making it last



Kicking off Christmas early during the week of Thanksgiving has made for a wonderful Christmastime for me. My children met friends and family whom I cherish, and we spent time with them doing and seeing things we never have before. The time we shared was split with people who made us feel loved and welcome and some who set the stage for us to feel decidedly unwelcome. There was no in between. And while it felt bad to be ill treated, I'm glad for the experience. My children were able to see quite blatantly how to treat guests—whether they are family or friends. The experience added to our ability to appreciate the gladness that we do share with others, creating space for us to feel the spirit of Christmas all the more.

Another way we've made Christmas last a little longer is going to see Christmas lights a couple more times than normal, and taking pictures with our little Santa Claus doll has been a very fun time indeed. I can't forget how we have watched all of our Christmas movies together too. 

The one thing that hasn't happened yet this year, and it probably needs to happen tomorrow night or it won't is going caroling. The attrition rate around here for willing carolers is high, and I think it might be the end of that era for at least a while if not for always. And I'm sad about it. I don't know if I should make my children go because they will appreciate it later, or if I should just hang it up, and let it go. Rest assured, I've listened to every Christmas CD I own, bought more Christmas music files, and I've been creating a playlist that will hopefully be complete before Christmas. I'm not lacking in Christmas music, but I sure am lacking in the rejoicing in caroling to neighbors tradition I enjoy so much. 

No matter what, I have felt loved this year. I hope I've helped others to feel loved. And I am filled with joy that it is Christmas this week! 



taking a break



At any given moment, I have about four different problems I'm pondering/solving, at least two vital tasks needing to get done, and about five appointments I'm forgetting to set or go to or both. Throw in the end of my first first semester as a teacher coming to a close, Christmas preparations, and having just gone on an epic journey across the Great State of Texas, and you get one completely overwhelmed, overstimulated, over scheduled, over all the complaining, whining, fighting, throwing clothes and trash on the floor by children mother.

I'm just done. The other day, I was driving home from an errand, and I stopped on the side of the road near my house, and I sat and listened to Christmas music for about twenty minutes instead of going straight home. I needed a break! And I took it that minute.

While we are on the topic of breaks, I want to say that I have become pretty good at taking breaks when I sense a need. Sometimes though, I don't get to do the break I know would give me the most benefit/happiness. It's tough when those sorts of things happen, yet even getting a second choice break is better than no break at all. I've found that having a nice warm cup of fresh mint tea or a buble bath can turn a bad day around. There are many little things I've learned to do just for me when stress is high, making all the difference in my level of happiness. And I'm sure my sanity thanks me too.




divorcedness



Each day has new discoveries, and sometimes a word is one because you make it up.

Divorcedness is a condition you feel when you don't think you fit in because you either got a divorce or you're a child from a divorced couple. Oftentimes divorcedness is something you can't see, and no one else can measure the height or depth of which it is felt. Even still, if it is perceived, it is up to the sufferer to overcome this temporary condition.

I'd like to share that I no longer feel my divorcedness to the paralyzing levels I once did. I see how my family is wonderful albeit fatherless in most ways, some of the most important ways. I take my children everywhere families typically go, and I refuse to stand at the back of any room to keep out of the way of the "whole" families. I don't mean to say that I don't want a father figure for my children because that's not true, but I am thankful that I have found the courage to step up and keep joining in, instead of hiding in corners.

Now, I just need to convince my children. 

shenanigans

Polka Dot Purple's Third Birthday Party: Denver, Colorado
photo: C.T. Duncan

I need to write a retraction of sorts. Some weeks ago, I shared a bit of funny stuff for Whimsical Wednesday after a long break, but I introduced it with a sense of having forgotten or rather not had time to employ my whimsicality. And Reader, I firmly believed this about myself—that I have been altogether serious and no fun at all.

Then, I got a reminder about Polka Dot Purple. This is no ordinary sock monkey. First of all, how many sock monkeys do you know who are purple with purple polka dots all over? And second of all, I don't think there's another sock monkey around who was given with as much love and care as Miss Polka Dot Purple was. Third of all, our sock monkey girl has been on many adventures AKA shenanigans—not always big time ones but the everyday sort that really count. Purple gave us a sense of fun during a time when, frankly put, our life was quite sad and almost too hard to bear.

On this Whimsical Wednesday, I want to celebrate my ingenuity in trying times and pay gratitude to a loving, mindful sister-in-law who sent us this wonderful early Christmas gift three years ago.

This little monkey has a buddy now too. If you'd like to see Polka Dot Purple and Tillman's latest (and greatest) adventures, you will find them on my Instagram: @th_purpl_lady under the hashtags #TheTerribleTwo and #PURPLETAKEOVER.




stretch the time



I just got back from an amazing Thanksgiving vacation with my children and one of my brothers. But like all well deserved vacations, they end too quickly while it's also good to be home.

