March


 

 

 

My mom

 

My mom and me

Terri, her sister (Pam also one of my bffs!) & me

Terri, Allen and I at his Oscars Party a few years ago…

 

March birthdays have always been tough! My mom’s was the 3rd and Terri, my bff’s  was the 5th, my oldest granddaughter’s is the 6th, my dad’s is the 11th, my daughter’s is the 15th and my mother in-law’s is the 17th and our nephew’s is at the end of the month.  I used to complain. But the older I get, I realize that I am blessed to have that many special people in my life born in March!

Sadly, my mom and Terri are no longer with us. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday and tomorrow will be Terri’s.  It’s funny, you really don’t know what to do. I mean, it stopped being their earthly birthdays for them when they entered heaven. But as long as I live on this earth, I know that I will always remember their birthdays.

I guess I am just writing this to remind everyone that life is short. And well… if you have a big birthday month too… where all the birthdays seem to be crammed into one month! Embrace it and realize how blessed you are!

It seems as if just yesterday my mom was carrying me around or I was sitting on the curb with my best friend. Or attending an Oscar party with her that our Kindergarten friend Allen has annually! March is still full of birthdays of people I love. But I wouldn’t complain if I still had two more to celebrate again!

A Heavenly Birthday Wish

I remembered you today, even though you are not here.

I lit a candle in my heart and shed a wistful tear.

But somehow I know you’re celebrating in a different way,

and don’t worry about earthly things like specific kinds of days.

Everyday’s  a celebration in heaven up above,

filled with joy and peaceful things and the most precious kind of love!

And so I blow out the candles and wipe my tears away

knowing you are celebrating with the angels, every single day!

Diane Reed 2019

 

 

 

 

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If I Let You In… Please Don’t Break Anything


..

terri-scott-and-i In San Mateo… in my front yard… I wonder if I never moved who I’d be today… ?

At a very early age, I learned how to put up walls. Probably because… when I was younger, I was always the “new kid.” My dad was up and coming. A Mattel Executive, right when they were introducing Barbie and Hot Wheels. He rode the wave  and then in the 70s he seemed to settle into a computer Company called CSC in El Segundo and remained there for several years as one of their Vice Presidents. When I was nine, we finally landed in a Southern CA Community called;  Palos Verdes Peninsula, where other up and coming daddies also brought their families.

Being a Mattel tester kid was fun. During our first move I met Terri. My first best friend, who ended up being the best thing about all of my dad’s transfers,  (& remained my best friend until she died a few years ago) admitted that she was jealous of me. She told me once, “Your dad went on all of these business trips and always brought you something back.” Little did she know, I was jealous of her. Her dad came home every night and she lived in the same town all of her life.

palos-verdes-peninsulaPalos Verdes Peninsula

 

Maybe it takes a kid with a better backbone to go to four elementary schools before nine, but I never really mastered the art of making friends back then, basically it was just plain awkward, coming in the middle of each school year. And kids can reeeally be mean. In turn, I tried to teach my kids to seek out the underdogs and welcome them into their group. Kids learn how to be bullies at an early age and I feel that if more parents would take the initiative and teach their kids to be more aware of the friendless kids, I think they’d ALL have a head start on becoming amazing adults.

The thing that saved me is that I loved to read and write and I always had Terri.We bought funny stationery and sealing wax and wrote to each other often. And where ever I went, I knew I had a best friend “somewhere.” Who knows if I’d remained across the street, if we’d have stayed best friends or even traveled in the same crowd. But there was something magical for both of us…  To her, I was the girl across the street that traveled all over and for me…  well, she didn’t even know. She just made me not feel so alone in those times of being the new kid and arriving after everyone had already made their friends for that school year.

