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.

 

 

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“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

Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

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

 

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

My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Sprenger A book review among other thoughts


I am at a place in my life, teetering at the edge, where I am just finding my voice, and am at the very early stages of feeling comfortable in my own skin. Defining me and who I really want to be. And you know what? It’s not really what others say about you. It is about what you think of yourself. I think I have finally grasped that. Took a half a century but better late than never, right?

I have a hard time trusting people enough, to really make the friendship effort at this stage in the game. And yet even though I have tons of friends, and several really good ones, I never really felt as if I fit in to any one place perfectly. Today, I just read a great line from a book I am about to share with you guys (below) where the writer said; She refused to make the hard choices, to fight the waves”. Wow! How profound is that?? I related to that sentence so much that it brought tears to my eyes. I never belonged anywhere because I never wanted to fight the waves. I have ridden most of them in to shore. Not that my life has been a picnic but when it comes to making the harder choice, well, lets just say that, THAT line took my breath away!

I was at a shower recently with a bunch of church friends and someone who I would consider more a friend than an acquaintance genuinely hugged me “hello” and told me that they were happy to see me. After a bit of catching up and other small talk, I confided in her that I really felt that I was “faking it”  and “not just here, but really at any of these church things.” And…. Without missing a beat, she leaned over and whispered, “Diane, we are all faking it!” At that moment, I think I loved her more than I had the moment before!

friends talking at table

And I know what she meant, not that we are faking what we believe and that our faith is not real, but that the veil is pulled down a bit further at parties like these. We share just enough. We only know parts of each other. The other half is covered for only the very few to see. The smiles are real, well they are NOT, not real, if you know what I mean. But I want more. I think we all do. And, I always feel glad I made the effort to go, and yet a little empty when leaving. And yet the little affirmation about faking it, about perhaps I’m not the only one that feels that way was like a little unexpected party favor that I got to take home that day.

I just finished reading My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Prenger and I have to tell you that I know what my Christmas gifts for my friends are going to be this year! I am in love with this book! I originally purchased it because a great friend and fellow writer, Leah Vidal was a contributing author. So I knew that I would not be disappointed. But I literally, could not put this book down! It capsulized my friend’s statement; “Diane we are all faking it!” Each story makes you nod and cry and connect and feel as if we are not alone And in someway, I could relate to each and every story and friendship. The twist here… is these stories are of  great friendships, best friend friendships that went awry.

friends two little girls with braids

Some as far back as childhood, some from college, some from business, or through kids or other chance meetings.  All compiled in a format that reminds me a little of the Chicken Soup for the Soul style, and yet the stories here aren’t contrived nor always healing with a happy ending. It is real and heart wrenching and makes you cry and laugh and like I said, nod, a lot!

I have taken away something from every story. No faking it here. No sugar-coating the facts. Just honesty pure and simple and sometimes painful to read. In my lifetime I have had some great friendships. Some that I have shared about here in this blog. But there have also been a few that fell through the cracks, for reasons of their own. Ones I never thought about writing about. So that makes this book even more interesting.

 

It is the first book in a long time, that I haven’t just skimmed over to get to the next page when it got a little tedious. There is no tediousness here. The women sharing are all obviously top-notch writers, hand-picked from the authors and you know from their other projects (see their website) http://www.herstoriesproject.com      that each story was chosen with the utmost care. This one is a no brainer. Ya gotta read it…. If you are a woman and you ever let go of a friendship that still haunts you a little today, this book will help you realize that we all have a lot of the same feelings. kind of like the way I felt… when my friend said to me… “We are all faking it a little Diane!” We really aren’t alone. This book just put it in print!

Note to the authors*  (Would love to buy the audio of each woman sharing their own story!)

my other ex book cover

His Plan


writing just hand view

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

But so far I have learned…

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

adam and eve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

praying woman b&w

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

 

No Offense


hole with moss

 

 

This has ended up being kind of a series and I promise this will be the last of it. But as I have dug my way back out of my hole I have tried to figure out yet again what brought me there. The kicker this time is that it was nothing in particular. I mean I’ve had much worse times of life and I know things could still be much worse. And I really don’t want my proverbial memory of a metaphoric “I’ll give you somethng to cry about” happen to me. But what the hell is my problem?! Sorry.

