The Blessing of a Broken Heart

It is a blessing to have a broken heart. It is a blessing to cry rivers, even oceans of tears.  It is a blessing to feel loss so deep that you wonder if you can even breath.

This may sound ridiculous.  But to me it means that I have truly loved enough to feel that loss.  My mother and I were very close.  And her passing has left a terrible loss in my life.  But I would not trade that loss for anything.

Because it is attached to my wonderful childhood, to being taught silly songs when I was little, being read to, being made to do my homework. It is attached to hot chocolate on a night when I could not sleep, and too many hugs to be able to count.

Heartbreak and heartache never get easier.  Losing those you love never gets easier. But no one said that life would be easy.  That was never promised to us.  And when our heart is breaking, is it not because whoever it was gave us joy and love?  The amount of joy and love conversely reflects in the amount of the pain.

So let it rain. Let the floods wash my soul and heart clean, let the love of those I have lost carry me through. And let the love of those who are in my life now fill in the cracks, so that all my pieces are put back.

So if it hurts because I loved them so much, then that is OK. I want to love. That is part of living a full life. And that is the blessing of a broken heart.

The Peace of the House

I done been through too much hell and high water to come there and let you come up in my adult life where I’m supposed to be at peace and give me all sorts of hell. There’s only two places on earth that you’re gonna have peace: the grave and your house. If you can’t walk up in your house and you ain’t got no peace, then something’s wrong.   – Medea, Tyler Perry’s Medea Goes to jail

When I first saw a clip from that Tyler Perry movie, it was like big light bulb went off. If you can’t walk up in your own house and have peace, then there is something wrong.

I have never understood why people let others make their house a place of unpeace and unhappiness. But you must also have peace within yourself and that is hard to do, even impossible, if you don’t have peace in your home. We have all encountered people who will put up with just about anything to hear someone say they love them.  We’ve all known people who seem to have a never ending stream of unrest in their life and are always miserable because they won’t let go of those who are making them miserable. And their life will continue that way until they take purposeful steps to have peace.

How do you get it? I think it is a process really, or at least it was for me. First, I let go of those who were causing unrest in my life.  Anyone who upset calm waters had to go.  But even more than that, because sometimes I can be dense, I had to realize that there was a reason when someone did not return to my life. Bad things happen when we try to force it – love, friendships, jobs, and careers, whatever.  And there is a reason why sometimes people just fade away. It’s usually because that person no longer serves you – that’s the nice way to say it.

In real life, it means that your mentality no longer matches theirs, or your values no longer align and staying with them can cause you harm. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. It doesn’t mean they are a bad person either, or maybe they are and you just haven’t seen it yet. I have an ex-boyfriend who is a great guy, aside from the fact that he is completely crazy and very unstable (thus why he is an ex).  We kept in touch for a few years, but then just faded out of each other’s lives. I decided to keep it that way because, while he is not a bad person,  I do not want that unstable element in my life.

When another friend came to visit me recently, she said she could tell that I was at peace because she could feel it in my home. I had not thought about it before then, but she was right. I am at peace. And that permeates through every part of my life, especially my home.

My wonderful happy little home, stuffed with love and furniture, cats and aloe plants. A place where I go to rest and be protected from the world, a sacred space for those I love most. I have long said, that which gives you peace will make you happy. You cannot have one without the other. And indeed it is true.

The In of the Move

We all have those big life events that get us excited, make us think, plan for our future, make plans, put away the past, look forward or just remind us of how great life can be.  This weekend, it is that fact that my boyfriend and I have moved in together.  Huge step in the relationship and life in general.  The idea of sharing my space with another has been, well, scary.  But not so much with this wonderful human being.
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And as with most life events, there is much work to be done.  As a woman who has been on her own for twenty (yes 20) years,  It has been about 11 years since I cleaned out my closets, cabinets and drawers.  Yes, there have been Mini-cleanings” where I didn’t want to pack things for a move, but a serious, if-you-haven’t-used-it-in-X-years cleaning out?  Not so much…
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It is said that going through your old unused things is cathartic, and I have to agree.  You see items that have been buried away, deep in boxes, and the emotions and memories along with them.  And something else happened too. I realized, over the past 4-5 years, just how ragged my life had been. The proof was right there in front of me, in the ragged way clothes had just been thrown on hangers, un-straight (yes that is a word in my dictionary), disheveled and worn.  Things had holes in them that I just shrugged off, prized dresses and such wrinkled and jammed up.
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It has only been in the past year that life has been settled and good enough to breath again. Before that it was rushing from one crisis to the next as I took care of family, pets and myself.  And as my boyfriend separated the sets of good sheets and towels from the worn, torn, and ragged sets, I was reminded of just how torn and ragged I had become after those years as well.
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Taking care of all others and not having anything left for myself. When that happens you simply settle for what is the closest, easiest thing.  You work hard for others, and afterward the energy left is barely enough to get the basics for yourself.  You are running on empty – fumes and prayers. And that is what I did.  Wrapped up in tattered hopes and dreams, having left pieces of me; of my heart, mind, body and soul, along the path I had traveled.
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It is amazing to me, how some things only become apparent when they are literally staring you in the face. Making sure I was surrounded by pretty seemed irrelevant when taking care of so many. Taking care of myself, taking time for small little things that made me smile was so far away.  It was more along the lines of put my head down, nose to the grindstone and do what needs to be done.  There was no time or energy for pretty.
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And now my closet has what is whole and good.  Sheets are whole and good, so are the towels.  My boyfriend reminds me every day that I should be surrounded by pretty every day.  What a beautiful thing to say.  And so it goes.
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After a year of rebuilding it is now that I find myself whole again.  And when you are whole, you can truly get rid of that which is tattered and worn, because that is no longer who you are.  You have evolved further than your past can take you.  And you must shed the skin of your old self because it is too tight and small.  I never knew, never thought that moving in with someone would teach me these things. What a wonderful discovery.
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The other part of moving in together is figuring out how the furniture will blend.  I have a full 4 bedroom house!  Well, three bedrooms and a huge office.  We have to figure out which dining room table, breakfast table, desks (I have 3) and chairs stay and which leave.  And as we went through the kitchen, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to compromise – as never before have I ever allowed someone else in “My kitchen.”  Like mother like daughter…
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And it seems symbolic of making a life with another, as it is a gentle weaving of thoughts and styles, meshed together to make one beautiful life.  Letting go of old fears, to make room for new hopes. For me it is exciting to have a partner, not just someone taking up space, or using for as much as they can get. This is a person with whom to build.  And all those fears are outdated, just like the worn out clothes and towels.
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And so it goes, the weaving in and out of life, the building, piece by piece, as we sort though what is to be kept and what to let go. And the load is lighter.

The Road to Happiness

Recently it has come to me…I am happy. Beyond happy actually. I am blissful.  After a lot of hard work, life is wonderful.  I have a job I love, a lot of freelance work, a wonderful relationship with an incredible man, my family is healthy and life in general, is great.

There is travel this year – a trip the Bahamas this month, a family trip to Belize, a few trips to the beach, and a few out of town wedding.  There is also a wonderful family reunion with all of my siblings that I am so thrilled with and excited to have happen.

And it is all about love.  When you make your decisions with love, when you set your intentions on love instead of fear, magic happens.  I promise you.  Love in my family, love in relationships and love of life.