Looking back as an adult, I see that every circumstance and experience made me into who I am today. And I am grateful for them. But back then it just seemed to suck. I think that is why I only need a few good friends now. And perhaps why I love my blog friends so much. It is a safe place and in my neighborhood here, I rarely have run into a bully. Most show up as the kind of friends I wish I could have found in my elementary school days. And for a magical moment it is just you and me. When I read yours and you read mine.

vallonVallon Drive… Street I grew up on since Junior High…

Today, I wonder who I’d be if I’d always lived across the street from Terri, and we never moved. I wonder if my kids would be the same kids, or if I might have had a totally different life. All I know is that  I over think things. I scrutinize the whys and try to figure out what makes others tick. I know now that as a kid, when I’d feel as if I wanted to disappear, I really wanted to be found. Though, over the years,  where I used to care, I have learned to not trust that many people. I appreciate people who are honest, those who keep their word, are not judgmental and especially are not bullies. When I was younger, I used to wonder how the bullies would turn out. As an adult, I’ve realized that a lot of people just end up being mean adults. Though a few have surprised me and had the depth to change and we have become good friends. I think that knowing where people came from helps and I don’t think that I could ever not accept an apology.

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the adult perspective and move past my insecurities. And I am still a work in progress. An “I LOVE LUCY” episode comes to mind where Lucy thinks that everyone has forgotten her birthday, while in reality Ricky and her friends are waiting at a surprise party for her as she goes out and joins “Friends of The Friendless.” As adults we see the irony in the humor of LUCY. And I think I have grown from that little awkward NEW KID into embracing my friendships…

But…. If I do let you in, please don’t break anything.

broken-heart

That first Whiff


terri, scott and i                                I’m on the left, Scott is the one on the right

I think we all have them… that file of memories tucked somewhere inside of each of us that snaps us back like a rubber-band. That place when we smell or taste something familiar or hear a song that sends us back to a different time in our memories. I even have a time of day that hits me in a way that I just feel safe. As if someone has just told me that it is all going to be okay. For me it is around two PM.  That time of day must have been about the time when I’d wake up from my daily nap to my mom’s warm welcome back. A time before bills, a time when someone else took care of all my needs.

Whenever I taste chocolate milk, (BOSCO to be exact) I always think of my friend Scott who lived nextdoor. His mom would set up a little table under the tree in his front yard and make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Such a decadent treat back in those simple days. I can still taste it. I remember walking into his kitchen,  and the scent of plums and peaches filling my head. His dad had a grocery store a few block away and every once and a while, I get a whiff of what that grocery store smelled like, and it snaps me back into those carefree wonderful days. It was a combination of the produce and deli departments and the memory of buying pixi stix for a penny each that still can prick my heart.

Bactine and Dippity Doo, Coppertone,  and the smell of tar and asphalt all have the same effect (The tar smell probably because there was a freeway close to our school that they always seemed to be working on. As a kid, I also loved the smell of a restaurant as you walked through the door. You know that first whiff. A combination of cigarettes and coffee. Every now and then I smell it but now that they don’t allow smoking in restaurants, that exact whiff is few and far between.

One of my favorite memories is falling asleep in the car as a kid. Watching the moon follow me home as I drift off and then feel my dad pick me up and carry me inside. As he unlocked the door and that first whiff of “HOME” would hit me. I can’t explain it, nor have I ever been able to duplicate it,  but I can still smell it in my head. And it was the BEST! I think it was a combination of a million things. But most of all, I think it was just  that it was that  time in my life when someone else was in charge of worrying about everything. Maybe there is a special scent for feeling carefree? If not, there should be!

How about you? What do you remember? What are some of your best  memory smells? You know, those first whiffs moments that you will never forget?

I Will Always Remember You


 

 

daddy playing the guitar to me

I am blessed to have the dads in my life that I do. We celebrated them today. And I am so grateful for them both. Having said that, I am not sure why this year was especially tough for me. It started out looking for cards. Funny because as a greeting card creator, I usually have taken on that task myself. But my daughter is getting married next Saturday!! And my plate is pretty full. Though I did manage to throw a little BBQ  in honor of our dads, I just couldn’t shake the one that was missing.

You see my dad died at 51 jogging around the block. It is funny to think that he was younger than I am now. Just a few weeks after Father’s Day thirty-four years ago. You would think that the missing him would subside. But it never does. If I think about it long enough, I usually can fall to pieces, at least inside. Like looking for cards. I found some pretty good ones this year. But I had to put back the ones about carrying me and putting band aids on my knee and being there to watch me grow up as I silently whispered…”Daddy I haven’t forgotten you, thank you.”