The time flew by at lightning speed as we visited friends and family. Some stops were filled with pure love and welcoming arms, yet others felt like an imposition. It all seemed to slip through my fingers in equal measure though. I savored every moment moving around plans to stretch the time together, and even still the clock was always in charge of when to say goodbye.

I think that's the hardest part too—having to say goodbye. It's a necessity that hurts. The only way to fix that one is to move, but then there are others to say goodbye to, so I guess time will help things in its way. Somehow it all will sort out. Someday there won't be so many goodbyes.

When all is said and done, I am happy to be home but not happy to be missing part of my heart again.


an audience



As this gratitude month challenge closes, I want to express my gratitude for the chance I've had to share my thoughts with all of you. Without an audience, sometimes writing feels empty or devoid of purpose.

I am thankful for each one of you. I'm thankful for the conversations we've had about what we find important and worthy of mention. I'm thankful for what you have brought to my mind as you have shared your gratitude. 

Thank you for sharing this time with me in whatever capacity. It has made the experience sweet. 



lights



Another tradition to be grateful for is going out to look at Christmas lights. My parents took us each year at least once, and we'd sing Christmas carols as we drove around enjoying the sparkling lights. 

The best part about this tradition is that I keep it going with my own children. Every year, we drive around our neighborhood and stop at this house that has a radio station of their own with Christmas songs synced to their light show. It's phenomenal. Last year, we sat there for almost 45 minutes soaking it in. I'm pretty sure it counts as a different sort of light therapy, and it works! 

I'm also thankful that my children enjoy it. It wouldn't be any fun at all if they didn't like it too. 


Christmas ornaments



I'm thankful for Christmas tree ornaments. My mother began the tradition of getting an ornament for me each year beginning the year I was born, and I have kept up the tradition even after her death. There seems to be a little dash of love and thoughtfulness in every ornament she gave to me, so when I choose ornaments, I try to pick ones that will remind me of something special that Christmas.  

As each Christmas season begins, touching each ornament from Christmases past, I am filled with love and appreciation for the memories I have and the Savior who is at the center.



pumpkin pie


Family traditions. There are so many of these for me that I want to focus on a few over the next few posts.

The first one I will share is pumpkin pie. I first learned how to make pumpkin pie in my twenties, and as per usual, I wouldn't rest until I changed the recipe enough to call it my own. I make pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and it is a family favorite.

I've gotten so spoilt that I rarely even try anyone else's. 




America



I am grateful for living in this wonderful country. There are flaws. There are problems—even dilemmas. I don't want to focus on those things though. As I ponder what is good about America, I see freedom, opportunity, and a future. 

Life here is something I cherish.







cars



I haven't always had a really nice car, and even still having any car should be something to give thanks for. I am very blessed to have had access to a vehicle ever since I was sixteen years old. First, my parents' cars, then my first car, a 1962 VW Beetle, and then a series of random other vehicles. 

Today, I am especially thankful for being in a beautiful, safe, loaded, amazing car that affords my family and me so much comfort as we go about our driving adventures. It feels wonderful. 




pens



Really nice pens are something to be thankful for. And I'm serious. Ever since the invention of the gel pen, writing has become all the more a pleasure.

Sometimes, I'll grab a sheet of paper and just start practicing my handwriting, trying out new ways of doing cursive. Actually, that's not really a new habit. It began in fifth grade when I saw how pretty Sonya Douglass could write. She simply passed her paper to me to pass to the next child along with mine as we turned in our work, but I'll never forget thinking that if she can write nicely, I can too. So that's when I began practicing writing—grabbing a pen (because I can't stand the scratching of pencils on paper) and a sheet or a stack of sheets of paper and writing and writing—usually just working on the alphabet or my name over and over, but it has always been an enjoyable and relaxing task since then. 

Writing is now my favorite thing to do, and a good pen makes it all the more a delight. 


hotel pillows



Pillows at hotels are something I am very thankful for. However, not all hotel pillows are created equal, and that's why some people bring their own. 

I am not that type of person. I take my nightly comfort into my hands by trusting the hotel people, but I have rarely been disappointed. By uttering these words, I seriously hope I haven't just jinxed myself as I'm prone to do. 






lifeboats



"Is being grateful for being grateful a thing?" said my oldest son. I say it is. 

Not everyone can or will take time to see what is right in front of them making their life good. I'm grateful that I am able and want to take time to recognize the many things that give me something to look forward to every single day.


I am not saying it's always easy to see what I should have gratitude for. Some days, when the tide is high and I am drowning in tears, I would say I don't feel very grateful. I lose sight of the shore because it's buried with so many things that are in my face and won't/can't be settled. However, I do know that even on the worst of days, if I can figure out how to find one thing to be glad for, I end up seeing the brighter side instead of getting drowned in the undertow. 

Yes, I am grateful for being grateful. It has rescued me with the lifeboat of hope and faith on many occasions. 




hymns



I've already written about my gratitude for music, but I'd like to take a moment to share my love for spiritually uplifting music. There are many genres that fall into this category, yet there's nothing quite like hymns of the gospel to teach and bless us through their words and beautiful sounds. 