I have long since said that which gives you Peace will make you happy.  And life is peaceful. And wonderful. And loving.

iIt has been a long, hard road. And I have walked barefoot, in the snow, uphill – both ways…but here I am. Not just traveling on the road to happiness, but it seems to be where I have taken up residence.  And it feels delicious.  Yes, this Spring, this summer, will be spectacular.

The Secret on My Success

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand

Many times people see a successful person and which they themselves could accomplish such things.  In my life, I have has many successes, and many failures.  I think the two really do go hand in hand.  Because you have to be willing fail brilliantly to succeed brilliantly. When people ask me about success, I tell them what has worked for me. These are my secrets:

Faith and Prayer:  Pray and have faith that those prayers will be answered.  It may not be what you expected, but you will get an answer.  And have faith that the answer is what is best and work with it.  You really don’t have a choice but to work with it anyway.

In my career, as well as in my personal life, every one of my prayers have been answered. And there have been many prayers, tear stained cheeks or just needing guidance.  And don’t forget to say thank you.

Hard work:  There is a saying that many people are afraid of success because it looks an awful lot like hard work. There is no way around it, you have to work very hard if you want to succeed and anything.  You must have a sick work ethic and be determined to go through as many Nos as you have to to find that one YES that you need.    If you don’t work hard, you will never make it.  But you get to play hard too.

Help People:  I owe a lot of my success to the fact that I will help anyone I can if they ask for it.  This means help them find a job, give career advice, tell them who to contact for what if I don’t know the answer.  You have to help people, because people have helped you.  No matter who you are or what you have done, you did not get anywhere without someone believing in you enough to give you a chance.  You can be the best and hardest worker, but if no one gives you a chance, you are not going anywhere.

You also want to help others because people help those who help others.  And we all need help at some point.  Miss Karma can be a bitch, so make it pleasant when she visits.  Which leads to the last secret…

Giants:  I have been successful because I have had the privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants.  The people who have had faith in me an helped me along the way…I could not have done it without them.  They have taught me, coached me, given me contacts, supported and helped me when I have had nothing to give in return, believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and just been my heart.

But even when you have reached a level of success, you still have to work hard.  And you may lose friends, as some will be jealous of your success and resent you for it (sometimes, even your own family).  That’s OK, let them go.

Never feel guilty for reaping the good that you sew. The Karma of resentment will come back on them too. Those people will never be successful themselves as long as they resent your achievements instead of celebrating with you. Resentment is so negative and destructive that it will hold them back.  Get as far away from those  people as possible and limit your contact as much as you can. They will suck the happiness out of you and whatever you do for them will never be enough.

 

Keep people who do celebrate your achievements close.  And cheer them on to.  That positive energy is contagious too, and we need more of it in the world.  Your  inner circle should be filled with those who are positive and love.  And those who can be honest with you as well.  Those who will not only support you, but keep you in line.

Those are my secrets of success. I have been beyond blessed to have the opportunities I have had, the people who are in my life and the things I have done.

Having it All

“What have you done, on your own?  What have you accomplished, standing on your own two feet, to make a positive contribution to society and show you are not just a burden to those around you?”

I have so much respect for those who get off their butts and go out into the world to make something of themselves.  Those who do not expect others to support them while they sit and play.  So many of my friends are amazing women (and men), who have carved out a space for themselves. made a positive contribution, worked hard and accomplishes much.  But that is not all that they have done.

They have become some of the most amazing human beings along the way.  They are amazing, strong, compassionate women and I am beyond proud to have them as friends and confidants.

I was having a conversation with one of them last week, catching up, talking about the many thing going on in our lives.  She is pregnant, and she and her husband will have 7 children in their blended family when this little girl is born (yes, Seven!). She has been one of the top rated female Dj’s in  Atlanta and Nashville, she has written a book, hosts a podcast, has been the spokes person for autism and is now raising a bunch of children, making sure all are fed, cleaned and homework is done.  I am in awe of her.

“Let’s face it, having it all sucks!”

And yet she cannot do it all.   And neither can any of my friends.  And these are amazing women who are smart, confident, capable and confident.  My pregnant friend said she was talking with a mutual friend who said that she was exhausted trying to have and do it all, and she was just accepting the fact that somethings we not going to get done.  But that she was afraid of being judged because she couldn’t do it .

To me, this is a refreshing reminder that no matter ow together we are, or together we think other people are, we are all just human.  None of us can do it all.  Which means that when one part of our lives is going well and is perfect, another part is a mess.  Am I am bad person because this makes me happy?  No, it makes me human that I am happy that others are human, just like me.

I have always , been on my own, everything I have I have worked hard for and earned on my own.  And the same with all of my friends.  None of us have depended on another, a boyfriend or husband, to support us.  We got out and made it happen ourselves.  And I may not have as much as others, but what I do have is mine.  But…

But often times my house is a mess.  The bed isn’t made, dishes are in the sink on any given day, the floor needs to be mopped and carpet vacuumed, and let’s not even get into to the dusting of things…If you try to do it all, have it all, you will just end up being tired and cranky.

The bottom line is, whether you stay home and take care of the kids, or you have a career, at least work hard and contribute something. Don’t depend on or be a burden to those around you. Don’t use people or expect them to support you if you are not willing to go out and support yourself.  Basically, don’t be a mooch.

You can’t do everything, but at least do something to contribute. Be passionate about providing for yourself, being in control of your own life.  Stand up on your own two feet. As long as you do this….don’t worry about not being able to do it all.  The fulfillment you will have in contributing what you can, is enough.  There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you made your life for yourself.  Then, and only then, will you be truly capable of sharing life with another.

 

The Dugger Factor

Anna Dugger. A name synonymous with the phrase “stand by your man.” Being a good and loyal spouse is commendable, but there are limits to what anyone should be expected to endure. A recent Facebook post about the topic went viral, and it did start me thinking. Many have criticized Anna Dugger for not leaving her child molesting, porn addicted, cheating, Ashley Madison account having husband. But instead, I have an incredible amount of empathy for her.

One can only assume that a man, or anyone, who can be so despicable and deceitful to those closest, certainly must also be very manipulative as well. That kind of manipulation is successful because it’s so very subtle, so much in fact, that you can barely recognize it changing you, chipping away at your self-confidence, until a large part of yourself is gone.

Now consider that she has no education, and that her family and social circle blame her for her husbands shortcomings. Her parents encourage her still, to stay with her husband and would shame and ostracize her for leaving him. That coupled with the slow tear down of confidence and spirit…She was the perfect wife, sticking to all the rules, and yet it still wasn’t enough. She is still expected; demanded even, to give more of herself for someone who has cared for her so very little.

It is a shame that anyone should be expected to stay where they are mistreated so very badly. While I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, are limits. Maybe we are all guilty aof staying in a relationship longer than we should have, but at some point you have to wake up, take off the rose colored glasses and get out.

Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, be made to feel like they are valued, and matter. To be needed, loved and valued are basic human needs, and if someone, anyone, whether it be a friend, a family member, a spouse, or a co-worker, does not value what you bring to the table, then you have the very basic human right to leave.

You also have the basic human right to demand that you be treated with respect, kindness and decency. To know that you are worth those things, that you have value in and of yourself, to know that your soul is important just because you exist.

The Facebook post that went viral stated that men are born with power, but women have to demand it for themselves, and that they should be taught to make a man cower in the corner if they need to. I agree. But not just women, though that is what we see mostly, because women are typically taken advantage of more than men. Everyone has the right, and if you must make a person cower in order to escape mistreatment, then so be it. But these lessons have to start young.

