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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Terri


boxes in the yard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

letters with ribbon

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

girls gossiping

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

Serendipity


typewriter glowing

Why do we  start our blogs? I think that it would be an interesting question to explore. I would love to find out why the people I have bonded with here, originally began blogging. At first, I initially began my blog as a place to journal, a place to store what I wrote. I like knowing that I have a kind of a  back up place to go to and with a click of a key, be inside the pages of my world of words. I know that I never expected to generate any interest outside of people I already knew. And yet here you are…..  like my own serendipity.

ser·en·dip·i·ty/ˌserənˈdipitē/
                     Noun : The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way  .Eg: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity

study

Thank you for finding me, for taking the time to read my thoughts and words, my poems and stories and daily ramblings. I love wandering around your pages as well. I have found people that I really GET and have been found by people who think the same thoughts as I do… We would probably finish each others thoughts if we were sitting across from each other over lunch.

I am not sure what I expect from my blog. I know it is an impossibility, percentage wise, and yet I am sure the serious writers here have entertained the fantasy of being discovered in a round about way by a friend telling a friend who knows an agent about your blog. But gone are the days of a Hollywood agent discovering America’s next sweetheart on a Soda Shop’s bar stool. Success is more than a fantasy, it is hard work. There are no short cuts.  But it’s always nice to dream. Even though I really know that my blog is just  The Keeper of my words…. and I may never meet an agent or publisher here,  I am still so glad that I have found my little serendipity here in you!

*****Chapter Seven*****


Hello…

In-between the first chapters I submitted,   (which you will find in my sidebar to the right, if you scroll down just a bit)

I took a break…and before that another one… to kick myself into gear…wrote a few little poems etc.. etc… and random thoughts…

And….

 I  have found myself here more than not… A place full of people who understand… and share my passion for writing….

 Networking and socializing with you guys, my new friends, my soft place to fall… My amazing new find!!! Reading and LIKING and commenting on your posts…. and oh yeah…maybe I am procrastinating ever so slightly…. okay then cough, cough… I GET it! Back to work!!!!

But….

How could this be what others may call a distraction or my excuse to procrastinate in finishing my book?

Though I guess I agree… if I could just ask myself.. why is it that I can  not just  finish rather than continue tinker around the likes of this place? Hmmmm???  Smile…

Here it is… the final chapter, at least the final one that I am going to share with you here……   Chapter Seven.

By the way…..

If you have not read the first part of my book, I have it posted here. And really,  if you haven’t read the previous chapters, Chapter Seven will not make much sense. But if I have kept you… this far… I am very pleased… even if you haven’t bothered to read  chapters 1-6…. but it would make 7 make much more sense!

                                                  Here is Chapter Seven….

airline tickets

Chapter Seven

One night at dinner, Keri’s dad announced that he was surprising her with a trip up North to Tara’s house. She and Keri had been best friends since they were both four years old, and had been inseparable since the first day they had met.

little girls running in a fieldlittle girls playing

When the  girls were eight, Keri’s dad had been transferred to another state due to his job but Keri and Tara had stayed in touch through the years by writing letters and yearly visits that Tara’s dad had generously provided. He knew that they  had been heartbroken over the move and so he had always tried to make sure that they got to see each other at least once a year. Their mothers had also become very close and so the trips had conveniently been planned around their yearly Seattle vacations, either stopping on the way there or on the way home and once the girls had gotten old enough to travel by themselves, Tara’s dad had either paid for one or the other to come for a visit.

airplane wing

Keri loved Tara and so did her parents. She was more than a childhood friend, they were family in every way. When her dad said he wanted to send her to San Mateo for a visit Keri was delighted. Unaware of what the real reason might be and why he might be gifting this trip to her so out of the blue. Though she happily started planning the visit. Both Tara’s and Keri’s school had the next Friday and Monday off and so Keri’s dad had booked a flight leaving Friday morning and returning Monday evening.

Jack was not pleased at all when Keri told him that her dad had surprised her with the long weekend trip. Instead of being happy for her, he sulked and brooded the entire night after Keri had announced that she would be going, “What am I going to do while you are gone?” He asked poutingly, angry, feeling that she had not considered him at all! At first, Keri thought it was cute and was touched that he was going to miss her so much. But when he continued to pout, it concerned her.  She had told him that he could take her to the airport but when the plans to take her had been changed, he had grown visibly irritated and hadn’t called her for an entire day which upset her. Though when her parents questioned her, she just told them that she was worried about a test.

frustrated blonde

Keri’s dad worked in El Segundo, and LAX was just a few minutes from his office. He had booked a morning departure flight and told Keri that he would drop her off on his way to work. It had just been the convenient thing to do. He had noticed that she had seemed miserable until she finally heard from Jack and it had concerned him. Keri told her dad that Jack would pick her up and her father had hesitantly agreed since he would be out of town and Keri’s mom didn’t like driving in the evening, especially to LAX. He had not been happy with the arrangements since if truth be told, he had been hoping that the trip would distract her a bit from her relationship with Jack, and having him pick her up  at the airport just seemed to negate the whole purpose of the trip.

airplane

On the day of her trip, Keri was packed and waiting for her Dad as she thumped her suitcase down the stairs. He grabbed it from her easily, carrying it out to the car. She kissed her mom and waved as they drove off. Keri chatted comfortably with her Father as they sat in traffic. He used the opportunity and her obvious good mood to tell her that he and her mother had been worried about her and that they wanted her to spend more time at home. “Why? You’re never there anyway.” Keri complained. She countered his observation trying to not be disrespectful, but feeling as if her independence was being challenged. That’s not the point.” her father replied ruefully. Suddenly Keri realized exactly where  he was going with the conversation, and that the trip may have had some ulterior motives behind it as well.  “I promise that I am keeping up with my grades Daddy, I love him and I want to be with him when we can be.” She reasoned. “Didn’t you feel that way about Mom?“ She asked, softening her still emotional tone. Her dad just smiled at her, saying something about how she should look into being a lawyer and then ruffling her hair, he changed the subject for the time being. He slipped a wad of twenties in her hand as he dropped her off and told her to have a good time, hoping that the time away would at least give her food for thought.

bridge golden gate

Tara and Keri had a great time seeing movies and shopping  in the city and just being together.  Keri didn’t share too much about Jack, knowing Tara would not approve. It was a simple as that. Keri knew that there was something very different about her relationship with Jack. When Tara talked about the boys she dated, it was light and easy, not like the highs and lows she and Jack shared. She knew that no one would understand. She had not even spoken to Lori about it. She was still angry with her for not telling her about him in the beginning. She knew now, that she had to have known something. Though she had decided that she did not want to know if Lori had known anything about Jack’s problems  because she truly didn’t know if she could ever forgive her  if she had. But now she was in too deep. She loved Jack and no one’s opinion would change that. Neither what Lori or Tara thought mattered anymore. The trip did some good as her father had hoped it would, it made Keri realize that something was amiss in her young life. Something she could not talk about to anyone.

The visit was wonderful. Just hanging out with her best friend was a much needed break from all of the drama she had experienced recently. Jack’s up and down moods,  and his not talking and then  their times of making up were all just so exhausting and having no one to talk to about any of it was difficult. Though, she had missed Jack, and when he met her with such enthusiasm at the gate,  she felt hopeful that things would get better again. Jack seemed so happy to see her and told her how much he had missed her over and over again. They fell right back into the little recesses of their relationship, perhaps even more than before. Keri was addicted by the love he showered on her and in turn she returned it equally. The physical portion of their relationship grew stronger. He told Keri she was beautiful and for the first time, she began feeling that she truly was.

airport hug

The days seemed to all blur together. That terrible sailing trip was forgotten or at least never brought up again to anyone, ever. And Jack seemed to take Keri on as his project. He felt as if she was so innocent and naïve He encouraged her plans for college and would quiz her about her dreams. He urged her to step outside of her little box and discover new interests, to actually have opinions. The attention he gave her was addicting. Every new thing she learned seemed to please him and she craved his approval. Her father worked so much and never really seemed to expect more from her though he did praise her for her writing,  she had always felt kind of apprehensive when it came to opening herself up to learning anything new because her dad had so little patience during her childhood when he would try to help her with her homework, especially math. So with Jack, everything seemed new to her and she realized she could learn and was surprised that she actually really liked learning.

