This day, September 11th, will always be remembered by those who were old enough to experience it. At the risk of sounding old, the younger generation has no idea what it is like to see, either in person or on the news, an area that vast, where rescuers are still looking for remains even a year later. They have no idea what it is like to know people who were or should have been in those buildings, wondering if they were still alive that day, or if they were one of the many who jumped or were buried alive.
They have no idea the panic of calling that friend, or family member, over and over, desperately praying they answer so you know they are OK. Nor do they know the relief when that call is answered…or the devastation when it isn’t.
They have no idea what it was like to go and see Ground Zero, before it was built back up, before there were monuments and new buildings, when it was just a huge hole, larger than you could ever imagine, and know that so many people were now part of that dust.
To me this day is a somber one, but one we should never forget because there are so many lessons that were learned. It was the day our innocence was lost as a country, I think.
But for me it is also a day to be thankful. Thankful that I live in this wonderful country. No matter how many problems we seem to have, at least we are free. And I am thankful for that freedom. That were are still Americans and not subject to Sharia Law. That as a woman, I am still allowed every right I had before that date so many years ago.
I am thankful for my job and amazing career, for my friends, and that we are all OK. That we work hard and have a roof over our heads, food, running water, electricity, a comfortable bed where we sleep and do not hear the sounds of guns shots and war, as many in other countries do.
For me this is a day to be thankful and realize how lucky I am, how lucky we are, as a nation. And I thank God.
And every day, I should do my bet to be my best, because by miracle and luck, I am in this country, the greatest country in the world. And I should not take anything for granted. Life is delicate and fragile. And today is not a dress rehearsal.
Life is short. Make it good. Make it memorable. Make it worth it.
We must let go of the life that we planned so as to accept the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell
This is the time of year of festivities. Parties, gifts and resolutions. And it is usually about this time of year that in addition to enjoying all that this happy season will bring, I start thinking about what I want to accomplish next year.
Most of the time, the things on my list are the usual: Travel more, spend less, smile more, loose that 10 lbs that has been on my hips for the last 5 years. For this next year though it is quite different. My goal for next year is quite simple: To wear it well.
I want simple things to not take so much energy. Things like putting on my pants, going through daily routines…breathing. To put it quite simply – grief is bitch. Grief is like that bad roommate you can’t get rid of.
But the fact is that Grief will be with me for quite a while. So I must learn to wear it well.
What exactly does that mean? It means that You hold your head high, smile anyway and get on with it. It doesn’t mean you still don’t feel it in every part of every bone, you just don’t let it wear you, you wear it. Right now, I feel like Grief is cutting off circulation, because it is a very ill-fitting outfit that is tight in all the wrong places and loose in all the wrong spots.
From all the research I have done, grief never really leaves you. So I have to learn to wear it well. And defiantly better than I have.
Ultimately, I would like to make this grief a place from where love can grow and prosper. I would like to make it a beautiful garden of compassion and goodness. I want to do more than wear it well; if it has to be with me for my life, then I want it to make me a better person. I just don’t know how to get there yet.
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. – Rumi
As a parent, it’s my responsibility to equip my child to do this – to grieve when grief is necessary and to realize that life is still profoundly beautiful and worth living despite the fact that we inevitably lose one another and that life ends, and we don’t know what happens after death. – Sam Harris
It is funny the things that you miss. And as cliché as it sounds, the laundry smelled so good when Mom did it. I never thought I would miss that smell so much. I cherish anything I find of her original laundry. And I finally found out her secret. I found her stash of fabric softener and smell good stuff. The one problem?
I cannot find it in any stores here in the Atlanta area. Seriously…in a city of millions…I can’t locate any of it. Dad and I are both searching for it. Where did she get this stuff? Did she ship it in from another country? Or planet? Because this stuff smells like Love.
It is somewhere, and somehow I will find it and get as many bottles of it as possible. Love in a bottle cannot be overrated, neither can the magical smell of laundry.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. – Abraham Lincoln
Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life. – Anne Roiphe
Tis the season for all the holiday festivities. It is also a very bad time for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. And while the grief cannot be fixed or erased, we can, if we choose, still find the beauty in every day. We can, if we choose, appreciate the happiness and joy around us, and maybe even have some of it seep in.
And so it goes this holiday season. The Christmas tree is going up this weekend. A big real tree. I’ve never had a real Christmas tree but have been told that they smell wonderful. And there will be Christmas music and carols. And lots of Christmas lights. We are going to see a large light display, complete with hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows by a fire afterward. The house will have a lot of Christmas decorations, some old that have been passed down to me, and some new.
This Christmas will be hard, and that cannot be changed. It cannot be fixed. But. But, we do not have to drown in it either. We can still smile through tears, celebrate through grief and see joy in the world. A broken heart still beats. The world still turns and life goes on.
So, bring on the eggnog, Christmas carols and fires. Let’s light the house up with Christmas displays. Let the stockings be hung, the dancing Santa’s dance and the angels sing. No doubt my mother is one of those angels now. May we hear her voice this Christmas, and all others to come.
I think faith is incredibly important because you will become overwhelmed with what’s happening and you will have waves of grief, but when you turn to your faith, I believe God will give you waves of grace to get through it. – Joel Osteen
It is this night, this eve, this moment in time, after which my life will not ever be the same. And on this is eve, there is excitement, fear, happiness and calm. There are lists of things that need to be done, and the desire to just relax and enjoy the fireflies.
It is this eve that marks a new time, a new chapter and new life going forward. It is an eve to treasure each. and. every. moment. Because this is the last eve that everything will be the same.
And after this eve, I will look back at tonight, and all those that came before, and be thankful for it all, the good and the bad.
When I was a child, my father and I would sit outside during storms and watch the lightning. We always had covered back or front porches, always lived in the country, so you could see the sky for miles. And we would sit out there, sometimes for an hour or more, and watch the lightning dance across the sky. The air would crackle with the electricity of the storms and I would be thrilled to see the beauty play out before my eyes.
Maybe that is from where my life of storms comes, or my desire to capture lightning on film. Because it’s like capturing those memories, as I think of my father every time I see lightning in a storm. And I remember feeling so very special as we sat and watched, my father and I.
It’s these wonderful precious memories I have of my Dad that often make me smile. I have always been a Daddy’s Girl, and will always be. While my Dad is sick and recovering, it is these memories that somewhat ease the pain I feel.
Never underestimate the memories someone may have of you. Sometimes the simplest of things will be the best of memories for those you love and who love you. And When I pray at night, for his quick recovery from this last chemo treatment, so many memories come to mind. Indeed, I am a lucky girl.
My Dad, a good storm and two chairs. Yes, that’s the good stuff.
And I am lucky enough to have found a man that my father respects. That means the world to me. And to my heart.
I have no regrets, looking back on the landscape if this year, in this life. I have no regrets on what I have done and what has been left undone.
There are no words that haunt me, spoken or kept still. No actions that trouble my soul, no undone thrill.
There are no tears that have been dried or kept at bay, or escaping down my cheek from rims of wide weary eyes, that partake in regret.
No longing set free, no feelings left unturned. There is nothing to look back upon, and wish another way for me.
And as I look back, standing at the edge of this year, this long, hard, undone, overdone year, there is nothing that makes me want a other walk down the path or choose another road than the one I have traveled.
There has been compassion and contention, love, discord, pain and happiness. More joy than one can hold, more sorrow than one should endure. There have been sacrifices and giving of self, hiding, finding, sipping and devouring…it all.
I am all of it, every bit. The complete all of it, the unfinished of it, the breadth and depth of it. I am glad for it all, the good bad and the big and small.
