Art Is Never finished… Only Abandoned — Leonardo da Vinci


 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

This was all set up

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

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

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

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

Please visit my Etsy shop at dianeonawhim.etsy.com

and Sugarplumfestivals.com

(My mom creating when I was little)

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

Thanks for tagging along!

xoxo

Diane

 

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Just CRAZY or just really, really Blessed?


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

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

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

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

It’s Friday AGAIN????


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

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

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

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

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

 

It Really Does Start At Home


I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

The acknowledgment of the moment


View of the Peninsula from the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes

 

I have learned that checking off the things on my BUCKET LIST and really actually following through, can take me waaaay out of my comfort zone. So when we started planning our little YaYa weekend, it was fun to hop on board the planning train but when we actually seemed to have to say if we were “IN” I panicked.  It is one thing, posting the more flattering pictures of ourselves and sharing only the happiest of times, on our Facebook pages than actually spending a few days with our special old friends that we have connected with. Facebook is a funny thing. It allows us to paint a picture of just the things we want to share. You share bits of your vacations and funny or uplifting things, you over share pics of  your kids and then grand kids expecting everyone else to find them just as amazing as you do. But you don’t share your mistakes and regrets and definitely not your fat pictures! Sooooo agreeing to share four full days with friends you have not seen for forty years is a bit out of my comfort zone! But to my surprise I agreed. And I am from the old school… if you commit to something, you follow through.

 

Since I lived the closest, I volunteered to drive down with my car so we wouldn’t have to rent one and I’d be the designated driver. As I picked each old friend up from the airport, we thankfully just slipped right back into a comfortable place that must have been especially preserved for this exact occasion. There is a different kind of appreciation for friendships that have out-lasted almost a half of a century. And it was funny, each friend had a special place in my heart. Especially in the re-connection  as we bonded through messages. As we shared our stories, it was different than when we were kids. As High School friends we thought we knew EVERYTHING about each other back then, but we really didn’t. It was nice to share and listen to one another’s stories of our triumphs and failures, and just all of our history that came in-between forty years.

 

 

We spent hours catching up. Each having our own stories of  joys and heartbreaks that life brings. All of us coming into our own with the wisdom of our experiences. One thing I know we kept commenting on was how privileged we were to grow up in such a beautiful place and wondering if we really appreciated it back then as much as we do now. I think we all just took living so close to the ocean for granted back then. This weekend we spent a lot of time on a memory tour. We visited each of our old houses and all the places that held special memories for us. Our parents were a big part of a lot of our memories, especially the ones no longer here. We all recognized their mistakes maybe more openly than ever before,  but could appreciate where they came from and loved them for the good they brought to our lives. Hopefully our kids will do the same for us someday, forgiving our mistakes and appreciating our efforts. For I know that I’ve made many mistakes in my lifetime, but I think this trip helped me to let go of what I cannot change. We tried to stay away from the obvious stuff, politics, religion, etc.  Funny though, we all met at church and were part of a youth group. The only thing I shared was through all of my ups and downs, mistakes and heartbreaks, I’m not sure I could have survived without my faith. I KNOW I couldn’t have.

 

 

I think what I took away from this experience was that we need to really realize when we are happy. To live in the moment. And as my daughter has taught me, to not always have to take a picture, to put your camera away and just live in the moment and embrace it.  Even if for a second.  To forget about the past or the future. To forget about the finances and the ailments, to forget about what may be or what may not be and to really just take a picture in our heart of the seconds we are feeling happy. When I went to Seattle a few months ago with my daughter  (a BIGGIE  checked off of my bucket list)  and we were all standing in our grandparent’s home. I felt it. The acknowledgment of the moment! I remember thinking… “I am standing in my grandma’s house! WITH the two people who can reeeeally understand how much it means to me. Because they made it happen! I think I knew that this last weekend was important for all of us, for so many reasons and we needed to make it happen. I remember several moments that I embraced that feeling of being happy in those seconds and really acknowledging it. And you know, we don’t need to go on a trip to find it. Sometimes it is just spending time with your kids or husband or going out to lunch with a friend or finding that perfect song on the radio and singing your heart out and really just deciding to be happy. Being older brings a wisdom of appreciation that we lack in our youth. and being okay in our own skin. I loved that we were all happily married or happily single. We loved our kids or were perfectly fine not having kids. Those of us who had grand kids really were finally into being grandmas. Whatever it was, was. And as I get older, I’m not as sad as I used to be when something is over because I had a part in making it happen and now I have the memories!

