Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my-studio

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

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

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

My Happy Project & A little Konmari!


happy

I promised to come back and report on my happiness project. I always hate to announce publicly any new resolutions I take on because I know people will be watching and yet I feel the need to put it out there to make myself accountable. I have really been trying to notice what makes me happy and trying to be less negative. Though this election makes it a little hard not to feel negative or a little scared. But not going there today!

I will say that I’ve realized that though I had a pretty good childhood and great parents and so on, I have kind of come from a negative family. A little judgmental and gossipy and jumping to seeing the negative. I’ve noticed it more and more in talking to certain people and I know it has rubbed off on me.

I will go for a visit and return with a little more evidence that my theory is not so “off.” And so the question is… can you really teach an old dog new tricks? (Me being the dog.) Can I break the cycle? Is it too late? I am determined to!

junkyard-dog

I have always given the benefit of the doubt to certain people in my life knowing that they came from a pretty horrible background or childhood. But it is different when it is more subtle and you realize in your fifties that there were some things pretty off. Even if you were loved and adored and cared for as a child, the messages we learn are a little like a frog sitting in a tepid pot of water as it eventually begins to boil.

frog-in-boiling-water

I am turning off the heat and jumping out! Just watch me! I am going to be aware of my negativity and stop it. It may take a lifetime. After all a half a century of learned behavior is cemented in there, but I have my chisel and I intend to carve out the happy in me! One chunk at a time!

My daughter has recently gotten into Konmari (Google it if you haven’t heard of it.) It is a way of organizing, asking if an item brings you joy, if it doesn’t you thank it and toss it. Lol. She admits that I had the same ideas when she was a kid cleaning her room. (Take all the trash first, and then the papers, books, clothes, toys, etc.) I didn’t think of the joy and thanking each item… in her room that would have taken a month! LOL. But I find it hilarious that she is into this AFTER she moved out!

messy-babybrookie-really-in-her-bed My baby… she does everything with a passion! (love the one sock off!)

But I love that she is and I am so proud of her! (She does EVERYTHING with a passion!) She inspired me! And after 20 huge yard sized bags, I have donated to our church’s rummage sale, I love my empty and organized closet! And have moved on to our garage with my husband. Spending my last day off clearing half of my side of the garage!

messy-closetpile-on-the-bedempty-closet clean-closetclean-bedbags

 messy closet,  pile on bed,  empty closet, clean closet, cleaned off bed,  bags to donate!

Why I’m sharing this is… metaphoric of course… in the physical sense it is freeing to let go. And in the spiritual sense it is mentally healthy to release that closet full of metaphoric junk I’ve piled high for all these years!

I urge everyone reading this to take each thing you are holding onto and look back in your life and remember where once it came and ask if it brings you joy and if it doesn’t… toss it onto the pile and let it go!

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

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

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

mirror-broken

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

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

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

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

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

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

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

My half of friendship


A Michele's Latte

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Michele

Our place to meet -At Spearhead Coffee in Paso

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

A Michele and me

Michele insisted on this selfie!

 

 

Growing Up


 

 

women writing at desk

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

woman writing in the sun

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

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

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

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

couple talking seriously 2

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

typed to be continued

BACKSPACE


writer

You are the pen and today is the page,

your attitude is the ink.

YOU control  the way  you react,

in what you say and do and think.

At times we are bold in the things that we say,

at times we should say nothing at all.

It’s all in the way we write the words on each page,

and the way we want them recalled.

For life does not have a backspace key

for all the things that we say in haste.

So, just remember as you click on SAVE

to review  first, and when needed erase!

S

Diane Reed 2016©

backspace

 

Dear Past, Thanks for ALL The Lessons! New Future, I am Ready!!


happy smile

Happy New Year everyone! I am thankful for you all. For whatever reason I have been gifted your presence, as you share your valuable time with lil ole me, reading my thoughts and ramblings, I am humbled and honored. It has been so long since I have last posted that I had trouble getting here and accidentally posted a poem I’d written in the past and left in my to be edited pile. Still untitled. But it has gotten a little more activity than I expected, so I have decided to leave it be. Though my intention was to be positive today.

I did not intend this to be a post about resolutions but more of realizations… I wanted to wait until all of the New Year posts had been written, kind of like waiting to go to the gym in February, after all of the New dieters have dwindled to the serious resolution keepers!

But in my reflections I’ve been trying to figure out how to put my thoughts so that you’d GET what I wanted to say…

I guess it’s like this… We all have a story. And we are the authors of our own pages. I think that the quote: Today is the first day of your life! Has been so over done that we have discounted it. But in reality, it is a pretty powerful statement. I know people who wake up everyday with new hope. They just are happy. Or appear to be. Whatever it is… it is inspiring. I am blessed to be married to one of those people. It has defintely been a challenge for him I am sure being married to me. I think sometimes we speak totally different languages in the morning!

Speaking of which, I think that learning new languages is amazing. I wish I had that talent. It is one of the things that has always impressed me. But I think even more than that, learning to be quiet inside our own language is even more impressive. To not say anything at all when I reeeeally want to… is a talent that I am trying to master daily.

I think that this year my intention is to grow, to listen more, to stop judging, to catch myself and ask, what is it that I am seeing that annoys me so much about that person that I might see in myself. And to always wonder why that angry person is angry, it most likely has nothing to do with me.

To ignore the wrongs done to me, to forgive more frequently, but to understand that ultimately in the end, I am doing it for me. For I have wasted so much time in the past being stuck somewhere else – hanging on too long & not letting go.

For…. You can’t push a rope you know!
rope

God bless everyone in the coming year! May it be our BEST one yet!

xoxo

Diane

 

 

The One In The Mirror


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

———————————————————————-

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

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

standing at window

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

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

journal

You get a NEW book

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

mirror middle aged woman

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

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

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

hand from heaven

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

 

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

 

The Funny Thing About Doors


doorknob

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

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

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

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

SONY DSC

The Funny Thing About Doors…

The funny thing about doors

is…

you must walk through one

before going through another.

And every one you open

leads you to something  to be discovered.