I have no regrets waking up with you, all of you and your deals, wet from us and warm with skin on mine. No regrets of swimming, riding with my bare feet on the dash or taking a shower in the rain. No regrets sitting, listening to drops on the tin roof, in your little place. No regrets of you at all.
No regrets for fighting for family and what is right. None for being brave, saying what is felt and what should have been said long ago. No regrets for the love and loss of the year as it has passed.No regrets for the mistakes and lessons learned.
There has been hard work, harder play and many things let go this year. I carried the map of my life with every. Single. Heartbeat. And you were there too. Yes you.
Books have been read, put down and some left unfinished. Thoughts written down and lost or erased from time. And still, no regrets. Nooks and crannies have been explored, many prayers said and blessing given. Dreams have come to fruition, nightmares have been banished beneath the cloak of in in which they came.
I have carried this heart, heavy with sorrow and joy, across this country, in cars, in airplanes, in boats, up on a horse in hiking trails, in the woods, in the city, to work, to run, in water, in the anonymity of the night, and the harsh light of day.
This year, this 12 months, I have been the judge and jury, been judged and done the judging, been right, wrong, black, white and gray. I have laid it all out and picked up the deck.
And at the end of this year, this moment in my life, there is Peace. There is happiness. Mostly because, all because, you have been in my heart.
40 years is not enough time to spend with your Mama.
I walked in the room, and she looked so tiny and small. She didn’t look sick at all, in fact she looked beautiful, almost angelic. Her eyes lit up when she saw my mother and me, and she smiled. We both hugged her and she immediately started telling my mother how she needed to quit smoking. But Patsy was too weak to talk, so she wrote out notes and made motions. She seemed amused most of the time as we tried to figure out what she was saying, as if we were playing charades.
Bossy as ever, I thought and smiled.
Then she tells me that I smell of cigarettes too, since my mother and I rode in the same car. She writes down how she remembered getting after me for standing with my head in the freezer for several minutes one summer that is was particularly hot. We all laughed, as I had not thought of that memory for years.
There are certain people in your life who have a profound effect on you. There are those who are family by choice, who you love just as much as if they were blood. Patsy is one of those people for me. She is my best friend’s mother growing up. She is my second mother. And there are so many memories as the years have gone by; 28 years to be exact.
I met Patsy when I was just 12 years old and was the mother of the first girl I met in my new school in 7th grade. Her daughter and I became fast friends, having sleep-overs, passing notes in class, talking about boys, planning our lives at that tender young age And Patsy was always there, always keeping a loving but stern and watchful eye over us, making sure we stayed out of trouble. And we did, most of the time.
And somehow, just like my Mom, she knew where we were and what we were doing, all of the time. If we sneezed, she knew. It made it very difficult to misbehave in our small town, so we just gave up trying. That alone kept me out of more trouble than I like to admit.
She raised 4 children – 3 boys and 1 girl, on her own. She ran a business – a plant nursery that never seemed to close. She is a hard worker, honest in business, loyal to a fault and very much from Tennessee. I love hearing her speak, as her thick accent rolls out. She laughs easily and always has some advice to give this wayward woman.
And even when her daughter and I would have a falling out, as young girls often do, she and I would always speak. She still looked after me.
And when it was time for me to move out of my parents house…I moved across town to a little house she owned, where her daughter and I lived as friends and roommates. She charged us $100 per person to live in that house (oh, how I wish rent was that low now!) She was there with us every day, as the house was on the same property as her business.
She made sure we ate right, studied for school and were generally well behaved. She made sure that we didn’t let any of our friends drive our cars, since we were not the ones who paid the insurance. She would let us know when that house was just too messy for any of her girls. And no boys spending the night, as she would want to know why they were there on her property if she didn’t know them. It also helped that she and my mother were very good friends too.
And then I talked to my old friend from so long ago. Her mother, my 2nd Mom, is dying. Of cancer, and it is too far for any treatment. And what treatments might work, her mother has refused. She is ready to go. And it broke my heart to hear the news.
And so it is, and I am thankful that this wonderful woman has been my second mother, a steadfast friend to my mother, someone who I could always talk to and who echoed my family’s values. And I love her with all of my heart. I will miss her, but am so very glad for the time with her, to say good bye and let her know how much she means to be. And I thank God for her being in my life.
Ada Lamar has been dark for over 6 months as I took a break from this blog. The time away has been wonderful and filled with much magic. Life is filled with long walks, long talks, lots of family, hope, dreams, love, hand holding and wine. There has been much writing, a career I love, meeting great people, making stronger bonds with old friends, midnight gardening by the moonlight, travel, sunburns, house cleaning and warm sheets. Along the way there has been good news, bad news, tears and laughter. Lots of desserts, plans, saying goodbye and many hello’s. Prayers, fights, triumphs, motorcycle rides, roller derbies, boxing, running, playing and working. Sweat equity, painting, organizing, consolidating, planning, building staining hammering, learning and eating.
And every step pf the way, every heartbeat along the road, for everything I have carried and all that I have let go, I am happy and life is good.
And I look forward to writing about many more adventures to come!
I have not been writing as much recently, or in the last few days or so. This is a bit odd to be because I am used to writing and posting almost every day. But something is happening. I am busy enjoying life.
And it occurred to me that sometimes you have to stop writing about life, and start living it in order to have something valuable to write and say later. Sometimes you have to take a break, take a few steps back, gain perspective and just enjoy.
It is different than writers block, because frankly I do have a lot about which to write. But they are things that might seem boring, like how I love to sit and look at the Christmas tree when the lights are off. Or how much I am looking forward to my sister’s visit for her birthday. Or even how thrilled I am that the Christmas presents that I have ordered for loved ones are arriving. Or how much I look forward to going to the formal holiday parties and dressing up, how much I enjoy re-connecting with friends right now, how I am enjoying long slow kisses, my new work space, even getting lost in the new parking deck for 30 minutes (have I mentioned my lack of sense of direction?). How O need to vacuum my house because the dust bunnies are waging war against the tufts of cat hair. How I am enjoying my house plants actually blooming inside, or how much I am looking forward to New Years.
How I am enjoying long looks, happy dinners and much laughter. How it is shopping with friends, finding the perfect dress with the perfect fit, a glass of wine and good conversation, a hot cup of tea, a fire, a long run, crisp mornings, purring kitties, snuggling up to him that is making life just delicious. THat taking a break is not always a bad thing, that it can mean that life is blooming right before your eyes.
I am actually too busy enjoying all of these things to actually take the time to write about them as much as I want. And that may not be a bad thing. It is often what others may find boring that comprises our lives. But that does not mean out lives are boring, far from it actually. Because life is mostly made up of those tiny little moments that may not mean much to others, but mean so much to each one of us individually. Life is all that which we do not write, that makes it so wonderful, mysterious, interesting and beautiful. Life is what happens between the lines.
So here I am, enjoying my spot between the lines. Enjoying the “boring” parts, where everything in my life right now is special, magic and wonderful, and just for me.
Day 24, The Compound: I am thankful for the family compound. Mom and Dad have made this place in the country a little slice of heaven. It is where I go to get away from the city, enjoy nature, be with family, recharge and just be. It is a healing place filled with love.
Day 25, Laughter: This day I am thankful for laughter. There has been much of it as my family gets together for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Day 26, Chocolate: I am thankful for chocolate, one of my favorite foods. It is just yummy and it makes me happy.
Day 27, Peace: Something I am finally finding after a rough year. Peace brings about the ability to be still, to listen, to have Grace and to love. You will be happy when you find peace.
Day 20, My Home: I think I said something about being thankful for having a roof over my head in an earlier post, but this one is different. This is specifically about having a home.
