Saturday, December 31, 2011


i find this post hard to's no secret this has been a tough year...for many it seems.  i feel like i should at least acknowledge the events, but honestly don't see the point.  i don't want to recap it happened...i spent enough time on it all at the time...and now i just want to look forward.  life happens.  each time we think we have it all together, that life just can't get any better, we are hit with a curveball of reality.  or, at least for me, that's how it seems to happen.
i don't make resolutions.  never have.  i refuse to set myself up for failure right off the bat.  i find that the year always throws enough at me on its own without me just handing it something to work with.  last year the only thing i promised myself i would do is live each day with pupose...i'm not certain i did that...unless you count simply surviving on many days as a "purpose".  this year wasn't what i expected...things i was certain would happen did not, yet things i never would have anticipated have.

i learned a lot this year.  some knowledge is hard-earned, but i think that's what makes it so valuable.

every loss, every gain is relative.  some more significant than others for sure, but each monumental only to those experiencing them.  it's how we handle the moment, what we learn, how we move through them that counts.

i remember wishing desperately for this year to get over.  to either go back to 2010 or forward to 2012.  well, forward it is!  the first hour of 2012 was a good one...spent with friends, dancing, laughing, and having a great time!  i am excited about the next 12 months!  good-bye won't be missed, but you will be remembered. 

here's to 2012...may you be everything we need you to be...full of promise and hope.  let us not forget the lessons of the past, but look to the future with anticipation, never to repeat the mistakes but to learn from them and gain wisdom and empathy, sharing in each other's joys and carrying each other's burdens.  here's looking forward to stronger friendships, even more fantastic memories, and the incredible ride we call life!

happy new year everyone!        

Thursday, December 29, 2011

christmas week

christmas came and went with little drama or excitement.  m left for texas earlier in the week so i spent my first christmas ever without seeing her at all on the holiday.  i did pretty well, considering.  the drive to dad's on christmas eve (while listening to sappy christmas music, i might add) gave me lots of time to think and, ultimately, miss her.  a phone call as i was driving into town was a much needed distraction so the lonliness passed without much damage. 

the time with dad, my sisters, and their kiddos was as close to perfect as it could have been.  it's funny, there we the house we grew up in...each with our own stories, our own situations, and our own blessings...and it was like time hadn't passed.  we each resumed our predetermined roles within our little family - three sisters, each dynamic and unique in our own ways yet well aware that our shared past is the tie that binds us in spite of our differences.  we share so much, the three of us...yet, there are moments in time we simply can't share, burdens we can't bear for one another and that is hard to accept.  but, in those moments we stepped back in time...teased and laughed, reminded of things that are only relevent this time of how sarah hates anything having to do with peanut brittle so of course, becca and i each took great pleasure in eating the biggest pieces we could on either side of her!  or, how sarah always thought her picture ornament should go front and center on the tree so becca all sneaky-like took it and hung it high on the kitchen cabinets just out of sarah's reach!  little things, silly things, moments that remind us of where we came from; who we are when the drama of our real lives is stripped away.  dad sat back at watched...i wonder if he saw us as we are now or as we were all those years ago.  if he more often thinks of us as we are now or at whatever point in our lives was his favorite.  we haven't had christmas at his house in years, and it was comforting in many ways to be there like that. 

mom came down for the weekend...wanted to see us for christmas and make sure i wasn't too lonely with m gone.  it was nice to have her here.  we spent saturday afternoon together...ate lunch, did a little shopping...normal mom/daughter things...things we haven't done in years...literally.  see, we lost her a few years ago...she got sick and retreated somewhere deep within herself.  she closed herself off from all of us, and we lost the most precious of life's gifts...time.  i don't blame her.  she couldn't help it, and i get that...but, that didn't make it much easier to deal with.  but, at thanksgiving, we saw her again...our mom, as we remember her...funny and warm with a genuine smile and light in her eyes.  i don't think i realized it at the time, but in that moment i finally stopped holding my breath.  i knew she was going to be okay...that i could let my guard down a little and allow myself to be the daughter again. 

i've been thinking all week about what christmas meant to me this year...the focus isn't exactly where it should be...while i try, i'm a bit off track right now and probably have been for quite some time.  i have struggled for a long time with figuring out where m and i are supposed to be church-wise which is what i use as my excuse.  i know, i know, church isn't supposed to be what you get out of's what you put into it...and that makes perfect sense, but i'm having a hard time committing to anything.  it's all part of my struggle to be a "real" adult i think.  no permanence, no real commitments, no one depending on me for anything...simply show up and take from the experience each week...well, that's not how it's designed to work and maybe that's my problem.

this christmas week has also been full of time with friends...a few i rarely see, but who mean the world to me.  we laughed a lot, shed a couple tears, and were reminded of everything that's important.  we see the future in our children...watching the next generation of "us" play together is incredible!  it's cliche to say this, but it's hard to believe how much you miss someone without even realizing it...until you're in the same space with them for a couple hours.  time goes too quickly and before you know it you're saying good-bye again for what you know will be months.  so, those visits were a gift in and of themselves.  no bows, no wrapping but definitely the most loved, most treasured.

i have spent time with people who matter to me...maybe that's what christmas was supposed to be about for me this year...holes filled in ways i never expected.  little moments...each full of meaning, joy, love.  i think maybe that's all that matters.   