After they had been dating a while, Jack took Keri home to meet his dad, Jack Sr. She liked him right away. “Nice to meet you Mr. Sagen” Keri held out her hand, as he took it and quietly replied, “Nice to meet you dear.” She could tell that he was a kind and quiet man, he worked as an Engineer in a building not too far from her dad’s office, and she noticed that he chain smoked quite a bit, later Jack told her that it was almost three packs a day.  There had not been as many horrible stories about him as Jack had shared about his mother, but there had been enough to cause Keri to have a few reservations.  She could see that the relationship between Jack and his dad was much more formal than hers was with her parents. But he seemed so pleased when she would make an effort to talk to his father, and so she always tried to engage him in conversation when she would come over.  He would brighten up when he knew she was coming and genuinely seemed pleased to see her. Sometimes he would cook dinner for the three of them and to Keri’s horror  the first dish he served them had  canned spinach mixed with hamburger meat.  Keri  wanted ever so badly to be polite but she had never tried spinach before and could not hide her discomfort. Both Jack and his dad wathched her, urging her to try it and then they laughed when she touched her tongue to the forkful and then  in Green Eggs and Ham fashion,  announced “Hey, I like this stuff!” Jack’s dad beamed when she asked for another helping.

Jack lived with his dad in the small modest Torrance apartment that he had moved to shortly after his separation. Jack had moved in several months later, after a horrible fight he had, had with his mother. The building was very close to the beach where Keri had spent so much time with Lori. Mr. Sagen worked as an engineer and seemed to have given up everything after the divorce and yet, seemed content enough. Or so she thought.  He had not expected Jack to move in with him and so the one bedroom apartment was a little cramped. He slept on a fold out sofa bed in the living room and had  generously given Jack the bedroom who had protested to no avail, saying something about how a young man needs his own room.  They both seemed to enjoy having Keri around and she loved being where ever Jack was.

When Jack’s dad was at work they would always seem to find themselves at that empty apartment whenever possible. She played house in her head as she would imagine that it was their place.  They would talk and dream and lose themselves in a new world of desire,  and discovered each other without shame. Keri had never really had a real boyfriend before. She had dated a few guys but Jack was her first true love in every sense of the word.  It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other.  It was all so new and exciting.

young couple making up2

Their kisses were hard and filled with passion and yet soft and filled with love, all at the same time. Their hands roamed in places Keri’s never had before. She felt as if she was somebody else when she was with Jack. Nobody had ever kissed her that way and she learned that she loved kissing. When they weren’t together they thought about being together and couldn’t wait until the next time and then the next. They tumbled further into somewhere they both had never been, and yet stopped just short of the place they knew was forbidden.

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Shortly after meeting Jack’s dad, he took her to meet his mom Lee, who lived a little less than an hour away, in Monterey Park.  Keri was hesitant. She was the woman who had a lot to do with the demons that Jack was fighting today, she was not so sure she wanted to meet the one who had hurt him so horribly, and for that matter, his dad, who she had grown protective over. She was not sure she could set aside the stories he had told her and yet, it seemed so important to him. He had such disdain for her when he would talk about his memories and yet he seemed to hold out some form of hope that things would be different. Maybe he thought that Keri could be that bridge. Always wanting to please Jack,  she reluctantly agreed to the meeting.

From the very start, Keri noticed a kind of ambivalent indulgence in the relationship between Jack and his mom. It was disconcerting to her but she disregarded her apprehension due to her love for him and agreed to pursue the relationship. To Keri’s surprise, she and Lee hit it off almost at hello. His mother was charming and quite beautiful in an unusually sophisticated kind of way. They seemed to ‘get’ each other from the start. Lee seemed to genuinely like Keri. And from what Jack had told her, had despised Maddie, which made Keri uncomfortably blissful. She had never known anyone like Lee before. They talked about everything for hours. Soon Jack found himself bringing Keri to his mom’s house regularly. Keri loved to hear her stories and advice. Jack was thrilled that Keri and his mom became fast friends and through their new found friendship, Jack felt an acceptance from his mother that he had never enjoyed before.

mirror and make up

They spent a lot of time together and Keri was very impressed with everything about Lee. She obviously loved to live life well and taught Keri to do the same or at least was very generous with her. Though she could not forget the stories that Jack had shared, it was hard to picture her so out of  control ever. And so little by little, Keri let  her guard up and found herself drawn to Lee, as their friendship grew.

As school continued, Keri became so wrapped up in being Jack’s girlfriend that her friends began to complain that she was always too busy for them. Between school and volunteering and the time she spent with Jack, there was just no time left for anything else. Keri didn’t care, she only wanted Jack. Her every waking moment was consumed by thoughts of him or what she could do to please him.  She would pack sandwiches and meet him at the garage where he worked.  She would sit in a car high up on the hydraulic racks as he worked on it late into the night. She studied or did homework in many cars on many nights just to be with him. Most of their times were filled with new adventures and passion that she could not get enough of.  No one had ever made her feel so desired or loved and she looked forward to discovering new things with him. They were so caught up in the excitement of becoming adults, and imagining their future.

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She pictured how it might be being married to Jack. They spent time looking for apartments and began going to a little church in the neighborhood where he and his dad lived. They became fast friends with some of the young couples who went there and some of the older ones too, and were invited over to their homes. One couple in particular, Dave and Cheri seemed to enjoy Jack and Keri’s company and took them under their wings. They would invite them over frequently to Cheri’s parent”s home for Sunday Supper. Soon they felt like one of the family and Keri learned to love Sunday. One Saturday night, Jack and Keri had come for dinner at Dave and Cheri’s apartment. Keri noticed a wedding album on the coffee table and began slowly turning the pages. She was so impressed with their life and love and faith in God. Cheri shared that they were trying to have a baby and Keri felt so envious. She wanted to fast forward everything and feel how it might be to be grown up and out on her own. As she chatted with her new friend, Keri glanced at Jack sitting across the room, as he and Dave laughed about something and her heart filled. She wondered what it would be like if he were her husband.  All at once Keri knew she would marry him someday.

Jack and Keri became very involved in the church. Every Sunday they were invited somewhere. Jack began to bring his guitar to some of the gatherings that they were invited to. His dad had given it to him years before and it was one of the more special gifts he had from his youth. Keri was pleasantly surprised to learn that Jack had an amazing voice and she was transported to a new realm as she would listen to him as he strummed the strings and sang with the group. She loved his voice and was so proud. One day they talked about the fact that he had never been baptized. He shared with Keri that he wanted to. She was thrilled. He began going to classes and one Sunday in front of the church, he was baptized and watching him as he was lifted from the water, Keri saw his face and the joy that filled it and in that moment, she, believed that everything was going to be okay.

Between his work, and her school, church, and just their being together their free time seemed filled. The days ran together in sweet accord, each better than the last. Keri would run home in-between classes and seeing Jack and their time was consumed only in each other. Until one day, Keri’s mom complained that they never saw her anymore. She told her that even Lonnie had been talking about missing her.  Keri started to argue and then realized that her mom was right and then to her surprise, her mother suggested that she invite Jack over for dinner. Her father would be home and  had asked her to arrange something. Keri eyed her mother suspiciously. “What is this all about?” she asked her mom. “We just feel that we need to get to know this boy, Jack, a little better, since you are spending so much time together, that’s all.” Eyeing her daughter she added, “I promise to make something good.” Keri agreed, “Well okay, if you are sure there is not going to be some big speech or anything?” Her mom laughed saying, “your father and I discussed it and it doesn’t look as if Jack is going anywhere, anytime soon, so we might as well get to know him.” Keri was pleased by the invitation but remained a little hesitant. Her mom continued, “When we allowed you to date, we hadn’t bet on you dating just one boy.” Keri looke at her mom and said, “Well, I wasn’t planning on that either. It just sort of happened.” And then added, “I love him mom.” Her mother nodded. “I know you do honey.”

Jack agreed to dinner enthusiastically, he had been wanting an open door, a chance to prove himself to her parents.  He loved the idea of family and had never felt as if he fit into his. All he ever wanted was to feel as if he fit in and to have a place to belong. Keri knew that about him by now  He talked a little too much that night but her parents didn’t seem to mind or at least they didn’t appear to. They accepted Jack as someone who would be around for a while. Her dad had been impressed by his intelligence, as he kept up with the latest current events. He charmed her mom and helped clear the dishes. Keri thought that the evening had gone quiet well. She wondered what her parents thought.  They remained unbiased, deciding to hold judgment.  They were not sure how they felt about Jack yet. At times, they saw Keri happier than they had ever seen her, and though she tried to hide it, there had been other times when they had also seen her very unhappy. During those times, Keri never spoke of what was making her sad but then just as quickly, the mood would clear and she was happy again.