The Four YaYas at our favorite Restaurant…. The Admiral Ristys in PV

(I’m the one on the right.)

They Say You Can Never Go Home…


I turned sixty this year and I told my very thoughtful husband and family that I wanted NOTHING. Forty and fifty were over the top costly celebrations and sixty just didn’t make me want to celebrate. Though I know that I am clearly blessed to be celebrating life at all and don’t take that for granted for one minute, I just didn’t want a party. Well, this year, my amazing daughter Brookie, and her Dad concocted an epic surprise for me. She faced timed me, holding tickets to Seattle!!!!

So for the last several weeks I had the most amazing gift to look forward to. You see, Seattle is my happy place. My childhood memories of all my summers all the way to sixteen were gathered there. My cousin Pammy and my grandma were really the glue that made everything so special but for more than half my childhood I knew that come summertime… I had a place to land. A place that made the world go away for a little while and to fall into the arms of a place that held unconditional love for me.

My grandparents lived just blocks away from Lake Washington on Seward Park Avenue. Their house was magical. It sat grandly on top of a hill that overlooked Mercer Island and everything about it was an adventure. I think because my cousin who was a little over two years younger than me, followed my lead and believed everything I said. (I am laughing out loud as I write this.)

My dad was up and coming in his career and had to travel and was transferred several times as I grew up. But he promised my mom he’d always send us home. And he did. I think maybe why I have to have “something” to look forward to now and if I don’t, I think I just realized that I get a little depressed. But there was nothing like looking forward to my Seattle days. I go there in my head now and walk through the rooms of that house when I am sad or just need a “HAPPY PLACE” to escape to for a while. I hadn’t been back for almost two decades. My last visit, my cousin drove me to the house and we walked around it, and as we were leaving met the owner who didn’t seem too impacted by the fact that our grandparents owned their house so never got to go in. And In my furthest dreams, and my most wished for  “check off”  of my bucket list… I never thought I’d ever get to go inside again. But the plan was that we were going to go and knock on the door…. Looking back now, I don’t think any of us thought any further after that.

This is the story of my journey as I truly got to go back home again…. 

This really is just a recount for me, but you are invited if you’d like to come along. I will only share a snippit of all we did because we packed so much more in, I will have to share it all in a few posts…

 Seattle bound!

I hadn’t been on a plane since my cousin and I went to Puerto Vallarta. It was such a blast to be going with my baby and this time she was taking me! Funny, how you start depending on your kids to navigate and find the baggage claim etc… 🙂

Pam surprised me with my cousins Katy and Jill and Katy’s kids that came along after I stopped going on my Seattle Summers and celebrated 60 with me! I was so touched and loved that Brookie loved them so much! It was as if no time had ever come in-between and we’d known each other our whole lives!

The next day…. Pam dubbed as our “Memory Lane” day. We got up early and headed for our old stomping grounds. First the lake that we spent many days sneaking down to…

It was so fun to stand where we used to stand and share the memories with my daughter who’d written that she was excited to have my stories come to life for her. I was so excited for her to see the house but the most I expected were maybe some good photos from afar.

Well guess what??!

THIS is a shot of the INSIDE of my Grandma’s door!!!!!!!

