Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

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

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

peaceful forest

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

sealing wax

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

friends crying hugging

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You Is smart, you is kind and you is important


turquoise mixer

When I was a little girl my mom would sit me on the counter and let me bake with her, she would give me a cup of flour or sugar and let me carefully add it to the bowl. Sometimes, she’d give me my own bowl and let me concoct my own mixture. Of course it was never edible, but those are some of my favorite memories. Growing older is kind of like that. When you are younger, you don’t know how to read the recipes and so the outcome may not be the cake that rises correctly like your mom’s. But as years go by, you learn and by trial and error you hopefully (for your family’s sake) learn how to make a decent finished product.

When I helped to re-open a restaurant that we tried to salvage several years ago, I was training some kids working for us. The order was a hamburger and a hotdog. The young man working, put the hamburger and the hotdog on the grill to cook at the same time. I asked him, “What do you think is wrong with this picture?” He stared at the grill and couldn’t figure it out. So I said, “Think about the end result.” I could see the light bulb go off in his head and he answered. “Oh, the hotdog will finish first and will get cold before the hamburger is done.” Ding ding A+! It was not only a learning moment for him, but it made me realize that it is rewarding to help someone learn and see the light in their eyes when they figure it out.

a+++

Several months ago, I had a good friend at work approach me to complain about one of her co-workers who was brand spanking new. Not only was she young enough to be her own kid, she was fresh out of massage school. My friend had been out of school and doing AMAZING massages for well over a decade. I tried to share with her my hotdog hamburger story and she didn’t get it. So then I said, “think of it like this, You and I can serve Thanksgiving dinner to a large group of people, and by now, hopefully we have for the most part, figured out how to serve everything hot.” She nodded and I continued, “Soooo think of this girl, as if you are helping to teach her to serve her first Thanksgiving dinner, and take her under your wing and teach her how to serve it the same way you do.” I didn’t see the light in her eyes or that she fully understood me, but she graciously told me she’d try.

family dinner

A few weeks later, my friend and that young girl stood with me as they waited for their next clients. And in front of my friend, that young girl gushed about how she (my friend who’d complained weeks earlier about this girl) was the most helpful teacher and how much she loved working with her! Later, I got a text from my friend saying: “I love your Thanksgiving Dinner scenario!”

ducks

My point is, that we need to realize where everyone is coming from. If someone needs mentoring, instead of gossiping and complaining about them, why not metaphorically speaking, teach them to throw the best dinner party ever? No one was perfect at their first job. Someone had to teach you. I’d rather be remembered as the one who taught many rather than discouraged even one.

SONY DSC

I know that after ten years of working at the same place, and now after recently changing jobs, I’ve had to learn new things and am so grateful for my recent teachers and the ones along the way. But I am also learning that age is not such a bad thing, because we gather knowledge along the way and carry it with us as we go. Hopefully causing us to be better leaders and have compassion just remembering how we felt when we were younger. To not make someone feel bad about themselves but to help give them wings for their next step up. For how much better would it be to know you are remembered as a teacher rather than a bully? To remind those that they are smart and kind and important, a message that starts by letting someone add a cup of flour and then a cup of sugar, and slowly bake their own cakes someday.

May Our Children REALLY SEE Our Hearts


In life, we have mountain top highs and valley lows. We have anticipation of joyful events yet to come, planned and unplanned. And we have pain that hits so hard we feel sucker punched. We are blindsided by how much it hurts. In my lifetime I have had friends come and go. The going is sad for me. In most cases, it has been a move out of the area that takes those friendships away from my everyday life, and things get busy and you lose touch but remain friends. And yet others have totally been removed from this life through death, which as you get older seems to be a bit more frequent. And then there are the ones you choose to no longer have in your life for important reasons of your own. Though, I think that if I’ve ever made that choice, it was with very good reason because the more I experience how quickly we can be snatched from this life, the more I value the people I love. And the more willing I am to try to work things out. I am a talker. I like to talk things out. I like to gather information. I’ve been called a story-teller, (Heck I’m a writer.) I can tell and retell the same story a hundred times. (My poor husband has heard them all twice.) When I was younger, I imagined my life. I’d fall in love and have kids and be a writer. All so simple. In my head, I had it all planned out. But life is not like that. Crap happens and you are constantly in clean up mode.

baby in hands

We imagine our children, We hold our bellies and pray that we won’t mess up too much. We want to give them the world. We want their lives to be better than our own. I wrote a song when my son was two or three… the lyrics were…

Little boy in my arms,

 tiny and new~

Sleepy eyed

and unaware

 of what the world holds for you~

Lump of clay in my hands,

 still yet untouched~

Oh Lord, please guide me closely,

I love him so much!

