You Can’t Break What is Already Broken


broken toysDuring an interview with a celebrity who had been involved in the public eye recently. I heard her trying to defend,                                                           no….        explain, her latest relationship. One we all judged when we heard about it. She was married and he was married with kids. It was a horrible scandal and I was right there with the rest of them shaking my head in judgment. Though now, I feel that I have changed my point of view. Not on lying or cheating… but on understanding that sometimes things are unexplainable. The comment was made… “You can’t break what is already broken.” I stopped what I was doing and turned up the volume.

She was not slandering the spouses who were the scorned victims in the center of it all. She just owned the situation for what it was. And somehow I connected with her pain in such a raw place. What is that term, “Guilty with an explanation?” It seems to fit here, and yet, there really is no explanation. Stuff like this is not planned. No one starts out with a plan that is going to surely drag your name through the mud. They just don’t. But sometimes the unexpected creeps up on you like a Mack Truck.

fighting

When we are little and a toy breaks it remains at the bottom of the toy box. Just broken. Not really  very useful, not even worth the bother of being thrown away. I have felt like broken toys at the bottom of the toy box before. Misunderstood and set aside. I don’t like that feeling. I am tired of feeling broken. I am tired of feeling responsible for my brokeness. As if I were being pulled out and held up and  examined. Seeing the look of disappointment on your face as you search for  the missing pieces. Hearing you tell me to “be more careful….” Wanting to scream …  “I’ve always been broken” And…”You can’t break what’s already broken!”

sad girl with dirty face

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Closure


It was your choice.

Though,

maybe it was mine…

Stepping back

into

our consecutive worlds.

walking in the sand

The circle was broken

long ago.

broken glass

You pulled until

unraveling rope

I had to

stop it,

in fear it would unravel altogether,

my heart

that is…

heart unraveling2

Like stepping on the threads,

foot on cord

you yanked

and I was no longer there

No more tugging back

rope

I felt your anger

Or maybe your pain

when you stopped pulling.

You saved yourself.

sad guy under tree

Not caring for

“the crumbs”

crumbs

you felt were being

“thrown at you.”

And I wonder,

when you  stopped….

Was it  to save me?

Or was it to save you?

sad man silloette

Ahhhh! Still…

  the unanswered questions.

Like the ones that kept me hanging on

Wanting answers…

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

Always wanting answers…

All over again…

are you sad,

angry?

ALIVE?

girl looking out window

All of these years…

ALWAYS,  so many QUESTIONS!!!!!!

And yet I have come to realize

Closure is a myth!!!!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

Closure is just an excuse

to try to explain

the madness of it all

We need to save ourselves,

run with what little dignity we have left.

footprints looking back

You may feel that you chose me,

but you chose you.

Nothing has changed.

fighting through door

And so finally, after all of this TIME

Just maybe…

 I have finally learned how to choose

me.

girl running

Maybe there is such a thing as closure?

Yeah just like there really is a Santa Claus.

santa claus winking

By

Diane Reed

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

Second Chances


traffic school

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

frustrated blonde 2

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

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

ticket signs

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

police

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

ticket

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

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

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

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

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

Little Jewel


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

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

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

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

HOW could I have ever felt uninspired??

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

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

Here is the poem…

Little Jewel

Just a pebble in my own life

scarred and scratched upon the sand

but then you found me worthy

it’s still hard to understand

You refined the roughened edges

brought a glow for all to see

and yet you used my broken life

Jesus, all in spite of me

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

So unworthy in my own eyes

still uncut within your hands

like a jewel amidst the pebbles

hidden in the rocky sand

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

(repeat chorus)

Words by Diane Griffin ’85 Music by Linda Hurst

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!

Still On the Darn Subject Of THOSE “LIKE” CLICKERS!!!!


Maybe I am just shell shocked from the recent election, when every ten minutes I was getting smooozzshed by one political party or another with promises and phone calls,  commercials,  bumper stickers and billboards coveting my vote. And now once again we all are left in the dust. I feel that this blog is a lot like an ongoing election. You can’t avoid the politics. Not even here. Our little corner of the world that we have found, makes the world go away for a just a little while. Our stage where we get to perform, even if to an audience of one or a thousand. We are doing what we love best, writing. Isn’t that enough? Why are those votes so important to us? Perhaps because we learned it really early in our young lives. If we cry, we get attention. If we cry hard enough, we get picked up and even fed. Think about it. We have been searching for that kind of high ever since.

Writing is my way. And if you have a blog here, I know it is yours too. But writing comes with it’s biggest joys and most frustrating draw backs.

A few weeks ago, I went on a hiatus of sorts after realizing that I was writing on this blog for all the wrong reasons. And that was for YOUR feedback. I would post something and then wait for the response.  I mean, we have all loved the proverbial red A+ and maybe even a little smiling face that we used to get after turning in an especially well thought out little story. Whatever it was, and whenever it was, as early as second grade? We experienced that first high and we were hooked. After that, we waited for the next and the next. Finally when our teacher even commented to our mom during a parent conference that maybe we had something special” we lived for the next sign of recognition of specialness.  And as we grew older, when our instructor or professor chose to read our essay as a special example to the class THAT felt even better than the A because we were actually hearing our own words being read aloud with all the same enthusiasm we felt when we wrote them. It was that connection. Our crying was heard and once again we were being fed. Thus… here in my blog, I have felt that. It is nice to be recognized, to feel “gotten” by someone else who understands why I am writing at two in the morning again.

No high could match that. Unless we went on to find it in some other way, I actually did in a  small way. I wrote for our local magazine for a few years…. I was  even given my own column for a while, until I needed to go out and get a “real job” I mean the way I wrote,  .15 cents a word could add up, but that was when I was working for myself, doing art shows as well but both weren’t paying the bills nor providing benefits, and so I had to move on and get the job I have now.  But it was good while it lasted. I would be in town and a random stranger would tell me how they enjoyed my column and once again that  A+, middle of the night feeding high took me to new levels. But then like I said, I had to give that up for a real job,  And for a while, something squashed my creative side by having to succumb to a nine to five. But slowly through the course of less hours and a few other things that inspired me recently, I have found myself NEEDING to write again. As if a part of my heart has re-awakened.

So I stumbled onto this blog here. And as we talked about it before in a recent post entitled :”CLICKING LIKE” I discovered by your responses, that a lot of you felt the exact same way. We got sucked in BIG time to the high of our very own STATS. Arrrrrgggh! And so I went on a little reprieve becuase I was writing posts like this. I would wait for a LIKE and then another and another. (Greedy gal that I am!) And they would come… sometimes right away. Before I was even done re-reading my own first paragraph again, making sure that all my editing was done correctly, I had gotten four clicks. I smiled and then thought…..”HEY wait a minute!” Hmmm what is going on here? How could they be reading everything I wrote so fast???!

So you seee… I fell for the LIKES of those who “CLICK” just to generate traffic to their own blog. They are hoping that there are those like me who actually will appreciate each and every one who takes the time to visit my site and (hopefully) actually read what I wrote, not just click on like for the sake of clicking, thank you very much! Does anyone get what I mean??? I know those of you who I feel that I have connected with do and I guess I am wasting my time writing about this again because the few who do GET what I am saying will probably only be the same ones reading “this” post too. And I love you for it! But I would love to somehow get those darn LIKE clickers (now have I discovered a new slang word here? lol.) And pleeease understand that if you are actually down to this * point in my ranting, you are not who I am talking about! I am talking about to the faithful LIKE CLICKERS that would never be caught getting this far into anyone’s blog. The ones who flat out, don’t read any of it.

Though I am not without fault, I know it is hard to keep up with some of the posts… I have never really cared for TWITTERING, I mean do you really care that I just had a yogurt or if I am on the 101 on my way to work?? As is here, I have found that some of the bloggers (me included at times) write several posts a day. It is kind of comical. We have this random thought we feel is kind of brilliant and so we share… like what I am doing here… so I am not laughing at you!!! I do it too. It is funny how we think that everyone else is so interested in our thought of the minute and yet I know that I didn’t start out coveting your responses or LIKES for that matter, I had come here to write, to stretch my wings, to oil my “writer’s block” to get unstuck and also have a place to store my own journal so that someday, I could come back and look at where I was today tomorrow. How much I have learned and grown someday. But I got caught up in the whole STATs thing and I am sorry I did that to myself. And have to wonder. Is this just a social network of writers? I mean is it more like I will scratch your back if you scratch mine? Or do we really truly genuinely look forwrard to someone’s posts? I know I do. I know I wouldn’t have “followed” you if I hadn’t. And I know I have liked a writer’s posts so much I have sought them out to see if there is a new one that I may have missed. And I can promise if I click LIKE I actually have read it!