Her parents accepted her mood changes as normal teenage moodiness, though they remained on guard, having heard horror stories from some of their other friends and the difficulties that they were having with their own “teenage” children. From what they had heard, they counted their blessings, feeling grateful that Keri was so grounded. Her parents just figured that they were also having growing pains letting go, and tried to be more understanding and lenient by looking the other way rather than being so strict. Keri was grateful, never wanting them to guess what was really happening.

sad hug

Though the dark times did seem fewer and farther between, when the rages did happen, they would terrorize them both. Jack seemed trapped inside of them and Keri had learned to be his target. He knew that he was horrible to her but something ridiculous would trigger the anger and the explosions followed like clockwork.  Somehow, it had become a pattern with them. Keri had grown to accept the emotional blows, lost in her own hopelessness that they seemed to represent. The ambivalence she felt was debilitating. And yet she never shared any of it with anyone. She reasoned a little pushing was not like getting punched or slapped and he was usually so sorry after. There had been a time or two when Keri stormed out to get away and he had followed pleading for her forgiveness. He would kiss her tears and beg her to come back, pleading as if his heart would break, telling her that he could not live without her and how sorry he was. He would kneel at her feet and she would pull it up and then sadly follow him back as he would try to make up for everything he had just said. But Keri could not block out the names he had called her, slowly she began to grow numb to it all.

She wanted to protect Jack. She knew he was fighting pretty dark demons from his past and that he was dealing with them in his own way, and she felt it was enough. She also was too ashamed that she would allow anyone to treat her the way he did when he would lose control. He would be sorry and she would forgive him and the in-between, times that they shared, seemed to make up for everything else. The funny thing was that after the awful day on the sailboat, Keri never again, even considered leaving. She just accepted that this was part of her fate and the more she loved him, the deeper in she got.

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This is not the end! There are more chapters to come…. but this is all I will share here. I am now working on editing the finished chapters of my book and someday, hope to have it finished. I just wanted to share a piece of it here to get feedback from my most favorite followers!

THANK YOU for all who have taken the time to really READ it!!!!  You have a piece of my heart!

Seems Like Only Yesterday…


SON

 

Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

(My son and his beautiful family)

by

Diane Reed

copywrite 1997

Do Overs


If I could do it all again

would I make the same mistakes?

Would I bypass all the times

when I knew  my heart would break?

Would I still fall in love

with the father of my kids?

Would I do the dumb things

I remember that I did?

If I could go back,

and undo everything I’ve done…

Would I trade it all

to once again be young?

It is a tempting question,

to consider what I’d do,

to be able to wipe the slate clean,

To undo the things I wish I didn’t do…

And yet, I have to wonder

what the trade off would have to be

if I undid my life…

And could re-invent the one called “me

Even with all I now know…

and the lessons I have learned~

The “Do Over” I could have,

and the places I’d return,

I would still have to choose

all I know of in this life

If it meant being someone else’s mother

and someone else’s wife!

For all the ones that I have loved…

makes it worth it in the end~

To live the life with the ones I’ve loved

Yes~

I’d do it all again.

Hopefully with lessons learned

to make some slight revisions~

To gift me with the wisdom of today

In tomorrow’s new decisions.

Diane Reed

Unexpected Love


Our store was called Rose In The Woods.  It was supposed to mean:    “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.”  My mother in-law thought it up and I always loved the sentiment. Sometimes things of beauty are so unexpected they go unnoticed.

Recently I had been feeling very sorry for myself. My daughter’s dog Buddy died and I was blind sided by my grief. Silly old dog! Everytime I turned around that dog was underfoot. And whenever I left the house without putting the trash cans up, I could count on coming home to a mess. That dog countersurfed like there was no tomorrow. No matter how far removed I thought an item was, that dog seemed to be able to manuever his fat little body up far enough onto the counter to retrieve his prize! Like he was on a treasure hunt! I am sure if I had put up a spy camera and video taped him… it would have won the prize for Funniest Home Videos!

I would wonder who ate all of the tortillas or all of the buns and sure enough I would go out to his yard to clean up his messes and would find empty plastic bags out there. He would make me want to scream!

But that dog was so smart. From the time my daughter was young, her bus would drive by and he would sit at the end of our deck and h000owl… knowing that his girl was on board! He would roll over, high five and speak on command. He knew the difference between shaking and highfiving! He could sit or lay down and  when she would call him, if he didn’t come right away, she would start counting and he always came before she reached three!

When Brookie went to look for apartments, her main prerequisite was that they had to allow dogs. She finally found one that allowed them. I am glad they had that time together. They spent many hours at the dog park near where she lived. But he howled when she went to work so eventually after several months of trying, she relented and had to bring him back home.

My dad and I started walking with him a few years ago and they fell in love with each other. Some mornings it was very dark and we could barely see my dad who lived up the street. We would meet half way. On foggy mornings, before I could see him, Buddy would start crying for me to let go of his leash, and my dad would squat down to greet him. My dad ended up paying for surgery for Buddy a few years ago that prolonged his life by three more years. Below is a poem I wrote about our walks….

It began kind of quietly in a shy kind of way

“Maybe I’ll walk with you” is what I heard him say

And when my dad joined us, it became our group of three

The day my Dad began walking, with my daughter’s dog and me…

Each morning I’d think, I don’t want to get up

But then I’d think …it’ll be good for my dad and the pup!

As I climbed the road behind those two

I heard my dad say “this is soooo good for you!”

Just a few minutes a day became my most treasured of times

In the steps that we took, and the wisdom I’d find

All fit into the little time that we had

As I would keep step as I walked with my Dad

We walked up hills and around bends

We started out as family and slowly became friends

Talking about politics and old time religion

I loved hearing his passion behind his opinions

I followed him up hills and behind doors unopened

I heard new stories I’d never heard spoken

He sparked a new interest in things I’d not learned

And made me care~ where I’d been unconcerned

We laughed and joked as he remembered times as a kid

And the hilarious things his brothers and he did!

He taught me things about the constitution

And his own ideas about different solutions

No school could teach me the things I have learned

No time I’ve invested could earn the return

And in all the gifts I’ve been given or treasures I’ve had

Not one could compare to the walks with my Dad!

Buddy’s illness hit so suddenly and before we knew it we were making the decision of what to do. Brooke was in LA at the time and was devestated. When her Dad was talking to her, I called up my Dad and asked him to call her when we hung up because I knew she was going to need her Papa! Later she said both her grandma and papa prayed with her and said the perfect things. Another moment in my Scared Of Daddy Long Legs experience of not getting to be there for every moment your child needs you.

Even though my husband and I had grown children, we realized that in all of our adult life, we had never had to make that kind of adult decision. Deciding whether or not to put down a beloved family pet.

I would not allow Brookie to drive home in her devestated condition and we did not want Buddy to suffer so she came home later the next weekend hitching a ride with some of our best friends who were coming to our area for a visit.

My husband and I had buried him and when my daughter came home she pretty much collapsed on his grave. It was devastating to watch her grief mingled with ours and we all were suffering. Unfortunately the grave was too shallow and the next day she noticed that it was unsettled and so she added more dirt and one by one carried more rocks out to it. I think in a way that was her closure and a good exercise for her to help get through the grief but it was horrible for a mother to feel so helpless as she watched her baby in so much pain over losing her beloved friend.

The other day I came home and found my son who lives in town at my house with all kinds of garbage cans filled and gardening tools and shovels out, totally clearing out the side yard where Buddy lay. I had told him the story and kind of felt he seemed a little removed from the whole situation but was blown away by his explanation of what he was doing He told me that he wanted to surprise Brooke the next time she came home and have a nice garden growing near Buddy.

At that moment I knew I had done something right. I saw the love in my son’s eyes. My first born kidlet who was stubborn and independent even as a little boy. He showed me in that moment how much he cared and how much he loved his little sister. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift that day and realized that I had just witnessed another example of a thing of beauty in an unexpected place.

We don’t always see the best in each other because we are more alike than either of us would like to admit but my son has proven that when the going gets rough, he is the first one there to step up!

Reblogged from my other blog~

Chapter Four


I have been sharing pieces of my book. (It is already written, I am now in the process of editing it, which I have found is almost a longer process than writing it.) This won’t make much sense without reading the first three chapters. I am asking for feedback and guidance from anyone who has already published a novel. I appreciate everyone’s time! I have stopped blogging for the most part, until I have finished my editing. But please feel free to visit my archives, I have over 100 posts just waiting for you there.