Eyes so wide look at me…

 What do they see?

Do they see you Lord,

 looking back through me?

Such a gift

You gave to me!

Yet, I always knew…

That the day

would some day come Lord

When I’d give this precious child

 back to You!

In my heart, I strive to do what is right. I am a hard worker. I love my Lord, I love my family, I love my husband and I love my children and now grandchildren. I am a good and loyal friend, and if you happen to be mine, I will be there for you to the end. My daughter “GETS” me. She is my Jiminy Cricket, my sounding board. I love her but I really like her too. I love the friends she chooses and that she lives life with a love of it that is inspiring. She is my best friend.

If we ever have a misunderstanding, it is resolved that day, usually that hour! But funny, we enjoy each other more and more without those rare misunderstandings of her youth. I think we both have kind of grown up together and just appreciate each other too much to have them. But I do appreciate my parental boundaries and try to respect them, as they make their own journey. I love my son. I love his children. And I love both the girls that gave me grandchildren.

Though, I feel that my son and I totally misunderstand each other at every turn. I feel that he blames me for a divorce that he has no inkling of what really happened and probably never will because I will never talk poorly about the father of my children. He knows the basic reason we split up and I feel that is enough. I feel that he has his own issues with me that I don’t understand most of the time, but I’d like to.

Recently, I have talked to more moms than I can count who are not talking to one or more of their children for different reasons. A lot has to do with money. It hurts more than losing a friend, when we can’t make our kids understand our hearts. And yet, I won’t be silent anymore to just “keep the peace” Why should they be allowed to say anything they want to us, but if we are too honest, we are basically “hung up” on? Or “cut off.”  It astounds me how entitled our children are today. Not just regarding finances, but our personal business. I wouldn’t open up my adult children’s mail any more than I’d expect them to read my bank statement. I am tired of hearing the horrible things that adult children feel perfectly justified saying to their parents. But cut them off if they have a response. If this sounds like you, repeat after me….

I will not be held hostage.

I will continue to voice my opinions.

I will not walk on eggshells.

Nor will I butt into their affairs.

 Is it too much to ask for the same courtesy? We all want the best for our children and their lives. It is not a competition. It is just wanting the very best. I pray for us all. May our children see our hearts. May they GET where we are coming from and not guess. And may all of our relationships be restored. AMEN And if you are a kid who happens to be reading this…  it is not an accident that you are reading this right now. Go call your mom!  🙂

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  (3 John 1:4)

No Offense


hole with moss

 

 

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

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

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

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

The End

shovel

 

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

Proverbs 19:11

 

 

 

 

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


three jars of rice

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

rice pictures from top

 

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

suspicious

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

happy looking at

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

 

 happy smile

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

 

Come on Come Clean…We ALL Need Affirmation


sally field you like me

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

bulletin board

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

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

birthday

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

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

numbers

Affirmation


I’ve been told that I need a lot of it…  Affirmation”  that is. Who knows why? Maybe because I felt silenced when I was younger.

shhh child

Or maybe just not heard. Now, I bubble my stories out to the world. Doesn’t matter if I have known you for one minute or many years. I’ve finally found a voice and my words help me connect.

mountain top

Today my poor sweet husband gets much of the wrath that he does not deserve. Sometimes I feel him nudging me under the table. He says he is protecting me from me. I know he just cares, though I can’t help but feel a little offended and reeled in at times. Even though he probably is right.  Maybe less is more.

hand over mouth

But I feel I’ve been hushed for way too long. The problem is…

my story

I have this story inside of me that I feel needs to be told. A story to empower young girls and perhaps make the men in their lives take a closer look at themselves. When I was younger I was in a very controlling relationship where I plainly just lost “me” for the sake of  “him.”

       mirror brokennnn

Everytime I excused the way he treated me, I lost a little bit of “myself” in the process.

lost love on the beach

There is more to the story and my heart is conflicted in telling it,  for I feel an odd kind of loaylty in the act of forgiveness that happened years later. I understand more now about my abuser and my heart truly does ache for him. But having acknowledged that, I feel that if just one person is taught something then the pain was not wasted. My message is that NO ONE should be hushed. Everyone’s heart deserves to be heard. I think Aibileen said it best to Mae Mobley in “The Help  ” You is strong, you is smart and you is important.” If we were taught that as young girls and didn’t allow anyone to come and challege it, there would be fewer young women in the world allowing the abuse that they experience.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZimx1wHYcs

Our opinions may not fit perfectly in the spaces that others want them to…

puzzle with missing piece

But we have a right to have  them, just as they have a right to have theirs. Somebody needs to wake us up. Perhaps Glinda said it best to Dorothy when she said… “You had the power all along my dear.” 

red slippers

We All Break If We Don’t Bend

split personality mirror

When did she leave? That part of me?