Sooo what has prompted me to write this latest rant? Well, I have been posting my book and it is so hard to know who is reading, who is liking and I got absolutely hardly any feedback. Is it that bad??? I have to wonder….lol. I mean even the ones who commented on almost every post I have written…. NOTHING! Well, my friends… are always my best supporters, those of you who I have totally had a kindred moment with (you know who you are) I appreciate!!  But I have to wonder, maybe I am just asking too much to expect people to read eight pages of a chapter at a time. That is rather presumptious of me I know, but what was I was to think? You had puffed me up by LIKING me all those other times! I mean like lifting the proverbial crying baby out of her crib, you fed me… I expected more! Now my stats are sooo low but I expected that. Sadly. I did. I am not out there hanging my flag in the wind OPEN for business like I used to be so my once sky high views have dwindled and so my friends… if you are new here BEWARE…. Really think about the reasons why you blog before you invest so much time. If it is for you then that is wonderful. If it is for other reasons, that may be good too. The connection I have made with a handful of writers here is worth more than the thousand of LIKE clickers I may never know.

And who am I fooling thinking that writers and agents are actually wandering around wordpress looking for raw, new talent…

Getting published is not magic. It takes long hard work. The good old fashioned kind. Technology is awesome. Being able to send a manuscript with a click and publishing a book with another click may be the way of today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to jump through the same hoops to get there. I GET it now.

Maybeeeeee I would just like to go back to the way things were. Where ignorance was bliss. Where I lived in a world of people LIKING what I wrote. What do I care if they read it or not? Nah. Ya know I do. I want to know if you reeeeeally like ME or you just want my vote.

But the final point (I promise) that I am trying to make i;s that I really am over it… the STATS thing… I probably will always want that primal pat on the back. But I know I dont’ truly need it anymore. Because if I think something is good than it is good. I don’t need  the click or the vote or to check out my stats ever again because I have finally found out how to climb out of the proverbial crib myself!

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.

 

 

 

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)

The Scent Of Shopping


There is just something about the scent of shopping that calms me. I walk in the doors at Target and instantly my bad mood vanishes. Why is that? And I am not trying to be metaphoric when I talk about the scent of shopping, it is the kind that hits you like a rubberband and sends you right to that time in your life that makes you remember. My memory of shopping has always beeen a good thing. It seems as if I can always count on seeing something new or something that I “want” or “need” and as I drop it in my cart, a feeling of satisfaction follows it.

Maybe it is the memory of my dad and I shopping together. We always had the best times and I was dubbed his little shopping buddy. As a young child, he didn’t have a lot, though, as an adult, he quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was pretty successful.  I grew up in what you might call a privileged childhood. The window of my bedroom had an ocean view and I grew up not hearing the same discussions that my kids have had to, about money and the lack of it,  about bills, due dates and the arguments that sometimes followed…

My childhood had it’s issues but one of them was not money though I was not spoiled. I had an allowance and was taught the value of the dollar. However, I do remember oddly enough, the one thing my dad was worried about was retirement. He was always planning some new retirement investment and  even discussed his strategies with me. Unforunately, he died at 51 jogging around our beautiful neighborhood and never really got to relax and enjoy much of it , which made a big impact on me through the years.

I have never needed a lot. I always looked at price tags and would even tell my dad I didn’t like something if I thought it was too over priced. Even so…  I have an inkling that I have had lessons that I have needed to learn about the value of several differnt things in my lifetime. I am not sure what God is preparing me for but I have learned a lot by my own mistakes and the mistakes of my friends. I’ve had friends who had nothing as kids and then made it big and lost everything and have had a difficult time dealing with their lack of. Having nothing and then almost too much and then nothing again. Jesus is a story teller, he taught many lessons with metaphors. Perhaps, why I love them so much. But I figure there has got to be a lesson in here somewhere for me.

I have been reading the Prodigal God  http://eprodigals.com/the-prodigal-son/prodigal-god-tim-keller.html?gclid=CJWXqry_7LICFcV7QgodPxIAaQ And it is so timely for me! It is from such a different perspective. Not really about just forgiving the younger son. But Jesus was teaching a lesson about the older brother’s attitude more than anything. I have found myself in both places through out my life. I have been the Prodigal son, needing my Father’s forgivenss for squandering what I had foolishly and then also the Prodigal Brother, resenting what was given in what I determine as being  unearned.

I have been there a few times. Financially devestated, but by the grace of God, always having “just enough” Always working towards more and sometimes even getting it. But maybe that is the lesson.  God’s Word is like that scent, the familiarity of walking through the doors feeling the want and need rise up inside of me, always the chance to find something new. But how much do I drop in my cart? How much do I take with me out the door? I have finally realized I have been looking in all the wrong places to fill up my cart.

I don’t have to walk through the doors of a store with an empty shopping cart in anticipation of getting filled up, I can go back to that familiar place, the one that always seems to welcome me with open arms… and everyday, find something I “need” and “want.”

●The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  (Luke 15:21) But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  (Luke 15:22) Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  (Luke 15:23) For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.  (Luke 15:24)

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.

Firehosed


Several months ago one of my managers asked me and another co-worker to sit in on a presentation for a new program for the place that I work. Currently the one we use for scheduling our client’s appointments, is pretty much pre-historic. There are a million clicks to get to one particular place, and I am sure that there are many more up to date, user friendly, ones out there. Each time I train a new employee, I realize just how much there is to teach them. When they look overwhelmed, I just tell them, “If >>I<<<< can learn it, ANYONE can! And for some reason they relax. What is that supposed to tell me? lol.  But in watching that presentation for the newer program we were looking at, I have to admit, I felt pretty overwhelmed myself.

The person giving the presentation used a clever term. He said, “Right now, it may seem as if you are being firehosed with information but you will learn it.” Okay so for me and my love for metahpors, I loved that! It describes so much in just that one word!  I have used that term since, when teaching our old system to new employees. Firehosed. Isn’t that good? Doesn’t that describe a whole host of things in our life where new information is concerned?

In This month’s magazine of The Writer there was a great article by Gene Perret http://www.amazon.com/Gene-Perret/e/B000APFQIQ called Write your book in bite-sized chunks http://www.writermag.com/en/The%20Magazine/Current%20Issue.aspx  It really is a great article.  It talks about how no one sits down and writes a whole novel. Everyone goes back and edits, rewrites a thousand times and then a thousand more. Somehow that made me feel better about the four chapters I have waiting for me right beside my almost finished book! ( By the way you guys following me… and know about my 100 post promise to myself,  this one makes 90 posts!)

Still Can’t Push Delete


Like a light turned on in the night

Warm and dim

Comfortable and yet still hard to clearly see

a tune caught in my mind

As I hum it’s melody

A message lost inside the blinking light

Though I no longer must rewind….

I still can’t push delete,

A scent wrapped up inside

memories left behind….

As once again, I breathe.

I need to taste

The fizz

 that quenches my deepest thirst

as I fill my glass to the brim

it stops short before it spills

Each Day


Each day is a little less than the rest

As I resist ~only to grow even stronger.

The pain I have felt, in mornings past

is not first on my mind any longer.

As today releases yesterday’s fears,

the scent of my memories disappear~

Though always faint but just enough,

for me to know that you’ve been here~

My heart still smells the scent,

though someday in my mind,

perhaps you’ll be gone.

As you fade into a break in the dawn.

And  finally …

                                  I can move on….

By

Diane Reed

The Well


I was trying to explain something to my husband this morning and it turned into a huge discussion that kind of spoiled my good mood. He is the kind that can just brush his shoes off and move on while I am left wallowing in the mud where I feel my heart was dropped, feeling misunderstood and judged. I think that It might be a guy thing. Maybe I am just expecting too much from them~ or… of anyone for that matter, maybe it is a lot to ask to be understood.  Who knows, All I know is that it feels good when it doesn’t seem to take so much work to just feel “GOTTEN”. And at certain important times of my life, I have felt more understood than others and have appreciated the ones doing the understanding.

I tried to remember another time when I felt that way and it was with a different husband a couple of decades earlier. I was almost 8 months pregnant and something happened on a particular day that impacted me in such a way that I even remember her name. If you know me at all, I know a lot of people and it takes a while for names to register so it is especially impressive that I remember one that I spent just a few days with almost 25 years ago.

It was the day that Jessica McClure fell down the well. I began following the story as soon as it aired. It was about a little eighteen month old baby girl who had fallen down a well in her aunt’s backyard in Texas.  I was just one of many, who tuned in to pray and watch the story unfold. Hour after hour, even day after day, we listened to her mom call down as they sung “Winnie The Pooh” together through that small hole she was wedged into and it did me in. I think I cried and prayed more in those two days than I ever had in my life except for maybe the day that my dad died. I am not sure if it was because I was pregnant and emotional or my little niece was about the same age but I  bonded to that mom and her baby, praying and watching along with the rest of the world as the crews of heroes went about rescuing her and strangers began donating equipment to help with her excavation , after two days , even my husband was watching and praying with me.

But just as they were about ready to pull her out, he went across the street. I asked him to wait and watch with me but he just had to go get high at the party house. Even though we did not divorce until several years later, I remember knowing at that moment that our marriage was doomed.

