The Brightest Goodbye

Everyone seems to talk about how horrible this year has been as many things that have happened. But this year has been great to me. This is the year that I changed my life. This is the year that I took charge and remembered who I am. This is the year that I took no prisoners and went on despite my fear.

I moved to another state, made this place my home, planted seeds and grew a garden. I met new people, made friends, and created a life here. This is the year that I prayed and learned about faith again. And I am learning the history because this is the year that I started a new spiritual path.

This has honestly been one of the best years of my life, mostly because, all because, I fell in love with my life again. I had an awakening of conscience and soul. And it has been glorious. There were other wonderful thing that happened as well, things that will never grace this forum, because they are too precious and wonderful and should ne protected from praying eyes. And I am protective and want to hold them sacred within me and my heart.

So when I say goodbye to this year, it will be with a wink and a smile. I make sure that memories are tucked deeply within my heart. And there is no doubt that my Joy Jar is full.

Life is short. And even the worst of years can be the best. And maybe that is the point. Maybe we are at our best when things to be at their worst. Maybe that is when we truly shine, because our humanity comes through. Actually, that is when our humanity shines the brightest. And that is what we should know when we say goodbye tonight, to the brightest parts of ourselves and of this year.

Between the Quiet and the Loud

“This dark and sleepy time perched on the edge of endings and beginnings, I love the deep feel of it. Somewhat sleepy, introspective, books and candles and quiet puttering. Leftover meals and little celebrations.

What will we let go of? What will we welcome? As the past year slips away and the new one unfolds. I am counting my blessings.” – Ada

I love the week between Christmas and New years. And maybe I love it right now more than I ever have. This Christmas was the best in may years. There were gifts and laughter and appreciation and love and friendship and sharing, and most of all, joy.

And now this week, the in between of it all feels beautiful and glorious. This quiet week to slow down, put everything away, clean up the wrapping paper and all the trappings of the celebration just passed, check the leftovers, clean the kitchen, wipe the counters, change the sheets and fold the laundry. It is the quiet merry making of taking care of a home and loved ones that makes this week beautiful, as we weave together and prepare the pieces of life and love that we tale with us into the new year.

For me this is a time to enjoy the natural slow down. It is time for me to enjoy the every day little things that make life, life. Things get so hectic around the holidays that we forget to breath. Even now. in our quarantine, our daily lives can get cluttered with homeschooling, cooking, cleaning and online-everything, that it is hard to remember to relax before bed. But this week it is built in.

So turn the phone off, put on your PJs and warm fuzzy socks, make some tea or sip some wine, and enjoy. Stream old favorite TV shows and enjoy that guilty pleasure. We only have a week before the world wakes up for the New Year.

Life is short. It’s easy to enjoy the party. But balance that with the quiet sleepy times too. Life will get hectic again soon enough. Until then, count your blessings, enjoy those around you, and snuggle by the fire. Sweet is the nectar that falls between the petals of the quiet and loud.

The Merriest of Days

It is Christmas and soon it will be new years, with all the new has to promise. And in this day, this time, my heart is happy. I do still miss my parents and family that has been recently lost. And I do still miss my dear friends I left behind. But here is still joy to be had. I love this life in this space that I have created, that has been created just t for me. I love my tiny family that is here, with this move. And now my world is filled with love and laughter and hope and dreams and laughter and playfulness and everything good.

And I cannot hide my big smile and excitement for this Christmas, the best Christmas is about 5 years. How things have changed. Christmas of 2015 was wrought with both my parents declining health and increased strife as they tried to do for themselves when they could barely get out of bed. the the year after, the first Christmas without Mom, then the first without Dad. Just two years ago I had closed on the family compound and finally closed the chapter of that family struggle. And I walked away from what had given me heartache. And then last Christmas, a year ago today actually, I showed up a day early to surprise my ex…and found him drunk and partying with his frat boy friends. He had been sober for 3 months, and never quit drinking after that. He was livid that I had caught him and through me out with no where to go at Christmas.

How my life has improved sine then, since all of those Christmases. Never again will I face such unpleasantness during this the most merriest of days. Never again. From now on, there is only love, only happiness that lights my path. And even in a year like this one, with all the craziness that has been 2020, it has still been infinitely better here than it ever was there. And my heart smiles and sings as the presents are wrapped and placed under the tree. I miss my loved ones and friends dearly, and will travel to see them soon. Until then. I love my life here, as it is and with all those around me.

Life is short. And it is time to celebrate all the love that is waiting for us, all the dreams that are just around the corner, all the possibilities of what is in front of us and just beyond the horizon. And because of this, it is the merriest of days.