I'm grateful for the songs that touch my soul, reminding me that there is a God who created me and loves me.

Recently, my oldest son shared this song with me, and I want to share it with you. It's a revival of one of my favorite (of many) hymns. The music and words wrap me in a layer of peaceful comfort. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy. 




motherhood



Becoming a mother has been transformational for me. I am thankful every day for the things I have learned and am learning in this role. I can hardly imagine who I would be without any children.

There are many friends and family around me who struggle with getting the babies they long for into their homes. And I want so much to take that heartache from them. I imagine it is too much to bear alone some days. 

I do have to say that I have my own little heartache; not being married and realizing that I would very much love to bring another baby into the world create a torture for me as I watch the days, months, and years tick down my biological clock. I haven't really uttered this to many people at all, but now I just fling it out to the world. I don't even know why I feel like I should except for the fact that I know someone might be able to feel comforted by this train of thought I've boarded for the day. 

The point I want to make is that I'm thankful for my sweet children. I'm thankful that I could have them. I am thankful that I have people who love me so much and distract me from feeling the full sting of my wish not coming true. I have a heart full of hope, and I will be thankful for that too. 




unexpected blessings



My baby. Well, he's not a baby anymore. He will be turning ten years old pretty soon, and that's definitely not the time for measuring age by weeks. So anyway. 

This little boy reaches out to me daily for help. He is able to show me my purpose as a mother in his observations. He shows me that I am a teacher of life and that I need to remember my purpose and who I am in order to help my family the best. 

The terrible thing about the whole situation is that I resented getting pregnant. I was ready to be done having babies and begin going to school, but instead, I had to restart the countdown. There were other factors for why I was resentful about being pregnant again, but I don't want to get into all that. The most important part is how I learned so much about life and myself simply in the process of finding peace about having an unexpected baby. 

I'm grateful to have sacrificed to have this sweet little guy of mine. From the day he was born, I could tell he would teach me things, and in his quiet ways, he does. 




my mini-me



My younger daughter. It is no small thing to see yourself so completely in someone else.

This girl reaches out in surprising ways on a regular basis. She is so helpful and kind. Her thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and consideration for the big picture makes family life so good. I marvel sometimes at how she even knows to do some of the things she does. She has a soft heart, but I need to be sure to be glad for being able to see how she is like me. On hard days, I see her do nice things and I am comforted and reminded.

Because she is so much like me, she reminds me that I can excel, that I am helpful and kind, and that seeing the world in a positive light is invaluable. Her example helps me remember who I want to be as I see her becoming a wonderful young woman.

When she talks about things she is excited about, I hear myself. Whenever she gets negative about the world around us, I see myself too. I'm thankful for her beautiful complexity that blesses our family every day. 


finding the fun in life



My oldest son. This guy has always been my little buddy—although he's not so little anymore.

This guy teaches me how to not be so serious, how to find the fun in any situation or task. Being able to laugh at how apparently unlucky we have been while recognizing how blessed we continue to be shows me how to be. Furthermore, I am thankful for his kind heart and resilience when faced with seemingly impossible odds.

I'm grateful to have his unique perspective helping me to see life from a happier angle.


autism and compassion



My oldest daughter. This girl has taught me so much. Because of her unique circumstances and abilities, I've learned what it means to truly need others and to serve others.

No longer do I take for granted my ability to find a restroom or get a drink of water when I'm thirsty. Her struggles teach me to be grateful for the ability to care for myself. Without help, she wouldn't be able to survive even though she is technically (but not actually) a grown woman. I am grateful that I have the mental and physical capacities to help her.

How she helps me has been a beautiful surprise. She shows me in each day what compassion looks like—and it's not because I need to show it to her, but because she shows compassion to all those around her. I'm thankful for her ability to see someone who needs a pat on the back and give it. She reaches out to be a friend in ways she knows how even though many people don't invite her into their circle of friendship.

My heart is full of gratitude for having a child who teaches me how to be selfless and glad for the chance.




Seeking to Become - November 2015



Four years ago, I began writing this blog series, "Seeking to Become," in an effort to draw closer to Christ as the days of my divorce began to drag upon my soul. I'm thankful my four-years-ago self recognized a need and did something about it. While there have been a few months here and there when life ran away from itself, I am truly thankful for having these scripture challenges over the years written down in order that I may still draw upon them for focus and spiritual strength.

  • Acts 14:17
    "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
    Daily life can get jam-packed with challenges and troubling things. However, that does not mean there is no longer anything good about life. Christ gave us an example of doing good and blessing others. 