“she’d”  never  have allowed the pain.

I guess she didn’t want to see

the parts that still remained

tea cups on a shelf

like painted tea cups upon a shelf

handled with such care

always worrying  they were too high

so why’d she put them there?

broken tea cups

I know that we all have choices

in the messages we send

I can see it  more clearly now…

We all break if we don’t bend.

dancing in the wind

Diane Reed

2013 ©

Forget what hurt you in the past. But never forget what it
taught you.

Duhhhhh


Mail... You Got Mail

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

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

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

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

frustrated girl on computer

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

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

wind

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

Was it your intention to just blow my day away?

tornado aftermath

I know that misery loves company so you invited me

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

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

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

Diane Reed ’13

holding hands over earsholding hands over earsholding hands over ears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through Rose Colored Glasses


footprints picture

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

bruised heart

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

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

cartoon standing on a pedestal

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

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

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

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

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

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Through Rose Colored Glasses

You see it your way with rose colored glasses

the world is all wrong and we are all asses!

rose colored broken glasses

It couldn’t be you, in all your perfection

no, not a flaw in your perfect perception!

We are just sensitive when we judge your approach

you never see the way you jump down our throats

girls telling secrets

 you talk behind all your friends clueless backs

discussing all the things you feel that they lack

 what made me think when you were talking about them…

that I was above the ones you called your good friends

gossipers

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

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

Diane Reed ’13

page quote

Safe Keeping


boo boo

Like a bruise, my heart has places that…

I don’t want to touch again.

Like paint that never dries

or a story that never ends.

beach book

My mind keeps wandering back

and I get lost in the past,

then you come and wake me up

writer asleep

like pushing forward fast!

Snapping me right out of

the nightmare that kept me sleeping,

a kiss

handing back the heart

you were holding for safe keeping.

young couple making up

Diane Reed

2013

My Strength


baby smile

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

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

0413011039 hot tubrohss

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

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

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

hot tub

hot tub2

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

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

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

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

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

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

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

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

Second Chances


traffic school

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

frustrated blonde 2

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

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

ticket signs

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

police

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

ticket

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Six


Below is Chapter six from my book. For those of you interested, I have published/(posted) one through five in my previous posts. I have taken a break from blogging to finish my book and have been sharing it with my followers who have requested more.  Thank you for all who have actually taken the time to read each chapter. Your time is my most coveted gift!

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Chapter Six

Keri had been slow in sharing anything about Jack with her parents. They had both met him, and he had been charming, while her parents had been cautiously gracious. It was difficult for them to watch their daughter become so consumed with a boy. Keri had always been a good student and had recently, been very focused on going to college early, majoring in English and becoming a Writer, which they encourage wholeheartedly.   Just the year before, they had watched her excel at workshops and earn awards. They had watched her become more involved in the school she volunteered at and had supported her decision to graduate early, and had been impressed that she had managed to accumulate enough credits to do just that.

They were  proud of her accomplishments and  that she had been offered a job at the Center while hearing glowing reports from Betty about what a natural she was with the children, they did not want anything to divert her from her plans, especially a boy. Keri was planning on working at the Center  the first of the year, and enrolling in the local Junior College with plans to transfer to UCLA the following.   Though  Keri maintained her grades and Mrs. Walker applauded her recent work,  they knew their daughter and saw a difference, subtle as it was,  and it concerned them.

Keri realized that her parents weren’t keen on her seeing Jack. He was three years older  and they had just started allowing her to date.  In the past, she had gone out with guys that were friends in more of a group setting. This kind of serious  dating was new for them all.  Keri didn’t want the bubble to pop or to have to answer too many questions so she hadn’t talked about, or brought Jack around a lot. She had  enjoyed the independence she had over the summer and wanted it to continue. Her parents had trusted her and given her more freedom due to an arrangement that they had made with Lori’s mom, knowing that she would be available if Keri needed anything . Though, they hadn’t counted on Jack hanging around.  Now that her mom was home,  Keri did not want to rock the boat too much. She tried not to be on the phone a lot with him when her parents were around or to be too obvious about the time he monopolized,  but she loved him and wanted to be with him as much a she could. And her parents couldn’t help but be concerned.