Chapter Four

Keri woke up to her phone ringing. Her dad had left earlier that morning for another business trip and had told her that he wanted her to check in with him and her mother regularly while he was gone, and to still ask permission before just going out to sea again or doing other things that she would normally have to ask to do if they were there, and she laughed and  happily agreed.

Keri’s dad had not been so sure about leaving her for the next week but she assured him that she would be fine. She opened one eye to peek at her clock radio and groaned when she saw that it only said 8:13, she reached for the phone beside her bed. “Helloooo?” Keri said in a raspy voice that was obviously still not fully awake. “Where are you?!” Lori’ demanded loudly. “Huh?.” Keri answered sleepily. Only to be met with another retort, “Did you forget about todaaay!?” Suddenly Keri jumped out of bed. “Oh my gosh, Lori, I am soooo sorry!” Keri said now, fully awake, “I’ll be right there.”

Lori had a few registration issues that had come up at the end of the school year, and had to drive to UCLA to iron everything out so that she could get placed in the dorm of her choice. She had wanted Keri to come along for moral support and to see how to get there so she could visit, often Lori hoped. She was feeling slightly homesick and unsure about making new friends. “You will do just fine.”  Mrs. T had encouraged her, when she had found her daughter in tears earlier that week. Planning to drive the girls up that morning, they mapped out the best route to take. Deciding to make it into an all day outing, she  planned to treat the girls to lunch at her old hang out, called the Hamburger Hamlet that had been a favorite study spot of hers when she had gone to UCLA. The girls had been looking forward to the day and to take the walk down memory lane with her.

Now she was late and she felt horrible as she jumped in the shower and then raced to Keri’s. Matt had left his wallet in the backseat of Jack’s car the night before and Jack had found it that morning when he left for work. When he arrived at work, he had called the Taber’s and Matt answered, just having  noticed minutes prior that it was missing. He asked his mom if she could swing by and pick it up since Sarah’s family was picking him up for a day at the beach but he would need it later that evening when he went to the movies with friends. Lori groaned, complaining that now they were going to be even later. Keri felt secretly pleased for a chance to see Jack again so soon. When he saw the Taber’s car drive up, he ran out to the car and handed Mrs. T the wallet. Leaning in, he caught a glimpse of Keri and looked surprised as he said; “Good Morning!” Lori barely grunted something back, but Keri enthusiastically tilted her head so he could see her better and,  happily offered back in a slightly exagerated chippery voice, “Good Morning!”  Keri could hear Lori mumble a sarcastic mimick of the way she had greeted Jack and frowned but ignored her. Jack grinned back at Keri, obviously happy to see her. “Thank you for finding this.”  Mrs. T added gratefully, touching Jack’s arm. As they drove away Keri waved and watched Jack as he winked back at her and she felt it again, that warmth that she had felt a few times the day before.

Lori had not missed the little exchange and was annoyed. Keri seemed so happy. But Lori knew more than she was letting on and felt horrible about not coming clean from the start with her best friend. The least I can do is, tell her what I know and then let her decide, she would argue with herself. Lori knew enough about what had happened between Jack and Maddie to know she didn’t like it. They had met up at Montana State during a double date and began going out. Lori deciphered enough to know that it had been a very troubled relationship through out the time that they were dating and had overheard their mom talking to her sister during a few late night phone calls, trying to console her when Maddie had called crying after a bad argument. She had even had to come home after one particularly bad fight and Lori remembered hearing her sister sobbing through the walls and wondering what had happened that was so horrible that made her cry like that.

Jack had left a semester early to go help his mom with something and his plan had been that he would return again the following Semester and he and Maddie would spend the summer together when she returned. But her sister had landed a part time job a few months earlier, and could not leave as soon as school ended and if truth be known, she hadn’t wanted to because that is where she had met Dan.  Even though Maddie had broken up with Jack, he had been hoping that he could win her back over the summer. He had planned on taking her sailing and other fun places  but his plans had all been changed when Maddie happened to have plans of her own. All Lori knew was that Jack had expected Maddie to return home to him, and had not been counting on her bringing a fiancé back with her. She knew that her mom had been distressed over how to break it to Jack without hurting him or any possible drama, and she realized that without even thinking, her mom had probably just recognized that Keri had been the perfect solution. Lori remained miffed at her mom for knowing what kind of issues Jack and her sister had been having, and  not being more concerned about Keri.

But Lori felt that she had her old mom back since she had finally broken the news to him and he hadn’t been as devestated as had expected. Mrs. T was just so relieved having the problem of hurting Jack behind her. Lori knew that her mom had grown to love Jack, he had shared things with only her and no one else, and she had begun to understand his demons.  She knew more about his family dramas and why he acted the way he did, and so she excused some of his out bursts that had happened in front of  Maddie and even some that she and  Matt had witnessed.  She had been a kind of a self appointed surrogate mother and counselor to him when he needed someone to  just be there and listen to him.

When Lori had confronted her mom with what she knew, her mother had insisted that she felt that Jack had learned from his mistakes and had changed. And so Lori kept her feelings to herself.Though she struggled with what she knew.  As the weeks passed by, Keri seemed so happy with Jack. So Lori decided to keep quiet, hoping she was wrong and that her mom was right and that Jack had actually changed.

Mrs. T easily navigated  the girls around the campus. They parked and walked for what seemed like miles. As they investigated both old and new buildings. By the time they had gone to Lori’s meeting and explored the different aspects of the campus they were tired and starving  but they loved every minute of it. Lori’s mom told so many stories that day that both girls felt as if they had discovered a new side of her that they had never known. They chatted easily over lunch and laughed at the funny perdicaments she shared about her own first year away from home. By the end of the day, Lori felt more comfortable about moving away and Keri loved and admired Mrs. T even more.

Things seemed to go back to normal for the Taber family, before Jack and the boat occupied their driveway. Lori was planning on leaving a few weeks earlier than expected to take a class that she had found  she needed to have completed before the first semester began. Keri sat on Lori’s bed sulking as she watched her pack “I’ll probably be back in a few weekends.” She reassured her. “And you can always come up and visit.” she reminded Keri who agreed, “I guess” but stuck out her bottom lip as Lori laughed. Keri hopped up handing a stack of tee shirts she had just folded for Lori to add to her pile,  when the doorbell rang. Mrs. T was around back, outside in her garden and Lori was sitting under a pile of clothes so Keri jumped up and offered, “I’ll get it!” as she skipped down the stairs. She was surprised to see Jack standing there with a box of tools. “Hi” Keri said  sounding surprised. “Uh, hi” Jack replied “I borrowed these from the garage and was returning them before I forgot.” Jack stammered. He usually only found Mrs T home this time of day.”I thought that was your car.” He said pointing around to the side of the house where she normally parked so that she could easily maneuver around the progression of cars that ended up along the Taber’s long driveway.

Jack had been calling Keri sporadically  and they had gone out  a few times, mainly to just talk and get to know each other. She let him do most of the talking and slowly he had begun to open up. She felt that he just needed someone to talk to and she had been that someone. She had continued to spend most of her days with Lori but now Lori was leaving and she felt kind of lost. “It is good to see you Jack!” Keri sounded happier than she felt and opened the door wider, motioning for him to come in. Jack grinned, hopefully and stepped inside.

Keri and Jack were still talking at the bottom of the stairs when Mrs T came in wiping her hands and looked surprised to see him there, as he quickly explained that he had brought back the tools he had borrowed when he had been working on the boat. It had been slow at the station and so they let him off early and he told Mrs T that he had meant to bring them up earlier. She thanked him knowing that he had avoided coming, when he knew Maddie would be there. But Maddie had come and gone and was now visiting Dan’s family on the East Coast for a few weeks.

Mrs. T excused herself to go check the chili she had on the stove and asked if they would like a bowl as Lori came down to see who had been at the door. Mrs.T stirred the simmering pot as Lori and Keri pulled the bowls and placemats from the cupboard.  Soon Matt and Sarah arrived and they found themselves all sitting around the table once again, eating cornbread and chatting happily. Jack had slipped in directly across from Keri and she couldn’t help but notice how he was kind of playfully bumping  her feet with his, under the table. When she looked up, he was looking directly at her. She glanced away and then looked again as he she felt another nudge and then giggled and blushed as his eyes remained fixed on hers.

