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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

Seeking to Become - June 2014

Over the past few weeks, I have been contemplating on how to deal with my struggles more effectively. I have looked long and hard at all that is coming at me, who is bringing it on, and how I process everything. I've concluded that right now this part of my life is just a long row to hoe. I can hardly see, at times, what lies ahead of me even a day or two, and my sense of longing for a home for my heart deepens. But I am not left without comforts. Friends, neighbors, family, and classmates keep the candle of hope lit when I don't have much left to give. The goodness that surrounds me makes life bearable and worth living.

The worry that consumes me at times pushes out peace and the blessings of the lovingkindness I receive, so I wanted to find some scripture I could focus on to help me seek faith, and I found it:

"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he cloth you, O ye of little faith?"
Luke 12: 27-28
To better seek what the Lord would have me do as I struggle to make my way in this world, I must remember that he will take care of me. I must cultivate a stronger faith so I can remember how loved I am—so I can remember that faith makes mountains move.

Please join me in following Christ's admonishment to consider the lilies, remembering that as his children, God will bless us.

My Legacy — Introduction

I really don't know how to begin, so I will begin at the very beginning. My son missed the bus. No, maybe that's not the beginning. My son started to grow up and began asking random questions. Yes, that is the beginning. Then, he missed the bus—too many times to count. But, before the missing of the bus too many times to count, he truly asked me many random, apparently unconnected questions.

Whenever I am asked random questions, I wonder about how to answer in the most honest way because the answer is not in any context, and context matters. Sometimes, context is everything. Yet, I answer his questions and never know to what end they will come until the day he missed the bus for the last time in middle school. 

Typical morning. A whole lot of messing around—time wasting to be exact. So, of course, he misses the bus. It had become almost a routine, a rhythm of sorts. Play around, miss the bus, empty the dishwasher, and mom takes him to school. However, this particular morning turned out to be not so typical. He decided to talk back a little more, a little louder, and continue messing around. And I simply got fed up with it. The messed up rhythm laced with a disrespectful overtone pushed a button, and I knew I wasn't doing my son any favors by not speaking up. I told him he was being "lazy and irresponsible" and that he needed to figure things out. Then, he talked back to me one more time, and I was done. I told him that he would need to walk to school because I couldn't give a ride to someone who is being rude. 

Instead of leaving while I got dressed, he decided that putting away the dishes looked like a good deal, but I wasn't going to give in. He still kept on messing around with his siblings and I was done, remember? I told him he better hurry and get to walking, and he refused. Long story a bit shorter, the idea of getting reported as a truant did not appeal to him, and he walked to school. He called me from school to apologize, tell me that he loved me, and ask if I had seen his homework that he left at home by accident in all the commotion. 

And that is where "My Legacy" begins . . .

. . . to be continued next week. 

opportunity to love

The world became larger and smaller for me all at once within a few days time.

Amazing is the transformation we undergo when our perspectives shift and we can see from another person's view who we are. Also, taking time to listen to someone new and different from yourself teaches a great deal about how similar we all are and how much we need to have compassion. I will never see myself or my world the same again, and I am glad for it because my heart grew in ways I could never have imagined. Opportunities such as this are few, demanding that I treasure it for a lifetime and beyond. I will choose to love every second of the experience. Always.

have you ever

Have you ever had a friendship
So good you wished you could
Taste it but couldn't?
Have you ever felt so close
So intimately close
To someone yet a wall
Stood between the two of you?
Have you ever tried to climb
A wall that appeared
Insurmountable and
Actually made it over?
Have you ever loved
So tenderly and gingerly
That it hurt to let go or hold on?
Have you ever seen someone
And known that you never
Want to live without them
With you in some way?
Have you ever faced your fears
Only to have them justified?
Have you ever broken
Your very own heart?

embracing you

The air was different with you near
Hanging loosely, surrounding
Though not suffocating
I could hardly breathe
And yet I breathed easier
Yes, both, at the same time
My darling friend, so lovely
To walk beside you
To hear your voice reverberate
Through the air and into my heart—
It feels too good to be true
Reality came straight from my dreams
Exceeding some and meeting others
At the door with open arms
Wrapped in your warm embrace
I melt and can hardly catch a breath
Because you are so good
Your way about you humbles me
And my wishes now exceed my dreams