Sunday, December 18, 2011

and then the tree fell over

*read the previous post to fully understand the full impact of this little doozy.

after all the less than fun that had filled the earlier part of my day, the christmas tree just went ahead and fell right on over.  loud, crashing sound...i initially blamed the dog, but upon further inspection, the stand broke.  the tree is in pieces, right along with a few ornaments, and i kinda fell apart (emotional breakdown was due, just needed a final justification i guess) right next to it.  (cue pity party.) 

after tucking morgan back in bed, and having a sufficient cry, i took all the ornaments off and contemplated taking the tree right on down to the dumpster, but just didn't have the energy to do it tonight.  so much for a tree this year.  i guess it's good m is going to texas tuesday.  at least she will have a decent tree there.  and...i don't have to worry about the dog and cat chasing around it anymore or look at its non-working lights (remember the shocked dog story from here?) that have been driving me crazy yet i was just too lazy to take off the crap strand and put on new ones.  *sigh*  looking for the bright side here. 

there were so many good things that happened this weekend!  i will get around to posting about them, but tonight my mind was a bit one-tracked so this is what you're stuck with.  i'm about done with my pity party and my venting.  i haven't even finished my glass of wine!  sheesh.   

in an instant

i held a hand today...she was a stranger, someone i've never met, someone i'll never see again, someone who's path crossed mine in the most devastating of ways...yet, the impact those moments had on me will be felt likely forever...

the gas pump had just started.  i was watching for katie and morgan to come back out of the store, and i heard crashing have a very distinct sound - loud and intense laced with fear, frustration, and pain - but there it was and as i turned around i watched the car slide to a halt just inches from the sidewalk in front of me.  it was a busy intersection, yet with all the people around i made eye contact with the random employee who also happened to see the same thing i just had and we both ran towards the car.  smoke was pouring out of both vehicles, and in the car closest to me there were two women...the passenger slumped out the window and the driver laying across her lap.  i'm not trained...i'm not a nurse or a paramedic, or anything special...i was just there.  cell phones were already in use so i went to the car...the passenger was conscious, but barely responsive...her arm was extended out the window so i reached out and took her hand...i prayed she could hear me, prayed she knew she wasn't alone as her friend...sister...mother...lay bleeding and unresponsive across her lap.  i stayed there with her until the paramedics came.  she didn't know me, didn't need to.  she tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come.  my heart shattered in those moments...they had simply been driving...something we all do, all the time, and their lives were changed in an instant. 

there are more details, but i've shared enough and those don't really matter...the other driver was an older woman who thankfully was able to walk away, even with her van on fire.  no doubt she is carrying burdens i don't want to imagine tonight, but at least she appeared physically ok. 

i most likely won't know the outcome of this incident...not that i need to i suppose.  these things happen all the time; i know that.  accidents happen.  lives are changed.  there were many lives changed in those few moments today...including mine...i will continue to pray for these strangers, continue to see the images i wish i could forget...continue to wonder about their story...and continue to be thankful for everything, everyone in my life...every blessing, every trial...all of it.  and all because i held a stranger's hand...   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

colin james...

"i think we should name him colin matthew, " four year old morgan said when becca asked her what she thought we (because this, of course was a WE decision) thought the coming baby's name should be.

that moment was a few months earlier...september maybe...we were in our old back yard, playing on the swingset, and i remember it like it was yesterday.  becca and i looked at each other and said something to the effect of "not bad...that might just work..." and a few months later, colin james (after your daddy) was born!

close, morgan, so close.

you came at the end of a long, cold day.  we had waited and waited for you...your parents wanted privacy and no matter how hard it was for all of us (or how much grief we gave them about it later) we gave it to them.  you came as a surprise to everyone, not planned, yet loved more than you can imagine.  you were quiet and calm...the perfect stole our hearts instantly and gave us the boy we had been longing for since carter.  you won't remember this, but we were living together at the, your mommy, your daddy, morgan, and a house that, while kinda tight, was home for all of us at a time when we needed it.  i wouldn't trade that year and a half with you for anything!  you are much more than a nephew to me, much more than a cousin to morgan...perhaps the closest thing to a sibling she will ever have.  she is fiercely protective of you, had the ability to get you to do things no one else could, wanted nothing more than to hold you that first night in her little dance outfit, and loved you beyond measure the first time your eyes met. 

you are an incredible little boy!  full of life, yet gentle and kind, curious and inquisitive, funny and sweet...the best mix of traits for any little boy to have.  you have been such a blessing to us all these past three years...patched holes and mended hearts in ways you will never know.  you came at a time when we all needed you, even if we didn't know why at the time.  your mommy and daddy have taken you to art museums, on photo shoots and road are one of the most well-rounded little guys around!  you prefer Thai over your mom's amazing cupcakes and you have the best little laugh.  i dread the day you call her "morgan" rather than "morgie" and love that, to you, i'm "fe".  i pray we will always be close even though my days of being able to hold you are numbered.

happy third birthday, colin james!  i love you so very much!         