Keri helped Lori clear the table as the boys settled on the floor watching the game. After all the dishes were put away Lori said she had to finish packing since she was leaving in the morning. Keri wandered over to where the others sat watching TV and let her go up alone. Matt was on the floor, leaning back on Sarah who was sitting in one of the easy chairs in front of the TV, affectionately playing with his hair. Jack hopped up from the other easy chair he was sitting in so that Keri could sit. Something flipped in Keri’s stomach as Jack nestled back comfortably onto Keri’s. He had been complaining that his back was sore from having to work on a car upside down all day. He smelled like a combination of shampoo and gasoline from work. To her surprise, the scent made her feel funny inside.

Jack reached up to rub his neck again. Keri pushed him forward a little and he seemed kind of unsure as to why. But when she began massaging his neck and shoulders, he realized what she was offering and leaned further forward groaning with pleasure. Soon,  Matt had talked Sarah into doing the same, joking about how sore he was from a day at the beach. When Lori came down to get a soda she surveyed the scene at hand and rolled her eyes, going back up stairs with the unpopped can she had come down for. For a moment, Keri considered following her up, but  she was not in the mood  for a lecture and  was still a little annoyed that their summer plans had changed so close to it’s end so she just settled back and continued to glide her hands up and down Jack’s back as he pressed comfortably up against her bare legs.

As they both got into their cars that night, Keri mentioned something about going home to an empty house and how she actually missed her mom and little brother and would be glad when they returned soon. Jack offered to follow her home and Keri agreed. She had just cleaned the house knowing that her dad would be home in a few days and had left it sparkling. When he pulled up, she parked in the driveway. She went over to his car. She knew that he had planned to  just watch her go inside. They hadn’t even kissed yet. He had been a perfect gentleman. But something about the night made Keri want to ask him to come inside. And so she shyly asked, “You wanna come in?” Jack grinned. “I thought you’d never ask.”

As Keri unlocked the door, Jack followed her. Dropping the keys on a table by the door, she continued to the kitchen, Jack liked watching her as she turned on the lights and then  opening up the fridge offering  him something to drink. He continued to watch her as she poured them both some iced tea and went into the living room. “How about a fire?” he suggested eyeing the wood. It was almost September and the nights were getting a little nippy, especially near the ocean where she lived. “if you want to.” Lori agreed. When the fire was blazing, Jack went around and turned out all the lights. Keri watched him from the sofa, amused. As he sat down, he took the iced tea out of her hands, placing it on a coaster on the glass slabbed coffee table in front of them. He held her warm hands, still slightly wet from the condensation on the glass and looked into her eyes that looked trustingly back at him, her lips parted, just waiting for what came next. He tilted her head up and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but he brushed her bangs away from her forehead ever so gently and breathed. She held her breath waiting for what seemed like several minutes but she knew it had just been a few seconds, and then he said in a  soft, rough voice she knew she would always remember, “I really like you Keri.”

Jack’s words took her breath away, even more so than if he had actually kissed her. The words caught in her heart. She felt as if she would burst. He had emphasized the word “you” so tenderly. She savored the moment and then whispered, “I really like you too Jack.” Then reaching up, she touched his face. Ever so slowly, she leaned up as he leaned down and their lips touched softly, searching and then exploring, getting to know the other. Nothing in the kiss carried anything from the past. She knew at that moment. This was not a rebound kiss. Nor the residual pieces from a broken heart, it was somethng new. No one else mattered at that moment.  He was kissing her, not with the memory of Maddie in it,   but with the possibility of a new future and with the  tenderness of a new chapter, ready to be written.

Chapter Three


To those of you following this… Here is Chapter Three. For those of you just happening to find my blog, I am right in the middle of a little hiatus. I have 21 chapters of my book in the very raw, rough draft stages. I am in the process of fine tuning and editing each chapter. And asking my readers for feedback… Thank you all who take the time. If you are interested I have over 100 posts in my archives that will keep you busy until I return to my regular posting post!

Again, Thank you!

Di

Chapter Three

Keri and Lori went dancing that night as planned. Lori seemed a little more subdued than normal. But when Keri casually asked what she thought of Jack, Lori just replied “He’s nice enough.” In an indifferent tone that was hard to miss. But Keri did. In fact she missed it all together. The music was loud and the bar was crowded as the bouncer stamped their under aged hands and nodded for them to go inside. Keri barely gave Jack a second thought as they surveyed the crowd at the Blue Moon. It was the same place that most of the guys from Avenue F hung out and they always had a good time.

Keri was not looking for anyone serious. She had her summer planned. Jack was nice. Maybe, she could be a good friend to him. He was definitely going to need one she had reasoned with Lori on their way there that night, and Lori had agreed. She knew that Jack was not Keri’s type. She liked dark hair and green eyes and Jack had lighter hair with blue eyes. Though, she had noticed the cleft in his chin and kind of did like the twinkle in his eyes, she had explained to Lori that the main reason she had said she would go sailing was because she just wanted to go sailing. It was “as simple as that”

Keri had gotten a little irritated when Lori kept grilling her as to why she had allowed her mom to finagle her into the date, and told her in no uncertain terms, “I assure you that I really am not interested in Maddie’s leftovers!” Or at least she wasn’t conscious of it, nor was she aware of the fact that Jack had actually asked Mrs. T about her after she and Lori had driven away that day. It had completely gone over her head that he was even remotely interested and as far as she knew, he was still waiting for Maddie to return and had no idea that she wasn’t returning to him. But Mrs. T had come clean that afternoon. She hadn’t missed that Jack appeared to be intrigued with Keri. And when she had come out  to offer him a glass of lemonade after they  had driven off,  Jack had asked about her. Keri had just seemed like a perfect opportunity to help break the news about Maddie to him, a reminder that there would be other girls. She told him that Maddie had met someone but didn’t offer any more than that. Jack had been furious at first. But more hurt than surprised. Mrs. T had reminded him of of their fights but she didn’t need to. He remembered them all.

Mrs. T patted Jack’s cheek and went inside, letting the news sink in. She left him alone with his thoughts. He sanded and pounded and thought about all the fighting and breaking up that he and Maddie had done over the last year. He thought about the last fight that they had, had. And the words they both had shouted to one another, and could never take back. His mother had called him home and he had no choice, Maddie had taken that opportunity to tell him that she wanted a break anyway, and that perhaps this would be a good time for it. He flinched as he recalled the terrible timing and the things he had said to her when he left. When he needed her most, she had not been there for him. As he sanded, he realized that she never had. Even so, in all his reasoning,  he missed her like hell.

Mrs. T had also been thinking. She had seen him perk up when he had asked about Keri and so she had a little plan of her own. She went about making the lasagna and then went out and asked Jack to join them for dinner and mentioned that she was going to try to track down Keri and Lori and invite them too. She had not counted on not being able to reach the girls and remembered  Lori telling her that she was going to spend the night at Keri’s but had missed them the few times that she had tried to reach them at Keri’s.  Jack had seemed disappointed when Mrs. T had told him that she hadn’t been able to reach the girls, but had cheered up when Matt walked in. And then just as they were helping themselves to some salad, the girls had driven up. Mrs. T lost no time, running out the door and returned smiling with them both in tow.

They brought such energy to the table, all tanned and scrubbed, ready for a night out as they bubbled over, laughing and happily talking about their plans for the evening, still trying to decide which house they were going to end up at. “Just let me know, if it’s not here.” Mrs. T requested easily. When Keri had reached for Jack’s hand, as Mrs. T introduced them, he seemed to forget about his broken heart for a few minutes and Mrs. T had not missed the chemistry in that little exchange and had begun to look for an opening to encourage it more.

Keri had fun, just like all the other nights, with a string of boys inviting them both to dance.  They were hot and damp when they found each other again. A dark haired boy who she had danced several dances with asked her for her number. She just smiled and teasingly said “Sure, let me find a pen.”  But when he walked away for a minute, Keri grabbed Lori and said “let’s go.” When she finally dragged her out the door, Lori whispered “He was cute, why didn’t you give him your number?!” Keri laughed. She knew that they had learned where there was one cute boy, there usually was always a friend for the other. And since Lori had not been interested in anyone there that evening she had been hoping the cute guy that Keri had been dancing with, might have a friend just as cute. But for some reason, that night Keri wasn’t interested and didn’t want to give anyone but Jack her number.

Aside from the weather, the sailing date went well. Thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds had tossed the little boat around significantly that afternoon. Though, the day had started out  with crystal blue skies. Keri’s dad had seen the small craft warnings earlier that morning and told her that he really wished that she would reconsider going, but after a little pouting,  which was really out of character for her,  he finally relented, giving her permission, shaking his head and sighing exasperatedly as she hugged his neck and happily ran out the door.