As I was cleaning up a night ago, I looked out over my house and realized something wonderful: it was finally my home. Home, that place that is sacred. That place where we are safe, were we are protected from all that is bad or unpleasant. Home is where we go to recharge. home is where our hearts are safest.
And I look ed around and there were memories in every corner. This is the place where I go to be safe, where my Mother comes to be comforted, where my father comes to heal after treatment, where my nephew comes for quiet time, where my sister comes to take a break and enjoy some tea, where my friends come for laughterand good times, where those I love come for comfort, food and drink. It is Home.
And for that I am thankful.
Bed and blankets: I am also thankful for my wonderful comfortable beds. If I get tired and have trouble sleeping in one, I simply walk across the hall to the other. And then I can snuggle deep down into the warm blankets and drift off to sleep, while my cats purr beside me.
Day 16, my eyesight: I have very bad vision without my contacts, but with them I have better than 20/20 vision. So I am thankful for my contacts and for my eyesight. I am thankful that I live in a time when contact lenses are a possibility.
Day 18, weather: I am thankful for beautiful weather. The weather with weekend has been wonderful, perfect for keeping the windows open in the house and letting fresh air inside while house cleaning. Hard to believe it is November with warmish/coolish sunny days. Perfect for curling up with a warm fuzzy blanket (which I am also very thankful for) and good books (again, for which I am thankful.
Day 19, contract and spell check: I am very thankful my contract has been extended. I love my job, I love where i work and they seem to love me too. I am also very thankful for spellcheck. Even though it might not seem like I use it much on this blog, I use it a great deal professionally. I am a great writer…not a great speller. And sometimes the thoughts pour out of me so fast that my hands cannot type the words fast enough and I have many typo’s. But that’s OK, you guts know what I mean.
I am also thankful for laughter and smiles. long sweet looks, slow kisses and good movies. I am thankful for long conversations, grilled cheese sandwiches, whispers and warm places.
I am thankful for Ranch Dressing, fried chicken and roller coasters. High heels, great boots and bathing suites. Glasses of wine, nail polish and earrings, hot chocolate, egg nog and Christmas trees. Nail clippers and cinnamon, and the smell of dinner cooking on the stove. Hugs, tissues, warm big sweaters and fuzzy socks, playing cards, chess and the Muppets.
Yes, this year I have so much for which to be thankful.
Day 14, Doctors: I am thankful for the doctors who have kept my family healthy and alive. 12 years ago my mother was diagnosed with stage 4+ Ovarion cancer. Last year my father was diagnosed with Liver cancer. Both are still alive and well today, thanks to amazing doctors and a lot of prayer.
Day 15, Coffee: Today I am thankful for coffee. It is the necter of the Gods and it makes me very happy. Coffee keeps me awake and able to not kill people on my drive into work.
According to Dr. Russ Newman, “research has shown that resilience is not an extraordinary thing but is rather ordinary and can be learned by most anyone”.
Relience. The dictionary define resilience as The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy. Resilience is what allows you to maintain a sense of well-being when you deal with the challenge.We have all been through those rough times. The truth is you really don’t know what someone is made of until you see them in the rough times. Anyone can be a great person when things are good and life is easy. And anyone can fake emotionaly stability when the waters are smooth. See someone is rough waters, see them at their worst if you really want to know them.
In the past I have been very resilient, able to get through rough times in a single bound. However, the last six months have been a challenge. When rough times happen, here are some things that help keep your head above water and keep you reslient. Being the research loving person I am, I set out to find the best advice the internet had to offer. and now, I bring it to you. You are welcome.
Take care of yourself:
This one is a hard one for me. Unfortunately sitting at home eating abundant amounts of chocolate and watching B movies does not count as taking care of yourself. who knew?
When we are stressed and going through a rough time, it’s easy to loose sleep, stop exercising and start eating badly. According to research by the Mayo Clinic, those who are physically well are more emotionally equipped to handle stress. So we cannot forget to take care of ourselves. Slow down, spend some time alone, listen to music, take a walk. Exercise releases endorphins into the your body and helps to lift the spirits.
Getting a hobby (or three) is also recommended. Whatever makes you feel happy, fulfilled or gives you a sense of purpose and utilizes your talents. I am getting into crocheting and photography. These are hobbies that I enjoy and for which I have a talent (well, we’ll see about crocheting…). Taking a class or joining a social group will also help you meet new people and get your mind off of your troubles.
Maintain a sense of control:
This one is oh so important, at least to me. Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. Know that you have within yourself all that you need to make decisions that are important to your life. Look deep inside yourself and listen to that little voice inside of you, your gut instict. All that you need to get through, is right there.
When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what’s in front of you. Think about possible solutions, break them down into steps and take baby steps. Martin Seligman, Positive psychology maven, says that a component of resilience is pervasiveness—not allowing a setback in one area to affect another. So keeping it together is a way to maintain control. This means, especially for women, to keep it together at work. Or al least close the door if you are going to get emotional. Never let them see you sweat, or cry. At least go to the bathroom if you don’t have an office.
problem-solving skills and critical thinking are also shown the help keep a person centered and resilient. Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope. These skills are also key to self-esteem, which also plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events.
Strong social connections:
Friends can help you through the rough spots. According tot he Mayo clinic, being able to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient. Those who have an broad support system recover faster from challenges in life. This has been a bit of a challenge for me, as I cut about 90% of my social group in the last year. But the people I have left in my life are solid, loyal and have integrity – and that is worth it’s weight in gold.
Sharing your problems with friends can help lighten the emotional load as we bounce solutions off our friends, get positive feedback or get out of the house and get our minds off of the problem.
See yourself as a Survivor:
You can’t really feel that locus of control unless you feel power to take action. You need to almost immediately feel that you have used your strength to survive something bad. Then tap into that strength to get through the emotional aftermath. Never see yourself as a victim because you loose your sense of control and purpose. You are a survivor, you have strength and courage. Look for ways to solve the problem, or deal with it in the best way possible. Always take the high road and always maintian a level of class. Hold your head up high and know you can and will get through it. While the situation may be unavoidable, you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.
This is a tough one for a lot of people, including me. I like things steady and predictable, but flexibility is an essential part of resilience. Why not see these events and challenges as opportunities to branch out in new direscitons? Learn something more about yourself, your charactor and your depth as a human being. Yes, I am workin gon this too.
How exactly do you adapt to change if you are like me and would rather have a root canal? Psychologists say that people who see change as a challenge and not a threat handle streeses better. In their book The Peace of Mind Prescription, Charney and Nemeroff say, “The hormones released by an appraisal of challenge include growth factors, insulin, and other compounds that promote cell repair, trigger relaxation responses, and stimulate efficient energy use.”
Goals that focus on your strenghts, things that bring you a sense of happiness, calm, satisfaction and fulfilment will help the most. The goals I have set for myself are to 1. Finish and publish my book by the end of the year. 2. Cook new super yummy meals 3. Finish the Fifty Shades of Grey series (which I am struggling with because I am actually getting board with the story). I am also working on writing better blog enteries, as I don’t feel like the latest entries have been very good.
Setting and meeting goals helps with our sense of control and accomplishment during a rough time. It will also boost self esteem.
Yes, you read right. Exercise has been correlated with stronger levels of resilience. So while becoming a couch potato and watching TV all night might be tempting, it isn’t very productive. Exercise relases endorphines into the body which has a positive impacts on one’s mood or the physical health benefits to those who exercise, or both.
If you are a person of faith, it helps to to pray, alot. And just hang in there. Know that the bad times are only temporary. It won’t last and in no time (and a series of babysteps) you will be past it and on to better times.
