Readjusting Our Gratefulness


 

I can still get up from a chair without using my hands. But if I am sitting on the ground, forget it! I have to practically get on all fours to get up. And it’s not attractive! Okay, now a lot of you sitting in a chair, just tried to get up without using your hands didn’t you? I’m blessed to be able to. I don’t take it for granted. Especially as the years catch up with me.

The older we get, or at least the older I get, the aha moments seem to hit like darts. Little realizations that would have been handy to “know” a few decades ealier. Perhaps why they refer to the wise “old” owl rather than the wise young owl and so on. Unfortunately, with age and the beginning of loss, also comes losing loved ones, friends, family and mentors that have taught us all that wise stuff.

I am sitting here, early in the morning of the last day of a trip to Oregon. The visit that brought us here was for a Memorial for my husband’s sweet aunt. Recently, we’d bonded more with his aunt and uncle in the last couple of years and I’d gotten to know Carol in a different kind of way than just a part of my husband’s family in another state. They’d moved near us for a couple of years until health issues brought them back to Oregon. But during the time I’ve been part of this family that linked us, and all the stories my mother in law shared with me, the link that bonded us was writing. Carol was a talented writer and it connected us in a way that passions link people.

We talked a lot about attending writing seminars together. She in fact was the one who told me about the two writing magazines I still receive to this day. And the one that made me more serious about writing my book (still waiting to be tweaked and edited and tweaked some more but it’s finished because of Carol) and starting this blog. In fact, she was one of the ones who faithfully read it and usually commented. In all the other important places she has left a gaping hole for everyone else, I feel silly kind of silly saying I notice a great big hole here. But I do.

A large portion of Carol’s memorial was in the reading of excerpts from her writings. And it made me remember a time when my dad died and I scrambled, looking for anything my dad had written. I guess in a way to salvage a piece of his heart. Writing really is a little bit like a glimpse of being able to see inside someone’s soul. Whether just a note that someone wrote, or a blog or a book or a collection of poetry found in a tucked away journal. Though, I kind of cringe at  the thought of anybody reading  my journals.  I’m not sure I’d want ANYBODY to read a few of those

I guess like in life, you can’t help but wonder, or at least it made me wonder as I sat there remembering Carol,  what kind of memories  and stories would I leave behind? Like me, Carol’s life wasn’t always without pain or good and bad choices that effected her children and their memories, but as I stood a little as an observer and on the outside of all the history that came before I knew Carol, and watched everyone come together in honor of this amazing woman, I had no doubt that her love rose above it all. There was no doubt that she loved and touched every life that was there that day.

I know that I made some pretty significant friendships and reconnected with some others and it made me realize that life is this amazing journey. And it really is all about love and making an effort to make a difference. So someday when we are gone our life will make our loved ones reflect and heal old wounds and reconnect in important ways.

I wonder, why does it take us so long to slow us down enough to realize how important some things are, and how unimportant others are? Perhaps, why He has alloted our bodies a certain amount of time to move fast and then slow us down to GET the things we missed along the way? The other day, I watched my granddaughter jump up from down on the ground when I called her, not using her hands to get up, and I thought… I remember when I could get up not using my hands, when life was still so unlived, and my body still almost brand new and how I probably didn’t even appreciate being able to do that when I could.  And how the older we get, we learn to really recognize the little blessings we missed along the way. And sometimes  we readjust our gratefulness and it sticks.

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IF ONLY…. I Could Go Back And Tell Keri What I Know Now


christmas-tree

When I was a young girl, I counted the days until Christmas. Both my parents made it magical for me. My dad was as big of a kid as I was about it all! Maybe because they didn’t have a lot when he was young. And my mom baked and decorated and was always making something and well, I was just blessed.

My memories are of festivities and Nativities and later…. of my mom’s holiday boutiques that she held at our home with all of her artsy friends, when for a few days our house was transformed into a kind of magical holiday shop that was constantly packed with people. Now looking back, I remember it as happy days, but I know I was annoyed by it as a teenager. Not being able to find a parking place when I got home from school, having to maneuver my way through the crowds as I walked in the door, having to smile and be as polite as a sixteen year old can be, as I trespassed over the barricades on the staircase to my room, flopping on my bed to call and complain to my best friend or boyfriend or whoever I was calling, only to find someone else on the line downstairs. Grrrr….

But as an adult, looking back those were The Good Old Days!! And I have tried to replicate it ever since. I tried to make each holiday magical for my own kids and hope that they have special memories. I even have done my own holiday boutiques. A few at my house, but mostly I have found ones like Sugar Plum Festivals in Orange County California  http://www.sugarplumfestivals.com/  that I did for years, before opening up our own store Rose In The Woods.

Each period in my life, I look back on fondly and yet I remember constantly being annoyed with something or other. And I realize now that each time I complained, whether it was getting ready for a show, or being overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of owning a store, I missed the blessings a lot of the time by feeling burdened instead of blessed.

Even now I almost missed it. I have learned that due to financial reasons there will be lay offs at my job and my position as an Event Coordinator will be one of the ones eliminated. Just when I felt that I’d really gotten organized and each event was smoother than the last. My boss and I were fine tuning things as we would see the need and after the last event which happened to be a holiday boutique that I helped make a success, we were getting a lot of calls for quotes for more events. Not even sure what will be happening with that building, Corporate has decided that my position can be integrated. Funny, I never even felt resentful. But I am sad. I love my boss. She is one of my best friends now and will always be whatever happens. But it kind of sucks that most corporate companies have to make these changes by the end of the year so it falls on the holidays.

fireplacefire-in-fireplacetreejim-and-i

I guess with all the changes looming over my head, I really didn’t feel like doing Christmas this year. But lo and behold, I came home a few days ago and my husband (with his bad knee and all)  took down every single box marked Christmas and went about pulling everything all out and making it Christmas in our little home whether I wanted it or not! Yesterday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary and through all of our ups and downs, job or no job, I can’t imagine not recognizing right now that THESE are the Good Old Days!!!!!!!

writing poetry

Some of you know that I have been writing a book for the last half of a decade. It is about a fictional girl named Keri. But to tell you the truth, she is me. In every aspect. Though I thought it would be easier to tell my story in the second person. http://kerisjournal.wordpress.com  It starts out with Keri as a young girl. Before cell phones or the Internet. And moves to today. I started a very rough draft in a corner of my blog to see if I could get some feedback. It is VERY rough and I definitely will edit a few times and change the format before I seriously consider showing it professionally. In my blog I feel safer and know I will get honesty but a little softer (Smile) though now I think I can take the professional feedback. So who knows THIS may be the kick in the rear I needed to get serious with it.

