come out even better than before!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

For falling in love and falling for you

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

It took me a while to understand God’s plan

That you are the place He had me  land.

Diane Reed

2014

His Plan


writing just hand view

As I reflect upon this journey that I am on, certain things have been triggered that  I must share. In going back through journals and memories and even in just writing this blog…  I really wish I could have grasped all this  at a much younger age. It might have saved me a lot of pain along the way if I’d “gotten” this stuff much earlier!

But so far I have learned…

That God probably (most likely – oh okay…. He DOES!!! )  has a plan for all of us and a lot of us miss it by being impatient and forging ahead without HIM a lot of the time. Forgetting to bring HIM along on our journey.  Just like the Garden of Eden, when He gave us the gift of life, His plan was perfect. We were the ones that  messed that up and thought we needed more. I mean now how did that work out for us? You’d think that we would have gotten the very first lesson He taught us now wouldn’t you? But we are hard headed. At least I am and slow learners and so we have had to deal with the fall out.

adam and eve

God does not see the sin nor pain that hits us the second we breathe our first breath. He only sees the beauty of our potential and His plan. It is our own nature that feels greedy and angry and wanting more. If only we could keep that plan of His in tact. But we live in a fallen world with sin and pain and grief and there has been only ONE human being who has lived it perfectly and that is Jesus. Though, that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to imitate His life the best that we can. And I think in the end, when all is said and done, that is “The Plan.”

I’ve learned that every day I have the choice to see the glass half full or half empty, to pray and believe in answered prayers or to doubt and give up. I have learned that I can get angry and take my ball and go home or stay and try to be a team player for the sake of the bigger picture. I have learned that not everyone may see my full potential and may pass over me several times in way of promotions or rejection letters, job offers or in my own  personal relationships.  And that I  can consider it all and stay offended and stuck because of it or I can be true to myself and realize that they are the ones losing out and continue to shine and move on. And that God’s plan may be better in the end anyway!

I have learned that not everyone has the same story and to be sensitive to where someone else has comes from, to not judge as quickly but to find out their story and have compassion. I mean didn’t Jesus teach that over and over again? We need to drop those stones and learn the art of loving for once and for all and maybe in the act, we might just learn our own lessons.

I have learned that you have to let things go or you will drive yourself crazy. It takes more energy hating than it ever does just moving on! Whether it is people who  you know or strangers that randomly choose you to cut off in traffic, it just is not worth ruining your day over when they have probably forgotten about their own offense shortly after they did it. I am robbing myself of joy by staying mad.

I have learned that it is better to keep your mouth shut than to gossip or to listen to gossip. When someone is talking about everyone else constantly, I pretty much have to accept the fact that they are also probably talking about me as well. And it just feels better to say nothing, rather than worry about my words being repeated.

I have learned that the bad times make you grow and the good times are the rewards for getting through the bad times. That there is always joy in the morning and that every time I have found myself on my knees, I have received a bigger blessing even amidst the pain. Because God’s voice does not return void.

I have learned that every mistake I have ever made, every wrong choice and even my worst sin, can have a redeeming message that I can learn from. And that God is a God of Second Chances.

And finally, I have learned that the lesson is all about trying to bring God’s plan to life for our lives. When we smile at a random stranger or  love the unlovable, when we forgive an unforgivable wrong, we are finally “getting” it.

Heaven may seem far away but it is actually very close and we can have it in our life daily if we are constantly on our knees remembering to seek His plan first.

praying woman b&w

“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” –Psalm 121:7-8 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

 

Keri’s Journal


suitcasess

Hi Folks!

I am back! I feel as if I have been away on a long trip! Some of you have come along with me and faithfully stuck it out beside me the whole way and I am forever grateful!

For the others reading this…

I am Sorry that I took a powder for a while. I have been working on a project for my book. Some of you may have gone to my page and searched for Dear Journal Entry #1    and then followed as I have written a draft on here. Kindly offering to edit and read as I write. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from you all as you have offered different suggestions and even told me that you have cried in places! Which I know is the highest form of a compliment! A friend and published author http://dgkayewriter.com/  approached me last year with an idea. She suggested that I take some of the journals that I found and recreate them in my book in place of some of the chapters that I’d already written. Soooo I created another blog: http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/

If you are interested after reading “ABOUT”  It is important to know that I started this in November 2013 or to  go to :http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/dear-journal-entry-1/     to begin reading.

I am far from finished but… I’d love to hear your feedback!

There were times that I was signed on under Keri’s name and have wandered around your posts and comments and forgot where I was! I am not done and still have poetry to write on the other blog but for the most part I am back! And will try to get active here again! I have written here and there since I’ve been working on the other project and thank those of you who are still reading “here” but not as much as I would have liked. Anyway…. I Just wanted to explain!