There are grand ones and small ones,

creaky ones and tall ones,

ones you open quietly,

and ones you just want to slam!

Ones that lead you to the light,

and ones…

 well,

to be damned!

But every door I’ve chosen to go through,

has taught me things I had to know.

From them, I’ve taken things with me,

and others I’ve let go.

Each one led me to a place,

to find new parts of me.

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

that held the happy key.

Diane Reed

2014©

In the end it is all about the lessons


The other day, I was talking to someone closer to my age about how scary it is that life seems to be dashing by. Yesterday, I was planning a summer get away and now POOF it is almost Christmas. I brought up a point I made in a past post…

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/unfolding-prayer-requests/

                                                                                     About how good God is, and about how when you really look back at the important stuff, it all worked out in the end. I had a prayer tin when I was a young wife and mother and faithfully put prayers in it. I found it years later, and every single one was answered in some way. Perhaps, not the way I’d envisioned. But they ALL actually were answered.

Later that day, a young girl that I was talking to, shared with me how she was heart-broken about the ending of a relationship and I told her my prayer tin story and how things that seem so important now, really won’t in four or five years. Of course four or five years to her is a lifetime, or at least a quarter of her young life, and I’m not sure if she believed me, but…. It made me think. Age is not such a curse. Good things come with experience. Hopefully wisdom is a biggy.

In my life, I have had a few hard lessons. And it’s funny, because NOW, all these lessons that I refer to have seemed to have collectively gathered at one time. EVERY day, I have had quite a few of those light bulb moments recently. And I guess you could call it wisdom. In writing my book, I have re-written the ending at least a dozen times. I do know that since I typed that first word of the first page, I have lived a lifetime in my heart. The poem below is not where I am today. It is just part of my story, a chapter in my book. I am so glad that I have lived past that time in my life. I am so glad that God answers prayers and that life goes on, and that we are forgiven of our indiscretions. In the end, I guess it is all about the lessons.

door little girl peeking out black and white

In the corners of my mind,

 behind the closed doors of my heart,

I struggle with the melody,

 that keeps us far apart.

couple on the dock

Loyalties and passion,

twirl inside my head,

memories of the past play there,

 like a story I once read.

smelling the books girl

Heartache is the tune that plays

 in the background of my soul,

charging for my sins,

 like a gate keepers constant toll.

Diane Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2014

I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

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

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

Inside Every Minute


 

 The older I grow

the more I don’t know

the faster the days go by.

Yesterday’s passed

the minutes don’t last

it make me just stop and sigh.

The laughter and tears

the hopes and the fears

another candle blown out

Inside every minute

the memories in it

Well, In the end

THAT’S what it’s ALL about!

Diane Reed 14

 

Come on Come Clean…We ALL Need Affirmation


sally field you like me

After my last post on my blog it started a conversation about numbers which I thought was interesting. A lot of us say we don’t care about the numbers and yet we know how many followers we have and though I have noticed that some blogs don’t have the LIKE icon on their blogs, most do. Even in our private lives we seem to keep score to a certain extent. While my daughter and I say” I love you” freely. My son seems to feel the need to ration out his “I love you s”  thinking that they will mean more to the receiver if he doesn’t say them at the end of each visit or phone call which is just a natural place for my daughter and I to say it. Well, I can say that they don’t mean more or carry any more weight than my daughter’s ten “I love you s” to his one. But I must admit that I do notice when he says “I love you” because he doesn’t say it as often. Is that what he is aiming for? I think it must annoy my daughter if I am impacted by my son’s rationed out “I love you s” though in the scheme of things… we are the ones that actually are experiencing joy more of the time but I guess it is all perspective.

bulletin board

I think that from the time we are little and our parents put up our refrigerator art or our teachers put our first papers up on the bulletin boards or later,  read a story we handed in out loud to the class that they especially found well written….  we feel that affirmation and like it and want more. It can be an A on a paper. A membership in a club. A spot on a team. Even when someone in your family says I love you. We need it all. Can we live without it? Sure. But not without it affecting us.

I remember when my first husband and I were just married. He’d never had a birthday party before. Which I found rather odd because my mother in law was a wonderful woman. But for whatever reason she’d never given birthday parties. It affected him. And I kind of am just realizing it now. Because he sucked at birthdays.

birthday

Anyway, I decided to give him a surprise 25th. His sister came over to help. I had been raised to always say I love you as I walked out the door and so I said it when I walked out, and he said it back to me. I think his sister saw the opportunity and said it too. He didn’t say it back. It really hurt her. We talked about it later as we were getting things ready. I just told her that they hadn’t been raised that way and to not let it bother her and that she knew that he loved her. I know he did. (He really loved his niece (her little girl) I’ve always felt that if you love someone’s kid, it is a reflection of your love for them whether you ever say it or not!) Years later before he died, he said he “I love you” all the time. I think it is just a maturity thing.

I think it all starts in the beginning… how ever we start out…. even if our mom says I love you all the time to us… and puts our papers up on the refrigerators, whether we get birthday parties or never have ever had one… we may end up saying I love you everyday or ration them out… we may also end up rationing out our LIKES to only the very special posts…. which are the ones I covet. But I must say that I do care how many followers I generate and what kind of interest my posts attract and I will take a thousand I love YOUS and just the few at a time. I admit it. I want them all. I am a writer. I think that makes me a little different. I think we all need it… bit I am willing to admit it!!!   I NEED AFFIRMATION!!!! to me…. It’s really not just a numbers thing. I need need to know that you like me. You really, really like me! And if you are my kids… I will take as many I love YOUs as I can get! 😉

numbers

Road Kill


deer crossing sign

Coming from the city, we have emotional stop your day reactions when we see a dog or cat lying dead on the side of the road. But here in the country it is an everyday occurrence and  almost expected to see what we have callously dubbed  “road kill.” It is not unusual to see a deer or a squirrel or other creature having met their fate via the grill of one car or another.

deer crossing

 

The other day I even saw a wild pig laying lifelessly along the side of my scenic drive to work! I have to admit that I still have not gotten used to it. And it makes me feel a little empty inside as I realize how precious life is and how fast it can get snatched away.

road kill

We may have more sense than to dart out in front of an oncoming car. And it makes me wonder what logic is behind their decision to cross the road right when one is barreling around a corner. But if that didnt’ happen, how would I write about my metaphor of the day? Now I don’t like to liken us to “road kill” but I can relate in a way. I see those headlights “of life” coming and think that they are lighting my way, when in reality they are my sign to proceed with caution. How many times do we go looking for signs to only see the ones that we really want to see and overlook the ones that God gives us as He lays out blazing flares warning us to proceed with caution?

praying bible

Just like an animal darting out into the path of an oncoming car, we sometimes just close our eyes and leap. We don’t look both ways or proceed with caution, we don’t arm ourselves with daily prayer or stop and ask for God’s direction. We get caught up in trying to get our needs met as quickly as possible and in the process miss the message.

