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


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

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

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

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

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

Brooke and Chase Engaged

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

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

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

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

 

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

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

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

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

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

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

I Will Always Remember You


 

 

daddy playing the guitar to me

I am blessed to have the dads in my life that I do. We celebrated them today. And I am so grateful for them both. Having said that, I am not sure why this year was especially tough for me. It started out looking for cards. Funny because as a greeting card creator, I usually have taken on that task myself. But my daughter is getting married next Saturday!! And my plate is pretty full. Though I did manage to throw a little BBQ  in honor of our dads, I just couldn’t shake the one that was missing.

You see my dad died at 51 jogging around the block. It is funny to think that he was younger than I am now. Just a few weeks after Father’s Day thirty-four years ago. You would think that the missing him would subside. But it never does. If I think about it long enough, I usually can fall to pieces, at least inside. Like looking for cards. I found some pretty good ones this year. But I had to put back the ones about carrying me and putting band aids on my knee and being there to watch me grow up as I silently whispered…”Daddy I haven’t forgotten you, thank you.”

I remember the long talks and the Saturday drives, You being the one to take me school clothes shopping every year and going to the top floor of your office building so you could make Snoopy Calendars for me and my friends. And you telling me that someday all the disk drives that filled that floor would someday, maybe even in my lifetime, fit on one desk and maybe even in my hand! Oh how I wish you could see just how much your predictions all came to pass.

I remember loving to make you laugh and wanting to show you first when I got an A or learned something new. I remember you loved to read my poems and said you thought I had something special. Sometimes I wonder what you would think of me and I have a million things I want to tell you and a million more I want to ask. All I can say is thank you for being there when I needed you most, whether to just sit there with me through a broken heart,  telling me that I hadn’t even met anyone who deserved me yet, but I would.  And being so happy for me when I was happy again.

You were such a great grandpa for such a short time. But you showered your new grandson with such love. And I have a feeling that you hand picked my baby girl for me from up there in heaven. As I looked through all the pictures to go back and find ones of us. I watched as a whole lifetime passed me by. You missed so much. It isn’t fair…. that the good ones die too young.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I will always remember you.

daddy playing the guitar to me

My Dad singing … “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” (For those born after the sixties, it was a commercial jingle. He was always a funny guy. The hole still is raw if I stay there too long. Today,  I just had to wander back. I am sure there are many that stood in front of the cards this year and remembered too… That the good die young.

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


reading computer screen

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

city view with bridge

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

like thumb

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

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

jesus praying hands

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

blog readers

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

And it is here that I have discovered greatness.

 

 

My half of friendship


A Michele's Latte

Friendship is a funny thing as you get older. You understand more. You tolerate more and you cherish more. Hopefully because of what we learn in the end, we give more.  Recently  (all my loyal readers know) that I lost my childhood bestfriend of over a half a century. It has made me reflect on a lot of things this last year, especially since her birthday just passed. A few years earlier, we’d had a silly falling out. In all of the years we’d known each other, that had never happened. Not to say we hadn’t been annoyed with one another in all those years. Probably, no absolutely, her with me and me and at times me, with her. We’d just weathered our feelings silently and moved on and never had so much as a cross word with one another.

This one had to do with one of her friends repeating a conversation she’d overheard me having with my husband. I’d been annoyed at something she’d said to me and was venting in private. This gossip she shared with my best friend was very silly and yet damaging and it took a good month for us to repair, and get through it. Though it probably made our friendship stronger in the end. NOT what this other friend was hoping I am sure. Later, at her funeral, this friend of hers came up to me, pretty drunk and apologized. My daughter said that “liquid apologies” don’t count. But it did for me, because I am all about validation, and sometimes the “liquid” provokes more honesty than anything ever could, and it told me that this woman knew what she’d done. I forgave her. But I do regret that she was allowed to steal even a month of my friendship with my best friend. Something, I must take partial responsibility for allowing.

In all the things I have learned from my friendships, I have learned to embrace every minute. March Madness is a good way to describe the birthdays I have to remember in March. Having one less, made me realize that I am blessed to celebrate the birthdays that I do, and one less is not better!

The other day one of my friends who has recently lost her husband to ALS (one of my husband’s best friends) messaged me to tell me that she’d be in town  and asked if I “had time” to meet. My first reaction to a question like that, usually always is me scrambling to make excuses. And it’s a bummer for me that I have that automatic attitude. In my head, I have so little spare time, that I am selfish with it.  Over the years, I have never been one to have many friends. I hone the ones that I hold dear and for me that is enough. Though there are those few friends I will drop everything to be with and Michele is one of those friends.

I went through a particularly hard time a few years ago. One that I couldn’t share with a lot of friends and Michele didn’t judge me or even nudge me, she just listened. No advice, no opinons, just prayed with me and continued to be my friend through the worst of it. As I was driving to our destination, I felt blessed. A feeling that I usually feel after I’ve met and am glad I ended up saying yes. But this particular morning I was so happy to be going and excited to see my friend who I’d not seen for a while. And it made me think about all of the other times I missed out on by feeling I didn’t have time and saying no to other friend’s invitations.

This special woman that has taught me so much about friendship, who comes to town and seeks “me” out and wants to share “her” time with me. And our time was so special, I kept pushing back the minutes, not wanting to leave.