The most angelic lady opened the door and invited us in! Well, let me back track a little…  Pam and Brooke asked “Do you think that we should knock.” And I said “Oh yeah!!!!! I was not missing out on the opportunity. I guess at sixty you can do things like that you know. Anywaaaay, I knocked and my cousin and I kind of stepped back. I think I was thinking “Oh no! Now what?!” But Brooke stepped up and said as eloquently as I wanted to…. “Hello, this is my mom, and her cousin, and their Grandma lived here with their moms.” She invited us in right away. She was exactly my mom’s age and knew about our Grandma from the lady up the street who had lived the last 70+ years of her life taking care of her mom, our Grandma’s best friend Helen, who died a few years ago at 107!

She let us walk through each room. Even up the stairs that were probably the best memory I had of that old house. As we chatted for over an hour, I couldn’t help but feel this grateful emotional wave as inside my head I thought… “I can’t believe that I am standing inside my Grandma’s house with my baby and my cousin!” The two people in the world that could understand how much it meant to me and helped make it happen!

Entrance as you walk in the door (stairs are on the other side of the entry way wall)

            You see the Fireplace as you walk in the door and the kitchen doorway is to it’s right

r    Built in bookcase (view from kitchen) staircase to the left and front door on the other side of the wall with a little view of the sunporch my cousin and I used to sleep in.

Better view of the sun porch from the kitchen

side living room window (on the left as you walk in the door)

My favorite memory! The stairs! We’d sell tickets for our shows we had on that stage! I made my poor cousin perform on the landing as we did our nightly shows! (Since she had the better voice!) As well as other adventures we used to think up, using those stairs as our prop for most of them!

View from one of the upstairs bedroom windows

The above door is the one to leading to the basement. I tried to take a picture of the stairs where my grandpa used to come in after work and hang his pendelton before coming up the stairs. I was a little disappointed with the kitchen. I remember it with all the old fashioned appliances and squeaky “pink” cabinets! PINK?? and it had a bread drawer that always had powdered sugar dounuts in it! Maybe I should have known they’d change the pink cabinets. Smile…

Patty our Angel who lives here alone now since her husband passed away a few years ago.                                                       (Looking out the kitchen window into the magical back yard as she chatted with my baby)

       

The dining room and the built in china cabinet where we used to sneak sugar cubes out of!

      

Front of the card (me when I was little, with a ski mask on photo shopped by my crazy cousin and the beautiful ceramic sugar bowl she handmade for me with two pounds of my own sugar cubes so I would not have to steal them anymore!

The dining room french doors lead out to my grandma’s beautiful back yard.

It is still as magical as I remember it.

 

In Brookie’s card to me she wrote….

” I’m so excited to share this adventure with you & to see all of your stories come to life.”                                                   I am not sure how I ever got so blessed but as I was standing there in the moment… I was so grateful to my daughter and my husband and my cousin and Patty and to God who blessed me with all of the memories that I treasure. And I thought… Sometimes… in those very rare… serendipitous moments when the seconds and minutes all kind of work out just right. You CAN go home sometimes.

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my-studio

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

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

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

Wiping Away That Heart On My Sleeve


heart on a plaid shirt

I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve. My what? Where?! Yikes! What’s it doing there?? I do. I know. I always have. I used to think that it was a good thing. I mean what you see is what you get. Right?

But seriously, as I get older, I am beginning to understand why that might not be the greatest idea anymore. Sometimes you have more power  when not everyone know what you are thinking and God forbid that you are so honest to let everyone know your feelings.

I heard someone say that they get up everyday and just decide to be happy. To find the joy in everything. Even the bad stuff. It kind of gets me excited to believe that is even possible. Heck, I can just at least try it. Okay sooo I will report back tomorrow and meet you here to tell you how it went!

To Stop Fighting The Smile


 

my-buddies-and-the-twinsI’m the 2nd one from the left

Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.

From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking  back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid,  I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.

Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!

As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.

But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self,  she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain  is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or  fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.

I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.

For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.