I remember the long talks and the Saturday drives, You being the one to take me school clothes shopping every year and going to the top floor of your office building so you could make Snoopy Calendars for me and my friends. And you telling me that someday all the disk drives that filled that floor would someday, maybe even in my lifetime, fit on one desk and maybe even in my hand! Oh how I wish you could see just how much your predictions all came to pass.

I remember loving to make you laugh and wanting to show you first when I got an A or learned something new. I remember you loved to read my poems and said you thought I had something special. Sometimes I wonder what you would think of me and I have a million things I want to tell you and a million more I want to ask. All I can say is thank you for being there when I needed you most, whether to just sit there with me through a broken heart,  telling me that I hadn’t even met anyone who deserved me yet, but I would.  And being so happy for me when I was happy again.

You were such a great grandpa for such a short time. But you showered your new grandson with such love. And I have a feeling that you hand picked my baby girl for me from up there in heaven. As I looked through all the pictures to go back and find ones of us. I watched as a whole lifetime passed me by. You missed so much. It isn’t fair…. that the good ones die too young.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I will always remember you.

daddy playing the guitar to me

My Dad singing … “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” (For those born after the sixties, it was a commercial jingle. He was always a funny guy. The hole still is raw if I stay there too long. Today,  I just had to wander back. I am sure there are many that stood in front of the cards this year and remembered too… That the good die young.

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/

Someone Else’s Hero


A child is supposed to feel safe. And yet if that is the case, why are so many adults in therapy? Some people had wonderful childhoods and were raised with caring and loving parents who taught them right from wrong, others had good parents and comfortable childhoods and their parents made mistakes but did the best they could. And still, others had horrific childhoods and terrible parents and seem perfectly fine. And yet all of these people have one thing in common. An inner child who is still there.

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

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

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

The little girl who was always worried that her Daddy wouldn’t get home safely because of his drinking, the little boy who felt brushed aside because his mother was too busy getting ready to go out. The kid who always heard fighting and never knew when the next explosion would take place. The little step son who never could do anything right, the kid who always waited for his dad to show up when each time he never did.Always lonely, always worried, always brushed aside, feeling unimportant, abandoned,  the one who started out not fitting into his own family, always seeking the perfect place where he could feel as if he belonged. The little girl who had to grow up fast because she wasn’t allowed to be the child. Always fixing, always nurturing.  Always performing, and yet she was just a little girl, but today not quite a grown up.And yet the parents that did come through, the other family members who stepped up to the plate when they were needed most, the friends and mentors, the teachers, the ones who gave them a voice, the protectors and rescuers, of those who were lucky enough to have them, all MADE A DIFFERENCE.

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

Dear Terri


terri, scott and i

We met when we were four years old and from that moment on we were a part of each other’s lives. It all started with a moving box that our new frigidaire came in. Her sister was two years older, and my dad loved to describe the memory… They knocked at the door, eyeing the big old empty box in our front yard and asked, “You got any kids?”

We quickly became buddies and she even shared the little boy next door to me without a problem. We caught frogs in coffee cans, shared the first day of school a few times together, played barbies and learned how to ride two wheelers and stayed out till the street lights came on. I will always treasure those memories those few years we got to live across the street from each other.

When I was growing up, I moved a lot due to my dad’s job. It’s not that easy always having to be the new kid but it’s really not easy being the new kid four times in the middle of a school year when you are in elementary school. I made friends, but there were times when I felt left out or was tired of always being dubbed the “new kid” and just knowing I had Terri was a kind of redeeming grace that carried me through those times.

Through the years we’ve probably written each other a million letters and shared more with each other than someone in our daily lives. There is just something about being able to talk it out in a letter that creates a deeper kind of conversation and a different trust than with someone sitting across the table from you. We’d both find stationey and sealing wax for the occassion and then later, emailed daily for years and years and years!