A Michele

Our place to meet -At Spearhead Coffee in Paso

It made me think… Of all the special women in my life. The ones who have evolved. The ones I would do anything for. The ones that you realize are worth the time. The ones who feel you are worth the time. The ones who you have known for decades, the ones who you work with and suddenly realize that they are one of those ones you include in that small handful, the ones who come through for you in ways you never could imagine, and make you want to do the same. It really is all about the blessing of being the other half of something pretty special called friendship.

A Michele and me

Michele insisted on this selfie!

 

 

To My Valentine


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

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

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

So Babe this ones for you…

Happy Valentines Day Jimmy!

hugging kids

I remember when I met you

my heart fluttered like a little kid

No butterflies have ever quite felt

the way those first ones did

But over the years I’ve come to realize

and truly understand

that no one in this old world

can love me exactly as you can

For love is not just the way  you feel

When you first fall in love

It’s hanging in and pressing on

even when there’s not enough

It’s fighting and forgiving

and being able to “never mind”

That makes me know I want you

To always be my Valentine!

heartssss

Diane Reed

2016©

Conversations


bed

Today I woke up feeling that after an unusual night of bad dreams and having a hard time just sleeping that I’d open my blinds to gloom, the kind where the sky seems lower and the clouds hang heavy. Instead I found a crisp day with sun already settling in.

window opening

I have come to the conclusion that I talk myself into a lot of my bad moods. In fact a lot of my conversations with me have gone that way lately. And then there are those times when I want to have a conversation with someone not there anymore. Some of those times still take my breath away and cut like a knife, while others are like a prick, just a reminder of someone not any less important, but that time has dulled the pain of their leaving my life.

My husband once said to me that my great memory stories all are from the past of somebody else. And that has really bothered me. I want to shake myself sometimes and say: “MOVE ON GIRL! Get over it, look at what is in front of you and live in the moment and soak it in, because someday these will be the moments you remember longingly.”     I get it. He says he knows me better than I do. I’m smiling as I write this. If he knew me as well as I know me, he’d be long gone!

But seriously, I do truly want to embrace every moment. There are a thousand conversations I share with my husband. And I’d miss every one of them if he wasn’t there to have them with me. But sometimes he is kind of “judgy”  And they tend to go a little like this:  “And then I said.… and then he will say….“Oh no, why did you say that?”  Argh!!!! So let me get this straight. I am sharing a story where I am basically throwing myself under the bus, already knowing I messed up by sharing the dumb thing I am sharing that I said and so HOW does pointing THAT out help??! I mean I already feel bad enough if I am telling the story and I already said the stupid thing that I am feeling stupid about.

friends talking

Those are the times I need those friends who just listen. The ones that used to just empathize with me. No matter how stupid we both know what I did or said was. But then I think to myself… I’d reeeeally miss those conversations with my husband,  the one that has stayed even though he thinks he knows me better than I know me. I need to live in this moment and cherish them and him. No matter how annoying both can be sometimes. I know I’d miss them most of all if they were only a memory.

So today was one of those days. I woke up really wishing I could have a conversation with someone who is not in my life anymore. It wasn’t even about anything in particular that I wanted to talk about. I just needed that connection. And I think instead, I had the perfect conversation. With me.

quote about the last chapter

“Funny How Things Change”


 

marineland

I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.

daddy

My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

The One In The Mirror


This one’s for you Natalie!! Thank you!!! I deleted this one and wasn’t going to post it because it seems as if all of my posts seem to be about some aha moment where I am pulling myself out of a bad attitude… but your sweet note made me rethink it! So as I said, pulling this one out of the trash, AND… THIS one’s for you my friend! 🙂

———————————————————————-

Sometimes it feels as if I have been sucker punched when I look into  the mirror lately. It’s not because I’m not that tanned sized five young girl any longer. It’s much more than that. I could handle that, if that’s all that it was. It is feeling like a failure. As if I have failed me. I feel like a stranger is staring back at me. She looks so tired and worn out and as if there is something missing in her eyes. And it makes me wonder. Where did I go?

I don’t want to see that tired sad older woman staring back at me. And wonder, did I fail her? Did I make the wrong choices? I have so much to be grateful for. Sure, life didn’t really go as I’d planned. But I do have many blessings. I have two great kids and an amazing husband. I have wonderful friends and a loving family. I have fallen in love a few times and had my heart-broken a few more. I’ve had losses and a few bumps along the way but for the most part, life has been good. God has blessed me. So why am I so sad so much of the time? Is it that I feel time is running out? Or that life is creeping up on me too fast and I haven’t done everything that I’ve wanted to? Or even more than a bucket list, accomplished things where I feel I’ve made a difference because you have known me.

standing at window

The other day I was thinking about everything and how I really should be happy. God has answered so many prayers. Sure life isn’t perfect. But I am blessed! I’ve talked about life being this empty book and everyday… you write a new page..

diary gram's But what happens when all the pages are written on????

journal

You get a NEW book

The good thing about living a long time is learning things along the way. We have a lot more to draw from as we go. And if I have learned one thing, it is that life is not over till God decides it is! I realized that I need to start participating in it to find that girl in the mirror that once was there! I know she’s in there somewhere on the other side just waiting to be rediscovered!

mirror middle aged woman

The other day, a man with very sad eyes came to book a room at our event center on the day that it already was booked. My heart broke for him. It was for a Memorial for his wife.  He looked so sad. He shared that it had been very sudden. The things about memorials, is you rarely have a lot of notice. I decided that I was going to make it happen! Though we’d never had such a quick turn over of events in one day, I made the executive decision! And I felt alive knowing that I could do something, no matter how small to help him in his time of grief.

