A Day in the Life...

...of a whacktastic little freak named Laura

Today near killed me, so I feel this irritating yet compelling urge to give you all a rundown. Honestly, I think this urge spawns from not having anyone to talk with about it at length, but that's what blogs are for, right? So here goes it...

First off, my day started out like junk because my night before went like junk. I received an email from a friend that needed a response and it was all over from there. My mind got all wired up with worrying that I had lost a friend due to misunderstanding and my hyperactive, overly talkative, romantically inclined, bold and beautiful self. Plus on top of over-thinking the whole thing, I had homework too. There's nothing quite like reading a chapter of textbook after crying your eyes out. You really must try it. It helps with realizing how fabulous it is to not cry right before reading. Another thing that happened midst the emailing, crying, reading, and thinking is how I got a writing bug and did slash and burn editing on a joint writing project I am working on. Boy, was that an exercise is masochism. Reading through the stories I'd written made me cry more and then I had written a couple of brazenly bold short stories which I felt might have caused this friend to be shied away so I slashed away at those (I saved them in a different document, but they are no longer part of the joint project). I just cannot stand the thought of alienating another person from my life. I DETEST BEING SPICY PICKLED STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM!!! (see Uniquely Amazing)

So anyways. This background sets the stage for my whacklicious day.

I laid down for two and a half hours. Mind you, I say laid down because if I had said slept, I would be lying. The entire nighttime nap was packed with thoughts, dreams, and dejectedness. Needless to say, my alarm clock was in harm's way when it rang out so cheerfully at 5:30 in the morning. And yes, you heard that right-- 5:30. A. M.

My kids' rooms look like tornadoes hit them, but then half the house does too. My first grader still doesn't have his shoes on when I have to leave to get to my school. Don't kids know how vital shoes are?!

I get to school with not enough time and so I am walking as fast as my stubby legs will carry me, but it just isn't good enough. (My university cares about our heart health so there are innumerable stairs to assist students with this goal of theirs.) I am ten minutes late to class. Not too big of a deal, excepting there are no chairs left for me to sit in. I default to the floor along the back wall (this happened on Monday as well), yet quickly realize I need to be researching something and so I have to head to the computer lab since I didn't have my laptop with me. This is too much for my insomniac self. I walk into the hall and a couple tears roll down my cheeks in the hope they can wash away feelings of inadequacy and ridiculousness. No such luck there.

But it certainly gets better. Much better.

The next class is Indoor Cycling AKA Spin Class. Let's just say ouch right now, and to help you visualize it all I will say this--this woman's legs were not made for standing up for like five minutes straight while riding on a bicycle. There was a massive ATP failure, to say the least.

I have a locker and towel service now. And the locker room is also where I happened to leave my purse which I had not missed one whit until after near-killing my legs to death on a bike. Did I tell you how the locker room is kitty corner from  Spin in a large building? Just remember this for in a minute.

Back to that ATP failure. I believe my legs were worse than jello legs after a tough weight training session once I got off that bike. I had to focus all my energy just on walking and not allowing my legs to collapse. How does that equate with getting fit? I can't see it and that long hall down to the locker room might as well have been 100 miles.

Oh yeah. To top off the exercise class excitement, I had the pleasure of taking a horrifically cold shower (I couldn't figure out the hot water.) and forgetting to bring shoes to go with my slip on dress I brought for afterwards. This forced me to wear my athletic shoes with a dress! I don't know what your perspective is on the topic, but I believe that skirts and dresses and athletic shoes should never mix. EVER. I was breaking one of my hard and fast rules for being fabulous and, trust, it pained me severely.

My little niece and nephew are visiting for the week and so I pile all the children in my vehicle so we can pick up [C] from his bus stop and head out to the little monkey's dental appointment. But then guess what happens? [C] misses the bus. again. (It happened yesterday too).

Some good stuff that happened was when Mr. [C] Middleschooler received his Life Scout rank in the evening.; my children were all with me after school; I had a very engaging lecture today in the class I was late for; the Spin class instructor played Viva la vida by Coldplay which put a smile on my face and then it played again randomly on the radio as I was driving home. Torture me now. It was great.