    For this month, as we head into the Christmas season, I hope you will join me in continuing to watch for the blessings that saturate our lives. Keeping a glad and grateful heart at the forefront makes life bright and more beautiful. Join me in seeking to fill our hearts with those things. 







autumn



Sunshine and fall leaves and the light just before dawn. Crisp mornings and the smell of baking cinnamon on apples. Thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas coming around the corner. I'm thankful for the seasons changing to autumn. I'm glad for something new to remind me that, even though this summer brought tired, sad tears to my eyes, I can still find beauty in the world around me and be glad. 








religion



My heart is full of hope all the time. I want to give thanks for my faith in God and the religion I have embraced that puts this hope there. My life is beautiful despite the pain and suffering that pervades it. My days are spent with a sense of meaning and fulfillment. I keep my eyes focused on the promised peace that is mine to enjoy as I strengthen my faith in Christ. Because of my faith, hope and charity seem to come naturally even when it is tempting to become bitter or selfish. I struggle with not being able to see how things will turn out when times are tough, but with faith in my heart, the bright side always comes through sooner than later. I owe that ability to my testimony of God's love for me and everyone, and that all will be made right somehow.




soap



If I could choose one common yet wonderful thing for existence to make mention of this month, I'd pick soap. Soap gets us clean at the very least. And even still, there are beautiful soaps for decoration, ones that smell delightful and help us smell that way. There are soaps for hands, hair, bodies, laundry. One of my most favorite is bubble bath. There's something too perfect about a nice warm shower chased with a long bath filled with bubbles. It feels like pure luxury, and I cannot help but feel gratitude for having a home with a tub that affords me something so delightful and lovely. 




perfectly tiny food



Pine nuts. I know that might sound strange to be thankful for something so small, literally tiny even, but I enjoy them so much. Pine nuts seem to have always been a rarity wherever I've lived. I'm not talking about the packed kind you find at the grocery store either. I savor the pine nuts straight from their thin shell still with the smell of the pine trees they come from hanging on them. You can only find the very best pine nuts in autumn if you get them from the right places. While I'm at it, I'm also thankful for the people who take the time to pick those things. It must be a tedious task. 


grandparents



I'm thankful today and everyday for my grandparents. I didn't get to know my father's parents, but I'm thankful for the rich heritage I was given by his father and the example of a strong, determined Christian woman set by his mother. I've grown up knowing my mother's parents, and they are still alive. It's strange for my children to know their great-grandparents and not their grandparents, but we are just glad to have them around still. I love them so very much. My grandma is a selfless, fun-loving woman who teaches me how to love with her unassuming way. My grandpa is someone who is reserved, but once he gets talking, he tells you the most amazing stories. He has lived life with a quiet zest that I can only hope to imitate. 



road trip reverie



Road trips are a cheap thrill and one of my favorite types of adventure. I've gone on many road trips with my brothers since we've all been alive, and while I used to feel quite tortured being the only girl on these trips, they are some of my fondest memories. Driving down the highway watching for new things, beautiful things, fun things adds to the conversations in interesting ways, which keeps me happy. 

It seems that I find ways to go on a road trip at least once a year, even if it's just nearby. A little hotel stay or a visit with family and friends does the trick for me. I feel the joy in my heart surface, and I am rejuvenated. All the fondness I have for my brothers and parents comes to my mind. All the happy times with friends flood my heart. I feel every memory come alive, and the addition of new layers of happy times adds to the store of joy that I draw upon when in between such delightful memories and making more.

Driving places with my children and my brothers and parents has been something I cherish, along with all the trips I've taken with friends. It all means so much to me. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to have these great memories to hold onto.

Road trips are more than a trip; they are part of the fabric of every good relationship I enjoy. 







family ties



Since my parents passed away over a decade ago, I have come to value even more so the family I still have in my life. It's a strange thing to realize that no one on this earth has to love me except for my children, and even then, that's debatable. I am thankful for the blessing of family. I am thankful that families can be eternal. Understanding how I fit into something so wonderful brightens my vision of life. I see how challenges can be overcome when I remember the family I have, the ties that bind me to loved ones I haven't even met. 


flowers



I'm truly thankful for flowers. I love fragrant flowers, beautiful flowers, spring tulips and lilacs, summer roses and sunflowers, and all of the more rare autumn blooms. Flowers in my yard, hanging in baskets, or cut in a vase, there's something about flowers that I love. 


home



My home is a place of comfort for me. I grew up in the same house since I was two years old, and it's still owned by my family, so settling in somewhere of my own has felt right.

Although, over the past year, I have realized that home is where the heart is, so I don't feel so attached to the actual location but more of the idea of home. Having a place to share with my loved ones, to spend time and to feel safe and cherished with them, grants peace in my crazy world. My heart is full at these thoughts.

Home seems to be less and less of a physical place as the realization that people are what make a place feel like home sinks in. I hope to build a home for someone in my heart because they are building a home for me too.









good music



I am thankful for music. I enjoy songs from almost every genre created. It began with show tunes in movie musicals and classical music, expanding my horizons to oldies, country/western, and then in the 80s, it exploded from there. My love of music has yet to cool. 




caring for my family



Being able to care for my family as well as I do fills me with gratitude and humility. I have strength of mind and body (well, that first part is debatable.).  I have a job that I love, which makes it possible for me to provide for their needs as well as mine. And there are innumerable people who give us support in many ways in which I cannot help us. Because of others helping me, I am able to do more for my family than is humanly possible otherwise.