I had not visited that section of my blog for a while and someone said something profound in a comment on my last post… about how we come with more experience than Keri. And I thought…”Oh how I wish I could go back and tell Keri everything I know now.”

The Importance of This One Question in All of Our Lives


peaceful-forest

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

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

mirror-broken

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

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

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

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

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

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

mirror-old-and-young

 

 

Looking Forward


plane in clouds

I have come to the conclusion that I will always need something to look forward to. I was born in Seattle and four years later, my dad was transferred to California, and then Colorado, Missouri and Illinois and then back to California where I grew up in a place called  Palos Verdes. When we moved, my dad promised my mom to always send us “home”. He kept his promise, no matter where we were, every summer, without fail,  we would pack our bags and fly to Seattle. So no matter what, I knew that every summer I had something pretty big to look forward to.

I think that I zeroed in on this particular discovery after my daughter’s wedding. I was so focused on the planning and whatever part I played in the tasks I was given, I didn’t have a lot of time to go to that corner of my mind that is clouded with those things that bring me down. When I was a young mom, I did art shows. I created all year-long and knew that almost half a dozen times a year, I had a place to go. I was a part of a creative group of people who added to my life in ways that I am only just now recognizing.

I have been back in the corporate workforce for over a decade now. (Working for someone else.) My husband has turned my art studio into his office and our indoor office into a guest room slash office that was supposed to be where I was going to write.

Not really the place I had in mind inside my head. But I am there now, writing this. The plan was that I would work part-time and start writing my book. I did write my book. But as I have read and learned, I see the flaws and mistakes in it, and well, at least I have the bones. I know the story. I just need to rewrite it. Easier said then done.

blue house

When I was first married, before kids, I had  the sweetest landlord, Mr. Allen, that was working on the house in front of our apartment. It was an amazing craftsman’s style home and I think that he saw that I loved it as much as he did. Everyday, he would take me on a tour to show me all of the things he’d fixed or installed the day before. Good ole’ Mr. Allen, we were buddies.

We had a little agreement that someday, I would move in there. We even shook on it. But I remember talking to my friend who lived next-door and us agreeing that if he ever finished it, he would probably die. His daughter had a friend that wanted to move in there and so she stepped in and thought she was helping her dad by hiring a carpenter to finish it and sure enough shortly later, he died. I have no doubt that we all have the need to contribute and create and when that seizes, we all seem to falter.

I am not sure if I have a great or profound message here. I guess I just needed to write this out for me. To give myself a kick in the butt so to speak and understand that I am the only one who is in charge here. Regarding my health, both mentally and physically. I can’t wait for anyone to do it for me.  I also know that I am a creative person and I need to create again and look forward to something.

I have not shared my; What I Know For Sure-isms…. for a while so here are a few for those sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for more! (JUST kidding!!!)

  • I must always try to keep myself busy enough so that I don’t pause long enough to allow my mind to wander too far away.
  • Only I can create the version of myself that I want others to see.
  • Success starts when you  believe in yourself.
  • Your own opinion of yourself is what matters first.
  • Telling people your plans does not work as well as showing them.
  • I am my only limit…. people have achieved much more with less.
  • The past is a place of reference, not a place that I need to reside ever again.
  • Sometimes what consumes your mind, can control your life.
  • I can live my life with people but no one can live my life for me.
  • I want to live my life in such a way that someday someone says to me:                        “Because of you I didn’t give up.”

 

 

A Place


shower8

I have been so wrapped up in work and life and my daughter getting married that I have neglected my writing for far too long. Posting posts from my archives, and just trying to stay afloat. So now that the wedding was magical, and my baby is successfuly married… I can officially announce that I am back! Though it is a bit like Double Dutch, trying to jump back in with both eyes closed. Where to begin?

first dance

First Dance

I will come back to share all of the wedding notes & pics with my loyal readers that might be interested, but in the meantime, I just penned a few silly thoughts that I have written about before. And I have found it all so interesting. It is a bit like the “CALGON take me away”  concept. We all just need that place to land each day. I would love to have a waterproof laptop because I seem to think all of my greatest thoughts while I am in the SHOWER and then pouf* they always seem to wash down the drain before I can find a pen and remember them, or aren’t as profound once I am dried off!

Anyway, I have really needed that place a lot lately. Perhaps I am cleaner than usual! But those long showers tend to clear my head and in the end, life happens and it is what it is. Isn’t it? But I am grateful for it all. The good, the bad, the lessons learned. The chance to make ammends with your past and to embrace each day. I’ve always kind of been stuck in the past or the future and I am finally just learning that today is the answer. To find that place where you can gather yourself and not just face the day but embrace it!

A Place

Inside my shower I’m inside my head

As the years fall down around me

The water rushes as I am ten again

And then fourteen, sixteen, twenty

A place where I can finally cleanse myself

From all the day’s wasteful chatter

Where wisdom seems to find me

Giving me a sense of what really matters

A place where I can just find me again

Sometimes where I’m washed in my own tears

Weary from the pain I feel

A place to cry where no one hears

To cleanse my soul and to talk to God

and then to give it all to Him

to be grateful for every moment

that I’m allowed to do it all again.