In my life, I’ve discovered that patience is a virtue. And what is virtue? It is: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, principles and ethics. In Christianity the seventh highest order of the nine fold celestial hierarchy. Worth waiting for don’t you think? Beats darting across the road blindly and becoming “road kill.”

caution signs God

Oh Lord please take this day

and slow me down to see,

all the ways you try to

communicate with me.

Stop me at the corner

when I am running late,

 slow me down to hear YOU,

when you tell me just to wait.

For I’ve finally begun to see,

that I get in my own way…

After giving it to you,

and then taking back my  day!

Diane Reed

2014©

 

Sowing Weeds


Sowing Seeds

I laugh in the face of  your anguish.

My revenge is in your unrest.

sad man silloette

You came back to claim my innocence,

your anger, my  last test.

siloette of couple fighting

You cried for my forgiveness

as you tried to steal my soul,

sad guy under tree

cleverly claiming ignorance

as you continued to dig the hole.

Planting seeds beneath the surface,

as they grew to strangle me.

sad woman

You told me you were planting beauty,

when you were only sowing weeds.

dandilions

Diane Reed

2013©

Once again… I want to say that this is just for my book! I need poems that go with the stories I am writing. This is NOTHING to do with now… so no worries!

Oh My Soul


The Joy of The Lord

The mystery of our souls and the way that they are formed

makes me wander back to a place, long before I was born

healing waters

I imagine heaven and God preparing me for earth

big bubble

and how I must have played up there long before my birth

bubbly pic

It’s makes me kind of sad that we forget it all so fast

the memory of how we started and why it couldn’t last

closed curtains little girl

It must be in the lessons and the things we’ve yet to know

the ones that we hang on to and the ones that we let go

floor crying girl

My soul has always been there, though sometimes I feel it more

soul

through the darkest times and the times it’s been restored

water raining in a stream

Carrying me through trials and when  I felt most alone

Jesus answers prayer

floating upon the memory of the promise to return home.

praising Jesus in the clouds

Diane Reed

2013

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?

Falling In Love AGAIN


This one is for those who remember these words from a verse I heard long ago…

“Oh my love come grow old with me… for the BEST is yet to be….

So many times when we are young we don’t grasp that we are actually living our “Good Old Days” we have bills and toddlers to deal with and then suddenly in a blink of an eye it is over… our toddlers have grown up and moved on to have families of their own and we find ourselves living like strangers wondering WHO is this person I am living with? Perhaps with much water under the bridge where we even forget why we fell in love in the first place… It is up to us to remember. To realize that we almost missed the BEST in the part we promised each other long ago.

If you are in that place… lonely and wondering; WHERE the the heck is the BEST you promised me?! Look inside yourself. And remember LOVE is a verb!

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Through Rose Colored Glasses


footprints picture

I have been reflecting on friendships this week. No doubt due to losing Lucy. It has made me re-evaluate so many things in my life. My heart is full and yet my brain has kind of kicked in. I have been going down a very revealing journey of self discovery the last few days and the familiar saying: Some people touch your lives for a little while and others leave footprints on your heart forever…  comes to mind. But currently I am in kind of a dark place where I feel like twisting that sentiment around a bit and adding…. There are also the friends that trudge all over your heart.

bruised heart

Some things are comforting because they never change. Like Lucy, she was who she was. She was always my soft place to fall. I never came to her to have her always agree with me, but to get the truth. It was a refreshing friendship because no matter what, she could tell me like it was and I could tell her and it was just a safe place. I never worried about her sharing my secrets or divulging my mistakes. She was my Fortress of unconditional love. It didn’t matter if I was in a horrible place in my life. She loved me through it. Like a mother loves a child. Like the best in best friend.

In my life I think I expected that from everyone. I think that I really had blinders on when I chose different people in my life, at work and historically in my own personal life, and it baffles me now what I didn’t see. There was a time in my life where I put one particular friend on a pedestal while I kind of let another one tread water waiting for me to see the truth.

cartoon standing on a pedestal

As I look back I wonder why I was so blinded by admiration. Another couple of friends at work made me believe that they were friends. They gossiped behind the backs of others there, just as much as any of the REAL HOUSEWIVES! In fact, they could give them a run for their money! The thing I don’t get is why was I so blown away when I finally discovered that they were talking about me as well, when I wasn’t in their presence?

Friends have come and gone. Some are there because I’ve chosen them (adult made friendships). Some historically (childhood friendships) are still there because we’ve chosen to work on them to nurture them. Those are the most difficult when you realize you have outgrown them. A while back, I met a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She was a part of my everyday life as a teenager. In just our short lunch together, she had proceeded to insult a homeless boy begging and said such hateful things to him and then tried to justify it to me, that I felt I was with a stranger and yet in that moment, I realized I was seeing things about her that I’d overlooked all our lives. I have really been reflecting on many of my friendships lately and it has been an eye opener. As I have also reflected on my own junk that I bring. There are more sayings such as…. You will always be my best friend… you know too much…. Or…  Best friends know everything about you and love you anyway…

I want to be that kind of friend… I want to be the one that doesn’t want to point out the bad in my friends, the one who accepts them where they are. But at times when something huge happens like it did for me this week, you get reflective and perhaps a little cynical. For today… I think I let the cynicism win out. I’ve written about friends before on my blog, even given them their very own post of the day.