And my friend still wants to be my friend.

Maybe I'm only a smidge whacktastic...maybe.


Home

What is home, really?

At first thought, I see my parent's house, my house, and the houses of my friends. But houses aren't necessarily homes; There are the fondest and most vile of memories commingled at the house of my parents, so it never held a trusted sense of comfort for me growing up; My house today is turned upside down by divorce; And, let's face it, my friends' houses are where they attempt to create a feeling of home for themselves, not me.

And then I see Las Vegas. Some people might be astonished at the thought, but the Las Vegas I know has a familiarity that is close to what I envision home to be like. The ditch down Washington screams of dangerous adventures. Fireworks shows at the Union Plaza mean family togetherness. Driving to the base of Sunrise Mountain to stand in awe of all the sparkling lights holds a thousand memories. The most cherished friendships known to man were forged there. Yet even still, it is not home.

Now, I see home not as a place but as a state of the heart-- a deeply affectionate, shared cognizance of someone else wherein a near tangible timelessness resonates. Home, to me, is where I may rest my heart in safety because there is no doubt he knows me at my weakest and worst, and he cares for me still; even more so, it is where those two imperfect people come together in love and loyalty, emphatically pushing away fear. There is much given and required in building this sort of home. It almost seems too much to ask--an actual dream which has no foundation in reality--except, glints of it have been sighted on occasion. Call me an overly hopeful romantic, but I believe in the near impossible.

That being said, I am quite homeless and could be sweeping the streets until the end of my days.

At least my story isn't finished being written yet...I will continue to hope until then.



related link:

Seeing Through The Tears

brightly wishing

I wished upon a star
For you last night
I waited for something
Yet nothing happened
For my trembling heart fears
Your fear as we embark
On an epic adventure
Either together or apart
On the precipice of bliss
Falling hard and fast
I can hardly catch my breath
Reality's brutality catches it
For me
'Tis authenticity at its finest

I realize now how your whispers
Were in the stars
Beckoning
Breaking the silence
For this heart
With many scars
Dipping into life
Right above me
Transported
Our perfect night
It could not last forever
Yet it's brilliance
Remains in me
And you I know
Further up and further in
We must go
To really live
Though love may leave me
Wondering
At the stars leaves me wishing

basking

poetry, photography, sunlight, trees, love


I have fallen in love with you
all over again,
Remembering the way you look at me
all over again,
Talking as if time stood still
though it has not,
Wishing the moment to kiss had come
though it has not,
Waiting for you to wake up
when it is right,
So we may venture out together
when it is right,
Forcing a smile to come
upon me,
Feeling the sun beaming
upon me,
and this sensation of warmth shall never leave
as long as you are near. 
 

cake rant

purple, cake, rants
crappy snapshot by me ~ cake by My Artistic Ventures
I think I have a cake problem . . .

I was once told by someone who thought they knew me really well that I want to have my cake and eat it too. The English idiomatic proverb You can't have your cake and eat it too is where this train of thought came from and it seems to make sense, right? You can't continue to possess something and be eating it all up at the same time. At some point you have less than what you've consumed.

However, this accusation was meant to be biting. I was supposed to feel guilty for being such a selfish little jerk of a consumer. Somehow I needed to see that having a cake life is not something I deserve, and if by some unrealized miracle I did in fact have this elusive undeserved cake life abstraction (someone please show me what that looks like), I certainly would be a total narcissistic hag for wanting to taste any of its pleasures from time to time.

The question of all questions is where does one find a cake life? I seriously cannot name one person I would feel comfortable on whom to place such a loaded label. Don't we all have challenges, struggles, and good times all rolled up in one? There are those who appear to have everything, but we can't always see what might be lacking in someone else's life. It's their life—their heart, mind, physical, spiritual self. No one can know all of another person's needs.

I'd like to look at life as more of a jelly roll sort of cake, except every so often between the cake layers you don't find that lovely cream or jelly filling—you get raspberry seeds stuck in your teeth or even worse. Someone might have dumped a load of baking soda into the batch that day or week or year, and you just have to keep on rolling with it. (Let's not even get me started on if there's too much salt because the imagery doesn't match what all that salt adding savor to life stuff tries to portray. Deal?)

