Wednesday, December 19, 2012

what is wrong with people???

what is wrong with people???  i was walking into the hospital from the garage and heard a man yelling very loudly and angrily across the garage.  there were others walking in with me too, and we all turned to look.  i stopped and watched, wondering if he would yell at me for taking notice but honestly didn't care.  he stepped out from between two cars and the person he was yelling at was a very small little girl, maybe about three.  he started walking towards the door, and ultimately towards me...yelling at her and dragging her the entire way.  the language he used isn't appropriate for public viewing so i'll leave that part out, but what matters is that he didn't seem to care that there were others watching him and as i walked slowly into the building still watching him, still listening to him, a kind older couple passed by and the gentleman whispered to me, "slap him, will you."  i told him i would take care of it.  i got inside the building and stood there trying to figure out how to handle the situation...remember, i'm totally non-confrontational so these things are very hard for me but i knew there was no way i was letting him get away with what he was doing in front of me. (i kept thinking about how gran would handle the situation and i knew without a doubt she would say something even if it meant making her uncomfortable.)  he ended up right in front of me and once he realized i was looking right at him he was visibly startled and tried to apologize.  i asked him if what he was doing was necessary and he was immediately upset with me for even asking.  i'm a pretty sensitive person (shocker, i know) and stuff like this makes me crazy.  and, in light of what happened last friday in CT, i have zero tolerance for someone who can't appreciate their children.  the rest of what happened between us doesn't matter other than the fact that he knows someone saw him and didn't ignore his behavior.  and, more importantly, that little girl heard someone speak up for her...i looked her in the eyes more than once and reminded him firmly that she doesn't deserve to be treated that way and that it was unacceptable behavior for anyone.  you're right if you guess that he didn't like me or my comments one little bit, but i wasn't there to make friends with him.  i turned from him and was face-to-face with one of our safety engineers who told me to report it and that he would follow him to make sure she was okay and that he calmed down.  i was thankful for his presence and reassurance.

i'm sure many people wouldn't do that, wouldn't stand up to a stranger who was clearly angry.  and, i know we as parents have the right to raise our children in our own ways but that was too much and my fear was not so much for that moment, but more so for what he does without an audience.  if he had no problem acting that way in public, i can only imagine what he does behind closed doors.  it made my heart hurt.  we have to stand up for those who can't defend themselves.  she was so little and my mind filled with the thought of all those poor children who had no way of defending themselves...all those families who don't get to raise or hold their little ones...made me sick.  the last thing i said to him was, "cherish her" after he had told me repeatedly that she was his and he could do what he wanted with her..."yes, she is.  and you should cherish her instead of treating her that way."

Monday, December 17, 2012


there are no words for the amount of heartache the world has endured the past few days.  humanity has been tested by demons greater than any weapon.  tiny souls were ripped from their families...parents, siblings, friends, and strangers...each mourning for lives lost in seconds.  i ache for the survivors, for the children who may never escape the sights and sounds of those moments.  20 children in one school, 20 children in a community about the same size as mine...children near m's age...gone.

my child is growing up in an age where they have "intruder" drills.  "we put black paper over the windows and hide in the backpack area.  or, if we have enough time we go to mrs. davis' class because she has no windows."  she has practiced this.  she knows why she would need to do this in a real-life situation, and that breaks my heart.  i can't make sense of this, and i don't think i ever will.  i am thankful that her school does what it can to protect her from such dangers, but absolutely hate that there is even a need for those children to "rehearse" what they would do if someone walked their halls with the intent to harm them.  it makes me sick.

i don't want to talk about gun control.  i don't want to know his name or see his face.  i have no doubt he fought an illness our society doesn't do enough to treat, but that still gives no one the right, or the justification, to take innocent lives.  keep your selfish misery to yourself, never turn it on defenseless children or those whose job it is to protect them.

friday's tragedy isn't the only one splattered across the newspapers and television...a mass stabbing in china, a family found shot to death less than 15 miles from here, senseless shootings at a there no place we are safe?  is human life of so little value that to take it means nothing to the one holding the weapon?  or is the possibility of going down in history, even as a monster, worth it?  have we allowed our children to become so desensitized to violence that they don't know the true implications when it isn't on a screen under the auspices of "it's just a game"?  i fear we, as parents, are much to blame.  we fill our lives with so much, allow our children to be occupied by things other than us...we aren't present much of the time and they turn to whatever source of attention they can find.  don't get me wrong, i'm not blaming tv or video games or whatever else you likely think i was referring to.  it's a generalization.  it is our job to raise our children.  our job, our privilege to love teach them how to love.  we can't do that if we aren't paying attention to them.