Currently, I am just in reflection mode. I have so many lifetime friends that I am thankful for! So many readers who have made me look past my own doorstep and embrace the friendships not even made yet. Funny how once upon a time, I thought I had enough friends. What a horrible thought! Never to be open to the possibility of more. A kind of friendship suicide. Cutting myself off from the opportunity of the joy I have recently experienced in new friendships in my life here and in my own little corner of the world. I also realize that I am just in a bit of a depression and rightly so. Nothing organic going on here! I just lost one of my best friends and I’ve woken up each day realizing she is gone. It is the first thing I think of every day since. But I know that time heals all wounds and though I will miss her, the pain will ease. As in the things bothering me today. And so I will not close the book, I will keep reading, finish the chapter and move on to the next.

But for now just humor me please as I share my poem about being disillusioned over certain friendships. A bit of purging here. Not my usual uplifting stanzas (that was a joke!) But I really do…. I promise I will have a better outlook tomorrow!

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

Through Rose Colored Glasses

You see it your way with rose colored glasses

the world is all wrong and we are all asses!

rose colored broken glasses

It couldn’t be you, in all your perfection

no, not a flaw in your perfect perception!

We are just sensitive when we judge your approach

you never see the way you jump down our throats

girls telling secrets

 you talk behind all your friends clueless backs

discussing all the things you feel that they lack

 what made me think when you were talking about them…

that I was above the ones you called your good friends

gossipers

Why was I blinded, why couldn’t I see?

while you were talking about them, you were also talking about me!

Diane Reed ’13

page quote

Like Romeo And Juliet


Disclaimer:

This poem is for my book that I am working on (all fiction don’t worry!)

 Pieces of the Circle

letters with ribbon

True love can’t be forgotten

though years have hid it’s flame~

Lost love held inside of me

without shelter or a name

ring

 Finding me in my despair,

weary from the pain

so ready for young love

to be restored for me again

woman at the mirror

We hesitated in mid air

like a note sung by a singer~

The scent of love we used to know

somehow made us stop and linger~

couple on a hill

Did we understand the cost

of choosing to stay or close the door?

Did we deserve to take our turn

and even ask for more?

holding hands at sunset

The love inside of me grew until

I thought that I would burst

I feared  that what I held dear,

by my loved ones would be cursed

goodbye hug

The past has met the present

like waves upon the sand~

The foundation was never ready

for us to step on or to stand

walking on the beach

We were caught inside a love story

with all the tragedy and pain

No one would ever accept our love

or allow it to remain,

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

like Romeo and Juliet,

like Elizabeth and Browning.

Our love was like a soaring sea

as we struggled to keep from drowning.

past lovers quote

God became our rescuer,

The One who calms the seas.

The One who knows all of our tomorrows,

and what they all will be.

Jesus loves me and you

And so we rest in HIM

and put us in His care

And when we I look for true love…

I know I’ll  find Him there.

Diane Reed

2013

*Note* This poem is stored here for future use in my book. (Previous chapters can be found here in this blog.*)

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

Child Within~


I had to come back to this place

always heard whispering in my ear

Oh Little girl, somehow I knew

I’d still find you here.

reflection black and white

Among the memories waiting

wondering if  I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago

forgotten in my  past.

praying family of hands

I gather you up and hold you close

as we walk through the rooms of our soul

Pieces of you and me once broken,

healing and becoming whole.

little girl in mirror

Looking inside from the child within

I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound

before we  truly begin to heal.

lonely little hop scotch girl

We walk through the lonely places

that once held our yesterdays

oh how I wished I’d protected you

in so many different ways.

contemplating life

And yet I know that through the hurting,

we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered,

in all the times once burned.

bride walking in the waves

In every tear we ever cried,

and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd,

and felt a million miles apart.

crying girl

We learned to hold the truth inside

and somehow we got by,

we built the walls around our heart

and “they” never saw us cry.

couple on the dock

We learned that fighting to survive

was what we had to do,

and so I lost the biggest part of me

the day when I lost you.

hands sillouette

It’s hard to face the ugly truth

and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone,

living with the hurts and lies.

finding diane mirror

You were the child inside of me

and I failed you the most.

In the mistakes I made along the way,

in the different paths I chose~

reflection in mirror black and white

But I’ve come back to find you,

to finally bring you home!

So that together we can learn to live

and never be alone!

finding Diane two

I want to find the kid inside,

and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me,

that I forgot to love in you!

triumphant

And as I pack up all your things,

I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

The Places That Hurt Before


little girl window seat

Her heart was bruised
and a little misused,
she learned at a young age
how it could break~

boy walking away

Years went by
and life went on,
she learned the games
of give and take~

girl lost in the woods

But she always wandered back
into the forest of her yesterdays~
looking past the shadows
losing her way inside the maze~

letting go diary

Now the bruises on her heart…
They don’t hurt much anymore~
unless you push very hard
on the places that hurt before.

Diane Reed ’13

advice about the past

A challenge……. Silence is golden


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

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

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

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

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

cartoon with tape over his mouth

Rain Check Please


raincheck

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

easy bake oven

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

creeple people

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

finger map

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

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

jogger

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

funeral

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

sunrise morning beautiful

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

lady yelling cartoon

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

God sees poem

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

coupons

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

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

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

  Psalm 136:1

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

Ironing Boards Inside My Wall


 

orange crate shelves

Orange crates beneath some wood

Ironing boards inside a wall,

ironing board cupboard

Dancing on that empty floor

back then we thought we had it all~

 moving day hug

Defrosting the fridge with a hammer

defrosting with a hammer

Glass door knobs and yellow tile

yellow tile in kitchen 2

Wooden crates and mason bricks

mason shelves

Still somehow,  make me smile

Long before Pottery Barn or Thomasville

writing a check

Before credit cards statements each month…

There was a time when we lived on dreams

And somehow that was enough.

cute romantic couple dancing

Diane Reed

Happy Anniversary My Love


I am going on a little anniversary get away with my husband this week. We plan to  go find the boat we were married on and visit good friends. And then  go to my daughter’s first movie premier! She starred in  a little Indie that will be showing along with other Independent films at a Hollywood dinner theater and we are so excited to go and support her.  While all that is planned I have to fit in a “retail” buying trip for the place where I work.

