Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

It’s been a while since I opened up my blog page. I’ve missed writing here and checking in with you guys. Though I have been writing. I kind of got a new spark and have slowly been re-editing my book. I’ve lost count which time this would be. But I feel good about it. And now I am grateful that I didn’t try to publish it with all of the things that I have since changed and continue to rewrite still in it! As for the rest of the time, I’ve been getting ready for shows and restocking a little cozy booth I have at a store in town, called Reminisce. And working 12 hours a day doing it!  NOW that I am seriously attempting to make this what I want to do until I die!

Once upon a time, when someone asked me what I did, I would say that I was an Artist. And I was and always have been. In my heart. If you know my story, I worked as an Artist for over a dozen years and then moved to a small town in Paso Robles and opened up a little gift shop called Rose In The Woods which was supposed to mean “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.” It was a favorite of the locals and tourists and was doing extremely well for a few years until an earthquake demolished it. (You can find the rest of the story in the ABOUT section of my blog. https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/) But that is not what I want to talk about now, I just wanted to explain why for a while my  title was not “Artist” but Event Coordinator. And that was great. I learned a lot and had an amazing boss that has turned into a “forever friend.” But in my heart I always knew that there were more cards and dolls inside of me.

My husband built me a cozy little Art studio in our garage and created displays for me and has driven back and forth following me to Southern Californ to help me set up. And I do an amazing show that is still going strong called Sugarplum Festivals in Buena Park. I started doing that show almost 30 years ago and it is one of the largest family owned Arts & Crafts Show in California. With over 12 cash registers and a few hundred Artists, they have built an empire! The last show, A February show (mind you!) had customers wrapped around the building waiting to get in! They know how to Market their shows! They welcomed me back with open arms when I first approached them about trying a few shows again and each show I am learning new things. I think I could write a book on the dos and don’ts of doing shows.

But for now, I just kind of wanted to share a little of where I’ve been when not blogging!

 

My cozy little booth at Reminise in the heart of downtown in Paso Robles CcA. And when I’m not there, I am traveling to Sugarplum in Southern CA….

When you are traveling to do shows and have to be there by 9AM there are some perks to the challenge of getting up early to drive the four + hours to be there on time. That’s actually my sweet husband ahead of me, loaded up with half of my stuff.

This is what my booth looks like before I set up. I used to do this with no help at all. I’ve gotten so spoiled lately. Though I am trying to start doing it on my own again, just to see if I can since my sweet husband may be busier in the near future!

This was all set up

This was towards the end of the show! Blessed to take a lot less home! Gotta love me some of that Sugarplum!

My new line for 2019… My Antique Dolls and  if you notice my Shower Doll… Funny story, I was stuffing her and the stuffing got stuck in the middle and so I just went with it! So my new pregnant Shower girls are part of my line for this year!

Some of my cards out of my line… with a brand new line being introduced this year!

Thank you for taking the jouney with me. I am excited to see what this year holds for me! I am  definitely not ready to give up. I am praying that this year brings me enough success so that I can say that “I make a living” doing it!

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

I just lost my mom almost two years ago. She was a children’s artist during my whole childhood. I’d like to think that I am continuing her legacy!

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

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Just CRAZY or just really, really Blessed?


How do you explain passion? There are days when  I need to create, and nights when I just have to get up to write something. Like a pilot that has to fly, a surfer that has to surf, a teacher that has to teach or whatever your passion happens to be. It calls to you. At a young age, I knew that I wanted to write. I had it all planned out. I’d write children’s books and they would know my name and look me up in the library and check out my books. I may have missed my mark since now librarys are being replaced by the likes of Amazon. But I did recently check out our local library and it felt so comfortable there. I loved it. Now I write the messages in my cards and if I am lucky to have a few free minutes, I try to write my blog. And from time to time re-visit my book that I keep promising myself that I will finish. And so I sit pondering this passion of mine. I feel blessed. I’ve just returned from another Sugarplum. The craft festival that I did back in my 30s for ten years. And once again travel about four hours to do, about 7 times a year.

I love every single bit of it. Their summer show (the one I just returned from) has turned into one that is quite different from all the rest. It is not “just” the regular Artsy stuff, but also where antiques and vintage, shabby chic and lots and lots of  sales are showcased. It is called Remnants and that is what it is…. a little of this, and that, crafting tools and supplies, material and just exactly what they have named it; “remnants” accumulated by the original vendors to share with the customers that flock to the tune of thousands of shoppers looking for a deal. The first day was so crazy! But because it is a one of a kind sale, dealers as well show up first. I am sure I gave a lot away for a steal of a deal because I am still learning and researching this kind of thing. But this show gave me a new found respect for the collectors of yesterday. It is definitely an education. Between my mother in law’s collections and the odds and ends of my daughter’s mismatched china business I was able to participate in this show and it blew me away how well I did. I’d sold a rack that I was going to use before the show even started so I had to scramble to make my booth look halfway decent (to explain the baskets on the floor!) But people managed to clean me out and make room for me to keep stocking the shelves.

This show was fun, but I am ready to begin creating again and showcasing new art for the upcoming holiday shows again. The thing that I have noticed over the last year of re-entering this world and doing these shows again is, how far they have come, how fast the lines moved and how this once little show has grown into something so magical it is hard to explain. Customers never really GET what is involved in every booth, I remember doing a Sugarplum in the 80s with maybe 50 artists. The check-out station was just a long table with about 5 people checking out everyone. Today they have about 14 cash registers, and 4+ times the amount of artists and vendors. They really have fine-tuned this little show into something so GRAND and  I have to wonder if the customers have any inkling of all the hard work that goes into hosting these events?

I really am talking about what goes on behind the scenes of the magic makers of Sugarplum. But also wanted to share some pictures of  the process of being a participant in that magic. Just in my own set up. As my sweet husband packs me up and follows me down there and returns to pack me back up, to spending a week down there, working my shifts and fluffing my booth. It is a lot of work and as I pass the other vendors setting up and tearing down, we smile at each other and nod, wondering if we are all just crazy or no…. just really, really blessed, doing exactly what we want to do! In my case I feel that I am on my way back to doing what I love.

It’s Friday AGAIN????


Today is Friday and it seems as if just yesterday was Friday. I remember when I was around 18 and flew to my best friend’s house to go to her dad’s 50th surprise party. I remember feeling that 50 was pretty old. Now, I’m a decade older than 50 & am in a little panic. When I was a kid all of the Fridays seemed as if they took “forever” to get there. And now in the blink of an eye it is Friday AGAIN! I think that the older I get, the more I feel as if though the days and weeks and years are wooshing by me, the things that I wanted to accomplish are not. Almost two years ago, I began my journey back into my art business and though I am in the thick of it now and I have gotten a lot of my ducks in a row, I think I expected more happening by now. My daughter kind of accidentally started her mismatched china business a little over two years ago and she could definitely support herself by now. What is the difference? The thing is, I think now days the youth have mastered the art of marketing through social media, which I feel I may be a bit challenged in. She has gotten into photo shoots and Event Magazines that list her company fernandbone.com regularly. She is constantly booking events and works hard doing it. When she had her hand-made shop on Etsy, she was far surpassing me in sales and charging much more and getting it!  Though my shop had been opened longer. It is funny, when your kids are a success, you are so proud and not the very least bit jealous but at the same time, it makes me wonder what I could be doing differently by learning from her?

fernandbone.com an early glimpse of Brooke’s mismatched china business at her own wedding!

My cousin was in Marketing for most of her career and so successful that she created her own little niche in the business world, specializing in demographic research and ended up with Alaska as one of her biggest accounts! So I know that it is possible to just learn a new thing and figure it out. But I wonder if my time has come and gone? Once upon a time, I had a huge customer base, was taking orders and  was the one supporting myself. Though my husband at the time, had a very good job, I was definitely supplementing our income and for a while, I had reps and a following that I’m not sure I appreciated as much back then as I should have. Now that I am back trying to revive my art business, a few of my best customers from back in the day,  have encouraged me and been very inspiring. But the trick is zeroing in on today’s market. What are people looking for? I mean the last shows I did regularly were before this century, right before we opened our store in 2000.

Lets face it. I was spoiled by my success. It all just fell into my lap once upon a time when my friend took a painting that I painted as a gift for her to her work just to show a friend, I’d painted one of her kids in a tub,  and she came back with 40 orders for me! I have to wonder, did I rock the boat by not sticking with it? I mean the message was pretty clear with that first order. I was talking to a friend yesterday who reminded me that when things happen so easily we need to be more aware!  Though opening that little store made me have to put things on hold, it was very successful  for just the first year, which is usually unheard of.  Though an earthquake shut down our little store. Was that just a fluke or…  Am I not descearning the messages correctly? Should I have revived my art business back then instead of going to work for someone else? Is it too late? My dream has always been to write my poetry and reach people and make them smile with my art. I don’t necesarrily love working for someone else.  I love what I do. I want to succeed. Though, I know that doing shows, having a little corner in a consignment shop and selling on Etsy is not paying the bills like I thought it would…. and that the Fridays are all landing in my lap way too fast. I know I just need to figure it out. Though I realize that it is not officially a Bible verse in the Bible, I do believe that God helps those that help themselves. And yet I am not sure how much harder I can work. Some nights I don’t close up my studio doors until well after 10 PM at night after a day of creating. And yet I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. Pray for me please.