Hi Mam and Dad,

It’s hard to believe this is my 5th Christmas without you Mom, and the 4th without Dad. To think it has been that long since we stayed up night on Christmas Eve, wrapping gits, drinking wine and laughing. But I remember how special you made the holidays. It makes me sad to knw that they will never be the same, but the joy of those memories is such a gift. How wonderful you were to make memories like that. What a gift both of you were.

There are still moments, but mostly those memories make me happy, because you loved me so much.

This year there is much joy, more joy than there has been in many years. You would be proud of my life now, I think. And I think you like those who are around me. I know because you have shown up. There are things I want express, nut there are no words. That doesn’t matter though, because I know the two of you know and understand. And I know that you have welcomed the family members that have joined you this year.

There will never be a warmer hearth or a better cup of coffee than at your house, with you. No better smell or more comfortable bed, than at your house, with you guys. And no one who loved me more. But this new life, there are places that smell of love. That taste of delicious coffee and late night sessions of wrapping gifts. And wine, and laughter and playfulness and generosity. I am truly happy. I have finally rebuilt my life and replanted those roots.

Love you guys, and Merry Christmas. Thank you for being my angels.

All the Hope

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It seems like everyone is talking about what a year this has been. And indeed it has been hard for many, myself included. While the mainstay of the year has been wonderful, it has been littered with spot hardships, deaths and stress. But all in all, it could have been worse, a lot worse. I have lost 3 family members this year, the most recent being this past Saturday. It makes this holiday season even more poignant and makes me ever aware of how fragile this life can be.

And buried in all of the whirlwind mess that has been this year, tucked away in the remnants of the rest of the days remaining in 2020, is Hope. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, or a feeling of trust. And I think all of us are looking up from our lives, to the horizon of what is coming, with hope in our hearts and souls.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

Indeed there is nothing stronger than the human heart, when it beats for the hope and love of another day. There is nothing more solvent than the stubborn ingenuity of the human spirit. And we all feel it. This year, and poking fun at all the strange, twisty, ridiculous things that have happened are now part of pop culture. From SNL to the news, to Social Media posts and funny videos, we all have had to laugh at how it has gone. I mean, who would have thought of Murder hornets? Or a Pandemic, during riot season? And masks? And being locked up in our houses? And spot cases of the Bubonic plague?? And strange seeds being randomly mailed out? And how many hurricanes did we have, or did we all lose count? God has a sense of humor – and seems to be a bit sarcastic to boot. Maybe He got tired of us silly kids complaining about how rough it is…so he decided to have a little fun and show us how crazy it could get.

But, now, it is Almost the next year. And with all of us shaking our heads wondering what the heck just happened? All year long, we are ready to collectively give 2020 the bird. And why is that? Well, besides the obvious, it is because we hope.

We are ready for the new year because we hope, deep down in our bones, that this next is far better than what we leave behind. At least we have all been in this together. We can all give ourselves a pat on the back for making it through, because not everyone did. We have been reminded of how short and delicate and temporary we are. And maybe that is a good thing. Maybe we need to be reminded of how good we have it every now and then. How many things did we take for granted, every day? Now we will be thankful. At least I hope so. Look, there is that word again – hope.

And this hope goes beyond the normal “I hope to loose 20 lbs.” This goes much deeper, where the light barely goes, where the soul meets the mind and speaks to the heart. Where we take half breaths in between our sobs, and rub our weary eyes, whimpering softly the prayers we cannot even speak. This hope is in the multitude of our longing, our wandering and our contemplation of what is unknown in the future. It is in the youth, the old, the middle aged and the in between. The hope is palpable. And in that it is beautiful.

Our humanity appears in our hope. As we, our human kind, hope for better in the next. We hope for easier, and more of the good. We reach and strive and cry out in our aching for the goodness in this life. If anyone can move the world even a centimeter off it’s axis, it is all of us, together, in this forward movement of all the hope pouring out of us, in us and around us. Through our hope and our humanity, we can make 2021 better.

Just think of it – millions of us hoping. I believe that our hope, in it’s God-given purity, can make this life, this next year, shine like a spectacular diamond. I believe that if our hope is strong enough, as strong as our prayers and our faith, we can move the world, change lives, and even impact the universe.

Life is short. And no matter what happens in this life, in this world and with all of us, one thing we can all know for sure – is that we all hope. We hope for ourselves, we hope for each other, we hope for the world. Because we all want to be happy, we all want our dreams, and we all hope all of our hard work pays off. So here is to telling 2020 to kiss it. And here is to 2021 being as spectacular as we all Hope it be to be.