I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe  in the dream  that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big.  And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.

my-smile

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

Recently, I have been on this journey of self discovery. I kind of wish that I’d done it a lot sooner. It is rather frustrating to have discovered this simple key that helps me understand others more and never took the time to  apply it to myself. I think I was just so busy with being busy that I’ve only just muddled through being aware of things when it comes to me.

But the one huge thing that I’ve discovered and has become crystal clear to me now, is…. how we all start out as kids. And the key for me has always been the word… HOW.

mirror-broken

I know when I am aware of someone’s difficult past, there is a degree of forgiveness and grace that I automatically allow. It is so automatic that I hardly even think of it any longer. But somehow I forgot to allow myself the same grace. And that has been a pretty big revelation as I wander back picking up the pieces where I left off as a kid and who I was and why I am who I am today.

I think that I think too much and it drives me nuts. It is funny how some of us are wound. I know that in my life, letting go of the excessive thoughts could have set me freer. Wondering what others were thinking, making up in my head what they were thinking…etc.  In my journey, I  realized that I set different expectations for people in my life. There are some, where I see their faults but overlook them for the sake of our relationship and can live happily that way. Others where I notice them, but if it doesn’t effect me in my head (and who decides that?!) I can co-exist on some level that is annoying but doesn’t blow my day away because I have learned to distance myself emotionally. And then there are those poor unfortunate souls that  don’t have any grace at all. I am constantly aware of every last sin and call them on each one. WHY?! Maybe because they matter to me. What they think of me, what I think of them. They are the ones that make a difference in my life.

I know that I want to care less about everything, in the way that it effects me negatively. Though I know that I will always over think some things, but  as I understand me more, it won’t matter as much. Like the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the rude clerk in a store, have nothing to do with “me” and more about who they are… If I could only give the people actually in my life the same grace, my brain could relax a little more.

I think the thing that really prompted me to go back on this journey is this question that really caught me off guard…..

And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?

What about you? Hopefully you haven’t lived fifty years and just now realize the importance of the answer to this question.

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

The Best Things In Life Are Not Things


 

bracelet.

My Grandma B was my dad’s mom. It is funny how there is always a grandma who is a little closer than the other. Grandma B wasn’t it. Though I loved her and I know she loved me. I was the first grandchild so for a while I was pretty much it for everyone. But slowly the other kids came and my Grandma Nina-Mae was the one that was my soft place to fall for most of my life. I was born on her birthday, I was her first grandchild and up until she got really sick, we had a very special bond.

My Grandma B was closest to her daughter’s kids. So it surprised me that shortly after I’d had my daughter I received a funny little note. It came with some old pearls in a special clasped box and a few baby pictures of my dad who had died a few years earlier. The note said: Your dad bought these for me when he was over seas in the Air force. I thought you might like them. They may be worth something since he bought them for me in Korea.  It was a funny note. She didn’t end it “Love Grandma” she just ended it. About a month later, she died talking to her best friend on the phone. She had a brain aneurism.

I didn’t care how much they were worth. They meant more to me than I could ever say because of the random way my grandma had given them to me right before she died. Maybe she had a premonition. I am not sure. But it wasn’t so much the pearls, it was that she’d thought of me.

While she was still a little girl, I decided to give them to my daughter on her wedding day.  I knew in my heart that they would be hers someday. And always planned the giving to be special. I actually gave them to her at a special gathering of her brides’ maids at a sweet little brunch  she put on for those involved. My best friend and I were also invited to it and I thought that it might be the perfect place to gift her with the pearls so that she could decide if she wanted to wear them or if she needed to match a dress to them. She cried and it was a sweet moment. Just as I’d imagined it would be.

When trying to decide if they actually “worked” with the dress, her photographer suggested that she wear them on her wrist instead of around her neck, I have tried to be the kind of mom that sets my kids free and  not to barge in with my  own agenda or what is in my  head or in this case heart. But I have to admit that I was a little disappointed and annoyed with her photographer…. especially when during a dance they broke all over the dance floor, scattering pearls everywhere!!