Some of my designs both old and new… DianesDesignsbyDiane on Etsy

 

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my-studio

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

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

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

Looking Forward


plane in clouds

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

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

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

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

blue house

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Or did you just know?


book shelves in library

What comes first, the reader or the writer? For me, first being read to, and then reading, inspired me to write. It made me think at a very young age,” I can do that.” Or perhaps, I want to do that. I know others do it better. And yet, when we do something well, we just know. A dancer, a singer, a baseball player or an actor. We may have encouragement from parents or teachers and adults prompting us to hone our craft. But it is something more, there is just something inside of each of us when we have found that one thing we want to improve on without anyone telling us to.

It is funny, I remember in about second and third grade, grasping the concept of writing and my favorite authors that inspired me to want to do it too. Roland Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Ray Bradbury and C.S. Lewis, just to name a few.  I know that as an adult, I now have my accrual of favorites and I know that they are both similar and different than my style and that I am always aiming for improving and use them as a sort of an archetype. A model of sorts to sharpen my own skills by their style of writing and their formulas.

When I knew that I could write poetry, or could write verses and rhyme sentences, I studied the greats and it wasn’t as black and white as a certain genre such as Fiction or non-fiction. Poetry is an entirely different concept. I have always loved T.S. Elliot and Of course, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who intrigued me when I’d heard she was an ancestor. Whether or not, I ever have proof of that, just learning that, I think helped to inspire me and for me to feel as if talent might be inherited and hopefully a few blood cells found their way into my bloodline!

Every once and a while don’t you just stop and wonder, why am I doing this? Why can’t I not do this? When did I ever come up with this concept that I might have something worthy of sharing? Do you remember when you first had the notion? Was it some encouraging word from someone else, or did you just know?

Most of my poetry is very Hallmark-ish I always loved Hellen Steiner Rice and I think I tend to count cadence and beats and rhyme accordingly. I am trying not to rhyme. To  dig deep and attempt new things.

Below is a brand new style for me. Not sure I am there yet… It is dark, always dark lately. And very random, no cadence, no formula. I will write a happier one tomorrow! It’s so hard not to rhyme!!!! Not good at not doing that yet! (this is just what came out of me this morning…  I think sometimes, whatever rises up is what needs to be shared… maybe for someone else somewhere…)

On The Brim

cliff girl looking down

as I smell the storm passing

trying to escape where I’ve been

the rain fights with the fog

the storm wins

broken glass eye

it’s hard to see

behind the pain

barely holding on

as it rains

the clutter in my head

crashes in

pieces of glass stare back at me

broken glass3

shattered on the floor

as each finger lets go.

cliff stepping off

Diane Reed

2016

Why do we write?


I just watched a video of a Chiropractor healing a young man who was bent over for a very long time. In less than a month of treatments, he stood tall as he walked out the door with plans of becoming a Chiropractor, himself. It was so inspirational, it almost made me want to become one!

http://www.newslinq.com/back-pain-kyphosis/

In a way, I think that we write to heal.

Most of us who are writers, remember when we knew we “had to” write. Like those who sing or dance, paint or act. It is so hard to explain. Right? Even when we don’t do what we are supposed to do, we still really are who we are. Does that make any sense at all?!  If a dancer stops dancing, she is still a dancer. I know that as an artist, I am still an artist. I could still draw a new illustration for one of my greeting cards or make a doll and at times I miss the art shows and the long nights getting ready for the next one, or packing up my car to head for a holiday show, But from the begining, I really feel that if I had to choose, I was always meant to be a writer.

During my art show years, I wrote poems for my cards, I could probably publish a few volumes of what I’ve written. I’m talking hundreds. Some not great, some not so bad. But writing here at WordPress, the last few years has really made me want to write more. Though I go through spells. Really dry spells. Recently writing my story, really did me in. Going back in time, affected me more than I knew. Literally, mood changing, and it was hard for me to snap out of it. But it was also very healing. I know I have a message for women. If just one sees herself in my story and takes back her power, it will be worth it.

writer frustrated

I have realized that I need to go back and adjust parts, tear out others and be more brutally honest. I am glad that somewhere inside myself, I knew that it wasn’t good enough. Fictionally introduced to spare those that might not want “their” story told, I intend to pull out some of those muscles that have become mushy and push on, like an old dancer, who knows that they have not danced their last dance, and still have a few more great performances left.

ballerina sitting on floor

The age old question.  Does everyone have something? Why do some live their whole lives without ever sharing it or letting us know their gift? Why do those of us “have to” do what we do? And why do we sometimes stop? I think it is exhausting at times. To share daily, is like going to the gym, you have to be dedicated.

It is more about exercising our words. It heals us as we write. More often, I have been going back into my archives and having my own AHA moment when I need it the most. Pricking my own soul with a message I wrote years ago. And realize that I really am writing for myself. Trying to reach my center, not really being the expert for anyone else but me.

library shelves

Blogging is a funny thing.  There will be the handful that LIKE this before I can even re-read it myself. The ones who support you just to be nice… And then I have my two or three dozen very loyal readers, who really read because that is what they do. (I love you guys!) And then there are the writers who I have bonded with who read pretty regularly, even if I have been missing for a while, every so often, if I don’t write, I get comments from people reading random old posts of mine, which is amazingly inspiring. And then there are the writers, that support you as you support them. If you don’t work it, you lose them. Like anything, ya gotta work it to stay in shape! Lets just say, like my wedding diet (mother of the bride in June) I am back! Well, I am trying!

ballet

 

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

 

TWO WEEKS NOTICE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

broken glass

 

Brand New Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Reed

2014

 

mirror on floor

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©

After That…. She was HOOKED


woman writing at keyboard

She originally started her blog to write the outline of her book. At first, she wasn’t going to share it. She was just going to use it as a place to store the rough draft and some of her ideas.

library shelves

 

Not being too technically inclined or really knowing how to set up blogs or sites, it took her the best part of a morning but she finally created what she thought, was a private place where she would be the only reader. Though she still “tagged” each new post as she was prompted to, and for a while, she would just write and publish what she’d written, never imagining anyone else was ever reading it. Until one day she got a LIKE and then the next day another, and still the next day two more.

like thumb She thought to herself that she needed to go back into the part of the blog where she set up her profile and make it private because she wasn’t sure she wanted anyone reading such rough and raw ramblings she’d started compiling there. But each time that she’d sign on, she’d be so excited about some new thought she wanted to get down before she lost it, that she kept forgetting about going into the technical side of things to fix the settings.

wordpress wrench

 

And then one day she published a poem and got eleven LIKES and four people who’d actually clicked FOLLOW and a few comments. One reader told her that it had made her cry and thanked her for writing it. After that, she was hooked.

blog readers

Hey Everyone,

Just checking IN!!!! I am on a roll. I have been editing everything and think I have an ending to my book.

“THIS” is an excerpt from my book but it made me think of you guys!

I didn’t want you all to think that I haven’t been thinking about you guys. Also, I have been reading your blogs faithfully but if I am on my phone for some reason, it keeps saying “LOADING” so I can never LIKE things and if I am at work, can’t really take the time to comment like I’d like to. And then when I go home to my laptop, I am writing my book… Soooooo just wanted to stop by and explain and tell you guys I am still here working away and will eventually be back again!

Have a good weekend!

xoxo

me

The Scent Of Words


library reading on the floor

I knew at a very young age that I had words and stories locked inside of me. In Elementary school my teachers noticed that I could write. But not until High School did one particular teacher actually take me under her wing and offer me Independent Writing classes.  I think that most writers can tell you when they knew they had that light bulb moment when they wrote  something special or different that set them apart from the rest of the other kids in the class. Like an artist who paints their first masterpiece or the singer that sings a song that takes someone’s breath away. Or a comedian that makes you laugh until you cry, and the dancer that makes people stop and really watch till the end.

ballerina

When I was in elementary school I loved to write for me but when I was in college, I put my amature talents to use and totally BS-ed my way through my Sociology class with my essays. I had no idea what I was talking about! But I received this comment on one of my most blatantly ramblings….                                       “100! If I could give you more, I would! Brilliant!” Okay, now I am coming clean. Like I said….I really, truly had NO idea what I was talking about! I just took the question and re-wrote it a bunch of different ways. But I knew then I could possibly fake it and so I did.

catalog card index

Today, I have a much more humbled outlook. I mean, in fifth grade there aren’t a lot of kids that love to really write. I was a different kind of fish in a small pond that stood out a bit because of just that. But in the bigger world, there are trillions of great writers in a much bigger pond. I am just one of many that likes the same bait.

Dr. Suess

The world has changed a bit also. When I was assigned to write those reports that we all remember. Remember those STATE reports? Didn’t we all have one assigned to us before we reached Junior High?  I’d spend hours at our local library, pulling out drawers filled with information, clinking dimes into a copy machine copying pictures in books for those reports.

copy machine

Now kids today can find it all on line. It makes me dizzy just how far we have advanced but  in the same breath, I am kind of sad that our kids will never experience pulling out a library catalog  drawer filled with index cards with  information on them. But though their computer knowledge will always far suprass mine,  there is still something to walking into a library and smelling the leather bound books with words pressed on pages, and being able to walk to a certain section of the library, finding the shelf, and  pulling down an actual book and breathing in the scent of words.

smelling the books girl

What I know for sure!


Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!

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

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

Christmas Typewriter

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

woman writing at keyboard

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

typewriter on wooden desk

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

Or….

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

water drops1

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

water overflowing

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

stressed woman

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

quote about attitude

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

quote about not taking things personal

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

Sophia and her plug

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

baseball glove

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

Jesus steering

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

Jesus at the wheel

Giving Back The Wheel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Reed

2014!

 

God saying

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

                                                                    Diane

Like Oxygen


20130429_073645

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

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

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!!!!

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)

Getting Over It


old couple walking in the city

How long is the normal life span? I know a few people in their nineties and several in their eighties still going strong, so it baffles me as to why the beginning two decades are so important to who we ultimately become. But they are very important.  Considering that we will live to be one hundred,       (give or take a decade or two)  our formative years are only 20%  of our entire lifetime but I believe that they are some of the most important.

little girl looking out a window1

Some people tend to totally forget the first ten or so years while others remember every detail as if it were yesterday. We all have had our happy

tire swing leap

and not so happy memories.

bullyingworried little girl

Some of the bad ones are obvious. There is abuse and no matter how you look at it, it is evident. Others are not so evident. It may be subtle, a parent depending on a child too much, a sibling or peers tormenting them. We remember and we form scars that last a lifetime. We have been told to “get over it” and yet how does one get over a mountain? I will tell you. One step at a time. It is possible. But the trick is not to discount the memories.

I know someone who was horrifically abused. More emotionally than anything. He was the boy with the story no one would believe. His mom was  schizophrenic. She was beautiful and full of love for life and for him for that matter,  but in a moment could turn into a raging monster. At first when I met her, I had trouble opening up my heart to her because of what I knew. And yet, she was hard to resist. We slowly became friends and though I never forgot the stories I’d heard, I let my guard down because this boy who I loved, wanted a connection with his mother so badly. I became the bridge that connected them. We shared many happy memories until I witnessed one of her rages. Her words cut deep and were directed towards her son who I loved.

sad reflection

I was very young back then. Our relationship began the summer after I turned seventeen and ended shortly after I turned twenty. Funny how those three years changed me forever. I think that I had a few co-dependent issues from my own childhood and so I brought those with me, thinking that I could fix something that was far more broken than I imagined.  Because the boy I chose to love was abused. I in turn, was also abused by him. Because I loved him, I chose to look the other way. Because his mom couldn’t love him in the way that he needed to be loved, I took on the responsibility of that love and mine.

love in Heaven sillouette

And thus the cycle of co-dependency began to spin.  I looked the other way when he treated me badly because I had witnessed firsthand his abuse. Only imagining him as a child with no one to protect him. And my heart broke for him. Funny, even though I was his target for his abuse towards me back in those days, I took it because I knew where his pain was coming from. But I was still young enough to be damaged by it too. Not until writing my book, did I understand that I was also a victim of abuse in a way I never understood before. Though I looked the other way then, because I felt his childhood pain, I have had to come to grips with my own pain, in trying to break the circle.

little crying boy

In the book I am writing. I share my experiences. Though instead of memoirs, I am producing it as fiction. Taking out the unnecessary details and changing the names for the most part. But what I want to get across is how we find ourselves in situations and why. As I have written it out. It has been like therapy for me. But it has made me realize that the abuser isn’t the monster I remembered him being. For years, I had not even been able to say his name. When we finally broke up, I had been so hurt and damaged I didn’t know what to do with the pain and so I turned it into anger.

girl looking out window

Through out my life, and my relationships I know that, that one relationship controlled my entire life in all of the years that followed. I have had a hard time trusting and I’ve always needed to feel in control since then. Recently, that not so young boy (anymore) contacted me. I was not sure if he was even alive nor was he sure that I was. I  finally got my closure. I know for me, that I needed some sort of a resolution and when the opportunity knocked I had to open the door. I did what was right for me. I know it was selfish but I don’t regret it. I do regret hurting the people in my life now. And I can’t say that I am proud of all of my recent choices but I feel as if I can finally close the anger chapter of my life and that I have been educated in such a life changing way. Far more than any degree could offer me. I have learned so much about who I am and surprised myself about what I am capable of. Not everything, good. But it has gotten me to the place where I can say goodbye to my young self

Rockwell_Girl_at_the_Mirror

and look into the mirror and see ALL of me.

older mirror reflection

 I have had a hard time penning the ending to my book since then. I know now that I clearly had digressed, allowing my seventeen year old self to interrupt everything about who I am today. But though not everyone may agree, I needed to ask questions and say things I never said and I got that chance.

door with couple on both sides

Being “The one that got away” and knowing no one ever gave him the love that I did, is very sad but a little vindicating. Maybe at first, I thought revenge might be sweet. But when you have really loved someone, you only want the best for them, no matter how much they hurt you. Whether it is divorce or young love. There is such a fine line between love and hate. And until even today, I am learning that love is more powerful than any form of hate could ever be. And if the love had ever been genuine and you can go back to find it’s roots,  I guarantee, letting the hate go will feel much more vindicating than anything revenge might bring. It took me over thirty years to feel it. Today, I feel that I can move on. Or as some people have said :”Get Over it”.

typewriter

So I guess in the end, I want to make people see how subtle abuse can be, how everyone is a victim and how the abuser isn’t always a monster but just a product of their own abuse from their own childhood. My book is called Pieces of the circle. Now I feel that I can sigh and find that spot in the circle that needs to be finished and write it.

A rough draft of my book below… I’d love to know what you think or if you have any suggestions…

https://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/

type the end

A challenge……. Silence is golden


There are things that you just have to learn by yourself in life and no one can tell you what to do to make it “click” for you. If you are in your twenties or younger, and can learn the one thing that I am learning now, you will be a thousand steps ahead of me and save yourself a lot of trouble. And I think this is the kind of thing that perhaps you might have to learn the long way around but I am still going to try to sneak it in for ya because it will save you a ton of frustration in the long run. The little secret is….less is more!!!

Even though I feel that I don’t give my son enough credit for the depth in which he thinks these things up… I believe he is brilliant. But I don’t feel he always lives by his words of wisdom, in certain circumstances. He is hot headed and quick to react most of the time however, a while ago, he gave me some of the best advice I think I have ever gotten. He said; “Mom, if you don’t let people know what you are thinking, then you have the power“. When he said it. I knew it was profound. But not until lately, have I really understood what it means.

Recently, I have had people say outrageous things to me. Things that normally would require at least some kind of response. Maybe an insult or a complaint  about where I work or a nosey question that really did not deserve a response. In the past, I have responded. Giving them the power.

The other day, someone said something that normally would have required a  comeback from me or at least some kind of a rebuttal. Instead there was a wonderfully awkward but empowering silence. The receiving person who delivered the first part of the conversation was left hanging with their rather rude self and it was the best feeling ever!

Try it this week. And report back here at the end of the week. I bet there are going to be some wonderful stories. Because… seriously, silence IS golden.

cartoon with tape over his mouth

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.

*****Chapter Seven*****


Hello…

In-between the first chapters I submitted,   (which you will find in my sidebar to the right, if you scroll down just a bit)

I took a break…and before that another one… to kick myself into gear…wrote a few little poems etc.. etc… and random thoughts…

And….

 I  have found myself here more than not… A place full of people who understand… and share my passion for writing….

 Networking and socializing with you guys, my new friends, my soft place to fall… My amazing new find!!! Reading and LIKING and commenting on your posts…. and oh yeah…maybe I am procrastinating ever so slightly…. okay then cough, cough… I GET it! Back to work!!!!

But….

How could this be what others may call a distraction or my excuse to procrastinate in finishing my book?

Though I guess I agree… if I could just ask myself.. why is it that I can  not just  finish rather than continue tinker around the likes of this place? Hmmmm???  Smile…

Here it is… the final chapter, at least the final one that I am going to share with you here……   Chapter Seven.

By the way…..

If you have not read the first part of my book, I have it posted here. And really,  if you haven’t read the previous chapters, Chapter Seven will not make much sense. But if I have kept you… this far… I am very pleased… even if you haven’t bothered to read  chapters 1-6…. but it would make 7 make much more sense!

                                                  Here is Chapter Seven….

airline tickets

Chapter Seven

One night at dinner, Keri’s dad announced that he was surprising her with a trip up North to Tara’s house. She and Keri had been best friends since they were both four years old, and had been inseparable since the first day they had met.

little girls running in a fieldlittle girls playing

When the  girls were eight, Keri’s dad had been transferred to another state due to his job but Keri and Tara had stayed in touch through the years by writing letters and yearly visits that Tara’s dad had generously provided. He knew that they  had been heartbroken over the move and so he had always tried to make sure that they got to see each other at least once a year. Their mothers had also become very close and so the trips had conveniently been planned around their yearly Seattle vacations, either stopping on the way there or on the way home and once the girls had gotten old enough to travel by themselves, Tara’s dad had either paid for one or the other to come for a visit.

airplane wing

Keri loved Tara and so did her parents. She was more than a childhood friend, they were family in every way. When her dad said he wanted to send her to San Mateo for a visit Keri was delighted. Unaware of what the real reason might be and why he might be gifting this trip to her so out of the blue. Though she happily started planning the visit. Both Tara’s and Keri’s school had the next Friday and Monday off and so Keri’s dad had booked a flight leaving Friday morning and returning Monday evening.