Diane Reed ‘16

Growing Up


 

 

women writing at desk

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

woman writing in the sun

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

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

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

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

couple talking seriously 2

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

typed to be continued

BACKSPACE


writer

You are the pen and today is the page,

your attitude is the ink.

YOU control  the way  you react,

in what you say and do and think.

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

at times we should say nothing at all.

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

and the way we want them recalled.

For life does not have a backspace key

for all the things that we say in haste.

So, just remember as you click on SAVE

to review  first, and when needed erase!

S

Diane Reed 2016©

backspace

 

“Funny How Things Change”


 

marineland

I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.

daddy

My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

This New Version Of Me


rainey window and butterfly

I think that as we grow, no matter what our age, we learn to embrace who we are in a less selfish way. For several decades of my life, I needed everyone else’s approval. And as I look out the window today, I kind of feel like the seasons. A couple of weeks into the “time change” it seems as if the weather has taken a kind of dramatic turn. From sweltering hot to now, checking whether to bring an umbrella or not and layering clothes.

As I sit here before jumping in the shower I look out my window, as fog greets me. Funny how a certain time of day, and type of weather can just snap you back to times of long ago. And so I sit here, enjoying the view, feeling warm and safe and embracing the moment. Such is life. We struggle all of our lives to be our authentic selves and sometimes things change inside of us as quickly as the seasons. While some epiphanies take a little longer, it is life changing when it happens. How I wish it wouldn’t have taken so long. To feel comfortable in my own skin.

I am beginning to like who I am becoming, to see that there is no need to constantly seek out other’s opinions for my life, nor to judge others so much. To talk to a friend or coworker rather than about them, if need be. For after all, we tend to gossip to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. You know? Slowly, I’ve made a committment to stop the negativity. It’s been a long time coming and yet, I’ve grown to realize that the person constantly puffing themselves up in regard to their own accomplishments, transparently feels inadequate in some way, the coworker that is short with you one day, may feel under the weather or have had bad news but still had to come to work to pay the bills. The one gossiping about someone, has the need to bring information to you because they feel they have nothing else to offer. And I’ve realized that I’ve been a version of each of those people throughout my life. While really trying to get to know where someone else has come from. What they have endured in their lives, what might be going on now and to stop judging so much! It really feels great to finally feel as if I am beginning to understand me and who I want to be. I kind of feel like Dorothy when Glinda told her: “You’ve always had the power my dear you just had to learn it for yourself.”

red slippers

Below is a post* that I wrote a few years ago. It was the beginning of my AHA moment and this new version of me. Someone recently LIKED it and it made me go back and reread it and realize how life changing things happening in our lives, may seem like a valley but how eventually God takes us up to the mountain top again. Just you wait and see!

*>>>    https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/getting-over-it/

The One In The Mirror


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

———————————————————————-

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

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

standing at window

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

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

journal

You get a NEW book

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

mirror middle aged woman

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

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

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

hand from heaven

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

 

Embracing The Moment


winnie the pooh in the honey hive

“Though honey is a very good thing.” Said Pooh, “There is that moment right before you taste the honey, that is almost as good as when you do.”

I have always loved Pooh in all of his wisdom but if I were to choose just one of his amazing quotes, I think that the one above, resonates with me most. Because “I” am famous for looking back in regret and not embracing the moment. Last year when I was still working at my old job, a bride was getting married on our property. She was radiant, waiting for her maids in waiting. At first she was very sweet and happy waiting alone. But as they continued to make her wait, she quickly turned from a Princess to a Bridezilla at a fast rate of zero to sixty!

As others listened to her rant and rave and really carry on, (along with a few cuss words that Princesses should NOT know) I quietly took her aside and read her the quote I had on a necklace in my shop… “Listen to this” I said, “Though honey is a very good thing, that moment right before you taste the honey is almost as good as when you do.” She looked at me blinking back tears, as I placed the necklace in her hands and said, “this is your moment right before you get to taste the honey!” It was kind of like a little miracle as I watched and saw her expression change the minute it registered. Her face lit up and I knew she understood. Then she instantly snapped out of it and turned back into a beautiful Princess rushing out the door with her bridal party in tow (that in reality, actually only made her wait for all of five minutes.) “How did you do that?” A coworker asked, and I just smiled. “Magic” I winked.

How many times have you missed the moments that God custom made for you? Not just in changing your own attitude but in helping someone else change theirs?

Carpe Diem.

And then I did.


girls gossiping

I am not sure if it is the mind works™ supplements that I am taking from Shaklee™  or if I am just becoming more aware but I have realized that even though I am in a very good place right now, I can get sucked back into a place that I don’t want to be, in a matter of minutes. I have recently run into friends from where I used to work or they have actually come by to visit me and in a matter of zero to sixty, I can find myself right back in that place of dysfunction talking about the past. I have decided that I don’t want to go there ever again. I am not there anymore, I have moved on, both physically, and metaphorphically speaking and it feels good. I rarely think about it and so I have to ask myself why is it so easy to go there when the opportunity arises?

Today something happened that I just couldn’t get past and it almost ruined my day. A few years ago, it would have. But today I felt that I was stuck and worked my way through it. I have recognized how in the past I used to fall down into a very negative place and wallow in it until I couldn’t find a way out. Today, I felt under attack.  A dark spirit tried to rob me of the joy of Easter. I missed the message, I was so obssessed with something that I just couldn’t get past it. And then I did. I mean, I just did.

praying in pew

I can’t explain it, other than I made the choice to let it go and move on. I am not going to say that it was easy. I am not going to say that I didn’t want to rehash the particular issue I was having. But for the first time, I realized that it was up to me to just let it go or not, to stay stuck or move on. To make the choice to have a good time or not. If I stayed stuck the only person that I was really hurting was me. And so I thought about it, about laying it at the foot of the cross and deciding to let go.