I think my heart lurched a little, and of course, my daughter was devastated.  But what actually blew me away was how all the groom’s men got down on their hands and knees and deposited 4 pearls, and 7 pearls and 5 pearls and 4 pearls and 8 pearls… into my daughter’s hand. It was the sweetest thing I ever experienced. Sure the string of pearls seemed so important at first. After all my daddy gave them to my grandma….  But over the years I have had to remember….                                                                                                    That the best things in life aren’t things.                                                                            

And that it is those sweet unexpected moments where these grown up boys got down on their hands and knees to rescue my baby’s pearls. I knew without a doubt that these friends her husband had chosen to stand up there with him as he married my daughter represented what I’d always wished for, for her and that the best things in life are definitely not things!

marquee

I am in charge of the Marquee at my work; Today’s saying

Part Two – From the Mother of the Bride’s Perspective


This is “it” I promise…

I will try to keep this short. Though my blog is usually about my life and my reflections of it… this is more of a personal gratitude account for all the people that came through for the last year or so and more recently the biggest event that has happened in a while. My baby’s wedding! This is part two! I will try to get it all in… in one more post.

 (Now continued after Danielle – Part One

Wedding dress shoppingrachelrachel2Continuing with Rachel (The Maid of Honor)

I knew that when Rachel came along that she would be Brooke’s “Jody”. Fun and caring and honest and real. With Danielle, the two of them planned one of the rocking-est bachelorette parties I have ever heard of. Rachel was there from the beginning. From trying on the first wedding dresses to helping set up many of the events, she has been there through it all! I have never felt such sister love! They truly care about each other in the most honest kind of way. So happy they have each other forever!bridesmaidsThe Brides Maids…

makeupBrooke has a new sis! And her name IS also Brooke! And she is an amazing addition to my Brooke’s life! She gifted her the make up for the rehearsal pics & the wedding day! And also assisted some of the brides maids! I was so touched as she worked effortlessly and created flawless beauty! We are all blessed in this combining family thing! We all get along! And love each other!

shower fun

Karyn is the one on the right by the door… I claim her! When we were sitting waiting for our financial meetings  at AADA we started talking cuz their last names were next to each other, by the end, I kind of jokingly and kind of seriously, asked her if she would watch over my baby since she’d been in LA a few weeks longer than Brooke and had the most nurturing old soul type of personality in someone so young! Well, she obviously took that job seriously because she is in her wedding almost a decade later! Can I pick em or what?!

Kimmy (of the three in the middle of the pic above) is the one on the left. I’d been hearing such sweet stories about Kimmy for a few years. I knew she was special but had not met her until at the brunch Brooke threw  as a pre- thank you for her bridal party and invited Jody and I! And she did not disappoint. Love her!

Anne (in the middle of Kimmy & Karyn) is a newer friend to me. But also one that I’ve heard so many great stories about –  so that she has also been cemented into my mother’s heart as special friends that make my baby happy!

They all were amazing throughout the process, sitting on the floor at the coffee table gluing and cutting invitations and showing up to all the events. I was impressed with her girls. They all came through with loyal and undying love! They were truly the best bridesmaids in the world! From designing the wedding dress, to running back to town from the cabin to pick up the Rehearsal dinner soup! To setting up tables and chairs and doing dishes. These girls were the BEST!

lars

Lars was the Coordinator, setting up and taking down, it was soooo amazing to have him and Steph as a very amazing presence steph dj               (Am I saying that word too much?) Not sure how else to describe it! Cuzzzz Steph was one of the best and most amazing DJ’s around! I don’t think any of us expected such a professional job! They worked tirelessly through out the event. Hardly stopping! And the groom’s men were also great! Unloading the hay and tables and chairs and helping where ever they could! Amazing ~ friends and family all made such an epic team!