I'd like to express heartfelt gratitude for everyone who takes time to help my family. 




fresh water



I'm grateful for fresh water. That might sound basic to you, but I mean it. Every once in awhile I catch myself taking it for granted; however, as soon as I notice, I correct myself. Not everyone around the world has access to such plentiful and clean water. We wash our clothes, prepare and cook our food, and bathe hands, faces, and bodies, yet do we stop to remember what a luxury it is to have something so good?

It is something I hope I never forget to have gratitude for. 






watching movies



Taking time out to watch movies with the people I love is one of my favorite things. Whenever we can, my children and I love to flop down on our giant bean bags in the basement and watch movies as a family. When I get together with my lady friends for a girls night out, we go to the movies. When I go to visit family out of state, we are always trying to figure out a way to make a trip to the movie theater happen.

Another movie related experience I enjoy is how I have one particular friend that I watch movies with long distance, calling it a watch-along. These watch-alongs have become a cherished time just for us—a source of gladness for me. There is a charm to having something that you share with no one else and even have your own name for it. There is something that sets it apart in your mind and heart. And I'm especially thankful for these movie moments.

On the flip side, one thing I don't like much—at all—is going to the movies on dates with people I barely know. Seriously. I can't even do it. I went to a movie on a third date once last year, and it still seemed too weird. There's no time to talk and get to know the other person. I'd much rather do something active and engaging with random people I should be getting to know if they're even someone I'd want to let a memory of them get tied to a particular movie. Does that make any sense? If you imagine me saying that really quickly without taking a breath, it should be understandable then.

So anyway, watching movies makes me happy, and I am thankful to be able to enjoy this form of entertainment with the people I care about.






writing



It is difficult to know what to write about first when I have so much to be thankful for. I guess I'll express my deep appreciation for being able to write. I love words and communicating with others, and life would not be the same for me if I could not write. Today I am especially thankful that I'm able to share my gratitude over this coming month with you.


crazy with a side of gratitude



It's been a crazy October. Like, I don't even know how I got to the week of Halloween alive. For real.

Between a child in a competitive high school marching band, another in beginning middle school band, one learning how to be a responsible fourth grader, and yet one more child with literal special needs turning nineteen, I think I should get a pass on November.

And I didn't even go into their fine details nor my amazing challenges as a first year teacher.

It's all quite unfathomable. I can't even try. What I can do is attempt to slow down enough to remember how the month started, pay notice of all I accomplished, and allow myself some tears of gratitude and relief. Some days pushed me to the brink of sanity. I didn't know what to do to make it out of the troubles in a good way, but here we are. And everyone is alive.

I'm looking forward to November and participating in a #30DaysOfGratitude challenge I'm hosting here. Taking time to reflect on my blessings will do me a world of good. Maybe I created my own pass for November by challenging myself to do this. I always come away from writing challenges with a sense of accomplishment and more friends in my pocket.

See you in November!


Seeking to Become - October 2015



As I was reading in the New Testament, I came across some scriptures in Ephesians that connect with last month's Seeking to Become challenge, and I want to share them with you today.

In Ephesians Chapter 3, Paul tells the people what he has been praying for concerning them, and these verses are an excerpt:

 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Every day seems to bring some new bit of trouble, but I would rather focus on how every day simultaneously has new blessings and help sent our way. Having what we need to learn and grow and become who God would have us become is what we should let our hearts dwell on. Taking time to notice how each problem leads us to examine the quality of our conduct can help us recognize that the Lord is teaching us, how he loves us. He leads us to understanding our true selves, our divine calling in life, and connects us one with another to grow in love as members of God's family.

To comprehend Christ's love for me will be the work of a lifetime, but I believe I find examples of it in the tender care of friends and family. I see it in the tender mercies found in daily living. To have Christ dwell in my heart, my faith must grow. Life has been a heart wrenching struggle for too long, but if I continue striving to exercise faith in the Lord, I will overcome. Overcoming defeat, heartbreak, abuse, loss, and other challenges will also be the work of a lifetime. It is life.