In addition to instilling a healthy sense of self esteem, boys should be taught to value women, not use them. Teach them that women are to be cherished. But also teach girls the value that men have, and that they deserve to be respected too. If both are taught, as children, to value the other, as human beings, then the world would be a much better, kinder place.

To know your worth, to know that you deserve to be loved, that you alone, are Enough. These lessons can make such a difference in shaping lives, and save those lives from an immense amount of pain later When both men and women realize the value in one another, that is when humanity is at its best. So I refrain from criticizing Anna Dugger, but instead feel much empathy and compassion for her. She was never taught that she alone is enough.

The Hindsight

Know why I am so hard on you, why I demand so much? Because I have walked through the fires in the pits of Hell and by the Grace of God, have come through just fine.  So if you are going to be in my life, be damn present.

I have earned the right to have someone present. I have earned the right to be loved. I have earned the right to matter.  I have earned the right to be comforted. I have earned the right to be cherished.

There is so much you take for granted because you do not even see the brilliance of the human being in front of you.

I have a good life built on the solid foundation of my heart.  And I have done all this, every bit, with no comfort. No arms. No warmth to hold me. It has all been alone.

Strength borne of the basic need to survive and protect those most loved.  A steel inner core tempered by flames, cooled by God’s compassion. A depth of you need not understand because it is, by its very nature, beyond your comprehension.

Step aside, I see that is what I should have said long ago in hindsight.

My Mona Lisa

I was asked to re-post this one.  Enjoy!

“Have you heard my Mona Lisa?

Have you heard who you are?

You’re a new Morning” =- New Morning, Alva Rev

There is a new song out and it is one that seems to speak to a lot of people.  The singer said ” too often we get stuck in this kind of Negativism but when you hit rock bottom you end up going through the process of believing & having hope again.”  To me it says this and another universal truth…we all have worth and value.  Every one of us goes through trials and tribulations…they make us who we are.  But so often those trial wear us down and make us feel that we are less than.

Have you heard who you are?  Do you know?  Would you regognize your own voice, your own value?  Many of us do not.  And this is a shame.  No matter where you are, what you are going through, what people have done or said to you, or where you have been – never for get who you are.  Always know your own voice.

In life we get the chance to set our own value…not others.  So make sure you set that value high.  And who are these other people anyway?  Who are they that their opinion would matter?  Does that mean that we may never need to change or re-evaluate?  No, it simply meran that we hold our head up high because no matter what mistakes have been made…we are a new morning.  It is never too late to change or change your mind. It is never too late to find your own voice.

Where you are now doesn’t matter.  where do you want to be?  Decide that and believe in it with such passion that it becomes reality.  Have such a ridiculous work ethics that you do what it takes to make it happen. And have such unshakable faith that you are a work of art, that you make your dreams come true.  Once you do this, you become unstoppable.  Nothing and no one can shake you, your faith, your dreams.

don’t forget Who. You. Are. and always Believe.

Quiet fun of Summer

Life has been quiet as of late, which is more than welcome.  We all need those quiet times, to reflect, regroup, enjoy, smile, listen to music, smell the roses, and just be.  That requires slowing down a bit and focusing in on what you really want.  And I really want a bit of fun.  It is much needed, as all a=work and no play makes for a very dull and not well lived life.

And so it is, a wonderful quiet mixture of fun this summer.  Nothing loud and outrageous, nothing too out of the ordinary, but only that which feeds the soul and makes me smile. And laugh, and feel good, and love, and wonder and appreciate. And also find Peace.

It’s quite interesting how Peace and fun seem to go together, one of those unlikely couples that makes no sense at first, until you take a closer look.  Life is all about balance, and when we, and our lives, are not in balance, there is also no or little Peace.  Peace is found when balance is restored.

And for far too long it has been hard work, no play, sacrifice and giving of everything I am and have.  And it is time to relax, breath and have fun.  I have been going out of my way to have fun, quiet, boring satisfying fun.  And what qualifies as fun?  Well, that depends on the person.  But for me, it is enjoying and pampering myself a bit. Mowing the lawn and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass. I have cooked delicious meals for myself, read a few books, watched my favorite guilty pleasure shows, enjoyed long conversations with friends and good wine.

There has been working out, running, pushing my body past where it wants to go and what it wants to do.  Staying motivated and figuring out the future will come, those decisions always do.  But I am learning the importance of simply enjoying.

And something wonderful is happening, a side affect.  It is that I am opening up, slowly, surly opening my heart and soul to the world again.  Letting it all pour into me and wash over me, taking all the impurities with it. Another side affect is facing fear, and finding out there is nothing on the other side but freedom.

I have allowed myself to ask of others, which is something very new.  I am listening to what I want, and asking those who can help. There is been jetskiing  holding on for dear life and the water and wind simultaneously whipping through my hair. And them my friend holding on for his life as I drove, becoming airborne many times as I went into the waves at high speed. I felt free, and wild, and happy. There was a rock about 8 feet high to jump into the water.  It had been 30 years since I jumped like that, and at first it was scary.  But I did it. Again and again. And each time it was easier and more fun.  And then a group of kinds came and jumped without hesitation.  That is where I want to get again.

And this quiet fun of summer will get me there.  I have started dating again, though no one special at this point.  I am making choices just for myself, something that is very scary.  I always though I would be called selfish, but it hasn’t happened. There has been support and I have gotten everything I have asked for, and prayer for.

And that is what we are here for, in this life.  So listen to your soul, drink life in with everything you have, and let it fill you completely, up to the top, brimming over, making you whole, filling in the cracks.

Living in the Human Condition

Sometimes in life you have to just take a leap of faith and trust.  And sometimes that involves walking away from gloomy situations and embracing life.  Take a deep breath, close your eyes and have some fun, throwing caution to the wind. Such was the decision and direction of the weekend.

What is it about the human condition that makes us want to curl up and be quiet when we feel a bit melancholy? At least that is what I tend to do. Others may go out and party, wanting lots of noise, but I tend to want to stay under the covers, sipping hot tea while being wrapped up in a warm blanket.

Yet there is a time and place for everything. And after experiencing 6 deaths in 8 weeks of friends, or the friends of friends, my first inclination was just to stay home and have a very long date with Netflix. And initially, when a friend suggested a weekend trip to a close but fun town a few hours away, I thought, nah…

And then the losses of those people reminded me, once again, about how fragile and precious life is.  And After some pondering, I came to the decision that this time, I should embrace life, have some fun, laugh, run, travel, have a drink, see some friends. And so it was. It started Thursday night, ,then after sleeping late and a good lunch, the trip began.  The hotel was lovely and old.  Lot’s of wood, and old elevators, and kind people.  Oh yes, this is what life is about.  Those road trips with friends.

And there was great music, lots of laughter, some good drinks, delicious food, a haunted hotel, a fire alarm at 5 am that turned into a light breakfast and great conversation over good coffee. There was lots of walking, trying some new things, doing some people watching and breakfast spent re connecting with a friend.  There were missed fireworks, but enough fun and laughter that they weren’t even missed.This weekend was about celebrating and embracing life.

And that is the thing about life, it goes on.  But it is our choice to pick up and live it.  It’s our choice to embrace it, or stay in bed.  Why would anyone choose to stay in bed and shy away from living, loving, laughing and striving?  There are a thousands reasons, and most of them have to do with fear.

It’s safe under the covers.  Or maybe the person in weary and needs a break.  That’s OK, as long as they don’t stay in bed for an extended period.