It was a good reminder for me, that life isn’t always a choice. But I can choose to live it while I have the opportunity to do so! He was so grateful when I called to tell him that we would work it out. And it made me happy to feel that I had a tiny bit of power to help. And I have no doubt that  this man was put in my path as a reminder. That I do have the power to choose to live life and live it more abundantly or not. It is my choice. Funny, as I passed the mirror again, I glanced at it  this time, and I  recognized a familiar reflection, someone with life in her eyes, the one living it again!

Deuteronomy 31:8The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

hand from heaven

James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

JUST HUNGRY


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

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

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

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

 homeless

It’s in the discomfort where we learn the MOST


running through the field2

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

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

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

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

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

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

quoteYou-only-live-once

You


 washing cars

You fall into my heart like a catchy tune

on a slow lazy car washing  afternoon.

We fit together more than I realized

you’ve touched my heart like a sweet surprise.

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

You never really had any doubts about us

and believed all we had would be just enough.

Even when  I messed everything  up

you hung in there and wouldn’t give up.

fireplace sofa

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

when we were anything but on solid ground.

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

and have come out even better than before!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

For falling in love and falling for you

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

It took me a while to understand God’s plan

That you are the place He had me  land.

Diane Reed

2014

My Aha Moment


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

 Jesus hem

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

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

little boy

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

 

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

Diane Reed

Unfolding Prayer Requests


valleys

The thing is, that no matter how low you go, the great thing about valleys is that there will always be…      Well, not valleys.

I think that my problem is that I have always looked for the mountain top high. My best friend and I were having a conversation today and she shared a little story about how when she was a little girl she remembers when she made a conscious effort to not expect more. It was a sad story (maybe another post)  but we ended up laughing, deciding that;

Expecting less out of life may save us from disappointment but it would be sad to go through life  only to find that your only joy may be…  not being disappointed because you expecteded less.

gifts place settings

When I was in my twenties a friend gave a few of us prayer tins as a party favor at a luncheon she threw for our friend’s birthday. Each one had blank cards inside waiting for our prayers. Her only instructions were not to open them until all the blank cards had been filled out and placed in the tin for three years. That little tin was packed away in-between the three year waiting period during a move in a box with journals and other personal books. Life went on and I lived it as a young mother in a struggling marriage. The tin had been filled and forgotten.

prayer box

Years later I found it again and I sat  in my cozy little home, one rainy afternoon as I emptied out the little tin onto the floor and began unfolding  dozens of prayer requests that I’d written to my Lord in quiet desperation.

folded notes

Remembering the time in my life when I’d written them all, believing each time that I inserted a new one that some how it was magically reaching Heaven from my pen to God’s eyes. And you know what I discovered? Every single one had been answered. Maybe not the way that I’d envisioned it but in a way that had been good for me and made my life better.

prayer request tin box

Folded Prayers

Oh Little Prayer tin

  forgotten in a box

holding all my pleas,

 I thought that you were lost

attic treasures

I recall the times when

I fed you every prayer

sometimes wondering

if ANYONE would care

You hold a special message

I needed to see today

That God answers if you ask

regardless of the way

HE hears our heart felt prayers

lonely window

and listens to our pleas

whether we are standing

or we are on our knees

praying on knees

He sees the folded prayer requests

folded in a tin

long after we have written them

and sent them up to HIM

HE is at work answering

long after our request

All inside a little tin I found

my faith had passed the test.

Diane Reed

2013©

Seriously, it is kind of a pretty neat exercise. Keep a prayer journal or start a prayer tin, and then look back a few years later and see how many of your requests were answered. It is really amazing how God really does hear us and how we always are so surprised to see how faithful HE truly is!!!!!

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

TODAY


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

door little girl peeking out black and white

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

winnie the pooh's tigger boing

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

All I know, is that…

You can  blame, or embrace the challenges you face

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

sad girl brunette

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

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

crying girl

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

and be part of the lesson teaching others how to live

BeFunky_triumphant.jpg

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

as your message sings a song that reaches new heights!

Diane Reed

2013

The Bucket Dumper


grape young girl picking

Today was an amazing day. I got to hang out with great friends in their vineyard and be part of their harvest! They invited us to help pick their grapes and it was an awesome experience.

larry baldwin1

The group of people that gathered this morning happily worked like a fine oiled machine. We each got a bucket to fill, a glove and pruning shears. And though I missed church (which I have been doing a lot lately, another blog for another time…. ) I kind of had my own service all within my own few rows of grapes.

grapes bucket

I am kind of competitive, even with myself. So I had fun seeing how fast I could fill a bucket and how many I could fill. The only thing was that the fuller the bucket got, the further down the row I got and the place to dump the grapes was all the way back up the row.

grapez

So after a few dumps, I jokingly made a comment that we needed a bucket dumper who went around and took our filled buckets in exchange for an empty one. Low and behold someone took on that task.

larry baldwin

Of course “me” the lover of a good metaphor is not going to let this one pass. So, I started relating the bucket dumper to what God does for us… He provides us with a bountiful harvest and takes the fruits of our labors and lessens our load with His grace. The job of the bucket dumper is not a glorified one.

 grapes bucket being emptied

I’ve always loved it when I get to  cook a great meal and someone will come in behind me as I go and wash the dishes.