Cross at dusk

I also realized that there has always been something about Easter that turns into a bad day. Historcally in my past Easters something negative happens and that is just silly because fifty Easters ago, I asked Jesus to come into my heart, so that is a good thing right? Over the years, I understood more about it but it was an Easter Sunday when I was seven years old that made that Easter special for me.

Jesus kissing praying girl

I guess I am sharing this because lately, I have a heightened awareness of the choices we have. Everything is a choice. And our attitude is the tool that steers us. In sailing, we tack back and forth as the wind fills our sails and pushes us to our destinations. If we let down our sails, what will happen? We stop. We are stuck.We know that all we have to do is put up those sails again to continue. So why is it so hard sometimes to put those sails back up?

sailboat

I have been so stubborn. Today I dropped those sails and missed the wind, I just stopped and felt mad and sad and stuck and then God basically asked me what I was doing, and what was the point. He told me to put the sails back up. I thought about. It was my choice. And then I did.

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

You had the power all along my dear


There are rules in life. There are loyalties that we choose and disregard. There are boundaries that we must set and discipline we must follow. As parents we teach our kids right from wrong. In life we have to give up things to gain others. Professionally, we hire and sometimes have to fire, we have guidelines that make life much easier if we insist on consistency.

Standing by our scruples, may not always earn us popularity but in the end, doing the right thing makes us win. In my life, I’ve wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to be everyone’s best friend. Favorite Aunt, Cousin, Granddaughter, Grandma, whatever the title, I needed to be the favorite. My mom used to tell me, “Not everyone liked Jesus.” Her point was, why should I expect more than He had?

I realized a while ago that I was not being true to who I was if I didn’t stand up for what I believed in. If something was being handled in a way that I didn’t agree with, I’d sit on it and wait it out. Nothing is worse than feeling a lack of validation and manipulated in feeling wrong about being pretty darn right about something.

I learned a powerful lesson in my recent transition, and it has empowered me! I was right. I won’t go into the details but I will never again allow someone to take the power away from me. What did I  gain from this experience? Perhaps to be a voice to those still stuck. Where ever you are, in a job, in a relationship, in a goal… Only you can find your own yellow brick road. As Glenda said to Dorothy…”You had the power all along my dear.”

My dream job would be to just write someday. So I know I am not there yet and may never get to do exactly what I invision as the perfect job. But I do know that I am happy now. I am working hard and really do enjoy what I am doing. I work with amazing people and look forward to everyday. A few years ago, I was diagnosed as being clinically depressed. I just needed to get my butt out of the hole I’d dug for myself. Was I depressed? Heck yeah! I was depressed with the situation. Nothing Organic about being in a situation with dumb people running the show! There are amazing people and there are toxic people. Who do you surround yourself with? People who value you or people who cause you to be in a state of constant depression? Think about it. Only you can change things!

And you my dear have the power to do it! There is no yellow brick road, nor an Oz that is a wizard that can give you courage.  But there is something much more powerful… YOU! And God! And me and God “GOT” this one now!

man behind the curtain

Who have you given the power to?

Oh little man behind the curtain I have discovered you

You no longer have the control of what I say and do

I am not sure why it took so long to see I had a choice

Perhaps I couldn’t see  behind your magnifed little voice

But slowly I began to see it was nothing but an act

As I began to gather some pretty clarifying facts

I took the power back now and I can clearly see

the power that I believe in now is through God in me!

by

Diane Reed 2015

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.

We are the Authors of our stories!


diary writing

A blank page has always inspired me. I remember as a young girl, receiving a new diary with a key and a lock. I remember the feeling of anticipation and hope. It was as if someone gave me the power of my own destiny. And metaphorically speaking, we each are given that. I feel a little sad that we have gone so electronic and our world has become so “techie” because I still feel that there is something special about opening up an empty book filled with blank pages and writing about our aspirations there. I guess you could do that with the blank page on a Word Document on a computer and even make a file and title it “My Diary” or “My Journal” but there is still just something about seeing your own handwriting and how it changes as your life does.

diary gram's

I have found journals from my past and it has been a gift to go back and read where I once was. And hopefully to see how far I have come. When my grandma died, the only thing that I wanted was her diary. It was this green little leather bound five year kind, that she kept when she was 16 through meeting my grandpa and ending with having my mom!

journals

One of my standard gifts has always been empty books. Especially to young people. I’ve told my kids that their lives are like empty books and every day they write a new page. It is up to them how their stories turn out. We are the authors of our stories. And I’ve encouraged those in their twenties that seem to be stuck, to go out and WRITE their stories. I can name three off of the top of my head that had their cosmetology licenses or a degree and stayed stuck making minimum wage because they were comfortable where they were. I nagged them to take that last exam that would give them wings to fly from the nest. And watching them soar, made me think…

choice quot3e

I finally had to admit that I’ve kind of been stuck myself, thinking that it was too late for me. Feeling very comfortable in how well I knew my job, I didn’t want to have to go out and re-learn something. Heck, I don’t even like to read instructions or have to learn a new game. Talk about being stuck. I felt that my pages had all been written on. And that I was too old to begin again. And I was feeling very beaten down as I battled the storm. Finally realizing that I was NOT alone! God and me had this one!

lighthouse

Though the wind hadn’t just gone out of my sail, it had been SUCKED out! I began to realize that I could make my own wind! I was the author of my story and it was NOT over! And so with a lot of prayer, I forged the storm and moved on!

suitcasess

I kind of feel as if I have begun writing in a new empty book as I begin my new job. I am the author. The job has been created just for me! It is a new venture for my company and I am pretty sure that everyone is rooting for me. I love my team and the people I work with. And I intend to write a BEST SELLER! How about you? I’d love to hear about your “COME BACK” stories!

strength quote

Happy NEW Year Everyone! Happy NEW story, happy new life! God bless you all!