And I learned something this past weekend. Trust your gut yes, but also don’t be afraid to step out of that comfort zone.  We become stagnant if we do.  Lean on your friends, love them dearly, they will be the ones who stand beside you. And that is what I am working o now.  Whenever I go against my gut, i get into trouble.  So I am listening a lot while I am reshaping my life and carving out a space that is truly Me.  It’s scary and exciting, and wonderful.  And I know I am going in the right direction.

Wouldn’t it be great though, and so much easier, if we had a compass for our life?  Something that would tell us the road we need to be on?  A way to avoid all those pitfalls, and decisions, slip up, let downs, sideways days and diagonal moves?  Well, it sounds good in theory. But think about what we would miss – the people and experiences that we would ever know. Think of the scenery we would miss if we always went on the path we “should.”  Some of my best moments, favorite memories and wonderful people have come from what was not planned, came from taking chances and going off the path.

Life is short.  Live, Laugh, Love, take chances. Travel. Leap. Buy the shoes.  Call the girl.  Kiss the boy. Say I love you. Hold hands. Live with your whole heart. Don’t worry so much if your house is clean, or if your clothes are perfect.  We are human for a reason.

And in the end, we will know we have lived.

Where the Woods Meet the Water

We all have those moments, those trips in life that give us some space and perspective.  Some quiet time to release thoughts and ponder of decisions and as my travel partner takes a nap I type on the balcony, fingers flying across the keys like they have not done in quite a while.

My writing and creativity has been a bit stifled as of late. Sometimes you have to work through things before you can write about them. And I plan my future, adding details and filling in the blanks about what, where and how to get there. It’s a universal theme for many these days, the planning of what is to come, the goals we record to attain the life we want, well lived and well loved.

And as a cool breeze crossed my café, I think about many things when I was younger, and all that has brought me here today.

When I was 23, I knew I was good with words and good on a dance floor on a Saturday night.  I knew I was petrified of relationships but desperate and anxious for a man to love me. And I did fall in love, ridiculously in love, with a man who is still known as the love of my life.  Whose name I called, whose voice I still know, whose laughter still rings in my ears, even now when I talk to him and both of us have moved on from that place.

I knew I was hard-working and kind. I knew I’d spend the rest of my life devoted to my parents and my family.  I knew my address wouldn’t last long in the stifling, sticky enclaves of south Georgia.

But, I didn’t know a hell of a lot more than I did know.

Because you can’t anticipate the explosions, the messes, the deaths and the self-destructions of your 20s 30s and 40’s. You simply cannot anticipate Life.  You’re unable to forecast adultery, deceptions, newfound passions, and those alluring and unexpected opportunities that rock the certainties you’ve stood upon for as long as you can remember.  You can’t calculate and control feelings.  You can’t anticipate that moment you’ll become so entirely undone that you don’t even recognize the strands of self billowing out behind you, catching the wind and drifting away before you can grab hold again.

And there’s no escaping any of it, of course.  There’s no preparation either, other than the slow, steady build of a reserve of good friends, good wine, self-confidence, humor,  and courage—the pillars that, like Rome, won’t fall down when everything else does.

The pillars that, years later, decades later, remain, however cracked, however faded, however damaged.

I told this bright and eager young woman my heartbreak story tonight, and that time, those years, that one man, that part of me—it sounded so far away.  It sounded old.  And maybe that’s because even though my life has taken a radically different course than I’d ever imagined or hoped for, I’m making it work for me now, and I’m happy, fresh, acutely present and appreciative.

She studied me, and she crinkled her beautifully unwrinkled eyes, and said that it takes quite a woman to bounce back from such blows, such bleeding.

It takes quite a woman for many things:

Birthing a child, raising a good citizen of the world, burying a parent, contributing thoughtfully to society, giving generously, moving through the days mindfully and healthfully, constantly pushing against barriers and prejudices, surviving the betrayals, heart aches, lies and mis judgments, supporting and nurturing partners and families and friends, learning, teaching, loving, loving always—even when the heart beats slow and heavy and weary, and those pillars you yearn to lean against stand oh so far away and out of reach.

And as the sun sets, and the waves rise, as trees on the balcony shake their leaves, I sit back and let out a long, deep breath. It’s quite and adventure, this illusion of planning, this game called life that goes on. .And I think, maybe I have found my place, this weekend away, where I can write, where the wood meet the water, and both country and beach can exist. But life always marches to it’s own beat, and all we can do love well, be our best and hold on tight.

Celebrate Your Life, Youself, Everday Day

I am a hot mess. And I’ve been a hot mess for a hot minute. But during one month of the year, all of that is set aside for one purpose: the purpose of celebrating my birthday month. All month long

At first this tradition may seem silly, but it’s not. Your birthday is one one day a year, why take a whole month?

Growing up We always celebrated out birthdays in a big way. Because when you are born, when the world meets you and you meet the world, when your loved ones are given the blessing and gift of you, that day should be remembered and celebrated. The anniversary of your birth.

And when you celebrate your birthday for the entire month, it gives you an excuse to to what you want…because it’s your birthday month. But more than that, it reminds you to celebrate your life every single day, because every day you are given is truly a gift. Another day to see the miracle of a sunrise, be with your family, or enjoy the comfort of a bed in which to sleep until light.

Celebrating the entire birthday month reminds us to enjoy chances in life, to not take anything for granted, to be thankful and gracious for the life around you. It reminds us to truly celebrate ourselves and be happy with who we are. Right now in this moment.

No life isn’t perfect. Maybe you still can’t fit into those skinny pants, or your car is making that funny sound, or you still haven’t gotten that job you want, or just whatever. But that doesn’t mean it will always be that way, or that you can’t appreciate the good things you have.

Enjoy the moments life gives you have passion and gratitude in your heart, celebrate each day and always be curious. Throw yourself into your life and the world. And don’t forget to celebrate your birthday.

Don’t Mold Around Here No More

With any new beginning there will naturally come challenges and obstructions. Do not become discouraged by them, do not fall into fear and doubt, but rather, cleave in faith and continue on, confident that the Divine is with you and that you will overcome whatever challenges and obstructions that arise. Remember, the challenges and obstructions we encounter are integral to a greater progress and our eventual success. – Gamze Ridley

Today I received the final word on my House of Mold…not only is it full of toxic mold, but I cannot return for any reason without a Hazmat suit because the infestation has permeated ever part of the house.  It is not safe to breath even for 5 minutes.  The house must be condemned and destroyed to make sure no one else suffers further illness. It is also recommended that I get further medical testing to determine the level of permanent damage to lungs and respiratory system.

Hearing this was rather overwhelming, even though on some level it was expected. My heart went into my throat and I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks.  Yes I cried.  I just didn’t expect it to be that…bad. And I threw myself the obligatory pity party for the remainder of the evening, sending out text messages, telling friends, discussing what it all meant.

And then I realized, this isn’t the end of the world. I will be fine. While the idea of living in that house for 6 months, when it’s not safe to breath for 5 minutes is terrifying, I am OK. Having my house condemned isn’t going to kill me, neither is walking away from the disaster and giving it back to the bank. Though it is not how I wanted it to be, “it is what it is and it ain’t getting no isser.”

And with that the pity party was done and I thought why not remain positive? After all, I have been extremely lucky thus far. Things could have always been worse. I could have been a lot sicker with many more health issues; I found the mold quickly when it could have taken years.

Part of  life is just getting through it. Things won’t always go your way. There will be adversities to overcome, challenges to meet, and difficulties to chase. And that’s OK.  Continual smooth waters are not conducive to forming a well rounded person. We must rise to overcome in order to find out just how high the human spirit can sore.

