Me Reinventing Me


Life has a way of just happening. I remember wondering how I was ever going to survive a broken heart after something just clicked inside of me and I knew that I was finally letting go of a very rocky three year relationship with my first real boyfriend and fiance. And I remember a few years later, how  life  seemed to keep going on for everyone around me but me when my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. And when my world came crashing down around me as I experienced divorce after my first marriage of fourteen years ended. And  when our little store was lost after an earthquake shortly before Christmas over a decade ago. I’d given up an art business I’d built for twenty years to open our little shop and found myself once again…. in a place that I’d grown to know so well. Me, reinventing me.

I have come to realize that unless you live in a bubble, we all must survive those times of adjustment. As kids, if we are blessed, we are sheltered from most of it. We don’t have to worry about bills or deadlines, but life happens even to kids and as we grow, whether through experiencing family crisis such as divorce, or illness or even death of loved ones, we begin to toughen up. We are “survivors” and as we survive each obstacle, no matter how small or overwhelming, we learn that we can.

As earthquakes and hurricanes and fires and floods and wars and political discourse seem to overtake the news these days, my heart prays for us all. We are in a time of life changing events constantly. The thing is, it really is about surviving. When I was in College I took a Speech Class and one of the topics assigned to me was… The Instinct of Survival. Those cliff hanging events in life that make us stronger.

After the earthquake I had to reinvent myself. My husband had to reinvent himself. We had to get jobs and work for “other” people.  And we did. Funny how we both have landed back in a space we started out in. He’d worked with his dad for most of his life when we opened our store. And I had my own art business where I traveled doing art shows, which I was doing when I met him. To make a long story not quite as long… he is back working with his dad and I have been given the opportunity to go back to my roots and have signed up for the same art show that I did twenty years ago called Sugar Plum.   http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com (take a look, it is the largest, most successful of shows in all of California for the last four decades! And still going strong!)

It’s interesting how life works. I am not sure how I couldn’t believe in God. He has been so faithful in my life. Even through all the ups and downs, I know He is in it! I’ve had miscarriages and lost good friends and loved ones. I recently lost a job due to the business being sold and the higher paid jobs being eliminated first through the process. But instead of looking at it as just another defeat, I had a funny feeling that I was being given an opportunity, another shot so to speak, to go back and revive my dream of working for myself again. And you know what? I’m taking it.

So here I am. Me reinventing me, once again. And I have a hero in all this. My husband. He has supplemented my dream through this version of “unemployment” and gotten inside my head as I have tried to explain my vision and the way that I am trying to fit everything in a 5X10 booth. (Half the size that I used to get.)  I have described card & display racks in my head and he has designed them so perfectly, you’d have thought I’d drawn them out for him! And I think everything is going to fit! We taped off  a 5X10 space on our driveway and set everything up, and it all seemed to fit! (There still is small stuff not set up, but for the most part it looks as if it is going to work!)

I remember when I was going through my divorce 25 years ago and this guy showed up with one red rose at one of my shows. All my artist friends knew how heart broken I’d been and they were so happy for me as they witnessed me once again, reinventing me.

I will keep you guys posted! My next show is Sept 21 – 24th. I’d appreciate all the prayerss I can get. This will be a huge test for the me reinventing me part!

PS:

This is a side note that has nothing to do with the above… But some of my readers have asked me to repost this… I think I need to write a whole new post regarding this… But so many people are still not aware of it. See if you are among them… Click on your gravatar (profile pic that people see when you LIKE or comment on someone’s blog) Did you know that if you don’t have a link of your blog’s address attached to your profile, people who may click on you trying to find your blog can’t? Below is the best tutorial I know about this very thing and how to fix it so that people can find you! Soooo sharing again.

https://nostolencatpictures.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/gravitar-links/

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The Funny Thing About Doors


doorknob

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

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

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

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

SONY DSC

The Funny Thing About Doors…

The funny thing about doors

is…

you must walk through one

before going through another.

And every one you open

leads you to something  to be discovered.

There are grand ones and small ones,

creaky ones and tall ones,

ones you open quietly,

and ones you just want to slam!

Ones that lead you to the light,

and ones…

 well,

to be damned!

But every door I’ve chosen to go through,

has taught me things I had to know.

From them, I’ve taken things with me,

and others I’ve let go.

Each one led me to a place,

to find new parts of me.

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

that held the happy key.

Diane Reed

2014©

Who Am I?


stairs swirling

What is failure? Everything about the word stings. I think in the end, it is like everything else, a choice. We look at the glass as half full or half empty. We look at failure as rejection or opportunities to try again. In my life I have recently been on a downhill spiral. I have allowed myself to shut down. My life was interrupted in a way that I could  never have predicted at a time in my life when I needed a change. I reacted in a way I never could have imagined and only now am beginning to recover. Trying to understand the notion of who I am. I mean really Who Am I?