Life can also be experienced as an infinite-layered cake with each day, week, and year adding an array of flavors to the whole lovely lot. Some years, we might get German chocolate with that divine coconut pecan concoction lathered in between. And then every once in awhile, you might not even get cake but this nasty garbage disposal-flavored cream sauce that soaks into any cranny it can find, inevitably spoiling a few layers in the process. The fabulous thing about this cake is how it continues to be added upon day after day, even moment by moment. A few unsavory layers can not take away the delectable ones, yet we can scrape off a layer or two by choosing to spend our time delighting in the good parts such as sprinkles and icing.

Friends are our icing on the cake. They add sweetness to even the driest of the dry layers. Friends connect the layers into something worth indulging in. And every once in awhile you have a friend who sticks with you even when garbage disposal cream sauce is doing its damage.

This leads me to the conclusion that the person was partially right in their assumption: I do want to have my cake and eat it, too; however, I pretty much demand that there be a mixing bowl of icing on the side at all times to get me through the bad patches.


a rag session

Writing is one of those happy places for me. When I am happy, I write. When I am sad, beyond ticked off, confused, whatever, I write and it gets me into a better place than where I began. So when things started unraveling for me this evening, I wish I could have had a moment to write down some of the things flying through my head, but it never worked out to do so. I couldn't even jot it down through a quick text to a friend, tweet, or a note pad. Actually--I did get one tweet out, but otherwise I was too unavoidably busy tonight.

What I am left with now is a sense of powerlessness which I know is at least a half-lie (if there is such a thing), flared-up voice box reflux discomfort, and this overwhelming desire to cry. I must admit to buying into second-guessing all of my friendships and victimizing myself for a moment or two longer than is healthy. (For the record--any moment of victim mentality is unhealthy, ok?)

I feel like a jerk. I am friends with more than a gob of fabulous people, but enjoy this soul-piercing sense of dejectedness with too many others. Why do people either love me or hate me with mostly zero of the in between sort? I feel so blessed on the one hand and super duper uber loserly on the other. It's not as if I don't work on improving my interpersonal skills either. Some people just really detest who and how I am. And it breaks my heart whenever it's someone I deeply care about. I can work on some aspects of my personality defects, but seriously, I cannot stop being myself. That is unacceptable to my mind. I have squashed my true self for too many years to go back to acting a part again.

The joyous thing about all my ragging is that it's only part of my life's truth. The other side of the truth is that I have talents that people value; I'm figuring out that my seriousness gone awry is considered funny by quite a lot of people and that makes me smile; There are people in the world who truly care about me regardless of anything I do--good or irritating; And no matter what, deep down inside past all the pain, I know I am a beloved daughter of God. I think that my recovery time simply needs some work, then I won't get so bent out of shape when negative events try to work their magic on my emotions.

And for the record--writing this all down cheered me up considerably. Thanks for listening. You're the best!


Am I a heartless guttersnipe or what?

Grade School: An Age-Old Tradition
 
My dad used to call my baby brother The Last of the Mohicans and today, for some reason, I keep wanting to call my little guy that, too.

So anyways-- The Last of My Mohicans started First Grade today and while it is a big day for him and for me, I do not find myself needing to cry. All I keep thinking about is how this step is going to help him to learn and grow. He will begin to see what life is really like and be able to make something of himself. He will learn how to be an independent, intelligent individual. There are friends to be made, words to be written, numbers to be manipulated, and adventures of all sorts to be had. I cannot fathom being sad for this event.

That said, I attest to the fact that I stuck out like a sore thumb with all the other parents being melancholy around me. I gave one friend a hug, but for some reason I didn't even have much consolatory feeling in me. One of my friends even asked me how do I do it--how do I not want to cry? I really do not know. Maybe it's because the divorce has given me something more devastating to focus my tears on for so long that this feels like a joyous occasion in comparison? Maybe I have become hardened emotionally by all the events of the past several years? I have sent three other monkeys off to first grade, so maybe that's it? Maybe I'm used to it a bit. I really can't say. But, I'd like to think that my gladness for my little son, and for all of my children starting back to school, springs from my mother's heart that only wishes them to reach their potential as contributing members of society (and for them to stop kicking, scratching, quarreling, mocking, and bugging the living garbage out of one another every waking moment of every single day since school let out for summer).