ChrisChris was awesome. Tirelessly catching every moment.                                                       Starting on Friday to the Father of the Daughter Dance the next night. He worked so hard catching the magic and it did not go unnoticed! And Kevin, Oh my. Brooke and Chase sure had some of the most talented people in the industry at this special event! What an accumulation of magic!

kevinKevin singing the First Dance song

And Jared. What can I say? He and Danielle went and picked up and hauled the tables and chairs and bales of hay to and from the site. I love this guy! And I might mention he is one of the greatest dads I know!

jaredceremony site

And Chadly! I’ve never been so proud!! He drove back and forth everyday and showed up looking so handsome with his amazing family! To walk me down the aisle and be there for his sister. He even helped me cook the next day brunch! (And was the muscles behind getting Jim up from the hay seat, a few times!) I love him to the moon and back!

Chad and SophieChad walking me down the aisleflower girls                                    And Amanda. “LOVE her!” Thank Goodness she was there to walk the flower girls down the aisle!

mod_1467043719216And Grandpa! What can I say? We almost lost him a few years ago. He was the perfect choice to officiate! You would have thought that this was his millionth wedding! So eloquent and amazing. Every word was blessed!

 

darwinsFather of the Groom and newest addition to the family besides Brooke!                                                              A few of the  Darwins…..          &…       This little guy… the newest addition to the family!                                             Can you say love?

And Chase’s family! Where do I start? His parents could not have been more amazing. Rolling up their sleeves and helping make everything perfect.

Setting up and cleaning and welcoming us into their family! Tate, Chase’s brother and Arlene his mom, and I especially bonded as they created the most amazing slideshow of Brooke & Chase! I learned a lot about technology and Tate was ever so patient as I fumbled along, trying to contribute all the photos  from Brookie’s life this far! (Unfortunately I don’t have more photos that I have permission to share here… but they are amazing!)

dar 2Brookie's Grandma and MamaMy mother in law and me! Isn’t she beautiful? And an amazing Grandma! Generous and kind and the Matriarch of our family! I love her! And so does Brookie!

JasmineJasmine showing us how to take a picture! Taking pics of my oldest granddaughter Jasmine… When she said…. “Here, Grandma I will show you how to take a picture!” Jody and me and Jas! Lots of loving!

And for all you praying for Jim and his bum knee! I saved the best for last! He was able to walk his baby down the aisle! He gave the most amazing speech and even danced the Father Daughter Dance!

walking our baby down the aisleJim and Brookie baby

She may have been holding him up this time around…

father daughter dance4

You will have to wait for the ceremony…..( I didn’t take any of that in honor of their wishes) I am letting them post those when they get them from their professional photographer. But that’s it for now…  Thank you to all my readers for letting me share here! And thank you to everyone who drove to this destination. That alone was a labor of love!

k and sKeith and Sarah…. Family love!

pinning on the groom's boutineereAnd now I just close by saying May God Bless this couple for many years with lots of love and health and happiness and great success! And together may they make a difference in this world and… live happily ever after!

The end…

(or until the next photo opportunity! :p )

bridal bouquet

Growing Up


 

 

women writing at desk

I wrote all day yesterday. Everyday last week was taken up with different things and so besides getting out there in the beautiful sunshine and mowing the lawn and catching up with my friends next door for a few minutes, and responding to a few work emails and then turning those off, I had a “me” day and made myself sit down and just write. I mean really take the time to relax enough to take notes and regroup and take more notes and focus on that little project I keep promising myself I’ll finish.

woman writing in the sun

It seems as if every day off I’ve had lately, has been consumed with other things that take priority. So yesterday I literally closed the door and spent 8 hours making myself work on my book. Last night my husband complained that I’d barely said four words to him all day. Well, that was an exaggeration. I could tell he wanted to talk about it during a show he doesn’t approve of me watching. And even though I had it recording and could have stopped to probably argue about me taking a day for me, I just didn’t. I probably should have stopped and talked. But I am still working on boundaries and at times my interpretation of them, can be a little selfish.

In the past, if I’d known anyone was remotely upset with me, I’d prickle like a porcupine and get defensive. Today, I think the difference is that I am growing up. Though that kind of sounds oxymoronish here as I still watched the show my “daddy” didn’t approve of. And no I’m not going to tell you what it was, cuz I’m not proud of the fact that I love reality shows! LOL.