It’s good to be back! I’m gonna go unpack now!

xoxo

Diane

suitcase of memories

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

Road Kill


deer crossing sign

Coming from the city, we have emotional stop your day reactions when we see a dog or cat lying dead on the side of the road. But here in the country it is an everyday occurrence and  almost expected to see what we have callously dubbed  “road kill.” It is not unusual to see a deer or a squirrel or other creature having met their fate via the grill of one car or another.

deer crossing

 

The other day I even saw a wild pig laying lifelessly along the side of my scenic drive to work! I have to admit that I still have not gotten used to it. And it makes me feel a little empty inside as I realize how precious life is and how fast it can get snatched away.

road kill

We may have more sense than to dart out in front of an oncoming car. And it makes me wonder what logic is behind their decision to cross the road right when one is barreling around a corner. But if that didnt’ happen, how would I write about my metaphor of the day? Now I don’t like to liken us to “road kill” but I can relate in a way. I see those headlights “of life” coming and think that they are lighting my way, when in reality they are my sign to proceed with caution. How many times do we go looking for signs to only see the ones that we really want to see and overlook the ones that God gives us as He lays out blazing flares warning us to proceed with caution?

praying bible

Just like an animal darting out into the path of an oncoming car, we sometimes just close our eyes and leap. We don’t look both ways or proceed with caution, we don’t arm ourselves with daily prayer or stop and ask for God’s direction. We get caught up in trying to get our needs met as quickly as possible and in the process miss the message.

In my life, I’ve discovered that patience is a virtue. And what is virtue? It is: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, principles and ethics. In Christianity the seventh highest order of the nine fold celestial hierarchy. Worth waiting for don’t you think? Beats darting across the road blindly and becoming “road kill.”

caution signs God

Oh Lord please take this day

and slow me down to see,

all the ways you try to

communicate with me.

Stop me at the corner

when I am running late,

 slow me down to hear YOU,

when you tell me just to wait.

For I’ve finally begun to see,

that I get in my own way…

After giving it to you,

and then taking back my  day!

Diane Reed

2014©

 

TODAY


I have had it all wrong. All of these years, I have laid back upon my past resting comfortably on it’s memories.  Whether it is  longing for it, or blaming it. I have bought into the theory that you can’t help what haunts you. And yet, you “can” choose to embrace TODAY. I have learned that… Tomorrow is the chain reaction to how we each live our todays. When you finally GET that your life will change from the inside out.

door little girl peeking out black and white

Yesterday I chose to embrace NOW. I enjoyed and appreciated who life put in front of me that second. And you know what? I wasn’t miracuously filled with so called joy, but I was less annoyed and simply happy.   I realize that I have been stuck in a pretty sad place. People actually noticed that I was different and it made me sit up and take notice…. That people actually noticed that I was different, made me realize how they might have been seeing me before.  It is not easy for me to admit that I need to work on places that are so simple and that I have been so stuck, but it is exciting to realize that I have the power to choose how I want to live my life each day.

winnie the pooh's tigger boing

Over the years, I have accumulated layers of sadness that I can’t deny. My heart has been broken a few times, I have been disappointed and dishonored. But those who dishonored me have done nothing more than i have done to myself by denying my own passion. If you’ve only known me for a while, you probably know I am a writer. Each day, I feel that I am getting closer to connecting with the right people and just perhaps, walking the right paths where opportunities will rise up to greet me.

All I know, is that…

You can  blame, or embrace the challenges you face

You can stay in your pain, staying  stuck in “that” place

sad girl brunette

getting lost in  the layers you’ve known through the years

as you collect and are the keeper of all of your tears…

crying girl

Or you can choose to believe that today is God’s gift

and be part of the lesson teaching others how to live

BeFunky_triumphant.jpg

You can rise above all the pain you’ve experienced in your life

as your message sings a song that reaches new heights!

Diane Reed

2013

Like Oxygen


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Do you ever wake up and just have to write? I have found that in the morning especially, writing is like oxygen to me. Perhaps it is because sleeping and dreaming and writing all have some magical connection that is a bit like a fleeting vapor. The memory of a dream or the perfect words you wanted to remember all seem to slip through our fingers upon awakening.  Sometimes remembering what I have dreamt of is such a hazy memory, I wish that I could  capture it in a bottle so that I could have it to refer to later and yet later never comes. And as the day goes by, I often forget what it was that made me feel so intense and usually feel the disappointment of forgetting the whole thing.

This morning I woke up and realized that I get up early for that very reason. To capture the words that dance inside of my head just begging to get out before I forget. So with no interruptions I try to duplicate the messages from my dreams. I have painted a picture or baked a new recipe in much the same way, In the hopes that in sharing my creation, someone else will as I often say…. just “GET IT” and connect with me in a way that is hard to explain. Understanding is such an intimate thing we all share in different ways. A reader’s response to our writing is perhaps much in the same way a chef might feel as he watches and waits for the reaction upon our faces when we taste the first bite of something wonderful that  he just created and in turn,  that small response makes it all worth his efforts.

snow cone cat

(Sorrrrry, I just had to use this picture to make you guys smile!)

I can’t afford to go to a writer’s seminar right now but I know that whenever I find another writer in my own walk of life… someone who is also writing (or has written) a book or blogs…. it is like magic. Our souls just connect and we are bonded. I remember in seventh grade I met another writer who wrote because she just wanted to, no assignments made her write. like me she wrote because she had to. We became friends. We read each each other’s stuff. I am not sure why we didn’t keep in touch. Funny, I haven’t thought of her for a long time. At the risk of sounding redundant, meeting other writers is magical.  It doesn’t happen as often as I would like. I mean if I were a quilter, I could join a quilting club or if I sewed, I could probably run into others who shared my interest at a fabric counter. But writers aren’t as obvious. There is no AA group at the local church for writers. And so I am grateful that I have found you guys and can at least, rub elbows with you cyberly!

Have a great Sunday!

In my love for a wonderful metaphor I dish this one up for all writers and ask you all….