As November rapidly approaches with gratitude on our minds, seeking to more fully know the love of Christ will be my goal, to be "grounded in love." I will look for his love in the world around me and count my blessings. Please join me, if you will.





clock tower



Interlaced forever, we are

My darling friend
My wish nearly come true

Whispers of something more
Something further
Keep me patient

Immaculate imperfection
You. Me. Us.
Everything yet nothing
You take my breath away in an instant

As the space between the lines closes in on me
Cracking open hope, exposing it for what it is
Spoilt wishes, darkened dreams
I can hardly keep myself from wishing
One more string of wishes

I wish you could see how we've been cheated
Of truth and kisses
I wish you wanted more from me
In the quiet of our long night
I wish for you to feel safe and warm
In too many ways

A kiss that never came to me
But I know should come
Naturally
Waits upon these longing lips
Like coming home
From a long trip
Welcoming and wanting you there

As the layers continue falling to the floor
Undressing me with full abandon
As you do with only words
And our souls' connection
The ties that bind
Cut like scissors against my paper heart
And I wonder how something so dear
Can become yet another source for mourning

Where the sun can't shine
Where it rains forever
But then she looks and sees
Gladness glowing on the other side
Of walls meant to keep her out
Apparently impenetrable
Now reduced to curtains
Unable to hide what has occupied
Cheating, beating, stone cold sober hearts

Through the concrete we find cracks
Giving ground for unplanned flowers
As the droplets fall from their source
Proving their mettle
Providing solace
When summer won't come
Blooming against the jagged edge
In love's constant rebellion
Against its demise
Resolute

Until the sun's rays warm these cold shoulders
I will remember, yet
In the shadows, I will let my heart breathe
The truth
The truth your heart explained to mine
That bright, blue-skyed day
Where in the coolness of the tower
I knew
Without a doubt
I'd love you true
Until, and ever after, you love me too





slow


I'm not sure how many times a light needs to come on or a layer of truth needs to unravel or the obvious to dawn on me, but I'm feeling slow. I'm thinking that for all my intelligence I don't know how to look after myself very well.

Stating the bare truth about my inability to recognize where I am not wanted sounds negative. It has negative effects. I don't feel content with how things are for me. And yet, as I feel myself in my awkwardness, there is a freedom in it. There is freedom in knowing where you are not wanted because that's one less place to look for belonging. It simplifies some aspects of your life. You figure out how to stop caring about certain things. You learn how to let go of hopes and dreams. You realize what you actually mean to people. And not just the person rejecting you as a potential companion. You learn about who supports you and who does not. You grow in ways you never knew you could because you're forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for something to look forward to. You learn to be happy in the simplest of ways, to be grateful for every kindness you're shown.

But there's this one part that I really hate—it hurts so much.






chattel



The burdens we bear
Quite heavy, and they tear
At the softness of our heart
Tenderness born with at our start
Ache aging and taking
Ripping away the layers
Until all is laid bare
Iron clad no more partaking
Of the fountain of youth
Force fed naked truth
Choking it down daily
With a strength smothered in frailty
Holding on to possibilities
Given and granted, none that frees
Her from the unequivocal power
Of those who reign from the ivory tower
Removing pieces and parts
Playing at truth, sinking in
Too far too fast
Always last
The end is where it all begins

quality



So there's this thing about me. Words stick. I hear or read something that touches me, and it changes me and stays. I never thought much about it (it's just been my normal forever) until the other day when I was watching a movie with my friend. The strange part is that I had seen the movie two times before and hadn't noticed these words. Maybe it was the company I was keeping that pushed the phrase to the surface: "The quality of her love…" said in the midst of a wedding anniversary speech.

These words stung my heart. They grabbed onto me and haven't let go.

Do I have love that would be considered high quality within me to offer someone? Is there anything about my love that would make it stand apart? Yes, and yes. If there is something I do well, it is love.

Now to give it to someone who wants it. That's where patience comes in. It's interesting to reflect on the past five years to see how much has changed, so as I write these words, I reassure myself that in five years, I will hardly recognize myself and my world once more. Because of the quality of my love, walls will dissolve and problems will have solutions. I know things will work out; I just can't see how!

And about the movie. That movie is The Age of Adaline, and I adore it. It's perfectly enchanting. Watch it, then let me know what is your favorite part.





belonging




Never thought it would mean so much
Needing others to accept me as I am
To realize I have no place to go
Where I fit entirely

Even at my worst I fly free
The time it has taken to know
How nice it would be to belong
Somewhere secure and welcoming

Filled with devotion and understanding
Yet to want for this feels wrong
I fly free away from half baked truth
Aloof from the world of happiness

My first memories crammed with mess
Never broken but forever bruised
Misunderstanding standing on the outskirts
A flood of remorse for things I cannot change



this little piggy video

Since I last did a Whimsical Wednesday post, life has changed so much. I rarely have time to go out on a whim because every day I'm out on a limb barely hanging on. But then, I ran across this wonderfully adorable short video, and I must share it. 


For the record, I still like bacon. 


kiss and tell time


I'm sitting here thinking about my frozen little fingers as I type, and I need to admit something. I honestly had hopes to not face another winter literally cold and alone.

Don't be too hasty in your assumptions though. I just thought I might have someone to call my boyfriend; that's all. It's a silly thing to write when I think about how many men I've told I don't want a boyfriend right now. It's actually downright ridiculous of me to even utter the thought, but I'm getting good at being ridiculous; therefore, I pretty much have to share my entire train of thought right now, today, because I can.