The problem with having experienced abuse in the past, is always expecting abuse in the present. I have a friend who is a fellow blogger with a story much worse than mine and she always makes me think. Today my comment to her post made me think about the fact that survivors of abuse have one thing in common, distrust. We are always expecting a repeat of the same.

She got married last year. Found love and is still pinching herself over how happy she is. My comment to her was that I think the secret to her success is that she waited until she grew up. And that the problem with abuse is that we just begin to expect everyone to be the same as our first experience and to not realize that abuse is not the normal. We don’t learn how to argue like grown ups. We just learn to fight back and make everything a drama.

couple talking seriously 2

I am really trying to break that cycle. I tend to over-react to a normal disagreement and feel backed into a corner before I ever even look at the other side. I have just begun to grasp the fact that not everyone comes from that warped abuse perspective and I need to stop dropping that hat on the heads of people who don’t deserve it, while giving myself a break and embracing  my own choices.  Right or wrong. If I want to have a day off, and someone takes it personally, I need to just explain that I need a break, and nothing is wrong.  And to realize that not everything has to be a drama.  Hence; me growing up? Perhaps.

typed to be continued

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

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.

 

We are the Authors of our stories!


diary writing

A blank page has always inspired me. I remember as a young girl, receiving a new diary with a key and a lock. I remember the feeling of anticipation and hope. It was as if someone gave me the power of my own destiny. And metaphorically speaking, we each are given that. I feel a little sad that we have gone so electronic and our world has become so “techie” because I still feel that there is something special about opening up an empty book filled with blank pages and writing about our aspirations there. I guess you could do that with the blank page on a Word Document on a computer and even make a file and title it “My Diary” or “My Journal” but there is still just something about seeing your own handwriting and how it changes as your life does.

diary gram's

I have found journals from my past and it has been a gift to go back and read where I once was. And hopefully to see how far I have come. When my grandma died, the only thing that I wanted was her diary. It was this green little leather bound five year kind, that she kept when she was 16 through meeting my grandpa and ending with having my mom!

journals

One of my standard gifts has always been empty books. Especially to young people. I’ve told my kids that their lives are like empty books and every day they write a new page. It is up to them how their stories turn out. We are the authors of our stories. And I’ve encouraged those in their twenties that seem to be stuck, to go out and WRITE their stories. I can name three off of the top of my head that had their cosmetology licenses or a degree and stayed stuck making minimum wage because they were comfortable where they were. I nagged them to take that last exam that would give them wings to fly from the nest. And watching them soar, made me think…

choice quot3e

I finally had to admit that I’ve kind of been stuck myself, thinking that it was too late for me. Feeling very comfortable in how well I knew my job, I didn’t want to have to go out and re-learn something. Heck, I don’t even like to read instructions or have to learn a new game. Talk about being stuck. I felt that my pages had all been written on. And that I was too old to begin again. And I was feeling very beaten down as I battled the storm. Finally realizing that I was NOT alone! God and me had this one!

lighthouse

Though the wind hadn’t just gone out of my sail, it had been SUCKED out! I began to realize that I could make my own wind! I was the author of my story and it was NOT over! And so with a lot of prayer, I forged the storm and moved on!

suitcasess

I kind of feel as if I have begun writing in a new empty book as I begin my new job. I am the author. The job has been created just for me! It is a new venture for my company and I am pretty sure that everyone is rooting for me. I love my team and the people I work with. And I intend to write a BEST SELLER! How about you? I’d love to hear about your “COME BACK” stories!

strength quote

Happy NEW Year Everyone! Happy NEW story, happy new life! God bless you all!