If that makes me a heartless guttersnipe of a mom, so be it.


Related Link:

First Day of Kindergarten


caught in a dream

Through the line, there is a voice
A voice this heart has known before
And it skips a beat never to recover
To hear you speak my name is unbelievable
Although there are people around I hear no noise
I am in awe. I am in a bubble.
You talk of happy things
Of life and goals and dreams
It takes some time for me to see
You are no fantasy
But a dear friend who cares
Someone with whom I may share
My life and goals and dreams
And not be afraid any longer
To be the person that I am
A writing, thinking, loving,
adventuresome soul living
A life stuffed with all the passion I can
Get away with and still be on the ground
You listen with generous compassion
With an inexhaustible kindness
With everything a friend ought to be
A memory keeper giving not to take

Our time thus far has been a dream
From which I never wish to wake



Serving Peaches

Peach Surgery

I went on an adventure today, although it was of a different sort than what most people would call adventure. I volunteered for a few hours in a church welfare cannery.

It was Peaches Day and so I got to get up close and personal with probably hundreds, if not thousands, of juicy, fragrant peaches. I stood in one spot for three hours making sure the peaches that were about ready to get put into cans did not have any rotten parts. Who wants to open up a can of fruit with grotesque brown nast on any of it, right? So anyways, I took my job seriously.

For the first hour I was energetic, enjoying the delicious smelling aroma surrounding me (I adore canned peaches by the way). I commented to my work neighbor about how this was making me want to bust open a can of peaches for dinner when I got home.

The second hour was a different story. The noise in the room was constantly loud and it was grating on me to stand in one place without talking with so much dull loudness surrounding me. So that is when I started singing. I figured it was so loud that no one would hear me if they didn't want to and I was going to go bonkers if I didn't start doing something to change things up. And that is also when my taste changed. Chinese food sounded like a much better pick than peaches now.

Midst the third hour, I began to dream of steak. Who could possibly stomach any sort of fruit or vegetable anything after physically handling so much of the stuff? Not even those itty bits of veggies found in fried rice could be permissible at this point. Also, I began to run out of songs to sing. I resorted to repeating a few of my favorites, but it just wasn't quite as invigorating as when I first began. When I was just about to give up, the lady next to me said we only had fifteen minutes left and I let out an audible WooHoo! Yeah! and started singing with much more zeal clear until we finished up.

The experience made me realize a few things. First, I am soft. How did/do people work for eight or ten-hour shifts at any factory? Standing in one spot with so much noise that isn't even conversation can drive one batty. Second, I feel more grateful for the food I have to eat. This food is for distribution to the needy and I have been a recipient of such gifts at times. Getting to see the care taken to prepare everything showed me what it takes to feed others. Third, it really made me happy to give a few hours of service. As our society seems to get more and more egocentric, I believe it does individuals a great deal of good to serve others. It can get us outside of ourselves for that time. Additionally, as we spend more and more time serving we get less comfortable with the selfishness pervading our little worlds.

I hope we might all take some time to give back to our communities on a regular basis. Serve at a food bank, shelter, or wherever you can--even lending a hand to a neighbor who needs some help can make a world of difference.


playing at a song

let's ad lib ~ love
to the beat of a different ~ song
let me feel ~ your rhythm
only touching on ~ the facts
hard truth ~ past pretense
grasping at your ~ authenticity
jazz ~ improvising ~ connection
musicality ~ beyond ~ description
messages ~ between the notes
slipped between ~ each sheet
our threads ~ intertwined
performing ~ blind
finding ourselves ~ by touch
sight reading you ~ with luck
you get my Braille message
fingers etching meaning ~ on your skin
a blank piece of parchment ~ wishing for a song
our notes ~ blended in delicate harmony
deliciously melting into ~ fantasy

written impromptu on twitter by @th_purpl_lady and @divorcezen

i {heart} my enablers

an enabled perspective

Have you ever had a friend you could talk to for hours and the only thing that stops you is the clock? Yeah, me too. I used to think I had a problem with talking too much, but I am beginning to realize it was only because I was expecting reciprocal communication from too many people who were incapable of that level/volume of talking. Mind you, there aren't very many out there in the world who can keep up with me although I must say those who at least try are on my forever friend list.