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

things that would only happen to me

go ahead, prepare to shake your head or laugh or sigh or simply wonder just how on earth i make it on a daily basis (trust me, i wonder that all the time!)...these stories are all true, not at all embellished, and all mine...

the one with the guinea pig(s)...
earlier this year morgan convinced me that she NEEDED a guinea pig...she saved her money and wrote a very convincing letter so we went to the local pet store and bought a young, male guinea pig.  he was a good little guy...nothing exciting, made all kinds of squeaky sounds and even purred when pet just the right way.  he loved carrots and was growing quickly in fact that one night morgan said, "mom, sam is getting fat.  we should lay off the carrots."  i checked him out and didn't see anything unusual, but he was a bit round.  i just figured he was growing.  morgan left that next day for her dad's wedding and i was left in charge of sam for the weekend....on friday morning, i woke up and went upstairs to feed sam and found what i thought was (dead) sam shriveled up between his little house and the wall of the cage.  i yelled for fred (we were still living there then) and was afraid i had somehow killed him in one night.  he came up and we both looked at the little creature, trying to figure out what it was/what had happened when the little wooden house started shaking!  i may have shrieked and finally opened the cage, lifting the wooden house up to find...two more guinea pigs!  there were a lot of "what is that?  are those...babies?  how did that happen?" being yelled in those moments.  disbelief.  absolute disbelief.  i mean, sam was a BOY...and a very young one at that.  baby boy guinea pigs don't have babies!!!  well...sam was clearly a samantha and she had clearly been pregnant when we bought her...and we were the proud "parents" of two baby girl guinea pigs!  guinea pig facts...1) it is VERY difficult to tell the sex of guinea pigs...2) guinea pigs nurse for four weeks but...3) can start reproducing at three weeks!!!  YIKES!!!  needless to say, i was beyond shocked (think of the line in Christmas Vacation where chevy chase says "i wouldn't be more surprised if i woke up tomorrow morning and my head was sewn to the carpet").  i will say, baby guinea pigs are adorable...they are born looking just as they do when they are full grown; complete with teeth and fur.  they are sweet and cuddly, but i didn't need three so we did eventually find homes for the babies and now we're back to just "sam"...or "samantha"...only in my world, seriously.

the one with the fall...
i went on a first date not long ago...come on, you know ANY story that starts like that has to be not only decent, but fairly embarrassing, right?  okay, so we went to the plaza to see the lights and after a long walk we got hot chocolate and decided to take one of those carriage rides (my only stipulation was that we NOT end up in the cinderella coach).  the ride was good...but, when it came time to get out; he was tipping the driver and independent me decided to go ahead and climb down (it's not like it's a long ways up and there are steps!)...well, picture chocolate in my left hand and as i stepped on the final step, the heel of my boot got caught in the grate of the get the idea.  no matter what i did, i couldn't get it out and in an instant i was on the ground - still holding my hot chocolate, i might add!  but my right hand and right knee took the brunt of the fall and i am embarrassed to admit it was tough not to cry but i held it together as my date watched in horror...yes, he wanted to catch me, but how on earth could he have done that???  that would have probably made things worse.  my hand was bleeding pretty bad and it hurt even worse...i was really thankful for the emergency band-aids i carry in my purse (you know, for morgan - ha!).  i won't lie...i was mortified.  thankfully it was late enough that there wasn't much of a crowd, but still...i had fallen.  in public.  out of a carriage.  on a first date.  but, i hadn't cried and didn't pass out from the blood...which is something i have a tendency to do.  and, yes, he was a total gentleman...he helped me up, apologized profusely for not catching me (as i reassured him there was no way he could have prevented it and that i'm naturally a total clutz), and then helped me put my band-aid on.  who else does this?  who else falls out of a carriage on a date???  again, only me.

the one where the puppy gets electricuted...
we adopted a puppy a couple months ago.  a decision i have both loved and regretted, but i think that's part of it.  he is the sweetest little guy, but 100% puppy.  anyway, he is very curious...into everything right now, including the christmas tree.  he crawls behind it constantly, hiding from kitty, chasing kitty, pretending to lay low when he is really trying to be sneaky...often nibbling on the string of lights (i keep thinking about that cat in Christmas Vacation).  i try very hard to stop him, but he's a puppy and sometimes i just don't catch him.  anyway, fast forward to tonight...i was in the kitchen starting dinner when in the span of about .5 seconds little charlie was under the tree and began making a horrific sound which, in turn, made morgan scream...let me say, that to this point, i have no idea what is happening or causing all this noise nor do i know how to stop it.  it was clear charlie was hurt, but i couldn't get to him to figure out how or why...he appeared stuck, but again i couldn't figure out how or where...he simply kept making this awful sound (somewhere between a bark, a cry, and a yelp) and morgan kept screaming at me to help know, cuz i was simply ignoring the situation!  i finally got him out from behind the tree and he wouldn't let either of us touch him...he ran for the patio door and i let him out...he crawled behind the bikes and that was where he stayed until morgan somehow coaxed his little shivering body out and back inside.  i honestly don't know what happened...the lights were still on, there was no spark, no smoke...but, there was also nowhere he could have been stuck that would have hurt him like that.  i'm guessing that he got shocked and now i'm wondering about the safety of my lights and tree???  the good thing is, after about an hour of him curled up in a little ball, he made a full recovery!  he is back to normal, and and strangely...back to sniffing around under the tree...yet again, only in my world do these things happen.

there are more of these stories...and many more to come, i have no doubt!  i know we all have crazy things that happen in our lives...most of the time they are funny only to us (or way funnier to everyone else because it didn't happen to THEM!!!)...but, they help us keep life in perspective, that's for sure!  do you have stories like this?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

peacemaker...fear taker...soul soother...heart toucher...