Our trip is our gift to each other and yet I wanted to stop a minute and write a little something on our anniversary here. Excuse me, as I use my blog as a place to store my gift to him. He reads things here when I send them and so I will send this to him on December 4th… The last couple of years have been a little crazy and so the words may only be ones he understands but I thought I’d still share them as I know others here might relate.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I have a lot of memories of times before we met

slowly they’ve been forgotten but some I can’t forget

sad girl

You have been so patient as I’ve  tried to let things go

to share things with you, you never should have known

tears

But I love the way you love me, the way you’ve still held on

I can’t say if it had been reversed, that I wouldn’t have been gone

arguing couple2

You are a better person for loving me the way you do

And I am so very blessed because honey… I love you!

01p055

So… NOW, I want my memories to be the ones that WE have made

and begin to make new ones so that you will be glad you stayed…

img073

Nineteen years ago on that day in December

YOU are the  only one that I want to remember!

img072

Happy Anniversary my love!

Letter to my nine year old self~


The funny thing about growing up is you can do it at five or at fifty five. And I have been discovering that I have been kind of stuck for a long time. And yet the mistakes I have made along the way are very clear to me now. I guess that is a good thing. I mean, what a waste to have gone through everything I have and not have learned something from it.
In May of this year,  Oprah had a section in her magazine where it featured women who wrote a letters to their younger self. I thought it was such an amazing idea that I just had to take a stab at it.
Jasmine… and me…. nine years ago! How time flies!
I actually wrote this in May on another blog and had  just  transferred it over here….  and begun to re-read it myself…
The cool thing is, that my ten year old granddaughter just walked in. She is staying with me for the weekend. She just called up out of the blue, asking me if I would like some company because she missed me…my husband is out of town dealing with his dad and so I had honkered down for a quiet weekend of uninterrupted writing…  (I know, I know, what do they say about the best laid plans?) Well, anywaaay, talking about making memories, I couldn’t say no. And now I am inserting this sentence because it is so cool. I just had the opportunity to read the letter below to my ten year old granddaughter. She also is a writer. I gave her an empy little journal and she has been filling it all weekend. And so I am in awe of the magic in the moment… see if you don’t agree… it was if I had written it for her.
Here is my letter to my young self:
Today you are so filled with expectation and dreams, your whole life is ahead of you. Your life is virtually an unwritten story waiting to be written. Some pages, you may want to tear out along the way, some you may want to hurry through, some will keep you stuck and some will be happy memories. Embrace them all. Don’t waste any of the lessons, learn from them and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes you cannot change.
You want to grow up so fast right now. You can’t wait to have a boyfriend, to drive, to be done with school. And then someday, to have babies and then you won’t be able to wait until those babies talk and walk and I just want to tell you to SLOW DOWN!!!! And be a KID!!!  Life will fly by fast enough without you helping it along. LIVE in TODAY.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  These days will someday, become the “Good Old days” that you’ll look back on and you will regret not enjoying them as much as you could have. Always wanting the next step to happen too soon and not enjoying the moments that will only be sweet memories that you will wish you had enjoyed more.
Let things go. Don’t dwell on the things you cannot change. Don’t hold grudges. Things will happen in life that are just plain wrong. People will hurt and disappoint you. It is just going to happen. Nothing you can do, can stop that. But the way you handle those hurts and disappointments,”IS” totally in your control. Don’t waste your time in regret, just brush your shoes off and move on!
Finally, you are a dreamer, and a story teller. You are one of the lucky ones. You know what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t wait. Follow your dream. Fight for it. Educate yourself. Find out how to make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen. You have to go out and make it happen yourself. Write that novel you have always wanted to write. Write as many as you can. Touch people with the stories in your head. Ask questions, learn lessons.  But don’t forget to be quiet. Don’t interrupt so much.  You can find your own voice when you need to. Take the time to take turns and really listen. There is power in listening. Sometimes if you talk too much, people just hear the words…. when you are quiet and listen, you can find the true hearts of people and then and only then, can you finish the story you first began.
Age is all about the lessons we learn, the doors we open, the stories we live and what we do with what has been entrusted to us.
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been”
Madeleine L ‘Engle
OH YEAH, and by the way. Don’t let your mom curl your bangs like she does! You look like a goof ball!

Chapter Two


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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading! I love you!!!!

Here it is….

Chapter Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Good Old Days


Her room sat  like a capsule of honor

waiting for her return

like echoes I  would hear  conversations we once shared

when  I would wake her up in the morning…

I miss those mornings sometimes…

 there was a time…

I once mourned as each child

was plucked from my nest

I waned to scream…. “But wait I am not done YET!!!”

And then I stood proudly as I watched them fly

So high, so strong,

I couldn’t help but take a little credit as I looked on….

And now I am okay. Really I am.

I even enjoy only having to get me ready and out the door again these days.

No diaper bags, or back packs to remember or in my case, forget….

And yet it sometimes stings just a little to know

that those chapters have been written

I don’t have to wonder who my children will be as I did once as a young girl..patting my belly and whispering in wonder… “Who are you in there, who will you be?”

I know them now and I am proud of the children I have had as I watch them soar to heights far above my imagination.

I wander around the walls of my life and look out the windows of my memory

and if I let myself… I can wander even farther back, back,

and reflect on the regrets of things I never accomplished or wish I had done  and that is when I see….

That these really and truly are the good old days, the days I have the freedom and the time to write my book

and live in the chapters yet to be written…

The days when my babies still can return for visits….

And so can other people! Cuzzzz we have a guest room now! GRIN~ (Of course my little chickadee has first dibs!)

Yes, these are the days  where I finally learn that….

                                                                                                                                                      The best is yet to be….

Ripples


I stood by the stream

and picked up a stone

and  threw it

the water rippled

I watched as the rings appeared

casting out

from the thrown stone

I smiled

funny how such small things

can do that,

make you smile

that is….