Wrap it with a Bow

It’s the holidays, the end of the year, and when things tend to wind down, or up, depending on your view. And what a long, strange year this has been. For all of us. I don’t think anyone expected 2020 to turn out the way it has. And I don’t think any of us saw any of this when we started making our “Five year plans” back in 2015.

Looking back at 2015, it seems like an entirely different life with an completely different version of myself. Both my parents were alive, as were many other family members that have been lost since then. Several dear friends were still alive as well. And then there are all the moves – 4 moves in 5 years. And each place has been a home, filled with love, laughter, friends, family, food, wine and lots of food. New cars, new loves, new lives, new friends, new….me. It is amazing how much life can change in a the short time of 5 years. Or even one year.

This year has gone from horrible panic to peaceful bliss. I started out not knowing where to go or what to do, hear broken, trying to peace back a chattered life. And then this year happened. And even with the pandemic, even with all the riots and murder hornets and closing and shelter in place orders and others trying to cause pain and dismay…my heart flourished. My little life grew and widened and deepened, to the wonderful fullness that it is. But I had to lose so much first.

To me that is what this year has been about. This is the first year that I truly had no one and nothing tying me down, weighing on my heart or soul. This is the year that I have been able to truly establish my life, for me. And it has been magnificent. I have left the shattered emptiness behind, the tears, and hurt, the pain and the all of it. And I have built this life on a solid foundation of faith and love and hard work.

And so now, as the year comes to a close, I wrap it up with a big red bow. I say goodbye to all that this year has meant, all that it has built, all that I lost so that I can have room to keep what I have gained.

Life is short. Enjoy it while you can and make the most of each moment,. each day, each friendship and each relationship that you have. Live life like it is the gift that it is. Built it, and make is amazing.

365 Degrees

Sometimes we look back and se how for we have come. You remember something that knocked to your knees, broke your heart and shattered you. When you are in the middle of the break up and all of the emotions, it may feel like things will never be good or happy again. But life has a way of working out for the best. And God has a way of putting us where we need to be, whether we realize it at the time or not. we look back a year later and see our lives have take a 365 degree turning – meaning that your life has completely been returned to you, and usually better than it was when you started down the Heartbreak Lane.

Maybe it is the virus, maybe it is the year it has been, maybe it is the cycle, but there have been a lot of relationships ending recently. It is difficult to watch those you love go through a painful break up or divorce. I have never been married, but I have been through some bad break ups. One of them came up on my Facebook memories…

It was a year ago, 365 days, that he he whispered at 5am, barely loud enough for me to hear, much less wake up, “this isn’t working, I am leaving,” one week before I was to move in with him, 2 weeks before Christmas and 3 weeks before my lease was up. The next day he wanted me to give away anything he left at my house, except for the gifts I bought for his kids. He still wanted me to send those to him.

And I was stunned. And heartbroken. And mad. I had sacrificed a great deal for him. I had helped get him sober. He was a raging alcoholic, co-dependent, manipulative and completely messed up. But he made a lot of money, so he thought he could treat me any way he wanted and I should take it. He left when he found out that was not the case.

So I gave his things to charity and I moved where I wanted to be. I had wanted to move to Texas for a few years, and I loved the area that I had become most familiar. Within three months of moving. I had made it home. There was a garden, new friends, a new car, and a new man. I set out to have a new life and find my heart. And I did.

A year later, I am happier than I have been in years. I love where I moved, have great friends and I am loved. Not the superficial, conditional love I experienced in that relationship. But real love, the kind that sticks to your ribs and gets in your heart. The kind that works things out even when it’s hard. The kind that is patient, because humans are beautifully flawed and wonderfully gifted in trying over.

So when you are faced with a break up, or divorce or an ending that you didn’t want, have faith that it will all work out. I would have been in a horrible co-dependent relationship with my alcoholic ex, who had had 4 kids, 2 ex wives and more drama than even Springer could handle. Now I am happy with myself, my life, my partner and all the possibilities that are in the future. It all worked out just fine, better than fine actually.

Life is short. While it may be hard to keep moving forward, you have no other choice. So you might as well get busy putting one foot in front of the other. Every day will get a little easier. Don’t spend your time crying over a partner who is not meant for you and who treats you bad. Know that even of it is hard now, in a year, your life is going to look so much different than what it looks like today. Your life will grow expenentially aftee losing bad people. You will be happier, better, stronger and better off. and when you look back you will see that you survived that 365 degrees, and that you are now thriving because of it.