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

Chris Pickens, Carrier Of God’s Word


 Bible (2)

CHRIS PICKENS

His words are stored inside our hearts,

His life has been a work of art.

He’s planted seeds and grown new vines,

And he’s done God’s work all this time.

His eyes reach out and touch my soul,

his body is no longer whole,

this disease has come to take control,

to snuff the flame and take it’s toll.

But, life still lives inside of him,

the light dances, it won’t grow dim!

He still has lessons we must learn.

The fire continues still, to burn!

His mind is wise and he is there,

and hosts a heart, we’ve found so rare.

the numbers climb of those he’s touched,

the ones he’s taught, the ones he’s loved.

We can’t repay all that he’s done,

though if you are one of the ones,

and you are here now reading this,

Please reach out and help our friend Chris.

Diane Reed 2015

When I first met Chris, he had a Bible in his hands and that was always his trademark. He was and has always been the carrier of God’s word. Planting seeds and reaching out to anyone he felt led to approach. I am glad he felt led to our little store, because he changed things up in our lives as soon as he walked through the door!

I have said time and time before that I will never believe that pain and suffering and illness come from God! Or that bad things happen to punish us. I truly believe that God is not sitting up there choosing who to inflict with what. We live in a fallen world and that is just part of the deal. People suffer and die. They have financial successes and failures. Sure, some have brought on their own form of suffering through bad life or business choices or even health choices. But things like babies dying and ALS and meaningless accidents just don’t make sense and probably never will. Though I believe God allows opportunity in every instance and I have known people who have used their pain for God’s glory and Chris IS one of them!!

I will never forget sitting in a pre-marital counseling class when I was 21 with my on the fence non-believing husband to be. Our pastor at the time, Wayne Frase, shared with us something that even I never knew… that his baby son had died earlier in his own marriage. He was sharing the story to teach us that sometimes heart wrenching, life changing events that can come up in marriage, can either break it or make it stronger, and in that moment, I KNOW that a seed was planted in my soon to be first husband’s heart that would later lead to his own decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. At the time though, he was so confused at how this Godly man kept his faith, and yet very intrigued by his faith in God. Later, when my dad who we ALL loved died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband finally made the choice to believe after watching my mom’s strength through losing my dad and all the other little seeds that were planted along the way. Seeds like Chris has planted all throughout his lifetime!

I guess what I am trying to say is bad things happen to good people daily and it is how they handle them that can be used for God’s glory. And that life is not fair. And the formula has never been that bad things only happen to bad people and good things only happen to good people. If that were the case, Chris Pickens would be living on top of a hill in a mansion without infliction! But the fact is that he’s not. He is in need of our support. I have written about my friend before.  (Through Papered Windows) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/through-the-paper-windows/

But as this horrible disease progresses, my heart was pricked to share again.

One of my best friends, Michele, (Chris’s wife) has been her husband’s caregiver now for about 70 hours a week or more. Chris is totally paralyzed. He can no longer talk and with the occasional flick of one wrist, he is totally dependent. I have never seen Michele complain and she is always smiling. She is now in desperate need of funds to be able to hire capable caregivers to take care of her loving husband and take some of the load off of her. Another friend has set up a fund-raising site for him.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/caring-for-chris/288756 

Also Michele sells Shaklee. We all use cleaning products and need vitamins along with so many other things I never knew they sold that I use everyday!! Please take a look at the millions of things that she sells (on the handy link below) and instead of going to the store,why not support Michele and become a regular customer?! (she is even offering free shipping!) It doesn’t matter where you live within the United States. Why not just decide to order everything you would have gone and bought at a store, through her? And the products truly are so much better than any you might find on the shelves AND…. reasonably priced! If we all did it, we could turn their lives around financially by just supporting their business! Please click on the site below for information there! http://www.healthysteps.myshaklee.com

Michele Pickens

LifeQuest Health

Natural Products Supplier and Nutrition Consultant
714.536.6555 Cell 805.423.2064

lifequesthealth@aol.com

Improving the lives of everyone we touch

If you know Chris and Michele, you have probably read this all the way through because they have touched your life. I remember our friendship when Chris was the one who approached us, invited us to church and embraced our family. Even when they had to move back to Southern California to be closer to family and doctors, I’d hear stories about how he’d take his little scooter to town and witness to many, many people who came to the Lord just by Chris being Chris and sharing God’s Word.

The last time I visited, Chris could no longer take those rides to town and was in a wheel chair full time, by then, but those eyes and that heart still were strong. He is in there, still believing and loving God.  If he has touched your life or if you don’t know him and his story has just touched you… Please pray for them and then if you will,  reach out to him (them) in any way that you possibly can and thank you!!!! And along with just clicking LIKE (which I always appreciate!) How about stopping a minute and looking at Michele’s Shaklee site and perhaps sharing this post on your facebook page or send the link on email to your praying friends and any other site of theirs that you think might help!