I looked for another ~

all that  I could find

was a clump of dirt

I threw it

to my delight

it also cast rings around

where it landed~

The stone shone beneath the ripples

at the bottom of the stream

while the dirt only melted within

the effect; one in the same

but one begins

where the other one ends

by

Diane Reed

Nothing compares


Pooh said…

  “Eating Honey is a very good thing to do,

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

which is better than when you do.”

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

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

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

And  somehow I can always depend on being rescued.

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

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

but I really do know….

That NOTHING compares to HIM!

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

Cheater Readers


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ring


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garage Sale For My Soul


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― Maya
Angelou

The Gift We Almost Missed


When you found me, I was tired and weary. I had forgotten how to dream and I had walls up all around me. Some you helped build long ago, the same ones you helped me take down in our times together. You gave me back something that I had lost…  you gave me the gift of my youth.

The memories we shared were like the best tasting honey ever, and I remembered with an old weary heart, soaking up all of it until there were no memories left to remember. Every day was better than the last, we danced the dance of getting to know each other all over again… the one I once knew so well, had memorized and then tried to forget with the exact same passion I had loved you with.  And yet, we worked through it, all the painful memories. You asked for my forgiveness and in giving it, my heart healed and my world seemed to somehow feel more aligned with everything around it.

I began looking forward to your words, to your affirmations. Your words were like salve upon a wound, they had healing powers and I was lost in a world so rare, so right and yet so wrong.  And so… …..   all in the click of a key, my life changed. It all started quite innocently, the catching up, the remembering… so innocently…

But you wanted something  more, something that I could not give… In-between the youth that you offered and the life that had happened in-between the past and the present, the path had changed. I had changed. You had changed, yet we hadn’t changed enough. Slowly I tried to back away and even though you would say that you knew you weren’t entitled to be angry about any of it, you still were. And even though I wanted to go back and make it alright for you, I could not change the past. Though I was not sure what to do. I did not want to abandoned our newfound friendship, I continued to reach back through the distance but we knew nothing was going to make it right.

And you must have seen the writing on the wall because all of a sudden you weren’t there anymore. It wasn’t me this time. It was you.  I waited for your reply and wondered if you were okay.  But then I realized, you nor I were ever going to be okay when we weren’t in touch or when we were. Even though it felt so right sometimes, we knew the truth.  I had taken a thousand opportunities to just stop over and over again, and something always would happen that seemed to make it impossible to stay away. Neither one of us could “just” stop. And so the Merry Go Round kept turning.  Both of us, in our own way, would try to stop riding for a while but in the beginning,  the pain was so raw, the sting was so painful that a new  panic would set in. I remember feeling so wild with grief one time, that I felt a little  like Hellen Keller must have felt  in the Miracle Worker, floundering in my blindness, seeking to understand. And the thing that gives me hope is that Hellen Keller later, actually became one of the wisest souls to live. She literally gives us new meaning to: “I was blind and now I see.” (Hopefully in the places that I was blind in my life… I will see things with the same clarity that Hellen did.)

But slowly, as we began to play the game of jumping on and off, over and over again it suddenly got very old. And we realized it wasn’t fun anymore, but we kept riding, until one day, one of us just quietly got off. And this time it was you. Who woulda thought? There were no words of anger or tears cried, there wasn’t even a goodbye. The door closed just as quickly as it had opened.

And we were okay.

We still could breathe and we even  lived through each day, one at a time~ Though some were harder than others…  And we still looked in the places we used to go to find each other. Recently, I even caught myself looking at a star and “willing” you to look at the same one. Or found myself listening to the same radio station and wondering if you had just heard the same song.

And I can’t say that I haven’t wanted to reach out to you again, sometimes many times a day. To make sure you are really okay, to ask you what made you finally strong enough… But I know that it would hurt us more than it would help me and so I remain silent… remembering…

The love will never go away. The places you once were ~  still feel pretty empty when I look and you aren’t there, and  just perhaps, they always will.    I just know that I will never look at them the same way again…

You are still in my daily thoughts and prayers and I hope I will always be in yours… not so much as a possibility of anything more but a sweet memory of a gift we were given. One that few ever get to experience. I am not sorry for the time we shared nor am I sorry for our unspoken goodbye because it was all meant to be…..to remind us of God’s love. The perfect Gift. The one we almost missed.

Directions


It’s really not about all the things I complain about,  the things left undone or not done right, the things you say or don’t say, it’s not even about  the way we can’t seem to find our way back to a place on our path where we can re-connect.  Any place, just a starting place would be nice. I find a spot and think that if you could hear me, I could call to you and you might try to find me there and yet you never seem to be able to hear me calling.

We seem to be stuck in a place where it is all me, the reason we are where we are. I catch you nodding your head as if to say “well, it is all you.”  And I can own most of it. I really can. I know I have made some big mistakes and I am really sorry, and yet you just don’t seem to see the bend in the road that tripped me, the place that you missed too.

Somehow, we lost our way and  it is really hard trying to follow the same signs to get us back to where we started.

And it really scares me… whether our path leads to an old shack

or a beautiful mansion, will not matter if we never seem to have the same directions.

And so I stop to rest, I unfold my map and try to see where to go. To give it one last shot. I rub my eyes. The directions look so faded and I am so tired ~ I fold it back up, almost giving up but in the distance, I see a tiny bit of light and it makes me squint, trying to see and that is when I realize just how lonely I am. And that I have been on this path of ours,  alone far too long. And suddenly my heart is so sad, I realize that I have been trying to read the map all by myself and forgot to invite the most important one The ONE with the right directions!

And suddenly things seem clearer. I can see the road ahead with a different heart. I feel excited to share the road with you again, to invite you back on my journey, our journey, the clouds have cleared and it is a NEW day!

And maybe just maybe, the true blessing is on the inside, in the lessons within the bends in the road, the times we have fallen and the places where we have tripped and to finally realize that no matter how rocky our path or where it leads, home is where you are!

Walking Backwards


I look forward to the weekend and then wonder where it went on Monday. Life seems to be moving so fast. It seems as if only yesterday I was looking forward to falling in love and getting married and having kids. My Easy Bake Oven was my first kitchen,

and I played out the stories in my head with Barbie and Ken. Only very rich people had color televisions and you could still go and buy things from a catalog with things called Blue Chip Stamps.