Repairing The Keys


path in the woods

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

door little girl peeking out black and white

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

typerwriter keys

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

 typewriter keys2

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

woman leaving

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

 

 yellow brick roato Oz

 

Black Velvet Saddle Shoes


 

There must be something about the date; December 4th. It is a day of new beginnings for me. Twenty-one years ago today, my life began again the day that I married for a second time. I’d left a fourteen year marriage a few years earlier, devastated. When I stood up there with my childhood Pastor and my brand new beautiful husband, I’d had high hopes. And when I repeated those vows about… for better or worse and in sickness and in health, well… I reeeeally meant them! I think in a way, the last part of that little girl in me who believed in magic died on the day I walked out the door with my two young kids in tow.

Even though I wanted to believe, and said I did when I took those vows for the second time, I think I kind of felt like a fraud. I know that I didn’t believe that I was married with the same kind of childlike faith I’d had that first time around. The walls were tall and my heart was broken. And I came with a ready-made family. I really am not sure what my poor husband was even thinking! Or… what he saw in me. Even after almost two years of getting to really know us as a package deal before we got married, he said “I DO” and so did I. That day, though skeptical of the whole “Forever” thing. I had more hope, than I’d had in a long time.

Since then, we’ve had quite a journey. Together, we’ve been successful and way UP on top and then slammed to the bottom financially. We’ve dealt with deaths and births, illnesses and healings and some pretty catastrophic, life shaking times but we’ve stayed strong. Mostly because my husband is a man of faith and not loving me as he says is… “NOT an option.” And though sometimes in the fit of a fight, that is rather annoying. In the end… it is all I ever wanted. Someone who loves me unconditionally, flaws, walls and all.

It is all rather ironic because today is pretty metaphoric for me. As I close an old door on an old job that consumed a full decade of my life, I open a new door to a new job on the very same day in which I opened a new door to a new life twenty-one years ago. And though I know that I already wrote my “Anniversary” post. I woke up early today and couldn’t go back to sleep and so I got up and discovered a blog full of sweet congrats and well wishes from my consistently wonderful and supportive readers! (Thank you!) And I also remembered that this is the first day of my new job. Something that I haven’t said for over a decade! And I must say that I kind of feel like a kid on her first day of school!

For the first time in a long time, I have hope again. I remember when I was a little girl, maybe first grade, it was my first day of school. My friends and I walked to school in our brand new black velvet saddle shoes. (The kind that you had to brush off if someone stepped on them.) Funny, how I have to go sooo far back in my memory to feel that new feeling of hope again, but I’ve begun to understand that sometimes, you have to go as far back as you need to, in order to find the pieces of yourself that you left along the way, so that you can scale the walls and  truly begin to find a way to believe again, just like that young girl once did all those years ago, as she walked to school in her black velvet saddle shoes.

2edd18ca37acadc7e0d754d8a10c86c5.jpg (234×320)

TWO WEEKS NOTICE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

broken glass

 

Brand New Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Reed

2014

 

mirror on floor

The Funny Thing About Doors


doorknob

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

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

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

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

SONY DSC

The Funny Thing About Doors…

The funny thing about doors

is…

you must walk through one

before going through another.

And every one you open

leads you to something  to be discovered.

There are grand ones and small ones,

creaky ones and tall ones,

ones you open quietly,

and ones you just want to slam!

Ones that lead you to the light,

and ones…

 well,

to be damned!

But every door I’ve chosen to go through,

has taught me things I had to know.

From them, I’ve taken things with me,

and others I’ve let go.

Each one led me to a place,

to find new parts of me.

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

that held the happy key.

Diane Reed

2014©

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


girl at a new door out in field

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

valleys

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

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

And well, if you have true character….

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

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

vineyard

It may take a life time to understand

And yet the two go hand in hand

Poise and honor style and ease

Come in stages if you please.

 

Life has a funny way of teaching

those that merit the toil of reaching

they shine long after their words are but a ghost

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

Diane Reed

 ©2014

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

mountain top

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

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

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

little girl looking out window

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

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

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

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

DADDY & ME

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

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

my portfolio from the seventies

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

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

peaceful forest

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

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

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014