And like I said earlier… I am not sure why that exact second impacted me so much but it has stayed with me like “A Kennedy Moment” for all these years. I watched as they pulled that baby out of the well and praised the Lord and loved the heroes involved. All by myself, as tears streamed down my cheeks watching it all finally come to cohesion  alone in my living room. I remember going across the street later and finding the coverage on there too. I let it all register for a few minutes without saying anything and then I burst into tears as I kind of surveyed the whole scenario, as if my future was being played out right in front of me (and little did I know right then, but it was) as my husband kind of looked at me cluelessly, as I said, “I can’t believe that you couldn’t have waited two minutes to share that experience with me.”

I am so sure that, my neighbor’s houseful of friends all in their haze of being high and all childless, had not a clue in the world what was the matter with me, but the fact that my husband didn’t “GET” it resonated clearly in that instance. Even though our divorce was due to something completely different years later, I think that, THAT day I knew it was just a matter of time before the other shoe would fall.

Today I have a wonderful husband who tries to understand my Jessica McClure moments and even though he may not get them all. And even though today it still takes a lot of work to really feel that he understands the things important to me, I pretty much know that he would not have gone across the street that day and he would have stayed to watch the rescue with me. At the very least,  I know that he makes the effort to stick around everytime  I wander back to the well. I can still feel the tears when I remember that little voice faintly singing up the tune; “Winnie the pooh, winnie the pooh, silly old bear.” And to this day, I thank God for the heroes that never gave up. The elation we all felt as a nation as we watched those beautiful men pull her up alive. It makes me realize that I have heroes in my own life that I thank God for. Especially, the ones who never give up on me.

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.

Really


I have been going through a pretty dark time lately. I feel that on the outside I hide it well and go through the daily process but on the inside I am a mess. Though…. I am also a work in progress. I don’t automatically wake up with joy in the morning and yet I know it is possible. Though I am at the very least, suspicious of people who do it! (My husband wakes up happy every morning. No lie, he really does. Argh!)

I let everything annoy me lately. I don’t see anything half full, , from my perspective, there is barely a drop left!

Ahhhhhhh and the people in my life, are just so annoying! All but a very precious few, seem just plain ignorant. From the view where I sit I am judge and jury and only have been saying one word in my head lately and it is: REALLY?  As in REALLY? You just turned right in front of me without even looking?” Or you really just said that?” It’s not a good feeling to always feel so negative about everyone. It’s downright exhausting! And on certain days,  it is just too much to carry. On those days, I want to fall on my knees in a big fat clump and ask God, “Really?”

Ahhh but as always,  HE is amazing. He knows exactly where to find me and pick me up. He knows that I am feeling as unworthy as I see everyone else as being. HE is the first ONE who should be pushing me into a full length mirror and asking me “REALLY Diane now come on?!”He should be making me take a long hard look at the stranger that I see staring back at me and doesn’t even stop to remind me about the tree in my own eye. He gives me mana and holds me close as if HE never is going to let me go and you know what? He doesn’t. I am the one always climbing away from His grace sometimes daily. Today I make myself look in the mirror and see that the best reflection of how my day is going to turn out is staring right back at me.

Really.

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!

Again


I find myself searching

even though I look the other way,

I  try to stop the madness…

but can’t seem to stay away.

I’m still learning how not to look

in the places you would hide

in the corner of my heart

where all my tears reside.

Lost within the pages of

a story left untold

with a never ending message

that has grown very old,

like a bruise upon my heart

I cannot feel the pain,

and so I let you touch it

till it hurts me once again.

By

Diane Reed

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.

WARNING! One big FAT Vent!


(Please read to the end, I promise there is a redeeming moral to this rant!)

I have a dirty little secret that I really am not proud of. I don’t make a habit of bragging about it and I really never thought that I would ever watch them when I heard the concept of the first one. But I kind of like those Reality Shows.  I even remember making a comment like “they will never catch on.” But from the start of Big Brother on, I have to admit, I have my favorites. And I think if I could just stick to the ones on HGTV I might be able to salvage some kind of respect from you guys but I have to admit that one of my all time favorites is “Flipping Out” I love Jeff Lewis and want to be just like Jenni! If only! She should win an award in patience and looking the other way. And I should take her lead! Like I said, If ONLY!!!!But the other day I was watching a marathon of re-runs when I heard someone talking about one of Jeff’s assistances always being nervous and rattled and how instead of working in such a high stress job for Jeff, he should work at “a spa or something like that.”

I had to laugh. My coworkers and I have joked about how we could have our own sit-com at the spa where I work! The computers are constantly going down, or one of the spas that rent by the hour  are not always working and the staff is LESS than Zen sometimes!!!! My friend and I joke that sometimes it just feels like we are Lucy and Ethel trying to keep up with the conveyor belt at the candy factory. Some days, we have asked; “Do you want to be Lucy or Ethel today?”

The customers never know what they want. They call in and usually just tell us that they want an appointment and  then get annoyed if we ask too many questions and yet if they say that they would like an appointment on Thursday, we are supposed to be mind readers and KNOW their name,  what kind of service and when and for how many people. It is like taking a multiple question quiz before we finally book them! After we ask, “What time on Thursday, they will usually ask “what time do you have? My response will politely be.. .”So, we are open twelve hours, you just tell me when you would like to come in and I will try to fit you in as close to that time as possible.” And their usual response might be…. “ANYTIME is fine”….so I will say “well then, I have a ten AM” and they will almost always say something like,  “Oh we didn’t want morning, do you have something after 4PM?” Ahhh… well, then that’s not ANY time… right? When we ask for a credit card to confirm, they want to know why or have to run to their car to get their purse! WHO leaves their purse and/or wallet in their car? I guess half of our customers!!! (Seriously, if you are leaving your purse in the car…. WHY? didn’t your mom teach you that was not a good idea?)

Even though it is on our site, they want to know prices etc. I am happy to give them any information or offer to give them our website, they tell me they are looking at it. Funny thing is… every question they ask is freaking right there in front of them. Not until after I book their appointment do they mention that : “Oh I wanted four appointments.” Okaay then.

So then when they get there and I ask them if they have ever been there because clients also get annoyed if they have to hear the same script and will stop you half way through if they know it, some will say yes, that they actually were just there so I hand them their locker key to save them from having to hear my little script and they they turn around and ask where to go. (I thought you said you were just here?!) But of course I just sweetly and Zen like, (whatever that is) lead them back to their locker and deliver the speech that I give all NEW customers. But that’s okay, the CUSTOMERS are easy!

It is all those Zenny Therapists that really make our day! Sweet as a sugar cubes to our faces as they gossip and write emails to each other and management about how inept we are behind our backs. But then maybe why “backs” are their specialty, they know the perfect place to stab us when we aren’t looking.  Of course it is our fault when the computers go down or a Customer doesn’t show up. And God forbid if they feel we didn’t give them an appointment that they feel was their turn to receive!

Last week the computers went down and we were literally blind. How did we do it back in the day? I remember a thing called pegboard bookkeeping. We had to learn it in school. I mean, what would happen if all the computers went out? I don’t know but  I do know it wasn’t Zenish nor do I think Jeff Lewis, let alone his assistant would have wanted my job last week! But reeeally, not to worry! I have had an attitude adjustment and have been redeemed for another work week and even if I hadn’t~ usually the customer is none the wiser and never sees the behind the scenes break downs I have described nor knows anything different than the Zenniest experience they were looking for!

And…..

When someone comments “What a nice place to work” I smile and nod and I really am thankful that I have a job and that I get to work at such a beautiful place out in the country and yet as I am piling another load of towels into the washer I think to myself. “It would be even nicer if I was the one in the robe once in a while!”

And then I remember…. A little quote I heard and stop all my whining and seriously decide to have a better day regardless of the sometimes airbrained questions or feelings of not being fully appreciated ….

Hmmm… so I go through all of my venting and rambling and realize that I need to book an appointment  for a Mammogram at our local Imaging Center so I call to book the appointment, and all of a sudden my mind goes blank and I am in the midst of doing  ALL the things I just complained about… As the sweet sounding woman on the other end of the phones says… “May I help you?” And I say… uh… yeah, I need an appointment……” And wonder if she is sighing….she doesn’t sound like it… and that is when I hope that I sound just as compassionate to my own clients, on the other end of my own phone today!

  “ If you want others to be happy, practice
compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

― Dalai Lama

Blown Dandilions


You came back, not to interrupt my life, not to hurt me, but to ask for my forgiveness. I thought that I hated you. I spent decades trying to forget you. I couldn’t even say your name for months after you left me. I spent hours writing really good poetry because of you. I spent years trying to overcome my pain, trying to prove I was better than you said I was when you left.

When you found me, I was trying to figure out where God figured into all of this, I was on a journey with Him. A journey that had been a long time coming. And I was finally there. Right smack in the midst of finding HIM again! You found me in a state of grace and confusion and somehow you found that part of my heart, way back in the dungeons of my pain that I didn’t even know existed. And between the grace that I was learning about and that part of my heart that found it’s way out, I forgave you and it felt so good.