Sam I am

Have you ever felt crazy? I am not sure what crazy is. Perhaps it is carrying around a version of someone else inside your body. You function, you exist, you let this thing called a body carry you around and yet you don’t connect with it or anyone around it. You just kind of fake it. I think in a way, that has happened to me twice in my lifetime. The first time I think I was unaware what was happening and the second, well it just blindsided me.

split mirror

I was raised in a home which had its own issues but for the most part it was a loving and good one. When I started dating, I was pretty innocent. I didn’t have a lot of experience and I got involved in a pretty abusive relationship. A little physically, but most of it was emotionally, and the damage was so great then that  it has impacted me all these years later, I have carried the damage with me, trying to deny it. I have struggled with different issues all of my life stemming back to those days. Though, I’d really thought that I was past it all.  But something happened recently that made me wonder if I’d been faking everything about who I’d convinced myself that I was.

alice quote

 

Where I was reasonable, I was foolish, where I was truthful, I was shady, where I was faithful, I was non-committal. I craved a “soft place to fall” and looked for it in all the wrong places. My final stand was that it was MY TURN and I was going to make me happy “finally”. I started losing weight and taking care of the body that was carrying me around whoever I was. But I was in this fog of instant gratification. And for a while, I can’t deny it. I liked the feeling.

But there is this place in all of us… the part of the “me” that we know that we are. The place that brings tears to our eyes if we stay there too long. Where we feel love and pain and we are REAL and I am not sure if that is where home is or our heart or soul. A place where we still can get healthy and feel good about ourselves for the right reasons. A place that is the keeper of our heart. And for some of us… that place may be hard to find. We may have lost the key but yet…   I know that is where God is always waiting. And somehow I always manage to find my way back there.  And you know what? He still remembers me. Even though I think that “this time” I may have fallen out of HIS grace. He still remembers and loves me anyway.  It is not about being crazy, or failure or guilt. HE is that soft place. When I ask; “Who am I?” He replies You are my lamb.

Jesus saving the lamb

Still My Lamb

I couldn’t stand the world’s pain

and so I ran away

like the lone lamb from the flock,

I was the one who strayed.

I fell from grace still clinging,

hanging to life’s limb

as the Hand Of Life came down,

the one, that belonged to HIM

He left the nintey nine

to come and set me free

I didn’t understand why

He’d do that just for me

I asked Him “Why My Lord?

You don’t know who I am.”

He said, “Oh my child yes I do,

you are still my lamb.”

Diane Reed

2014©

Jesus and Lamb

Like Romeo And Juliet


Disclaimer:

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

 Pieces of the Circle

letters with ribbon

True love can’t be forgotten

though years have hid it’s flame~

Lost love held inside of me

without shelter or a name

ring

 Finding me in my despair,

weary from the pain

so ready for young love

to be restored for me again

woman at the mirror

We hesitated in mid air

like a note sung by a singer~

The scent of love we used to know

somehow made us stop and linger~

couple on a hill

Did we understand the cost

of choosing to stay or close the door?

Did we deserve to take our turn

and even ask for more?

holding hands at sunset

The love inside of me grew until

I thought that I would burst

I feared  that what I held dear,

by my loved ones would be cursed

goodbye hug

The past has met the present

like waves upon the sand~

The foundation was never ready

for us to step on or to stand

walking on the beach

We were caught inside a love story

with all the tragedy and pain

No one would ever accept our love

or allow it to remain,

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

like Romeo and Juliet,

like Elizabeth and Browning.

Our love was like a soaring sea

as we struggled to keep from drowning.

past lovers quote

God became our rescuer,

The One who calms the seas.

The One who knows all of our tomorrows,

and what they all will be.

Jesus loves me and you

And so we rest in HIM

and put us in His care

And when we I look for true love…

I know I’ll  find Him there.

Diane Reed

2013

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

Safe Keeping


boo boo

Like a bruise, my heart has places that…

I don’t want to touch again.

Like paint that never dries

or a story that never ends.

beach book

My mind keeps wandering back

and I get lost in the past,

then you come and wake me up

writer asleep

like pushing forward fast!

Snapping me right out of

the nightmare that kept me sleeping,

a kiss

handing back the heart

you were holding for safe keeping.

young couple making up

Diane Reed

2013

Rain Check Please


raincheck

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

easy bake oven

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

creeple people

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

finger map

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

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

jogger

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

funeral

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

sunrise morning beautiful

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

lady yelling cartoon

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

God sees poem

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

coupons

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

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

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

  Psalm 136:1

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

The Other Shoe


Please excuse me while I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. I have been doing that pretty much all of my life. Never really enjoying the good times… There has always been a disaster looming around the corner and I have always been waiting for  that other damn proverbial shoe just hanging from that freaking foot to fall. You  know the saying… “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” Well, it has in my life, a few times… and I have grown accustomed to knowing or at least expecting that it will again… And so as I throw away my 2o12 calendar I feel as if I am throwing away a lot of missed opportunities, and oh how I wish all of my mistakes could go in that trash can as well. Let’s see my book would have already been finished and submitted. I would have reached my weight goal rather than have spent the year going backwards…and I would be in a better financial position… Ahhh what do they say about the best laid plans? All in the trash with that old falling shoe!

shoe falling

It is January seventh, two thousand and thirteen.  And speaking of calendars… I just noticed that my old-fashioned wall calendar that I have always continued to keep, (regardless of the latest technology of a calendar on my laptop or Smartphone.) Is still on December. As I turned to the next month, I realized that there are no pages left. And it is so metaphoric for me.

calendar

I open the blinds to see the sunrise, only to be met with a very blustery and  stormy Monday morning. I need to start editing my book and yet knowing I am not going to post more of it here seems to make it more work than fun.