: “Just exactly why do you write?” Use a metaphor to answer if you like!

quote about writing typewriter

The words come like oxygen as she breathes to take them in,

They happen with no warning  for when they’ll begin or end.

She just has to go with it, as they dance upon her screen…

A recipe of words she writes not knowing what they’ll mean.

imagesCAWZP51C rolling pin

So she serves them with the hope that somewhere else on this earth

someone will read what she writes and they’ll somehow see their worth,

like a chef putting the final touches, garnishing his plate,

a writer posts their words and then silently has to wait.

As readers taste her efforts,  taking the time to read,

she prays that somewhere in her words, they’ll find what they might need,

pricking the heart of someone who needs the words she just wrote

as they in turn leave her their own words in a grateful note.

Diane Reed

2013

quote about writing virgina wolfe

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


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

Here is an excerpt from her post today:

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

To read the whole thing… here it is:

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia's smile

A baby smiles and I see a glimpse of heaven.

A flower grows from a crack in the cement.

daisey through cement

A stranger holds the door open…

holding door

Are these messages possibly Heaven sent?

A garden’s fragrance, a butterflies wings

little girl in the garden

A sunrise inside the warmth of dawn

sunrise golden clouds

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

laughing

when you thought you couldn’t go on…

A slice of toast with some special jam

toast and jam

warm socks on a cold morning

warm socks by tea

Ahhh such is the joy in feeling grateful

that appears in my heart without warning.

girl running

Diane Reed

2013

Clicking On Me


I couldn’t sleep the other night and so I went wandering around Facebook and tried to find some of my friends from the past and it made me realize one thing…. We all are old!!!!!  lol.

me viginia slim photo

Older faces staring back

hit me like a heart attack

everyone I used to know

where did you all seem to go?

I click on you and find your name

only your eyes look the same

 I click on photos titled:  “past”

I finally see “YOU” at last!

The one  I remembered then…

 An older version of my friend.

I wander through… browsing at the rest

 I smile and click “Friend Request”

Hoping that you’ll recognize

Who I am now from my eyes

That’s when I realize what you will see

when you find my name and click on “ME”.

Diane Reed

2013

old couple walking

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

Kennedy Moments


kennedy

I remember when I was in first grade and President Kennedy got shot. Our teacher walked into our classroom crying and told us what had happened. It is a memory I will never forget. Hence; “Kennedy Moment” is a caption that those of us who remember that day can understand clearly. Though I sometimes have wondered if the younger population  truly understands exactly where the term came from. Since that day, there have been other iconic moments  such as when the space shuttle exploded or the day 911 came to mean something different to a whole population than it had just the day before. And it has made me reflect on the moments in life that were my own Kennedy Moments.

When someone dies, when a baby is born, a fight, a celebration…we remember those moments in our lives when our own worlds changed forever. The choices we make in the moments we live. What is important. What really is not. We realize those moments as treasures and tragedies. But in embracing it all, as you live… you realize what truly matters and what just doesn’t. The relationships you let slip away, the ones you fight to maintain. It is all a series of lessons.

My daughter and I had the greatest converstaion yesterday about the past, present and future. She capsulized it by saying “The future really never exists except in our minds.” In essence she was sharing with me that our tomorrows are still in our imaginations. The events we plan may or may not ever happen or at least not the way we imagine them to. I am here to say that from the time I was very young. The future in my mind never really happened (in most instances) the way I imagined it back then when it was still just my future. Some of it happened better and some of it rolled out like a run away train that I had no control over but in the end the message here is to embrace today.

I remember the first time someone asked me to marry them, the first time I ever made love, our first fight, our last fight…

I remember breaking up with that person and thinking my life was over.

I remember meeting someone new,  our wedding day… looking out down on my husband to be waiting for me and the feeling I felt as if it were just yesterday.

I remember lying in the hospital after becoming a mom for the first time. The feeling of joy I’d never experienced before, imagining my life as a mom and trying to imagine his future.

I remember all the pain that came after that. Trying to survive being married to someone who probably should never have married anyone.

I remember finding out that I was going to have another baby and wondering if I could love another as much as my son. having my daughter and knowing in an instant that God gives us all the love we need and more.

I remember my husband crying tears of joy when she was born and wondering if she would be the miracle we needed to keep our family together. Imagining all the hopes and dreams I had, still yet to come…when life was still unwritten for us all…

I remember certain “first days of school” for both my kids… and many of their firsts… first steps… first words… why did I want to rush it all?

I remember crying with my first husband as we held each other in front of the paralegal’s office we shared after deciding together to (ammicably)  draw up our own divorce papers as all the dreams we’d once shared seemed to stop dancing through my head in one big fat Kennedy Moment.

I remember meeting my current husband and cautiously beginning to believe in happy endings again… but never really ever again in the same way. And the Kennedy Moment when I finally let go and knew that I loved him.

Today I think that as I look back at all my Kennedy moments…. the deaths and births, the iconic conversations and the forgotten ones… I understand more today than ever before that “TODAY” is all we have. Tomorrow is a gift God will decide if we get or not. So take today, this moment, this second and LIVE IT!!!!

Last night as my daughter and I had our conversation, I learned so much in our sharing and at that moment of inspiration… I realized that if  THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS…. it is awesome!!!!