so much of life is wasted on senseless cruelty.  how do we preserve innocence?  is it possible to protect without living in fear?  or, is the answer to live each moment as if we don't know if we'll get another?  nothing is promised.  we get right now, this second.  that is a sobering, yet absolutely liberating statistic.  i pray to love with an open heart, to see the goodness in each moment, to look into another's eyes and see them as Jesus would.  we all vowed friday to hold tighter, to love stronger, to be thankful for our children and loved ones...but, those promises fade with the buffer of time.  ultimately we become more relaxed, taking for granted time and people without notice until our faith is shaken again.  it's a cycle we all live without intent, yet i guess i hope that with each horrific story i revert less to my old pattern and appreciate those in my life a little more on a continuous basis.  at least, that's my hope.

i think the best thing we can do to honor those lives is to love with all we have, to give more of ourselves to those around us and to take time to truly enjoy the gift of time.  those families don't have that luxury...

Monday, December 10, 2012


the conversation went like this...

him:  "how do you know the (insert name of long-time family friend i had just ran into in the cafeteria)?"
me:  "i'm from lathrop."
him:  "you are?  what year did you graduate?"
me:  "yes.  1995.  why?
him:  "me too.  class of '82.  what's your maiden name?"
me:  "canaday."
him:  " you know the brothers...the canaday brothers?"
me:  "yes...that's my dad.  jack's my dad..."
him:  "i took care of your grandmother...i was in home health/hospice before employee health and she was my patient.  the boys were so good to her, her sons...your dad."

at this point i was beside myself.  speechless.  this man who had given me a tb test, who i said hello to in the halls numerous times, who was just another employee...had taken care of gran...spent those last couple months visiting her, caring for her.  and, in that moment a little piece of me broke.  yet, at the same time, i felt almost like she was in the room with us and i didn't want the moment to end.

me:  "you knew gran?  you were there, with her...?"
him:  "yes...she was always standing in the kitchen cooking something.  always in that same spot.  she had such a laugh and her eyes twinkled."
me:  (trying desperately to keep it together) "she did.  she was amazing."
him:  "yes, she was.  the world just got a whole lot smaller, in a good way."

he could tell i was close to tears and apologized for upsetting me.  i told him that, no, i wasn't was a good moment and i was happy to know that such a kind person had helped care for her. it was a brief conversation.  a couple minutes at most.  but, i left that room knowing that she had been there with us.  and, tonight, i miss her so much.


Friday, December 7, 2012


my little blog just hit 5,500 page views!!    i realize that to many of you that may not sound like a lot, but to me it's huge!  there is nothing like knowing people are reading the words you write...and, then, hearing from those people that what you write means something to them; touches them in some's a pretty amazing feeling and is a large part of why i do this. so, thank you for reading my words...for telling me that what i write matters...for taking the time to know my heart and for allowing me to fit somewhere in your life.

"fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
- william wordsworth

i love notebooks.  i'm obsessed with them, have them everywhere each with something written in them.  i have two favorites though...a beautiful black leather one given me by a dear friend who appreciates my love of paper and pens.  this one i carry with me all the time just in case i need to write something down and thus part of the reason i must carry a big's oddly comforting to know that if/when i need it, it's there.  often it gets used when i'm in church or at work...on its pages are quotes and scriptures, the beginnings of blog posts that i needed to put on paper before i forgot them and a few lists.  the other is a small, well-worn pretty little notebook that i got this time four years has traveled with me, seen me through my divorce and when my mom was holds poems and quotes, song lyrics and dreams...much of my heart resides on those pages.  both of them are like old friends, each full of words that were exactly what i needed them to be in the moments i wrote them down.  i turn to them when i need strength, when i need comfort...when i need reminding.

oh...i saw God yesterday...or, rather, i felt Him twice...wednesday night had been kinda rough (for reasons that do not matter) and yesterday morning was no better, but i woke to find an email from a dear friend that said this:

"today may there be peace within.  may you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  may you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.  may you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.  may you be content with yourself just the way you are.  let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  it is there for each and every one of us" - wanted to let you know you sooo many.  you touch so many lives.  you make a difference.  you are loved and perfect just as you are.  please be kind to yourself.

she knew nothing of what was going on yet she sent this anyway.  it was a God thing. His arms, His words reaching out to me through her when i needed them.

and then, later in the day, another the form of chocolate...reminded me that i haven't been forgotten...that i'm missed and thought of.  the timing was perfect...God's timing i have no doubt.  

i write to learn understand...myself and the world around me.  it makes me think, makes me take a good look at my life and the people and things i surround myself with.  when i write i try very hard to be completely honest and not to simply show the things i most often want others to see.  i would love to say that's easy, but it's not.  it would be way easier to write only the pretty paint a picture with no darkness, no brokenness or rough edges...but, that's not real and it's boring and while i'm about as peppy and spirited as they come...all of those less than desirable things live within me too.  so, i guess, when i write my story...when i share this life, my hope see God...working through me, living in me.