As I slow down to ponder all the steps I've taken to heal from the divorce and grow in positive directions, I wonder when the time will be right, if ever. I contemplate all the friends around me who have become newly single after me but are with a boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, or married again already. The next thing I wonder is what have they done to be prepared. I hardly have just begun to trust my intuition in the past year or so, and I've been separated/divorced for 4 1/2 years already. Another thing is I don't see how anything could have begun to work out for me early on. Things have been jacked up to say the least, and most importantly, I have needed the time to find myself and learn how to be the lovely person that had been hiding from herself and the world. I don't have any inclination to be with someone just to say I have a boyfriend either. It's been awhile being single without ever having a boyfriend from what I see going on around me, but I'd rather be alone forever than choose badly and have more horror stories to add to my repertoire. And even still, I wonder at how ready anyone will ever be for how purple my home is becoming. I'll probably need to get another house, so as to not frighten off all these potential boyfriends who are going to be knocking down my door soon.

Totally kidding. The new house will be purple too. Who are we kidding? Right?

But seriously, please don't worry. The time has not been dull despite my lack of official boyfriends. As of right now, my romantic situation is messed up in special new ways. I've had a regular casual date/dance partner/kissing somebody who wanted me to be his girlfriend until he felt he had to break up with his non-girlfriend (me) to date other people, an old flame rekindled quite warmly then extinguished due to major pigheadedness, dates with several men (too many to say—it's embarrassing) who could only be described as bizarre copies of my ex that unbeknownst to them subconsciously begged to be rejected (albeit with courteous tact, of course), a much older person who is so very kind and kisses nicely and I believe would marry me if I gave him extra attention for a few short weeks but no just no way I'm doing that my brain and heart shout in unison, a friend from my teen years (who kisses like whoa) who is crazy vocal about wanting me while being completely honest about how it would fulfill one of his boyhood dreams (Do I look like I dish out boyhood dreams? Well, maybe I do, but not those ones). And then I have the person I have come to love and care about in such ways that cannot be described here, but, simply put, he will not consider expanding the facets of our unique friendship to include me further in his life. It's all such a mess that I've taken a step back from everything to focus on figuring out what I want exactly and what I'm willing to do to have it.

And now I wonder if I've said too much.

I write all of these things because keeping it all swirling around in my head without any outlet has been getting on my last nerve; It's been over six months of quietly pondering, fervently praying, and silently wondering. These men might (and some will certainly) read this, so I don't know what to expect now because I'm positive I overshared. I might have just made everything worse, and I'll want to kick myself and cry myself a river. It's what I do sometimes. Me and my big fat mouth. But it's my life and I'll write what I want to.


Related Link:

not ready but waiting






to effervesce



Walk with me in sun burnt glittery rain
Through gray-purple storms and unrelenting winds
Hold my hand, my darling friend, to help me up again
Please lead me where the end is where everything begins
To dance once more with you, to revel in newness
Never ending, always fresh, to effervesce
Persevering in a place of perfect uncertainty
Kindly wishing—hope-stained wishes—that you might see this heart
And recognize within a matching wish, delicious bliss, tasting of eternity
Drawing you closer, awakening, breaking doubting clouds apart
Welcome me with willing arms and your warm, kind way
Call me, beckon me, home, forever to stay




to be refined

I don't know what to say anymore. My life continues on with these unending waves of hardship that push me under until I nearly drown. And yet, I know I'm not unique. Many people go through hard things and periods of trouble. It's part of the human experience. That's what they say anyway.

When will we find a stretch of peace—my children and I? My faith is my source that truly grants much of it. I have support from some family members, friends, neighbors, and church members. Tuning into the spirit really opens my mind to possibilities and answers I didn't have until I prayed. And my life is just plain better because of the lifestyle of spiritual cultivation that I have embraced.

All of that said, I can't imagine where I'd be without the hope and faith that is in me right now. I believe that those two things have kept me from being able to see what giving up looks like. It's just not a path I visualize. In all of my bouts of wanting to quit, I never could imagine it actually happening. It has never looked better than keeping on keeping on even on the worst days. But you know, I have cried a great deal over the past several years, and I really don't know what to expect from day-to-day anymore.

It's hard living in a fire.



sweet exhaustion



You know something? There's a lot of garbage going down around this place. I have no time to breathe. When I do stop to take an extra breath, it's because I'm turning a blind eye to all the other things that need to be done because I refuse to go crazy. And as stupid as this may sound, I feel guilty for not being able to get more done because I do take time out of the day to stop facing the continuous torrent of issues. I am tired. The past two days, I've been downright exhausted to the point that my brain isn't able to think of much else except for sleeping. I could rag forever. I could cry almost as long too.

However, I have so much to be glad for. I am so tired because I have my children to take care of. I have so much to do because they need my help to keep on surviving this jungle we live in, and thank goodness I have some ideas on how to help them and power to act on those ideas. My brain is struggling to come up with ideas because I have a good job that expects great things from me, and the challenge is keeping me sharp. That guilt has got to go, yet I'm thankful that I'm informed enough to know that I need to take time out of these crazy hectic days to take care of myself.