And while we may have a few scars or be weary from those hard times, they are worth it. For it is that which makes us great, which makes us richer, deeper, finer, more compassionate beings. It is what makes us our most human, and our most beautiful.

So, I will appreciate, maybe even celebrate to condemnation of my house and it’s subsequent foreclosure. Because that means I lived through it and came out the other side. I will appreciate the tears that may fall between now and then, for it means that I can feel deep emotion. I will appreciate the experience of the coming legal proceedings and pray for justice. And I will appreciate and celebrate all that this life gives me, because every day I breath is a gift. And I will appreciate the scars left behind, because they only add to the beauty and splendor of being human. And in being human, I find Peace.

And I will look forward and not fear the future. I don’t know what is coming in the days, weeks and even years ahead. But I am here. And this is a new beginning.

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’ ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

New Year, Birthdays and Taking Risks

Sometimes, one of the hardest things about writing is figuring out the opening sentence or line that might catch someone’s attention get them reading further and deeper. Just sitting down to write this post, I have come up with quite a few opening lines:

  • It’s that time of year again…my birthday month!!!
  • Just when you thought you were safe from another “New Year” blog
  • As I sit here, in my PJ’s…

And sometimes, planning out the next year can be just as challenging.  I for one, am beyond happy to see the end of 2014, and am ecstatic about 2015. There is a sense of optimism and happiness. But how does one go about changing their life for the better exactly?  Not sure on that one, though many thousands of books have been written, and many thousands more no doubt.  Maybe it’s really not an exact science. Maybe it’s all by trial and error. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a compass to tell us where to go for that good life we want, or when we may be veering off track? A magic 8 Ball that really did have all the answers?

First I want to take care of myself.  Like many women, I stopped taking care of myself and took care of others instead. And when all was said and done, I was sitting on empty.  That is changing. I now look around at at empty house (except for the cats) and realize that I am bound by nothing…The world is mine to find adventure, with new things to trip over, places to fall into and new drinks to spill. I am picking up where I left off so to speak and it feels good. And scary. And exciting. And overwhelming.

I stopped working out and exercising. I stopped hiking, Stopped going to live music shows, or the botanical gardens. I quit fixing my hair, trying make up things and just having a bit of fun and enjoyment in general.  And adventure doesn’t have to be far from home, as long as you stay curious and keep quality people around you. For example, I had the best New Years I have had in a very long time. The best thing in the world, is when you are having such a wonderful time that you loose track and don’t even realize it’s midnight…

“Well behaved women seldom make history “- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

And I want to take a vacation this year. On a beach. I miss the beach,  miss the water. It’s calling my name. FINALLY publishing my book is on the list. I had to put it down to tend to other things and now, just like the rest of my life, it’s time to start it back up again. So if any of you know any publishers….

Exercise. The Dreadmill, the bane of my existence. But exercise I will. Not just to loose a few pounds, but because I felt better when I was exercising.  And I have set up a wonderful workout/zen area in my bedroom that will be perfect for rain day workouts and Pilates. Also, the garage is organized with space for the heavy bag. Yes, it’s time to start boxing again! And maybe even jog around the neighborhood if it ever quits raining. If not, boating around the neighborhood, that could be good exercise too.

I am not going to take on so much crap from others. I can help and be kind without putting myself out or sacrificing myself for them. This may seem counter intuitive to having Grace, which I am also seeking. But I think they can go hand in had. In order to have Grace, you do not have to be a doormat. You have to set realistic and healthy boundaries for yourself and life. I have not done the best of either in the past.

“Do one thing that scares you every day.” – Elenore Roosevelt

But the main thing for this next year, is to take more risks and chances. When we play it too safe, we forget how to really live. And sometimes the best thing you can do is step out of the comfort zone and grow. I want to do this with life and especially love. Someone sent me a picture they have of the word “Love” written in the sand on thebeach. That is what I want my life to be, full of love, life and sand this year. And it’s of to a wonderful start.

But I am also reminded of something I read not long ago, and that in order to be flexible, we must have stability. So, before any adventuring into the sunset happens, I must first find that stable foundation from which to build and spring my life.  Maybe that is why I am taking much care in getting the house unpacked and situated. And after being displaced by the mold, it is great to finally be able to relax and have a home in which to settle.

And there it is, my new year, for the age of 42.  And each heartbeat carries all the hopes, dreams and fears that go along with them too. And so it is, that I start this celebration of my birthday month. A celebration of life, of anticipation, of passion, of chances and of love. And they bring an enthusiasm that boils up from that deep place inside, past the mind, into the soul and back again.

 

 

And a Merry Christmas to All

It is Christmas Eve, and I have to think back on the past year as I get ready to see my family.  It has been a long hard year, one that has seen unprecedented struggles within my family and friends.  I am so very blessed to have another Christmas with my wonderful father, and for that I am very thankful. But this year has also seen the struggle to purchase the House of Mold, discovering the mold and now the process of getting the house mold free and dealing with the legalities of being a victim of mortgage fraud.

And I am so very thankful to have my little house now, comfy, cozy, and warm. It is much smaller than what I am used to, but it is mold free, safe, and a great place to start over.

And with this year coming to a close, that it what the new year represents; starting over. And as my friends post the pictures of their year in that cute little book, I have no desire to post mine.  I remember this year well and have no desire to revisit in pictures. I am just happy I lived through it all!

But then there have been the wonderful moments too. Like purchasing my own home, finding out it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  Swimming my in pool and watching fireflies dance in the evening sky in the back yard.  Taking another chance and believing in someone.  No matter how many times I get hurt, I just cannot believe that taking a chance and opening your heart to someone new is a bad thing.  Maybe it is the hopeless, eternally optimistic person in me that believes that eventually – if nothing else than by the sacred geometry of chance, it will work out.

I have met wonderful new friends that have shown me so much love and support, even when they did not know me that well. They unknowing renewed my faith in humanity with their compassion, empathy, support, and kindness to someone they barely knew, and was not in a position to repay them. It was a beautiful and humbling experience.

And so I welcome this holiday season as the last part of the year.  And it will end well, I have decided, and hopefully the Grace of God will see that it is so.

To end this year with smiles and laughter, the quiet moments of love and family and thoughtful conversations that make memories that last a lifetime.  Preparing for the next year of my life, as I close the chapter on another.  For this year has been tumultuous and long. But that is no reason not to keep my chin up and stay always hopeful for the future.

 

The Oposite of Seasons

This is the season for parties, festivities, socializing, seeing old friends, making new friends and just a lot of hustle and bustle. It is a season of extraverts. But this season I am feeling anything but extravert.

This year I am feeling very be cozy and warm mama bearish. I just want to be home, or with a close circle of friends. Yes, the invites have been pouring in for this and that.  And surely these are people whose company I have enjoyed in the past. But my couch is so very comfortable and the fire is warm.

This year, after being terrible displaced from my home due to toxic mold, I am more appreciative of e safe place to hang my hat.  I want to make this space warm and welcoming to all those whom I love and care.

And as the pictures of festive parties, pretty dresses, fixed hair, perfect make up and lots of drinks are posted on Facebook and other social media outlets, I smile and click like from the comfort and warmth of my own hearth, on my flannel PJ’s and fuzzy socks (yes, super sexy, I know).

I sip wine and listen to my favorite music, unpacking, organizing, arranging furniture and getting settled.  And who says you have to be and about on the town seeing and being seen to be social? I have my friends close by, still meeting for dinners and drinks.  I run to theirs or they come to mine. It is nice and quiet and small and quaint.