And then it dawned on me that everything that led me to my journey down that dark, dreary hole was about me and my crazy imagination. And though the good thing about a crazy imagination is, that it helps a writer write. The bad thing is that it doesn’t help if you still have to find a way to live in the real world (above the hole) I’d like to say that I am not easily offended and that I have a pretty tough skin. And in some ways that is very true. And as I have grown older, I’ve realized that stupid is… as stupid does… and been able to consider the source of most things. But when it comes from someone that I care about, it hurts just a little. Recently a lot. I’d like to think that I’ve grown an even thicker skin but most likely, I have lost a layer and so perhaps become a little more easier to offend.

So the trick is, deciding to just not be offended. Right? Yeah right. But you can be aware. My husband has a saying when someone is a little off: about how they are… “just a bubble off” it is related to the carpenter’s tool that is called a level that is used to measure if something is well, level. How can I not be offended when I am married to someone who guages me with a level? I’m KIDDING now but in the end I guess the answer is… if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself then you might as well jump back in that hole and pull in the dirt!

Thanks everyone for the support! I think that I am going to go fill in that hole now! (With me on the OUTside of it!) 😉

The End

shovel

 

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 19:11

 

 

 

 

I don’t have to just sit there and be a jar of rice!


three jars of rice

My daughter has been telling me about this thing called The Rice Experiment. A Scientist took 3 jars of rice and for one month, he said to the first one, “thank you” and to the second one he said “you are an idiot or I hate you.” And the last one was just ignored.  Watch the link below to see what happened. It is pretty incredible. The result is that the one that was told “thank you” grew fragrant and flourished while the others grew bacteria etc. The video is only about a minute long and is worth the time you take to watch it.

rice pictures from top

 

Lately, I have been in a horrible funk. I have pretty much felt like the other two jars of rice. I am not sure what is going on. I do believe that outside energy does have a lot to do with our lives. The negative people that we give power to, and the power we give away is within our control. I have come to the conclusion that we don’t just have to sit there and allow someone to come along and ruin our day and create fungus in our lives. Too many times I have allowed the negativity of others to take over.

suspicious

I believe that it is a conscious choice to love ourselves and embrace our positive-ness and all the fragrance that comes with it. We don’t have to wait for someone to come along and spew the expected or unexpected words we have grown accustomed to that catch us off guard and throw us off kilter. We need to find the love. It is there just as much as the hate. They actually sit next to each other all day long. It is up to us who we give the power to.

happy looking at

TODAY I know that I am loved. By God and by me and that is ENOUGH!

 

 happy smile

http://karmajello.com/mind-spirit/philosophy/masaru-emoto-rice-emotions-experiment-video.html#_

 

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

Being Strong


Brenden and Chad Muslemen

It’s not about muscles that make people think we’re strong,

it’s not about the faults of other’s that makes you the one not wrong,

it’s not about the things we do so that others see them too,

It’s more in our transparency that gives us each  a better view.

 boy looking out window

It’s when I’ve seen the strongest man bend down upon his knees

to wipe the tears from a child’s eyes as he listens to his pleas,

it’s when he stops to hold a stranger’s door even when he’s in a hurry

or calls his wife each time he’s late, knowing that she might be worried.

upset

It’s when he brings her flowers home for really no reason at all,

flowers

it’s when he’s kneeling in prayer that makes him seem so tall.

kneeling man at sunset

All these things show more strength than any winner of a fight,

for strength is in the example of always trying to do what’s right.

Someday we’ll all look back and see things from a different point of view

we’ll see the things we did and the things we wished we didn’t do,

little crying boy

we’ll wonder why we were stubborn and just couldn’t let things go,

we’ll each learn different things about ourselves we wish that we had known.

Jesus looking back

We all will someday end up at the same place of awakening

where we each  meet our Maker, at a time when our heart is breaking,

where we fall upon our knees, realizing where we did it wrong,

and in that moment of weakness it is then we’ll be most strong.