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)

All The Special Places That We Left Behind


doorknob

Sometimes I wander through my mind like rooms inside my past.

Going back to different places that left my life too fast.

little girl looking out window

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go and find,

all the special places that we’ve left behind?

girl at a new door out in field

If at any given moment we could go down memory lane,

and everything we left once, could somehow be the same?

DADDY & ME

I know exactly where I’d go and who I’d want to see.

I know if I could pick an age, just how old I’d want to be

my portfolio from the seventies

 But I know there’s no such thing as going back again,

to find our yesterdays in places where we’ve been.

peaceful forest

I guess in all that I have learned to finally understand,

that being happy is done best,  exactly where I am!

me at my wedding shower

Diane Reed

2014

There’s light at the top of the hole!


holezzz

First of all I want to say that…. I am so blessed to have you guys! Thank you ALL for your support and prayers! You guys are amazing! I feel that we have a little church or at least a prayer circle right here in our midst!

It’s not all that easy to just break out of that dark hole that I’ve been stuck in and just shake it off as if I’ve just fallen down and skinned my knee. When it is something that hurts from the inside out, it takes a bit more than a bandaid.  I remember once when I’d just had my daughter, she was three days old and we’d both come down with chicken pox! My first husband and my son, who was seven at the time, had gone to his baseball game and come home early with a huge black eye! From what I could gather my son had been beamed in the eye and my husband was not happy about it at all! He was the kind of dad that said; “Hey man just shake it off!” Okay so you can imagine how I felt. My poor baby was hurt.  And I wasn’t there to comfort him and his father was no help at all! On top of it, I was not feeling too well myself. Later my husband apologized and realized that he’d been embarrassed and made it all about him but I guess my point is… sometimes you just can’t shake stuff off.

baseball glove in the grass

We all have our broken times. Our losses, our heartaches and crisis. Some of us are dealing with life and death, some of us are dealing with catastrophic financial issues and debt and then others can look at their own lives and realize that they don’t have it quite as bad but still can’t seem to snap out of it. My grandmother used to say that someone’s hangnail is just as important to them as the other guy’s broken finger is to him. It all depends who is feeling the pain. I guess that makes sense in a selfish kind of way and I guess I’ve been feeling kind of selfish lately. The funny thing about being “selfish” is you don’t really recognize that you are being it until much later. Hind sight is always 20/20.

shel riding bareback backwards

 I remember once going to marriage counseling and having our therapist tell me that I was depressed. I wanted to shout. “Ya think?” I was abused by my first boyfriend, My dad who was my best friend, died from a heart attack too early in life,  I had two miscarriages that pretty much did me in. I finally divorced after struggling to keep my marriage alive for my kid’s sake for far too long, I remarried and then we lost our business in an earthquake…. yadda yadda yadda…  my husband  had to take a job beneath him that required him to work EVERY holiday and then after nine years got laid off and now I am still stuck in my going no where job after almost ten years. After being my own boss for the last twenty years, working for someone else. Depressed? No. Just circumstances.

INSTEAD… I could be thinking…. I was given a second chance with a wonderful Christian man who helped raise another man’s kids and has been a wonderful father to them. I had a chance to have a cute little store that was very successful for a while. And though our store did not survive. It was pretty amazing that WE DID! And I need to remember that everyday!

Rose In The Woods after earthquake

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

 

And by the grace of God we both were given the opportunity to slip into some very good jobs. My husband always wanted to be a youth leader and being General Manager of our local movie theater gave him that opportunity for almost nine years! He was paid very well. His boss was very generous and offered him commissions that many larger city theaters probably don’t offer and so it was nice while it lasted.  And just when those doors closed due to the theater’s finances, his boss generously provided him with a severance package which allowed him to go back to work with his dad as God opened that door, just as his dad needed him again for an old job they’d done years ago. Which he may not have been able to do, if he’d still been working at the theater due to the demanding work schedule.

As for my job, it has given me the opportunity to meet some great friends and learn humility! I am learning lessons I may never have learned without the experiences I am having each and every day.

Also…. my daughter just checked in and told me that though she felt the recent 5.2 earthquake in Southern California and it upset her, she is okay! If you have read our story in the link above (right below the photo of our crunched store)… I have to be reminded that I appreciate and need to live for every second of every minute of every hour and looking too far ahead is just too overwhelming…. For God reminds us that THAT really should be Enough! Though… The next few weeks… If I could ask for prayer for health and business stuff for my father in law and  their business there is power in prayer and I am a believer in this little prayer group!

Sooo…. Though I am not checking in with some profound life changing aha momentish message…. I am telling you there is light at the top of the hole!!!!!

hole1

 

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

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

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

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

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

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

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

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

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

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

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

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

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

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

Kennedy Moments


kennedy

I remember when I was in first grade and President Kennedy got shot. Our teacher walked into our classroom crying and told us what had happened. It is a memory I will never forget. Hence; “Kennedy Moment” is a caption that those of us who remember that day can understand clearly. Though I sometimes have wondered if the younger population  truly understands exactly where the term came from. Since that day, there have been other iconic moments  such as when the space shuttle exploded or the day 911 came to mean something different to a whole population than it had just the day before. And it has made me reflect on the moments in life that were my own Kennedy Moments.

When someone dies, when a baby is born, a fight, a celebration…we remember those moments in our lives when our own worlds changed forever. The choices we make in the moments we live. What is important. What really is not. We realize those moments as treasures and tragedies. But in embracing it all, as you live… you realize what truly matters and what just doesn’t. The relationships you let slip away, the ones you fight to maintain. It is all a series of lessons.