life is short.  there are many things that go unsaid, unheard.  hurts that never heal.  hearts that never mend.  hopes that seem to always fall short.  dreams unattained...or worse, unimagined.  we sell ourselves short.  let others determine our worth, our value, and make decisions based on our perception of their view of us.  life is painful, yet beautiful.  we are surrounded by simple things, simple joys, simple pleasures...yet, often we choose to complicate things causing us to miss the very things that just might bring us the most amount of peace.  our minds are full, our schedules even more so.  go here, do this, rush, rush, rush.  we lose track of time, of people, of ourselves. 

tonight i am thankful for many simple things...putting up a christmas tree with an absolutely amazing seven year old who still finds magic in the most basic things, a cozy corner in my bedroom that i can't wait to curl up and read in, a cup of hot tea in a cup i love, apples with nutella and peanut butter, the idea of leggings, a cardigan, and a scarf; new pictures hung in my dining room, a table and chairs that couldn't be more perfect for us, watching that same seven year old be so excited about her new stationary that she just had to write a note to her best friend and mail it tonight, a brother-in-law who brought us a tree and helped me with stuff i'm just not strong enough to do alone, this little apartment that has become our home, the very fact that i can fill it with pretty girly things and simply enjoy them because they're mine, strategically placed items that each are full of meaning to me, amazing friends who have helped me in more ways than they could ever know...and the ability to take it all, in this moment.

we hurt ourselves...we hurt others...we step away from what we know to be real, to be true.  sometimes things happen with no reason, no justification, no explanation...we are left shaking our head, grasping for answers, praying for truth and understanding.  tonight my heart is heavy for a family i don't even know, for a man i met once but whose impact on many was unmistakable.

"Peace Maker" by Greg Ferguson
Peacemaker, Fear Taker, Soul Soother, Storm Smoother
Light Shiner, Lost Finder, Cloud Lifter, Deliverer,
Heart Toucher, Truth Lover,
Who other could be Fear Taker, Peacemaker to me,

Mind Clearer, Sigh Healer, Hand Holder, Consolor,
Wound Binder, Tear Dryer, Strength Giver, Provider,
Heart Healer, Kind Father,
Who other could be, My Savior, Peacemaker to me,

Let Your Peace Rule in my heart,
Let Your kindness fill my thoughts,
Let Your strength secure my soul,
Let Your peace take hold in me,
Let Your Wisdom guide my will,
Your compassion fill this place,
Let my anxious thoughts be still,
Let Your peace rule in my Heart

simple words full of so much comfort...sung at my nephew's funeral five years ago, this song was etched on my heart.  i've pulled it up from time to time since moments when i needed...something, yet didn't know exactly what.  and these very words somehow were it.  peacemaker...fear taker...soul soother...heart toucher...just words...simple, simple words wrapped around those left after lives are cut too short.  my prayer for so many in my life at this moment...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the impact of writing it down

i write things down.  i make lists and have an obsession with stationary and pens.  i use an old fashioned monthly calendar/planner and probably always will. i love hand-written letters - both writing them and receiving them...i love the personal intimacy of them, the thought and the effort that goes into putting words on paper...knowing that the writer's hands touched the paper, that they took the time to not just push a "send" button but to put it in the mail.

anyway, about the writing things down...i keep my planners...i love to look back through them and see what happened over the course of the year; where i went, what i did, who i saw...a general play-by-play of the year's events.  the funny thing i look back, i consistently see the truly big events, those i was easily most impacted by, are barely mentioned if at all.  it's like i subconsciously tried to erase them from memory by not even writing them down in the first place...perhaps i'm too busy at those times, or too afraid to put the event into words, or too hurt to care, or too ashamed of what someone might think if they ever read it, or too excited and afraid of somehow ruining the moment by putting it into words...i'm honestly not sure.  i just know that as i read through years past, the most monumental moments...losing carter, mom getting sick, my divorce, moving, meeting people who had huge impacts on my life, traveling, losing gran, this year's break-up...are each only marked by a simple date or in some cases, not at details, nothing left to remind me more than the memories already do.  they are there on those pages in the abundance of blankness that stares back at me from those stretches of time...the pages i skip over, flip quickly past likely hoping to keep from reliving the moments that kept my thoughts trapped inside my head, inside my heart.  kind of a self-preservation method i suppose.

i've thought a lot about this year...wished it would hurry up and pass already, looked back on it with dismay, wondered how i survived it, and lastly...have been thankful for it.  so much good has come from those blank pages.  while i am nowhere near where i thought i'd be this time last year, i am right where i'm supposed to be at this moment.  there are things i still miss, things i think of, things i wish that were different...but, i finally have made peace with it all. i read through 2011...i realize that for each blank memory, there are many more that made their way onto the pages...lunches with friends, evenings out, weddings, birthday parties, moments with morgan, first days of school, skating and ballet, the surprise of baby guinea pigs, the addition of a puppy, meetings and events, and the simple day to day activities that make up our life.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

it's the little things

there are nights when a hot bath, an early bedtime with morgan, and a new book are what it takes to make the weight of the world a little lighter.  last night was one of those nights...