Keri’s Dad, was concerned and not just about the sailing trip. He had never seen his daughter care about anything more than her writing. Keri had always been so level headed when it had come to boys in the past. He had always known that the day would come when one would sweep her off of her feet but he had grown comfortable in the delay and had been hearing horror stories from his friends and the problems they were going through with their teenage daughters and had counted his blessings. He was confident in Keri. And yet he knew that it only took one boy to change everything. He could only pray that she would make the right choices.

Keri was not sure why she had persisted in getting her dad to change his mind, and why it had meant so much for her to go, except for the fact that she had given her word that she would go, and she liked to keep the promises she made.  She knew that she could have called Jack and told him that her dad had read the warnings and suggested that they change their plans to another day. And that he probably would have understood she reasoned. But she had felt a sense of urgency that she did not recognize, something that had made her really want to go, something that she had not felt before and it had registered with her, and bothered her a little. She realized that she did not want to cause another  disappointment for Jack, he had experienced so many lately, and she just did not want to be another one.

As the boys launched the boat, the sun reflected on the water as the warm winds blew. She wondered where her dad had gotten his information because from what she could see, the day had started out beautifully. Jack was very attentive he had packed a lunch for everyone and as Keri and Matt’s girlfriend Sarah, got acquainted, Matt and Jack maneuvered the boat out of the marina. She liked the way he handled the boat in the winds. How he directed Matt and seemed to know what to do as they increased. Keri felt safe as the little boat moved up and down over the rough waters and Jack took control, instructing which lines to pull as he and Matt steered the little boat back to the marina. She liked how he looked in his wet tank top. And watched the muscles in his arms flex when he grabbed the lines and tied the boat to the dock.

Keri told Jack about the small craft advisories that her dad had listened to earlier that morning and how concerned he had been, she was touched that as soon as they had pulled the boat out, he had found a pay phone for her so that she could call him.   Keri assured her dad that they were fine but admitted good naturedly that he had been right and she was sorry for not listening to him but promised she would in the future. As her father put the receiver back down, he breathed an air of relief though he knew from the lift in his daughter’s voice that she would probably break that promise many times from this day on. And that Jack most likely would be behind those broken promises.

Keri ran back happily to help the boys hook up the trailer and pack the soggy supplies that they had brought back to the car. The evening fog was rolling in as Jack turned on the heater and motioned for the girls to get inside, handing them dry blankets. As she crawled in the front seat, she watched the boys as they worked to hook up the lights. Finally as Jack slipped in next to her, something dawned on Keri, she knew why she had persisted in talking her dad into letting her go. She realized that she really liked Jack. She liked him in a way she had never liked a boy before.

Jack dropped his boat off at his Dad’s apartment where he was staying and then turned to Keri, Matt and Sarah, “How about Bobs?” He suggested. “Sure.” They agreed. They had worked up quite an appetite, having never finished their lunch when the winds had kicked up. And besides, Keri realized that she was not ready for the date to end. When they got to the restaurant she and Sarah excused themselves and went to the restroom, pulling out brushes, in an attempt to try to tame their long beach blown hair.”I must look just great.” Keri remarked as she slid into the seat next to Jack. “I think you look pretty cute.” He said and then added, squeezing her knee, “For a good sport that is! Over hamburgers and sodas they laughed, talking about how wet they had all gotten earlier that day. When their sodas arrived they all clinked their glasses in honor of their surving it.

That night, Jack dropped  Matt and Sarah off first. When he pulled into Keri’s driveway, he turned off the engine but kept the heater blowing. Keri leaned comfortably against her door as they began talking easily. He talked mostly. About school and having to leave it because his mom needed him. He talked about moving in with his dad and having to get a job at the gas station on the corner near their apartment. She knew that his parents had recently been divorced and that his reasons for coming home had something to do with that but she didn’t want to pry and so she listened to just what he shared. He asked her about her plans after she graduated and she told him that she had enough credits and  planned to graduate early.  He seemed impressed. And his admiration warmed her with a feeling that she had never felt before.

Though she felt that they could have talked for hours, she knew that he must be tired and she also knew that her dad had left the porch light on and didn’t want to take advantage of his leniency, after all, there was still quite a bit of summer left. “I had a wonderful time” she offered. Jack smiled and said “I’m glad. Let’s just see if I can ever get you back out there.” Keri laughed, “You just name the day, I’m tougher than you might think” Jack got out and went around and opened Keri’s door, taking her hand, he helped her out. Never letting go, he asked, “Can I call you?”

In Honor of my 100th Post!


This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting….  I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…

My Mom…

She was born  March 3rd in  1934.  My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.

When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids  went exploring,  and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)

     My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)

The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.

           I’ve always  loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!

She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help…  pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!

Mom and me 1958

One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!

My mom with my son (her first Grandchild)              My beautiful mom and daughter on the boat in New Port Beach, on my wedding day

She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.

When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.

Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to  her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.

The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~              and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!

A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend  at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died.  He ended up coming for a visit.

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it.  The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.

I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.

I love you mom!

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.

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

Jody


It all started with a phone call. We were young little skinny things. I was 26 and she was 35. We both had boys. And went to the same church. We happened to be cutting up fruit in a mutual friend’s kitchen who was hosting a friend of ours surprise birthday party who we both knew. We had individually offered to come early to help out.

We chatted shyly, not really knowing each other too well, asking all the “get to know you” basic questions back and forth. When the phone rang, she was closest to it, so she answered it.

I didn’t mean to eaves drop but I couldn’t help but overhear her side of the conversation. When she hung up, I was dumbfounded. “Was that your husband?” I inquired. She smiled and nodded. “Did he just call you to apologiiiiize?” I marveled.

“Yeah, she answered looking kind of embarrassed. “My husband would NEVER do that!” I said.  (And he wouldn’t have. Apologizing was not something he did easily. Let alone call me to do it!!! At that very minute, I wanted a husband like that!) It was a funny thing that caused us to really start talking.  Somehow it broke the ice. We started chattering and laughing and found out that we had a lot in common. And that is how our 29 year friendship began.

I have since had a daughter and changed husbands who by the way is the kind that apologizes and has called me many times to do it over the years. Our friendship has taken us on a path filled with many twists and turns caused by life, but the journey we have gone on together is one that I would never trade in a million years.

We have had a billion shopping trips, and learned to stretch many a dollar!

and have had some of the greatest “foodie” moments together ever!

We have gone through births and deaths,  and have become mamas and grandmas all  through the years we have shared.

We have been there for each other in the happy

and sad times and have prayed and cried together a thousand times over the years.She was in my wedding and did all the flowers, lugging them an hour away and not missing a beat, attending the rehearsal dinner and standing up for me. She has been a wonderful Auntie and Best Friend and I can’t imagine having gone through any of my life without her Having her share the journey has made my life better and I don’t doubt just how different it would have been without her.

Recently my daughter who is 24, and I were talking about friendships and she was kind of reflective and envying my relationship with Jody. And I told her that I hadn’t even met Jody for two more years when I was her age….and she thought about it. And I have no doubt that she will have a Jody in her life too! They just come along when you least expect them to, and you pretty much know it the moment you meet them.

 I have some amazing friends. I have been very blessed in my life.  But Jody really knows me and doesn’t judge me even when I am pretty stupid or grouchy. She knows all of my secrets and still loves me.  I love her like a sister.

 

I look back and remember that first talk in that kitchen long ago and realize that it was not by chance that we were there that afternoon almost 30 years ago, it was a Divine Appointment. And oh yeah,  that guy who called her? I love him too! A lot!

Just a few weeks ago…          “Auntie” Jody with me and my baby ~ who wasn’t even born when we met…

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

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

Connecting


fighting couple back to back

I try to connect with you and you ask what that means, I tell you,” that if you have to ask, you will never understand.” It is not something that a string of words can ever convey. No sentence can reveal how hearts connect, they just do.

hugging in the rain

I have learned just recently, that I haven’t forgotten how to connect. How easy it would be to not work on us and just settle back and allow this new connection to take me away…

For I have learned that…

 

Connecting is lying on the beach with my eyes closed listening as you read my words back to me just the way I heard them in my head, all with the same tones and inflections that I felt when I wrote them. Connecting is looking up and finding tears in your eyes when I am done reading something that I wrote. Connecting is “just” kissing until our lips are chapped, or washing the tar off of my feet. It is buying me a warm jacket when I am cold or a flashlight when I tell you it is dark at work at night. It is making me call when I get home to tell you I am safe. It is knowing what is important to each other and just doing it without asking. It is saying I love you a million times a day because you need to hear it. And it is finding the place where my glasses waited for me and paying the balance so that I could pick them up. Even though I didn’t want to succumb to finally admitting I needed them, glasses that is… It feels good …to feel important again. Not just in words but in actual actions…  Even though it took a lifetime to appreciate each other, it still is nice. And yet it is scary because our connection is so wrong in ways I can ‘t explain here. You know it is.