They are the ones without the glory and yet most appreciated by not only the chef and the winemaker but everyone not having to do that job..

So… whether it is a  meal or a bottle of wine, it is not in just the end result but all that goes on behind the scenes. It’s all about the entire process and sometimes, it’s not just about how many buckets that “I” fill but it is more about being grateful for  the dish washers and the bucket dumpers that help create the magic!

wine bottle

Sometime it’s not about how full the bucket is, but what’s in the heart of the one who fills it.

                                                                         Diane Reed ’13

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


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

Here is an excerpt from her post today:

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

To read the whole thing… here it is:

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia's smile

A baby smiles and I see a glimpse of heaven.

A flower grows from a crack in the cement.

daisey through cement

A stranger holds the door open…

holding door

Are these messages possibly Heaven sent?

A garden’s fragrance, a butterflies wings

little girl in the garden

A sunrise inside the warmth of dawn

sunrise golden clouds

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

laughing

when you thought you couldn’t go on…

A slice of toast with some special jam

toast and jam

warm socks on a cold morning

warm socks by tea

Ahhh such is the joy in feeling grateful

that appears in my heart without warning.

girl running

Diane Reed

2013

Traffic Jam


 no traffic

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

traffic best pic

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

upside down car

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

traffic on the 101

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

traffic

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

traffic horn

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

Jesus steering

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

Life is all about moving past the accidents,

side mirror

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

traffic calming sign

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

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!!!!

HE Is Our Everything!


woman praying in church

His GRACE is like a healing salve

His light shines on my path

path in the woods

His help is like a gentle knock

My heart the door he taps

Jesus at the door

His forgiveness is like a new day

letting go of sorrow

hands reaching

Giving hope to new dreams

to greet each new tomorrow

water raining in a stream

His peace is like a constant stream

That never will run dry

healing waters

His love is like a golden pail

to catch the tears I’ve cried

Jesus waiting for in heaven

In life we’re always striving

to chase our latest dream

when we only need to stop and see

HE is our everything!

Diane Reed

2013

praising Jesus in the clouds

Saying Goodbye to Best Friends…


When I was a little girl you became my second mom

I’d spend the night at your house and we’d talk till well past dawn

Your daughters were my best friends I was friends with them all

but later in life, when we grew up, it was “you” who I’d call…

Oh Lucy, how I dreaded the call I got today. So many memories flood my heart as I write this. You were always my soft place to fall, my advisor, my confidant, my constant. So consistent in my life. Always just a phone call away. Opening up your home for me to live with you guys when I was younger and then for visits whenever I could get away. I grew to love you like my own family. I smile as I think about our late night chats as Bob would call down “Lucille!” And you would tell him you’d be right up and then two hours would have passed as you stayed to chat some more. I loved your stories. Some of them were life changing for me. Some molded my life in ways that made me into who I am today.

When you found the Lord, you were so on fire. And that fire never went out. I could come for a visit or pick up the phone and you were just as in love with your Lord as you were on the first day you really found HIM. Even our last phone call was all about HIM. And I am so confident that in my own selfish sadness (please bear with me while I catch my breath realizing that you won’t be here for me anymore) I know you are so happy, free from pain in your wonderful Savior’s arms. But in the meantime I need to adjust knowing that I won’t ever hear again your wonderful voice and the joy you always seemed to have in it when you would hear it was me on the other end….

I’d hear…. “Oh helloooo baby, or Diane-eeee or Darling” You always made me feel that you were soooo happy to hear from me in a way I don’t think anyone ever has before. And I’ll miss that.

I am so glad that I got to bring my baby for a visit a couple of years ago. She remembered visiting you as a little girl but it had been too long. It was quite an adventure getting to your wonderful *mansion* in the dark up on the hill in Fallbrook…. *funny the memories little kids have*… I remember as you were building it and going with you to pick out wallpapers for ALL those  bathrooms and the tile for the pool. I will always cherish memories of that wonderful house you made into a home. It looked so much the same as I remember the last time we visited… another constant in my life.       Sooo much more than just that house, you were the one who never changed. And on the way home from our visit Brookie said; “Thank you Mama for making me go with you. I love her too.”

Oh Lucy, what am I going to do without you as my soft place to fall? You have left quite a legacy in your path… so many lives you have touched. You will be missed. But you are home now. Heaven must be so wonderful for you. So many people who you have touched, waiting in line to greet and thank you! Save a place for me! I love you!

 LUCY

Click on the song below to understand WHO Lucy has been in this lifetime to me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6j_YpZQi-I4

Checking IN!


babies oh mine!

Just minutes after Sophie was born with her Auntie Brookie

It all started here…. The day my granddaughter was born… the day I seemed to get all caught up in everything…

Life keeps moving fast and from the everyday stuff, work and keeping up with it all I have let my blog take a powder for a bit. Thank you for those of you who have checked up on me! I love you guys! Seems as if I was going strong… working on my book with my friend Deb and networking and building relationships with everyone here and then slowly life happened. But I will be back full force soon! After next week, my next schedule isn’t quite as slammed so I will have more time to write. But in the meantime, I didn’t want you guys to think I was flaking out here!!

