I have always relied on everyone else to think for me


 

judy-garland-quote

The thing that I must remember,  is the “concept”  that not everyone is 100% good or 100% evil. Nor are they 100% right or 100% wrong. Navigating through this life, I sometimes feel as if I am being carried by this vessel called “me” who came with so many facets, all without instructions. I know that I’ve only used a tiny percent of my brain and my heart, well who knows where I lost the directions on that one! Though, over the years experience has been my guide. If you follow my blog at all, you know that I am big on where we come from, our history and how it has molded each one of us.

Some may say that I live in the past too much. I say that our pasts are our best teachers. And knowing about the past of others can give each of us a little more compassion for the other. I love to hear about everyone’s story. When I was little, I’d ask so many questions, people would jokingly ask if I was writing a book. Even back then, I knew it was a rhetorical question and was not always meant kindly. But finally I learned to answer, “You know, I probably will someday.”

It looks as if I may have the opportunity, to get serious about it sooner than later and just might have some more unexpected time on my hands. I’ve always been a believer in God’s Timing, not mine. And perhaps His subject, not mine. I’ve had this project in the works for several years now. But I’m not sure I am ready to bring it full circle. I feel that I have other things to write about for now. This last election was life changing for me. It opened my eyes to how I have always relied on everyone else to think for me. For the first time, I really researched and only now realize that I only tapped the surface. It has inspired me to be better, to know more, and be accountable for what I believe and basically who I want to become.

computer2

The one thing that I have discovered is the fact that no one is just good or bad, right or wrong. Sure there are some pretty bad behaviors and some opinions that to me might be wrong. But God created us with free will and no one can take that away from anyone. Whether they believe in Him or not. There has been so much hate and anger over the last year, friends un-friending friends, family and co-workers divided. And for some reason, social media seems to be the place where people feel entitled to behave badly. Kind of like when some people are behind the wheel in traffic. There is a mentality that certain people get on the Internet, like someone cutting you off on the road, there is this sense of false power.

I have been learning to look at both sides and research not via the propaganda, of either side but find the facts and the history of where that person came from or how an issue originated. Discovering that no party is 100% right or wrong. Every person has good and redeeming qualities. We need a template to help us move on. What  better example than  ground zero’s?  I’ve been reading about the personal stories of 911 and it is hard to believe that we’d ever recover from something so horrific! But we have. I remember for a short time, we all worked together in a kind of recovery mode. Enemies and friends, all one. We need to find that place and again, to look at each other one at a time, without race or gender or parties and stop hating.

My Happy Project & A little Konmari!


happy

I promised to come back and report on my happiness project. I always hate to announce publicly any new resolutions I take on because I know people will be watching and yet I feel the need to put it out there to make myself accountable. I have really been trying to notice what makes me happy and trying to be less negative. Though this election makes it a little hard not to feel negative or a little scared. But not going there today!

I will say that I’ve realized that though I had a pretty good childhood and great parents and so on, I have kind of come from a negative family. A little judgmental and gossipy and jumping to seeing the negative. I’ve noticed it more and more in talking to certain people and I know it has rubbed off on me.

I will go for a visit and return with a little more evidence that my theory is not so “off.” And so the question is… can you really teach an old dog new tricks? (Me being the dog.) Can I break the cycle? Is it too late? I am determined to!

junkyard-dog

I have always given the benefit of the doubt to certain people in my life knowing that they came from a pretty horrible background or childhood. But it is different when it is more subtle and you realize in your fifties that there were some things pretty off. Even if you were loved and adored and cared for as a child, the messages we learn are a little like a frog sitting in a tepid pot of water as it eventually begins to boil.

frog-in-boiling-water

I am turning off the heat and jumping out! Just watch me! I am going to be aware of my negativity and stop it. It may take a lifetime. After all a half a century of learned behavior is cemented in there, but I have my chisel and I intend to carve out the happy in me! One chunk at a time!

My daughter has recently gotten into Konmari (Google it if you haven’t heard of it.) It is a way of organizing, asking if an item brings you joy, if it doesn’t you thank it and toss it. Lol. She admits that I had the same ideas when she was a kid cleaning her room. (Take all the trash first, and then the papers, books, clothes, toys, etc.) I didn’t think of the joy and thanking each item… in her room that would have taken a month! LOL. But I find it hilarious that she is into this AFTER she moved out!

messy-babybrookie-really-in-her-bed My baby… she does everything with a passion! (love the one sock off!)

But I love that she is and I am so proud of her! (She does EVERYTHING with a passion!) She inspired me! And after 20 huge yard sized bags, I have donated to our church’s rummage sale, I love my empty and organized closet! And have moved on to our garage with my husband. Spending my last day off clearing half of my side of the garage!

messy-closetpile-on-the-bedempty-closet clean-closetclean-bedbags

 messy closet,  pile on bed,  empty closet, clean closet, cleaned off bed,  bags to donate!

Why I’m sharing this is… metaphoric of course… in the physical sense it is freeing to let go. And in the spiritual sense it is mentally healthy to release that closet full of metaphoric junk I’ve piled high for all these years!