None of us are immune to rough times, and there are times in life that are jusst going to suck. And we just have to reach deep down and get through them. But these little steps will help shorten the time we are in the dark. and when the dust settles, we will be better, finer and stronger than we were before. Basically, finding Peace is what helps me, so do whatever youhave to do to get it. So dig in and get on with it.
I have often written about those sitcom moments…those moments in life that are just so…embarrassing, bad, funny, weird, ridiculous, that if they happened on TV they would be hysterical? But they are happening in your life so all you can do is roll your eyes and hope one day it will be funny?
I have had many moments like that…like the time I tripped over an atoman in a furniture store, in front a a hot guy, or the time I dropped the pee-cup at a pre-employment drug test – in front of a hot guy. Or the time I was buying a lip gloss and 3 packs of granny panties as a gag gift for my mother, and saw my hot next door neighbor (who did not believe the granny panties were for my mother).
Today was another. I got up early today, got dressed and I looked very nice, if I do say so myself. I had on my hot skinny pants, a sleek sweater, my hair and make up was looking good. I was in a great mood (especially for a Monday), and had a spring in my step. I went the store for my daily cup of coffee. The fact that I had not yet had my first cup of coffee should have been the first red flag. I am a clumsy girl to begin with, mix that with not having had my morning caffeine and anything could happen.
After I mixed the cream and sugar into the wonderful cup of caffeinated goodness, I turned around quickly and….slapped smack dab into a beautiful man who is tall, dark, handsome, and who now had a donut smashed all over his jacket. And all over mine too. As well as a small amount of hot coffee.
Cup of hot, steaming coffee embarrasment, anyone?
This only happens in the presence of really hot, sexy men. If it was a little old lady behind me, this never would have occurred. Hot men are my kryptonite.
The usual apologies were made, as he looked at me like I was a cute alien from another planet. He was nice about it, laughed and said he needed to get his coat cleaned anyway. I am sure I turned 50 shades of red.
Just proof that I am an amazing woman who has it together…until a hot guy is around. At least I wasn’t buying knives.
There is something for which I am looking, searching, reaching. After this weekend I finally know what it is. I am looking to make my life my home. This past year, with my Dad’s health, and all the other upheaval that has been going on, I have pretty much been in survival mode – just gettting through it.
But what does making your life your home mean? To me, it means a place where you are comfortable, that feels good, a place from which you do not want to escape. Everyone will go through rough times, where we really would trade with someone esle for a while, but as a general rule, your life should be where you are happy. And if you are not, it’s never to late to change. You just have to ask, how do you want it to feel?
Yesterday, in addition to writing, I also started cleaning up my house. I changed out all my seasonal clothing and pulled out all of my sweaters, In the process I started cleaning out my closets and my office. So many people have been on my house over the last year…my parents, sister, nephew, friends staying when I was out of town, a couple boyfriends and roommate from Hell. All of them had left stuff, things left behind. Everything ranging from old luggage, to clothes, to computer stuff, to chargers, to pictures, to old shoes, to old paperwork to, just stuff. Because things were so hectic, it was just a stuffing the stuff into a place it would fit for the time being and moving forward.
But at some point we all have to clean out our closets. And it is the same in life. You have to get rid of the old baggage, that old stuff that others have left behind in your soul, your spirit, your life. You must clean out, not only to make room for the great things to come, but also to lighten your load, brighten the mind and just get rid of the crap. And who wants to carry another person’s left over, left behind baggage? Our own baggage is heavy enough.
And that is also a lesson for me in my life. I don’t need to take care of everyone. I have my own problems to deal with, so I cannot deal with everyone else’s baggage too. We must be selfish enough in our life, for our life, to back away and say, “No, this is yours, not mine. Take it to your house and leave it there.” When we are not selfish enough to do that, we end up completely depleted, because we carry their baggage plus your own. That is what I did this past year. No more.
Sometimes, you also have to be selfish and honest enough to say you have nothing to offer another person right now. “Because I am taking care of myself. You can come into my life, but I cannot take care of you.”
So there I was, throwing things away, getting rid of everything that was not needed. But how to tell what should stay and what should go? If it wasn’t mine, if wasn’t not usefull, if it didn’t serve me, if I did not have some sentimental attachment to it – it was thrown out. It really was cathartic. There is still quite a bit to go through, but what I have done is a good start to making my life my home.
I want my life to feel good, happy, and fullfilling. I want it to feel warm, settled, and at Peace. Because I want to feel settled and at Peace. And that is what it shall be. And the rest of the year, will be fantastic, because I am taking care of me and making my life my home – warm, cozy, welcoming, Peaceful and fulfilling.
As I was cleaning out everything in my house, I was thinking of how I used to be when I was younger. One of the things was that I was much more self sufficient. When I was younger, I didn’t want any men in my life. So, I didn’t have a handyman, I didn’t keep boyfriends, and I did not let any man do anything for me, no fixing of things, nothing.
After I came back from New York, all of my friends said that if I wanted to find love, that I needed to open op, let people in, be vulnerable and need. They said that I needed to stop being so hard, soften up a little. And so I did. But I think I did it too much.
So, I am not calling a handyman to fix the things I need done. I am doing it myself. I will move the dreadmill treadmill myself, I will hang the dartboard myself, I will fix the running toilets myself and I will figure out that piece of the garage door myself too. Forget waiting on a guy getting around to it, or finding a boyfriend who is handy around the house so he can fix it for me. I am smart and there is no reason I cannot figure this stiff out myself.
Just don’t be surprised by DIY blogs, because while I am sure I can do/fix all of it, I would be naive to think that me + clumsy + tools would not equal anything less than comedic results.
“Sometimes you have to work at Peace, you have to go and get it. Do what you have to do to find it.”
“In life, you aren’t expected to be sure, you’re expected to pay attention.”
Watching one of my favorite movies as I edit the photos – Spanglish. Beautifully acted, written and shot. Great subtleties. The conversation of a lifetime…
The hike today was deeply what I needed. To be out once again in nature, the air, the everything. I did the hike 3 times…the first time, I took my time and took pictures, enjoying the scenery. The second I pushed myself and my body past the burning muscles and scream thighs. I wanted to yell but instead I just pushed on. I will not quit, I will not stop, I will not break…my will pushing me onward. I ran up the stairs and my body told me I couldn’t but I said I could. The third time was the hardest and I took rest and breaks as my body needed. I listened to my body, weary, tires, shaky legged. But I pushed on anyway, gently coaxing my legs to keep going up the steps.
And each time, as I struggled to reach the top, shaky legged, unsure, weak and weary, I felt the cool wind hit my face and body and felt relief and pride that I had done it. And then after resting briefly, wondered what all the hardship was about? And isn’t it the same in life I suppose? When we are in the middle of it, we wonder just how we can make it through, but then when we have, we wonder why we ever doubted ourselves.
And the hike also taught me just a bit more about patience.
How having been outside, in nature, in the fresh air and pushing my body past what I though it could do, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment. There was also a sense of joy. And there is a spring in my very tires step.
I took lots of pictures, the leaves had already peaked, but they were still beautiful. And I took pictures of people (most of which are not being published). And I wonder who they are what they are going through today, why they are here, what their stories are, what makes them happy or sad, or in love.
I also took pictures of old sheds, roads, flowers and such I saw on the way there. I did feel bad for whoever happened to be behind me as I pulled over several times to run out and take a picture. I really need to take that photography course. Enjoy!