I have so much. It feels good to know that I'm tired from doing well in the world. That knowledge provides hope. It reminds me that I can overcome my circumstances and create better ones. I am loved by many people in many ways like hugs and talking and especially time. Some unique support comes in various packages around here—like cake dropped off at my door and late night runs to the grocery store and actual packages. A listening ear is one of the most priceless when I stop to think about it, but cake sure does make a difference on days like today.

I'm really crossing my fingers that one of these days I will look around me and see that things are actually alright in that moment, that I have someone by my side to love and support, and my children are thriving and not simply surviving. Until then, I'll be glad for the faith and hope that keeps this fire within me burning bright.



Seeking to Become - September 2015



I've pondered a very long while on the subject of how to love others. With differing relationships, the nature of the love differs as well, but it is always called the same thing: love. Love is when we care about another's well-being. It can entail self-sacrifice at times. Love is always a good thing, but that doesn't mean it's always a simple thing to do.

These thoughts of mine have come about because I have been struggling to ensure that my children feel loved. They are most certainly loved, but what I wonder almost daily is if they realize it and can see because they feel it. They are all growing up so quickly, and the problems are becoming complex, as is normal, but I hope to be a guiding light for them, not an added reason for years of therapy.

Another aspect of my life that has caused me to ponder how to better love people is that I recognize a dilemma, and I don't know what to do with it. I can't even figure out how to describe the dilemma without oversharing, and I don't want to do that this go around. I'll simply share some of the questions that float around as I strive to be honest and kind and loving. How do you love someone without becoming invested? Is that even possible? What does it take to truly feel the pure love of Christ for others? What more can I do to be loving without being rejected? What could I do a little differently to offer pure love to those around me? I wonder what answers will come to me as life plays out. I am at another crossroads with a blindfold on almost.

Without searching the topic out, I discovered these scriptures where Paul is writing to the Thessalonians and explaining how the apostles loved them and showed them through not becoming a burden. And I saw part of my answer to these questions:

 5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
I realized in that moment how I simply need to keep being kind and loving, avoid being burdensome, and reach out with gentleness to the people I love. I especially was struck by the words affectionately desirous and the last lines "willing to have imparted unto you…our own souls, because ye [are] dear unto us." As I let those words sink into my heart and comfort my questioning soul, I know what I need to do.

This month I want to follow the example of the apostles in my seeking to become more like the Savior and love with a pure heart. Doing things to show how dear people are to me and being gentle and affectionate. Honesty of heart and speaking truthfulness without flattery are goals to work toward as well. As the month goes on, I hope to develop some new habits of appreciation or at least improve upon what I do by doing things a little bit differently.

I hope you will join me in the challenge this month. If you feel comfortable, I cordially invite you to share your experience or thoughts.









painting of the day



Standing on a ledge
Looking out into the unforgiving oblivion
That lies beneath the surface
A pure and perfect light comes on
Hope and heart
Painting its way into the scenery
Create a space for comfort
Make room for fresh air to breathe
Reach and the way out can be seen
It's on the other side of the valley
Where your tears go to die
On the top of glorious mountains
Where the sun melts on rocks and trees
In gleaming gold to shine on untouched days
Arriving like a welcomed guest
Bringing sweet embrace
With sparkling memories to make
While standing on a ledge
Proving how oblivion is a lie




the big prize



Love is a funny and not funny thing. It's funny how you get so silly about someone. How does that even happen? You can be surrounded by hundreds of people and out of the crowd just one person holds your attention. It's as if our souls are able to connect first, and then we spend our days working out how to get the rest of everything to click. And sometimes our stupidity pushes out that connection like a wrong number, a missed connection, a busy signal when dialing into the radio station to win the big prize. And we lose out. But not always. Some people find it all: the friendship, the love, the support, the intimacy, and even the problems to overcome together that make the bond stronger.

Well, I certainly am no loser. I just can't seem to find my way around people not making the crucial decision of loving me enough to want to stay. And you know what? On really bad days, I might as well be a leper for all the negative things I'm able to dig up on myself—that are true. But then I think about the good side of me, and I just can't understand it all. What's so wrong with me? I won't stop being who I am because that's simply not what I do. Maybe I keep things too real. Perhaps I'm simply not ready yet. Who even knows.

I write these things here right now, so I can remember where I am today. I want to remember these feelings. Not to cherish them, but hopefully to mark progress and increased joy. That's what I need right now, to see that I can reach my dreams one day at a time. I will mark the days with joy in the hope that it will grow with practice. I will continue to work on who I want to be and to create space in my life. Gratitude is the seed for joy. Focusing on being glad for what is going well certainly will make a difference. The big prize is recognizing what you have in the moment and being thankful for it. I will focus on that.