There is home cooking – soups and sauces, new recipes and old favorite, smells and fragrances filling the house. Putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, with all the old ornaments from childhood that make me smile and love my parents. There is eggnog and mistletoe and kisses and laughter. There is the gentleness of starting over.

And sometimes, in the big world, it is good to be small and close.  It is good to make sure that all of our fingers and toes and accounted for and painted pretty colors, enjoying the small comforts that build the foundation of a good and happy life. Sometimes the small celebrations are even more meaningful than the big ones.

And sometimes, when it is all said and done, it is the building of many of those small moments that make a life worth living and loving. Sometimes being the opposite of the season is what gives it it’s meaning.

My Sitcom Life: American Tashedy Story

We all have those days where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Otherwise known as Murphy’s Law. That was my morning yesterday.

I set a pack of chicken out to thaw the night before in preparation of cooking a favorite recipe.  Those who know me know that I foster rescue kitties… So I get up yesterday  morning and what to my wondering eyes does appear? But the sight of pieces of chicken breasts, half eaten and scattered far and near. So the morning was spent tracking down what remained of the chicken. And let me just say that stepping on a piece of chicken early in the morning before even having coffee is not fun.

After the chicken was all cleaned up I got ready and it was time to leave. As I leave I realize it’s trash day. So I lean in to put my things in the car, and put my knee up on the seat. As I try to get out of the car…I notice the heal of my stiletto shoe is caught in the hem of my dress. So there I was, bent over, half way leaning into the car, hopping on one foot while reaching around to unhook my shoe. Finally got untangled.

Then it was time to get the trash can out to the curb. The very heavy trash can. And I tried to walk this very heavy monstrosity down a very steep driveway in 4” heels. And thought several times I might get run over by momentum of said trash can.  Legs can only go down a steep incline so fast in heels…and the trash can was gaining speed. Suddenly I saw my life flash before my eyes as I imagined the headline:

American Trashidy: Death by the Can

Forget Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, try singleton gets run over by the trash… the headlines would find ever clever way possible to frame the events that led to my death.  Thankfully I was able to steer over to the grass where I could dig my heels in (literally) and the trash can did not roll so easy. But it was a close call and I thought the trash can was going to win.

I am sure these events were very entertaining to my neighbors to say the least.  They were probably drinking their coffee and laughing that the new girl was dancing around and trying not to die a trashy death.

The rest of the day went surprisingly smooth, after I actually got out of the driveway. Such is the life of a clutz.

I can hear you laughing.

The Ready

It is almost a magic thing when you feel the seasons change. It could be something as small as just a sigh chill in the air, but you feel, you know, the season has shifted and you are ready. And in this moment, of Fall changing to winter, I am ready.

Ready for what is next, to find my new place, live, unpack, make a home, FEEL at home. I am ready for great boots and opaque tights, cool mornings and warm coffee. I am ready for fires and fire places, looking for firewood and hiring the cozy crackle, reading by the warm fire.

I am to ready  flirt, to smile, to laugh. Ready to be kissed, have long conversations and see what comes next. To feel the rush of wonder and hope.

Ready for the bruises to be healed, for faith to be returned, to finally exhale as those baby steps bring me closer, with every beat of a heart. I am ready to shed this skin, jaded as it is, and be new.

I am ready to learn, grow, experience unfamiliar things in unfamiliar places. Ready to see the sunrise for the dawn of a new day. Ready to discover who I am under all this weight that has been carried. Ready to let go and be free of extraneous noise and unfocused light.

Ready to push my body, farther than it wants to go, work it harder than it is willing to give. To go deeper, work harder, be braver, than I have. To wake up with all that is dear, close to me with no distance.

I am ready to pray and have faith. To truly do andbe the best I can. To do all that I can, with faith and singleness of heart. I am ready to be love, wholey, and give myself to the delight of discovering life, and all it’s entrappings. Ready to stay up late reading, curled up on the couch, not wanting to to leave the story. Ready to write pages upon pages of all that is in the story of me.

Ready to have Grace. That’s the hard one. Ready to keep with the 4 agreements, not taking it personally, knowing the reaction is more about them.

And I am ready to live.

Summer Slow Down

As the last leg of summer starts to wind down, I look forward to the coming season, but nor before enjoying the rest of what summer has to offer. Right now kids are back in school, daylight still lasts until pretty late, evenings are still warm with gentle breezes and the days are still hot enough to enjoy the pool.

It should be a time of slowing down, yet for me it is not.  Yes, I will take my time to complete the tasks at hand, but there is still much to do. In addition to the work on the house, which I have been told by other homeowners will never be completely complete, there are books to read, movies to watch, meals to cook, wine to drink, and memories to make. There are thoughts to be written and recorded, songs that I want to listen to, loud. And my piano that needs to be picked up, played; touching, caressing the keys for the first time in over 20 years, sitting in my home. That sweet piano, where if I listen close enough, I will hear my heartbeat.

I want to take road trips with the windows down, radio up, hair in the wind…maybe even barefoot. There are trails to be hiked, picnics to eat and sunshine to enjoy.  I also want to start prayer meditation to help discover inner Peace and Grace. Then there is all the exercise…running again, Pilates and weights and boxing. Pushing my body and my goals beyond.

There is the beautiful house which I need to make a home. A home has soul, and that takes time, moments, thoughts and love. To have friends and family over, learn how to cook on the grill. I wonder how many things I will burn?

With all these things to do as the summer turns and the season starts to change, I am not going out much these days. Something that a friend recently made mention of – that is not the Ada he knew.  But my life is not out there, it is in here, this place, my circle of friends, the loves of my life. It is in finding curiosity and wonder. It is in trusting others and my search.

So in these last days of summer, I smile as the sun sets and a breeze blows the hair across my sun kissed cheek. A life is always under construction, our stories are always being written, we are always seeking, reaching and defining. And I close my eyes and jump in.

The Eve

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.

And so it, on this eve.

Fireflies Dance

In adulthood, there are very few things that are still magic, that still capture our imagination and remind us of childhood and the time when you could still fly to the moon on your bike.  One of those things for me are fireflies. Since I was a child, these magic little bugs seemed to come from the mythic places of legends; where dragons, fairies and mermaids lived. They were left over from king Author’s gardens, somewhere between Narnia and Neverland, and everywhere magic and mystery lived.

And yet here they were, these fireflies, in the yard flashing their magic beauty.  Yes I was fascinated by them as a child.

I remember the first time I really saw them. I was at my grandmother’s house and maybe about six or seven. And they were everywhere, hundreds of them.  My grandmother asked if I wanted to capture them in a jar, but I decided not to after find thing out that they would die if kept in the jar. I wanted them free, out in the fresh air.

When I lived in Ohio many years ago, I would see them in the woods next to the apartment complex  where I lived. My then boyfriend and I would sit on the fence, watching them dance in the evening air, like little diamonds flashing on the horizon when it finally got dark.

And just a few nights ago. I saw a tiny flash out of the corner of my eye. My heart skipped a beat – it is the right time of the year…I stopped what I was doing and ran to the back yard window. And there they were, dancing and sparkling in the night sky. A little army of fireflies, my little army of magic. And I had to stand and watch them, as they performed their nightly ritual, with a grin on my face from ear to ear.

It’s truly the little things in life. And you must always take the time to stop and notice, listen and see. For the little things are what makes life worth it, what makes the bad bearable and the good even better.