Jack was not pleased at all when Keri told him that her dad had surprised her with the long weekend trip. Instead of being happy for her, he sulked and brooded the entire night after Keri had announced that she would be going, “What am I going to do while you are gone?” He asked poutingly, angry, feeling that she had not considered him at all! At first, Keri thought it was cute and was touched that he was going to miss her so much. But when he continued to pout, it concerned her.  She had told him that he could take her to the airport but when the plans to take her had been changed, he had grown visibly irritated and hadn’t called her for an entire day which upset her. Though when her parents questioned her, she just told them that she was worried about a test.

frustrated blonde

Keri’s dad worked in El Segundo, and LAX was just a few minutes from his office. He had booked a morning departure flight and told Keri that he would drop her off on his way to work. It had just been the convenient thing to do. He had noticed that she had seemed miserable until she finally heard from Jack and it had concerned him. Keri told her dad that Jack would pick her up and her father had hesitantly agreed since he would be out of town and Keri’s mom didn’t like driving in the evening, especially to LAX. He had not been happy with the arrangements since if truth be told, he had been hoping that the trip would distract her a bit from her relationship with Jack, and having him pick her up  at the airport just seemed to negate the whole purpose of the trip.

airplane

On the day of her trip, Keri was packed and waiting for her Dad as she thumped her suitcase down the stairs. He grabbed it from her easily, carrying it out to the car. She kissed her mom and waved as they drove off. Keri chatted comfortably with her Father as they sat in traffic. He used the opportunity and her obvious good mood to tell her that he and her mother had been worried about her and that they wanted her to spend more time at home. “Why? You’re never there anyway.” Keri complained. She countered his observation trying to not be disrespectful, but feeling as if her independence was being challenged. That’s not the point.” her father replied ruefully. Suddenly Keri realized exactly where  he was going with the conversation, and that the trip may have had some ulterior motives behind it as well.  “I promise that I am keeping up with my grades Daddy, I love him and I want to be with him when we can be.” She reasoned. “Didn’t you feel that way about Mom?“ She asked, softening her still emotional tone. Her dad just smiled at her, saying something about how she should look into being a lawyer and then ruffling her hair, he changed the subject for the time being. He slipped a wad of twenties in her hand as he dropped her off and told her to have a good time, hoping that the time away would at least give her food for thought.

bridge golden gate

Tara and Keri had a great time seeing movies and shopping  in the city and just being together.  Keri didn’t share too much about Jack, knowing Tara would not approve. It was a simple as that. Keri knew that there was something very different about her relationship with Jack. When Tara talked about the boys she dated, it was light and easy, not like the highs and lows she and Jack shared. She knew that no one would understand. She had not even spoken to Lori about it. She was still angry with her for not telling her about him in the beginning. She knew now, that she had to have known something. Though she had decided that she did not want to know if Lori had known anything about Jack’s problems  because she truly didn’t know if she could ever forgive her  if she had. But now she was in too deep. She loved Jack and no one’s opinion would change that. Neither what Lori or Tara thought mattered anymore. The trip did some good as her father had hoped it would, it made Keri realize that something was amiss in her young life. Something she could not talk about to anyone.

The visit was wonderful. Just hanging out with her best friend was a much needed break from all of the drama she had experienced recently. Jack’s up and down moods,  and his not talking and then  their times of making up were all just so exhausting and having no one to talk to about any of it was difficult. Though, she had missed Jack, and when he met her with such enthusiasm at the gate,  she felt hopeful that things would get better again. Jack seemed so happy to see her and told her how much he had missed her over and over again. They fell right back into the little recesses of their relationship, perhaps even more than before. Keri was addicted by the love he showered on her and in turn she returned it equally. The physical portion of their relationship grew stronger. He told Keri she was beautiful and for the first time, she began feeling that she truly was.

airport hug

The days seemed to all blur together. That terrible sailing trip was forgotten or at least never brought up again to anyone, ever. And Jack seemed to take Keri on as his project. He felt as if she was so innocent and naïve He encouraged her plans for college and would quiz her about her dreams. He urged her to step outside of her little box and discover new interests, to actually have opinions. The attention he gave her was addicting. Every new thing she learned seemed to please him and she craved his approval. Her father worked so much and never really seemed to expect more from her though he did praise her for her writing,  she had always felt kind of apprehensive when it came to opening herself up to learning anything new because her dad had so little patience during her childhood when he would try to help her with her homework, especially math. So with Jack, everything seemed new to her and she realized she could learn and was surprised that she actually really liked learning.

After they had been dating a while, Jack took Keri home to meet his dad, Jack Sr. She liked him right away. “Nice to meet you Mr. Sagen” Keri held out her hand, as he took it and quietly replied, “Nice to meet you dear.” She could tell that he was a kind and quiet man, he worked as an Engineer in a building not too far from her dad’s office, and she noticed that he chain smoked quite a bit, later Jack told her that it was almost three packs a day.  There had not been as many horrible stories about him as Jack had shared about his mother, but there had been enough to cause Keri to have a few reservations.  She could see that the relationship between Jack and his dad was much more formal than hers was with her parents. But he seemed so pleased when she would make an effort to talk to his father, and so she always tried to engage him in conversation when she would come over.  He would brighten up when he knew she was coming and genuinely seemed pleased to see her. Sometimes he would cook dinner for the three of them and to Keri’s horror  the first dish he served them had  canned spinach mixed with hamburger meat.  Keri  wanted ever so badly to be polite but she had never tried spinach before and could not hide her discomfort. Both Jack and his dad wathched her, urging her to try it and then they laughed when she touched her tongue to the forkful and then  in Green Eggs and Ham fashion,  announced “Hey, I like this stuff!” Jack’s dad beamed when she asked for another helping.

Jack lived with his dad in the small modest Torrance apartment that he had moved to shortly after his separation. Jack had moved in several months later, after a horrible fight he had, had with his mother. The building was very close to the beach where Keri had spent so much time with Lori. Mr. Sagen worked as an engineer and seemed to have given up everything after the divorce and yet, seemed content enough. Or so she thought.  He had not expected Jack to move in with him and so the one bedroom apartment was a little cramped. He slept on a fold out sofa bed in the living room and had  generously given Jack the bedroom who had protested to no avail, saying something about how a young man needs his own room.  They both seemed to enjoy having Keri around and she loved being where ever Jack was.

When Jack’s dad was at work they would always seem to find themselves at that empty apartment whenever possible. She played house in her head as she would imagine that it was their place.  They would talk and dream and lose themselves in a new world of desire,  and discovered each other without shame. Keri had never really had a real boyfriend before. She had dated a few guys but Jack was her first true love in every sense of the word.  It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other.  It was all so new and exciting.

young couple making up2

Their kisses were hard and filled with passion and yet soft and filled with love, all at the same time. Their hands roamed in places Keri’s never had before. She felt as if she was somebody else when she was with Jack. Nobody had ever kissed her that way and she learned that she loved kissing. When they weren’t together they thought about being together and couldn’t wait until the next time and then the next. They tumbled further into somewhere they both had never been, and yet stopped just short of the place they knew was forbidden.

kiss2

Shortly after meeting Jack’s dad, he took her to meet his mom Lee, who lived a little less than an hour away, in Monterey Park.  Keri was hesitant. She was the woman who had a lot to do with the demons that Jack was fighting today, she was not so sure she wanted to meet the one who had hurt him so horribly, and for that matter, his dad, who she had grown protective over. She was not sure she could set aside the stories he had told her and yet, it seemed so important to him. He had such disdain for her when he would talk about his memories and yet he seemed to hold out some form of hope that things would be different. Maybe he thought that Keri could be that bridge. Always wanting to please Jack,  she reluctantly agreed to the meeting.

From the very start, Keri noticed a kind of ambivalent indulgence in the relationship between Jack and his mom. It was disconcerting to her but she disregarded her apprehension due to her love for him and agreed to pursue the relationship. To Keri’s surprise, she and Lee hit it off almost at hello. His mother was charming and quite beautiful in an unusually sophisticated kind of way. They seemed to ‘get’ each other from the start. Lee seemed to genuinely like Keri. And from what Jack had told her, had despised Maddie, which made Keri uncomfortably blissful. She had never known anyone like Lee before. They talked about everything for hours. Soon Jack found himself bringing Keri to his mom’s house regularly. Keri loved to hear her stories and advice. Jack was thrilled that Keri and his mom became fast friends and through their new found friendship, Jack felt an acceptance from his mother that he had never enjoyed before.

mirror and make up

They spent a lot of time together and Keri was very impressed with everything about Lee. She obviously loved to live life well and taught Keri to do the same or at least was very generous with her. Though she could not forget the stories that Jack had shared, it was hard to picture her so out of  control ever. And so little by little, Keri let  her guard up and found herself drawn to Lee, as their friendship grew.