When you release something like that, the relief is overwhelming. In my imagination, I was seventeen again and you were twenty. But your voice was rich with age, of life lived, that did not include me. It was weird to feel a kind of jealousy of not getting to be a part of that life and yet perhaps in a way, relieved that I wasn’t. From the things you shared, I’m not sure we would have survived it and found the forgiveness we have today. The few friends who I shared our story with cautioned me to be careful, I was treading into un marked territory or even more, territory that was “marked” out of bounds. I went anyway, in a way, I felt entitled, empowered, this time I was going to be in charge. And yet I forgot one thing, to take the ONE who had opened my heart up to forgive in the beginning, and I pretty much entered alone.

You let me talk about my memories, about my pain. And then you began to share about yours. The things I never knew, the things I had forgotten and through the wisdom gathered over the decades that had passed, I understood your pain better. Hate changed to love, and anger to forgiveness. And I forgive you, I really do but you did interrupt my life. There is a huge place inside of it where you just don’t fit in anymore and I am not sure what to do with it.  Somehow that feeling, is lost in the world I live in and I know it doesn’t belong there. And yet, I can’t seem to let go. And I don’t know if it is you or my youth or just the feeling of connecting with my past that I don’t want to lose again. I try to stop wanting you in my life. I try to stop needing that connection…But….

Like a dandilion,  I try to  blow you AWAAAAY, and I blow over and over again, but the seeds scatter and take root and it is like an endless question that has no true answer.

Day Interrupted!


Yesterday was my day of rest. The computers went down at work last week and stressful wouldn’t even describe it! I normally never have a Saturday off unless I am going out of town and request it and Sundays have just recently been a normal day off for me. Which never turn out to be, since after church there is always something that comes up.  So I gave strict instructions to my husband to not plan a thing! He always seems to have plans or to say “I told you” about this or that…like don’t you remember that pot luck I signed us up for where you are supposed to make the Main Course?” I told yoooou!!!” Argh!

I took a long shower and then stayed in my pj type clothes all day! My mom scolds me about getting dressed and putting my make up on daily but I say let her try to have the week I had and see if she might give me a hiatus for just one day.

I think I felt guilty starting out. I had looked forward to a day of getting a lot done and yet having nothing at all planned.  I woke up excited for a day off and kind of angry for no reason. I felt like a rubberband, wound up tightly. No one was putting anything on me. I was putting it all on myself. I kind of felt like a cat batting at the wind, just daring anyone to disturb my territory that I had allocated all for me. I puttered for the most part. Caught up with my emails, paid some bills and filed them! And then wrote all day. In the background I played Redeemed about 899 times on my Itunes. (have you heard it?!) I felt so connected to those words. Now the sun is rising and I feel refreshed. I had been so stuck last week. Yesterday,  I started out so tightly wound, wanting to connect with God and yet not allowing anyone in. Protecting my right for nothing to interrupt me that I missed the plans He may have had for me!

Live and learn! My day off was interrupted by ME!!!!!!!!

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.

A Friend Is Some Who Looks Past Your Broken Down Gate and Admires Your Beautiful Garden


Friendship is an interesting relationship. My husband, my daughter, my mom, my cousin, have all had the title of best friend in my life pretty consistently. But family, ahhh family, they are the people we don’t choose. Friendship in family is just the cherry on top if it happens that way.

Friends are the people we don’t have to have in our lives that we choose to keep.  We have friends from our childhood, friends from our youth, friends who we have lots of things in common with and other times not too much. I have friends my mom’s age and friends my kid’s age. Friends of different gender, I have gay friends and straight friends, and friends of different races and with different political views. Some who I have known for a life time… and some I am just getting to know… Some who I have never even met but somehow, cyberly we have connected and they are all special in their own way.  I have co-workers who have slipped into the friendship status as well as acquaintances who slowly have found their place in my heart. And I have friends who have quietly slipped from that place and other who have fallen out with a bang for various reasons.

Yes, friendship is many things. It is that comfortable place where you can fall and say anything you want to. Or can you? I think over the years, I have taken a lot for granted. Everyone has their boundaries, even family. I mean we just need to censor some things. I look at my handful of friendships that I would fight for and  I am fascinated at the different layers, the history, the love that has brought us to where we are today in each other’s lives.

I realize that if I could have the kind of relationship with everyone else that my daughter and I have, my world would be a better place. The mutual love, respect and admiration we have for one another seems so natural and yet, is it? I just take our love for granted but it is as tough as nails and yet as fragile as a butterfly. I know my boundaries, I have learned to not ask so many questions, to not offer so much advice, to be patient and proud and unselfish and it is so easy in the name of love.

Unfortunately, I know that I’m not so forthcoming in any of my other friendships the way I am with ours. They all have their own level of love in my heart but if only I could bottle the formula my daughter and I have cultivated I think that I would be a lot happier. I have begun to realize that it really is what you contribute to anything that makes it worthwhile.

Any relationship is great in the beginning, especially friendships. A new friendship is a bit like courting… That feeling of excitement that comes with finding someone who you connect with is powerful. I remember falling in love. If we could all inject those first few months of getting to know each other into our stale marriages, we would never need marriage counseling. But too often the “water under the bridge” feeling of life happening contaminates our thought process and we want to feel the charge that new beginnings bring.

Bottom line is, friendships worth working on are more valuable than anything money can buy, they are the ones who know everything about you and decide to hang around anyway, they are the ones who look past your broken down gate and the overgrown wild flowers and can see that beautiful garden just beyond the weeds.

And then there is the ONE on the other side of the gate, always there. My very best Friend. Who never notices the weeds or mistakes in my life and loves me anyway.

A Sunrise From A Different View


I have been so focused on the past and wishing things for the future that I have not stopped to be in the present. I already know that this is a big problem with me. But lately, I have really gone to God with it. To prick my writer’s heart and fill it with things that I can turn into stories that might help others as I learn my own lessons. Today He gifted me with a pretty good one.

I have been writing about the past a lot. And I have really been dreaming about the future… focusing on the somedays when I will have my own writing room,  with a wonderful window that I will write in front of and it will inspire me with it’s wonderful view…etc… you get the “picture.” So I got up today and turned on my computer and pretty much had no inspiration. Nothing at all.  So I prayed an absent minded prayer asking God to give me something. You know the kind of prayer you pray half heartedly, half not expecting an answer?

So as my computer was booting up I decided to open my blinds.  Only to be met with a dirty window ~

With the most amazing sunrise just filling it’s frame!!!!!

And there was my answer. God is amazing! Over the years God has reminded me that HE is there and that He also has a unique sense of humor if I really slow down to SEE it. So I sat there and was immediately inspired to grab a bottle of Windex and tackle the dirty windows head on. So I slipped on my shoes, still in my PJs,  and proceeded to wash the outside of my dirty old window which is not an easy task, I had to walk around to the side of the house in full view of a somewhat busy street even at 6AM, remove the screen, and began cleaning the smudges and to try to figure out which ones were on the inside and which ones were on the outside outside, then when I came back inside, I realized that I still hadn’t gotten all the outside smudges.

Sooo, when I finally thought that I had gotten them all, I sat down to write and AHHHH would  see smudges from a different angle and so then I’d go back outside to try again. As the sun kept rising, I was able to see the smudges from the outside in a totally different perspective and realized that they were on the inside. This went on for about three or four times until I finally realized that I may never get it perfect. That is when it hit me. I knew God had answered my prayer. And it made me realize He is listening!

I smiled as I realized my lesson for today wasn’t at all what I thought was so obvious. God is funny that way. There are always going to be smudges. And you know what? God doesn’t see any of them. He has the biggest bottle of Windex there is! We are crystal clear in HIS sight when it comes to HIM, inside and out! “We” waste so much time seeing all the streaks and spots on ourselves and others all throughout the day that we ruin the gift He gives us. God gave me a beautiful sunrise and I totally missed it by being so critical and only seeing the spots and streaks. That is when it hit me, What else am I missing?

I think it’s kind of amazing how many lessons He gives to us daily and how few we actually GET. I think He really had to work with me on this one. At first I thought that the lesson was that I finally realized that He had given me a sunrise even through my dirty window and that this window was just fine. I didn’t need to waste my time wishing for the future, waiting for my NEW writing room or my NEW writing window and realized that a clean one was good enough. And I also thought that He was showing me how much time I waste being so critical, looking at each defect or problem from all the different angles and worrying and fretting and that I needed to work on the inside and outside and all the different perspectives we need to see things from and that in the end, a lot of the stuff we take on really is unecesarry. Though all those are good to ponder…. The reality was that, THAT wasn’t the true lesson.

I had almost missed the whole thing once again! I am now sitting here writing in front of a pretty darn crystal clean window if I do say so myself, though I still can see a streak here or there… But I know that God sees through a bigger window and HE has a plan. I don’t need to worry about yesterday or tomorrow or what is to come or what isn’t. All I need to do is enjoy the view TODAY! And cleaning a window or two is a good thing, in fact it is okay, just not in the middle of a beautiful sunrise! Duhhhhh!!!