I’ve been out of town and back and forth and leaving again this weekend after work. My husband has been trying to get their business up and running with his dad (LOTS of prayers needed on that one please!) And I haven’t seen him for almost a month except maybe one day or so here and there, so it will be nice to catch up with him! But in the meantime… I don’t even have a poem or anything… Just some pictures for ya!

My daughter was up here for a few days and brought her new investment! A wonderful camera that she purchased with Chase so that they could partner up with projects they have going instead of waiting for filmmakers to fit them in…. and I have found her to have quite an eye as she has captured her brother’s sweet little new family as they posed for her. Thought I’d share a few shots with ya as I work on my next post that is long over due!

Love you all! Thanks for your patience!

Introducing our wonderful Sophia with her wonderful Mama Amanda

Mommy kissing me all the time!

And my son…Tough Guy Chadly who really is a softy when it comes to his babygirl Sophie!

Chad Kissing Sophia

With his other sweet girl Jasmine! (Where does time go?)

Jaz and Dad

Who he thinks he needs to always teach to be tough  (“Ahhh come on dad, give me a break!”)

Jaz and Daddd

And our wonderful new little grandson Brenden ~ to whom Chad has already started teaching about the importance of muscles to!

Brenden and Chad Muslemen

Daddy is even telling Sophie about all the important things he wants her to know about!

Talking to Daddy

Such a sweet family!

Amanda's fam

Funny how babies have a way of softening even the tough guys!

Anywaaay, that is my update! Thanks for walking through my little Grandma Brag Book! Thanks Brookie for capturing them all!

xoxo

“me”

My Strength


baby smile

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

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

0413011039 hot tubrohss

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

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

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

hot tub

hot tub2

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

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

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

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

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

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

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

You Did


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

This one’s for you……..

church pew

Went to church with a broken heart and two kids,

wondering if anyone would ever love me again

and then you did.

img172

Saw you up there in the front,  leading songs,

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

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

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

crying in the sand

And yet twenty years later we seem to have survived,

Rose in the woods 1

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

Wedding Garter

I’ve become a grandma

and you…

a Papa to our kid’s kids.