Falcon on view
Me at the Falls today
The reflection and fishing pond at the falls
The reflection and fishing pond at the falls
The reflection and fishing pond at the falls
A boy plays in the stream
A mother and daughter
A family swinging at the top of the falls
Old ladies talking
A cute couple hiking
The road less traveled
One of the confusing signs…which way is the Visitor Center?
Islands in the stream
Beautiful table pavilion where many picnics have taken place.
As we stumbled through it all. We were trusting and weary
We were slow, deliberate, cautious, fast, we were fearful of our own curiosity and need, Want and illusions.
We surprised each other. We were weary of each other. We were excited and torn by each other.
We were looking for each other, crack by crack, bone by bone, inch by inch.
We wanted to believe in each other, not quite knowing each other, but filling in the spaces with our own developments and experiences.
We were drunk in our love and lust for each other, making love in the mornings or by the moonlight. Perfect in our longing, balanced in our time and our space. Arms, legs, hands, holding on and letting go. Moments perfectly enterwined with memoires, leading down a yellow brick road.
We laughed and confessed, but not quite everything, late night on the pillows and in familiar comfortable arms. Visiting those sacred places together, as we felt with our hearts a long the way.
We drove and ate, laughed and cried, we went miles around the planet, going nowhere, sitting on the couch. We talked of plans and thoughts, and Bar B Q.
We were sheets tangled, we were flushed, we were awake and alive at sunrise, bodies warm, we were arched, and folded in, our hearts stained in kisses. We were long looks and smiles, we were hope.
We were broken hearts, and breathless lust, we were perfectly imperfect, exploring our worlds within each other, learning, stumbling, hoping, loving, running, playing, smiling, hoping
We were sunsets and lighting bugs, long hugs and short messages. We were.
We fought, and we were both too weak with love to win, and so we lost and conquered each other’s heart instead.
They are calling it the perfect storm, Sandy, as it is predicted to hit the East Coast early next week. I say prayers for those in the path of the storm. I know many people on the East coast from living in New York for almost 3 years (jeeze, that seems like a lifetime ago). Aside form the fact that it is a hurricane and they are predicting a Billion dollars worth of damage, it makes me think of how much I love when it storms. Indeed, most of the time, when bad weather moves through, it is indeed, the perfect storm. And I love it.
I am a big fan of sunny, warm, wonderful beautiful weather, but there is also something wonderful about when a storm rolls through. I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain and will oftentimes open the windows before going to bed. The smell of the rain is delicious. Then to slowly wake up to the sound of the rain, then drift back to sleep, then slowly wake up, is wonderful too. I love when it rains on a Saturday or Sunday morning. And being kissed in the rain is like a slow motion dream that makes my knees weak. But the best, by far, is making love when it is raining. Hearing the rain against the window pain while in your lovers arms, looking in their eyes. Amazing moments.
And at night, if the lights go out with a power outage, to me was always fun. You get the candles and flashlights, snuggle up in a blanket and just “be.” there are no distractions – no TV, no games, no nothing. And again, to loose power when you are with your partner is an excuse to get close, snuggle and have those late light conversations you wish would never end.
I have been on the water when a storm has come in, and that is truly amazing. To watch the lighting dance across the water is magnificent, and a reminder of God and Nature’s power. When you are on the water, many times you hear the storm rolling in before you can actually see it. Sound carries on the water, so you hear the drops hit and it gets louder as the storm gets closer. Then you may start to see the lighting, feel the wind, smell the rain and taste the moisture as it is coming. It’s hardto describe, but if you have ever felt it, it’s a tangible change that you sense in your bones and you just know.
Maybe I also love the rain because it washes everything away, and when it is done, all is clean and green. A metaphor for the soul, so let it rain and wash away all the old, all the worn, all the dust and dirt away.
I remember as a little girl, my father and I sitting outside, watching the sky light up and dance with lighting bolts during electrical storms, or just as a bad storm was blowing in. I guess that began my fascination with storms. Even now, I have a hard time staying in, or not being glued to a window watching the sky. I hope to be a good enough photographer to photograph lighting one day.
And as I check the weather forecast in my area, I let out a sigh – 0% chance of rain for the next 10 days. Oh-well, I guess I will just have to settle for the wonder and beauty of the full moon with clear skies on Monday.
A passage from C.S.Lewis from his book The Four Loves:
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell…We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it. What I know about love and believe about love and giving ones heart began in this.
.Aaron Manley Smith wrote: “The hard part I’ve had to learn, as a man, when we truly love someone, is that, there comes a moment when we have to choose to humbly and peacefully take the beating because they need something to beat and you’re the only thing that will take it and turn it into the love they so desperately need and have been denied…”
Love is a word that inspires and haunts us. It is one of the most powerful things that drives us in our lives – love of a partner, of friends, the love of a parent to a child. What would we not do for love?
I don’t know the answer to that question. Or maybe I do. I will not become bitter, even in the throws of a broken heart. I will not close myself up, I will not put myself in the “casket” of Hell. The same love that God gives to me, flows through me and it must not stop there. It must be given to others – friends, family, and children. Contrary to the fairy tales, love is not always easy. It should not always be hard, but it often is. Because we are, as humans, imperfect and jagged. And we will inevitable hurt each other.
I prayed for something larger and bigger than myself to build. Something that was more important than just me. I had no idea how God might choose to put it in my life to answer that prayer, but at the cornerstone of it, I think, is Love.
But it is not easy, and it is not going to be easy. I face many hardships, questions and struggles in the future. Can I do this? Myself? Maybe I can’t, but Love can. Love will find a way. And on those days when I feel like I can’t, when my knees are shaking, my heart breaking, my soul hurting, Love can carry me though.
I must trust that love will find it’s way into my cracks and crevices, to make me stronger, as rusted and ragged as I currently feel.
Like one of my best Friends Rex writes of those hard times, they lead to a rich life, with love, heartache, the good, bad and ugly. But it is real and it is what life is all about. And I would rather take a chance at loving someone and live a life of those missed opportunities, even when it doesn’t work, than be so closed up and untrusting, that I miss the greatest loves of my life. For that is no life at all.
And when you love someone, you allow them their days and their faults. I have seen this with my own parents, married 45 years in November, There have been times when my father was angry, and lashed out at my mother, and vise-versa. When you love, you absorb those faults as if they are your own, because you love. You give, you take, you absorb, you love. You don’t get scared because some views or opinions are different than yours. If everything was the same, it would be very boring. And if it is that shallow, then it is not love at all. For love is deep.
As long as the core values are the same – family, faith, partnerships, morals, integrity – then that is half the battle. The other half is finding someone who will accept you faults and who you do not mind “taking a beating from” as Aaron Manley Smith says. Because you are open to love and getting hurt is part of it. If you are open to the joy, then you must be open to the pain. It is as it must be, there is not one without the other. No one is perfect. We all have bad days, we all get into fights, we all have doubts, some days more than others.
And on those other days, it must be love that carries us through. Love for ourselves, love for another, love for friends, love for family, love for children
And we carry that love in our hearts and in our soul:
i carry your heart with me
By e e cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
We all have those goals that we want to accomplish. We all have our little ways to keep those goals in mind, in front of us. One of the ways that I keep motivated and keep my eye on the prize so to speak is to have a goal board. One of my best friends and I started this several years ago. I would go to her house, we would have a few bottles glasses of wine and start pasting away at the goals, hopes and dreams we wanted for the upcoming year. And usually, everything on the board is accomplished by the end of the year.
And this is the traditionally the time when I look at such things and start planning for the next year. Last year I did not make a goal board or really reflect on the year past because too many things were happening and I was trying to just keep up and keep my head above water in many ways. And this year has felt that way too. But no more.