Falling In Love AGAIN


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

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

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

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

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Finding Diane


Soooo remember that song that I was trying to write the lyrics to? A while back a musician friend of mine, Jim

http://nostolencatpictures.com/2013/03/31/music-theory-0031/

  wrote a melody, indicating that he was inspired by the chapters from my book (Pieces of the circle) that I am writing and shared some chapters here. He titled the piece Finding Diane and basically told me that it might  be therapy for me to come up with the words. HOW long has it taken me?

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/finding-diane/

I think we started in February.  I must say that it has been quite a project. If you have followed me at all… you may have gone to my friend Jim’s archives (above) and listened to the melody. It is epic! I have come up with several lines via original poems that I have posted here separately. I wanted to see how it flowed if I put them all together. So that is what I have done here today.  The cadence is off a bit in a few areas because they were written as separate poems, but it surprised me just how well 3 separate individual attempts seemed to all flow together. I  have left out the pictures which have sort of become my trademark to enhance the words I write. (Though if you want to read them with pictures they are listed all separately in my archives.) Though the poems do sound better separately, it surprised me how they worked together.

Anyway, I don’t expect him to finish our song anytime soon since he is a teacher and has other projects going but he was right. It was therapy and so I title this Finding Diane. If nothing else… the title is coming true!

The song will not require as many lines as are here (way more than he needs) he will need to cut out words here and there and only take the lines that will work… but at least I have given him something to play with for now. I finally feel found!

Well maybe one picture…..

Worship by sunset

I hear a song and my heart flies away,

I want to snatch it back for it’s gone to yesterday.

The melody wraps around my heart,

though in my head I keep playing the part.

No one can know the pain that I feel,

over a fantasy now, that seems unreal.

And so I pretend that nothing is wrong,

as I try to block out the tune in our song.

But the melody lingers as I push replay,

and wander back into my heart still there, in yesterday.

I dance in the flames as I fall into step

trying to miss the places that made you upset.

The memories make me jump higher and higher,

I feel the sting as I dance past the fire.

The tears bring back the pain that I’d put away,

spinning back into the melody of yesterday.

Like a butterfly trapped, still inside its cocoon,

I dance through my mind running from each room.

As I close the door, where you live in my mind,

I find the part of me that I left behind.

Just like a jewelry box dancer trapped in a box

my heart is inside with the key and its lock.

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.

Among the memories waiting, wondering if I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago forgotten in my past.

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.

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.

We walk through the lonely places that once held our yesterdays

Oh how I wished I’d protected you in so many different ways.

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,

in every tear we ever cried, and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd, and felt a million miles apart.

we built the walls around our heart and “they” never saw us cry.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

And so 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

                                                                                                          (Hey and Jim try to look past the punctuation errors! LOL)

Rain Check Please


raincheck

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

easy bake oven

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

creeple people

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

finger map

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

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

jogger

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

funeral

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

sunrise morning beautiful

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

lady yelling cartoon

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

God sees poem

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

coupons

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

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

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

  Psalm 136:1

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

They are precious in HIS sight


glass house

I have written a lot about glass houses. Maybe because I despise those who judge. Perhaps because I just might find myself behind those very same glass walls  from time to time. As a parent, I have had my share of stellar moments and I have had my share of not so stellar times. When I was growing up, I had a pretty decent childhood. I never saw my parents fight. I never heard them talk about finances and never had to worry about their bills.

I did however, know that my dad had “a drinking problems” he had to wine and dine clients in his line of work and my mom made the mistake of unloading her worries on me at a very young age. I am not blaming her. She did not realize that she was rocking my solid childhood to smitherings at the time. She threw me wonderful birthday parties and baked with me, she read stories to me and built me wonderful doll houses. She was defintely where my artistic and creative side comes from and she taught me about Jesus.  My dad was the one who I hung out with on the weekends, if he had a project, I was his wingman, tagging along to the hardware store or the barbershop. He took me school  clothes shopping every year and encouraged my writing.  I remember some amazing talks with both of them. But even though I am a “talker” I never felt that I could talk to my dad about his drinking.

worried little girl

When you are a kid and the one person who is your hero, who makes everything better, could make everything come tumbling down as well, it kind of shakes a kid’s whole being. You feel out of control and yet you really don’t understand any of it while it is happening. Years later, I studied Psychology. I worked in a private Psychiatric department at a hospital in my twenties. I even considered a profession in it. The whole thing fascinates me. I started out working with adolscents and that was about the time when the insurance  companies started screwing around with coverages and adults and geriactrics had better coverage so slowly over the years that I was there, I was moved to the adults.  It really frustrated me because it IS all about where we come from. We need to start with the kids and give them the tools in their adulthood. I know now that as I look back at the damage done in my own young life that I could have used some kind of an explanation why I felt so odd, scrambling to find my own control in my so called perfectly imperfect world. Kids are great in following the lead and pretending that everything is okay when it is not.

fighting

When my kids were young, I tried to never say bad things about their dad or burden them with too much. But I know they heard our fighting. I know I made a whole set of other mistakes and no matter how hard I tried to protect them, their childhood damaged them in someway. We are never going to give our kids the perfect childhood. But we do need to make an effort to protect them. As I look back through my own journey and education. I think that the thing that made me so frustrated with the switch from adolescent and not want to continue with working with adults… is because adults are so darn selfish. We say we put our kids before ourselves but we need to consider them more. What are they hearing? How much do they really know? Are you really protecting them? Or…Are you fooling yourself? How much do your kids know about your problems? Think about it for more than a minute.