Okay now… before I lose you… I just went and put a pot of coffee on so maybe that will boost my mood.

coffee and computer

I live right near the gate of our gated community so I watch as the cars pass on their way to work, I imagine the life of each one as they pass by. I actually like the busy-ness of the street. I know that it might not be a selling point for some when it comes time to sell this house, but I have always loved that part of living on the corner here, as well. I have always  thought it would be nice to live in one of those high rise apartments right smack dab in the middle of the city. I like the bustle and activity. It makes me more creative. I guess I have the best of both worlds, I live in the country close to a lake. It is a vaction community for a lot of people. Some, may even come here to write. I live here and I am grateful. And yet it is funny, the part that most people might be negative about makes me almost happy. I watch each car as it drives by and wonder who they are and where they are going. Yes, I am a writer and so I think like that…  I wish I could say that I am praying for each one as they drive by me. Perhaps when I think of it… I do. I would love to tell you that I just sit here and do that every day. That would be a wonderful thing to tell you…. but I am wrapped up in this narcissistic feeling cacoon right now and feel those walls going up again as if to dare someone to climb over. I hate when I get like that.

 cacoon in the rain

Okay, now I have taken my first sip of coffee. Funny how that can clear my head like Xanax can for other people.

Smile.

writing just hand view

I guess that sometimes, life just happens. I can be going along perfectly okay, even with a raging cold, and not feel down and then something just hits me. A part of my life that I feel that I can’t control and WHAM I am down for the count. I felt it creep up today. I am learning to see it coming. That out of control feeling. I have come to realize that I am not causing it, I almost try to forgive myself, thinking that I can’t control it. It comes upon you like a messy closet. But then… even a messy closet is within your control. Ya know?

 I got up early to do the bills. Maybe that is what put me in a slump?

bills

My husband is going on whatever month it is being one of the jobless. (I have stopped counting.)  But so much potential is in the business he is pursuing. I just need to learn how to be patient. And yet sometimes, I wonder is my middle name Job?

job

Okay now, I know… you can all stop searching for that tinest violin. I have heard it all already! And I see that God is a God of answered prayers.  When the other shoe drops… He has always provided another pair! I know… I know…  I’m just tired of the other shoe always dropping. Ten years ago I was dealing with an earthquake, and a few more decades before that, my fiance’s mom killed herself, all in the time frame of this week. It isn’t the happiest of memories. Maybe that is it… I guess around this time of year, somehow even after all these years and all the blessings in-between I have always waited for the other shoe to fall. Always.

shoes in a pile

I know how bad it can get. I know how blessed I am. Even where we are now financially, I see hope and yet I want to be able to just relax, to find that formula that lets me just lean back and trust. And so I went on a little journey inside my own head… wanting to truly dig my way out of the pile that I had found myself under…. and it’s funny when you really do get to a place where you want to hear someone telling you that it really is going to be okay there is always a place that leads us to this place….  a Voice much clearer than the ones in my head telling me to be afraid…

Bible (2)

And as I read… I followed the light and found these…

And looked out my window and saw this…

rainbow

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. ”

2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

Psalm 7:1 “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:”

Psalm 25:1, 2 “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put  their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek  thee.”

Psalm 22:4 “Our fathers trusted in thee: they  trusted, and thou didst deliver them.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust  also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 56:3 , 4 “What time I am afraid, I will trust  in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not  fear what flesh can do unto me.”

Psalm 71:5 “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou  art my trust from my youth.”

Isn’t it funny how I started out? So whiney and clingy and feeling all sorry for myself? Now I am feeling rather foolish. I will leave you with this wonderful quote that  I am reminded of today:

In the darkest of nights cling to the assurance that God loves you, that He always has advice for you, a path that you can tread and a solution to your problem–and you will experience that which you believe. God never disappoints anyone who places his trust in Him.   Basilea Schlink

All I need is someone bigger than me… saying “It’s gonna be okay.”

shoes in a closet

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-trust-20-helpful-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2HJ1aFw1Y

Bless The Children


children in heaven

Sent here from heaven…

Seems like just yesterday,

Oh Lord they weren’nt here very long,

were they?

Jesus waiting for in heaven

But in an instant

I know that

they were with you again

You were there,

watching over them

to welcome them in!

holy spirit

And now they are with you,

safe in your arms~

jesus hugging little girl

Far away from the world

and all of it’s harms

girl running

They will never know sickness

or what hate ever means

as they play with the Angels

on starry moon beams

angel carrying little girl

Now, Lord

please comfort

the ones  left behind

Remind them

that this

is not

really good bye

in the clouds hugging Jesus

Though, we miss them today,

it is not the end…

For some day we ALL

will gather with YOU again

Jesus loving the children

Diane Reed

f

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!

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

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.

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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!

😉