And again…

THANK YOU!!!!!

micheld and chris

Chris and Michele before ALS hit hard

JUST HUNGRY


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

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

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

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

 homeless

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#_

 

My Aha Moment


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

 Jesus hem

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

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

little boy

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

 

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

Diane Reed

What I know for sure!


Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!

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

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

Christmas Typewriter

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

woman writing at keyboard

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

typewriter on wooden desk

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

Or….

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

water drops1

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

water overflowing

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

stressed woman

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

quote about attitude

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

quote about not taking things personal

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

Sophia and her plug

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

baseball glove

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

Jesus steering

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

Jesus at the wheel

Giving Back The Wheel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Reed

2014!

 

God saying

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

                                                                    Diane

Traffic Jam


 no traffic

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

traffic best pic

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

upside down car

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

traffic on the 101

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

traffic

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

traffic horn

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

Jesus steering

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

Life is all about moving past the accidents,

side mirror

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

traffic calming sign

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

Duhhhhh


Mail... You Got Mail

My curser turned to your page as my day began to start

like a slap, you shared words with me that tore my heart apart

let me tell you now that they were words I didn’t need

You sent them anyway – knowing just where it was, I’d read…

frustrated girl on computer

You wanted to bring me into your own little world of pain.

My world is far from perfect, you just added to it’s stains.

wind

I wonder what you wanted for me to do or to say?

Was it your intention to just blow my day away?

tornado aftermath

I know that misery loves company so you invited me

without ever considering the place that I might also –  be.

Your feeling angry now,  so you wanted me to feel it too

Funny, but what you just did to me… I’d never do to you!

Diane Reed ’13

holding hands over earsholding hands over earsholding hands over ears

Several years ago, I went to visit my cousin. She’d needed to work the first couple of days of my visit so I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle until she came to get me.  It was a fun time to catch up with my Aunt.  She was such a wonderful woman! She loved to laugh and I loved to make her laugh and we did that a lot during that last visit. She was a wonderful artist and could make patterns up out of her head! She painted and sewed and made apple dolls and hand carved their faces with expressions that brought them alive! She loved her pets and little kids and elderly people and I loved her with an admiration that I don’t give out freely.

It was a great visit except that my Aunt had built up a lot of resentments over the years which I think ultimately,  made her physically sick and in the end part of her demise.  I am pretty sure that she died too young and with that resentment still in her heart. Though she was amazing, she just could not let go of things she felt had been wrongly done to her and she shared some of those things with me. She shared some mistakes she feels that my grandma made and I have to admit that they were rather shocking. Though I am not sure how much was amplified in her mind as the years went by, I do believe my Aunt for the most part. Finally when my cousin came to pick me up, she asked me how my visit with her mom had been and I asked her  if she knew the stuff her mom had told me about grandma.

I think it was in that moment, I saw my cousin as not only an adult but one of the wisest people I know, and still feel that today.  She held up her hand and said to me “Diane my mom tried to tell me bad stuff about grandma for years and I never let her because grandma was an amazing grandma to me, and I’ve told her that I am sorry if she had a different experience but I refuse to let her ruin my memory of her.” And then she said, “I am sorry you let her tell you.” Well, I am too. But I was kind of caught of guard. My Aunt did not ask me if I wanted to hear any of it, she just told me. And I am not sure if I would have known how to tell my Aunt I didn’t want to hear something I didn’t know she was going to say but it made me really respect my cousin. Because after all, my grandma took my Aunt and her kids in when they had no place to go and took care of and loved my cousin and her brother and my cousin recognized and remembered that.

I am sure that my Aunt was never really in a place where she ever recognized all that her mom did for her. She was already filled with such resentment by then but my grandma  loved her kids with all her heart and so in turn her theory of my  grandma hating her seemed ridiculous to me because I don’t think she would just love some stranger’s kids in the same way. She could have just sent my Aunt and her kids away but she didn’t.

I am sure my Aunt had a different experience with her mom than we did as a grandma because we treated our grandma like our hero.  She was my soft place to fall until the day she died. I loved her and the wonderful memories she made for all of us. When I’d come to visit, I’d remember waking up to hearing my Aunt yelling at my grandma and my grandma probably yelling back at my Aunt. It’s not that hard to see that you reap what you sow in that situation but I am still sorry that my Aunt missed all the great stuff we loved in her mom.