Keri would ride the bus in the mornings on the days she knew that Jack planned to pick her up after school. One day her mom joked about how Keri had begged to get her license and had worked hard to earn her car and how strange it was now that she was back to riding the bus and mentioned that she hadn’t seen Keri actually  ride the bus since Lori had gotten her license the year before. Keri just smiled, she was happy that her mom seemed to accept the new arrangements as long as she kept up with her school work. It was her senior year and her mom had shared stories of her own memories, telling Keri that her life was like an empty book and this was the year that she would begin to fill the pages with memories that  she would never forget. She told her that she didn’t want her to waste a moment of any of it with regret and seemed to be okay with giving her the trust she had earned over the summer, but Keri had been aware of her mother’s apprehension.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that her mom happened to drive up as she was hopping off of Jack’s bike. She slammed her car door and stood there with her hands on her hips. “What is this?!” her mother demanded. “Uhhhh,  motoooorcycle.” Keri answered a bit too flippantly with a sarcastic edge to her tone, as Jack nudged her in warning that THIS was not the right time to be joking.”  Keri’s mom reiterated that fact strongly by saying “I know very well that it is a motorcycle young lady! What are YOU doing on it?!”

Keri silently handed Jack her helmet as she was ushered into the house by her mom.  He had no other choice but to leave,  promising that he would call later. As Keri’s mom called after him saying “Oh no you won’t.” in a very firm voice. Keri’s face was filled with disbelief and anger as she raced into the house shouting “How could yoooou?!” As her mother promptly followed her, eyeing her shorts, and demanding, “What could you be thinking getting on that bike with just shorts on?” Keri had actually burned the inside of her calf on the pipe a few days earlier and sheepishly said, “He has a helmet for me. “That’s big of him!” Her mother retorted. “So your head will be okay while the rest of you is turned into hamburger!?”  “I think not!” Keri pounded up the stairs to her room slamming the door shouting, YOU are ruining my life!” Where she could hear her mom’s reply, “No, I am trying to save it!”

Keri’s mom took her to school and dropped her off the following week. Her dad was away on a business trip and had yet to come home but her mom had assured her that they would all have a discussion together as soon as he returned. Keri was miserable that week. She only spoke when necesarry and without any emotion at all. They had, had their share of mother and daughter disagreements but nothing like this. She and Jack met a few times at lunch. They sat beneath some trees behind the auditorium cautiously consumed in each other. “Baby, we will figure this out.” Jack promised, weaving his fingers through hers. He had parked his bike and  started just driving his car after the scene in Keri’s driveway, and had told Keri that he would even sell his bike if he had to. He told her that he planned to go to her parents and talk to both of them when her father came home at the end of that week.

He did as he said and Keri’s dad respectfully listened as Jack apologized for taking her on the back of his bike without their permission.  He assured her parents that he was a very careful driver, with both his motorcycle and his car, but admitted that it had been a bad idea to allow Keri to ride in shorts. Her mom  thanked him for realizing that, as Jack reached out to shake  her Dad’s hand. Her Dad had been impressed with the handshake and Jack’s apology and told them that they would be allowed to to see each other again, adding that he would  even allow Keri to ride on his motorcycle only when they had permission and were properly dressed for riding but he would prefer them  in a car for the majority of their dates. “Thank you daddy” Keri jumped up and wrapped her arms around her father’s neck. And then hugged her mom as well. There had been a lot of tension that week and Keri wanted it over as did her mother. “I KNOOOW that you just want the best for me” she said quietly to her mom as her mom hugged her back with an extra tight squeeze.

After that, Jack would pick her up in his Triumph Spitfire and they would take long drives with the top down. He would bring a blanket and lay it out as he would tell her stories of adventures he had, and wanted to have. Some of his stories were of wanting to sail around the world, others were of how he wanted to learn how to fly, and others included  memories of Maddie, and those were hard to hear. He spoke of  school and how hurt he had been by her and how betrayed he felt. Keri tried to understand and act like she didn’t mind the stories. She knew he was still hurt and had a hard time trusting her completely because of his past, and so she just tried to love him even more. and to prove that she was not Maddie and would never hurt him.