The hard times are over, now it is just a task of reaching that balance which i seek. A little bit of work, and it should come. So tonight I started putting the goal board together. And so far it is looking good. I have many plans for the next year, many hopes, many dreams, many things that I want to accomplish and do. And they will all be on the board.
Things like, i want to go zip lining again, as it was so much fun. I want to bake, knit. take a photography class (have to figure out where), I want to take a few weekend trips and one vacation, somewhere warm. I want to garden more this year, have pretty flowers blooming. I want to make new friends, have much laughter, stories that are told, funny moments, sweet moments, perfect moments. I want to make wonderful memories this year.
This is the 2nd year that I will not have anything about love and romance on the board. I used to have a large part of the board dedicated to love, and then I noticed that while everything else seemed to work out and get done one the board, the love and romance section never did. A friends response was, “Of course not, because that has to do with another person, everything else is just yourself.” So now, I stick to everything that is me.
But the truth is that I do want love, and everything that comes with it. I want long, slow kisses in the rain, and in the snow. Snuggles and movies on the couch, slow dances in the living room, or the kitchen, or even the grocery store (I do love going to the grocery shopping with whoever I am dating). I want hand holding and gazing in my eyes, all gooey. I want great pillow talk (because that’s the best) and lat night conversations. But mostly, I want to get to slowly get to know a good man. A man who is honest and has integrity. A great sense of humor, sarcastic, funny, dependable and stable, a good kisser, and great in bed too. (I want it all and yes I am worth it).
In addition to the personal goals I have of Grace, Wisdom and Patience, I am also working on being moire careful with my words. I can be a bit cruel with words when i am upset or especially hurt. That is part of what I am working on as well. When I am upset, hurt or mad, I really need to step away from the computer keyboard. Again that comes from defensiveness, insecurity and not wanting to be hurt again.
So as I complete the goal board in the next few days, I am excited about what the new year has to offer, and even what the resat of this year has to offer. The bad times are behind me now, so now it is just a matter of getting my feet under me emotionally. It’s just a matter of getting a pumpkin and carving it. Just a matter of baking wonderful warm, baking goodies for friends. just a matter of laughter, wine, friends and enjoying sitting by a fireplace. It is jut a matter of enjoying the best that life has to offer.
Because happiness is a decision. And I am deciding that I will have a great, wonderful, amazing rest of the year…and beyond.
What defines us? As people? As humans? As individuals? I don;t think that there is one thing that can define a person, as we are all multi-layered and complex. Flawed. Good and bad. We are, in fact, made up of may definition, just as we are made up of many parts. As just as our parts, we are for more rich that just the sum…because along with all of our parts and definitions, there is an intangible quality that is brought with the whole of us.
That which defines us, is liquid. It can change at any time, because we ourselves, are so multifaceted that we may also seem liquid. The Truth is, it just depends on which angle and light from which you catch the view.
I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a lover, a co-worker, a girlfriend, an enemy, a stranger, a driver, an actor, a model, a girl, an American, a Southerner, and human, a sing-in-the-shower-er, a klutz, a romantic, a procrastinator, a spectator…and too many more too list. Ands what you see me as, depends as much as your view as it does the angle in which you see me.
There are things in my life, that I have done, in which I am proud, and there are things I have done which I am ashamed. I have gone back and read the hand-written story of my life in the pages of my journal, in my own handwriting, and cried, been proud, been terrified, been ashamed, been happy and been sad at what I read. There are times I really wanted to know the person in those pages, and times when I hated her. And they are all what defines me…and more.
And maybe that is it, our definition is a combination of our experiences, thoughts, beliefs, personality, views and opinions, as well as all those of what others think and view of us. Certainly there is not a single person who is liked or loved by everyone. And who one person would say is a saint, certainly someone else may say is the devil. It all depends on the definition others see us by as well.
But maybe the most important definition is that which we give to ourselves. And tat which we strive to reach. I want top be better. I strive to be less defensive, more open, have more Grace and patience, have more compassion. I pray that I worker harder and be more engaged and a better friend to those who love me. And work hard to e a better writer and deeper explorer of the human condition. And I strive to reach more depth of understanding in my dealing and comprehension of others.
And I pray, that I never stop adding definitions of who and what I am.
It is a term that we here quite often. Let go. Just breath and let go. Exhale. It is letting go of control of a situation and letting is develop as it will. We all know that is what we are supposed to do in life. Do what we can, then let go and let it happen.
For me this is very hard to do as I am just not used to it. I have to be very assertive in my life – I am a writer and any contracts I get or freelance jobs I do, I am the one who must go out and get them. And when I get a great corporate contract, I must be assertive to get my job done. Learn fast, write it well, talk to SME’s.
And even in my family, I am the doer. They depend on me to find out the information, to get to the bottom of whatever to is, they rust me to take care of it. And I do. Add to this the fact that I have been on my own for 20 years now. Everything I have , I have had on my own. I am determined. And in my life it has been that if I don’t do it, it won;t get done.
So, how in my personal life, can I just let go? And not do or assert?
I don’t know. I am learning and trying it now. But it is hard. It takes trust…trust in those around you, trust in God and Faith in Him. I takes Grace. It takes patience. And I am a patient woman, as long as I know it will all turn out the way I want. But when I don’t know is when it’s hard. But then we get to a point where we must exhale. We have been holding our breath and holding on…and then we must let go. We say our prayers and put in in God’s hands.
But letting go does not mean walking away. Quite the contrary. It just means you recognize that you cannot force the heart. So you let go, pray, hope, have patience and Grace. And you know, eep down, that all is as it should be.
Over the last few weeks, I have been wondering how people get through the rough spots in their lives. We all have those rought times, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a break up, loss of a job, or a thousand other life situations. And when those things happen, how do we get through? I think it depends largely on the person. Some get quiet, some gtr loud, some stay in, some go out, some work, some travel. The possibilities are endless.
How do I get through? A combination of ways. The first thing I do is throw myself into my work. I remember when I went through the worst break up of my life in 1997. I was producing and co-hosting a morning show at the time. And I went into over drive…I litterally worked from 5am to 7pm. The result was a great morning show that went from #5 to #1 in ratings…but at the end of it I was exhausted. I also did theater during that time and was on stage from 7pm-11pm at night. Looking back I am not sure exactly when I slept. But that show won awards too.
And no doubt that is what I have done once again, as I get another promotion with the promise of more to come.
I internalize a lot of things, something I have worked very hard to get away from. And I think I may need to go back to, just a bit. No one wants to be around someone who is a mess all over the place. So the secret, at least for me, is when to let it out and when to keep it all in. Something about balance, maybe? I think so.
And speaking of balance, because I throw myself into work and such, I end up moving at a break neck speed. That is not always good. I want to be in constant motion during those times. But sometimes, when it is about balance, you need to slow down and just be.
And maybe that is where I am now. The stress and hard times have come to close…now what? I don’t have to run so fast anymore, I don’t have to move so much so quickly. I don’t have to be tough now. I can just be quiet and just be. I can shed that old skin, and be new. And I can learn to be still once more. And if we are both lucky, there will be someone with which to be still and enjoy that stillness; light, simple and deep.
It is time to settle down and make my my life my home.
THis songs expresses how I feel about life at this moment. Great song and great melody.
“That’s what every relationship should be like. That you could go through one of the worst things that could happen to anyone, and still have your partner unquestionably support you.” – Taylor Morris
When you are about someone, you act a certain way toward them. You are there for them when they are scared, lonely, sad or going through a rough time. You are there for them when they are happy, excited, joyful and successful too. And they, in a perfect world, are there for you too in return.