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

(2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV

Happy Birthday Old friend, I miss you


Life is so short, and the older you get, you realize that it really does fly by. Five years ago today the father of my children died on his birthday. It was the year my daughter left for school. It was the year of so many beginnings and endings all jumbled into one. It marks a reminder for me just how short life is and yet for me it is but a blink of an eye.

All the emotions are so raw right now. I can close my eyes and be back to the day we first met and then fast forward to today. Babies have been born, lives have been lived with so much joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, ceremonies and celebrations, mistakes and forgiveness all sandwiched inbetween then and now.

For one thing our divorce!

And more importantly my wedding to my husband now. Almost twenty years ago. I am married to a wonderful man I now call my husband. And yet the guilt of our divorce has always been that one door I always left just slightly opened, marring the present.  Even though we became friends later in the years that followed, I never took those first vows lightly or forgave myself my own mistake. But in life, there really is no such things as do overs. Just grace to move on. And today, I think it is finally time. I need to finally let go and love the life and the ones still here.

Happy Birthday my love and old friend, Perhaps today I can finally say goodbye or maybe… just ….”until we meet again.”

Missing pieces


Like pieces of a puzzle

mixed in with all the rest~

It’s finding all the ones that fit,

that is the biggest test.

The pieces that are missing

have left  spaces we can’t fill~

working around the missing ones,

we keep playing, just until….

God comes in to change the game,

as we stop to step aside~

He shows us that our picture

was always on the other side!

By

Diane Reed

Back Spacing


How much honesty can anyone truly handle? I mean, when you ask someone if something makes you look fat, do you really expect the truth or really want it from a spouse, bff, family member or just a stranger in the next dressing room? The question is, do we really want to know? Well, if I ask. I really do. The problem is, when I don’t ask or when others don’t ask. Sometimes our familiarity truly does breed a bit of contempt.

I know that sometimes, I offer my kids unsolicited advice.  And I am really beginning to try to back off lately. I am not breaking down any doors to give it anymore. Recently I have been in a state of what I might define as “observation Mode” I have seen myself in the proverbial reflection of my disdain and can’t stand it. I can tap out a text of what I may feel is a profound revelation in two minutes and push SEND and then re-read it and think WHO exactly do I think I am?! Somehow, the brilliance of my profound thought is totally lost in it’s unedited version. I have spent a lot of time deleting entire threads full of my own opinions,  that I am not especially proud of. Unfortunately, we can’t always back pedal and delete the memory of the words once they are out there. How nice it would be if we could back-space certain conversations we’ve had. Ya know?

At other times I truly feel that the truth needs to be said and when I don’t say it, I feel as if I have missed some pretty obvious and important opportunities by remaining silent. I’m sure that we all can relate to those conversations that we re-play in our heads as we are lying there on the edge of falling asleep,  long after they have happened and we SO want to insert paragraphs we imagine saying after the opportunity has presented it’s self.

I absolutely kick myself sometimes for not saying things that just needed to be said and so sometimes, even if it comes off as a little abrupt, you had better watch out because I am going to say it, no holding back! Sometimes things just need to be said and put out there for the receiving one to ponder! For too long  I have allowed some things to go unsaid and now at this stage of my life,  I refuse to just sit there and not say anything anymore. And then at other times, you just have to choose your battles and what hill you truly want to die on, and decide if the fight is worth it.

But when all is “said and done” or as the case may be not “said” writing is my way of getting to walk through the rooms of my thoughts and try to make sense of an argument or a conflict or just a missed opportunity to validate a genuine feeling. WORDS are the tool I use to find the missing pieces and connect the puzzle, to find the part of me that is filled with words worth trying on and then to shop for just the perfect fit.

Writing is my soft place to fall, like a whispered prayer, when I own what I write, when all the editing and tailoring is completed.  THAT is when I have reached the perfect moment where I absolutely don’t need anyone else’s opinions. I can look in the mirror of my soul and have something that I KNOW  looks good enough for me, that fits just right and doesn’t make me look too fat!

The Wrong Gate!


Just another empty nest story….

My heart goes out to Mamas this time of year. It’s that notorious time of letting go… For some, it is an exciting time of new beginnings. For others, it is a time of dread. I know both too well. The one place I feel like a true expert. Once upon a time, I left both my babies their first day of school. My son was a little different because I worked when he was a baby so the sting of leaving him on his first day of school was a bit muted after leaving him with sitters and at Day Care but I do have a few stories that were memory makers.

Though I loved him dearly, my first husband was a little selfish and careless when it came to parenting. Funny, because when I first met him, I watched him with his little niece and he obviously loved her very much. As I watched him color with her and listened to their  conversation and the sweet exchange,  I KNEW that I wanted him to be the father of our future children. Don’t get me wrong, he ended up being a good dad in many other ways but in his youth, and theirs, at a pretty crucial time, when I needed him to be seriously responsible, he just wasn’t. One shining example is when my son was about two, I woke up the next morning to a big mess. I had waitressed the night before while my husband babysat and I guess he had a small party with some of his regular friends over or so I thought. Obviously some other friends of his I did not know came over that night as well.

As I was cleaning the mess up from the night before, I frowned when I noticed a treasured mirror my very best friend had given me was laying on the coffee table. Puzzled,  I thought that was odd and wondered why it was there until I saw my son pick up a straw and stick it in his nose. Horrified, I realized exactly why he did that and what his innocent eyes had witnessed the previous night and my nightmare began.

I realized that my son’s own father was not going to be the one watching him ever again or at least for a very long time. I promptly went back to school to get a job so that I could work  in the day, put him in Day Care where I knew he would be well watched without coke heads partying in front of him. And even though that may have been a one time incident and little did my husband know that his own barely two year old baby  unknowingly toldl on him, I freaked out enough to realize that it was up to me to take care of my baby. So between my mom and a neighbor, I found safe child care. Sometimes a mama has to do what a mama has to do. And it is ALWAYS about putting the safety of your kids first. Period. I don’t think I even made a big deal about it. I just adjusted things and filed the information away realizing what I was dealing with.

Fast forward, a few months, I finished school, was working and had my son in what I thought was a good school when we ran into the Director of that school. I loved her. She was amazing, or so I thought until my son totally freaked out when she came up to him at a local Fair. I had no idea why, and it didn’t matter. I promptly removed him from that school and put him in a Christian School until we finally moved and I was able to stay home. By then I was pregnant with his sister and had enrolled him in the public school around the corner. He was in second grade and I walked him to school the first day.

He was already showing signs of not needing his mom by then. Though I could tell that he was a little happy that I was there. I had packed his lunch trying to imagine him eating it and thinking of me, lovingly putting in all his favorites, how funny. Now I know he wasn’t thinking of me at school while he was eating his lunch!!! As a young mom, it helped to imagine that anyway~

He had a new backpack and new clothes he could care less about but it made me feel better  knowing  his shoes were new. I prayed all the way to school that he would find a new friend and like his teacher. As soon as he saw the first glimpse of the school, he dropped my hand. Ouch. He puffed up and marched into the line of his new second grade class. Leaving me totally in the dust. Double Ouch. I smile as I think back at how I felt back then. I decided to not make it worse by trying to kiss him but I did remind him what gate to meet me at when school was out. “I KNOW mommm!” He stated as he followed his new class to their classroom.

When school got out that day, I was excited to hear about his day. I watched for him. I watched for his class. I thought I saw his teacher. But I never saw my kid. I panicked. I went to his class. It was empty. I went to the other gate. Everyone was since long gone. I finally went to the office. I was barely four months pregnant but I felt as if I was going to go into labor right there when they told me to call the police! I ran home crying, hysterical. My neighbors had their screendoor opened and I didn’t know what to do or who to call so I told my friend across the street the whole sorry story. She immediately got on the phone and cussed out the office saying “WHO tells a pregnant mother to call the police?” Then we hopped into my other neighbors car promptly drove back to the school.

So let me clarify, I had come from the arms of a private school where anyone picking up my child practically had to give their blood type before they would release him from their care, to a school that loses your children and then takes no responisbility after they have done it! I laugh now but you have no idea the feeling I had back then. I can still feel it even though it was almost 25 years ago. Well, obviously we found him. My friends and I split up and one of them came back with him in tow…. He had gone to the wrong gate! Oh my gosh. Really?!

I guess my point of sharing this story is: we all have those memory making moments… The first days of school, the first time you let go of the back of their bike without training wheels, the first time you watch them drive off with their fresh new license in hand. And then off to school or to whatever life they are heading to. The thing we have to adjust to is that no matter what the age, 7 or 17 or 32…. when they take that metaphoric hand out of ours it hurts a little. We let go in different ways throughout the years. And then we finally adjust to that empty nest. Or do we? Yes, we do. We start writing our own second chapter. We realize that we made all our dreams come true in our first chapter and become inspired to write the next and then the next, only imagining what we can do!