Diane Reed

2013

mans praying hands

Behind The Door Of Yesterday


girl at a new door out in field

Behind the doors of yesterday

girl carrying huge key

we all hold that perfect key

ballerina

unlocking places in our past

ballerina sitting on floor

where shadows used to be

dancing in the wind

Dancing upon moonbeams  until all  the music dies

SONY DSC

letting go of all the pain as the broken winged one flies…

floor crying girl

Falling hard from our dreams, when we finally land

 baby in a bubble

searching for our innocence all where we first began.

finding Diane3

Diane Reed

2013

As I continue to work on my book, I feel stuck. I am in a place of pain. Of total confusion. I guess ambivalence would be the best word to describe where I have landed. I keep going backwards. I need to start moving forward. I have a story to tell. A lot has to do with my past. I have the framework sitting there for me to build upon and yet I am not sure why I need to write these silly poems that have nothing to do with me today….

Or do they?

Clicking On Me


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

me viginia slim photo

Older faces staring back

hit me like a heart attack

everyone I used to know

where did you all seem to go?

I click on you and find your name

only your eyes look the same

 I click on photos titled:  “past”

I finally see “YOU” at last!

The one  I remembered then…

 An older version of my friend.

I wander through… browsing at the rest

 I smile and click “Friend Request”

Hoping that you’ll recognize

Who I am now from my eyes

That’s when I realize what you will see

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

Diane Reed

2013

old couple walking

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

Shutting up after Fifty? Think again!


I had to cut and paste this article from Huffington today. I rarely go there to read much anymore because it always seems so negative and yet I do enjoy some of the writers on there and so if I see something that pops up when I turn on my computer, I will skim it. Well, this article caught my eye and I thought I’d share it. It was written by a gal named Shelley Emling who informs us that she IS over 50. Though when I finished it and read the annoyed responses, I could not help but agree with them. See if you agree…. I responded and immediately started getting faved in less than a minute or so which I thought was funny. Just thought I’d share to get your take on this article. My response is at the end.

cartoon with tape over his mouth

Editor, Post 50GET UPDATES FROM Shelley Emling

Words Never To Say When You’re Over 50 Posted: 03/22/2013 7:22 am

We’re all guilty of muttering something off-putting now and then, but there are simply a few words and phrases that — according to some — are just plain strange to hear coming out of the mouths of post 50s. Sure, there are words that no one of any age should say on the Internet without starting a flame war.

And no one, in 2013, should be uttering “bromance,” or “oh, awkward” or “binders full of women.”But there are also, definitely, words that probably never should come out of the mouths of those with an AARP card. Never. Like, ever.Huff/Post50 asked our readers and Facebook fans what they thought and here are a few of their responses.JoAnn Forrester said post 50s should never say “girlfriend,” “neat,” or “can I fix you dinner?”

Kim Dunshie Herning said it depends on who you’re talking to. “It is not ‘cool’ to use your teenager’s current slang in any conversation with any age group to try to be ‘with it.’ Salty, swag? What the heck do these words mean? And you won’t catch me calling any male or female ‘dude’,” she said.

Johnny Hoppe argued that only words and phrases that have lost their cool or were never cool to begin with should be avoided, such as “par-tay”, “_______ NOT!”, “Compassionate Conservatism” or “Squib me deux Zima, G-bones!”

“Words of this ilk should only be used ironically and under professional supervision and always with protective headgear,” he said.

Roe Breslin said that, after a shopping trip to Target last week, her 39-year-old daughter announced that one should never use the word “panties” after a certain age.

“I said ‘okay, then, underpants’,” she said. “She said that was worse, so I give up.”

Alma Murchin said she hates when she hears people over 50 use Internet slang like BRB. “Really, save that for the teens,” she said. Laura Hoffman said she can’t stand people to use old fashioned expressions like “another day another dollar!”

So what words don’t you like to hear or say? Here’s our list of nine words we believe you have no business saying over 50.

1. Totes. Unless you’re referring to that lovely large bag with two handles you’re carry on the plane with you.

2. Freakin’. Although “freakin’ a” is so much worse.

3. Hottie. Please only say this if you’re trying to order a toddy of some kind and not when you’re eyeing the sexy guy at the bar.

4. Smashed. This is what happened to the vase when the cat knocked it on the floor, not your state of inebriation after a night out with friends.

5. Girlfriend or boyfriend

6. LOL.  If you say that to me, I’ll just GOL and tell you to BO.

7. Like. This vocalized pause only makes you seem unsure of yourself.

8. YOLO. “You only live once.” My 12-year-old daughter and her friends said this much of last year. It’s time for this trend to go away, especially if you’re over 50.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     9. Rich or Sick. Do these mean the same thing? Don’t know and don’t care.