Friday, November 18, 2011

magic moments

she is seven.  almost eight.  i know my time with magical moments is short and getting shorter by the day.

tonight we went to the christmas lighting ceremony on the square...simple enough, nothing fancy, just a typical community event.  but, as he does each year, santa made his big appearance; coming out of the courthouse and making his way down the stairs while being bombarded by children.  morgan was excited in the way only young children get excited...anxious yet patient...she is not the type to run up to him, but instead, waiting and watching a bit in the distance; taking him all in and then stepping close when she is ready.  tonight was no exception...we made our way through the crowd, her little hand wrapped tightly in mine, weaving through parents and children each with their own agenda...until we were there...standing not five feet from santa himself!  now, i will admit that i get a little childlike and starstruck when face to face with (a really, really good) santa.  i mean, who doesn't look at him and immediately revert back to the boy or girl you once were - nervously awaiting your turn to tell him what you were most hoping for while being mesmerized by his magic? well, i do anyway.  so, there we were...children all around him, and she waited for me to tell her it was okay to go up to's funny how shy she can become in moments like that...but, when he turned to her she was quiet and polite; responding to his "merry christmas" with one of her own...taking in the moment completely and stepping back from him with a look of sheer awe on her little face.  when she did turn to me she said, "he's the real one, mom, the real one!  did you see his beard?  and his eyes?  it was HIM!"

we walked away and went off to find hot chocolate, wasting time before her dance class.  she eventually asked if we could go for a walk around the square before her class...and as we started down the block, there he was!  santa was standing on the sidewalk, about to get into a car...i'm not certain what she was thinking in that moment, but as we got closer, he motioned for her to come towards him...there were no other children around and she had his complete attention...they talked about his reindeer and how he was headed out to h highway to go feed them and that since it was a long walk, this nice lady was giving him a ride.  he asked her about making cookies and drinking hot chocolate and told her to be good and to have a very merry christmas.  i won't was a truly magical moment for us both!  no exchange of wish lists was made, no question of her behavior this year...just a simple conversation that made a little girl's night.

as we walked away, she was smiling and said how lucky that lady was to get to drive him around...i have no doubt this memory is one she will keep, and i got to make it with her...i won't heart was full and there was probably a moment when my eyes were too.  there are precious few of these moments we as parents get...we blink and sometimes miss them...not this time.  this time i took it all in, let it leave an imprint on my heart and silently prayed that we would both remember this for a long time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

oysters, whiskey, & a cigar

last night was a night of firsts for me...
we had a brand-new event for work (and it was FANTASTIC if i do say so myself)...Sip, Savor, & Smoke...a five-course dinner complete with whiskey pairings and the option for cigars on the patio at the end of the night.  the first course was oysters bobbie with caviar...let me preface this with the very simple fact that i have a major problem with textures (slimy, squishy ones to be exact), but i wanted to say that i'd not only had oysters, but more importantly caviar so i was determined to try them.  when the plate was placed in front of me i surveyed the four little blue oysters complete with creme fraise and beluga caviar to find the smallest one to try and suck down.  mind you, i had a shot of some very strong, expensive whiskey sitting in front of me to chase it with so after much consideration i went for it...i know you're supposed to just "suck it back" but i have a terrible gag reflex and my instinct to chew took over - bad idea folks.  thank goodness for that shot of whiskey sitting there because as the gag reflex was kicking in, i kicked that back and let the burning sensation overwhelm the slimy gaggy feeling and i made it!  i will admit that i only finished that one shot of whiskey...the other four i only sipped on because i'm just not a whiskey girl - no matter how fancy the bottle, or how expensive the label.  the rest of the dinner was amazing - lobster stuffed fillet mignon with incredible au grattin potatoes and cherries jubilee - so good!  the guests had the option of purchasing cigars to finish up the night on the indoor/outdoor, i have been around cigars and my gran had spent the majority of her life "puffing" on one secretly, but i had never tried it for myself.  i can't make that statement anymore.  i'll admit, i was hesitant to try it...certain i would cough and gag and make a complete fool out of myself, but nope, i did it as gracefully as i do anything else and actually kinda enjoyed it!  who knew?  not saying i plan on making it a regular occurance, but i'd do it again.

why is all of this important you might ask?  well, i am a total creature of habit, rarely trying anything new...when i was in paris last year, i tended to gravitate towards the french version of the grilled cheese or some basic roasted chicken rather than bravely tasting the more exotic, it's a bit of a leap for me to try not just one new thing in an evening, but three. i know, for most people new things, new experiences are exciting.  i'm just not wired that way; always fighting change or anything uncomfortable - or what i perceive as uncomfortable.  i wish sometimes that i was different, that i could just let go and not think about stuff so much, not complicate things, just be open to new things...but, at 34, i'm guessing this is just me and for the most part i'm okay with it. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

consequence. mercy.

life.  not without consequence.  complete with mercy. 

little moments.  that's what my life is made of.  some breathtaking, some heartbreaking.  each one full of something. 

morgan was dancing in the living room the other full of life, so confident and graceful...and i asked her how she knew how to move like that and she said "i feel it, mommy".

she feels it.  breathtaking. 

most heartbreaking moments are the result of miscommunication or the absolute lack there of.  as someone with a degree in communications, i am just about the world's worst when it comes to actually practicing it in my life and relationships.  confrontation?  forget it.  i'm terrified of difficult conversations.  dread facing someone when i've screwed up, and find myself unable to express myself when i feel pressured.