I don’t mean to judge. I see my own glass walls perfectly clear and realize I have shared too much with my kids even though I set out to never do that. They are both adults now and I stand at my glass wall and look out at the world that I have created for me and them and think that now that I have some perspective, I want to share my message…. If you are reading this and have young children, I’m not judging you… I am imploring you to stop and really look at what you may be doing. I am trying to help you not make the same mistakes that I have come from…  The whole point of my blog… heck, the whole point of all of our lives…  is to learn from our mistakes.  And I am here to tell you that your children and mine really don’t need nor want to know our every waking thought. And for some reason, I feel the need to share the message TODAY

Please STOP robbing your children of their right to be children.

Jesus loving the children

I mean, I get that we can shelter them to the point of them not being able to handle real problems when it is time for them to go out and live their own lives. But I am not talking about that…  We just need to stop in our tracks when we are going through a moment of crisis and consider who else is in the room… And if your children are nearby…save that break down for another time behind closed doors  and…. for heaven sakes… let them have their childhood!

You Can’t Break What is Already Broken


broken toysDuring an interview with a celebrity who had been involved in the public eye recently. I heard her trying to defend,                                                           no….        explain, her latest relationship. One we all judged when we heard about it. She was married and he was married with kids. It was a horrible scandal and I was right there with the rest of them shaking my head in judgment. Though now, I feel that I have changed my point of view. Not on lying or cheating… but on understanding that sometimes things are unexplainable. The comment was made… “You can’t break what is already broken.” I stopped what I was doing and turned up the volume.

She was not slandering the spouses who were the scorned victims in the center of it all. She just owned the situation for what it was. And somehow I connected with her pain in such a raw place. What is that term, “Guilty with an explanation?” It seems to fit here, and yet, there really is no explanation. Stuff like this is not planned. No one starts out with a plan that is going to surely drag your name through the mud. They just don’t. But sometimes the unexpected creeps up on you like a Mack Truck.

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When we are little and a toy breaks it remains at the bottom of the toy box. Just broken. Not really  very useful, not even worth the bother of being thrown away. I have felt like broken toys at the bottom of the toy box before. Misunderstood and set aside. I don’t like that feeling. I am tired of feeling broken. I am tired of feeling responsible for my brokeness. As if I were being pulled out and held up and  examined. Seeing the look of disappointment on your face as you search for  the missing pieces. Hearing you tell me to “be more careful….” Wanting to scream …  “I’ve always been broken” And…”You can’t break what’s already broken!”

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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!

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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…

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Nineteen years ago on that day in December

YOU are the  only one that I want to remember!

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Happy Anniversary my love!

A thing of Beauty in an unexpected place


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

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

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

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

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

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

Anywaaay…

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Love Template


When I was nine, I wanted to write a novel. When I was twenty, I thought I was ready. I thought I knew it all. Now I am twice the age and I am sure I know even less than I thought I did, over three decades ago. I have always loved the concept of, what I know for sure…. Because the statement alone does not profess expertise of a certain subject, it only explores what I think I know about it as it relates to me.

Take love for instance. If I could go back and rewind my life and insert wisdom in different periods of it, how would I live it differently? What would I tell the younger version of me? Would I have listened? I wonder. How funny it would be if this older version of ourselves could pop in during different crisis in our life and tell us what to do. Would we even listen? I guess, maybe once we realized it was really ourselves, someone who had lived through the messes we got ourselves into and had the wisdom of hind sight, we might, I mean who argues with themselves? Well, cough, choke and sputter. I think I do, every day of my life. I reason with me every day. I berate myself for the insane choices I have made at times and want to ask myself; “Really?” in regard to half the dumb moves I have made over the years and very recently as well.

And yet, I wonder, what have I learned? I question myself all the time. Do I have good advice for myself, let alone anyone else? Do my mistakes and the lessons I have learned from them, hold any value in helping others not make the same mistakes? If I had to say what I really know for sure what would I say?

My advice right this minute is to be true to you. I am not sure that I can truly say that I have done that. But I know that I am working on it. I wish I knew then what I do now. My heart is full as I am filled with regrets. I wish that I would have been stronger and listened to my heart. I am angry now with the adults in my life that pushed their own agendas on me. I understand that they only wanted the best for me. I really do. And yet, it was their version of the best. I was not brave enough then to ask them….”And how is your version of the BEST working out for you?” Because from where I stood… my response would be “not great!” All I know now is listening to them was not being true to me, to what I wanted. It was not just me being young and not wanting to hear what they had to say, it was actually not always the right advice. Just that simple.  Just like today, my kids have to learn for themselves what is right for them. I can’t push my own agenda on them. What might be perfectly right for me, may not be for them. I can share my lessons and hopefully they will have less hard ones by what I share but we all need to learn by our own choices. God gave us that right. It was His idea. We get free choices. Sometimes I wish that He would just tell me what to do but in His wisdom, He gives us all a template, it is our choice how close we stay inside the lines of it.

I  guess it sounds kind of vague when I say that I wasn’t really allowed to love the people I loved, I was pushed and nudged and berated. And I stupidly listened to all the white noise, the voices that criticized me, as my heart was screaming to be heard. All of my life, I have let others tell me what to do. I never really ever relied on where my own heart led me or my gut instincts. I have felt things with my heart and then second guessed myself, asking others what they thought. Now I wonder why did I care so much what others thought, I mean really why? I can’t believe that I put so much weight on everyone else’s opinion but mine.