As school continued, Keri became so wrapped up in being Jack’s girlfriend that her friends began to complain that she was always too busy for them. Between school and volunteering and the time she spent with Jack, there was just no time left for anything else. Keri didn’t care, she only wanted Jack. Her every waking moment was consumed by thoughts of him or what she could do to please him.  She would pack sandwiches and meet him at the garage where he worked.  She would sit in a car high up on the hydraulic racks as he worked on it late into the night. She studied or did homework in many cars on many nights just to be with him. Most of their times were filled with new adventures and passion that she could not get enough of.  No one had ever made her feel so desired or loved and she looked forward to discovering new things with him. They were so caught up in the excitement of becoming adults, and imagining their future.

mechanic

She pictured how it might be being married to Jack. They spent time looking for apartments and began going to a little church in the neighborhood where he and his dad lived. They became fast friends with some of the young couples who went there and some of the older ones too, and were invited over to their homes. One couple in particular, Dave and Cheri seemed to enjoy Jack and Keri’s company and took them under their wings. They would invite them over frequently to Cheri’s parent”s home for Sunday Supper. Soon they felt like one of the family and Keri learned to love Sunday. One Saturday night, Jack and Keri had come for dinner at Dave and Cheri’s apartment. Keri noticed a wedding album on the coffee table and began slowly turning the pages. She was so impressed with their life and love and faith in God. Cheri shared that they were trying to have a baby and Keri felt so envious. She wanted to fast forward everything and feel how it might be to be grown up and out on her own. As she chatted with her new friend, Keri glanced at Jack sitting across the room, as he and Dave laughed about something and her heart filled. She wondered what it would be like if he were her husband.  All at once Keri knew she would marry him someday.

Jack and Keri became very involved in the church. Every Sunday they were invited somewhere. Jack began to bring his guitar to some of the gatherings that they were invited to. His dad had given it to him years before and it was one of the more special gifts he had from his youth. Keri was pleasantly surprised to learn that Jack had an amazing voice and she was transported to a new realm as she would listen to him as he strummed the strings and sang with the group. She loved his voice and was so proud. One day they talked about the fact that he had never been baptized. He shared with Keri that he wanted to. She was thrilled. He began going to classes and one Sunday in front of the church, he was baptized and watching him as he was lifted from the water, Keri saw his face and the joy that filled it and in that moment, she, believed that everything was going to be okay.

Between his work, and her school, church, and just their being together their free time seemed filled. The days ran together in sweet accord, each better than the last. Keri would run home in-between classes and seeing Jack and their time was consumed only in each other. Until one day, Keri’s mom complained that they never saw her anymore. She told her that even Lonnie had been talking about missing her.  Keri started to argue and then realized that her mom was right and then to her surprise, her mother suggested that she invite Jack over for dinner. Her father would be home and  had asked her to arrange something. Keri eyed her mother suspiciously. “What is this all about?” she asked her mom. “We just feel that we need to get to know this boy, Jack, a little better, since you are spending so much time together, that’s all.” Eyeing her daughter she added, “I promise to make something good.” Keri agreed, “Well okay, if you are sure there is not going to be some big speech or anything?” Her mom laughed saying, “your father and I discussed it and it doesn’t look as if Jack is going anywhere, anytime soon, so we might as well get to know him.” Keri was pleased by the invitation but remained a little hesitant. Her mom continued, “When we allowed you to date, we hadn’t bet on you dating just one boy.” Keri looke at her mom and said, “Well, I wasn’t planning on that either. It just sort of happened.” And then added, “I love him mom.” Her mother nodded. “I know you do honey.”

Jack agreed to dinner enthusiastically, he had been wanting an open door, a chance to prove himself to her parents.  He loved the idea of family and had never felt as if he fit into his. All he ever wanted was to feel as if he fit in and to have a place to belong. Keri knew that about him by now  He talked a little too much that night but her parents didn’t seem to mind or at least they didn’t appear to. They accepted Jack as someone who would be around for a while. Her dad had been impressed by his intelligence, as he kept up with the latest current events. He charmed her mom and helped clear the dishes. Keri thought that the evening had gone quiet well. She wondered what her parents thought.  They remained unbiased, deciding to hold judgment.  They were not sure how they felt about Jack yet. At times, they saw Keri happier than they had ever seen her, and though she tried to hide it, there had been other times when they had also seen her very unhappy. During those times, Keri never spoke of what was making her sad but then just as quickly, the mood would clear and she was happy again.

Her parents accepted her mood changes as normal teenage moodiness, though they remained on guard, having heard horror stories from some of their other friends and the difficulties that they were having with their own “teenage” children. From what they had heard, they counted their blessings, feeling grateful that Keri was so grounded. Her parents just figured that they were also having growing pains letting go, and tried to be more understanding and lenient by looking the other way rather than being so strict. Keri was grateful, never wanting them to guess what was really happening.

sad hug

Though the dark times did seem fewer and farther between, when the rages did happen, they would terrorize them both. Jack seemed trapped inside of them and Keri had learned to be his target. He knew that he was horrible to her but something ridiculous would trigger the anger and the explosions followed like clockwork.  Somehow, it had become a pattern with them. Keri had grown to accept the emotional blows, lost in her own hopelessness that they seemed to represent. The ambivalence she felt was debilitating. And yet she never shared any of it with anyone. She reasoned a little pushing was not like getting punched or slapped and he was usually so sorry after. There had been a time or two when Keri stormed out to get away and he had followed pleading for her forgiveness. He would kiss her tears and beg her to come back, pleading as if his heart would break, telling her that he could not live without her and how sorry he was. He would kneel at her feet and she would pull it up and then sadly follow him back as he would try to make up for everything he had just said. But Keri could not block out the names he had called her, slowly she began to grow numb to it all.

She wanted to protect Jack. She knew he was fighting pretty dark demons from his past and that he was dealing with them in his own way, and she felt it was enough. She also was too ashamed that she would allow anyone to treat her the way he did when he would lose control. He would be sorry and she would forgive him and the in-between, times that they shared, seemed to make up for everything else. The funny thing was that after the awful day on the sailboat, Keri never again, even considered leaving. She just accepted that this was part of her fate and the more she loved him, the deeper in she got.

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This is not the end! There are more chapters to come…. but this is all I will share here. I am now working on editing the finished chapters of my book and someday, hope to have it finished. I just wanted to share a piece of it here to get feedback from my most favorite followers!

THANK YOU for all who have taken the time to really READ it!!!!  You have a piece of my heart!

Chapter Two


For those of you following this… you know that Chapter One was found inside my last post …

“Like A POSTCARD or something like that….”  You really need to read Chapter One to follow… 

Chapter One… begins as (the adult version of)  Keri  finds a journal she kept long ago.

Chapter Two…. finds her back in her younger years, when she actually started that journal and was living the stories that she wrote about… slowly the chapters will carry you forward again to today, which is when she finally begins to understand the lesson in her journey  ~ hence; the title: Pieces of The Circle

(The pictures are NOT mine… I have no claim to any of them in this chapter, I just have fun choosing them to help you read… someday I will have to figure out the right picture for the cover…. ) but I am hoping that I can help paint a picture in your imagination… just with my words,  as I tell you my story… and hopefully,  in the end you won’t need pictures at all… Please keep in mind that this is still a very rough of parts of the book that I hope to someday start submitting as a whole…. I am sharing here for those of you who asked me to and also because I truly need some honest feedback. What parts are hard to follow? What words do I usee too much… etc…  I have come back here to edit at least fifty times so far… there is a technique my daughter told me about called the Dr. Suess Technique… you read it aloud to yourself as much as you can stand it and then read it aloud to others as much as they can stand it! Smile… Here, I have you… I know it is long… so those of you who are busy, I understand if you move on… but those of you who stay….

Thanks for reading! I love you!!!!

Here it is….

Chapter Two

Keri watched as her mom and little brother Lonnie, prepared to leave for the airport. It was the first, in all of their years after moving from Seattle to California, that she would not be joining them on their yearly summer trip. After all, she was sixteen. Too old for “family vacations” she had told her parents. Though, she had to admit, that her summers had been magical. When one would end, she would start counting the months until the next one. Ever since she could remember, she looked forward to every single one of them. Keri and her cousin, Annie, had spent all of their summers togethers at their Grandparent’s house near Lake Washington since she could remember. Memories filled her heart with the special adventures they had shared over the years. She smiled as she recalled how they would cook up schemes,  trying to come up with ways to stow Annie away in a suitcase so that Keri could bring her home with her to California. She smiled now just thinking about it. And she had to admit that it felt odd not to go this year.

But Annie had landed a babysitting job for the summer and so Keri had decided to stay home this year. After what seemed like endless conversations over the subject, her parents had finally consented. It was the summer before her senior year and her best friend Lori’s last summer home before she went away to school. Lori had gotten her license almost a year ago, and Keri had finally gotten hers a few months earlier, which represented a new kind of freedom for both the girls that they had never known before. Her father was very busy. He traveled and worked late hours and so she knew that for the most part, she would have the independence she longed for. Keri understood that she was to keep up the house while her mom was away and she appreciated that her dad had given her a reprieve of sorts by not requiring her to get a summer job. She knew that this was the last summer she had to just be a “kid” and  planned to make it the best one yet. Little, did she know…

Waving goodbye to her family as her dad pulled out of the driveway to take her mom and Lonnie to the airport, and then catch a plane himself. She threw kisses as she grabbed her beach gear and headed for Lori’s to pick her up. The sun felt good on her face as she climbed into her car. The breeze was almost nonexistent. It was a beautiful day and she knew it would be warm at the beach. She could see the ocean from her house in Palos Verdes and the blue sky sparkled invitingly as she slid into the driver’s seat of her new car as the sounds of the latest Top Forty filled the speakers her dad had just installed for her as she turned up the volume on her new stereo. She rolled down the windows, and smelled the scent of fresh cut grass. Feeling quite carefree and that all was well with her world she pushed open the sunroof and waved to her friend who was mowing the lawn next door as she drove by.