One day they went out on the boat alone. Jack was teaching Keri to sail. She loved it when it was just the two of them. Even though she enjoyed when other couples had gone with them, she cherished her time alone with Jack. Keri had discovered that she actually, loved sailing even though the first time out they had been caught up  in thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds, they had been out several more times after that, and the weather had been wonderful.   This particular day, the breeze was perfect and there was no one around for miles.  They tacked back and forth a  long time and he praised her for her natural ability, he even sat back and let her handle the boat all by herself and praised her until she beamed with pride. Finally, Jack tied the line and leaned back into Keri, she breathed him in, she loved his smell. He smelled like fresh air and the sea.

Her heart felt full as she leaned back and let the sun coat her bare skin. They sailed that way for a long time and then Jack lazily asked, “You hungry?” Keri thought a minute and said “I guess I could eat something.” She got up and began unpacking the picnic lunch she had packed that morning. She had just handed Jack a sandwich and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. He leaned back sipping a grape soda and began soaking up the sun again. The temperature was perfect.  Boats had slowly begun speckling the scenery and the sky was bluer than she had ever seen it.  Keri took in the day, took a bite of her sandwich and admired Jack’s swimmer’s physic when the wind changed and Jack steered the boat as she jumped up to adjust the jib, as she casually mentioned something about how she couldn’t reach the “rope.”

All of a sudden Jack stiffened and his face grew red and he exploded.  “Line, it’s a damn line!”  He bellowed at her.  Keri’s eyes grew wide in surprise. She was not sure if he was serious. He was in such a rage that it had totally caught her off guard. She dropped her sandwich. He threw his in anger, yelling at her and roared that “the only rope on a boat was the one on the bell ”How could you not know that by now?! he raged.

At first, Keri seriously thought he was kidding but when she realized he wasn’t, something inside of her broke. She had never had a “friend” speak to her that way. Even when she was in big trouble,  her parents had never yelled at her like that. Keri was dumbfounded. She did not know what to think. Something  shifted inside of her,  she did not recognize exactly what it was, maybe it was the instinct of survival kicking in, maybe it was just the simple respect that she had for herself but right there in the hub of that moment she knew that it was over. Even if she had made a huge mistake, if she had pulled the jib so tight that the boat had been hard to recover, she hadn’t deserved his anger, he had no excuse to talk to her like that.   Their day was ruined. Their future was gone. She watched a stranger storming around as he turned the boat back without her assistance. She just sat there frozen.

They were silent all of the way back to shore. She had never experienced anything like the scene that had just happened.  She kept playing it over and over again in her head.  She was devastated. He had not only screamed at her. He had grabbed one of the lines and hit her with it and then somehow in his rage had proceeded to spit on her. She was stunned. She wiped her face and stared out to sea. She tried to remember just what may have led up to his reaction, to trigger such an explosion. She did not know how it had finally ended. The rage seemed endless as if something had snapped inside of him. Keri had finally just started crying and then it was over as quickly as it had begun. As if her tears had snapped him out of the place he had seemed to go. He seemed spent as he reached the shore. She hoped nobody would ever find out. She was totally humiliated and very glad that they had been alone and no boats had been nearby.

The evening fog drifted in as she sat shivering in the car, it was not too terribly cold but for some reason she could not stop trembling, as if she was chilled to the bone. She sat in the passenger seat, trying to block out the memory of what had just happened and feeling the raw emotion of it all. They had never even argued before. She never imagined that he had such a temper. He had always been so patient and kind and a wonderful teacher. This had ruined everything.  She felt no responsibility over what had just happened and yet she was still so confused and began second guessing herself, wondering if perhaps, in some small way, it was her fault. She knew he had made a comment about ropes being called lines and the port and starboard sides and some other technical sailing terms but didn’t think it was such a big deal. He had seemed to love teaching her things and she loved learning from him. Keri began remembering a time when her own father would try to teach her things and would get so frustrated with her and the memory made her cringe. She wondered what really set him off or if it had actually been her. She continued pouring over every detail of the outburst in her mind and could not come up with a reasonable explanation except that perhaps she was to blame.

Keri could not move as she watched Jack hooking everything up. She caught herself holding her breath watching him and when she realized what she was doing, she would slowly let it out as she heaved a deep sorrowful sigh. She was so angry she couldn’t even cry. She was just stunned as she began thinking about all that they had shared,  and all that she had begun to dream of, now all lost in this horrific outburst. She wondered, maybe she had made a mistake about a nautical term but she could not excuse the scene she had  just observed nor could she erase it from her memory. No reasonable person would ever get so upset over something so irrelevant would they?