It started as far back as I can remember. I was told that I should forgive, I was told to look the other way. And then I was told to not forgive, to run as fast as I could, to shut doors, and move on. I fooled myself into thinking that shutting doors was empowering, and giving second chances was forgiving. I put up with things far too long in the name of forgiveness and not wanting to be called a quitter. I stayed in situations that I never should have and yet the time finally came when I was not just hurting me, I was hurting the ones I brought along in my crazy making and I had to save them.

My childhood was filled with uncertainty. I was always worried. I was in such a hurry to grow up so that I could control my own destiny. Mistake number one! Who in this world ever controls their own destiny? And if I was controlling mine, I was sure making a mess of it. And if my template was what I learned growing up, that was mistake #2.

The first time I fell in love, I fell hard. And I think that I have been trying to survive that love ever since. It was intense and new and exciting and terribly, terribly damaging. The abuse that I endured was not so much physical though there was some pushing and shoving and yeah a little more than that, but it was so much more than that. It was so emotionally challenging that I constantly felt as if I were at the bottom trying to reach the surface in order to come up for air.

Everyone had their opinions about that one and I finally succumbed. Between the abuse and people’s well meaning counsel I conceded. We were engaged by that time, so it didn’t mean just a break up, it meant relinquishing a dream we had built together. When it was over, I thought I had died. And I definitely thought that I wouldn’t survive the pain. But when I finally was able to let go, I felt what I thought was empowerment. As I look back, I realize that I was mistaken, what I thought was strength, when the pain seemed to subside, was more like just being numb to it. Now I think it was just part of my heart dying.

Next, there were a handful of guys who I dated, some I remember more than the other, but for the most part, the emotional pull was not there. Maybe I was just not going there again. Falling in love had once been all I ever wanted and now it was something my heart seemed to avoid. Love meant pain I conceded.

Until, I met the boy, a boy who rocked my world, different than all the others. He was quiet and yet, a leader among his friends. He commanded respect without demanding it. He was so different than anyone I had ever known and for some odd reason he loved me back. All his friends were blown away and told me so this boy could have any girl he wanted. Everyone thought he would be the last of the friends to marry. And yet he ended up becoming my husband.  He was tan with broad shoulders and very distinct features. He looked a lot like Michael Landon with a little John Wayne mixed in and he took my breath away for years. But it wasn’t just about looks with him. He was special. He had this wonderful heart that I got to see. He had views and opinions and yet he didn’t push them down your throat. He only offered them if you asked. He was perfect in my eyes and I was thrilled that somehow he had chosen me. He would walk into a room years after we were married and I would feel giddy. I loved him so much.

But what do they say? If you grow up with an alcoholic parent, you are destined to marry an alcoholic. That made me so angry when I heard that because I heard that after I had married him. This wonderful boy had one flaw, his very own pain, not to mention the little gene in his genetic makeup that caused addiction. I couldn’t believe that I had found myself in the very place I had run from. I was worrying about him coming home okay and driving drunk. I was worried about his health and safety, not to mention his job that he had worked so hard to grow in.  And I was the total textbook codependent. An enabler, trying to re-fix what had been wrong in my childhood. This time, I thought I was going to make it work. I think I tried with all my heart until I almost lost it, my heart that is. Finally I realized that I could not save him. But I could save me and I could save my kids and so I did.

Where my dad was not a raging alcoholic, my husband was. I had bitten the head off of the proverbial chocolate bunny and I was in really, really deep. There were a few times that I almost left and my mom talked me out of it. Some of my well meaning friends from church persuaded me to try, guilting me into it by reminding me about all the things I already knew about vows and loyalty and forgiveness. But this time I had my kids to think about. And it was only getting worse. I finally pulled the plug. We had tried before and he was stubborn. He was not budging and so I took my kids and walked away before it was too late. . But I always wondered if it was too late. The guilt I still carry because of my divorce is excruciating. I have read verse after verse in the Bible trying to get some relief at no avail. Intelectually, I realize that God would not have wanted me to stay in the situation that I was in and that all I need to do is put everything at the foot of the cross. I know that and have and do daily, I know, I know once is enough, but I will always second guess myself and wonder “if just perhaps,” I might have left but not been so quick to divorce, if things might have turned out differently. Like they say, hind sight is 20/20. We see things much more clearly after the fact. Yet,  in a way, I don’t. I used to be so sure that leaving was always the right answer. Abandond ship, take no prisoners, sink or swim, every man for himself. And yet with all the tools we have now days, I am not sure that not exausting all the tools is not an option before sealing the deal? It has been a thought I have wondered about since finally relenting and recently going to therapy myself. If nothing else, it has brought up a lot of questions I have begun to ask myself.

I was so in love with my husband and yet year after year, the things I had to deal with helped chip away at that love until it almost went away. I had to wonder if I had ever really been in love or if I had just loved the fantasy. My first husband was a man’s man. His friends came first. I know he loved me but he loved himself more. Years later when he was dying, he asked for me to forgive him. And now, especially after experiencing a good therapist, I have wondered if things had been different, if we had found a Therapist like I have now,  if we could have survived without divorce?