the right words don't get said.  all the wrong ones do.  reality is distorted and nothing close to the truth is heard because emotions get in the way.  this is the heartbreak...the envelope of pain and frustration i am watching all around me it seems.  i am watching some of the people i love the most hurt terribly and there is nothing i can do about it.  much as i'm sure they felt for me at times.  i want to stand between them and somehow fill the huge void with anything other than the distance and hurt, but i can't...because it wouldn't matter.  time is the enemy in many relationships...separating fact from fiction, hope from reality, pleasure from pain.  we pray for understanding and guidance and are often faced with questions and confusion.  we are human.  it is our blessing and our curse.

in conversations with friends, we question why it's so hard to get past...the past...why it's so hard to come full circle in our relationships.  is it because once words are put to the frustrations and the pain too much damage has been done and it's irreversible?  are we too far gone when the fight appears to just be beginning?  if these two are true, why do we wait so long to express ourselves?  why do we sit back and allow so much damage to be done?  i know that, for me, it usually is because i either don't want to make a big deal out of something or because i figure it's just me in a funk and it will pass eventually. doesn't gets worse, and then there is no going back because it is rarely ever just a funk. 

so, how do we deal with the problems without sacrificing our relationship - or ourselves - and find a way through to the other side - the place where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to see more than our point of view and give in to the bigger picture? 

how do we get from consequence to mercy?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

a few words

i read these words on facebook this morning...they could be mine, they aren't but they could be...everything i feel in this moment, have felt for what feels like forever summed up in these few words.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

charlotte jane

we waited anxiously for you.
paced the hall, peeked through the little window over and over again watching for signs that you were coming.
our hearts were heavy...hopeful, yet cautious...we knew too much this time...had experienced the worst, yet were praying for the best.
you were following in some very important footsteps, yet we wanted nothing more than for you to be different.
we cried when we heard..."we will run more tests, but everything appears to be okay".
we stood at the same window...watched in silence as they held you up...memories of before still etched in our minds.
breathless we walked into the room.
waiting impatiently to touch you, to hold you, to know for ourselves that you were truly okay.
i remember that moment so distinctly.  i was holding back tears, tears of joy and tears of relief.  i couldn't wait to meet you, to see your little face...and the moment i did, i loved you.
you are my sister's child, my only niece.  carter's little sister.  morgan's cousin.
in you i saw everything that had been missing, everything we all had hoped for with him, everything we didn't even know we needed.
four years ago today we were blessed with you.  four years ago today we fell in love again.  four years ago our lives were forever changed.
you were the best baby, and are the funniest, sweetest, most unique little girl!  there was no way to know at that point how much you would change and heal us, but you did.
so, happy birthday, charlotte jane, may you someday know just how special you are; how very much you were wanted, how very much you are loved!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

one proud mommy

i saw her face, watched her simply beam with pride...she could hardly contain herself, bouncing up and down, clasping her little pink gloved hands as her teacher kneeled in front of her giving her what was evidently good news...

tonight was test night - the night at the end of the six-week session where the teachers/coaches evaluate each skater and determine if they are ready to move up to the next level.  i watched her perform each of her skills and paid attention when her teacher and the program director took note of her skills, pointing and talking behind clipboards so as to not let her know they were watching her.  she could hardly contain herself when she was given her evaluation - glancing often in my direction, grinning from ear to ear - and then she raced off the ice to tell me that not only had she passed them all, every skill she needed to know for level five (the level i wasn't even sure she was ready for when the session began six weeks ago), but also every skill for level six!  she was going straight to seven and couldn't have been happier!  as her teacher came off the ice she walked straight over to me...pointing out over and over again how "naturally" talented morgan is; how quickly she picks up the skills and how much promise she shows.  she said that two other coaches had asked about her and before we left i was approached by both - a coach we have had previously and the program director.  they used the words "talented" and "natural" and...the scariest of all..."national" - as in, we believe she has "national potential".  i say scariest because while i am beyond proud, beyond ecstatic, and extremely flattered as her mom...i am well aware of the commitment that entails - for both of us. 

i heard similar words this time last year...and we kind of played it off, taking a few private lessons to put together a routine for the winter program but going no further.  her coach at that time made it clear that she was good...and because i swear up and down that i'm not THAT kind of mom, i kind of brushed it off believing that while she seemed to be good at skating i wasn't going to push it; but rather, let it be something she simply enjoys unless she really wants to make more of it. 

truth is, i'm not sure how to handle IS a little scary.  this is one of those times i wish i had someone...someone i could talk about this with...someone with whom i could share how proud of her i am...and someone i could talk over the options with...someone who would help me weigh out the right decision...and someone to watch her learn and be proud with me. 

so, tonight i am proud.  tonight i feel extremely blessed.  tonight i also feel...a smidge lonely.  not sad, but just lonely.  you know, for the afore mentioned "someone".  but, proud and blessed take the cake so that's what we're gonna focus on!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

running: the power or ability to run

 i have looked at the Couch to 5k running program many times, printed it off and carried it around even, but never actually did anything with it. but, today was different. i made a decision to do more than not only read it, but to get on the treadmill and follow it. i'm good at following directions. i'm a creature of habit, and i like structure and predictibility. so, i figured a plan that is so perfectly designed to make a runner out of anyone could just maybe make a runner out of me. see, i've never ran, never been a runner, never been defined as anything close to a runner.