She wondered if this is why Maddie broke up with him. She wondered if Mrs. T knew about his temper when she manipulated them like little game pieces, relieving her own daughter of this boy only to push him off on some other mother’s daughter, not to mention her daughter’s best friend. She wondered if Lori knew. She sat there feeling totally sucker punched. The nausea inside of her began to make her stomach convulse. He was taking so long and finally she felt tears of anger rising, she began to strategize her departure and the little speech she intended to make when he finally dropped her off.  She kept wondering if Lori had any inkling of what Jack Sagan was capable of behaving like or if she had witnessed any of it. She stewed, growing angry and hurt and decided not to trust anyone ever again. She was mad at Lori, and at Mrs. T. and at Maddie for making her a part of this situation, and then feeling so consumed by it all, she felt nothing, just the hot tears on her cheeks.

Overwhelmed with a sadness she had never known. She had been humiliated, crying in front of Jack. Though Keri’s crying is what ultimately seemed to save her. He had not seen her cry much before and it really did seem to break the fog he seemed immersed in, but now, they were at a standstill No one had said a word since the outburst and Keri just wanted to go home.

The longer Jack took to get in the car, the angrier she became.  She was mad and she had a script penned in her head of what she was going to say to him. Maybe he had treated other girls like that but  she was not going to allow any boy to treat her that way ever again, and she meant it.  It looked as if he was having trouble hooking up the lights on the trailer. The longer it took, the angrier she got. Keri had believed in God since she was a little girl. Her mom had taken her to church and that is where she met Lori. They went to both the same school and church. But like so many, Keri had gotten busy and fallen away from her routine of attending regularly.  She had learned about praying and the thought nudged at her heart as she continued to sit there and slowly she just began to pray quietly but the words formed fluidly. As soon as she closed her eyes, a peace came over her that was hard to describe.  Suddenly, she was not worried about getting home or even about how Jack would respond to her, just bringing God’s name into the situation seemed to help her find an amazing peace. She felt a stillness in her heart that was calming, as she prayed, “Dear Lord please be with me now and on the drive home, it was as simple as that. Nothing elaborate, just simply inviting God into the car. With her eyes closed she felt His presence, almost as if He was sitting next to her and just the mention of His name, calmed her.  Keri watched as Jack walked around and around the boat and tried to wipe out the details of the memory and what had happened earlier. Keri was still hurt but she felt stronger after her prayer.

Jack finally slid int his seat and gently shut the door. The silence filled the car. Every sound screamed loudly inside her head. The door closing, Jack’s breathing, the clinking of his keys, the pounding of her own heart, the sounds of nothing and everything, overwhelmed her. Keri waited for Jack to start the engine, but he didn’t move. He sat there with his keys in his hands. He was not stoic or angry like she had expected him to be. She waited and waited.  Jack just sat there, in silence and then he did something so unexpected, he began to cry. “I am so sorry Keri” he began.”I want you to know that there are things about me that no one knows, I can’t really explain it. But I don’t want to hurt you and I will, I promise I will. I know that much and that we can’t go out anymore. I behaved like a monster today and can’t promise I won’t again. I want this to be goodbye.” He said so firmly that she believed that he was serious.

She sat there blindsided. She blinked, she swallowed. She let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding and had to remind herself for the second time to breathe. This was nothing like she had imagined the conversation going. She sat still reeling by what he had to say. She sat there dumbfounded as he continued.  She had planned to tell him goodbye but hearing him take the initiative panicked her. He shared some memories from his childhood, horrific things that he had gone through as a young boy, things he had never shared with anyone, as Keri quietly listened.

little crying boy

Her heart ached for him.She wanted to reach over and wipe away his tears, she wanted to hate the ones who had hurt him. Tears filled her eyes as he continued to share his heart breaking memories, of horrific things that had happened to him as a little boy, and realized that his childhood was not a normal one by any stretch of the imagination. Keri’s heart literally hurt as she considered everything Jack had shared. He waited as he ran his fingers through his sandy blonde hair. Once he had finished the recount of some of the things that had happened to him as a young child, he admitted that though it might explain his anger, in no way did he feel it excused what had happened that afternoon and he was so sorry. He said that he knew that he had huge anger issues and had trouble controlling the rage he felt so strongly at times and again insisted that he could not go out with her anymore. He also assured her that none of what had happened had anything to personally do with her.