When Keri pulled up to Lori’s she noticed a boy who looked to be a little older than her, working on a sailboat on the long driveway that led to Lori’s house. As she passed him he took off his baseball hat and wiped his brow and nodded. She wondered who he was but decided that the day was a wasting and honked for her friend who stood on the balcony outside of her bedroom, motioning for her to come on up.

Keri sighed heavily as she jumped out of her car… Pointing to her watch-less wrist as if to say, “Let’s not waste the rays.” They were already leaving later than they had planned since Keri had waited to see her mom and Lonnie off. “Come on Lori, it’s almost one.” Keri whined in a playfully sardonic tone as the she walked through the door, only to be met with a glass of lemonade and a smile from Lori’s mom “Hey Mrs. T” Keri said accepting the drink and hugging her tight,

“I can never say no to your terrific lemonade.” And then turned as she heard Lori call out “I’ll be right down.”                             “So where are you girls off to today?” Mrs. T asked cheerfully… “Avenue F in Redondo” Keri confirmed. She and Lori had dubbed the spot right outside of the life guard’s station ever since they noticed Brad, the cute new lifeguard that they had met during spring break and had gotten to know even better, during the weekends that followed. They had a little flirtation going on as he would joke about turning down their AM radio, insinuating KRLA and KHJ were passé and the FM stations he listened to were going to be the new place to tune in to. They had a volume war and finally Brad had used his megaphone and the girls had laughingly conceded.

As Mrs. T probed curiously, Keri got lost in  her day dreams as she thought of Brad who was tan with sparkling brown eyes. He was a couple of years older, and very funny. He loved to joke with the girls and they bonded with him right away, and then with several of his lifeguard friends in the area. Brad’s friends had easily become their friends and they all had begun playing what they called:”Sunset volleyball” once the beach had cleared and everyone was off duty. Brad had mentioned the bonfires during Spring Break, and after a day of teasing and sharing cookies they had brought for him, he had invited them back that night to play. They had excitedly gone home to shower and change and then ran back with a six pack of sodas, a package of hotdogs and some of those home baked cookies as their contribution.

When they arrived they found half the guys playing a warm up game near a bonfire that the other half was just starting. There was a big tub of ice filled with beer that they added their sodas to, as they were greeted and quickly integrated into the game at hand, evening out the teams. Not until the sun had finally dipped beneath the horizon did they stop playing.

Keri and Lori dropped to the blanket they had laid out laughing. “That was so fun!” Keri said rubbing her wrists. Lori nodded in agreement. “You guys aren’t bad for girls.” Brad had said and Keri gave Lori a high five, stating, “For girls you say?” Just you wait, we will give you a run for your money when we’ve played more.” Volleyball, bonfires and Avenue F seemed to fill their weekends after that.

“Sounds like fun,” Mrs. T laughed at Keri, realizing that she was far, far away in her thoughts. Keri took another sip as she snapped out of it and absently asked “who’s the guy in the boat?” Mrs. T cleared her throat and said “Oh that’s Jack.” Keri swallowed asking “Jack?” “Yes, Maddie’s old boyfriend.” Keri was curious, “Old Boyfriend?” she queried. “Yes old.” Mrs. T Sighed, “you see Maddie got herself engaged and is bringing home her Fiancé to meet us.”  Maddie was Lori’s older sister by two years. Mrs. T continued, “she has given us a month to break the news to him and get him moved out. Keri was puzzled. She had just spent the night with Lori a few weeks ago. “He lives here?” She asked. “No, but we let him bring his boat here to work on. And he’s been working on it daily.”  Mrs. T replied. Keri was even more confused. Why would someone get engaged if they already had a boyfriend she wondered. But was distracted by Lori clamoring down the stairs, as she kissed her mom and hurriedly began pulling Keri out the door.

Keri noticed Lori’s turquoise swim suit under her clothes and laughed stating, “I almost wore that same suit!” They had gone swimsuit shopping the weekend before at Rosie’s on Pacific Coast Hwy,  a store that always seemed to have the best bikinis, and had both bought some new ones but couldn’t decide on the ones they both liked so had ended up with a few of the same suits. “Lori noticed the pale pink one beneath Keri’s halter top and smiled, saying “I guess we should check with each other because I almost wore the pink one!” Mrs. T laughed. “Oh to be young again, she reflected, so carefree, if I only had to worry about what color my swimsuit was for the day.” Lori rolled her eyes as Keri happily followed her to the car, thanking Mrs. T for the lemonade, she gave her a quick hug. As Lori’s mom waved the girls on telling them to have a good time, closing the screen door she went back inside.

Keri loved everything about Mrs.T. and her quiet, but involved presence in Lori’s life. Always just far enough away to not be in the way, but close enough to show she cared. From the time she and Lori started hanging out, Keri always felt welcome and during the weekends, the girls always were either at one house or the other. Lori was going to UCLA that fall and Keri didn’t want to think about school the next year without her. It made her sad. But she forced herself to just think about the day ahead and decided that today was all that mattered.

Keri buckled her seatbelt and slipped a Chicago 8 track into her player. With the sun shining down through the sun roof, the girls put on sunglass and Keri cranked up the volume and smiled, rolling down the windows, they began singing loudly, rocking to the beat laughing. They hadn’t been to the beach for several weeks due to having to study for finals and all of Lori’s graduation responsibilities so they had both looked forward to today.

The girls sang loudly as they drove down the long driveway, bouncing in their seats. The boy in the boat caught her eye and grinned at them as they drove by.  Keri couldn’t help but feel a little compassion for him. Wondering what the story was… She asked Lori. “Why is he hanging out here if Maddie and he are broken up?” Lori sighed in a way that reminded her of Mrs. T’s sigh and it made Keri smile. “Good old Maddie and my poor mom, she seems to always be trying to fix things but I’m not sure how she is going to manage this one.” Keri asked “Why, because she has a new fiancé?” Lori grimaced yeah. I kind of feel sorry for him. I think that he thought that they would get back together like before.” Keri asked “Like before?” Lori nodded. “yeah they broke up a lot, and would always get back together. This time though, it’s over for sure she already has a new guy and a ring and a date.” “Oh that sucks for him.” Keri said. Lori nodded. Keri couldn’t help but take another glance in the rearview mirror as they drove out of sight.

Brad waved to Keri and Lori as soon as he saw them coming down the ramp. He jumped out of his chair and hopped from the tower. He was still as cute and tan as ever, in his red suit and hugged them tight. A few of their friends were already playing volleyball nearby and waved. Even when the guys were off duty, they seemed to hang out at Avenue F. The girls managed to find a spot, dropping their bags and slipping off their cover-ups, they joined the game. They looked like models in a commercial for suntan lotion, out there in the sand, Brad thought as he watched them from above.

The girls took turns taking showers at Keri’s house after the beach. Her dad was out of town on business for a few days and they planned to go out dancing and then come back to spend the night. “Oh I can’t believe it”, Lori groaned as she walked in Keri’s room drying her waist length hair with a damp towel, “I forgot my new shoes and my overnight bag.” Keri was sitting on the floor putting on the last touches of her make up in front of her floor length  antique mirror as she replied, “That’s fine we’ll just swing by your place and pick them up.”

They had just started discussing where they would go for dinner as they approached her house. Pulling up, Keri glanced at the covered boat still in their driveway, thinking Jack must have gone home for the day. “I’ll just run in and be back in two….” Lori started to say when the door opened and Mrs. T came out waving them in. “You two are just in time for my famous lasagna she gushed. Keri and Lori looked at each other, both loving Mrs. T’s lasagna and without protest, jumped out of the car. “Why not?” they both said in unison and laughed.

Lori ran up to her room to grab her shoes and pack a bag as Keri followed Mrs. T into the great room while waves of warm garlic bread wafted through the room straight to her nose. “Oh my gosh it smells like heaven in here!” She exclaimed as she sauntered into the room with the farm like table filled with the Taber family and Jack.  Mrs. T. immediately introduced Keri stating “Keri this is Jack Sagan.” Keri warmly held out her hand, from the moment she had heard his story, she had felt a twinge of compassion that she could not shake.

And as he took her hand in his firmly shaking it, he looked her in the eye with a confident smile that impressed her. Hmmm she wondered if it was impressed or intrigued. But without knowing exactly what it was, something in the stars seemed to shift.

The aroma of garlic and the chatter of everyone filled the room as dinner was served. Jack was friendly and animated and talked about being ready to launch his boat. Mrs. T seemed pleased knowing that launching it, meant that it would be moved and it was one more thing she could cross off of the check list that her older daughter had given to her. The boat being gone would be a huge load off of her to do list, out of all the things that Maddie had requested be done, before her arrival.