And that is what you do when you care for each other; you are there for each other. And I am very lucky with the wonderful friends I have in my life. So many of them have called, text messaged, emailed and Facebooked, making sure I am OK, asking if I need anything, if I want them to come over and stay with me so I can sleep better, or offering to let me stay with them and sleep.
They are there if I want to talk, or if I just don’t want to be alone. And even when I don’t need anything, there they are, letting me know that they care, that they are thinking of me and that they are around if I do need anything.
Even though I am strong and tough, I am human. I am dealing with a tough situation. And I am blessed to have so many wonderful people who care about me, who are there for me, who understand you can be strong, and still need.
And that can be a misconception sometimes it seems. That strong people never need anything. That strong people are never afraid. That strong people never get spooked, that strong people never cry. That strong people can just be left alone and do not require any kind of care. That strong people never need to be held. That strong people do not need comfort and succor. That strong people do not need compassion and understanding and empathy.
Yes, strong people do.
It is very hard for me to ask for help, always has been. And these wonderful people in my life offer help without me having to ask. That is Grace.
So thank you for all those wonderful friends. Thank you for your love and your support.
We all have those things and times in life where our concentrated effort must go to other things, then when energy and time is free again life opens up with new possibilities.
And it is with this new hope that I take a breath, long, drawn out, close my eyes. Slowly inhale…hold for just a few seconds…slowly exhale.
And get ready for all the possibilities waiting for me and I get back to my life. The past year seems to have had a giant Pause button on life. Not that I have not accomplished a lot, or had a lot to deal with – a better job, lots of freelance work, almost completed my book, have auditions coming in, read several books, helped with my father, taken several trips and lived in a lot of love. And dealt with legal issues and won.
Now, it is time to get back to the rest of my life. Enjoying time with my wonderful Dad. Being a great aunt to my nephews and a good sister to my sister. Spending time with friends, catching up over long talks. walks and laughter.
And love, it is time to get back to love, holding hands and gooey looks at each other.
It is time to celebrate fall and the cool weather, and enjoy the first chilly night where you need a sweater.
Time to get back to loving my job and being the best writer I can be with out distractions.
And I want to have that nice, wonderful quiet life…with some great adventures. Travel, long weekends, snuggling by a fire, lots of friends and celebrating being settled in life.
And being the girl. Painting my nails, fixing my hair, wearing lacy things and just being held. For a really long time. Feeling safe and sound. Because I am a girl.
This summer has been so hot, with triple digits or close, for several months. Now, in September, it is starting to cool off. Highs during the day in the low 80’s, lows at night in the 60’s. Finally cool enough to fall asleep at night with the windows open. I feel like I have not only had to endure being cooped up inside all winter, then for this almost unbearable hot summer. I moved the Dreadmill treadmill out of the garage and inside in front of the fireplace (it’s not like I’ll need fireplace).
Tired of staring at the walls and itching to be outside, I decided to take a hike.
Driving listening to Simon and Garfunkle, which is perfect tree hugging, nature loving, go hiking music. The drive was a little over an hour outside of Atlanta, windows down, radio up, my longish hair with the wind blowing through it. It was perfect. When I was younger I would drive just for the joy of it, when gas was less than $1 a gallon. I once drive 1000 miles in one day. And so I drove into the country, passing intersections with names like Settledown Road and Knockem Out Drive. Past old sheds and antiques stores, past Bar-B-Q eats and places to buy country jellies and jams. Past the pumpkin patches, horse farms and pastures.
I have been to some of the most wonderful restaurants like The 4 Seasons and Ritz Carlton, been flown in private jets to little islands…but the one place that gives me the most peace is being out in nature. Trees, birds..it is life. I have lived in NYC and Atlanta, but the best place in the world is the country. And what better way to honor God on a Sunday?
And so I arrived at this wonderful spot, one of my favorite places to hike, Amicalola Falls. And I hiked, I saw birds and bugs, trees, flowers, streams and water falls. And I saw God. And while I walked I saw the wonder of my life. All the little miracles, small though significant, in the world. And I was grateful.
And as I hiked, I let it all go. All the hurt and disappointment of the past. All the fear of the future. All the insecurities, the doubts, the heart-wretching anxiety. I let it all go, as I huffed up the steep hills, ignoring the burning in my calves. I let it all go, all that I had carried. All the heartbreak with my Dad and his health, all the legal stress, all the work worries, all the relationship issues, all the tears, all the everything that can never be written or read.
Anyone who has hiked Amicalola Falls is familiar with the trail leading up to the top…and the 600 steps to get there. Yes, that’s 600. As in 175 steps on the first pass, 425 on the second pass. So, after hiking steeply uphill for a mile, I hiked up those 600 steps. I am a runner, and I ran 2 miles just the night before, but these steps were a challenge. But there is something delicious in pushing your body. And indeed, as my thighs burned, sweat dipping down in parts I forgot I had, and breathing hard, I went up, and up, and up higher still. Determined, I pushed forward, determined to push the “I can’t do this” out of my head.
And I shed the layers of all I was holding onto. It was as if I unzipped myself and walked out. And when I reached the top, winded and out of breath, I somehow felt lighter. And indeed I was. Looking out at the top, feeling the wind against my skin, breathing the fresh air and feeling the warm sunshine, I was giddy in the fact that I had made it, shaky legs and all.
Needless to say, hiking back down was much easier than the way up, which is almost always the case in life. I went down those 600 steps without tripping, even once, which for those who know me, is almost unbelievable. And I have decided that this Fall, there should be many hiking trips, fall festivals, pumpkins and fresh air.
And so it is with this fall season. The year is wrapping up and after climbing treacherous hills and mountains, I am finally on the journey down. I can finally start to relax and let the lightness of letting go carry me downhill. Trust, comfort, love, Family, Faith, patience, compassion and kindness carry me. And slip my hand into another to share in the wonderful momentum of Fall.
I’m learning that within our own imperfections we find the greatest truths, unconditional love, appreciation and a mirror of who we really hope to be on the inside on good and bad days. – Jennifer Jo Clark Singleton
I have long written about our faults, how they make us beautiful, human, complicated, deep and of course, flawed. One of the things these imperfections also do is help us find those greatest truths, not only about ourselves, but others in our lives. Within our own flaws, we can see a deeper.
It’s easy for others to like us and even for us to like ourselves on the good days. But what about the bad days? Those days when we know we are short tempered, overly emotional, angry, irritable, impatient and just bitchy. When we are tired, hurt, frazzed, discouraged, insecure and un-pretty. Those days when we really want to be the super hero we try to be, but just can’t seem to find the energy. We are human and that is not always pretty.
Those people who love us anyway see us on a deeper level, because they see us even when we are not proud of ourselves. It’s all part of really getting to know someone, faults and all, from the inside out, from the soul to the toes. When we see that person is not perfect, they suddenly become real and are no longer 2-demensional. They are suddenly human, like us. Within our own imperfections we find God, Grace, compassion, comfort and healing.
I am going to have those bad days, as are you and everyone else in the world. Because we are human. We will lose our tempers, say the wrong things, lash out and just get irritable. Then we think about what was done or said and find our deeper selves. We feel remorse, and we apologize. we rebuild, we re-trust. We try and in trying, we become better – on those good days and even when we fall short on the bad days.
Within our imperfections, we strive to be better.
And within our flaws we can realize our dreams as well. We strive and work hard toward making the “Me” we want to be, with the lives we want to have, reality.
I want to take long walks down roads and trails with yellow and red leaves. I want to make delicious meals in a big kitchen with an island. I want to have friends over and drink wine on the deck or patio. I want a yard in which children can play and I want laughter and love running down a hallway leading into bedrooms full of toys and fairy tales. And I want someone with which to share those wonderful things. Someone to laugh with, kiss at midnight and talk into the early hours. Someone whose flaws I can live with, and who can somehow, see the deeper treasure in the real 3-dementional me.