And so I remember and try to hold on for dear life and try to remember when “we” connected. And I remember, And I even still feel it sometimes when I remember ….

Jim & Brooke

Connecting is telling you that story about the woman whose husband surprised her and went grocery shopping for all the stuff she needed for a dinner she was having that night and crying silly tears because I was so touched by her husband’s connection with her and having you understand and not laughing at me for crying.

Connecting is when you called me up to wish me a Happy Birthday when I was going through my divorce. Or when you asked to take my son on a Father and Son boating thing and then turned it into a family thing so I could go too, and pretend for one day that we were a family. Or when you followed us home during the LA Riots to make sure we got home okay. Connecting is when that warm feeling came over me when I watched your car lights as you drove away. Connecting was talking for hours about our lives, our broken hearts, our dreams and never wanting the night to end. Connecting is when you took my kids with you when you asked me to marry you and made them a part of the celebration. Connecting was when you made us a family.

 

Connecting might be things that other people do. Or it might be things that I have found in my friends or my passions, it might find me far away from the place I thought connecting was yesterday and it is scary for me to wander off too far trying to find it. But I crave it and yes, I have wandered and it felt so good and so horrible all in one fragile breath, gasping just trying to breathe.

holding hands at sunset

It is not asking me to take a walk and  then joking about the different word counts our counselor told us were allotted to  men and women  by telling me that you were pretty sure that you had already used up your 5000 words for the day and you were darn sure that I must not have too many of my 25,000 left!  Not connecting is not about the crumbs you leave on the counter or the bread you don’t put away, those are just silly things that wouldn’t ever be noticed if only we had never disconnected. But somehow life happened and the link that seemed to connect us broke


.love never fails

So many years have passed. So much water has gone under the bridge. So many mistakes have been made, mostly by me but maybe because we forgot what “connecting” really means.

 

 

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.

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!

Flashing Before My Eyes… This Thing Called Life!


I watched as the bus drove away. The year before, I’d insisted that I drive my daughter each way to school. I didn’t trust the bus drivers, or that there were no seatbelts on school busses! We’d moved to the country to give her a better childhood. We lived 12 miles out of town. That meant 12 miles each way, to and from school. What was I thinking?! After the first year, of driving almost 50 miles a day. I succumbed to my daughter’s wish to take the bus. But I enjoyed that first year driving her back and forth. We visited and bonded and talked about everything you could possibly imagine.

I remember commenting on how we couldn’t see cows on our way to school where we used to live and we laughed deciding that they might look out of place on Hawthorne Blvd. On the first day of school, all those years ago,  I argued with myself as I watched her wave as the bus drove out of sight. I knew she would be okay.  She was going into the fifth grade. So funny now when I hear stories of moms putting their kindergartners on the bus, and yet I still  felt as if she was just a baby.  Or maybe I wanted to keep her one for as long as possible because I knew the day would come when she would be driving away in her own car, far, far away from her old mama. Which kind of brings me to my ramblings on this subject. Time does pass us by so fast.

That was years ago. And yes, my baby has since moved four hours away and I am happy for her. In fact, I envy her life. She is right on the edge of new and exciting things just bursting to give birth.  Her life is filled with new pages to fill in books yet to be written, new relationships to be made and dreams to come true.

I remember once when I was nine. The little neighbor boy and I were playing at the beach. Our parents were visiting nearby on the sand in a little area where they had set up camp for the day.  Suddenly a huge wave pulled us out in an area where we could not reach the ground. I remember him grabbing my hand as we struggled to swim under the wave that had overcome us. Coughing and sputtering we looked at each other, amazed we had survived. Still holding hands, we suddenly let go~

I often wonder if he remembers that event. I always will. Our moms are still in touch. I barely think of him except for that time. Funny, what our minds store, isn’t it?

Back in those days, I didn’t have a lot of life to flash before my eyes but since then when I have had those life flashing before me moments, my mind always touches on those few seconds in my life when I knew I was in deep trouble, drowning with the boy across the street, my little friend who grabbed my hand and held on to me for dear life. I have felt that feeling lately. It reminds me of that bus driving away, my life flashing before my eyes, feeling the distance growing as I watched  it drive away with my baby in it, on that day so many years ago. I remember that memory of the near drowning flash through my mind as I was rushing around pregnant, trying to find my son the day he went to the wrong gate. And I remember it when my dad died, when my first husband died. It is something that I can’t make happen, it just does. Like one of those little books you flip through and it animates the drawings. And today I feel the pain of letting go of the past, of trying to grasp the future and hanging on for dear life, as if watching my life flash before my eyes.

Last night we were driving home from a church event, when a car flipped over and down a hill right in front of us. It all happened  in a split second. We live out in the country so it is pitch black except for the head lights. My husband swerved over to avoid the  car that had been in front of us as we all pulled over and stood frozen. My husband called 911 and  said “Someone has got to be dead down there” when in our amazement, we watched a young kid climb up the hill with only a cut on his hand.

I have felt like that in my life, all the way back as far as that drowning experience.   God has been there through all the moments. And last night was just another example. The way it happened, we all could have been killed.  Funny but it happened so fast.. I prayed a quick prayer and somehow I almost expected that kid to pop out of the dark and be okay. And if you follow my ramblings and read my blog… you know what I am talking about as I touch on a few more stories and blessings I have lived through as I think of them all in slow motion, unlike the flash before your eyes moments but blessings that I count daily.

I expected my family to not have been hurt by the earthquake. And I expected my best friend to survive her latest bout with stage four cancer. God is so good. But what about the times, when our prayers aren’t always answered the way we want them to be? Maybe in God’s infinite wisdom, He knows more than we do? Sometimes He answers our prayers the exact way we would like.  And at other times,  Well, I knew my dad was dead before we were officially told, I knew my first husband was going to die when he told me he was sick and somehow I knew he was going to go quick  and it would be on his birthday. Strange and yet, comforting to know that there is so much more to God we can tap into if we really go there. Sometimes I get a quick glimpse of understanding God is controlling things more than I ever imagine. And I could actually be more involved in it all. And then I get in the way and forget to get involved. Kind of like my life. I have been so stuck lately. On my own little island in my own little life.

God is a mystery. Our life is short. Some of us are done sooner than others with what we are given. Some of have longer lessons, some have more to learn, and others have more to teach. I have felt that drowning feeling lately, the life flashing before my eyes, kind of kick me in the butt kind of reminder and I am not going to waste it. Life is flashing before our eyes every single day. I am going to slow down the pages and jump back in the story and stop being stuck somewhere in the middle. I need to reboot and keep moving on.

I know now that I am going to write.

I am going to open up my own empty book and begin a new chapter. I will not waste the life that  God spared in that wave so many years ago. I am going to begin to fill new pages and live this thing called life again!

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

When A Friend Walks In


I have a co-worker who always says “Good bye my friend” when she or they are leaving. It has always been a very endearing comment and at times, when it has been directed towards me, I have felt very blessed. Not only because I am the receiver of such a comment but because over the years of getting to know the one who has called me “her friend”  I have also grown to know and admire and value the one giving me that title.

Recently, I have evaluated the definition of friend and have realized that if loosely used, it loses a lot of its translation. Over the years I have given many people the benefit of the doubt when calling them my friend and I am sorry to say that I really regret how loosely I have used such an esteemed name for some who were only acquaintances passing through.

A friend is someone you invest two things in, time and love. Some of my friendships have a history attached to them and I used to think that they had card Blanche in receiving a gratis of sorts in the title attached to what would ultimately give them the label of their being a friend in my life. And now I have realized that friendship is not always a “given” if just for the mere sake of being a character chronicled in my life’s story.

A couple of weeks ago, I re connected with a friend from High School. We had been inseparable once upon a time, always together, for most of the years during High School and a few after. I met many key people in my life when I was with her. One of them was a boy I was engaged to and another, my children’s father. We played off of each other. Sometimes she was the voice of reason and other times I was. She actually was more than me but you get the jest of our friendship. We had a great one. Don’t get me wrong, she is still a great person but during our last get together I realized how we are so different. And I am not sure I saw that as clearly back then as when we met that afternoon a few weeks ago.   I saw a side of her I had somehow missed for all those years. And while, I love our memories, I have to give myself permission to move on and not try to pursue a friendship that clearly has outlived it’s time. That may sound harsh but I am on a friendship journey right now and this insight into what is and what never really was, has to be a part of it.