I guess the point of my story is… I could have written about the things I learned about on that visit… The stories my aunt told me about my grandma…etc… But at the chance of my cousin reading this,  I never will. I will protect my cousin from the stories she does not want to know or ever need to know. Recently, I’ve been given unsolicited information that I never wanted to know. In the past, I’d made it crystal clear that I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m not really sure what part of “Please don’t talk about this to me” was not clear enough  but it was SENT to me in way of text without warning…. how shady is that? The highest form of manipulation is still going ahead and sharing something that was uninvited with an innocent bystander because you are angry with someone else and need to vent. And they wonder why we aren’t that close anymore.

I guess the operative word here would be…. Duuuuhhh!

Safe Keeping


boo boo

Like a bruise, my heart has places that…

I don’t want to touch again.

Like paint that never dries

or a story that never ends.

beach book

My mind keeps wandering back

and I get lost in the past,

then you come and wake me up

writer asleep

like pushing forward fast!

Snapping me right out of

the nightmare that kept me sleeping,

a kiss

handing back the heart

you were holding for safe keeping.

young couple making up

Diane Reed

2013

My Strength


baby smile

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

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

0413011039 hot tubrohss

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

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

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

hot tub

hot tub2

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

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

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

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

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

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

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

Happy 25th Birthday To My Brookie Baby!


Brookie's shower

Can it be twenty five years ago that you came into this world,

My sweet little blue eyed precious baby girl?

You captured my heart from the moment we met!

The first time I held you… well, I will never forget.

Brookie Baby pointing

You overwhelmed me with love at the very start

and through the years you have captured my heart

You have made me laugh and entertained us from the beginning

With you in our lives we were constantly grinning

Brookie Baby snorting

You’ve taken on life with all of your might

When you take on a project you fight the good fight

You finish it through to the very end

And then you get up to do it all over again

Brookie played till she dropped!

You have a way of holding our hearts in the palm of your  hand

And when you believe in something, you take a firm stand

Your beauty has been evident from the very start

But what I am most proud of… is what’s in your heart!

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As a mama I could count all the things you have done,

counting to a thousand naming them each, one by one~

but it’s not just your talents  or the way that you shine,

even though I’m constantly  boasting;   the fact that you’re mine…

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It’s inside your heart and the faith that we share,

it’s the way that your joy makes you cry when you care~

It’s your kindness and love that you have towards others,

That makes me so proud that I am your mother!

Brookie and Jas

And so as I sift  through the memories today,

trying to wish you Happy Birthday in “our” own little way~

I marvel at it all, for I know, in the end,

Twenty five years ago, I made my very own Best Friend!

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Happy Birthday Brookie Baby!

Yore Mama Loves You!!!!

Brookie and PapaBrookie Blue eyesimg050Brookie Baby bathtimePUB 1img071Brookie & Britney on the swings

Brookie at her Daddy's company picnic01p019Brookester and ChadlyBROOKIE IN APPLE DRESS BEING A GOOD SPORT... SHE HATED THIS DRESS!

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img234img065Brookie and her mamaBrookie fishing with Dad and GrandpaBrookie and her daddy with baby JasFile0025Copy of brooke and danielle1BROOKIE SENIOR PIC6flags! 006DSCN0854img2175-1-20106-47-46PMbrookieeee05401p099Brookie and her dadbrookie's indiebrookie

Hey, Brookie,

I just wanted to thank you for being my kid, my hero, my advisor and my very best friend.

You inspire me. You make me want to be better. I am so proud of your accomplishments!

Today, I just have to stop and breathe and realize that God protected you on that day of the earthquake so many years ago, (can it be almost ten?)  as

angels gathered around the place where you stood as our store was crunched  along with the car where you asked to wait in.

We can’t not believe! He has great things in store for you! I BELIEVE that you are going to change the world! Perhaps just one by one in the people

near you or in a much bigger way than we can even imagine. It was so hard to let you go, five years ago when you left our little town to go find your

dream. But you are doing it! Just like that little girl who I would find asleep ON her pile of toys…. you do everything with a ghusto! And I can’t wait to

see what you do next!

May God bless your life and may this year bring answered prayers and dreams come true.

I love you my sweet girl and very best friend~

Happy Birthday!

Mama

.

Terri


boxes in the yard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

letters with ribbon

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

girls gossiping

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

It’s JUST Ten Cents…Come on, REALLY?


I find it all so funny. It was as if we all had been on vacation and then come back to a world of baglessness! Some stores were creative and offered paper bags for 10 cents each or even gave you 5 cents back for each bag you brought in yourself. Though I did find all of this annoying at first, I can’t help but find the whole situation down right funny.  The thing that I find most  humorous is how the stores have dealt with explaining this  new change to their customers and even more, how the customers react.