Gas attendants still pumped your gas and washed your windows. Bosco and Dippity Doo, Chatty Cathys and Wish Books, all hold a place in my heart.

I look back at my first car and then my first apartment and I wonder where did the time all go? Why did I want to push so fast?? Babies and life all happened and it all feels as if I am walking backwards as I remember it all. Life was so simple then. But I didn’t see it. I just made it all so complicated when it really wasn’t at all. I have to wonder, am I doing that now? Not appreciating that TODAY may be tomorrow’s “Good Old Days.”

I grieve for my youth, for not realizing the special moments even in our struggles when money was tight or our marriage wasn’t right, or when bad stuff happened. Sometimes I just got stuck. I prayed for things, always looking behind my back, never really giving God the chance to work on anything because I kept snatching it back, right out of His hands. I would ask patiently for about two minutes and then be too rushed to wait for an answer. I feel like I really am walking backwards, not even turning around to see where I am going, just one step, two steps, three steps, all with my  view straight on the past.

Recently, it hit me that I missed out on a lot living in my world of retro regret and realizing that there are no U turns where God is concerned. There is only hope in the future because….

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.

You can accomplish ANYTHING if you don’t care who gets the credit!


We are in the midst of an election year and I must say that I am already weary as I watch the gas prices fluctuate and hear all the rhetoric from both parties and wonder where has character gone? Where are the Mr. Waltons and President Regans of yesterday?  Are they really a thing of the past?

My favorite saying has always been something I saw on President Regan’s desk several years ago when I visited his library. It basically said: “You can accomplish anything if you don’t care who gets the credit” He will always be my very favorite president.I loved Regan and feel he really lived that.  I wish I knew more people who did. I wish I could say I did.  If I really think about the people I know who hide behind their good works, it is barely a handful. Politicians are notorious for NOT doing that during elections, they are continuously boasting about their accomplishments which are usually more fabricated than not. Even Ministers have incorporated their acts of goodness into their sermon and it is surprising. Don’t people realize how transparent they are when they are sharing their own good deeds?

After the earthquake, I was given a column in our local magazine called Acts of Kindness. I had started writing about the kindnesses people did for us after we lost our store and vehicles and it kind of snowballed into a regular column.  I was given an article a month for almost a year and filled it with my own words of gratitude for different people in my life. Later,  I offered to tell other people’s stories and not one person submitted anything. It was weird. I knew people read my column because I always got lots of good feedback but  it was funny, I thought if someone was given the chance to thank someone else publically, this was their opportunity. And even though I could probably write forever thanking people in my own life, the column ran it’s course and I just began doing random assignments until I had to get a “real” job. But it was fun while it lasted. To be able to thank wonderful people for doing wonderful things for you, and get paid for it while doing it, was pretty cool!

There is a new little blirb in a woman’s magazine that has the same idea and publishes submitted stories of acts of kindnesses weekly. I love the ones where people share what other people did for them but it is hard for me to read the ones where they are telling what they did for someone else. I want to say, “really?” It includes their name and town and state and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

I wish I could be more like people who donate without telling anyone or work in a soup kitchen weekly or volunteer at a shelter and you would never know it unless it came up by accident. My dad is that kind of man. He has bailed me out of more than a few financial crisis and loaned me more than a few loans that he has forgiven. He goes and mows another churches’ lawn on a pretty steep hill and doesn’t even go to that church. His tithing does not just stop when they pass the offering plate. He quietly keeps on giving everyday of his life. Whether it is to mentor my son or to love my daughter or to lend a helping hand at whatever he can. A widow who needs yard work or chairs that need to be set up. He quietly does it without wanting anyone to know.

He paid for our dog’s vet bill when we were struggling and gave us Buddy back for a few more years. And you know what? I KNOW he has done many more things that I don’t even know about because he truly lives the words of not caring about getting the credit.  Yep. When I grow up, I want to be just like him. My dad.

You Can’t Lose Something You Never Had


You remind me of the ocean, the smell of the waves, the scent of summer, of heartache, of endings… of beginnings… of engagements and breaking up, of learning for the first time how to put aside dreams and learn how to survive the pain of heartbreak, you gave me my very first broken heart, you remind me of a never ending love that has weaved it’s way through the decades that have passed, the place in my heart that still hurts if you touch it, you are the reflection of my youth and my hopes and sorrows.

You taught me how to love and were the keeper of my tears. You challenged me and you suffocated me. You believed in me, maybe more than anyone ever has and yet you smothered me, snuffed out all the confidence in me. I sailed boats with you and flew planes!  I mean “I” actually FLEW a plane without an engine because of you! When you believed in me. I believed in me! I discovered that I could do things that I never would have thought of doing, if it had not been for you. Oh how you took me to the top of the world and then, oh but then… you dropped me and oh how I crashed. And even today, I’m not sure that I ever recovered. Maybe that is why I let you back in, to go back and get pieces of me.

You loved me and you hurt me over and over again, you left me found me over a lifetime of hellos and goodbyes, I loved you and I hated you, and yet I forgave you , fantasy and reality cloud into one, I see so clearly and am blinded at the same time, I understand because I know your pain and yet I can’t overlook my own, I give up everything for you and  escape with my life, I never look back and remember it all, I am safe when I am falling, I am silent when I am calling, I lose my soul and find it again, i pray for forgiveness, I believe and I doubt, I fail and I succeed, I dream and then I look back and remember, I laugh and I cry all in the same breath, I dance in my head and ache in my heart, I grasp at my youth and cling to my wisdom, I crumble where I am and gather the lessons I have learned, I turn around and find you, I let go over and over again, I sing from the mountain tops inside the silence of my imagination, my heart is stopped, I thought that I could change things, somehow fit you in to that place you left so long ago and yet the space has been filled, maybe not perfectly but slowly, I think that as I fill it with new dreams around the healing wounds, I might still have a chance at surviving this whole crazy place that I have found myself in, I take a breath as  I fall on my face and pray for strength to stop the madness.. and feel my heart begin beating again. And finally realize that …..