i've always said i thought running was dumb, but secretly i watch runners and am jealous and a bit in awe. i am amazed at what their bodies will do, how their legs will carry them for such long distances...i think i always assumed they possessed something i didn't - chalked up my assumed inability to run to my obvious lack of athletic prowess. but, i've been told time and again that anyone can run, anyone can be a runner - all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other, right? i'm not certain it's really that simple, but for many reasons i'm giving it a try.

so, today i set a goal (another thing i tend not to do) - to complete the Couch to 5k program and to find and run my first 5k. i put on my tennis shoes and morgan and i went to our complex's gym for 25 minutes of what i was pretty sure i would hate. well, guess what? i didn't hate it! i actually really liked it! i loved that during each running segment i wasn't completely wiped out like i thought i would be and felt stronger with each step because i knew i was doing something good for me - both physically and mentally. i'm actually excited about wednesday when i will step back on the treadmill again - words you can be sure i never thought i'd be saying!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

just move

i love that she isn't afraid to just move...random dancing, spontaneous karate moves, jumping up and down for no reason, spinning - lots and lots of spinning...arms flailing, legs kicking, hair flying movements; almost all the time.  she is seven.  every bit of her is seven, but mostly her ability to do things without wondering, or caring, what anyone else might think.  this might be her greatest gift at this age.  i love her carefree nature, her love for life, her curiousity and her spirit.  we were walking through the parking lot at target the other day and she broke out in some of her spontaneous karate moves and i thought "i wish i could do that" - you know, just let it all go, kick and punch, jump and spin, all without reason or purpose; but simply just because i felt like it...and without caring what anyone else would think.

i'm not sure when that changes.  when she will start caring what others think...she already does about some things and when those moments happen i get a little sad because it's like watching pieces of her slip away .  see, with each reigned in movement, with each moment of conscious embarrassment, with each display of self-controled inhibition she is growing up; becoming the person she thinks others want her to be rather than the little spirit-filled child God created her to be.  i think that's the fine line...the tightrope we all walk to be who we were designed to be while fitting in with the rest of the world.

there was a moment about a year and a half ago that shook me pretty was brought to my attention by someone who had become very important in my life that i am too...much.  i was told that i get too loud, that i get too excited, that i talk too much and needed to figure out how to "reign it in".  she said that this (my behavior) had actually been discussed and that if i felt like i was getting out of control (really?) that i should look to her for a signal and she would remind me to "box it all in" so as to not make a fool out of myself.  i remember this conversation clearly...i was gulping wine down trying desperately not to cry, yet saying that my spirit and enthusiasm is what people had always loved about me...that those things were huge parts of who i am.  she tried to gently tell me that while those were admirable qualities, they didn't fit in adult life and i should find other ways to function in social situations.  it was perhaps one of the most painful conversations i had ever have someone tell me that everything i am, everything others had always said they loved about me, was...wrong...and it just about broke me.  i left in that moment changed...guarded...careful not to overdo in any way in front of her again.  and, what was worse, i wondered if that was how everyone saw me.  the words she said in those moments still haunt me, still make me wonder if that part of me is partially to blame for the break-up...still make me wonder if i never truly fit, because that was what i took from everything that night.

when we were walking through the target parking lot, i thought of that conversation and i watched my little girl...and i silently prayed that no one will ever try to break her spirit, or tell her she is too much...that she will always believe in herself and never let anyone make her feel bad about who she is or what makes her so special.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


i read a lot.  i am inspired by the words of others, exposed to and provoked by thoughts sometimes different from my own; yet often very similar to mine if i were to actually put them onto paper.  here are a few passages i've come across lately...all of which have spoken to me and made me think just a bit more...each one simple enough:

"you make your mark inside yourself.  i think we're meant to use every single thing we're given.  i want to act on every impulse."

"you have to start with yourself.  you have to let yourself know you're here.  take things in.  let things happen.  everything."

"the truth is, endings and beginnings are one and the same.  the question remains:  what new beginnings are waiting to be pursued?"

"finish each day and be done with it.  you have done what you could.  some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

here's what i think:  we have one life.  a limited number of days.  we waste many of them for sure.  maybe what we should do is open our eyes to every single thing that surrounds us...don't close our eyes in fear when it gets too hard, don't shield them from the brightness when it's too much to bear...instead, look...see and feel everything you open to every possibility and new beginning and figure out how to make peace with the endings.  touch, smell, taste, quick to give, slower to take...step back from yourself...but only far enough to realize that the world doesn't revolve around you. 

this life...i want all of it.  every. single. bit. of. it.  i want to do small things with great love and i want to hear and feel and touch on many levels.  so, my goal is to "begin (tomorrow) well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with (my) old nonsense"!   