My daughter and I had the greatest converstaion yesterday about the past, present and future. She capsulized it by saying “The future really never exists except in our minds.” In essence she was sharing with me that our tomorrows are still in our imaginations. The events we plan may or may not ever happen or at least not the way we imagine them to. I am here to say that from the time I was very young. The future in my mind never really happened (in most instances) the way I imagined it back then when it was still just my future. Some of it happened better and some of it rolled out like a run away train that I had no control over but in the end the message here is to embrace today.

I remember the first time someone asked me to marry them, the first time I ever made love, our first fight, our last fight…

I remember breaking up with that person and thinking my life was over.

I remember meeting someone new,  our wedding day… looking out down on my husband to be waiting for me and the feeling I felt as if it were just yesterday.

I remember lying in the hospital after becoming a mom for the first time. The feeling of joy I’d never experienced before, imagining my life as a mom and trying to imagine his future.

I remember all the pain that came after that. Trying to survive being married to someone who probably should never have married anyone.

I remember finding out that I was going to have another baby and wondering if I could love another as much as my son. having my daughter and knowing in an instant that God gives us all the love we need and more.

I remember my husband crying tears of joy when she was born and wondering if she would be the miracle we needed to keep our family together. Imagining all the hopes and dreams I had, still yet to come…when life was still unwritten for us all…

I remember certain “first days of school” for both my kids… and many of their firsts… first steps… first words… why did I want to rush it all?

I remember crying with my first husband as we held each other in front of the paralegal’s office we shared after deciding together to (ammicably)  draw up our own divorce papers as all the dreams we’d once shared seemed to stop dancing through my head in one big fat Kennedy Moment.

I remember meeting my current husband and cautiously beginning to believe in happy endings again… but never really ever again in the same way. And the Kennedy Moment when I finally let go and knew that I loved him.

Today I think that as I look back at all my Kennedy moments…. the deaths and births, the iconic conversations and the forgotten ones… I understand more today than ever before that “TODAY” is all we have. Tomorrow is a gift God will decide if we get or not. So take today, this moment, this second and LIVE IT!!!!

Last night as my daughter and I had our conversation, I learned so much in our sharing and at that moment of inspiration… I realized that if  THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS…. it is awesome!!!!

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!

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 200th Post


(Caution… this is going to be kind of a Mama’s brag book kind of post!)

birthday cake2

I was saving my 200th post for something special.

I can’t imagine anything better than sharing it with my baby! My daughter has recently embraced being Vegan and I am so proud of her for being passionate about what she embraces in life, she does nothing without a dramatic flare. She loves whatever she loves with all of her might ~                                                               and inspires me every day.

vegan heart

Before she moved to: LA, I was sure she was going to be a writer! She won many awards and wrote for our local town’s magazine. Her Prinicipal came into her math class in her Junior year of High School to thank her in front of everyone for an article she had written about him! She was good. Very good. She wrote a children’s book as one of her English assignments and made her teacher cry. When he found out that she was connected with Elizabeth Barrett Browning through our ancestory line, he gifted her with a first edition book of poems she had written. She made an impact on all the adults in her life through her writing. But at the same time she fell in love with acting. She was always being chosen to give speeches in Elementary School and later was hooked when a few Drama teachers took her under their wings. After that, she never looked back! She played Abbey in Arsenic and Old Lace her Junior Year and was hooked!

Brooke's Pics 182

(Brooke on the left)

Though she loves to write, drama was her focus and she moved back to LA to pursue acting.  And she I know she is on her way! But as a proud mama, I can’t help but support her as she writes about her journey. Recently, discovering vegan recipes has become a new passion for her and I have encouraged her to begin  blogging about it. (Gotta get that writing back in there somehow!) And so she has!  And so… how could I not support her by offering up my 200th blog for her new endeavors?

Please support her with me and FOLLOW her search for the best recipes. She is my little Rachel Rae!

apron

So if you love me… please click here : (no pressure lol)

http://thenakedbird.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/vanilla-cashew-milk-waste-not-want-not/

Thank you!

Vegan Go Vegan sign

I have provided the link to her blog here but I am also going to reblog it.

Thanks again guys! Gotta support my kid’s writing!

Red Flags


Insanity: doing the
same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

― Albert Einstein

How many times do we find ourselves

making the same mistakes?

broken glass

trying to fill the holes in our lives

alice down the hole

no matter what it takes?

sad girl on stairs

We overlook the lessons

we know that we have learned

burning heart

we ignore the raging fire

and contine to get burned

bandaged hand

We feel the pain inside

and yet we really just don’t care…

woman leaving

We try to disguse the warnings

as the answer to our prayers

angels protecting fighthing

when we really knew that all along

there were no answers there

red flag

Perhaps…

Just God, waving HIS red flags..

telling us to

“BEWARE!”

quote about hurt

Diane Reed

2013

Dinner For One


I throw the keys on the table as I walk through the door,

keys3

dropping bags filled with groceries as they fall  on the floor~

grocery bags

Listening to your message you left  when I missed your call,

Telling me that you have to stay one more night after all.

 cell phone in hand

The traffic was bleeping crazy so I missed my run,

traffic best pic

I stand at the freezer choosing my dinner for one~

microwave

Funny, I used to enjoy having the house to myself,

woman reading by the fire

But suddenly I feel things, I haven’t recently felt,

“Hey Beautiful” you say sweetly, as you always do~

And tonight , I realize, I really am missing you!

phone message2

It feels good to realize, I don’t want to be alone,

so I leave you a new message;  “My love, hurry home!”

Diane Reed 2013

Happy… It’s NOT that complicated!


In the shower  letting the water wash all my cares away

shower5

Dancing around in my robe as I pour the coffee

coffee

Drying my hair and putting my make up on

make up in mirror

As I walk out the door… I hear a little song in my head…

door walking out

I Smile at the neighbor as I hop in the car

car window getting in car

And crank up the music, rolling my window down

Wave the guy in front of me in, it’s not that complicated

traffic

It’s gonna be what I make it… and it’s going to be a very good day!

happy woman at the beach

Happy Weekend!