Like I always say, I will always see the little feathers stuck at the bottom of my nest and remember that my own little birds once filled that nest giving me a lot of joy. And know that even now, they sometimes will end up at the wrong gate. But my prayer is that there will be a lot more right gates than wrong… and that sometimes they will come home to let me hold their hand from time to time and I will understand when they need space, and pray that they will always know  that I will be okay when they let go but will always be here  with an outreached hand and a soft place to fall as needed. Because…. I’ll love you forever and forever your mommy I will always be.

The Love Template


When I was nine, I wanted to write a novel. When I was twenty, I thought I was ready. I thought I knew it all. Now I am twice the age and I am sure I know even less than I thought I did, over three decades ago. I have always loved the concept of, what I know for sure…. Because the statement alone does not profess expertise of a certain subject, it only explores what I think I know about it as it relates to me.

Take love for instance. If I could go back and rewind my life and insert wisdom in different periods of it, how would I live it differently? What would I tell the younger version of me? Would I have listened? I wonder. How funny it would be if this older version of ourselves could pop in during different crisis in our life and tell us what to do. Would we even listen? I guess, maybe once we realized it was really ourselves, someone who had lived through the messes we got ourselves into and had the wisdom of hind sight, we might, I mean who argues with themselves? Well, cough, choke and sputter. I think I do, every day of my life. I reason with me every day. I berate myself for the insane choices I have made at times and want to ask myself; “Really?” in regard to half the dumb moves I have made over the years and very recently as well.

And yet, I wonder, what have I learned? I question myself all the time. Do I have good advice for myself, let alone anyone else? Do my mistakes and the lessons I have learned from them, hold any value in helping others not make the same mistakes? If I had to say what I really know for sure what would I say?

My advice right this minute is to be true to you. I am not sure that I can truly say that I have done that. But I know that I am working on it. I wish I knew then what I do now. My heart is full as I am filled with regrets. I wish that I would have been stronger and listened to my heart. I am angry now with the adults in my life that pushed their own agendas on me. I understand that they only wanted the best for me. I really do. And yet, it was their version of the best. I was not brave enough then to ask them….”And how is your version of the BEST working out for you?” Because from where I stood… my response would be “not great!” All I know now is listening to them was not being true to me, to what I wanted. It was not just me being young and not wanting to hear what they had to say, it was actually not always the right advice. Just that simple.  Just like today, my kids have to learn for themselves what is right for them. I can’t push my own agenda on them. What might be perfectly right for me, may not be for them. I can share my lessons and hopefully they will have less hard ones by what I share but we all need to learn by our own choices. God gave us that right. It was His idea. We get free choices. Sometimes I wish that He would just tell me what to do but in His wisdom, He gives us all a template, it is our choice how close we stay inside the lines of it.

I  guess it sounds kind of vague when I say that I wasn’t really allowed to love the people I loved, I was pushed and nudged and berated. And I stupidly listened to all the white noise, the voices that criticized me, as my heart was screaming to be heard. All of my life, I have let others tell me what to do. I never really ever relied on where my own heart led me or my gut instincts. I have felt things with my heart and then second guessed myself, asking others what they thought. Now I wonder why did I care so much what others thought, I mean really why? I can’t believe that I put so much weight on everyone else’s opinion but mine.

It started as far back as I can remember. I was told that I should forgive, I was told to look the other way. And then I was told to not forgive, to run as fast as I could, to shut doors, and move on. I fooled myself into thinking that shutting doors was empowering, and giving second chances was forgiving. I put up with things far too long in the name of forgiveness and not wanting to be called a quitter. I stayed in situations that I never should have and yet the time finally came when I was not just hurting me, I was hurting the ones I brought along in my crazy making and I had to save them.

My childhood was filled with uncertainty. I was always worried. I was in such a hurry to grow up so that I could control my own destiny. Mistake number one! Who in this world ever controls their own destiny? And if I was controlling mine, I was sure making a mess of it. And if my template was what I learned growing up, that was mistake #2.

The first time I fell in love, I fell hard. And I think that I have been trying to survive that love ever since. It was intense and new and exciting and terribly, terribly damaging. The abuse that I endured was not so much physical though there was some pushing and shoving and yeah a little more than that, but it was so much more than that. It was so emotionally challenging that I constantly felt as if I were at the bottom trying to reach the surface in order to come up for air.

Everyone had their opinions about that one and I finally succumbed. Between the abuse and people’s well meaning counsel I conceded. We were engaged by that time, so it didn’t mean just a break up, it meant relinquishing a dream we had built together. When it was over, I thought I had died. And I definitely thought that I wouldn’t survive the pain. But when I finally was able to let go, I felt what I thought was empowerment. As I look back, I realize that I was mistaken, what I thought was strength, when the pain seemed to subside, was more like just being numb to it. Now I think it was just part of my heart dying.

Next, there were a handful of guys who I dated, some I remember more than the other, but for the most part, the emotional pull was not there. Maybe I was just not going there again. Falling in love had once been all I ever wanted and now it was something my heart seemed to avoid. Love meant pain I conceded.

Until, I met the boy, a boy who rocked my world, different than all the others. He was quiet and yet, a leader among his friends. He commanded respect without demanding it. He was so different than anyone I had ever known and for some odd reason he loved me back. All his friends were blown away and told me so this boy could have any girl he wanted. Everyone thought he would be the last of the friends to marry. And yet he ended up becoming my husband.  He was tan with broad shoulders and very distinct features. He looked a lot like Michael Landon with a little John Wayne mixed in and he took my breath away for years. But it wasn’t just about looks with him. He was special. He had this wonderful heart that I got to see. He had views and opinions and yet he didn’t push them down your throat. He only offered them if you asked. He was perfect in my eyes and I was thrilled that somehow he had chosen me. He would walk into a room years after we were married and I would feel giddy. I loved him so much.

But what do they say? If you grow up with an alcoholic parent, you are destined to marry an alcoholic. That made me so angry when I heard that because I heard that after I had married him. This wonderful boy had one flaw, his very own pain, not to mention the little gene in his genetic makeup that caused addiction. I couldn’t believe that I had found myself in the very place I had run from. I was worrying about him coming home okay and driving drunk. I was worried about his health and safety, not to mention his job that he had worked so hard to grow in.  And I was the total textbook codependent. An enabler, trying to re-fix what had been wrong in my childhood. This time, I thought I was going to make it work. I think I tried with all my heart until I almost lost it, my heart that is. Finally I realized that I could not save him. But I could save me and I could save my kids and so I did.

Where my dad was not a raging alcoholic, my husband was. I had bitten the head off of the proverbial chocolate bunny and I was in really, really deep. There were a few times that I almost left and my mom talked me out of it. Some of my well meaning friends from church persuaded me to try, guilting me into it by reminding me about all the things I already knew about vows and loyalty and forgiveness. But this time I had my kids to think about. And it was only getting worse. I finally pulled the plug. We had tried before and he was stubborn. He was not budging and so I took my kids and walked away before it was too late. . But I always wondered if it was too late. The guilt I still carry because of my divorce is excruciating. I have read verse after verse in the Bible trying to get some relief at no avail. Intelectually, I realize that God would not have wanted me to stay in the situation that I was in and that all I need to do is put everything at the foot of the cross. I know that and have and do daily, I know, I know once is enough, but I will always second guess myself and wonder “if just perhaps,” I might have left but not been so quick to divorce, if things might have turned out differently. Like they say, hind sight is 20/20. We see things much more clearly after the fact. Yet,  in a way, I don’t. I used to be so sure that leaving was always the right answer. Abandond ship, take no prisoners, sink or swim, every man for himself. And yet with all the tools we have now days, I am not sure that not exausting all the tools is not an option before sealing the deal? It has been a thought I have wondered about since finally relenting and recently going to therapy myself. If nothing else, it has brought up a lot of questions I have begun to ask myself.

I was so in love with my husband and yet year after year, the things I had to deal with helped chip away at that love until it almost went away. I had to wonder if I had ever really been in love or if I had just loved the fantasy. My first husband was a man’s man. His friends came first. I know he loved me but he loved himself more. Years later when he was dying, he asked for me to forgive him. And now, especially after experiencing a good therapist, I have wondered if things had been different, if we had found a Therapist like I have now,  if we could have survived without divorce?

The thing is I was always so concerned about what others thought and yet was so stubborn. It was a crazy making dance I would do. Now I realize that I just wanted their support but not necesarrily their approval.  But at the time, approval seemed so huge. Now I know that it’s not what your mom or your friends or anyone else thinks. It has got to be between you and God. Even though I know I prayed and took it to God or thought I did,  I don’t really think I knew how back then. When my marriage fell apart, it was surreal, I felt as if I was in slow motion. I felt in labor again, the pain was inexplicable. The unfathomable had happened. Like the first break up, though now we owned a house and had kids together. It was so much more than a dream. It was a life, my life, dying. A nightmare except I could never go to sleep to escape.