 ****************************************************************************************

My Reply…

 I would like to add something here,,,, Shelley Emling wrote: Sure, there are words that no one of any age should say on the Internet without starting a flame war. There also are terms no one should use to describe themselves on LinkedIn.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Considering that Shelley is over 50 I will give her an OUT here but truly I might say (after reading the first few comments this article provoked) That you probably should not write an article about what NOT to say for the over 50 crowd anywhere!!!!
Ya hit 50 and it is already a sensitive subject, regardless of the black balloons and wonderful surprise party and loving roast that comes with it! Regardless of how we embrace the fact that we can lose the stupid rules of our youth. It stings just a bit. We may not want back those awkward years but we sure as hell don’t want anyone even someone over fifty telling us how to talk and where not to say certain words! We earned that right by living a half a century already. Believe me if someone says LIKE it is a habit they began long before they turned fifty. Soooo like don’t freakin tell me what to say on the Internet or anywhere else for that matter… got it girlfriend?! LOL.

56 minutes ago Tina_Curry faved your comment.

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cartoon grandpa texting

//

A challenge……. Silence is golden


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

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

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

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

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

cartoon with tape over his mouth

Chapter Nine


This is Chapter Nine… I think that I will share one more chapter and then that will be it until I find a publisher. Thank you for all who have taken the time to read this. I love your feedback. It has been like gold to me. For those of you just reading for the first time… this is part of a book… it won’t make much sense unless you follow my blog back to chapter one. Here is Chapter Nine for all those who asked for more….

I am off to work and wanted to get this posted  this morning before I left so there may be a few extra type os than normal… I intend to go back and edit some more after work today!

Thank you for reading.

Diane

open diary

Chapter Nine

In the weeks that followed, Keri learned to handle Jack and her relationship on her own. It was a little like a balancing act. Though she thought that she was doing a fine job, people began asking her if she was okay. “Sure, why?” She would almost snap. Having no one to talk to about Jack’s mood swings, Keri weathered the weight of it all on her own shoulders. Until one day, Mrs. Walker came to her with tears in her eyes. She’d been worried about Keri and actually read her journal, “not all of it, but enough” she confessed. Keri was horrified. She’d always trusted the agreement they’d  shared, without so much of a second thought and through the years, she never suspected otherwise and became quite unconcerned and free about what she’d write. And if truth be known, her teacher never breached that trust ever before, until she had she’d seen a change in Keri, who’d come to class obviously upset  one day to drop off her assignments and hadn’t waited to talk to Mrs. Walker who’d  called after her but Keri had not heard her or at least  acted as if she hadn’t. Though, Mrs. Walker was pretty sure she had.

Keri scrambled inside her head as her teacher stood in front of her with a pitiful look of concern, she tried to recall what she might have recently written. There’d been some pretty bad times lately. Times when there’d been no other place to go but inside the pages of her journal. Mrs. Walker laid the leather-bound book in front of her. Tears of anger burned in Keri’s eyes. All this time, Keri had believed that Mrs. Walker was just initialing each new entry without reading a word. Now, she didn’t know what to believe. Keri snatched the book up and held it tightly against her chest. She wondered how far back that Mrs. Walker might have read.  Her teacher saw the look of betrayal on Keri’s face and rushed to explain. She’d just been concerned,  now, she couldn’t ignore what she’d read. Keri stiffened as Mrs. Walker tried to touch her arm. She pulled away as she picked up her books and ran out of the library without a word.

woman crying

Keri agonized all night long. She couldn’t talk to Jack about this. He would be so angry with her. He did not know about the journals. She’d read poems to him from them, but her journals had been hers. They were not even for Jack to know about. She had not wanted him to ask to read them so she never mentioned them.  Her head swam. All of a sudden the room started spinning. Keri grabbed her mouth and ran to the bathroom and got sick. Keri kneeled by the basin coughing and crying.  She’d never felt so betrayed. And yet the hardest thing about her anger was that  she knew that her teacher really did just care. And yet she was just so ashamed that anyone  knew that she’d allowed Jack to treat her the way she’d described in those sacred pages.  Now, she felt naked and as if she wanted to run away, far away where no one knew her. That night she decided that she was going to finish High School even earlier than she’d planned. She did not want to have to deal with Mrs. Walker or anyone. She was so confused. During their conversation, Mrs. Walker told Keri she’d always be there for her if she needed her and  suggested that perhaps she’d really wanted her to read what she’d written. It just made no sense to Keri  and more angry at her teacher.