I wrote it all out on the page
Even the equivalent of sheets and sheets
Yet somehow I hadn't let myself feel
The depth of what was said
Until I imagined you with another
And then . . .
Then I felt a pinch, an intangible
Yet very real, stinging pinch
That lasted all the day long until night
And it hasn't gone away even still
So lost and confused
My heart had started to beat again
And now I don't know what to think

Because of this, I fear
I fear I have set myself up
Unwittingly even though I thought
I knew what I was doing
For a fall and not into love
The fall from wishing
For too much
For something no one else wants
And now I feel silly
Like someone who doesn't know their place
Like a fish out of water
But the only problem is that I'm not a fish
And I think I've forgotten how to swim

I feel so lost and insecure
There is no place for me
Nowhere to put these feelings
Except into words on a page
For me to recognize their depth
At a later date and time
Because I just don't seem to get it
Living in a dream state of musical delight
That turns into nightmares at the flip of a switch
And I can't take another step
Unless I know I can find home
In the dark with no flashlight
Tripping along this path

no outlet

Do you ever wonder what people were thinking when they chose street names? I never wondered that before until I was driving along and saw this one: "Pillow Talk." I have driven past it numerous times over the years, but I haven't had the same perspective as I do now, so maybe that's why I was so suddenly full of curiosity that I pulled over to take a snapshot of it. 

The whole "NO OUTLET" sign right above the name is what really made me stop and think. It's like a metaphor for my life right now. A sad, ridiculous, flimsy metaphor that makes me wonder about where I am and how I will get myself out of this place that I don't like. I inch my way out, only to be dragged back in by the hair. To be fair to myself, I have come a long way in the past five years, but some of my circumstances are positively stagnant! It is so unbelievable that I can hardly grasp the reality of the things I continue to deal with. 

All of that said, I honestly believe that somehow things will continue to get better, and that someday I will be free and have a loving companion. 

to dad, with love

To honor my dad this Father's Day, I will share some highlights from my younger years of what he did to be a good father to me and keep life interesting, as he liked to put it:

Circus Trainer: Built stilts in varying heights for us to walk around on in the backyard.

Road Trip Junkie: Drove our family all over the U.S., from bottom to top of California to Texas to Georgia and all points in between, and places in Canada and Mexico. 

Cowboy at heart: Wore worn leather work boots to work and polished black Sunday boots to church. Taught me how to polish his dress boots in a way that I thought it was a privilege. Always wore his big Texas belt buckle. Taught me, hand-over-hand, how to shoot when I was around 4 or 5 years old with a pearl-handled pistol. 

Sports Coach: Planted trees in the backyard for bases and taught me how to run those bases like a sprinter. Taught me how to throw and catch a baseball and football like or better than any boy my age and this was the late 70s/early 80s. A real feminist, he was. 

Guidance Counselor: Taught me to think about my actions and how to solve problems. Never gave me a spanking. When I'd get in trouble, he picked me up, set me on the edge of my parents' bed, and told me to think about what I did wrong and how to make it right, and I had to sit there until I could/would articulate my responsibility in the situation. 

Brave Soul: Took me bra shopping for the first time because my mother was either busy or in denial that I needed to start wearing bras. I'm thinking the latter is the main reason even if she was busy. He dropped me off at the lingerie section of the store and told me to pick whatever I wanted and he would be back to get me once I finished. Then, he left me to the task. Of course my mother was mortified when I came home with red and black lace bras and panties. I was 12 years old.

Fashionista: Helped me pick out accessories for my first Homecoming dance. We didn't have much money then, so I had to wear a dress that my mom had made me for another occasion, but he took me to get shoe clips to revamp the shoes I already had, and he bought me my first black patent leather handbag to match the shoes. 