Even though Keri had made the decision to not continue in the relationship even before Jack had gotten into the car, she did not see this coming. She understood more now, on a much deeper level, where he had come from. She felt honored that he had trusted her with so much. She realized that his inner child felt so out of control that when Jack felt as if he was losing any part of control now, he just didn’t know how to deal with it. Keri’s heart broke for him and she began crying too. She began to imagine the terror he must have felt when his mother became so out of control. She felt his pain and loved him even more. All the anger left her. As her body relaxed, she wondered if God had a hand in helping her understand Jack more.

Keri tried to picture her days and nights without him in them and her heart stopped. She had known him for such a short time and yet could not imagine her life without him in it. She did not care about today. She would not mention it again. She would protect him now and make up for all those times as a child when he felt unprotected and abandoned. She decided then and there that she would show him how to love by loving him so much he couldn’t possibly ever feel unloved again. As long as she was by his side, she would teach him all about love. At that moment  she decided that she was not going to leave Jack. She would make it very clear that could never happen again, but she was not leaving.

Keri reached for Jack, all the resolve of leaving had left. Her heart changed in that moment. She saw his tortured soul. and looked right into it.  Jack could see that Keri was in this for the long haul. She was not going anywhere. For the first time in his life, Jack felt as if he had come home. Keri pressed her lips against his hair and held her face against him for a long time. She soaked in that moment, wanting to remember it forever. Feeling the calm and the love after the storm was like a salve.   The windows of the car were covered with a blanket of fog, providing a remote haven for their new found devotion to one another. They held onto each other with appreciation for their new though unspoken commitment. And then Jack lay his head in Keri’s lap and they both cried  and then sat in silence. Keri stroked his hair for a long time, feeling oddly maternal, and then slowly lifting his head in her hands, she told him. “I won’t leave you Jack, I promise. I won’t leave you, ever.And she truly meant it.

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

So thank you to all who have been reading. Just to let you know… there are about twenty more chapters…. I think that I have posted enough of my book for now….

I  will save Chapter Seven and the rest … for you when I finish the book.  Hopefully you have gathered that this story is a look back at first love and coming of age, it paints a picture of how an innocent young girl can lose herself so easily. Even when she knows better and comes from a good, solid upbringing.

It begins, in the seventies before cell phones  and google, before Facebook and Oprah. Before abuse was talked about openly. It makes you think twice about asking someone abused why they stayed. It is not an explanation for them or an excuse for the abuser but hopefully it paints a picture of  how people become who they become… because of where they began.

It is a story about a young girl who falls hopelessly  in love with a young boy so damaged from his childhood, and how that first love evolved into a heartbreak that followed her for the rest of her life controlling the different choices she made along the way and how those choices are a little like raindrops.  It only takes one to begin a flood. It touches on the tools she gathers along the way as she comes full circle, learning to build a dam so that she will never be washed away in the same way ever again.

Soooo again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading! I hope you have enjoyed it so far.

Hopefully I will finally get it published so that you can find out what happens next!

😉

Gone Writing…


I think I really am going to take a break for a while from the power posting. I kind of feel that all of the dialoging we had in regards to my last post made me really take a look at my own motives for being here. Though I feel that I have grown so much and made  many good friends, I have spent more time trying to keep up with the comments and the new posts from other posters than working on my book. I have to admit to some of you who have been encouraging me to get to work… I haven’t.  As simple as that. I work on it for about an hour a day editing but not really inspired to write more. And yet, I could write on my blog all day long. So it made me wonder if….Maybe I need to focus just on my book for a while.

I am not saying that if I get inspired by a poem or some enlightened thought, I won’t come on here to share it, but I think that I lost something along the way… wanting to be LIKED and grow my stats. THAT is not what I am about. That is not why I write. And I refuse to get caught up in the gimmick… as one of “friends” I have made here pointed out… that a lot of people “click” your post to just generate traffic to their own. She mentioned that if you go to the time on your email you can see. I was disappointed to find that a lot at least in some of the people who “liked” me all at once. I refuse to get sucked into that. I love the comments and at least know that those people did take the time to read what I wrote but even so… I don’t want to care that much. I just want to write for me and for the other people that might be touched… A way to get my feet wet, get feedback, make genuine friends and connect. NOT beat yesterday’s stats. (Which yesterday I broke all records for some reason~ maybe cuz this subject  hits a nerve with all of us)  Soooo I am taking a little break from what I call Power Blogging…    And GONE Writing!