And now every night, I take the time to notice these little miracles, that seem to dance just for me, putting on  a private show in my back yard.  And just for a few moments, I am taken away from all the troubles and thoughts. And I just smile. If these little bugs can light up the night sky, certainly I can raise above and shine bright as well.

 

Of Firsts

In our life we all have a lists of firsts – first dates, first kisses, first job…this next month is going to be about several firsts for me. This weekend, my parents are coming up for their first visit to see my first house. Next month I am going to have my first visit with one of my sisters that I am getting to know (I am the youngest of five) and in about a month, there will be some first moments with someone very special who has re-entered into my life.

The great things about firsts is that they exciting. Filled with promise, hope and excitement of the unknown. My Mom and I have been talking and planning this first visit since I first moved into the house. We have so much do together in this new place. She has a green thumb and she is bringing plants and flowers to help me with my gardens and figuring out the landscape of my first yard. There are many conversations to be had, much wine and coffee to drink together.

And I can’t wait for Dad to see my new place. I have a to do list all set up of small projects we can do together while he is here; connecting the water line to the refrigerator, putting up shelves and such. I love working with my Dad. We used to work on small projects with my car, like changing out the break pads. But this is different, this is the first time we will be able to work on projects for my house. There is something wonderful about that, to have those memories of working with him. It’s part of what will make this house a home.

Family means so much to me, and with everything imploding with my closest sister and my parents health not being that good, I released that there were other members of my family that I want to know. The visit with one of my oldest sisters is beyond exciting and there are few words to express the emotions attached. There is so much curiosity and I only wish there was more time to get to know her. I wonder why I waited so long. I should have done this a lot sooner.

And then there is Love. There is another chance, a new chance with someone trusted, known and who knows me, down to my bones. So many years, and yet, the core is still the same. The first time at a second chance. And when we are in the same space, there is a sense of calm, a sense of comfort, a place where I can relax. And in my head I hear what so many have said for years: “There is no need to look. You already know him. He is already there.” I have often said when so many say the same thing, chances are it is true.

And so it is, this season of firsts. As the days get hotter and longer, the air is thick with the promise of the unknown and to move into this season with my parents, sibling and loved one is truly amazing. I knew that 2014 would be a new year of new things, and that the wheels would starting turning once I got into the new house. And indeed all the love I wanted in my life is here and all the dreams are coming to fruition. There is Peace, there is happines, there is a great life right in front of me.

Thge Last Born

While surfing the net, waiting to be able to test out website again, I happened upon an article that talked about how birth order affected your relationships.  I am the youngest of 5 and they got me all wrong in this.

Lastborns: Ah, the little sibs of the family. Beloved, treasured, and in many cases babied for much longer than their older siblings (and often by their older siblings), the stereotypical youngest of the brood tends to be less responsible and more devil-may-care, with less of a hankering to take charge. “That can be different if the baby of the family came after a gap of more than a few years, though,” says Dr. Salmon. In that case, the baby of the family may act more like an only child or an older sibling—as though the family had started all over again.

For the baby of the family, I have a lot of the responsibility…I am more like the oldest.  I have always taken care of my nephews, even paying for my oldest nephews college. I last year I worked and supported all of Rita’s family. My parents also depend on me for a lot. I have never been spoiled, any more than the other kids in the family. My parents were much more strict on my than any of my siblings (I had a curfew and had to tell them everyone I was with, everything that we were doing and everywhere we were going).

Rita (older sister) has always gotten everything (several cars, a house, lots of money, etc) because she always had the kids, so I was pretty much on my own. Whatever it was, I heard “Well, it’s just you, so it’s not as hard, but Rita has a boys, so she needs more.” Which I suppose is true.

I am a risk taker though, but it’s always calculated. Most of the time the risks pay off, but not always. I am a free spirit, but a responsible one (yes, it can happen). I was the first one to get a tattoo, the first one to really move away, I have always been the most independent, always the one who traveled. I have always been the one who spoke my mind, set things right, told the truth and did what needed to be done, regardless of what anyone else thought. Everything I have done, all that I have, I have done it on my own.

All my older siblings come to me when they need to get in touch with the others, they all call me when they need to find out information about what is going on. I often seem to find myself in charge, yet I have no desire to be, as others would be much better at it.

And no one takes care of me, I take care of myself, always have. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone take care of me for a bit. But then I quickly banish that thought from my mind.

Moral of the story: Sometimes birth order has nothing to do with it. Sometimes it’s just who you are. And sometimes, who you are cannot be contained, quantified or categorized.

Thank You Vegas

We all have those times were we feel as if we are climbing out of a big dark pit. And we all have that moment where we realize we can finally feel the sun on our faces and have managed to climb out. This recently happened to me, when I took a trip to a place called Las Vegas.

While I can’t really say that I came back rested (it was Vegas after all), but there was much more peace when the plane landed, than when it took off. Sometimes, just having the chance to step away, gain some distance and perspective is the key. Sometimes, just being able to relax and not be surrounded and submerged in all that was is enough to wake us up.

For me it was a combination of all of that, and the company I was with. First, it’s hard not to have a great time in Vegas, it’s just a fun place to be. My friend and I have traveled together before, and we always have a good time together. Even though we had not seen each other in a few years, we seemed to fall into our easy rhythm within a few minutes. There is something very comfortable with him, and he is one of the few people I trust. I feel safe. Maybe it’s his gentle, unassuming way of things.

After the past few months, it was wonderful to just be. To laugh, explore, gamble a bit (am am terrible at gambling, unless it’s with fake money), drink a bit, enjoy some food and people watch. There was a show Cirque De Solie (I know that it’s misspelled and I’ll care after the next cup of coffee), front row seats. You really get to see great detail when sitting that close, and as a stage and theater junkie, I loved it.

Hoover Dam was next and that was fascinating. When you see the enormity of it, of what they did and how they did it, without any of the modern technology, the risks they took and how well done it was, you feel really proud. I felt proud of your country, of the men who worked on it, and the ingenuity and vision it took to make it happen. Wow. And it was just cool. We walked across it, on a beautiful day with clear blue skies. I felt free, for the first time in a long time. If those men could do all of that, then my life can be just as magnificent.

Then there was downtown Vegas, which is different from the Strip. It feels more like a fair than anything else, with the scent of food from the street vendors, people walking around in costume (You take their pictures for tips, lots of people, loud 80’s rock music and a laser light show on the outdoor ceiling. I love the Golden Nugget Casino and the buffet there is quite yummy.

Upon return I felt lighter, albeit tired, but much happier. I just needed a little trip to bring me back to life, so to speak. To remind me that life is to be enjoyed. The past year is over, all those struggles are done, my tasks are complete. Now I move forward building my life, my own Hoover Dam.

Work hard, play harder, love completely, and laugh often. So thank you to my friend, for inviting out to play, thank you Vegas for being such a gracious host and playground, and thank you life.

A Little Look Back

In this world of rush, hurry up and wait, slam it down, cram it in, do it now, bigger is better and faster is best, we get a little rough at the edges. Sometimes we need to take a breath, cherish our memories and just slow down a bit.

This past weekend was that for me. Ever busy, ever checking things off the “to do” list, I took the time to slow down and meet with a dear friend I had not seen in many years. There was catching up, talking, laughing, a little crying, lots of memories and some confessions.

And as I sat there with my friend, I remembered the Me of days past. It reminded me of how both of us had grown and changed in good and bad ways. I saw how in the years I had softened on some things, hardened on others. And it is always comforting to be around someone who knows you, has known you, through all the pretty and ugly. Who knows the truth of you and your history.