There was just something about knowing that though she was a thousand of miles away at times, she was also just a letter or a phone call away always. We were in each other’s weddings, had our babies around the same time and emailed each other every single day for years and years. We vacationed with our kids and visited each other as often as our lives permitted. She was my bff.

sealing wax

We had an inside joke about emailing each other…. When we were little, we used to look across the street to see if each other’s garage doors were opened. We knew then that it was okay to knock at each other’s doors and that everyone was up. (No one shut their garage doors back in those days unless they weren’t home or not up yet.) So when we would see an email from each other, we would refer to it as… “I was so glad to come on and see that your garage door was already up!” I have missed that opened garage door for a while now. It has been a funny feeling to want to tell her something and know it will never be opened again.

running through the field2

Today she has been released from this life, from her body, from all the hurts and disappointments this life has held for her to go and celebrate her life and be with our Lord. She lived a wonderful life, had so many people in it that she loved and loved her back. Even in the last two decades of illnesses she managed to weave around it all and embrace life with a passion and energy that few who are gifted with good health, ever manage. We may be missing her but she is in a better place.

I have no doubt that she is enjoying the party being thrown for her right now and will perhaps be in charge of some of the future parties up there in the future! (She always threw a great party!) And I have no doubt that she is preparing amazing places for us all who believe in that better place and in the Lord who has ALREADY embraced her!! Perhaps someday, I will get to live next door to her again! But for today… I am just going to take the time to really miss my very first bff. In these last few months, I have adjusted to the fact that our garage doors will never be opened again, but today it takes my breath away. I guess I always believed in another miracle. God gave her many in her lifetime. I know now the miracle is happening on the other side.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to perpare a place for you. John 14:2

clouds of joy

I’ve Always Remembered


When I started my blog I presented a question in my ABOUT section asking; “How old do you feel right now?” I suppose that I still don’t feel as if I am in my fifties, but slowly I have finally felt like a grown up. It took quite a while, but I’m not a kid in my head any longer. I do feel that I have experienced enough of life to contribute wisdom and a resource of memories to draw from to offer some kind of worthy advice and to have valid opinions about things that come up in life.

I think that because I’ve had such a clear memory from so far back, it has always been hard to feel a certain age. When I was a very small baby, I remember lying in my grandma’s bedroom by the window in a crib that had a raised mattress, the kind that you put a baby that can’t stand up yet in. It still blows me away that the memory is so clear. And then I remember standing up in what they called a bunting in a crib in my own bedroom. I remember getting potty trained, and I remember when my Aunt had to change my diapers and how mortified I was, or as mortified as a two-year old might feel!

I remember sitting on the counter baking with my mom, I remember going to Sunday school when I was in pre-school. I remember getting very sick and having to go to the hospital for a long time because of some infection called nephritis that attacked my kidneys and by the time I got out, all my friends had their training wheels off of their bikes! And my grandpa teaching me how to ride a two-wheeler!

I remember favorite teachers and mean teachers, I remember conversations with friends, I remember Christmases and birthdays, I remember getting up on Saturdays and watching cartoons and then going out and playing all day until the street lights came on. I remember sledding in the winter and coming home and watching The Wizard Of Oz. I remember digging a hole with some boys in the neighborhood one summer and making a fort we could actually stand up in! I remember planning neighborhood clubs and carnivals. I remember slumber parties and spending the night at friends and falling in love with boys.

I can stand in the shower now and a million memories can run through my head, weaving me into who I am today. I guess my biggest point is that now that we are adults, with kids in our lives, what kind of memories are we making for them? I tried to make memories for my kids and now my grandkids. I hope more good than bad. Some children may remember like me. Some of them may not remember a lot but it makes you realize how important making memories are. Whether it is just the experience you are sharing at the time, or the ones that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

How far back can you remember? I’d love to hear about your memories!

I Remember

friends two little girls with braids

I remember the smell of fresh cut grass, and watching cartoons at the crack of dawn

I remember our dad’s hanging out in the garage, after they’d cut their lawns

I remember hopscotch and roller skates, and running home when the street lights flickered

I remember slumber parties, favorite teachers, and the mean one that used to snicker

I recall getting sick and a summer lost, and I also remember getting well

I remember talks with my dad, and the things he’d give me, to share for show and tell

It seems like a lifetime ago, though my memories are still very clear

Some I wish I could forget, and some will always be quite dear

Sometimes I long for those remembered days, when it all just seemed so carefree

And yet I’ve learned that even today, will someday be tomorrow’s memories.