And then-- we have my enablers. There are but a handful of those, and it's sheer madness to try to follow any conversation we begin.

These special people allow themselves to get entangled in this near nonsensical web of tangents where I interrupt with side notes because if I don't we both know I will forget what I wanted to say and somehow I'm not rude for interjecting All. The. Time. My enablers are so conditioned to my interjecting that whenever the rare occasion arises when I simply listen for longer than 30 seconds, they check if I'm still on the line. It makes me laugh at myself at first; however, my next thought is of gratitude for being so completely accepted and understood by at least a handful of people in the world. After that, I want to learn to listen more and then talk with them even more still.

When I stop to think about all the unfinished stories and points left unmade because for some crazy reason we got off on about five different topics per original topic, all I can do is hope eternity will be long enough for us to finish up all those conversations. 

Winning at Healing

quote from Vexed by Design

I have had a lot on my mind lately. It's been a veritable roller coaster of emotionality. Floods of ideas and hopes and dreams interrupt the regular daily grind sorts of stuff. And then, sometimes, dark clouds tumble in and crowd out the sunshine. I don't know if it is depression per se but I still do struggle with feeling whole and well from time to time, though I could be getting closer to the healed side of the spectrum. (Cross your fingers and pray for me.)

One really encouraging aspect of my healing process is that I don't shed tears over the break up anymore. I believe I cried that river dry this past spring: My Heart Exposed. at least we can all hope.

My big concern right now is for my children. They seem to be caught in the middle and even though I do all I can to keep them out of it, they keep getting tugged back in. It is hard to see them struggle and only have so much I can do to help.  I guess it's how life goes--except I wish it all could have been avoided.

Life is busy with good things too. School starts soon for them and for me. Everyone will get to see their friends, focus on something outside our home, and keep on learning things that will empower us to keep going in positive directions. My friends continue to buoy me up. My needs and a few wants are being met. Happy surprises seem to keep coming my way. I count that as winning.

Choose Your Own Adventure

graffiti art at The Beat, Downtown Las Vegas
 
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it 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. To love is to be vulnerable.
-- C.S. Lewis

When we are children, we can do so much--even everything. The world is full of opportunity and somehow there is nothing that can stop us, not even ourselves. We can leap off of the tallest things, like boxes and step ladders. Joy is found in the simple things, like mud pies and popsicles. What I want to know is when does that all change?

I wore mary janes and skirts as I made a name for myself at tether ball, four square, kickball, and fighting against bullies in elementary school only to become a skirt-wearing flute player bully in junior high (I did finally own a pair of shoes other than mary janes though). I could do everything until life started teaching me that I couldn't. It started in eighth grade: I lost my boyfriend; I realized that not all my supposed friends liked me; I began to compare my body to other girls' which meant I was delusional (size 4 is not fat by the way); I learned what it was to feel solitary and alone...

Life was teaching me how hard it can be to love myself and others. The big problem with me is how I don't seem to learn so well. I continued to love others with all I am. I decided it was just fine to be friends with mostly guys and that it didn't somehow make me an automatic ho-bag no matter what anyone else said; and I never did do the anorexia/bulimia thing. But that lonely bug. It bit me hard and I have never recovered. I will just say it-- I long for loyal, loving, long-term (actually--eternally permanent) companionship. I seriously hope this isn't just one of those cases of always wanting what we can't have.