You seeee… California has gone bagless (refer to the link I included here) there has been a ban on plastic shopping bags!) So unless places want to GIVE us a free paper bag… we shoppers are all outta luck… It could be worse…. bags could be like gas during an election year! You go to bed and they are 10 cents and you wake up and they are $4.79 + tax!!!  (smirk….and another blog!) But reeeeally, you probably won’t find this as funny until you are made to succumb to the bag ban!!! (If only I had JAWS background music for my background tune right here!)

If we all could get outside of ourselves and find the humor in it, we might even consider popping some popcorn, taking a seat and sitting back and enjoying the show. I particurlarly like to watch how the poor clerks handle their explanation as the clueless shopper stands dumbfounded as they pile the merchandise atop the turnstiles that used to hold the bags. Or offers the once free bags for 10 cents each. I have never seen such irate reactions over ten cents! People have been known to truck all the way back through the parking lot, almost half a mile away, to get the bags they forgot in their cars.  I watch as they seriously are quite angry. As if someone had insulted their mother or something. I want to stop them and make them laugh at themselves and ask them … Come on dude… REALLY? Get a  grip it’s just ten cents!

I wonder if there is a little chip missing in me somewhere, enjoying this new recreation of mine. Just standing back and observing the traffic jam in the communication department where this all began.   The other day, I watched when a guy checking out someone who obviously did not know about the new bag rules watched cluelessly. It was also obvious that this fellow did not understand why his merchandise was being piled and not bagged. And it became apparent that the checker was  not going to explain. Almost like a toddler that closes his eyes and believes you can’t see him if he can’t see you. They don’t acknowledge that the customer is growing more and more irate… I wanted to explain to the poor guy… but it wasn’t might place… I had brought “MY” bag…. smirk…smirk… thinking okay let’s see how he handles this.. I probably could have stepped in but that “chip” won out.

However, some stores are all over it. They have cute bags for the same ten cents that places like Walmart are trying to charge for their same old bags. These stores with the cute bags have realized that people don’t want to feel ripped off, even if it is just ten cents. They also have scripted their checkers with explanations as to what is going on. And are coaching them to ask  if the customers have their own bags before creating that pile of merchandise that has grown so familiar.

I have made the best of it and  become chums with the other shoppers as we chat about bringing our bags, forgetting our bags or how ridiculous we think it all is. But it is funny, people seem more friendly. At least to each other. I have actually enjoyed finding cool looking designer bags. The best ones are 99 cents at TJ Maxx! But really I have noticed that we customers, actually have eye contact and smile at one another a little more now.  Where once we walked by obliviously, with tunnel vision not noticing one another, now we seem to be more friendly. Nodding knowingly as we eye each other’s bags as we walk in the door together… ahhh that  thread that bonds us all when we have something as simple as bags in common.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/05/los-angeles-plastic-bag-ban-approved.html

Painting Hallways~


I think that I threw everything off kilter by my last blog.

I always try to be  reflective and have a redeeming message that pulls everything together  with a “moral” of the story, but I usually try to make it appear a little sooner than it did in that last one…

Though most of you still allowed me to vent and overlooked my bad mood… (and for that I thank you.)  I just wanted to remind you that our blogs are written for a ton of different reasons. Some use their’s as a journal inviting whoever wanders by to take a peek. Others, only share with their friends. Some of us are strengthening our writing muscles within our blogs, preparing for mightier projects and some of us are procrastinating moving toward those “projects” by staying stuck in our blogs instead of editing and rewriting or even starting the first page of that novel we know is inside of us! And others just are hoping that maybe in their struggles, they can share something that will help someone else feel they are not so alone in their own dark hole and that there is eventually light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel that there was one person that kind of took offence and took what I was saying far more personal than I’d intended. Perhaps they saw themselves in what I was joking about, or had just visited a spa recently but I definitely did not mean to offend. However, I’d like to point out that… Our blogs are like our diaries. Someday, I hope to look back and see how far I have come, what regrets, I have, if any and what lessons I have learned. But if I am not allowed to have some blips when I just need to vent on my own blog it is like someone kind of coming into my house and yelling at me for the color I decided to paint my hallway.

I need to be able to keep a record of my down days filled with frustration and my grateful days filled with praise and give myself the space to allow “me” to figure it out. Even if it takes a stack of journal like blogs to get there!

God allows us to have  both good and bad days to help us grow and hopefully others won’t take it so personally. I remember when I used to fly sail planes, The tow plane would pull me up and when it hit turbulence, I knew that a few seconds later, I would. Kind of like watching a car in front of you, hit a speed bump, if you kept going, you knew you would hit it too, so you slow down and proceed with caution. Looking back, doesn’t always allow you to see the upcoming turbulence, some days, you just got to hold on and fly through it.