Diane Reed 2015

Happy Twenty one!


Posting this one a little early since tomorrow is our actual anniversary but also the 1st day of my new job. So had to get in the lovin’
 photos3

Though years have seemed to fly by and life has thrown us curves.

And the love that you have shown me is more than I deserve.

fighting couple back to back

You wake up every morning with a song inside your heart…

shower7

 (singing in the shower)

You’ve made me feel as if I were queen, from the very start!

queen-for-the-day

Lord knows we’ve had our challenges and you may have had your doubts,

when I’ve been mad and showed you the door, and tried to kick you out!

doorknob

You never, ever, wavered, or let me see your love fade.

And I have to admit I’m impressed, you really, actually stayed!

hugging in the rain

Staying in love is like magic, not everyone does it forever.

But somehow we managed to find a way, and we ARE still together!

So here we are at twenty-one years, I guess we’re all grown up!

And who ever knew, that just loving you, would someday be enough.

Jim and I garter pic

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MY LOVE!

 Diane Reed

I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

The Scent Of Words


library reading on the floor

I knew at a very young age that I had words and stories locked inside of me. In Elementary school my teachers noticed that I could write. But not until High School did one particular teacher actually take me under her wing and offer me Independent Writing classes.  I think that most writers can tell you when they knew they had that light bulb moment when they wrote  something special or different that set them apart from the rest of the other kids in the class. Like an artist who paints their first masterpiece or the singer that sings a song that takes someone’s breath away. Or a comedian that makes you laugh until you cry, and the dancer that makes people stop and really watch till the end.

ballerina

When I was in elementary school I loved to write for me but when I was in college, I put my amature talents to use and totally BS-ed my way through my Sociology class with my essays. I had no idea what I was talking about! But I received this comment on one of my most blatantly ramblings….                                       “100! If I could give you more, I would! Brilliant!” Okay, now I am coming clean. Like I said….I really, truly had NO idea what I was talking about! I just took the question and re-wrote it a bunch of different ways. But I knew then I could possibly fake it and so I did.

catalog card index

Today, I have a much more humbled outlook. I mean, in fifth grade there aren’t a lot of kids that love to really write. I was a different kind of fish in a small pond that stood out a bit because of just that. But in the bigger world, there are trillions of great writers in a much bigger pond. I am just one of many that likes the same bait.

Dr. Suess

The world has changed a bit also. When I was assigned to write those reports that we all remember. Remember those STATE reports? Didn’t we all have one assigned to us before we reached Junior High?  I’d spend hours at our local library, pulling out drawers filled with information, clinking dimes into a copy machine copying pictures in books for those reports.

copy machine

Now kids today can find it all on line. It makes me dizzy just how far we have advanced but  in the same breath, I am kind of sad that our kids will never experience pulling out a library catalog  drawer filled with index cards with  information on them. But though their computer knowledge will always far suprass mine,  there is still something to walking into a library and smelling the leather bound books with words pressed on pages, and being able to walk to a certain section of the library, finding the shelf, and  pulling down an actual book and breathing in the scent of words.

smelling the books girl

Being Strong


Brenden and Chad Muslemen

It’s not about muscles that make people think we’re strong,

it’s not about the faults of other’s that makes you the one not wrong,

it’s not about the things we do so that others see them too,

It’s more in our transparency that gives us each  a better view.

 boy looking out window

It’s when I’ve seen the strongest man bend down upon his knees

to wipe the tears from a child’s eyes as he listens to his pleas,

it’s when he stops to hold a stranger’s door even when he’s in a hurry

or calls his wife each time he’s late, knowing that she might be worried.

upset

It’s when he brings her flowers home for really no reason at all,

flowers

it’s when he’s kneeling in prayer that makes him seem so tall.

kneeling man at sunset

All these things show more strength than any winner of a fight,

for strength is in the example of always trying to do what’s right.

Someday we’ll all look back and see things from a different point of view

we’ll see the things we did and the things we wished we didn’t do,

little crying boy

we’ll wonder why we were stubborn and just couldn’t let things go,

we’ll each learn different things about ourselves we wish that we had known.