Now I realize how so many of us peg ourselves into the same old holes and never look around to see if there could be a new path. I do it too, but I try not to if there could be something better for me around a different corner than I had planned. I never planned to give so much of my heart away to people; however, I believe it has been good for me...somehow. There are choices to make all the time taking us in every direction and the messiness of it all makes us vulnerable, teachable, and lovable.

When we figure out how this story ends, just know that I'm glad I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure and choosing love at every crossroads. 


TwitterVerse: Vol. VII

writing, haiku, poetry, twitter


#haiku

your effervescence . eyes scent style touch talk caring . captured in a smile

#micropoetry

The hunted and the hunter/ blinded by the trees/ walking through a swarm of shadows/ with nothing to do but see

Every once in awhile/ I stop to look around/ noticing you're not there/ I don't feel lost but found

You crept inside my dream last night/although you never earned the right/I will let you stay awhile/then cast you in the pile

I fell into a patch of stardust/as I gave you all my trust/We sang a song of moonbeams/ as we painted glitter dreams.

#1line

Your sunshine reached me through the wires and caused a smile. :)

I write words that make no sense unless, of course, you're him.

He wooed me with the words of others. 

#microstory

As I re-enter life/ fresh from of the grips of hell/ bright-eyed and full of wonder/ I whisper, "Where's love? Pray, tell."

Beware the cautionary tale of a lady beset with hair ne'er to see the light of day without a rat's nest at the helm.

#collaborative

by the adoration ~ and devotion ~ of all eternity

#duet

with @divorcezen

dz:  if you can hear me ~ these words are for you
pl:  with his catch-all phrase ~ I was hooked, reeled in
dz:  caught ~ no release
pl:  the happy captive ~ within this net ~ of words
dz:  this bond holds ~ and frees us
pl:  as we dream ~ love ~ write ~ as we wish
dz:  choosing reality ~ into existence
pl:  on purpose


thirty minutes

What would you take with you if you had but thirty minutes to gather it all up and forever leave the rest behind? First and most certainly, I would take with me my children. But after that, who can say?

I think to grab my scrapbooks and a bag of clothes. I reach for some blankets made by my mother. There are family heirloom furniture pieces I could tie to the top of my car, but then where would I put the piano mom used to play all the time? There is no room. I want to snatch up all the children's playthings and throw them in a box, really quick, with the basket of letters and photographs from my family history work. Oh! But what about those dirty dishes in the sink? I must wash those up and get to that laundry before the clock runs out. I wouldn't want it rumored I could not keep house. I dare not leave behind my scriptures, books, and sewing machine nor the keepsakes on the walls. And I shan't forget my makeup bag and my favorite purple shoes. Do you remember if I already packed the baby blankets and some snacks? I want to take it all with me, but there is no time for that.

Yet, with all this said, I really do take every important thing with me. I have them within my cherished memories. No tangible item could matter more than what a heart can hold. Thirty minutes could never be enough if I had to load them in a car.



Ode to Pain

poetry, ode, photography


When I write upon the page,
I must pay homage to the pain
which provides me with a poignancy
that could not come from other ways.

With tears staining many a word
With joy wrought after the sword
With fire lit on detestation's flint
I find my voice and write.

He gives to me so plentifully, this friend of mine.
We've walked a thousand miles since and, hence,
We shall walk a thousand more in time.

Love and hate which becomes
A mixed up mess of a relationship
Corners me in to my heart
And I learn to protect it
From you,
My poisonous unthinking pet,
With piercing trauma
Making immortal marks.

Come to me, my dear and darling damaging companion.
Your sweet song you bring to me
I only keep once you've abandoned me.
So enter so you may leave.
I welcome it, you see,
Because I'd never want it said I allowed you all the fun.

Throughout this existence lies a lie
One that deceives us on the fly
Many of us believe we deserve to never die
We hold disdain for that which eternally draws nigh
Yet if we would just learn to try
To revel more after every sigh
And gather in the joy behind each cry,
We could embrace, with love, our sad goodbyes.

So fair friend,
Let us entwine
Our many heartstrings
Admitting amity
At all ends.

Do not mistake these words I write.
They certainly have not come at a small price.
Perpetually prodded by a never-ending motherlode of strife,
I simply choose to draw from this wellspring of words called life.