Auntie me

grandpa and jas

After I thought no one would love me again…

holding hands

 you did.

~~~~~

Diane Reed

2013

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)

A Little More


poverty3

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

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

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

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

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

poverty2

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

Oh Lord,I’ve found myself

on a pretty selfish path,

forgetting to be grateful

for everything I have~

praising by ocean

Making my prayer time,

all about me and what I need~

Losing my perspective,

consumed by my own greed~

sad woman3

Today… I want to thank you

for the GRACE you’ve given me!

Not seeing my flaws

that I know you might have seen.

swan

May I be reminded

just what I’m asking for

when I forget and come to You

asking for a little more.

Diane Reed 2013

poverty

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made


sunrise 1 pink sky

“Sunrise”

As the day open’s it’s eyes…

sunrise pink clouds

painted skies

fill my heart~

country sunrise

God’s canvas

splashed with pink,

praising God3

His work of art

is my day’s start!

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

Diane Reed

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

Garden of Eden

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

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

snake biting shoe

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

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

 I say NO… I am not…

What do you say?

It is your choice.

This is the day the Lord has made photo

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

Happy 77th Birthday Papa!


01p111(Dad right front, mom behind him on the right)

Once upon a time there lived a quiet little boy

Who touched the life of a quiet little girl~

But in-between those good old quiet little days

they went out and lived their lives in the big old noisey world!

img185

Both their lives were filled with joy and sorrow

some tears and a lot of laughter

And all the while God kept planning every detail

of what someday, would  come after!

01p118

They lost touch and had families of their own

As the quiet little boy grew up to be  a handsome youg man~

But even back then, in the scheme of things

God knew what was in store for them because HE had a plan!

ME ONE YEARS OLD

You may not have been there in my beginnings

But you’ve been there during times worth while

You made me believe in happy endings

and were there to walk me down the aisle

01p029

You have been the greatest Papa to my kids

And they love you with all of their hearts

album papa

Brookie and Papa

You have shared stories and planted seeds

molding their little souls from the start!

father and son at sunset

But today… as I reflect on how you have  touched my own life

I wanted to tell you thank you for being there

For really, really, really, really,

Being there!

praying hands

Happy Birthday Papa!

I love you!

(Sorry this was two days late…. )

HAPPY 79TH BIRTHDAY MAMA!


img172

(Baby Gloria)

Once upon a time, there was an angel  God sent down here to earth,

With borrowed wings she found a place and began her life long work~

img171

She has had many joys and sorrows and  been an example to us all;

Starting out quite early she’s been  faithful  to her Savior’s  call~

img180

Her life has been a story she began to write at an early age,

planting seeds along the way  with blessings on each page~

img184

(Mom on the right)

She has filled the world with laughter and become God’s work of art,

img183

(Mom on the left)

teaching other’s about God’s love as they asked Him into their hearts~

album mom's family

Her daddy is with Jesus because she begged him to pray the prayer,

and because of her life so many others are also waiting there!

album mom on deck

And so I am sure that GOD  is pleased that He sent His Angel here to earth

And that heaven also must be celebrating

the day of my mom’s birth!

img206 

(My grandma, my mom and me and my great grandma)

img210

(My mom and me)

album generations of the women

(my mom, me my grandma and my cousin Pammy and my Auntie Roberta)

album mom and gram and me

(Mom, Grandma & me)

album my mom and me at the water fountain img103img188album mom & dadimg065

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!

img148

I LOVE YOU!

DIANE

Dinner For One


I throw the keys on the table as I walk through the door,

keys3

dropping bags filled with groceries as they fall  on the floor~

grocery bags

Listening to your message you left  when I missed your call,

Telling me that you have to stay one more night after all.

 cell phone in hand

The traffic was bleeping crazy so I missed my run,

traffic best pic

I stand at the freezer choosing my dinner for one~

microwave

Funny, I used to enjoy having the house to myself,

woman reading by the fire

But suddenly I feel things, I haven’t recently felt,

“Hey Beautiful” you say sweetly, as you always do~

And tonight , I realize, I really am missing you!

phone message2

It feels good to realize, I don’t want to be alone,

so I leave you a new message;  “My love, hurry home!”

Diane Reed 2013

Rain Check Please


raincheck

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

easy bake oven

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

creeple people

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

finger map

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

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

jogger

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

funeral

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

sunrise morning beautiful

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

lady yelling cartoon

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

God sees poem

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

coupons

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

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

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

  Psalm 136:1

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

Merry Christmas To ALL my friends here!


Christmas Typewriter2

Somehow in a corner of my world

I found you

or maybe….

you found me.

All I know is that…

 we have found each other

You…

The one who actually reads my words,

 who shares my passions

and takes the time

to find me

each time I write something new

to LIKE and to comment

and then share your words,

and your time

clock stained

and in the connection

we have found magic.

Thank you to all of my readers

and now my friends.

May the true meaning of Christmas fill your soul

all year long!

Baby Jesus2

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Typewriter

With Love,

Diane

Terri


boxes in the yard

The refrigerator box lay sideways in our front lawn. I was four years old and we had just moved in to our new house. My dad answered the door as two little girls looked up at him. The oldest one asked “You got any kids?” I peeked around his legs. And that is how I met her. My BFF.

My dad always loved re-telling that story over the years, whenever she would come for a visit. She was two months older than me, the younger of the two sisters who had knocked at my door on moving day. Refrigerator boxes were so magical back in those days and had such bonding powers, I rarely look at an empty one without remembeing the powers that, THAT one seemed to possess.  I have often teased them both over the years, that they only wanted me for my boxes.

Now over a half a century later, I think I got the better end of the deal.  She has been in two of my weddings. (And has warned me that two is her limit!) She is Auntie Terri to my daughter and my BFF for over five decades! I think she must have followed me around to five record stores while I tried to find a song I wanted to play at my reception and must have  ironed my wedding dress about four times the day of my wedding and stood up for me as my Maid of Honor.

img096  img069

She is the reason that my daughter has experienced Hawaii. And it is because of “Auntie Terri’s”  generosity that she got to go to the school of her choice without the financial hardship there would have been without her heart. She drops everything to play hostess to my baby or will drive for hours to see her in a play.