Humble Classic Car Enthusiast: Let me try out his 1966 Mustang for the first time at 15 1/2 with a learner's permit. I had never driven an automatic or a car with a powerful engine, so when I put it in reverse and stepped on the gas, I had no time to check behind me and backed directly into our gate. He started yelling/swearing at me like crazy, telling me I'd never drive his Mustang again as long as I live, etc. So I yelled right back telling him how he should have warned me that the thing just goes in an automatic and he should know that I hadn't ever driven one since the only other car I had driven thus far was a stick shift. He stopped, looked down at his hands, and apologized. I started the Mustang up again, and it took me about five minutes to back that thing out slowly from the driveway I was so paranoid. I was determined to get to drive it again!

more than a dream

If you ever want more
Than what you've ever had
If you ever think there might
Be a corner of room in your heart
If you believe in bright hope
And delicate love and exquisite courage
If you believe that imperfect people
Can change and do so every day
By their own free will
Because there is something
Out there worth becoming
What we are intended for
If you would close your fearful eyes
Letting me take you by the hand
If you would take a trusting step
Closer and hold on to me
I could show you a glimpse
Then a deluge of delightful wishes
That could be a work-in-progress reality
Because we are infinitely more
So much more than our limitations
More than our imaginations
We are valiant souls
Radiating with life
Never ending
Needing, craving, and seeking
A priceless, adorable someone
But who could it be?
How can we know?
What does love look like anyway?
Where can we find it?
Questioning everything
Including this instinct to trust,
Care, and never let go
Out of fear of the future
Because of the past
Always poisoning
Help me to stop this maddening
Arsenic in the well of honest happiness
Take my hand and hopes and dreams
Lead me to all that is new and old
And eternally grounded
Within the very core of what we need
There is more
Than you could have ever hoped for
More than you thought possible
There is togetherness
There is forever
There is us.

I drove all night

We kicked off our summer with a visit to see family, and we sure did things right. We lived it up with going to my favorite Hawaiian restaurant, a Girls' Night Out, a birthday party with an amazingly fun water slide, and a baby blessing at church with a family luncheon following.

Then, the kids got sick. Vomiting sick. It was no fun at all, and just when I thought things couldn't get any more interesting, my youngest christened the new car. He blew chunks all over the backseat and its occupants while we were driving to our last fun outing. Instead of visiting an amazing place, we got to scrub down in the public restroom at the nearest grocery store while my oldest son scooped chunks out of the carpet and did a mini-detailing using half a package of wet wipes.

To top it all off, the two youngest decided to yell at me for not taking them on the outing. I looked at them like they were crazy, informed them that I will not be treated badly for making sure they are taken care of, and decreed that we would be leaving for home as soon as possible. That did not stop the disrespect right away, but as soon as they realized I meant business by packing up the car and having them help, it sunk in that I wasn't taking any more garbage.

So, I drove through the night—even all night—to get home.

The song, "I Drove All Night" kept on making its way into my head as I was driving, so I will share it with you now for an added layer to this most adventurous slice of my life.

no better hands than yours

Sometimes you just need to run
You need to run in the direction of love
Even if it places within you a dread
That you might get destroyed again

When you find someone or they find you
When a magnetism unexplained
Overcomes, asking no questions
Tugging you both toward the other

Almost against your will
Because your memory recalls
All the pain that love brought
With it the last time—breaking you

It doesn't appear possible
For love to ever be pleasant
To ever be true and forever
Yet the chemistry is charming

So deliciously good
That you don't want to imagine
Any day without a word or sign of life
From this enchanting soul

Whose hands are full of thoughtful care
A heart brimming with tender wisdom
Eyes that look like they could become home
Even a perfect home

To reach out is part of the running
For the dash into the heart of the fire
Burns with a flame that makes no sense
Nevertheless embracing the race

Proves that imperfection
Saturates and infatuates
The ones who are brave
Enough to run toward love

comfort zone

I've had my comfort zone and the comfort zone idea on my mind lately. I couldn't really say what my comfort zone is since I appear to love to not be in one for several years on end; however, I will say that there is something about getting out of your zone every once in awhile that can be refreshing. Like, when I am talking to a really nice guy who appreciates me—that is something a little unnerving and wonderful all at the same time. Another thing I observed about my comfort zone is that it is pretty backward. I can't wait for the day when I feel comfortable with being treated well. I don't ever want to take it for granted, no, but it shouldn't be such a surprise. I do love surprises, so I guess it works for now.