I give thee thanks and thanks once more
For the words which fill my repertoire
I pray fare thee well until we meet again,
sweet
savory
slicing
searing
stinging
Pain.



related link:

Reaching


One Year of Seeking to Become

One year has passed since I began this Seeking to Become series. It is hard to believe it has been that long, but there is written proof of it so it must be for real. I have been on quite the journey, and while it has been a terrible challenge, it has also proven to be a year of amazing growth. 

To wrap up this year of Seeking to Become and look forward to another one, I want to share with you some of the things I have learned from the experience. I hope that by reading this you will be encouraged to seek to become more like the Savior and reach out with faith to meet your challenges. I have not been perfect in attaining each of the goals, but I know I have become a better version of myself for the trying. 
*If you would like to read a monthly challenge in its entirety, click the Month/Year heading.

August 2011
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  
--Isaiah 12:2 (KJV)
I have come a long way on this one. I have felt so alone, but with these words in my heart and mind, I have found strength and been able to cast out much fear. Also, I started singing when I have struggled and it has been a great comfort to sing inspiring songs out loud in those hard moments. 



 Psalms 105:4
  Seek the Lord, 
and his strength: 
seek his face evermore.
I have been able to keep up my prayer goal, while I have allowed the summer non-schedule schedule to chip away at the personal scripture study. It isn't entirely gone to the wayside, but I should focus on it again. The ability to focus my mind on holier thoughts throughout this time has certainly guided me onto more peaceful paths than I could ever have imagined. I have a portion of patience that I did not have before working at this particular goal. 
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
There were times when I wanted to give up, yet the knowledge that I should not despair because I am not forsaken and, therefore, cannot be destroyed provided me with an understanding of my circumstances I had never been able to see. My life might be a wreck, but it is not over. There are blessings in store for me that I cannot imagine. I am not sure how good of an example I am though. I strive to do what is right, but have been slipping along my way from time to time. I realize now that I need to work harder that His light might shine better through me. 
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 136:1 
Since becoming more aware of the goodness and blessing I receive, I have been able to cultivate a more keen sensitivity to the gifts of service and friendship given me. I am better able to recognize how much God knows me by seeing, in the moment, many of the blessings I have that are so small yet so valuable to my happiness. I try harder now than ever to give thanks in any way I can to those angels on earth who make my life endurable. 
2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

This particular scripture simply solidified my belief in sharing all you can with others. I was shown more clearly what a difference giving to others with a happy heart can make. Throughout the following months, I made a point to continue seeking out opportunities to give and share what I could and it provided me with an extra measure of joy I needed in difficult times. 


21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
  Matthew 9:21-22
My car just about died in January after setting forth this challenge and because of my fortitude to be faithful despite the odds, everything worked out. I was astonished, yet not so much at the same time. I was able to make hard decisions about the repairs and it was fine. This is a really big deal to me since I know how ignorant I am to how things work with car repairs. That one experience changed me forever. I see my world very differently now that I am focused more on exercising faith. 
 Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

-- Jeremiah 31: 3
I cannot fully express in words the impact this verse had upon me that month and every day since. There are still days when I get down in the dumps, yet somehow the depth of the sadness does not feel as suffocating. I now know better how beloved I am. 
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 
Praying for understanding creates a strong bond between us and the Lord. I cannot say I have figured out how it works entirely, but I do know I have been able to make more sense of more incomprehensible issues and topics than ever before in my lifetime. And when something does not make any sense whatsoever still, I am blessed with an overwhelming peace and I am comforted. 


Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 
Isaiah 41: 10 
I am still working on this goal. Much fear has been cast aside, although I have bad days from time to time which remind me of the fear I still needlessly hold within my heart.  
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while [Jesus] talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Luke 24:32
While not consistent with seeking answers directly from the scriptures, I have surely developed this skill. It is astonishing how quickly the solution to a complex problem can be brought to light when taking the time to stop and reach for the words of God to guide you. 