I urge everyone reading this to take each thing you are holding onto and look back in your life and remember where once it came and ask if it brings you joy and if it doesn’t… toss it onto the pile and let it go!

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.”

 

 

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!

Repairing The Keys


path in the woods

I’ve realized that the paths we take, may not always be the ones we envisioned. They may be charted out for reasons we don’t understand right away. In my journey, I’ve discovered that it is not about the job, nor definitely  the title, and it may not have anything to do with what you feel you bring to the table or what your talents are. You may just have to “be there” because God wants you right where He has you. It has taken me a long time to realize that. And to know the difference. Am I trusting HIM? Or am I just stuck? Even in writing, I catch myself thinking one or two words ahead and am constanly having to back space. It is not even just a mispelled word. I have actually observed that when I back space, it is because I have written words that I am thinking of, ahead of my current thought. And it has caused me to reflect on how I’ve lived my life.

door little girl peeking out black and white

I’ve gone through many doors in my lifetime, and have been PUSHED through a few! Recently that has really been the case for me.

typerwriter keys

It was as if some of the keys on my keyboard were stuck and I couldn’t really finish the story. I’d just typed around the broken keys.  NOW, the keys have all been repaired and I have been freed! I see the path before me and though it wraps around many hills and valleys, I am writing this story! It is not finished! I must stay on the path and continue the journey to the end! Even if it’s not really the one, I would have written into my own story. Sometimes I just need to let God do the editing!

 typewriter keys2

In my lifetime, I have realized it is not about the power of others, it is about the power that you define as yours. I’ve met some very brave people in my lifetime and I have met a few cowards. It has all been a measuring stick for me. WHO I have become and am becoming. Do we ever stop becoming who we were meant to be? I don’t think so. No, I really don’t. You only must believe.

woman leaving

“How can I get there?” Asked Dorothy. “You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic I know of, to keep you from harm.”                      The Wizard of Oz

 

 yellow brick roato Oz

 

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#_

 

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!

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 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)

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!

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

The Red Knob


Fear is something that we can’t run from. It is something that we must face head on. Some of us try to pretend that it doesn’t exist and some of us, run like hell from it all of our lives. Others tend to run into it head on. There are all kinds of new shows out about it. Fear Factor and extreme “believe it or not” shows that try to up the last outrageous stunt or depending on it’s success, crash! I am not sure where these people come from, but they all have one thing in common, they all need that rush that comes with being afraid. That is why we jump out of airplanes and walk on hot coals and swim with the sharks. They believe that fear is something that they must embrace in order to get that “high” that comes with feeling alive.

In my lifetime, I have taken a few challenges of my own. I have flown a glider without an engine, more than once! I actually have a log book of not only flights I took with an instructor but solo flights where it was just little old me, being pulled up by a power plane and then expected to pull a red knob.

For those of you who have never flown a sail plane, let me explain, on the dashboard, there is a red knob that connects you to the line connected to the power plane. You start out being pulled up by the plane in front of you. Up, up, up. It is a strange feeling. You see the power plane hit turbulence and then you hit it a few seconds later, all as you are rising to the correct altitude. There is a moment and a signal that indicates the exact time when you are supposed to pull that red knob to release the power plane. It is an excruciatingly empowering moment. And yet, it is probably the most afraid I have ever been. How funny, to realize, that even after I experienced that fear, I did it over and over and over again, logging several more solo flights.

I remember the first time that I sat inside that cockpit, only enclosed by a dome of pexi-glass, ready to be pulled up by the plane that would take me to heights I never dreamed I would go, especially without an engine, I wondered what in the world was I thinking! And I remember also thinking “my dad would kill me if he could see me!” And he almost did~ but then he ended up doing it with me! He even went on to take lessons and solo too! And that is a memory I will cherish forever.

I think that flying above the clouds without an engine and having to rely on only myself to get me on the ground is a lot less frightening than what I have been going through the last few years. Sometimes falling in love is scary, and falling out of it is like holding onto that red knob for dear life, in a quick downward spiral. It really doesn’t matter if you hold on to it or not because you have already let go..

But wait, you can recover. They do teach you that. The emergency runway is somewhere down there, you look and see it and then the adrenalin pushes you to new heights. Courage clicks in and all the lessons you learned about recovery and landing take over and you find that being afraid and being brave have nothing  to do with the red knob after all. And relying on just myself? Well I have since realized that I never have to feel afraid again. I never have to pull the red knob or worry about  where I am going to land because, with God as the pilot of that power plane pulling me up, I truly never have to let go..

Hole Fillers


We all have “containers” in life and we all find different ways to fill them. The idea is to fill them with purpose. Things that make our life better. As we fill our containers, the level rises. Just educating ourselves about ourselves begins to plug up those holes that we have made over the years. Some people use people, others use drugs or alcohol or food to fill the holes and what hurts us usually only helps to make our holes bigger.

Spiritual and emotional growth and a whole host of other goals  are all the things that help  fill the holes and raise the level in our containers. It has taken me years to recognize the good and the bad things I use in my own life to raise the level and the task at hand is becoming more aware of the difference which is a work in progress. I know that for me, writing is a huge hole filler.