The next day Keri  went to her counselor to find out exactly what credits she still needed. She was happy to discover that she could complete them all  by taking the required exams through a few independent study classes that she could do on her own through the counseling office at the local community college. She was surprised how everyone seemed to support her plan. Keri  explained that she wanted to finish her Senior year early since her schedule was so minimal. She told everyone that she planned to start working at the Speech and Development School full-time, and have a little time  in-between before she had to start her college classes. She decided that rather than going away to school, she would take some of her general education classes at the  same community college where the counseling office was that she would be reporting to until she completed her High School credits. Surprisingly,  her counselor and her parents didn’t question her new change of plans even though she’d be forfeiting the scholarships she’d applied for. In fact, her mom and dad didn’t seem to discourage or encourage her to go to college. Jack was the only one who really encouraged her to go and yet the idea of  going away to school now,  seemed less and less appealing to both of them as they fell more deeply in love.

The weeks passed quickly and her own graduation was uneventful. There just wasn’t one. A few months later, after completing all of the requirements.  She’d gone to pick up her report card and diploma from the office, only to be told that her official diploma would not be available until after her graduating class had gone through the actual ceremony in June.  Suddenly the realization of what she’d done and was missing out on, hit her. Her choices impacted many things she’d been looking forward to. She’d known that she would miss her prom and other school activities the following year, but she’d also reasoned that Jack would not have wanted to go to any of it and she did not  want to go without him. And yet, Keri couldn’t help feel a tear slip down her cheek as she headed for the parking lot, with her report card in her hand.

The year before meeting Jack, she’d been invited to a boy’s Grad night who she’d met at church and been dating casually for a few months. He was valedictorian of his class and Keri was honored to be his date.  They’d gone to Disneyland after she’d watched him speak to his graduating class and the entire night had been magical.  She was glad that she had that memory, and decided it was going to have to be enough. She was just relieved that school was  behind her and that  Mrs. Walker  had not said anything to anyone else about what she’d read in Keri’s journals. Keri was sure she would have called her parents but for some reason she hadn’t, and Keri was grateful.

When Keri ripped open her report card and saw the A+  in English, a melancholy feeling came over her. She walked toward her car as she scanned the paper. Memories flooded her thoughts as she remembered  all the things she’d learned about writing from Mrs. Walker. She remembered the first time her teacher approached her with tears in her eyes after reading something that she’d written and telling Keri that she had a gift. Tears blurred Keri’s eyes,  just as she was about to  bump into Mrs. Walker herself, who looked equally surprised. She’d not seen Keri for several weeks though signed off on her class after  learning of her plans to not pursue her current scholarship she’d been disappointed but decided not to interfere. In fact, she decided to do nothing.

Keri had seen the familiar signature and had felt uncomfortable. She hadn’t seen her teacher since that day in the library. Only she and Mrs. Walker knew the truth of why she was really graduating early.  “Thanks for the A” Keri said uncomfortably. “You earned it as always, Keri”. Mrs. Walker smiled “Good luck to you honey, you are very talented, I hope you do something great with your writing.” Keri knew that graduating early had ruined her chances for several of the scholarships she was up for,  ones that they worked on together.  Suddenly they just hugged. Though it wasn’t clear who reached out first. The embrace was long and genuine. “Thanks for everything Mrs Walker” Keri whispered hoarsely and Mrs. Walker hugged her a little tighter and then slowly let go. At that moment, she knew Keri better than any adult in her life. The years of mentoring and long talks about her dreams to write, and then watching her progress and win awards, had been her teacher’s own reward. She wanted to say so many things to Keri at that moment and yet she knew that they were all things she would have to learn on her own.

hug

 

Chapter Eight


I know that I said that I was not going to post another chapter, but I had some special requests so here is one more.

WARNING: You will probably not understand this chapter… if you have not read the seven chapters posted before this one.