So I strive, everyday to be better. And when I fall short, as I will, I find comfort in the compassion and understanding of the hand that takes mine, the voice that says it is OK, the smile that re assures me that being human is just fine because I am in good company. And as I look in the mirror, as I look out to my friends and loved ones, and see them bare souled with imperfections too, I know it is true.
We all have those times where the waters are so rough, you would think you are about to face a tsunami. Last week was that week for me. It was a rough week punctuated with ripple effects, lots of tears, high emotions and personal struggles not to be written about in a public forum. It was a week of learning, feeling, losing and gaining. Heartache multiplied and returned to me in Joy a thousand times over.
And then, this week, this day, there is calm. There is calm as I take a breath and take rest and refuge in the love of those who have sent encouragement, love, support, kindness, compassion, thoughts and prayers. As I let myself rest, closing my eyes and feeling the soft lull of the calm waves of life beneath me, I am so very thankful.
Thankful for the many blessings I have been given this week and last. Celebrating my father’s 76th birthday, when just a short while ago we thought we would lose him forever. My mother’s health returning, the legal struggle against my crazy ex finally coming to a close, seeing wonderful dear friends, feeling their arms around me in a true embrace that says I love and miss you, another promotion, another project, sincere hugs, soft hopefull kisses and a heartfelt reconciliation, are just a few things on the list of which to celebrate and be thankful.
And tonight, as I lay down to rest, and sleep takes me, I will dream soft sweet dreams of the future, of smiles, of laughter, of love, of friendship, of life. And I will enjoy basking in the sun of the calm after the storm.
And in this calm, a life will be built that is strong enough to endure the next storm when it comes ashore.
We all have those friends. You know the ones, they help us put things into perspective and tell us when to – the the immortal words of Cher in moonstruck) Snapoutofit! I had dinner with one of my best friends tonight and that is exactly what she did.
After was talked about the past few days. We talked about the hows and the whys of the whole thing. This whole anniversary thing caught me completely off guard. And I think I spent a large portion of the other night crying over the wedding veil because I never thought about or knowledge the loss of the dream of the wedding. It all happened, then the wedding stuff was given the charity and the veil packed up. And that was it. Then all of the sudden, it all hit me. Wow.
And then, after discussing and giving proper time to the subject, she preceded to tell me to basically, put my big girl panties on and get a grip. “You are damn lucky that you did not get married that day,” She said. “God showed favor on you. If you had gotten married, your life would be a Hell you cannot even imagine. And what if you got pregnant? You would literally be having the spawn of satin.”
“Think of how many women got married last September and will be miserable this September,” She continued. “I can understand you having some moments that caught you off guard, but you are a strong minded woman, you come from a strong minded family, and this aniversay can be whatever you want it to be. Your mind controls your emotions, not the other way around.”
I just stared at her for a moment..or two, and let that all sink in.
And she is right. We all have times when we are just an emotional mess, but we do have a choice. Once I know why I am such a mess, I can choose how to handle it. I can be am emotional mess, or I can put on my big girl panties get myself together. That is not to say that I won’t have some moments, or I won’t feel a pang. but I do not have to fall apart. I might even…want to celebrate a little.
I have had two days of crying. And I probably needed the emotional release. But the rest of the week is mine, and it can be whatever I want. So I have a lot to do for the rest of the week. I have a job that I love that just gave me another promotion. I will have a house full of people, I have man to repair things with and family to see. That’s quite a bit.
Life is messy, and many times hard. It is those hard times that polish us into beautiful shiny works of art. One foot in front of the other.
So, I go forth with my big girl panties on. And thank God for my wonderful friends. Sometimes we need that kick in the pants, that friend who loves is enough to support us, yet not let us slide into a pity party. So I breath and release. I have Faith. And I know, even in those moments that may find me, it’s OK, and on my terms.
When you go through a very hard time, you often lean on your friends and loved ones for support. That is part of what they are there for, to help and support you when you need it. No man is an island. A wonderful thing has happened this week and it is only Tuesday. This week has shown me that I have more love and support than I could ever imagine.
Love, support, compassion, understanding. Those are just a few of the things that I have experienced thus far. There have been calls, text messages, emails, visits and more. They truly say you really know who your friends are when the going gets tough, this is very true and I have learned I have many more than I ever thought possible.
Every person I thought would be supportive, except for one, has been. And there have been so many more I thought would not notice, who have taken special care to check in, to make sure I am ok, to ask if anything is needed, to offer a hug, or a shoulder, or some wine, or chocolate or dinner. Even offers to just sit quietly with me, so I simply do not have to be alone.
I wrote earlier that this week would be about love…indeed it is, though not in the way I originally thought. And girls, those people who aren’t there for you? Don’t worry about them. If they are not willing to be there for you in the bad times, then they are not the kind of people you want in your life long term anyway. Marilyn Monroe said: “If you cannot handle me at my worst, then you sure as Hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
With this is mind, we must also have compassion for others as well, just as we ask it for ourselves. It is possible that some of those who are conspicuously absent may be going through a rough time of their own. So handle on a case by case basis to be fair.
So I move through this emotional week, knowing without a doubt, that I am loved. I know that I will be OK, not just because I am strong, but because of all those around me who have me in their arms. Teary eyed, puffy cheeks, red nose and all. And I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
We all have those times in our lives that remind us of how much love is around us at any given moment and how lucky we truly are to have who we have in our lives . It may be a quiet moment when we realize this, it may be in a room full of our best friends and family.
This week is sure to be a very busy one, as getting ready for a long holiday weekend usually is. But this seems to be even more so for me because this coming week .many of my best friends will be converging in my life and space. It was not planned like this originally, it just happened. A friend is getting married, so my dearest friends are coming into town. And we will all be together, laughing, drinking, eating and remembering.
And then there is my family. They will be close as well. My fathers 76th birthday is coming, and will all celebrate the fact that he is still around and will be now for quite someone time. My best friends in the world are coming into town and it will be wonderful to see them. And as I look around it dawns on me, not only do I have all the love and happiness I could want, but so do all those around me that I love so much. My best friends are happy and loved, as is everyone in my family.
I was watching the first Sex and the City Movie last night, and at the end, all of the girls had found the places where they were happy, loved and glowing. And that is how I feel now. There is not a single part of my life that I do not love and about which that I am not completely thrilled over. And it will be a week long celebration of love.
There are those wonderful long talks with my friends on the phone, the long talks over wine with laughter and talk of things to come. Making dinner for my nephew and seeing his face as he eats home cooked food prepared with love. It is talking with him about his classes and his roommates, find out all about his life as a college student. It is talking with my best friends about plans for the future, or simply about the day they have had.
It is all those wonderful moments that make me realize how blessed I am. It is taking a new dance class and meeting new people. It is pushing my body to new levels and being determined that I will be able do it. It is writing that big piece for work and knowing when i turn it in to my manager, that it is a great piece.
It is the new touch of crisp in the air, for the first time this season, that lets me know that fall, in all of it’s deliciousness, is on it’s way. It is the promise of cooler nights, and days, and fall festivals soon to come. . It is the smell of pies and jellies. It is the slight breeze that gently moves my hair across my face as I am walking to my car, and deciding to drive with my air conditioning off, and the windows down.
So if I am absent for a bit, it is because I am drowning in the delirious happiness of love – from my friends, from my family, from life. Yes life. I love my life. And as I look around at all the new fall fashions, I realize that I am dressed, head to toe, in Love.
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