The thing is I was always so concerned about what others thought and yet was so stubborn. It was a crazy making dance I would do. Now I realize that I just wanted their support but not necesarrily their approval.  But at the time, approval seemed so huge. Now I know that it’s not what your mom or your friends or anyone else thinks. It has got to be between you and God. Even though I know I prayed and took it to God or thought I did,  I don’t really think I knew how back then. When my marriage fell apart, it was surreal, I felt as if I was in slow motion. I felt in labor again, the pain was inexplicable. The unfathomable had happened. Like the first break up, though now we owned a house and had kids together. It was so much more than a dream. It was a life, my life, dying. A nightmare except I could never go to sleep to escape.

No one ever taught me to fight. When I was growing up, I lived in this Polly Anna existence. I hardly ever saw my parents even argue and I don’t think they ever did. The handful of things I did manage to see, rocked my world and usually were related to my dad’s drinking but other than that. My mom seemed to just suck it up and take whatever my dad dished out. Don’t get me wrong. My dad was amazing but there was always this underlying piece that just didn’t fit.

I remember thinking as a young girl, I am never going to let anyone treat me like that. I am not sure why I thought that. I mean my dad really loved my mom and she adored him. There was just this perfect little world I lived in that almost teetered on the edge of abuse. Not physically, but in a much more ambiguous sense.

Now fast forward what seems like a thousand years and here I am, still struggling with another man, my wonderful husband who loves me. This time, I had learned, no alcoholics! So I did a one-eighty and found someone almost perfect. He loves the Lord, has never done drugs. He drinks a bit but I have never seen him drunk. In fact, he is always the designated driver for me! He came along when I was drowning. He was God sent, I am sure. He saved us. He loved us. Sure he has his faults but I have to wonder if they seem bigger to me because  of all the ones who came first. When is it his turn? Is my heart so numb that I forgot how to love the right way?

When I realized this it made me think. I know a woman who I prejudged. Not in the worst ways but it is something I don’t like about myself. The ones I usually don’t connect with at first, end up being lifelong friends. I know that about me and so I also know that my first knee jerk reaction toward someone isn’t always right on. After several casual conversations, we finally had a chance to really talk and I learned that she is slowly going blind. I mean at this point in my life, and considering my own weary eyesight, I guess we all are to some degree but she really is. She told me that she has chosen her profession to set herself up to be able to support herself since touch and not sight is the necessary tools she needs in her career choice. But no pun intended; this little piece of information made me see her in quite a different light.

That little ephiphanie has led me to a whole new platform, something I never considered before. Something I am very passionate about now. I think that the key is that everyone has a story. I wonder now if I had stayed with my first love and if we had gotten the necessary help, if it would have been different. I know now that he was dealing with his own childhood nightmares, much different than my own. My heart breaks for him as I have learned his story.  I wonder….what would have changed for us if someone had counseled us? An entirely differnt story might have played out for both of us. I do know that even though  it seemed like hell back in those days, I also look back now, at a lot of those days as “the good old days” and challenge anyone going through their own version of hell to not make such  hasty decisions. Because our first loves mold us in ways that never leave us. And if it is really true love, and really worth the work perhaps if you could get help, in the beginning, just perhaps you could not bring baggage to all the other places you end up that aren’t going to measure up to the good old days. And if nothing else, at least you will be satisfied that you tried. Because believe me, the baggage you bring from each relationship to the next becomes pretty heavy!

When I was struggling therapy used to be a dirty word. Oprah was not a household name and self help books told you to meet your love at the door naked, wrapped in cellophane. But when you were wondering where your husband was at 2 in the morning, that advice was about as helpful as telling me to jump off a bridge which was where I was headed when there was no one walking in the door for me to meet in celophane!

But today we have resources. We have counseling and mentors and churches that have much more to offer than they did when I was grasping at nothing but the white noise that bombarded me with the advice I didn’t ask for. In the end, hind sight is 20/20, you never know whether to really stay or go. I wish there was some life line that we could go to and really get God on the line and ask HIM what He would have us do. And in a way there is, He gives us prayer and the discernment to hear Him and yet it is a hard place to get to when you keep getting in the way of the answers. It takes patience and a listening spirit.

So what have I learned in the last three or so decades about love? I would say without a doubt that the Author of Love is God. Now that I am a parent, I understand the ultimate sacrifice of His love in giving His Son to us because He loved us so much and wanted us to SEE the Light. I mean if I know anything for sure, it is that God’s kind of love is the true template for all the others that come after;

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

What I know for sure is:

Love is patient, it puts up with a heck of a lot in it’s own name. It is kind, plain and simple, it is not mean.  Love does not want to see the other one hurt and avoids it at all costs. It is not jealous.  it is satisfied with just being loved back  It is not all puffed up and boastful, it does not brag and cares more about their loved one than themselves. They are proud of , and gives all the credit to the one receiving our love. They care more about the comfort of their loved one than themselves. Love does not lash out or belittle, it does not want to hurt back when their feelings are hurt and it is not easily offended. Love keeps no record of fights and arguments and wrongs we feel were committed against us. It remembers nothing negative. Love does not rejoice in sin or immortality. It is not malicious or violent. Love is honest and  celebrates the truth and everything about it. It protects and shelters the one they love, watching over and caring for without complaining.  Love puts aside it’s own wants and desires and puts the one they love ahead of themself. Love is loyal and true and can be trusted till the end of time because it never will fail or fall short. True love never gives up, it is forever.

And even though I am constantly working on it, and know that I will never measure up to this beautiful template of love we have been given. I am just happy that Love does not keep any record of my wrongs and the very good news is…. I can keep trying and I will because I am finally getting to know the Holy Spirit Who gives me HOPE to be better and love greater.