(Even though I gotta work!)

Love,

Diane

Rain Check Please


raincheck

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

easy bake oven

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

creeple people

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

finger map

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

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

jogger

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

funeral

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

sunrise morning beautiful

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

lady yelling cartoon

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

God sees poem

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

coupons

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

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

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

  Psalm 136:1

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

Ironing Boards Inside My Wall


 

orange crate shelves

Orange crates beneath some wood

Ironing boards inside a wall,

ironing board cupboard

Dancing on that empty floor

back then we thought we had it all~

 moving day hug

Defrosting the fridge with a hammer

defrosting with a hammer

Glass door knobs and yellow tile

yellow tile in kitchen 2

Wooden crates and mason bricks

mason shelves

Still somehow,  make me smile

Long before Pottery Barn or Thomasville

writing a check

Before credit cards statements each month…

There was a time when we lived on dreams

And somehow that was enough.

cute romantic couple dancing

Diane Reed

Fire


It’s been thirty years

And it’s been twenty days

And the feelings are somehow the same

It’s as if you weren’t here

And as if you won’t leave

Makes me wonder if you ever came

My mind is still whirling

And my heart has gone blank

The memories have all been erased

Like the scent of the past

The fragrance can’t last

YOU are just my yesterday….

The pain is so deep,

I can’t hardly sleep

Though,  I know, that I’ve finally learned….

I won’t do it again…

Look back where I’ve been…

for with fire, you always get burned.

Diane Reed 2012

The Good Old Days


Her room sat  like a capsule of honor

waiting for her return

like echoes I  would hear  conversations we once shared

when  I would wake her up in the morning…

I miss those mornings sometimes…

 there was a time…

I once mourned as each child

was plucked from my nest

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

And then I stood proudly as I watched them fly

So high, so strong,

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

And now I am okay. Really I am.

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

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

And yet it sometimes stings just a little to know

that those chapters have been written

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

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

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

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

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

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

and live in the chapters yet to be written…

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                      The best is yet to be….

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

Nothing compares


Pooh said…

  “Eating Honey is a very good thing to do,

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

which is better than when you do.”

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

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

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

And  somehow I can always depend on being rescued.

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

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

but I really do know….

That NOTHING compares to HIM!

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

Working Hard For The Money


Soooo, a while back my daughter called me when I was at work and  asked me where I was. When I told her that I was working she said; ” Oh my poor mama.” and then sang to me; “Working Hard For The Money… so hard for it honey…”  in her beautiful voice. The other day… I heard another tune humming in my own head, … Cinderlla, Cinderlla… feeling very sorry for myself as I came upon this scene.  You see where I work, there are ten of these. And the five outdoor ones all look pretty much the same every morning, this time of year.

Those “guests” have no idea what they are asking, when they ask : why the outside tubs cost $4 more an hour to rent than the indoor ones!

Sigh… Big Sigh… Feeling very sorry for myself sigh…  This job is for a young kid or a man I think to myself as I trudge up and down the hills, under the tubs, messing with the gadgets and the workings below, turning the water on, turning it off, adding chemicals, testing, and recording and covering each one of them. It’s a lot more work than anyone ever considers so when you ask why do the outside tubs cost more per hour… I want to say… I will tell you why… in a little louder voice than I do…  However I just sweetly say, “Well, sir, the outdoor tubs require just a bit more maintenance. And that usually is sufficient. I mean it is just $4. Come on!

No really, I know that I am lucky to have a job and  when all of the leaves are cleaned out, it is a very beautiful place to work, among the nature and all. And I wear my fitbit (pedometer) to show myself the exercise I am getting.  On a good day I can usually walk out of there with at least 4 miles under my belt!

I used to be the Event Coordinator there, but that job was eliminated due to the economy. All of my bosses were let go through out the years that I have been there,  so I feel pretty blessed that they have kept me on. If you follow me at all, you know that I owned a little gift shop once upon a time and then lost it due to circumstances beyond my control, and so I realize that everything is relative.  I could feel sorry for myself and spend all of my time counting all my setbacks or… I could begin counting all of my blessings. One being… that in the end, when all is said and done,  I actually have the ability to make a tub look like this…

What I have really learned through my journey is this…life happens. No, crap happens. Sometimes you feel as if you get more of your share than others. I know, I’ve been there. But it is in how you handle the hard times that matter. Charles Swindoll said it best:  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it…. I have to remind myself daily.

ATTITUDE

by

Charles Swindoll

 “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Charles Swindoll

And sometimes at the end of the day, God rewards me with something much greater than any wage I could ever earn….

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

Cheater Readers


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scent Of Shopping


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100 Posts


This will be my 80th post. I promised myself that when I hit 100, I would honker down and really seriously finish the last four chapters of my book. My daughter has really been pushing me lately. I say I will. I tell her about a deal I made with myself…. to do a little exercise of writing 100 posts of things that were important to me, and perhaps seeing if anyone even notices my writing style, and to figure out if  I really have something to say at all.

I have shared this before in some of my blogs so some of you already know that I have wanted to write since I was seven years old, and how my second grade teacher began reading  The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe to our class. I was mesmorized. I waited for those daily twenty minutes with a kind of anticipation that can’t be described. She was good, she always left us hanging. Our little rowdy group of kids would stay as quiet as a mouse listening to each word and then groan as she would close the book till the next day or even worse, Monday, if it was a weekend!

I am not sure what happened during those days but instead of just thinking that the story was great, which I did. I began imagining the person who thought the stuff in that book up. I learned what an author was and I wanted to be one. I used to pen my own versions of that story while I would wait for the next chapters and I would show them to my parents and I guess I must have gotten a good reaction which inspired me. I remember at an early age, NEEDING to write. I loved reading and I loved certain authors as I was growing up. I remember looking for Caroline Haywood books and then Beverly Cleary, and imagining my name sitting on a book cover as little girls and boys looked for my shelf of books.