From playing dolls to having our own babies two months apart, we have come full circle.

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(Our babies… mine is on the right though I claim them both!)

We have gone through births and deaths, illnesses and more births, we have gone through weddings and heart breaks and falling in love and out of love, a dozen times over the years. We even got past the idea we were both going to marry the same boy! (Scott lived nextdoor to me and across the street from her!)

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We can say exactly what we are thinking without feeling judged and vent and snap and know that none of it will change our love for each other. Life may throw us curve balls but nothing can rock our friendship.  Not even miles….

From the time we were little girls, we made the effort to keep in touch. Through letter writing and special note cards, sealing wax and phone calls, visits and later, emails and texting… we have ridden the wave and found that our love is built on solid ground.

letters with ribbon

My daughter is up there this weekend doing an Art Show and staying with her Auntie Terri and it warms my heart that they have found their own friendship in each other. Their own interests and  memories all of their own.

girls gossiping

And my heart is full as I share my best friend with my best friend.

Little Jewel


I wanted to come on and thank my blogging friends and followers and wish YOU all a wonderful and thankful day… maybe by writing something profound…. but I have to admit by the time I got here, once the dishes were washed

and all had gone as successful as possible with about four different families, extended and such, all connected by marriage or somehow~ all under the SAME roof….with the usual eggshell walking and  family dynamic tensions~     In the end… I felt blessed and yet pretty weary for the wear (having to have worked Wednesday and then knowing that I was back to work for another 8 hours bright and early tomorrow) I have to admit, I didn’t feel too inspired…

 And so thought I would just share something I had already written. Sooo, I was going      through some of my old poems and songs, and I found this one. It made me realize that I sometimes forget that I am nothing without Calvary. And so as we go around the room and rattle off what we are thankful for…. I am glad I am not so tired to remember the gift that Jesus gave us…. our everlasting life….on a hill far away, on an old rugged cross. And even when I am grouchy or fail to be exactly the person I wish I could be, or don’t get it right… even when others see me as clueless because I don’t see their point of view in exactly the same way…  (can ya tell I had a taste of family dynamics along with a helping of cranberry sauce??! smile…)

“HE” sees me soooo differently, not because I am or deserve it… or did anything special other than to simply believe… And for THAT~ I am so grateful!

HOW could I have ever felt uninspired??

About 25 years ago or so, I wrote this song with a friend. We really thought that we were going somewhere. Who knows where “somewhere” ever is? Today was Thanksgiving and I had 20 for the celebration. At first, I was overwhelmed but then I got into it. My daughter peeled 10 pounds of potatoes!  Later, when I realized that we had no center pieces, she actually gathered all the candles I had in the house, filled glasses with popcorn and went out and hunted down some pretty cool looking pinecones… and then for free… with what we had in the house, she made these beautiful  centerpieces that looked like they had been ordered!

My husband went and got tables and chairs…  my sister who is usually the first to leave, stayed and helped clean till the very end… everyone pitched in. I got up at 4AM and I am just checking in to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who I have met here that I am truly thankful for.  And the fact that I am so unworthy of all I have and yet HE blesses me anyway!

Here is the poem…

Little Jewel

Just a pebble in my own life

scarred and scratched upon the sand

but then you found me worthy

it’s still hard to understand

You refined the roughened edges

brought a glow for all to see

and yet you used my broken life

Jesus, all in spite of me

Chorus: I can hear you softly saying Little Jewel shine for Me Little Jewel shine for me

So unworthy in my own eyes

still uncut within your hands

like a jewel amidst the pebbles

hidden in the rocky sand

So unworthy in my own life till you died and set me free so you died for just a pebble made a jewel on Calvary!

(repeat chorus)

Words by Diane Griffin ’85 Music by Linda Hurst

A thing of Beauty in an unexpected place


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

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

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

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

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

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

Anywaaay…

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Honor of my 100th Post!


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

My Mom…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mom and me 1958

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

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

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

I love you mom!

Nothing compares


Pooh said…

  “Eating Honey is a very good thing to do,

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

which is better than when you do.”

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

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

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

And  somehow I can always depend on being rescued.

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

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

but I really do know….

That NOTHING compares to HIM!

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

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”

Cheater Readers


The first time I noticed it, I was in the shower washing my face. I had purchased a new cleanser. It was a light green package with white writing on it. I was not sure if it was the water in my eyes or the small white print, but I decided that NO ONE could possibly read the instructions on that stupid package! Well, a few days later, I decided to pick up a pair of what my dad called “cheater readers” at the drug store and through those lenses I saw clearly. My heart dropped as I purchased a pair and felt very old. That was the first sign of old age. I had not appreciated my youth as much as I should have.

Today, as I walk down the stairs, I creak, when I get up after sitting for a while, it’s not so easy, my double jointed body is not so flexible and even though I have begun jogging again when no one is looking, I don’t think I will ever jump hurdles again. Nope, not even maybe. And back pain is just not something my mom tells me about. I am old. I am that older lady who gave me advice, once upon a time not too long ago, about appreciating my babies who have since grown up!

Time passes so quickly. I remember hearing about the aches and pains of the older artists that I did shows with, and thinking I would NEVER complain like that. I try not to, but NOW  I know what they were talking about! One decade you are wearing size 8 and the next, you are not! What happened? I have learned that it is life. But what do they say? fifty is the new forty? And sixty is the new fifty? Okay well that puts me in the mid forties! And I know, I know, age is just a number. But I have to admit, I am having trouble getting pumped up again. I have my floods of inspiration from time to time, and get on a roll and then slowly, go backwards again. Due to depression or just the negative way I look at things. But I guess if those cheater readers are going to help me see~ then so be it.

Recently, after going all the way up to 35o in the number on my last pair, I relented and went and got a perscription. I guess I was so bad that my doctor told me that if I had gotten in an accident, they could have sued me! They gave me a pretty blue case with a special cleaning spray and cloth and sent me on my way. And oh my, I must say that cleaning REAL glasses puts a much better slant on my view of things. Those cheater readers never seemed as clean as I can get the glass on my new pair.