I am going to request one thing… please don’t click LIKE unless you actually have read it. I noticed that as soon as I posted this… I got several LIKES right away. There was no way that anyone could have read this THAT fast! Though I appreciate the support. I really do need real feedback. This is my baby and I am truly serious about it. But don’t get me wrong I LOVE those LIKES when they are truly genuine! Click away! Please!

 Thank you so much for all who take the time to actually read the chapters… you have my heart. To the others,  I understand that your time is valuable and appreciate that you follow me and read other parts of my blog!

Happy New Year!

******Chapter Eight******

Both Jack and Keri worked long hours during the week and cherished their weekends. They fit in as much time together as they could. Instead of being tired at the end of the week they both seemed to have renewed energy. They shared one adventure after another, wrapped up in their new young love and Jack loved introducing Keri to so many new things that she had never experienced or even imagined before. It was like a new high for him watching her learn.

Though they never mentioned the bouts of Jack’s rage after they were over, they always hung heavy in the back of Keri’s mind. They continued to sail but she could not deny the tension she felt each time they would leave the dock.  She dreaded finding herself in another similar situation and would make excuses when he suggested that they take the boat out.

sailing lesson

Finally, Keri took it upon herself to be proactive and decided to take lessons. She had seen the signs at King Harbor where they sailed, and so stopped in one day after work to check out the details. She ended up booking  the first few sessions right there on the spot. She paid for them all by herself, figuring that she was making an investment in their future.

She would get up early on the Saturdays that she knew Jack would be working and learned to sail like a pro. She never said a word to Jack as she learned all the terms and how to maneuver the boat in and out of the harbor. He didn’t seem to suspect that she was taking lessons and she never told him about them, because she did not want him to expect too much. Though, he seemed impressed that she was such a “fast learner” and she just smiled and said that he was just a good teacher and he seemed pleased.  And she left it at that.

Jack loved to look at boats and cars. He introduced Keri to them both. They would go to car lots late at night in order to avoid overzealous salesmen and look into the windows of all the latest models.

new car shopping1

Jack would run through different options and all of their statistics as Keri listened, impressed at how much he knew about each model.

boatshow

When boat shows were in the area, he would take her to all of them.  They would spend all day climbing on and off of boat after boat. They both fell in love with one called; The Fiji 41. As they toured the boat, Jack talked about them one day living on a boat like that and almost had her believing that they really would.

sailboat int

Keri knew that Jack was smart, and that he would be successful in whatever he decided to do. She knew without a doubt that someday, he could have whatever he wanted. And if he wanted to live on a boat, they would. Jack loved that Keri believed in his dreams and in him in ways that no one else ever had before and yet he remained suspicious and Keri knew it. She did not know how to break down that last wall of trust but she did not give up.

newspaper

One day, it was a particularly beautiful Saturday afternoon. Jack’s dad was at work which was not unusual, and Jack had finally stopped working weekends. They had spent the morning messing around and then lay sprawled out on the living room floor reading the paper when Jack suggested that they wash their cars. Keri who would have been just as happy messing around all day on the living room floor, had grown restless after reading each article from the front to the back page,  and jumped up laying the folded paper on the coffee table, thinking that getting out in the fresh air was a fine idea.

washing car

As they pulled their cars alongside the building, they took turns hosing each one down, soaping and rinsing playfully, they began throwing sponges at each other, while taking turns with the hose, both spraying the cars and each other. Jack loved that Keri was such a good sport, as he flashed on a time when Maddie stomped off after Jack had playfully gotten her blouse wet. After polishing their cars, they washed Jack’s motorcycle and as they admired their work, Jack suggested that they take a ride. Keri got a pair of cords out of her trunk and ran up to Jack’s apartment to change. She pulled on her pants just as she had promised her mom several months earlier. Soon they were headed towards the ocean, and ended up pulling over to watch some fancy, and very upscale Radio Controlled Sail planes soar over the cliffs of Palos Verdes.