I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities
Psalms 31:7

Not sure how glad I've been, but it has been refreshing for me to recognize the tender mercies I am blessed with receiving. There have been countless little miracles from this period of time when I set the goal clear through the present that continue to surprise and gladden my heart. 


All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 

Job 27:3-5
The mere suggestion of this focus on integrity has caused me some needed introspection. I want to be known for my integrity, yet I now see clearly the cracks in my shield. I have made better choices in many situations and it brings me joy to know I am working toward a spiritually stronger me. 
 

pulled to you

Time has this funny way of pulling love apart
Yet, it also has the uncanny ability to join hearts.
We grow together, then, a combination of
Choices and circumstance stretch and sever love
Or—more precisely—cloud our vision
In recognizing true self in decisions.
So, we move forward with life.
Love others and learn to live.
Wrapped up in pretending to know
It was a good thing; It helped me grow.
Everything has taught me something.
So even for the licorice you'll hear me sing
A ballad of gratitude for all I've learned.
Pulled again, I near can see that for which I've yearned.
My sugar sweetheart friend living a taffy life.
Pulled and torn, alone, wrapped up tight.
Looking forward, now inconceivable to stop,
I enter as if into a candy shop
Sans all affectations ceremonious
Reaching for all things harmonious
As I lean in and am pulled to you.
Again. 


Eventide: A Whimsical Book of Tales

Eventide (Tales of the Dragon's Bard, #1)
Goodreads

I've been doing a bit of reading again and found a fun book you might enjoy. It's called Tales of the Dragon's Bard, Book 1: Eventide, even though we shall most certainly be referring to it as Eventide from this point on, okay?  This book is co-authored by a husband and wife Tracy and Laura Hickman. This factoid alone had my interest peaked. How much fun would it be to write a book with someone you love? It's definitely going on my Things to Do With a Real Husband list. So anyways, onto this book review business...

Things I Liked Most

I thoroughly enjoyed the tales within the tale style. You get these micro-bursts of characterization and next thing you know you're back in the regular story and vice versa. It was refreshing and surprising. The many sidenotes between and about Caprice and Jarod play out their struggle in a smart and jagged sort of way which I believe reflects real life; therefore, it was captivating and romantic. 

The character names were simply lovely: Ariela, Caprice, Jarod, Deniva, Beulandreus, and many more. Some of them don't roll off the tongue so well, but neither do the characters. They aren't meant to. Names are the first important part of characterization and these authors figured that out quite well.

Things I Didn't Like So Much

The side tracks, which I very much enjoyed, detracted from the flow of the story until I was able to catch the author's vision of the tales within a tale. After reading for awhile and getting frustrated a bit, it dawned on me and then it worked better. So I just want to give you a heads up in case you have a hard time following the overarching tale at first too.

And the Bard bugged me at times, although I have this funny feeling he is merely fulfilling the measure of his creation. 

Favorite Short Quote

You do know that there is a difference between notoriety and being notorious, don't you? 
-- Farmer Bennis
 Favorite Not So Short Quote

The best quests are those here, close to your heart. The quests in all those distant lands of story seem more important somehow because they are far away--but the quests that make a difference are the smaller ones in the places of power, glory, wealth, and magic that lie just around the corner from your own home. 
-- Farmer Bennis
It appears that I adore Farmer Bennis and his wit and wisdom, but I must tell you there are some other quotes by Jarod that take your breath away. I do not feel comfortable sharing them here because I wouldn't want to spoil anything for you. And yes, I'm quite nice that way--sometimes.

Eventide is a light-hearted, whimsical read chock full of hilarity and adventure. I hope you enjoy it.

a few links to help you get your hands on a copy:

Deseret Book: Audio Book Download

Shadow Mountain

Amazon

p.s.
 
I have a giveaway going (just under the site banner) as we speak that you might want to take a peek at.

Disclaimer
I was given one ARC of Eventide for myself in exchange for this reveiw and one hardbound copy to give away to one very lucky reader.


Seriously Whimsical

I really really adore this artist's music. Her words juxtaposed against such up beat music make for a delightful and easy to listen to bunch of songs. Sara Bareilles rocks my world and I hope you enjoy this song. Happy Wednesday!