Some people have come in and out of my life quickly and yet as the saying goes… have left footprints on my heart forever, and even in the shortest of times have gained that title as friend. As has the ones who will always have a place in my heart and yet perhaps not in my life and that is okay. There are others who we share time with, make memories with, even good ones, and  grow to love them and then something happens and we realize that it was all a lie. Maybe not all of it, But at the time, we feel like all of it! When we are suddenly hit by the disloyalty and lies that blindside us. It is so unexpected, that we find it hard to trust again. Co workers, who we spend a majority of our time with usually are the ones who we tend to trust more quickly than maybe we should. Some have proven to be diamonds in the rough who have turned into some of the greatest of friends who I am sure will last a lifetime, while others not so much.

So if I call you “Friend” I have sidestepped my past hurts and I truly believe you are who you are. The one I call FriendThey are the ones I would drive four hours to hang out with. The ones who I can share a bottle of champagne with till two in the morning as they just let me cry and talk out my latest heart break. They are the ones who have shopped with me and bought our size five skinny jeans and bikinis and also our not so skinny jeans and cover ups! They have nursed my sick kids back to health when I could not, gone and picked them up when I couldn’t and listened patiently to my writings and encouraged me to write more.

They are the ones who I cry with at the sappy parts in movies and the ones who I share history with that no one else has. They are the ones who love my kids like family and are generous with beyond generous. They will deliver care packages to a sick kid from miles away on a Sunday when I can’t get to them and they will move them as many times as it takes. They are the ones who travel seven hours to see an hour show and make them feel as if they have just walked the red carpet together!  We have spent a lifetime making memories and through it all, I have formed a wonderful friendship template because of them.  I use it to measure all my frienships with.

And even  through the bad times, the times when I have been hurt by the ones I thought were my friends, it is okay, because of the true friends I have, the great ones, the forever ones… the ones who are endlessly loyal and  help me to trust, it is because of them… that I can open my heart for the new ones yet to touch my heart and I trust one more time. Because there is something great that happens when you open up your heart just a pinch and a friend walks in!

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..

The Difference Makers


A child is supposed to feel safe. And yet if that is the case, why are so many adults in therapy?

Some people had wonderful childhoods and were raised with caring and loving parents who taught them right from wrong, others had good parents and comfortable childhoods and their parents made mistakes but did the best they could. And still, others had horrific childhoods and terrible parents and seem perfectly fine. And yet all of these people have one thing in common. An inner child who is still there.

Recently, I have gone through a process of recognizing my inner child. She is the one who doesn’t trust because those who she trusted hurt her. She is the one who was never allowed to talk about her anger and so she learned how to lash out. She is the one who always wanted a voice, and now speaks too loudly sometimes. She is the one who felt so out of control most of her life, so that now she needs to control EVERTYTHING!. She is the one who was disappointed and so only sees the negative in things so she will never be disappointed again.

Ahhh, that feels so negative. It really isn’t. My inner child remembers the great things too. She loves to learn and organize and create and run and laugh and play. She has a special handful of friends that she trusts with her life and would do anything for. She always looks forward to a good time. She is in there too, all of her. Experiences and memories, Lessons and moments, all moving her along like editing a motion picture.

Stop and close your eyes and find your inner child. Who is he or she, really? If we all got a chance to go back and meet each other’s inner children, and really understand where the guy who cut you off on the freeway or the back stabbing, coworker at work first began, perhaps maybe we would have more compassion for all of them.

The little girl who was always worried that her Daddy wouldn’t get home safely because of his drinking, the little boy who felt brushed aside because his mother was too busy getting ready to go out. The kid who always heard fighting and never knew when the next explosion would take place. The little step son who never could do anything right, the kid who always waited for his dad to show up when each time he never did.

Always lonely, always worried, always brushed aside, feeling unimportant, abandoned,  the one who started out not fitting into his own family, always seeking the perfect place where he could feel as if he belonged. The little girl who had to grow up fast because she wasn’t allowed to be the child. Always fixing, always nurturing.  Always performing, and yet she was just a little girl, but today not quite a grown up.

And yet the parents that did come through, the other family members who stepped up to the plate when they were needed most, the friends and mentors, the teachers, the ones who gave them a voice, the protectors and rescuers, of those who were lucky enough to have them, all MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Today, if we look inside of ourselves, we all can find a piece of that child still lingering inside of each of us. Perhaps if we all reached out to just one child we recognized as hurting, and began mentoring instead of criticizing, hugging instead of scolding, teaching instead of berating, sharing with instead of rushing away, we might just break the cycle and begin to lead the way, to find the children and to become the protector, the mentor and the difference maker, in a way helps lead the child inside of them to a place where we all can grow up and be someone else’s hero. Because…. all of those children eventually grow up to remember the difference makers in their own lives and hopefully, someday will grow up to  become somebody else’s hero.

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.

Survivors


As we go through life, we take on different roles. Daughter, Sister, Wife,  Mother, Aunt, Friend and eventually Grandmother. We take advice, and later even offer it. The life we live along the way prepares us for the roles we take on. Our stories all have lessons we each can learn from. Even our struggles and sorrows are eventually gifts of wisdom. As survivors of different trials we go through, we can offer hope and guidance for others when they see us come out of our own valleys without the battle scars they fear. And what scars we do retain, we can wear them as badges of honor for we are SURVIVORS.

The red flags we learn to be aware of, the lessons learned, the wisdom we can offer all are important pieces to the puzzle. Sometimes some of the pieces are missing and it takes a long time to find where they fit in order to see the bigger picture. But once all the pieces are in place, all the lessons are learned and all the pictures are made, we put them all back in the box, shake it up and make the pictures all over again!

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.

Beginning In The Middle


I think that admitting you are middle aged is like turning the light on. Though, recognizing what a full blown mid life crisis is and that we are having one is a little less easy. Sometimes when we are in the dark for so long, we don’t realize that just turning on a light would help us see things a little better. I think that I have been in the dark for a few years now. I would never have suspected that I would be in the throws of the classic symptoms of a mid life crisis and have missed them all together but now as I turn around and look at where I have been recently and what I have done, I am sure or maybe even positive that I have been experiencing just that.

A young girl with a lot of wisdom and research under her belt spoke to me about hormones and the mixture of menopaus and my experience with my now empty nest mixed in with a bit of being stuck in a marriage that seemed to be on a merry go round of excuses and wah lah you have what we define as a mid life crisis. The problem was just how far I took mine.

Stuck in a job that didn’t leave room for a lot of creativity which is what I crave, lost in regret of many areas of my past, guilt about a divorce, anger about a past relationship even  before my marriage that defined much of who I am now, and pieces of my childhood that seemed fragmented into much pain, my current marriage barely had a chance.

Go forward a thousand years and I found myself right in the middle of a profound place of being stuck…. My dad died when I was twenty six. I thought I would never stop grieving over that. I was not ready to lose a parent yet and was devestated. Even today, I can find uncried tears easily when I think of it too hard. Death is difficult at any age, but when it is cut short so early there is something that just never seems right about it. And even though we were divorced, when my first husband died it was all surreal. It didn’t rock my world as I might have thought. It all happened so fast. And I truly think that I am just afraid to go there. To really feel the pain about losing the father of my children, to wonder what if… and the guilt of the divorce. When he told me he was dying, he said something that made me feel that he thought that maybe if we had stayed together, I may have magically been able to stop this from happening… his dying I mean.  I can’t seem to get it out of my head… what he said when he told me he was dying… I said… “I should have stayed with you to nag you about your smoking.” And he said, “I knew you were going to think that.” I didn’t really think that. I just said it, to have something to say in a moment of having nothing. Maybe he thought that. I never knew.

I don’t think that I have dealt with a lot of pain in my life. I think that I have pushed it all away and at times it comes out in anger and in other times bad judgement, as I look for things to numb it. Alcohol and drugs is a temporary fix. I don’t like the way they make me feel after it has all worn off… and so I must go on the journey to find something opposite to numbing the pain. I need to finally deal with the pain and in turn heal the wounds. I have started on this journey and made mistakes along the way… this blog is my way of sharing that journey, my mistakes and in turn, hoping to find some answers for us all.

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.