Unfortunately, I may have waited too long for that. As Kindles and technology changes, the authors of our future may never have the book signings of the past but I hope that isn’t so. I do hope that we continue to want to smell the pages and actually turn them. I find it sad when today we are asked how many remembered to bring their Bibles  in church, and a hundred cell phones or other electronic gadgets go up in the air. Some things just can’t be replaced!

But I am getting off track, which leads to my point… Is my goal of 100 posts just my way of procrastinating having to do the work? I have a friend at work who I trust to tell me the truth. She is a little older than me and likes everything in it’s place. She has told me that I start little projects around work all day long and it drives her crazy. I always finish each one by the end of the day but it does drive her batty. Even though I may have perfectly good reasons…. if I am counting the drawer and the phone rings etc… I am an artist at heart and by trade for most of my adult life and my studio always had a couple different projects started. My house would be clean but my art room was always a little “busy” to put it nicely. My mom always taught me to make my bed before leaving the house. She would say “If you make your bed, half the room looks clean.” Well, lets just say that I have always followed that advice but there was no bed in my art studio! I guess I am wondering if my book is like one of those projects or am I just afraid to finish it?

I feel as if I have been stuck on the final chapters forever. I spend a few weeks, editing and then am stuck again… I spend a few more weeks on my blog… maybe more time than I should be…. stretching as I call it and then go back to editing… My biggest hang up, is always the ending… I feel it is the most important part of all books…  of all anything…. okay well, besides the beginning which is the part that grabs your attention or not and well then, I guess the middle is important too….cuzzz that is the part that keeps people reading… and so then I feel the ending should be their reward for having kept reading!!! Ya know? So I always take special care of the ending or try to… Maybe the ending is a reflection of my own life…  I haven’t quite figured out how “I” am going to end up (as if I have a choice) and soooo have been editing the heck out of me!  In turn,  I am stuck figuring out how my little character in my book is going to end up. Am I ever going to finish my precious book or am I going to edit the heck out of it till I have rewrittien the whole thing?

…. maybe I should be asking myself that very question?? Hmmmm?

Garage Sale For My Soul


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

― Maya
Angelou

Walking Backwards


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

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

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

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

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

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

Painting Hallways~


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

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

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

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

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

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

Day Interrupted!


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

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

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

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

Exchanging Points Of View


They call it depression.  I call it life.  I mean it happens, life that is. Really bad stuff and kind of medium bad stuff have happened in our life and somehow we survive but it makes us sad, it makes us wary and weary and so darn tired. But somehow we each in our own way, figure out a way to move past it. Or tolerate it, at best. We build defenses, like a shield guarding against the elements, retreating from the pain.

Death and illness, broken hearts and divorce, unemployment, setbacks and just plain old disappointments seem to be a constant. Sometimes I find myself shaking my head at it all. Like a heavy sigh that fills my life. I can still find the joy but it takes more effort. Is that depression or just victimized by circumstances? I mean if life’s hammer comes crashing down on your thumb, the pain is real. I always thought depression was feeling pain that wasn’t really there, or feeling pain that was real, but somehow not being able to move past it.

But just maybe, it is recognizing that crap happens and not being able to shake off the chains or the feeling that the other shoe is going to eventually drop and just waiting for more bad stuff to happen, rather than enjoying the joy in the happy parts of life.

I am protective of my time and getting too close to anyone and so the handful of friends I choose to “let in,” are carefully chosen. I have a hard time really letting go and loving. My theory is if you don’t love too deeply and too many, there is less chance of getting hurt when they leave you or disappoint you. But wow. What a waste. How much do I really miss out on, by not allowing myself to be vulnerable? I mean what do they say? Having loved and lost is better than having never loved at all? Perhaps. But I can tell you right now that when you are fresh in the middle of the rawness of a broken heart, you may not buy that bunch of bunk… smile… But really, I “get” it. We miss out on the joy by not being willing to feel the pain. We gotta feel it all.

When you actually put it into words, my theory of protecting myself verses admitting that I might possibly be a little bit depressed….  sounds worse than I imagined. I have found myself reverting into a place that is not really dark, just very reflective. I mean could my passion for just wanting to be left alone to write a symptom of being depressed? Maybe, maybe not, depends on what day you ask. I do know that I have finally recognized that I need to be more aware and so I have begun arguing and bargaining with me… talking myself into just making the effort… And so slowly, I have stepped outside of my box and aside from working sometimes forty hours a week, have signed up for a committee here, and volunteered to help out with a program there and suddenly I feel that there is more to me than just my little world. I have realized that it is not all about me not getting hurt. it is about just looking at things a little differently that somehow changes me…

and suddenly I realize that slowly I am not the one that I used to be. And I am set free.  It is all in exchanging points of views inside of me. I wasn’t going to make this one about God. But how can I not? He is the one carrying me home… someday… in the mean time….. I am redeemed!

The Sparrow


In my despair I questioned

Your Name~

I cried out to you in

My deepest of pain~

Saying….

Your eye is on the sparrow

You count every hair,

But Oh Lord my wing is broken,

And my hair’s no longer there!

Seems like I only see the storm

And the rain in the clouds….

But then Lord you lift me up

Straight out of my doubt!

I don’t mean to hesitate,

Don’t want to complain…

I know in my suffering

I find Your Name!

I’m sorry I question YOU

and  have  much regret

You just hold me tight

And whisper… “I’m NOT done with you yet!”

“My eye is on the sparrow

Even with the broken wing

Because in his healing

He’s found a new song to sing!”

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sunrise From A Different View


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV

Happy Birthday Old friend, I miss you


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

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

For one thing our divorce!

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

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

FROM THE INSIDE OUT


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

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

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

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

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