“I have a great idea.” Mrs. T cooed nonchalantly, “Why don’t you all go?” Lori didn’t miss a beat and piped up “Not me. I get seasick!” “Count me in!” announced Lori’s younger brother Matt, who was a year younger than Keri and had been helping Jack work on the boat for the last several weeks. He was eager to try out the vessel on the water. “Can I bring Sarah?” he asked hopefully. Sarah and Matt had been inseparable for the last year when Matt had not been hanging out with Jack. “Sure.” Jack agreed good naturedly. Keri was laughing at something with Lori when she noticed just out of the side of her eyes, Mrs. T mouthing a silent message of encouragement to Jack as he turned to look at her and offered. “How about it?”

Lori glared at her mom, looking annoyed, and realized that she and Jack had most likely discussed these plans earlier in the day and that this dinner was a little more contrived than she had made it all look. Mrs. T seemed to miss or ignore her younger daughter’s reaction. Keri, on the other hand, had not missed the look, and searched Lori’s face for a clue as if asking her what to do.  Lori just shrugged and so Keri turned back to Jack, not wanting to hurt his feelings, especially after knowing the disappointment that soon awaited him, she hesitantly answered “Sure, why not?  I’d love to.” Before they left, Keri reached for Jack’s hand and wrote her number on his palm and smiled.  He looked down at his hand and smiled back.

And that is how the story of Jack and Keri began. Innocently enough, and yet very conveniently for Mrs.T who mentally crossed yet another thing off of her list.

Pieces of A Circle is a book that I am writing about a young girl who got caught up in an abusive relationship that changed her life forever. Not so much because of any of the physical abuse, even though there was some. This is a story that touches more on the emotional and mental abuse that changed the choices she made in her life, and the woman she became because of it all.

It is about the anger she carried with her and a lot about  the life she missed because of it. And then the twist at the end about forgivness and understanding and yet the crazy way she almost found herself lost again trying to find the young girl she had left behind so long ago.

 

 

 

Working Hard For The Money


Soooo, a while back my daughter called me when I was at work and  asked me where I was. When I told her that I was working she said; ” Oh my poor mama.” and then sang to me; “Working Hard For The Money… so hard for it honey…”  in her beautiful voice. The other day… I heard another tune humming in my own head, … Cinderlla, Cinderlla… feeling very sorry for myself as I came upon this scene.  You see where I work, there are ten of these. And the five outdoor ones all look pretty much the same every morning, this time of year.

Those “guests” have no idea what they are asking, when they ask : why the outside tubs cost $4 more an hour to rent than the indoor ones!

Sigh… Big Sigh… Feeling very sorry for myself sigh…  This job is for a young kid or a man I think to myself as I trudge up and down the hills, under the tubs, messing with the gadgets and the workings below, turning the water on, turning it off, adding chemicals, testing, and recording and covering each one of them. It’s a lot more work than anyone ever considers so when you ask why do the outside tubs cost more per hour… I want to say… I will tell you why… in a little louder voice than I do…  However I just sweetly say, “Well, sir, the outdoor tubs require just a bit more maintenance. And that usually is sufficient. I mean it is just $4. Come on!

No really, I know that I am lucky to have a job and  when all of the leaves are cleaned out, it is a very beautiful place to work, among the nature and all. And I wear my fitbit (pedometer) to show myself the exercise I am getting.  On a good day I can usually walk out of there with at least 4 miles under my belt!

I used to be the Event Coordinator there, but that job was eliminated due to the economy. All of my bosses were let go through out the years that I have been there,  so I feel pretty blessed that they have kept me on. If you follow me at all, you know that I owned a little gift shop once upon a time and then lost it due to circumstances beyond my control, and so I realize that everything is relative.  I could feel sorry for myself and spend all of my time counting all my setbacks or… I could begin counting all of my blessings. One being… that in the end, when all is said and done,  I actually have the ability to make a tub look like this…

What I have really learned through my journey is this…life happens. No, crap happens. Sometimes you feel as if you get more of your share than others. I know, I’ve been there. But it is in how you handle the hard times that matter. Charles Swindoll said it best:  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it…. I have to remind myself daily.

ATTITUDE

by

Charles Swindoll

 “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Charles Swindoll

And sometimes at the end of the day, God rewards me with something much greater than any wage I could ever earn….

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

Scatter Rugs


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

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

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

My “Thing”


Ever since I was seven years old, about a year or so after I learned to read, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was one of the lucky ones. I really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.

And then I forgot.

Life happened and slowly, my passion was pushed away. I remember wanting to be a stewardess for a while, and then going to school to be a Dental Assistant and actually being one for a year or so. And of course, I went through the wanting to be a model phase. (hence the portfolio pics you will find scattered through my blogs at times)  Then, going to college and thinking maybe I would be a Speech Therapist and taking classes that centered around becoming one, but then I met a boy, we got married, began a family and somehow life just happens and those dreams you had in the beginning just seem silly.

There was this one teacher, Mrs. Reed. (Funny that is my name now. But no relation.)  She was my English teacher, an older woman (ahhh probably about as old as I am now or maybe a teeensie bit older, argh!)   in my freshman year of High School and then every year after that till I graduated. I will never forget her. She saw something in me. She encouraged me and placed me in Independent Writing. I never took another real English class in High School after that first year, I just wrote for Mrs. Reed. Mainly poems. She critiqued them and taught me cadence and many other things I give her credit for. I can’t tell you much about adjectives and pronouns and I KNOW my punctuation is still horrible to this day, But… It was an amazing class.

Over the years, I have had a few people who stand out as encouragers when it came to my writing. My daughter and I were looking at a dog earred, yellowed letter that my dad wrote to me when I was sixteen that mentions my writing. She remarked about it and I was touched to remember. When I was a teenager, writing was my soft place to fall. My journals were tear stained places for me to escape. I am not sure how people go through those years without being able to write.

I find it puzzling and a little funny how people seem to get so defensive when they do not have the passion to write and I suggest that they try it. I have had so many comebacks from an innocent sentence made. Some have replied almost in anger that writing is not their “thing.” Hmmm now HOW am I supposed to take that? As an insult? Hmmm? 😉

I guess if someone loves to jump out of airplanes and you hate heights, no matter how much coaxing they do, you probably will never learn to love it or even try it. But hey, I am giving their position way too much leverage. Writing is not dangerous. Or is it?? But really, I guess I get it. If your “thing” is math, I promise you, that you will never talk me into majoring in it. But I feel that everyone has a story to tell. I love to go find the about button on each blog. It is like being invited into their living room as they share a part of their life with you.

People who know me, laugh at me because I am the inspiration for that little quip people say when you ask too many questions; “Are you writing a book?!” As to that I reply….   “Well, yes I am. Thank you for asking.”

I am a writer and writing is my thing. And you know what? I don’t find it silly at all.

Finishing the Book


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garage Sale For My Soul


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― Maya
Angelou

Flashing Before My Eyes… This Thing Called Life!


I watched as the bus drove away. The year before, I’d insisted that I drive my daughter each way to school. I didn’t trust the bus drivers, or that there were no seatbelts on school busses! We’d moved to the country to give her a better childhood. We lived 12 miles out of town. That meant 12 miles each way, to and from school. What was I thinking?! After the first year, of driving almost 50 miles a day. I succumbed to my daughter’s wish to take the bus. But I enjoyed that first year driving her back and forth. We visited and bonded and talked about everything you could possibly imagine.

I remember commenting on how we couldn’t see cows on our way to school where we used to live and we laughed deciding that they might look out of place on Hawthorne Blvd. On the first day of school, all those years ago,  I argued with myself as I watched her wave as the bus drove out of sight. I knew she would be okay.  She was going into the fifth grade. So funny now when I hear stories of moms putting their kindergartners on the bus, and yet I still  felt as if she was just a baby.  Or maybe I wanted to keep her one for as long as possible because I knew the day would come when she would be driving away in her own car, far, far away from her old mama. Which kind of brings me to my ramblings on this subject. Time does pass us by so fast.

That was years ago. And yes, my baby has since moved four hours away and I am happy for her. In fact, I envy her life. She is right on the edge of new and exciting things just bursting to give birth.  Her life is filled with new pages to fill in books yet to be written, new relationships to be made and dreams to come true.

I remember once when I was nine. The little neighbor boy and I were playing at the beach. Our parents were visiting nearby on the sand in a little area where they had set up camp for the day.  Suddenly a huge wave pulled us out in an area where we could not reach the ground. I remember him grabbing my hand as we struggled to swim under the wave that had overcome us. Coughing and sputtering we looked at each other, amazed we had survived. Still holding hands, we suddenly let go~

I often wonder if he remembers that event. I always will. Our moms are still in touch. I barely think of him except for that time. Funny, what our minds store, isn’t it?

Back in those days, I didn’t have a lot of life to flash before my eyes but since then when I have had those life flashing before me moments, my mind always touches on those few seconds in my life when I knew I was in deep trouble, drowning with the boy across the street, my little friend who grabbed my hand and held on to me for dear life. I have felt that feeling lately. It reminds me of that bus driving away, my life flashing before my eyes, feeling the distance growing as I watched  it drive away with my baby in it, on that day so many years ago. I remember that memory of the near drowning flash through my mind as I was rushing around pregnant, trying to find my son the day he went to the wrong gate. And I remember it when my dad died, when my first husband died. It is something that I can’t make happen, it just does. Like one of those little books you flip through and it animates the drawings. And today I feel the pain of letting go of the past, of trying to grasp the future and hanging on for dear life, as if watching my life flash before my eyes.