Funny thing is that since that visit I have felt more myself than I have in a long time. More confident, happier, lighter and more settled, with just that little reminder, that little look back. Sometimes taking a look over your shoulder is the best thing you can do when figuring out the future.

And sometimes it is also conducive to keeping us grounded in this world where it is so easy to get off track in the rush to fit it all in. Just that gentle visit to say- these things, don’t change, they are great qualities. Because no matter how much time has passed, we always remain, at the heart of it, who we are. We always return to what we know, what is in our bones. Even if we forget, it is never too late to remember.

What is that for me? One word: Truth. No matter what happens in life, if I know the truth, then I can deal with it. Truth is concrete, trustworthy, solid. You can build on truth, it won’t crumble. We get into trouble when the foundation upon what we have built is quicksand. I’ve been caught in that before too, and it’s not pleasant. It’s hard to be settled when the ground underneath is shifting. And we struggle to find footing.

Then we take a little look back. And sometimes, that is where we can find the best footing – To where the to where the truth was and build from there. And that is what I will do – build my life on that solid and fertile ground now that all the untruths have been weeded out. No matter how confusing life can get, a little look back, a lot of prayer and faith, you can find the guidance you need…and make the leap to where your future is waiting. In this life, right now, it’s the new house, my job and career, new chances, new possibilities and… Me.

Hello future, nice to meet you. I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Getting th Groove

Getting into the groove
Getting into the groove

I remember helping my Mom in the garden a few years ago. We were sitting, taking each one of the little bean plants she planted, and slowly winding them up on a string, so that they would grow up on the string and be easier to pick. We started in the morning, as we drank coffee, each of us working in peaceful silence next to each other, in complete comfort.

After s o many plants, you actually get a rhythm going. And gently, without breaking the tender baby vines, you wind them up and move on to the next. All day we did this, breaking only for more coffee. And it that gentle morning, I was deep in thought. And it occurred to me that life is very much like winding those little bean sprouts up the string. There is a process for everything, and it takes time to naturally unfold.

This past week is the first I really feel like I have my rhythm and groove back. I am taking care of myself, getting rest, unpacking, eating healthy(ish). As soon as it’s warm and not raining, I’ll take a good run/walk in the hills of the neighborhood. I have been taking the time to enjoy andfierce relish in those little perfect moments, taking time to cry when the emotion hits me, and being honest enough to say I am a bit vulnerable right now, so handle with care. It feels good to admit that, it’s actually very freeing to not have to be tough all the time, to allow myself to be “soft.”

And surprisingly, at least to me, it is received well. There are hugs, holding hands, kind thoughts and words, well wishes, and sincere smiles.

And the result, is more laughter, more smile, more feeling alive than I have in about a year. To really allow myself to just be, whatever it is I am at that moment, is wonderful.And in doing so, I let go, with each heartbeat, all that I have carried. Yes, I am getting my balance, my rhythm, my life and spirit back. Yes, the spring in my step has returned. It is spring, and just like those little bean sprouts, it is time to grow, to bloom and to be magnificent. I am coming alive again.   I am returning to my life, returning to enjoy all accomplishments my hard work has brought to fruition. I have come back to have what is mine.

All I l have to do is trust, believe and follow the natural process.

And that is how this girl gets her groove back. I am a new morning.

Home Ownership 101

We all have experiences that teach us a lot. And I am going to learn a tremendous amount by being a home. The whole process has been quite an eye opening experience, from dealing with the “haters,” to dealing with a difficult closing (the investors had not discussed how the proceeds from the sale would be divided, and argued about it – at the closing), to the fine art of moving items up stairs. I have been in the house less than a week, and have learned a lot already. Like what, you ask?

Well, like how to fix my own dryer. My dryer had a four –pronged plug, the outlet had three. So this little girl broke out the tool box and re-wire the new plug onto the old dryer. Being a non-mechanical klutz, I was very proud of myself for doing this successfully. I can now dry clothes till my hearts content!

And then I managed to figure out my wireless router and how to get the network back up. Yes, me, who can barely work my iPhone, got the wireless network up, though I am not sure exactly how I did it.

Then there is planting trees. Yes, I have planted a small tree or two on the property…proof that I can indeed use a shovel (no one has found any of the bodies yet, so the tree is proof). The fine art of breaking down boxes is also something very important to learn as well. Tomorrow I learn about how to install a top security system, even better than the one I had. I am also learning about installing TV’s on the wall. I have learned the importance of being able to do these things yourself, because living in one of the worst traffic jam areas in the country, my wonderful guy friends may not always be able to make it to the house.  And it is nice to have friends over when it is just to visit. I have learned that I am very loved and so many are willing to help and to celebrate.

As is meeting the neighbors – how to do it, when to do it and what to say. This may sound very simple and basic – it’s just meeting people. But it is a little more than that when you are a single girl, and requires a bit if finesse. You have to make sure you are friendly, but not too friendly – you want the wives to like you. The kind of girl they want to introduce you to their cute single friend…not the kind of girl they have to keep away from their husbands.

I have learned that I am in a wonderful family neighborhood, where the kids still ride their bikes and climb trees, where the parents play catch in the front yard, and where people know each other. I have learned that this is where I want to be living, because these are my kind of people. And if I have learned that much, and it hasn’t even been a week, imagine how much more I will learn in time.

Never stop learning, growing, experiencing and being curious. When we stop learning, we stop growing, and when we stop growing, we die. Always look around and find the next thing to do, see, learn. Life is so big, and I cannot wait!

The Shoulders of Giants

No man is an island. No matter who we are, where we come from, what we do , how successful we are or where we go in life, we could not do it with the help of others.

So to all those who have helped, who have prayed, who have cried with me, who have listen to me, who have carried heavy things. To all those who have made the load lighter, who have lent their hearts, picked up the phone, been there, done that, cheered me on, celebrated the highs and felt the heartbreak over the lows. All those who have sung with me in the rain, helped me relax, shared a glass of wine, discussed dreams, reflected on mistakes, planned the future, smiled at the past. For all of my friends…certainly this week reflects a lot of work and dreams that will finally come to fruition.

So many people have supported me, believed in me, encouraged me and been there for me. My wonderful friends and family. They have let me rest in their safety, and given me the kick in the pants when needed as well. Through it all, they, you, have been my heart and strength. My Faith and will at the center, I have been helped by many.

So much planning, working, dreaming, preparing, manifesting and doing. And finally, it is all coming together; in my personal, professional and writing life. And so for all the good things that are coming, thank you so much. I am here because I have worked, believed, had faith… stood on the shoulders of giants.

The Peace in the Quiet

We often wish we had some time, just some time to slow down and be quiet. To not rush, have a thousand things to do, what if we could just find the time? And now I have it. I am leisurely hanging out, reading, watching movies and writing. Fact is, this break between the old place and the new is a blessing.

This time has forced me to slow down, take a breath, appreciate and catch up. There is enjoying guilty pleasures like writing, catching up on reading blogs, doing exercises I don’t normally have time to do, cook a few favorite things and just enjoying the slow.

It is the Peace in the quiet. And it is delicious. For someone who is normally feel speed ahead, being in the slow lane is wonderful. Indeed it is the calm before the storm before moving and settling into the new place. That will be a bit of work, and excitement. A new chapter in my life and one I have been working toward for a long time…

But now it is time to relax and enjoy the Peace in the quiet. To rest before the next burst of energy comes. and so it goes. and I am happy.