Jesus looking back

We all will someday end up at the same place of awakening

where we each  meet our Maker, at a time when our heart is breaking,

where we fall upon our knees, realizing where we did it wrong,

and in that moment of weakness it is then we’ll be most strong.

Diane Reed

2013

mans praying hands

Clicking On Me


I couldn’t sleep the other night and so I went wandering around Facebook and tried to find some of my friends from the past and it made me realize one thing…. We all are old!!!!!  lol.

me viginia slim photo

Older faces staring back

hit me like a heart attack

everyone I used to know

where did you all seem to go?

I click on you and find your name

only your eyes look the same

 I click on photos titled:  “past”

I finally see “YOU” at last!

The one  I remembered then…

 An older version of my friend.

I wander through… browsing at the rest

 I smile and click “Friend Request”

Hoping that you’ll recognize

Who I am now from my eyes

That’s when I realize what you will see

when you find my name and click on “ME”.

Diane Reed

2013

old couple walking

Just a VESSEL


I am but a vessel

that houses who I am

soul

A symbol of the outside

where inside my soul lands

jumping in his arms

I’ll only love you if I really do

breaking up

won’t fake it if I don’t

holding hands over ears

my ears have believed

a thousand lies

closed eyes2

but my eyes…

well, they just won’t.

woman at the mirror

seems as if I’ve spent a lifetime

being someone

everyone wished I’d be

fake people quote

but suddenly

I’ve become

the most authentic

part of me!

my portfolio from the seventies

Diane Reed

2013

Lately, I have done a lot of soul searching. Who are we really? I will tell you what I think. We are not the vessel we are wrapped up in. That is just a shell that carries us through out our journey. We are what is inside the package. A bunch of memories, joys, and tears, triumphs and mistakes, goals and dreams. A heart and soul and series of lessons learned. It is not what is on the outside at all. That is just our shell. It has nothing to do with what is truly important.  In the end, what we leave behind is not the body we lived in… but the messages we believed in…. The faith we have shared, the authenticity we have learned to finally be comfortable in and accept nothing less.

Sure in the end….when people think of us… they will probably picture that vessel but it is what it carried that will really matter.

If we said a thousand goodbyes…


QUOTE WINNIE THE POOH PRING

The messages attached to “Good bye” mean different things at different times in our lives. To some it means see you later when to others it holds the sting of finality. And then there are those who though they may have said it a thousand times … they are the ones who will never completely ever be gone. They are the ones whose “goodbyes ” have as much strength as a feather.

And then…. there are the ones who are completely gone. They have left this world. Their ashes have been scattered and we will never hear their voices (at least not on this earth) again. In a way it really makes me resent the game playing in the frivilous goodbyes. I mean after all, life is so fragile. It should mean so much more than it seems to. We are not game pieces that can be moved by the toss of a dice. We are human beings with lives that are already hanging from the most fragile of threads. We can only play with the hand we are given but it makes how we play so much more important.

Inside the memory of a thousand good byes

my grieving heart sees through it’s lies

past the dreams we gave away

wondering now… what if we’d stayed?

so tell me again go ahead

beat the horse until it’s dead

Explain it to me, please just try

What should I do with your goodbyes?

Diane Reed

2013

winnie... if the comes a time

Finding Diane


Soooo remember that song that I was trying to write the lyrics to? A while back a musician friend of mine, Jim

http://nostolencatpictures.com/2013/03/31/music-theory-0031/

  wrote a melody, indicating that he was inspired by the chapters from my book (Pieces of the circle) that I am writing and shared some chapters here. He titled the piece Finding Diane and basically told me that it might  be therapy for me to come up with the words. HOW long has it taken me?

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/finding-diane/

I think we started in February.  I must say that it has been quite a project. If you have followed me at all… you may have gone to my friend Jim’s archives (above) and listened to the melody. It is epic! I have come up with several lines via original poems that I have posted here separately. I wanted to see how it flowed if I put them all together. So that is what I have done here today.  The cadence is off a bit in a few areas because they were written as separate poems, but it surprised me just how well 3 separate individual attempts seemed to all flow together. I  have left out the pictures which have sort of become my trademark to enhance the words I write. (Though if you want to read them with pictures they are listed all separately in my archives.) Though the poems do sound better separately, it surprised me how they worked together.