radio control sailplane

Keri laughed at Jack as he stood with his mouth open, she smiled as she watched his eyes twinkle with such joy. His face looked like a little boy with a new puppy on Christmas morning. He grinned back and closed his mouth. “I have always wanted to do that ever since I was a little kid.” He explained standing in awe as he looked up into the sky. “There’s a place not too far from here, in Lake Elsinore where they have the real things.” He told Keri. She remembered him talking about the  Sail Planes he had read about when he was a little boy, in the National Geographic article She understood now, why he had been so impressed. She watched him watching the planes fly overhead,  and couldn’t resist as she walked up behind him. Wrapping her arms around his waist and whispered in his ear. “So what are we waiting for?!” As she gave him a light squeeze. Jack looked at her and then at his watch. His eyes twinkled as she grinned back at him. They dropped off his bike and hopped into his Triumph Spitfire. Driving with the top down and an eight track of Bread playing all the way to Lake Elsinore, Jack explained more about what to expect. Keri had never seen him so excited.

convertable

As they pulled up, they found a mobile home sitting on a dirt field with a few people walking in and out of it while a half of a dozen others wandered around the glider port, looking as if they all had a purpose for being there.. They all seemed very friendly and Keri smiled as they passed a few guys that looked to be familiar with the place and   Jack tipped his chin in greeting as they passed while Keri followed.  Keri thought that they were going to just watch a few take off but before she knew it Jack was paying to go up!

sailplane

Keri watched the plane take off with Jack in it. When he landed, She watched until the plane rolled out to the chalk line and then ran out to greet him.  As they popped open the plexi- glass over the cock pit, she could see Jack’s expression and it was priceless. He was that young broken boy, finally finding some joy.  Keri enjoyed just getting to be a part of his experience. She had never seen him so happy. That was enough for her to make their ride there worth it. But when he announced, “You are next!”  Keri hesitated. She had never been scared of an adventure. She loved roller coasters and all the E ticket rides at Disneyland but she had read the brochure and saw what the prices had been for just going up. But Jack insisted and when she landed she was equally as hooked. “That was so cool!” she exclaimed as Jack came running out to greet her as she climbed out of the plane.

“I just signed us up for lessons.” he announced. Keri was concerned. She had seen the prices for just a ride up. She knew that private lessons had to be much more and assured him that she would be happy waiting for him while he took the lessons. There was no way that they could afford both of them taking lessons at the same time. But Jack insisted. “We are a team, we do this together or not at all!” he said. Keri looked up, “Really, me too?” she asked? “Panicking remembering how hard it was for her dad to teach her things. “Do you really think I could do it?” Jack held her away from him, with his hands on her shoulders and such love in his eyes and said in a serious tone, “Keri, you can do anything you want to do and don’t ever forget that.”

sailplane open cockpit

Soon they were in a contest who could solo first. Every weekend was filled with trips to fly. It was very expensive but Jack always budgeted in both lessons. Keri never actually thought about it but she was happy flying and enjoyed it much more than sailing. Even though Keri had actually taken the initiative, Jack ended up soloing first but Keri did it with less flights. And they laughed about it but she knew how proud of her he truly was when he took home movies as she soloed for the first time. It was such a good feeling to be the one who made him proud or laugh. They had so much fun together and Keri was so in love.

sail plane jantar

Weekends consisted of trips through Corona, and staying at little motels in Riverside while studying for their future Glider license exam. They would joke and quiz each other and fall onto the bed laughing as they climbed all over each other until they got enough and then they’d repeat it all over and over again. Their love was endless. But at times, Keri felt a restlessness in Jack that she could not shake or joke it away. She never knew when to expect the dark moods but slowly she learned how to handle them. Sometimes, she could slip under the covers trying to tease him out of it and try to get him to talk about whatever it was bothering him but other times, he would get irritable and shut down. Keri knew by then, that at those times Jack was less than approachable and so she would let it go. One night after flying and having an especially wonderful day, Jack just turned his back to her without warning.  She began running her hand down his back and he stiffened.

sad couple in bed

She knew not to touch him or push, so she  just turned over. And contemplated everything as  they lay with their backs towards each other. She understood that was all she could do. There had been times before when she had attempted to get him to talk about what was bothering him. Those times had not gone so well.  It was a terribly helpless feeling to not be able to show the one you love how much you love them and that you were different from everyone who had ever come before. She had no idea what had caused the turn in his mood and realized that perhaps she never would. Jack would most like wake up with this behind him, perhaps even apologetic. She had begun to learn the patterns.  Keri lay still as tears slid down her cheek, trying to picture a life filled with nights like these. Finally, she turned over her wet pillow and fell asleep.