Last night we were driving home from a church event, when a car flipped over and down a hill right in front of us. It all happened  in a split second. We live out in the country so it is pitch black except for the head lights. My husband swerved over to avoid the  car that had been in front of us as we all pulled over and stood frozen. My husband called 911 and  said “Someone has got to be dead down there” when in our amazement, we watched a young kid climb up the hill with only a cut on his hand.

I have felt like that in my life, all the way back as far as that drowning experience.   God has been there through all the moments. And last night was just another example. The way it happened, we all could have been killed.  Funny but it happened so fast.. I prayed a quick prayer and somehow I almost expected that kid to pop out of the dark and be okay. And if you follow my ramblings and read my blog… you know what I am talking about as I touch on a few more stories and blessings I have lived through as I think of them all in slow motion, unlike the flash before your eyes moments but blessings that I count daily.

I expected my family to not have been hurt by the earthquake. And I expected my best friend to survive her latest bout with stage four cancer. God is so good. But what about the times, when our prayers aren’t always answered the way we want them to be? Maybe in God’s infinite wisdom, He knows more than we do? Sometimes He answers our prayers the exact way we would like.  And at other times,  Well, I knew my dad was dead before we were officially told, I knew my first husband was going to die when he told me he was sick and somehow I knew he was going to go quick  and it would be on his birthday. Strange and yet, comforting to know that there is so much more to God we can tap into if we really go there. Sometimes I get a quick glimpse of understanding God is controlling things more than I ever imagine. And I could actually be more involved in it all. And then I get in the way and forget to get involved. Kind of like my life. I have been so stuck lately. On my own little island in my own little life.

God is a mystery. Our life is short. Some of us are done sooner than others with what we are given. Some of have longer lessons, some have more to learn, and others have more to teach. I have felt that drowning feeling lately, the life flashing before my eyes, kind of kick me in the butt kind of reminder and I am not going to waste it. Life is flashing before our eyes every single day. I am going to slow down the pages and jump back in the story and stop being stuck somewhere in the middle. I need to reboot and keep moving on.

I know now that I am going to write.

I am going to open up my own empty book and begin a new chapter. I will not waste the life that  God spared in that wave so many years ago. I am going to begin to fill new pages and live this thing called life again!

Hole Fillers


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

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

My book is sitting in a file just a “click” away and I am totally procrastinating by coming here to share my thoughts. I look at it as priming the pump, or perhaps stretching before  a  workout! But I know I need to get back to it. Why am I stuck? Could it be because, I am afraid to finish? If I finished, I would have to submit it. If I submit it, I am vulnerable. I can’t be rejected if I don’t present the question for someone to say yes or no.

Recently, I have been taking more chances in my life. The kind of chances that come with the possibility of rejection attached. Sometimes it has paid off and at other times I have had to face that vulnerability and it has sucked. Rejection is not the most comfortable place to be. But hey “no” is just a tiny word from a little person in my BIG world. I can make that rejection fill my world and make it bigger than it needs to be or I can brush my shoes off and move on to the next possibility and even bigger opportunity.  Sometimes I have forgotten that God is the captain of my ship. And I am the one He has put in charge of His vessel and have to remember NO ONE else is in charge here. No one! I can get opinions from other people until I am drowning in them but ultimately, in the end, I know that I am the one who steers this ship.

I have waited long enough for others to make things happen for me. In turn, I have found myself “stuck.” Only I can make things happen for me. The opportunities aren’t going to come and find me. I am going to believe in me enough to finish that book, to submit it and get a thousand rejections if it will get me to that one finish line where I actually finish the race.

It is always hard to take that first step… Go back to school, apply for a new job, start a new health regimen, or just a new attitude! And perhaps finish a book you have been writing for years! We have power in our own choices. We fill our own containers. We even fill the holes as we figure out what they are, until someday…. Our containers are spilling over!

FROM THE INSIDE OUT


Last year I lost 50 pounds. This year I gained back 20ish… give or take a few depending on which sorry day I finally decided to step on the scale. I could pat myself on the back and tell me “that’s okay, you still lost 30 or find that magical “click” within,  that I found last year. I think we all know the “click” I am talking about. For me it was an irate driver that had barreled out of nowhere to cut me off in traffic spitting out cuss words that an obstinate teen ager should have been ashamed of let alone man in what must have been his late sixties. Funny thing is, my doctor or health conscious friends didn’t encourage me as much as that pathetically out of control poor soul that called me a “fat” bitch. In-between all the swearing and spitting, the one thing I heard was fat and you know what? If a stranger with issues won’t tell you the truth, who will?

My point is that every time  I have felt that “click” which is my very own custom made  AHA moment, I have been able to keep up the pace until something causes me to stop. It has happened to me enough times to make me really want to dig in and figure out how to bottle that “click” and to keep swallowing that metaphoric pill that challenges me.

After that day, I shared the story of that pathetic little man whose words may have been pulled out of his own rage but how it truly effected me, with a friend at work. She wanted to lose her own few pounds so we began walking, joined Weight Watchers together and then the gym. I kind of started out slow. Sure, I lost the first week worth of water weight. I have been known to lose 8 pounds in the first week and then it slows down. But this time, my friend  rather cluelessly, brought me her fat clothes that she was growing out of. Ha! It was the one kick in the butt I needed! In the end, it was kind of like the tortoise and the hare. She stopped at ten and I went on to fifty! And that is when I realized, I am competitive! So competitive!

And looking back at last year, I realized that I challenged myself to lose fifty pounds. I wanted to lose twenty more but once I hit fifty, something happened. I set a goal for myself. It could be a certain number or a size I want to reach or a dress I want to fit into or an event I want to look good for and once I have reached that goal…. I kind of have a spiraling down, melt down pattern. But all this contemplating the why and hows  have made me realize that I am truly competitive. Even with me. I don’t need to beat the other guy. I can even challenge myself as I set new goals. Weight Watchers worked for me because I had to be accountable and weigh in each week. I need accountability.

This new little fitbit contraption that was gifted to me last month works in a similar way. It has made me try to beat myself. I can weigh in at home. I can monitor my life style and perhaps finally figure out that the challenge is just to be healthy. That is one that I haven’t mastered quite yet. To look good for me. To feel good for me. To just be better for me. To stop fighting myself. To stop competing with myself. To just begin to be the best me I can be. It’s not a click or magic. You can’t bottle it as a pill. It is finding that place inside of you that is filled up from the inside out!

Turning Pages


Prologue
Reference to real people, events establishments or places are intended to only provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously.
Once upon a time in an age before cell phones or personal computers, Ipods or even taped messages there lived a girl who had a dream, she wanted to be a writer. It was the summer of her sixteenth year when diaries were still in books with locks on them and the secrets were all just dreams of what might be. Images of houses with families inside, behind white picket fences and the hope of what would come next, danced through her head and found their way onto the pages, she wrote late into the wee hours many nights, pouring out her dreams onto the pages in way of poetry. Such raw and corny words, fell upon the pages as the young girl slowly filled the book, waiting for her innocent prayers to be answered, for her prince charming to rescue her and whisk her away into the life she was meant to have.
That old book was packed away, life happened in-between and recently while going through storage boxes the book was discovered again by the girl, not so young anymore, the one who had packed it away so many decades ago. Now much wiser and much more worn out, the woman held that book close and slowly opened the pages breathing in hints of yesterday, flipping through the pages, now yellowed with age. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking in the door, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. She hadn’t even looked up when Brynne walked in the door nor had she heard her questions, but just the muffled interruption as she stopped reading for a minute.
The older woman looked up and smiled a melancholy kind of mood seemed to envelope her, Brynne was puzzled. Her mom always had the TV on for background company even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. Brynne frowned and sat down next to her mom as her mom began reading a few of the pages aloud to her. She stopped to make sure that she had not lost her daughter’s interest back somewhere at the first page but noted that she looked intrigued. Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured the woman,Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this book when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested. “I never told you this part of my story she said.” Maybe it’s time I try to tell it to you now.
Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed a throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but Brynne motioned her mom to continue reading.
Aperture
Back in the seventies letter writing and phone calls were about the only means of communicating.  Journals were in bound books and writers still wrote their ideas on napkins and then transferred them onto the pages wound tightly in their typewriters. If addresses or numbers or names were changed, finding them again didn’t hold out much more hope than a message in a bottle might. The inventors of E-mails, Facebook,  twitter and texting were  not yet born. Little did we know what lie ahead. But my dad did.
In 1966, when I was about nine, my dad took me to his office filled with huge computers and disk drives and told me….
“Someday all these computers that fill this room will sit on just one desk … and maybe even in our life time, you will be able to hold one within the palm of your hand.”
 My first love recently found me on Face book. Our story is bittersweet. For over three decades I only allowed myself to remember the ugly part of our love story and basically stayed stuck there for all of these years. This story is about it all. (The ugly and the beautiful.)
  Everyone’s first love should be a sweet memory. Now through today’s technology I have recently,  I have been given that gift back again. The message here is not just about the mistakes made by the ones in love but by the adults in their life, the secrets kept, the sorrow and pain of young love lost.
In the seventies, we learned;  Love means never having to say  you’re sorry. I have to modify that today by saying.  Love is all about forgiveness.