No one ever taught me to fight. When I was growing up, I lived in this Polly Anna existence. I hardly ever saw my parents even argue and I don’t think they ever did. The handful of things I did manage to see, rocked my world and usually were related to my dad’s drinking but other than that. My mom seemed to just suck it up and take whatever my dad dished out. Don’t get me wrong. My dad was amazing but there was always this underlying piece that just didn’t fit.

I remember thinking as a young girl, I am never going to let anyone treat me like that. I am not sure why I thought that. I mean my dad really loved my mom and she adored him. There was just this perfect little world I lived in that almost teetered on the edge of abuse. Not physically, but in a much more ambiguous sense.

Now fast forward what seems like a thousand years and here I am, still struggling with another man, my wonderful husband who loves me. This time, I had learned, no alcoholics! So I did a one-eighty and found someone almost perfect. He loves the Lord, has never done drugs. He drinks a bit but I have never seen him drunk. In fact, he is always the designated driver for me! He came along when I was drowning. He was God sent, I am sure. He saved us. He loved us. Sure he has his faults but I have to wonder if they seem bigger to me because  of all the ones who came first. When is it his turn? Is my heart so numb that I forgot how to love the right way?

When I realized this it made me think. I know a woman who I prejudged. Not in the worst ways but it is something I don’t like about myself. The ones I usually don’t connect with at first, end up being lifelong friends. I know that about me and so I also know that my first knee jerk reaction toward someone isn’t always right on. After several casual conversations, we finally had a chance to really talk and I learned that she is slowly going blind. I mean at this point in my life, and considering my own weary eyesight, I guess we all are to some degree but she really is. She told me that she has chosen her profession to set herself up to be able to support herself since touch and not sight is the necessary tools she needs in her career choice. But no pun intended; this little piece of information made me see her in quite a different light.

That little ephiphanie has led me to a whole new platform, something I never considered before. Something I am very passionate about now. I think that the key is that everyone has a story. I wonder now if I had stayed with my first love and if we had gotten the necessary help, if it would have been different. I know now that he was dealing with his own childhood nightmares, much different than my own. My heart breaks for him as I have learned his story.  I wonder….what would have changed for us if someone had counseled us? An entirely differnt story might have played out for both of us. I do know that even though  it seemed like hell back in those days, I also look back now, at a lot of those days as “the good old days” and challenge anyone going through their own version of hell to not make such  hasty decisions. Because our first loves mold us in ways that never leave us. And if it is really true love, and really worth the work perhaps if you could get help, in the beginning, just perhaps you could not bring baggage to all the other places you end up that aren’t going to measure up to the good old days. And if nothing else, at least you will be satisfied that you tried. Because believe me, the baggage you bring from each relationship to the next becomes pretty heavy!

When I was struggling therapy used to be a dirty word. Oprah was not a household name and self help books told you to meet your love at the door naked, wrapped in cellophane. But when you were wondering where your husband was at 2 in the morning, that advice was about as helpful as telling me to jump off a bridge which was where I was headed when there was no one walking in the door for me to meet in celophane!

But today we have resources. We have counseling and mentors and churches that have much more to offer than they did when I was grasping at nothing but the white noise that bombarded me with the advice I didn’t ask for. In the end, hind sight is 20/20, you never know whether to really stay or go. I wish there was some life line that we could go to and really get God on the line and ask HIM what He would have us do. And in a way there is, He gives us prayer and the discernment to hear Him and yet it is a hard place to get to when you keep getting in the way of the answers. It takes patience and a listening spirit.

So what have I learned in the last three or so decades about love? I would say without a doubt that the Author of Love is God. Now that I am a parent, I understand the ultimate sacrifice of His love in giving His Son to us because He loved us so much and wanted us to SEE the Light. I mean if I know anything for sure, it is that God’s kind of love is the true template for all the others that come after;

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

What I know for sure is:

Love is patient, it puts up with a heck of a lot in it’s own name. It is kind, plain and simple, it is not mean.  Love does not want to see the other one hurt and avoids it at all costs. It is not jealous.  it is satisfied with just being loved back  It is not all puffed up and boastful, it does not brag and cares more about their loved one than themselves. They are proud of , and gives all the credit to the one receiving our love. They care more about the comfort of their loved one than themselves. Love does not lash out or belittle, it does not want to hurt back when their feelings are hurt and it is not easily offended. Love keeps no record of fights and arguments and wrongs we feel were committed against us. It remembers nothing negative. Love does not rejoice in sin or immortality. It is not malicious or violent. Love is honest and  celebrates the truth and everything about it. It protects and shelters the one they love, watching over and caring for without complaining.  Love puts aside it’s own wants and desires and puts the one they love ahead of themself. Love is loyal and true and can be trusted till the end of time because it never will fail or fall short. True love never gives up, it is forever.

And even though I am constantly working on it, and know that I will never measure up to this beautiful template of love we have been given. I am just happy that Love does not keep any record of my wrongs and the very good news is…. I can keep trying and I will because I am finally getting to know the Holy Spirit Who gives me HOPE to be better and love greater.

So I guess my advice would be to never give up. Sometimes it is not how you are loved but how you love that changes everything.

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

The Red Knob


Fear is something that we can’t run from. It is something that we must face head on. Some of us try to pretend that it doesn’t exist and some of us, run like hell from it all of our lives. Others tend to run into it head on. There are all kinds of new shows out about it. Fear Factor and extreme “believe it or not” shows that try to up the last outrageous stunt or depending on it’s success, crash! I am not sure where these people come from, but they all have one thing in common, they all need that rush that comes with being afraid. That is why we jump out of airplanes and walk on hot coals and swim with the sharks. They believe that fear is something that they must embrace in order to get that “high” that comes with feeling alive.

In my lifetime, I have taken a few challenges of my own. I have flown a glider without an engine, more than once! I actually have a log book of not only flights I took with an instructor but solo flights where it was just little old me, being pulled up by a power plane and then expected to pull a red knob.

For those of you who have never flown a sail plane, let me explain, on the dashboard, there is a red knob that connects you to the line connected to the power plane. You start out being pulled up by the plane in front of you. Up, up, up. It is a strange feeling. You see the power plane hit turbulence and then you hit it a few seconds later, all as you are rising to the correct altitude. There is a moment and a signal that indicates the exact time when you are supposed to pull that red knob to release the power plane. It is an excruciatingly empowering moment. And yet, it is probably the most afraid I have ever been. How funny, to realize, that even after I experienced that fear, I did it over and over and over again, logging several more solo flights.

I remember the first time that I sat inside that cockpit, only enclosed by a dome of pexi-glass, ready to be pulled up by the plane that would take me to heights I never dreamed I would go, especially without an engine, I wondered what in the world was I thinking! And I remember also thinking “my dad would kill me if he could see me!” And he almost did~ but then he ended up doing it with me! He even went on to take lessons and solo too! And that is a memory I will cherish forever.

I think that flying above the clouds without an engine and having to rely on only myself to get me on the ground is a lot less frightening than what I have been going through the last few years. Sometimes falling in love is scary, and falling out of it is like holding onto that red knob for dear life, in a quick downward spiral. It really doesn’t matter if you hold on to it or not because you have already let go..

But wait, you can recover. They do teach you that. The emergency runway is somewhere down there, you look and see it and then the adrenalin pushes you to new heights. Courage clicks in and all the lessons you learned about recovery and landing take over and you find that being afraid and being brave have nothing  to do with the red knob after all. And relying on just myself? Well I have since realized that I never have to feel afraid again. I never have to pull the red knob or worry about  where I am going to land because, with God as the pilot of that power plane pulling me up, I truly never have to let go..

That Comfortable Place


ImageImageSometimes my mind replays like a home movie. Summer time and being a kid always snaps me right back to my grandma’s at Lake Washington. My cousin Pammy was my first best friend and we would spend a few weeks together each year there, and I always had “Summer” to look forward to. Back then, the simple things filled me up with such contentment and joy. If only I could bottle those moments and take a swig every time I needed to feel that feeling again.

Funny how later, I let other things get in the way of those trips. I think that I was about sixteen and driving the first year I missed Seattle because of boys and jobs and other things I thought were more important back then. Now, I would give anything to recapture some of those moments for just a few days in my life.

I remember the smell of coffee and the first rays of sunlight flooding my room as I would pad down the stairs on those lazy summer mornings. Our days were not filled with anything special. Most were just hanging out and swimming and exploring the nearby woods. Sometimes I would invent adventures that my cousin usually was a willing participant in. We could spend hours planning shows and making tickets for our parents who would be the audience whether they liked it or not, or walking to the nearby store and sometimes sneaking to the lake instead.

Every empty building held a story that I would make up. The old girl’s boarding school, now all boarded up, held stories of characters that I would build adventures around. The big old corner house at the end of the block was definitely haunted. As well as the Synagogue around the block and our grandma’s basement! I was a writer and my imagination was my pen and my sweet little cousin a willing reader.