Saturday, October 1, 2011

dancing queen

i forgot how much i love dancing!  i haven't been dancing with the girls in forever...i maybe made up for that last night!  here's the thing...i am a white girl, i dance like a white girl...and typically i'm fairly shy about it, but get a couple drinks in me and i not only think everything is super funny, but i also stop caring about what anyone thinks and actually let myself go.  this is something i haven't allowed myself to do for a long time and it was due to say the least.  one more thing i can say friends are good for - reminding you of just how much fun you can have!  so, i was a dancing queen - at least in my little world for a few hours last night - and it was fantastic!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fifth row

the fifth row seat, that's always where you'll find her...
the little girl with the blonde hair and the big blue eyes and the oh so very round cheeks...
her hand pressed against the window, sometimes waving, often almost reaching...
my heart resides within her chest, where it's been since that early january morning.
she is everything good in my life, the picture of perfect to me...
each time her little hand reaches up for mine my heart expands just a little more...
her sense of security moment she steps away from me, needing little more than to know i'm "somewhere"...the next she holds tight to me, gathering strength from my nearness.
what she doesn't know...what she can't possibly comprehend, is that i gain strength from her too...
knowing she trusts me, that in her eyes i can do anything, that in my moments of weakness i am still all she needs...
she is my fifth stability.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are -- chaff and grain together -- certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I've had a lot of time to think the past several months.  This year has not been what I imagined it to be, at least not what I imagined it to be when I looked forward at this time last year.  With each turn came uncertainty and questions, grief and a heightened awareness of my hopes for the future.  I read this poem a couple years ago and wrote it in one of my many notebooks.  I have read it and re-read it at least a hundred times.  It sums up everything I want, everything I need out of a partner.  It's funny, as I get older, I find that in some ways my list of "musts" becomes more detailed; but in all honesty, it all comes down to this - these words - "inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having to neither weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are...certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away".  To have someone love me like THAT.  To take everything I am, everything I'm not, every wish, every dream, every hurt, every worry, every insecurity, every flaw, every triumph, every take it all and accept it, keeping all that is good and letting go of the rest. 

There is a level of comfort that comes with feeling safe with someone, and for me, what I've learned is that feeling emotionally safe with someone is what I need; what makes me feel whole. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Poking holes in someone else's darkness

I am constantly thinking about stories, mostly those belonging to the people I pass on the street or walking through the store...complete strangers with no connection to me, walking through their lives, many simply just trying to survive the moment they are in.  I believe you can see into someone's soul by looking in their eyes...and so many times we are in such a rush, trying to make our life happen, that we never even truly see the people around us...they almost pass in a blur.  My mind creates their story, weaving together the pieces of what they could be experiencing in a matter of moments...placing them in a context of sort based primarily on their expressions.  So many of them seem so lonely, so desperate for someone to really care about them, so cloaked in their own darkness and dispair...those are the stories I want to tell - those of the unheard, to give a voice to the silent, meaning to the overlooked.  But, those could be anyone's stories.  Yours, mine...we are all there at some point, empty, living our life in darkness; needing to be noticed for who we are not the visible flaws we can't hide. 

I have often tried to figure out why things happen...why our lives unfold the way they do.  I believe that everything happens for a reason in the time it is supposed to...that we meet the people we are supposed to meet at the time we are supposed to meet them.  Perhaps my biggest flaw is trying to hang onto people for longer than I'm allotted with them.  I have a hard time letting go and learning from the experience, cherishing the good memories and letting go of the pain and the questions.  I think the important thing to remember is that each person we meet shapes us, helps us become who we are at this point in our life.  And, each experience, each heartache, each joy, each moment of question helps us to be more empathetic to others...preparing us to poke holes in someone else's darkness.  Of course we don't think that way at the time.  We can't see past our own misery to imagine how it could ever bring us to a place where we could take that experience and help someone else.  But, that's what happens.  That may be the biggest gift, sometimes the only gift, from some of our most painful moments...wisdom; often gained at a very high price, but invaluable to not only us but to those we are able to share it with. 

Monday, August 29, 2011


my gran would have been 100 today.  seriously.  100.  the funny thing is, even if she was still here, she wouldn't have cared about that - the number meant way more to all of us than it ever did to her.  she had out-lived almost everyone and her biggest fear was out-living her sons.  while she didn't want to miss anything in our lives, she was tired and on february 13th she got to go home.  she was an honest believer, rarely missing a sunday in church - sitting for years in her little seat at the end of the choir loft, silently reminding the preacher (by a little tap on her watch) that it was time to wrap it up so people could get to their families and, ultimately, their sunday dinners.
she was patient and kind, humble and wise, the funniest mix of traditional and unconventional, accepting and forgiving, quick and witty, sharp right up to her last few hours.  she was always honest, you never had to question where you stood with her; but never did she intentionally hurt anyone - it just wasn't in her nature.  she gave us the gift of family, teaching us that the bond of sisters is unmatched and to guard it with everything we have.  she was always there, only passing judgement when it was truly warranted, fiercely protecting her little family and passing on memories over fried chicken and chocolate pie.
she witnessed a lot in her lifetime; more than many of us ever will.  she was a revolutionary in many ways, inspiring anyone she met, yet quick to remind us that she wasn't "smart" although she could never convince us of that fact.
the only regret i have is the last conversation i had with her...or lack there of that is...those moments went by so quickly, she was tired and breathing was difficult so we didn't want to make her talk anymore than necessary but she wanted so much to tell us things; to remind us of things - mostly how much she loved us and to take care of one another.  i felt frozen, knowing full well that she was dying, wanting to say so many things, to absorb all of her words yet finding myself unable to speak.  so, the minutes passed and she got to where she couldn't speak at all and i knew my window was gone, that never again would i be able to ask her for advice or look to her for guidance.  now, often i find myself wondering what gran would say about things...about my life, about decisions i've made, things i'm questioning, choices i'm facing...and, while most of the time i have a pretty good idea what her take would be, i just wish i could ask her for sure.