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?