Maybe there is a little lesson in that. Sometimes we fight and resist the things we know will help us and keep blindly going along until we just can’t anymore. We have two choices, to remain in the fog or reach out.  Finding God again has done that for me. Every verse has new meaning. Every story, a different lesson. And slowly, sometimes very slowly, I am beginning to see things a little more clearly. Who knew that my drawer full of cheater readers that I had lying all over my house could be replaced with one little pair.

Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”  For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:  “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.”  Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.  Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;  for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
John 12:37-43

The Ring


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Thing of Beauty in an Unexpected Place


Our little historical clocktower building before the earthquake

Every once in a while I will run into an old customer that asks me if we are ever going to re-open our little gift shop, Rose In The Woods (the name was supposed to mean A thing of beauty in an unexpected place) that was destroyed in the San Simeon earthquake in 2003. The other day, someone asked me that again, they even told me that they saved an old receipt from my store that day and that she still carried it around with her all these years later, as a reminder of just how short life is.  That is when I  realized that I hadn’t talked about it for a long time.  But it is good for me to be reminded where we have been and where we are now and to remind myself that even  today… I am a survivor. Maybe you could even refer to my whole journey as a thing of beauty in an unexpected place.

But for those of you who don’t know my story…. I will tell it here…to share with you and to remind myself once again… to be grateful. And hopefully soon I will get this lesson I am supposed to be getting or quite possibly should have already gotten!!!!

It was a few days before Christmas, my daughter Brooke and I planned to drive about an hour away to a neighboring town with a mall, to go Christmas shopping. As I wrapped up each customer’s purchases in our special bags with ribbons and tissues, they would announce that “this was their last gift that they had to buy.” And I’d think to myself, how I hadn’t even started shopping yet and panic just a little!

 We’d planned to leave our little store in the hands of our employee and sneak away to take a stab at our own Christmas shopping that day and were looking forward to spending the day together shopping at other people’s stores!


As I drove up in front of our store, my daughter Brooke who was 15 at the time, asked if she could wait in the car. It was before ipods and maybe even texting but I knew that she could entertain herself with the FM radio and CDs for the time it took me to open. I used to put cookies and hot apple cider out during the holidays and for some reason, I was able  coax her into coming in that morning, explaining that if she helped me open, the sooner we could get out of there. Our employee happened to be late getting there that day and so she surprised me by jumping out of the car agreeing to help, and followed me in.

As we were opening,  a customer walked in and the Federal Express guy pulled up with a back order of quilts for me as my daughter pleaded, “Pleeease mom, DON’T open that package NOW!”  I used to hang all my quilts on a fat dowel with ribbons in order to be displayed better, and I told her that I had to open them because it was so close to Christmas and they were already late but that we could just price them in their plasic zippered bags and asked her to just put them in a basket up front to at least have them out.

About that time, our employee showed up as another customer walked in and my husband who was in his office across the street, above the chamber, called and asked Brooke to run an errand for him. We both rolled our eyes as if to say “We are NEVER going to get out of here” but she ran out the door to do as he asked. As  I finished pricing the quilts and my employee started dusting,  we heard a loud bang that exploded outside, shaking our building.  For some reason, I yelled for everyone to get in the back and they did. At first we thought it might be a bomb because we were in the midst of talks about terroists during those days back then, but as soon as the ground began to rumble and our painted little wooden floor seemed to roll like a wave was beneath it, I knew it was an earthquake. The women screamed. It was all just a little too surreal. Suddenly everything stopped after what seemed like minutes and once it was over, a wall of bricks fell through our roof right where my daughter would have been placing the basket of quilts.

Outside was mayhem. As we stumbled out, unhurt, I found my daughter crying as my husband held her and I ran to them and hugged them both tight. Brooke was in the middle of the street when my husband  found her still clutching the coffee cup that was an order for a customer, she’d been bringing back over for pick up . She watched the whole thing. She said after she walked down the stairs and started crossing the street, she heard the building crack and then saw our awning in the front of the store snap around to the side of the building and then felt the rumble and watched as the clock tower fell from our historical building

and then saw the roof slide down onto all of the cars below.

Someone told me later that my husband barely touched the stairs as he flew down them, knowing that our daughter had just walked out the door and went to find her. He immediately asked “Where’s your mom?” And she sobbed, pointing  across the street where the wall of bricks had just fallen into our store. They just stood there for what seemed like hours but was maybe just a few minutes until I opened the door and we all ran out.

My husband’s  brand new truck, was parked a few spaces from mine. The dust was similar to what happened during 911, it was hard to see. People immediately started pulling bricks from cars and my heart stopped as I saw my car and pulled the sleeve of a good samaratin explaining through my tears that no one was in that car. It was flattened to about the height of my waist. No one would have ever survived. (It is the blue Explorer above)

And that is when I realized how God had spared my baby, our whole family. Sadly they found two women who were working at the store next to ours. They had run out the front door and were found in-between our car and another. For several weeks I kept hearing how people had thought that they had been Brookie and I.

Cars Parked on Park St. after the earthquake

I am not sure why I knew to tell everyone to get in the back but I know it was not me. My daughter told me that she had cried to me later asking “Why did God make this have to happen to us?” And I replied. “He didn’t make this happen. He SAVED us.” A conversation I don’t remember ever having but one that impacted her in a special way, ever since.

I have no doubt that God sent HIS Angels that day

For a while I thought that the experience would have changed me. It has in a way. I realize that those two women could have been us. I realize that my baby could have been waiting in the car that day or putting the quilts in the front of the store where the wall of bricks fell. I realize how everything was finely orchestrated that day. Every step, every phone call, right down to our employee being late to the spot in the road where my daughter safely stood as if Angels surrounded her there as she watched the world as she knew it, come crashing down around her with not so much as a scratch on her.

I don’t know why not us when the two other ladies were found dead, but I know that I learned that day that stuff is just stuff and even though we lost everything materially (though our vehicles were covered by our insurance)  this story would be totally different if it had ended another way. I know that dents in cars, spots on carpets and material things are not as important as they used to be to me. I also know that we were pretty spoiled back then and I didn’t appreciate then, what I do have half as much as I do now. And that if nothing great happens ever again. THIS is ENOUGH.

 I don’t know why bad stuff happens to good people, but I do know that God did save us and He can take anything and make it beautiful again. Even a little rose in the rubble. Even me. As I am…..still and always will be…

a work in progress!