So I guess my advice would be to never give up. Sometimes it is not how you are loved but how you love that changes everything.

When A Friend Walks In


I have a co-worker who always says “Good bye my friend” when she or they are leaving. It has always been a very endearing comment and at times, when it has been directed towards me, I have felt very blessed. Not only because I am the receiver of such a comment but because over the years of getting to know the one who has called me “her friend”  I have also grown to know and admire and value the one giving me that title.

Recently, I have evaluated the definition of friend and have realized that if loosely used, it loses a lot of its translation. Over the years I have given many people the benefit of the doubt when calling them my friend and I am sorry to say that I really regret how loosely I have used such an esteemed name for some who were only acquaintances passing through.

A friend is someone you invest two things in, time and love. Some of my friendships have a history attached to them and I used to think that they had card Blanche in receiving a gratis of sorts in the title attached to what would ultimately give them the label of their being a friend in my life. And now I have realized that friendship is not always a “given” if just for the mere sake of being a character chronicled in my life’s story.

A couple of weeks ago, I re connected with a friend from High School. We had been inseparable once upon a time, always together, for most of the years during High School and a few after. I met many key people in my life when I was with her. One of them was a boy I was engaged to and another, my children’s father. We played off of each other. Sometimes she was the voice of reason and other times I was. She actually was more than me but you get the jest of our friendship. We had a great one. Don’t get me wrong, she is still a great person but during our last get together I realized how we are so different. And I am not sure I saw that as clearly back then as when we met that afternoon a few weeks ago.   I saw a side of her I had somehow missed for all those years. And while, I love our memories, I have to give myself permission to move on and not try to pursue a friendship that clearly has outlived it’s time. That may sound harsh but I am on a friendship journey right now and this insight into what is and what never really was, has to be a part of it.

Some people have come in and out of my life quickly and yet as the saying goes… have left footprints on my heart forever, and even in the shortest of times have gained that title as friend. As has the ones who will always have a place in my heart and yet perhaps not in my life and that is okay. There are others who we share time with, make memories with, even good ones, and  grow to love them and then something happens and we realize that it was all a lie. Maybe not all of it, But at the time, we feel like all of it! When we are suddenly hit by the disloyalty and lies that blindside us. It is so unexpected, that we find it hard to trust again. Co workers, who we spend a majority of our time with usually are the ones who we tend to trust more quickly than maybe we should. Some have proven to be diamonds in the rough who have turned into some of the greatest of friends who I am sure will last a lifetime, while others not so much.

So if I call you “Friend” I have sidestepped my past hurts and I truly believe you are who you are. The one I call FriendThey are the ones I would drive four hours to hang out with. The ones who I can share a bottle of champagne with till two in the morning as they just let me cry and talk out my latest heart break. They are the ones who have shopped with me and bought our size five skinny jeans and bikinis and also our not so skinny jeans and cover ups! They have nursed my sick kids back to health when I could not, gone and picked them up when I couldn’t and listened patiently to my writings and encouraged me to write more.

They are the ones who I cry with at the sappy parts in movies and the ones who I share history with that no one else has. They are the ones who love my kids like family and are generous with beyond generous. They will deliver care packages to a sick kid from miles away on a Sunday when I can’t get to them and they will move them as many times as it takes. They are the ones who travel seven hours to see an hour show and make them feel as if they have just walked the red carpet together!  We have spent a lifetime making memories and through it all, I have formed a wonderful friendship template because of them.  I use it to measure all my frienships with.

And even  through the bad times, the times when I have been hurt by the ones I thought were my friends, it is okay, because of the true friends I have, the great ones, the forever ones… the ones who are endlessly loyal and  help me to trust, it is because of them… that I can open my heart for the new ones yet to touch my heart and I trust one more time. Because there is something great that happens when you open up your heart just a pinch and a friend walks in!

Who Is Driving Now?


My last car was a stick shift. My husband predicted that I would be sorry that I got it. But with just a year of payments left on it, I am still loving it. I wanted a sun roof too but that’s okay. I walked past a convertable the other day and my heart skipped a beat. Forget the sunroof! I know what I want next! Smile… and sigh… because I know that is not what I really want. What I really want is my youth back!

I remember once when I was about twenty. My friend’s dad had bought an old refurbished T-bird convertable. He wanted to take me for a spin in his classic car to show it off to me. With a “Kenny Nolan” tape playing in the tape deck we whipped around the hills of Palos Verdes. I remember thinking… he is having an affair. His wife was sick and had not been a wife to him for years. It turned out that I was right. I got some of their furniture out of that divorce for my first little apartment. It was very sad.

I remember thinking how old he was and marvling at the fact that he was listening to songs about new love and feeling that it was all very “creepy” at the time. I look back now and have to laugh. He was younger than I am now and that memory has come back to hit me smack in the face. As I find myself in a legitimate Mid Life Crisis of my own. I am officially grieving my youth.                (I had a 1972 FIAT when I was 18)

Recently I have had the opportunity to go down memory lane with an old friend. And it has felt good. To lose myself in the fantasy of the past and what could have been to help numb the reality of today where all those dreams I had to look forward to were lost like that classic little white T-bird. I play my own love songs now and mourn for something more than just an old love but for the girl I was so many decades ago, driving around the hills of Palos Verdes feeling sorry for the old man in the driver’s seat.