Anyway, I don’t expect him to finish our song anytime soon since he is a teacher and has other projects going but he was right. It was therapy and so I title this Finding Diane. If nothing else… the title is coming true!

The song will not require as many lines as are here (way more than he needs) he will need to cut out words here and there and only take the lines that will work… but at least I have given him something to play with for now. I finally feel found!

Well maybe one picture…..

Worship by sunset

I hear a song and my heart flies away,

I want to snatch it back for it’s gone to yesterday.

The melody wraps around my heart,

though in my head I keep playing the part.

No one can know the pain that I feel,

over a fantasy now, that seems unreal.

And so I pretend that nothing is wrong,

as I try to block out the tune in our song.

But the melody lingers as I push replay,

and wander back into my heart still there, in yesterday.

I dance in the flames as I fall into step

trying to miss the places that made you upset.

The memories make me jump higher and higher,

I feel the sting as I dance past the fire.

The tears bring back the pain that I’d put away,

spinning back into the melody of yesterday.

Like a butterfly trapped, still inside its cocoon,

I dance through my mind running from each room.

As I close the door, where you live in my mind,

I find the part of me that I left behind.

Just like a jewelry box dancer trapped in a box

my heart is inside with the key and its lock.

I had to come back to this place, always heard whispering in my ear…

Oh little girl, somehow I knew I’d still find you here.

Among the memories waiting, wondering if I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago forgotten in my past.

I gather you up and hold you close as we walk through the rooms of our soul,

pieces of you and me once broken, healing and becoming whole.

Looking inside from the child within, I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound before we truly begin to heal.

We walk through the lonely places that once held our yesterdays

Oh how I wished I’d protected you in so many different ways.

And yet I know that through the hurting, we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered, in all the times once burned,

in every tear we ever cried, and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd, and felt a million miles apart.

we built the walls around our heart and “they” never saw us cry.

We learned that fighting to survive was what we had to do

and so I lost the biggest part of me the day when I lost you.

It’s hard to face the ugly truth and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone, living with the hurts and lies.

You were the child inside of me and I failed you the most,

in the mistakes I made along the way, in the different paths I chose.

But I’ve come back to find you, to finally bring you home.

So that together we can learn to live and never be alone!

I want to find the kid inside, and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me, that I forgot to love in you!

And so as I pack up all your things, I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

                                                                                                          (Hey and Jim try to look past the punctuation errors! LOL)

Getting Over It


old couple walking in the city

How long is the normal life span? I know a few people in their nineties and several in their eighties still going strong, so it baffles me as to why the beginning two decades are so important to who we ultimately become. But they are very important.  Considering that we will live to be one hundred,       (give or take a decade or two)  our formative years are only 20%  of our entire lifetime but I believe that they are some of the most important.

little girl looking out a window1

Some people tend to totally forget the first ten or so years while others remember every detail as if it were yesterday. We all have had our happy

tire swing leap

and not so happy memories.

bullyingworried little girl

Some of the bad ones are obvious. There is abuse and no matter how you look at it, it is evident. Others are not so evident. It may be subtle, a parent depending on a child too much, a sibling or peers tormenting them. We remember and we form scars that last a lifetime. We have been told to “get over it” and yet how does one get over a mountain? I will tell you. One step at a time. It is possible. But the trick is not to discount the memories.

I know someone who was horrifically abused. More emotionally than anything. He was the boy with the story no one would believe. His mom was  schizophrenic. She was beautiful and full of love for life and for him for that matter,  but in a moment could turn into a raging monster. At first when I met her, I had trouble opening up my heart to her because of what I knew. And yet, she was hard to resist. We slowly became friends and though I never forgot the stories I’d heard, I let my guard down because this boy who I loved, wanted a connection with his mother so badly. I became the bridge that connected them. We shared many happy memories until I witnessed one of her rages. Her words cut deep and were directed towards her son who I loved.