Post Script:

I share this for all the young girls out there struggling to understand love. Perhaps in the journey of my youth, they can learn from my mistakes.

Never, ever, give up yourself.

Your life is like a book filled with empty pages, you are the author, it is up to you how you fill the pages.

Pedestal Sitters


I am a work in progress. Though, I wish that I could say that I have” arrived” for once and for all! Sometimes I have to admit that I have asked myself, when will it be my turn to be a “pedestal sitter”? How I wish that I could be the mentor rather than always the one being mentored. But I guess we all have our places and someone has to be the  example for the works in progress to give hope to the ones still in progress. At times I have wondered if any of us really ever get there. I mean the ones who are examples, the ones who get to be the pedestal sitters. The ones we think have arrived. What are their struggles? If we really could see them the way their family sees them, would they fall off of the pedestals we put them on? What if we lived with our mentors? Our Pastors and politicians, our bosses and teachers, are they who they really seem to be? Well, the fact is, no one is perfect. Even if they tend to want to keep up appearances, facts are facts and pedestals usually always fall. And in turn the pedestal sitters are just as fragile as Humpty Dumpty.

I remember as a kid, my dad was a high profile businessman. Even when we would go to his company picnics, he seemed to command an unspoken kind of awe, whether professionally or at play, in the office or on the softball field. He was respected in ways I did not understand or appreciate as a child.

 I just saw the dad who would sit in his easy chair and drip something on his tee shirt as he ate and laugh at the “Mr. Murray” that I got to see and realize that even at a young age, I was privy to another side of my dad.

There are ghosts in my life. There I said it. I wrote and rewrote that sentence and there is no other way to say it. Some are more prevalent than others. But they are there. Like an old movie being rewound. Like a character from my past, walking around with me, whispering in my ear. No one else can see him but he is there. Always saying things that I imagine he would say. Is he my voice of reason or judgement? Is she my little child still inside of me clamoring to be set free? Perhaps he is my dad.

How I would love to have my wise old dad show up, when I needed his wisdom the most. And yet sometimes I forget that God IS there, like my dad in a way, always there, always, oh my, that is a thought I love and fear all at the same time. HE knows my every hair. Okay, that’s kind of comforting. But my every thought? That’s downright disturbing! I mean, I stub a toe or pinch a finger and a million words my mother would be horrified to know that I know, pop into my head. Not that I say out loud but they do come to mind more than I would like to admit at times when I am not at my best. And yes, my mother still remarks if she disapproves of me and I still feel a bit like a pre-teen. Do we ever stop being the child when our parents are around? No matter how old I am, I still have the urge to wait for my mom to look the other way before I salt my food.

God never turns His head. He is always there. Though I have treated Him like a vapor and placed Him in an abstract place in my heart and forget He is always watching. No lock will keep Him away and yet He doesn’t force his way in, he waits to be invited. He is the only ONE worthy of a pedestal and yet walks with the servants and finds me worthy at my worst, without a pedestal or a life free from sin. He finds me where I am and gives me a place far better than any pedestal a place of grace to rest and be restored.

For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
Hebrews 8: 12

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7: 14

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12

Smelling The Vanilla


Over the years I have figured out that I am a very competitive person and when I go to the Fair and see a line of people waiting to pay (what is it now?) five or six bucks for a cinnamon roll, it makes me want to set up my own little booth right next to them and go toe to toe feeling quite confident that I could give them a run for their money. My cinnamon rolls have been my little name to fame over the years with my friends and family but only a few know my secret.  They are the ones who I have given my recipe to…. As for most of my better recipes, my little secrets are my short cuts.

Thanks to being inspired by the cinnamon rolls at the Fair and my daughter encouraging me to move my blog  into a more informative direction       by gently telling me ENOUGH of the midlife crisis stories… I thought I’d change it up a bit. And offer something up to you guys who loyally take the time to drudge through all of my blogginess … you guys will be the first to benefit from some of my best kept short cut secrets…

The cinnamon roll recipe that I am about to share with you will give you a batch of cinnamon rolls for the price of the ONE you might buy at the Fair!

Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

Frozen pkg of Bridgeford Bread (the main secret ingredient!)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

Bake in greased 350 degrees for 45 mins. (Each oven is different so you have to play with the time)

Instructions….

Let dough thaw, until it is still cold to the touch but easy to roll.  On a floured bread board roll roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch, then butter with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Nuts and raisins are optional but if you are going to do it right I say add em all!

After sprinkling all ingredients evenly, roll dough into a tube and slice about 1 inch thick

Place in a greased pan and cover with a clean towel, let rise (Approximately 1 – 2 hours)                                                                                      While you are waiting for the rolls to rise, make the icing…                                                                                                                                                                      The icing is the actual trick (besides using frozen dough of course!)

Icing Ingredients:

1  8oz softened pkg of cream cheese

1 half cup softned butter

1 Tbsp Vanilla!!!! (Not Teaspoon, this is another secret)

1 pound sifted powdered sugar (last secret I am giving!)

half and half (other secret of mine) Start out with 1/4 cup (add more depending on desired consistencey)

Cream the cream cheese & butter, adding about 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar at a time, add vanilla and keep adding the sugar and then slowly add the half and half to the consistency you are aiming for. Set aside….

Bake freshly risen rolls (lightly covered with foil)  in a pre-heated 350- 375 oven (middle rack) for 30 to 45 mins.  checking periodically since all ovens are different.  You have to play with this recipe a few times to avoid burning on top.  Take foil off the last 15 minutes  of baking to brown. They should have a golden baked appearance and the middle rolls should be flakey and not underdone. I have used a few diffent ovens in my lifetime and all are slightly different. After actually writing this all out… I do realize that just perhaps this recipe is a little more work than I may have considered. My short cut is eliminating actually making the dough which was always a big mess for me to have to clean up. But even so, this recipe truly is a labor of love. In the end, it may very well be worth the time to stand in line and pay $6 bucks for one of these sinful creations! But if your love language is making yourself, I guarantee it will be worth it! Huh Brookie? My little Vanilla sniffer!

Hole Fillers


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

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

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

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

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

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