My book is sitting in a file just a “click” away and I am totally procrastinating by coming here to share my thoughts. I look at it as priming the pump, or perhaps stretching before  a  workout! But I know I need to get back to it. Why am I stuck? Could it be because, I am afraid to finish? If I finished, I would have to submit it. If I submit it, I am vulnerable. I can’t be rejected if I don’t present the question for someone to say yes or no.

Recently, I have been taking more chances in my life. The kind of chances that come with the possibility of rejection attached. Sometimes it has paid off and at other times I have had to face that vulnerability and it has sucked. Rejection is not the most comfortable place to be. But hey “no” is just a tiny word from a little person in my BIG world. I can make that rejection fill my world and make it bigger than it needs to be or I can brush my shoes off and move on to the next possibility and even bigger opportunity.  Sometimes I have forgotten that God is the captain of my ship. And I am the one He has put in charge of His vessel and have to remember NO ONE else is in charge here. No one! I can get opinions from other people until I am drowning in them but ultimately, in the end, I know that I am the one who steers this ship.

I have waited long enough for others to make things happen for me. In turn, I have found myself “stuck.” Only I can make things happen for me. The opportunities aren’t going to come and find me. I am going to believe in me enough to finish that book, to submit it and get a thousand rejections if it will get me to that one finish line where I actually finish the race.

It is always hard to take that first step… Go back to school, apply for a new job, start a new health regimen, or just a new attitude! And perhaps finish a book you have been writing for years! We have power in our own choices. We fill our own containers. We even fill the holes as we figure out what they are, until someday…. Our containers are spilling over!

Say Cheese Please


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When I was in Junior High POW bracelets and happy face buttons were the rage. Funny, how I can connect two things that  are polar opposites. War and happiness. But maybe that is today’s metaphor for my life.Recently, my husband told me that he loves my smile and yet it looks as if I am always fighting against it, smiling that is. After trying to decide if that was a compliment or a creatively disguised dig, I decided to give him a pass and to really contemplate his words.

From as far back as I can remember, I think I have fought happiness. Just looking  back at the old black and white photos I have of myself as a kid,  I do tend to find more with a silly, half grin than a full on smile. And it makes me sad. Because I don’t think I ever allowed myself to fully experience joy from a very early age.

Lately, I have been on a quest to go back and get that kid and bring her home to the place that she belongs. With all of her disappointments and insecurities, I am not sure if I really want to. And yet I don’t think I have a choice nor can I ever really live in “me” until I do. Inviting this younger version of myself back into my life to really dig deep and explore some of the things I never have about myself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child who doesn’t want to be anywhere, least of all anywhere near you, to live with you!

As I look inside of myself, back, back, back, into a time in my life where there was joy and harmony, I find a kid with a grape juice stained mouth and a pile of books. I loved my grape juice and my books! I flash on sitting on the counter baking with my mom and can even still smell the glue as I remember watching my dad retile the tile in our bathroom. I remember rides in the car and the Drive in and picking berries on a summer day out in the woods in Washington. I remember feeding the ducks and moving to California and meeting my bestfriend who I have remained best friends with over the decades. And I smile.

But somewhere along the way, that kid got disappointed and things happened in her life that caused her to have a hard time trusting anyone let alone her self,  she felt hurt and misunderstood over and over and over again and re-visiting the parts of her pain  is not the easiest task at hand. Getting to know the younger version of yourself is about as comfortable as inviting that obstinate step child on a wonderful vacation. But we all need to go there. To interrupt our lives and explore the parts of us that never integrated into our adult self. If we don’t that kid will continually pop back into our life when we are least expecting them. They always seem to appear in the form of anger, or  fear or in the deepest part of our sorrow.

I have a feeling my childish self is not going to come or go quietly. She may even go kicking and screaming but I need to trust myself that it is going to be okay. It will be okay for her too. She is safe now, inside of the adult me. I have finally begun to trust myself and to quit relying on everyone else to make it better. To stop living in the past and finally take my own steps into the future. To trust myself and learn to love me and believe in me and KNOW that what I feel about me is enough. I am the boss of me. Well, of course God is the boss of me, but you know what I mean. I have been giving that power to everyone else in my life and I am taking it back from EVERYONE and only giving it to God and me! And I am empowered and the child in me calms and begins to relax in the knowledge that somebody else is in control now.

For so long, I have doubted everything about myself. My intelligence & abilities, my wisdom and even my morals and my own character and just when I fell into the darkest place of my life, that is when I began to see the light, as if lost in a cave, dark and damp, only to find the hope of a ray of light through the cracks. That is where I am now. I have found the light. I may not totally be out of the cave yet but I see the way out and I am going to beat the myth of being stuck in my child. Instead I am going to invite her to come into the light with me and find the joy. I am strong enough and smart enough and brave enough to guide her right to the light where she belongs.

I am going to stop fighting the smile. To believe  in the dream  that it really is okay to genuinely be happy and take new photographs and to smile really big.  And…“Say cheeeeese.” To let everyone know I am happy and that I don’t have to fight it any longer.

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!