Today, those memories are like old books on a shelf, stories tucked inside the pages, not forgotten but hazy from time and space. Once opened, the scent of the pages and the joy of remembering seem to snap you into another time and place. Much like today. It is summer. So many decades later, and I want it all back. I want to go down the rabbit hole and spend my day in yesterday where our biggest problem was what bathing suit to wear to the pool.

This last weekend, I spent a few days visiting my childhood best friend. I met my daughter up there and we bunked together. I realize more and more how my baby reminds me so much of my little cousin and realize that I actually have “made” my own best friend! I enjoy her so much and love the quirky, crazy wonderful, fun, talented person she is becoming! It was so much fun having a slumber party with her for just a few days. Each night we would talk until the wee hours of the night… about silly memories and important things, about things that made us laugh till we cried and other things that just made us cry.  It reminded me of that comfortable place I shared with my cousin so many years ago. And for a tiny moment, I was transported back to those lazy summer nights where nothing mattered and yet every minute was the most important of all and it made me treasure the fact that every moment is what you make it.

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!

FROM THE INSIDE OUT


Last year I lost 50 pounds. This year I gained back 20ish… give or take a few depending on which sorry day I finally decided to step on the scale. I could pat myself on the back and tell me “that’s okay, you still lost 30 or find that magical “click” within,  that I found last year. I think we all know the “click” I am talking about. For me it was an irate driver that had barreled out of nowhere to cut me off in traffic spitting out cuss words that an obstinate teen ager should have been ashamed of let alone man in what must have been his late sixties. Funny thing is, my doctor or health conscious friends didn’t encourage me as much as that pathetically out of control poor soul that called me a “fat” bitch. In-between all the swearing and spitting, the one thing I heard was fat and you know what? If a stranger with issues won’t tell you the truth, who will?

My point is that every time  I have felt that “click” which is my very own custom made  AHA moment, I have been able to keep up the pace until something causes me to stop. It has happened to me enough times to make me really want to dig in and figure out how to bottle that “click” and to keep swallowing that metaphoric pill that challenges me.

After that day, I shared the story of that pathetic little man whose words may have been pulled out of his own rage but how it truly effected me, with a friend at work. She wanted to lose her own few pounds so we began walking, joined Weight Watchers together and then the gym. I kind of started out slow. Sure, I lost the first week worth of water weight. I have been known to lose 8 pounds in the first week and then it slows down. But this time, my friend  rather cluelessly, brought me her fat clothes that she was growing out of. Ha! It was the one kick in the butt I needed! In the end, it was kind of like the tortoise and the hare. She stopped at ten and I went on to fifty! And that is when I realized, I am competitive! So competitive!

And looking back at last year, I realized that I challenged myself to lose fifty pounds. I wanted to lose twenty more but once I hit fifty, something happened. I set a goal for myself. It could be a certain number or a size I want to reach or a dress I want to fit into or an event I want to look good for and once I have reached that goal…. I kind of have a spiraling down, melt down pattern. But all this contemplating the why and hows  have made me realize that I am truly competitive. Even with me. I don’t need to beat the other guy. I can even challenge myself as I set new goals. Weight Watchers worked for me because I had to be accountable and weigh in each week. I need accountability.

This new little fitbit contraption that was gifted to me last month works in a similar way. It has made me try to beat myself. I can weigh in at home. I can monitor my life style and perhaps finally figure out that the challenge is just to be healthy. That is one that I haven’t mastered quite yet. To look good for me. To feel good for me. To just be better for me. To stop fighting myself. To stop competing with myself. To just begin to be the best me I can be. It’s not a click or magic. You can’t bottle it as a pill. It is finding that place inside of you that is filled up from the inside out!

There’s No Place Like Home


Sometimes we have to wander far away from the storm, trying to find the rainbow, before we realize the lessons we have learned along the way. We encounter those looking for wisdom and courage and love and want to be a part of their journey. Perhaps we think that if they find it, so will we. And so… we get caught up in the seeking, we are fooled by our own desires.

If we are lucky enough to find out that the little man behind the curtain is only a little man behind the curtain, then we are ahead of the game. But more than not, we seek the answer in all the wrong places. We put hope in the world and we follow the beat of what the world deems popular rather than looking within and finding that in the end, all that we ever needed was always there for us… in our own backyard and that there really is; “no place like home.”

Facebook; The Click of a Key Rocked MY World!


My first love found me on facebook. We had a rocky break up but lets face it you never forget your first. He was the first one who asked me to marry him. The first one that I really loved back. The first one who I cared what he thought. My very first everything. We were both young and terribly naive. We let pride and other people play us like game pieces on a board.

Our past hurts from childhood and life such as it was in the few years we had lived it, controlled our destiny. There was abuse and no matter how much I excuse it now as I understand my first love’s own childhood hurts, the things that happened mattered and they positioned me in my life for my future and my way of loving. I built walls where there shouldn’t have been and never let go in exactly the same way.

When I became a mother I was not prepared for the love I felt. It was like no other and yet I feel I didn’t really grasp motherhood fully until I had my daughter seven years later. Before I had her, I wasn’t sure that I could ever love anyone as much as I loved my son but other mothers were right… your heart finds room.
And with my daughter, my heart did not have to make much of an effort to make room for her. From the beginning we just seemed to “get” each other. For the first time, since that wall went up, I felt the wall finally coming down.

At different times in my life, pieces of the wall were able to at least be moved but it stood strong most of the other times. So you can imagine my surprise when I accepted my exe’s friend request and finally felt that wall come tumbling down. In the click of a key we were transported back to our youth. And I stood at a door that I viewed as an opportunity to a kind of a “Do Over.”  Or adventures to be had in the midst of a full fledged mid life crisis. WARNING: You can’t ever go back. There are no such things as DO OVERS.

Am I sorry I clicked the key? You might think that I should yell from the mountain tops a resounding YES!!! But in a way, I guess I have to say that nothing ventured, nothing gained….If I hadn’t taken the time to walk down the path of my past, I may never have been able to see the beauty when looking down the path of my future or just being able to appreciate how lovely the present truly can be.

Turning Pages


Prologue
Reference to real people, events establishments or places are intended to only provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously.
Once upon a time in an age before cell phones or personal computers, Ipods or even taped messages there lived a girl who had a dream, she wanted to be a writer. It was the summer of her sixteenth year when diaries were still in books with locks on them and the secrets were all just dreams of what might be. Images of houses with families inside, behind white picket fences and the hope of what would come next, danced through her head and found their way onto the pages, she wrote late into the wee hours many nights, pouring out her dreams onto the pages in way of poetry. Such raw and corny words, fell upon the pages as the young girl slowly filled the book, waiting for her innocent prayers to be answered, for her prince charming to rescue her and whisk her away into the life she was meant to have.
That old book was packed away, life happened in-between and recently while going through storage boxes the book was discovered again by the girl, not so young anymore, the one who had packed it away so many decades ago. Now much wiser and much more worn out, the woman held that book close and slowly opened the pages breathing in hints of yesterday, flipping through the pages, now yellowed with age. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking in the door, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. She hadn’t even looked up when Brynne walked in the door nor had she heard her questions, but just the muffled interruption as she stopped reading for a minute.
The older woman looked up and smiled a melancholy kind of mood seemed to envelope her, Brynne was puzzled. Her mom always had the TV on for background company even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. Brynne frowned and sat down next to her mom as her mom began reading a few of the pages aloud to her. She stopped to make sure that she had not lost her daughter’s interest back somewhere at the first page but noted that she looked intrigued. Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured the woman,Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this book when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested. “I never told you this part of my story she said.” Maybe it’s time I try to tell it to you now.
Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed a throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but Brynne motioned her mom to continue reading.
Aperture
Back in the seventies letter writing and phone calls were about the only means of communicating.  Journals were in bound books and writers still wrote their ideas on napkins and then transferred them onto the pages wound tightly in their typewriters. If addresses or numbers or names were changed, finding them again didn’t hold out much more hope than a message in a bottle might. The inventors of E-mails, Facebook,  twitter and texting were  not yet born. Little did we know what lie ahead. But my dad did.
In 1966, when I was about nine, my dad took me to his office filled with huge computers and disk drives and told me….
“Someday all these computers that fill this room will sit on just one desk … and maybe even in our life time, you will be able to hold one within the palm of your hand.”
 My first love recently found me on Face book. Our story is bittersweet. For over three decades I only allowed myself to remember the ugly part of our love story and basically stayed stuck there for all of these years. This story is about it all. (The ugly and the beautiful.)
  Everyone’s first love should be a sweet memory. Now through today’s technology I have recently,  I have been given that gift back again. The message here is not just about the mistakes made by the ones in love but by the adults in their life, the secrets kept, the sorrow and pain of young love lost.
In the seventies, we learned;  Love means never having to say  you’re sorry. I have to modify that today by saying.  Love is all about forgiveness.