A thing of Beauty in an unexpected place


I like the concept of finding happy surprises. The best things are unexpected, like a gift for no reason. My mother in law came up with the name of our store that we lost in the earthquake. It was Rose In The Woods. Later on Good Morning America, I told Charles Gibons that it had turned out to be a Rose In The Rubble. When he was interviewing my daughter and I, the morning after.  I still remember the feeling of finding something beautiful in all that followed.

One huge one was that my daughter had survived it. If you follow this blog at all, you have read about her wanting to wait in our new Explorer that had been flattened by the roof that slid down on all the parked cars below…. I remember thinking stuff can be replaced but thank you Lord for saving my baby!

Life is not easy. People are not always kind and sometimes we don’t stop to consider where the other guy came from or why they are who they are. I have been pretty hurt by a few people in my own life. It is the times when I have stopped to make the effort to get to know their history that I have been rewarded with a thing of unexpected beauty so beyond my expectations. To understand their hurts from the ground up! Lately, I have taken the time to understand some major people in my past and it has been the most freeing experience I have ever gone through. Forgiveness and understanding have amazing medicinal powers and the miracles that follow are intoxicating.

As I grow older, I find blessings in the most unexpected places. This blog is one of them! In my time of need for prayer or friendship, a soft place to fall, support for my writing or just  a lot of encourgment…. I never dreamt that I would find it here… the place I go to store my ramblings!

After I lost my store, the spa where I work hired me as an Event Coordinator and when the economy took that turn we all are so aware of, my position along with my boss was removed from my place of employment. Though I am grateful they found another position  for me and kept me on, I had to take a pay cut and learn how to become financially creative. Which is how I began to be the retail “Buyer” for the spa. It gave me my “retail fix” and provided us with the extra income I had lost. It is kind of a win/win situation for us both. I do all the work, buying, displaying and they get a $$ cut. It has been a blessing because I know the area and the clientelle and what they like from owning my store, in turn, I have been successful at creating a revenue for myself and the spa.

I have a co-worker at work…  Who in the beginning, I have to admit that I missed her good points. TOTALLY overlooked them!!! Smile~ I only saw the annoying ones coming head on in front of me like a Mac Truck.  She is sometimes abrupt and opinionated and loud and  sometimes a little defensive when you remind her to use her “inside voice.” She is a bit  controlling…. and can be a know it all at times….

Anywaaay…

I have been working on trying to see the good in everyone, slowing down and finding beauty in a very unexpected place, and really taking time to understand others. I have learned in my efforts that she is just a very insecure young woman. Since I have befriended her, she has shared with me that she doesn’t feel very many people at work like her and she has dealt with those feelings pretty much, all of her life. I have found that…. she has a  big heart and that she is funny and sweet, a very hard worker when appreciated, helpful and very talented, especially at displaying all the retail I have brought in. It is funny, just a few months ago… I might have been annoyed that she just barreled in and “took over” without asking me if I would like her assistance. I came in one day and everything I had brought in the day before was all rearranged.

I was kind of fit to be tied until….. The Lord grabbed my shirt tails and reeled me in a bit!!! I could almost hear Him tell me to slow down and look at her heart. And you know what I saw? Not a busy body thinking she could do a better job than me. But a loving friend that had true talent in displaying the things I brought in, and willing to do it for me. And you know another thing?  God has a sense of humor! He made me see that she is better than me at doing it!

And then HE gave me a gift. A friend. Someone who cares about the details… sure maybe the details she thinks are important, but she does care. And maybe some of those annoying thing that  I saw were things I have seen in myself… Because… I know that sometimes when I get really excited I can be known to talk a little loud too… and you know, I have learned she does  know a little about a lot of things and when I gave her the time of day she has taught me a lot….

Mostly about being a friend….because she is a good one.

I love it when I find friends like that. So unexpectedly. It makes me realize how much I miss by being judgmental rather than compasionate. But when I let God open the door to my heart just a little bit… he opens the floodgates of joy and gives me a littley tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like!

Understanding a perosn’s thoughts is as hard as getting water from a deep well. But someone with understanding can find wisdom there.         Proverbs 21:5

It’s JUST Ten Cents…Come on, REALLY?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painting Hallways~


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

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

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

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

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

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