Second Chances


traffic school

Today, I was going to work on my book. But I had this stupid issue of traffic school looming over my head. I scraped together the money to pay for my dumb ticket and the added cost of having the “prvilege” of going to traffic school and I just wanted to get it over with. And so I got up early to honker down and choose a Traffic School to get it off of my To Do List (of all those things you know you have to do but just don’t wanna!!!!) So I went on line to find one. The first one that I chose seemed easy enough to pull up and PAY…(I mean, of course the PAYING part worked really well!) but as soon as I tried to push PLAY, I had all kinds of problems and after waiting twice on HOLD,

frustrated blonde 2

I just nicely asked for my money back and they are supposedly refunding it and I moved on to the next school. And found a great little one that had great reviews and was animated and seemed user friendly… or at least friendlier! It was easy and cheap enough with no hidden costs. I could stay in my sweats all day and they will electronically send my certificate to my courthouse.

And though it took up most of my day,  I do have to say that I gained a lot of respect for what I learned, cartoons and all. I have been known to pass a few cars on my way to and from the Lake where I live. It may have well been worth the $3o0+ I had to pay for learning a good lesson. So I must admit that I was passing one of those hair brained Sunday afternoon puttzzzers, on a Friday morning… late again to work because of the lalagaggers on what the locals in my area call “hell hill” perhaps dubbed by drivers not too far off from the description of lil’ ole’ me!  As I passed Mr. Slow Puss I saw out of the corner of my eye behind some bushes, the fender of a well hidden Highway Patrol car.

ticket signs

As I cried out in a moment of panic, pleading, using the name of Jesus mingled  with a few words in my head that should not be in the same place as my Lord… I slowed down to those ever so familiar red and blue lights that we all dread to see behind us.

police

Well, you know how you feel as if you have been given a second chance? For some reason, I didn’t argue or even get mad when that Lalagagger passed us on the side of the road giving my friendly Highway Patrolman a thumbs up as he passed. I didn’t even care, I knew that I deserved it. When he told me I was going 86 in a 55, I tried to tell him, it was hard to pass someone who was going between 30 and 50  all the way down the hill only to have him speed up when I tried to pass.  He took pity on me because he said that he could tell that I was “a nice lady” ouch!!!!  Smile… And told me that I had almost beat the record but he would clock me at 65  by then, I knew he was not going to let me go.

ticket

I do have to say that I knew I had been driving pretty crazy lately. Always late, always in a rush… and why? Today,  I sat back and took a personal inventory of my driving attitude and realized that I was out of control. It was almost as if I were getting a second chance. Recently, I have taken my time getting to wherever I am going, and I realized a few weeks ago, after getting the ticket that I usually get there within 2 or 3 minutes of the time I might have shaved off by driving crazy. I had pictured myself going over a cliff at times in my head.  I think that God allowed that ticket and I think that I deserved it. But let me tell you… this lesson did not come CHEAP!!! But it was worth it if instead of saving a few minutes, it saved my life.

And I must say that after about 7 hours, I was ready to see the rainbows and butterflies in my head when I heard:

Congratulations Diane YOU PASSED!!!! Yaaay!!! Applause!!!

rainbowsEven though in the course of taking this class I watched the day pass by my window as  an empty Budget Rental Truck drove by  and then back out  the other way filled to the brim. I mean, don’t tell me that in the time that it took me to do my little traffic school class that someone else had loaded up everything they owned and I was just finishing up! But I’m done and it is finally crossed off of my list

It is funny how a silly little thing like Traffic School, even with some comic value, can slow us down and humble us with their cute little statistics and make us a little more aware of the lessons we need to learn. And for me, it wasn’t just about driving. Today I found a blessing in what started out to be a big interruption in whatever day I was going to have to sit for seven or so hours and take this class. (They have it designed so that you can leave off, and come back and I did a few times during the day but I decided to finish it all in one day) But just maybe it was more than just a lesson in driving, maybe it was  a second chance that made me look at things a little differently.  I guess we all need to be more aware of those second chances. You know?

Working Hard For The Money


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

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

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

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

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

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

ATTITUDE

by

Charles Swindoll

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

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

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

Scatter Rugs


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

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

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