sad reflection

I was very young back then. Our relationship began the summer after I turned seventeen and ended shortly after I turned twenty. Funny how those three years changed me forever. I think that I had a few co-dependent issues from my own childhood and so I brought those with me, thinking that I could fix something that was far more broken than I imagined.  Because the boy I chose to love was abused. I in turn, was also abused by him. Because I loved him, I chose to look the other way. Because his mom couldn’t love him in the way that he needed to be loved, I took on the responsibility of that love and mine.

love in Heaven sillouette

And thus the cycle of co-dependency began to spin.  I looked the other way when he treated me badly because I had witnessed firsthand his abuse. Only imagining him as a child with no one to protect him. And my heart broke for him. Funny, even though I was his target for his abuse towards me back in those days, I took it because I knew where his pain was coming from. But I was still young enough to be damaged by it too. Not until writing my book, did I understand that I was also a victim of abuse in a way I never understood before. Though I looked the other way then, because I felt his childhood pain, I have had to come to grips with my own pain, in trying to break the circle.

little crying boy

In the book I am writing. I share my experiences. Though instead of memoirs, I am producing it as fiction. Taking out the unnecessary details and changing the names for the most part. But what I want to get across is how we find ourselves in situations and why. As I have written it out. It has been like therapy for me. But it has made me realize that the abuser isn’t the monster I remembered him being. For years, I had not even been able to say his name. When we finally broke up, I had been so hurt and damaged I didn’t know what to do with the pain and so I turned it into anger.

girl looking out window

Through out my life, and my relationships I know that, that one relationship controlled my entire life in all of the years that followed. I have had a hard time trusting and I’ve always needed to feel in control since then. Recently, that not so young boy (anymore) contacted me. I was not sure if he was even alive nor was he sure that I was. I  finally got my closure. I know for me, that I needed some sort of a resolution and when the opportunity knocked I had to open the door. I did what was right for me. I know it was selfish but I don’t regret it. I do regret hurting the people in my life now. And I can’t say that I am proud of all of my recent choices but I feel as if I can finally close the anger chapter of my life and that I have been educated in such a life changing way. Far more than any degree could offer me. I have learned so much about who I am and surprised myself about what I am capable of. Not everything, good. But it has gotten me to the place where I can say goodbye to my young self

Rockwell_Girl_at_the_Mirror

and look into the mirror and see ALL of me.

older mirror reflection

 I have had a hard time penning the ending to my book since then. I know now that I clearly had digressed, allowing my seventeen year old self to interrupt everything about who I am today. But though not everyone may agree, I needed to ask questions and say things I never said and I got that chance.

door with couple on both sides

Being “The one that got away” and knowing no one ever gave him the love that I did, is very sad but a little vindicating. Maybe at first, I thought revenge might be sweet. But when you have really loved someone, you only want the best for them, no matter how much they hurt you. Whether it is divorce or young love. There is such a fine line between love and hate. And until even today, I am learning that love is more powerful than any form of hate could ever be. And if the love had ever been genuine and you can go back to find it’s roots,  I guarantee, letting the hate go will feel much more vindicating than anything revenge might bring. It took me over thirty years to feel it. Today, I feel that I can move on. Or as some people have said :”Get Over it”.

typewriter

So I guess in the end, I want to make people see how subtle abuse can be, how everyone is a victim and how the abuser isn’t always a monster but just a product of their own abuse from their own childhood. My book is called Pieces of the circle. Now I feel that I can sigh and find that spot in the circle that needs to be finished and write it.

A rough draft of my book below… I’d love to know what you think or if you have any suggestions…

https://kerisjournal.wordpress.com/

type the end

If Only…


girl flying

If only

I could will myself

to you,

floating high above,

that you might

feel my presence

in a surge of love.

Like a curtain moved

by  a summer breeze,

curtains in the breeze

a light wind,

holding tight

as it carries me

Wendy

through my

memories…

love in Heaven sillouette

I would set upon

your rooftop

rooftops

and quietly

 look

right through~

If only to spend

A minute’s

worth of time

with you!

peterpan and wendy not a cartoon

Diane Reed

Flashing Before My Eyes… This Thing Called Life!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know now that I am going to write.

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

The Difference Makers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Comfortable Place


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

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

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

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

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

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