Monday, December 3, 2012


i see the world from the outside in.  rarely am i 100 percent in the moment because i'm also completely in tune with whatever else is going on around me.  i always used to think i just liked to people watch, but it's so much more than that.  i love watching people, mostly when i think they can't see me (or are so wrapped up in whatever else they are involved in)...i love seeing their expressions, especially their eyes.  generally, you only get a few moments to take someone become a part of their story, or to imagine what their story could be as is most often the case. 

i work in a hospital.  i pass through the patient registration area more than once a day.  as i move throughout the lobby i weave around people who are there for various reasons, many of which are less than pleasant.  i am drawn often to one person or another and at the time have absolutely no idea why.  today it was an elderly gentleman seated alone on a bench in an area i've not previously noticed anyone before.  he sat in the breezeway between the outside entrance to the main part of the hospital and the interior doorway that leads into the lobby.  it was dim and a bit dark in that stretch of space and he looked like he wanted to be alone in his thoughts...yet he had chosen a very busy place to do so.  in the few seconds i watched him, a handful of people passed him by; none stopping, none noticing him...each with their own agenda, their own burdens and concerns.  yet, there he was...elbows on his knees, forehead resting on his folded hands, eyes prayer?  in thought?  in pain?  i have no idea.  he didn't look at peace, but more so as if he had a heavy heart.  and i wanted more than anything to go to him and ask if he was okay....but, i didn't.  out of respect for his privacy...out of fear that i would offend him...i let him be.  the thing is, i have no idea what he was doing there today.  it could have been nothing, but it could have been any number of things and that's where my mind goes in instances like that...with him i couldn't help but wonder if he was there to see his wife of many years; that in those few seconds he was either praying for comfort, or healing, or an answer...or, he was looking back on a lifetime of memories that had quickly been wrapped up in one breath.  to many of you that may sound a bit dramatic, and maybe it is, but when i look at someone i see the things many others do not.  of course, with this gentleman, it was my story, my interpretation of a few seconds watching someone i do not and will never know.  it was my take on a situation and that is all it was.  but, what i think is so absolutely amazing is that we live among each other; passing by, often brushing against one another and never stop to ask the what's and the why's and the how's that make up our individual (yet totally entwined) lives.

we are busy.  we don't want to intrude.  we are told that it's rude to ask.  yet, even with those we are closest to, we rarely take the time to really ask anything more than the general "how are you?" that we all answer the exact same way.  we settle with "fine" and move on so as to not be forced to become more involved in something we don't have the time for.  instead, we focus our attention elsewhere - anywhere other than on those right in front of us it seems, always distracted and often somewhere else than in the moment with the people we are supposed to be most invested in. 

i can't tell you what i see when i look into someone's eyes.  with each person it's different, but there is almost always one universal truth...the need to be seen, the desire to be heard, the hope that someone will take the time to know us for who we are and not just the picture we project on the surface.  i tend to forget that while i'm busy watching others, chances are good someone is doing the same with me...i wonder what they see when they think i'm not looking, what they see when they look in my eyes, what story the imagine for me as they are looking from the outside in on my life....    

Friday, November 30, 2012


tonight, as we put up our christmas tree, m and i were watching "the family man" with nicholas cage.  i've seen it several times and i love the underlying message, but tonight these two lines hit me...

"we have the chance to have a life everyone would envy"
"they already envy us"

a life that others envy.  of course, the first line was said completely about material things - money, an amazing life in a beautiful house, cars, trips, private schools, etc...  the second, said from a wife to her husband after he had tried to sell her on such a life, a sobering reminder that what may be enviable to one person means nothing to another.

m and i bought a new tree tonight.  the first i've ever actually bought by myself.  i hauled it up three flights of stairs, opend the box and we put it together creating something that, to me, became not only beautiful but exatly what i wanted for her...for us.  we wound 350 little lights around it, unwrapping and placing ornaments that each hold some special meaning, and battled with the stupid star that won't stay upright.  but, that stretch of time was about as perfect as it could have been.  and, as she opened the blinds so others could see our tree, i realized that while there are times i get stuck in my head and ache for a life i wish i could have, wish i could give to her...we, in this moment, have a life that's worthy of envy.

see...i had the other type of life for a while...every bit of it and it was nice for a time.  but, ultimately it was empty and looking back i do not envy the new woman who is living that life.  i wouldn't go back for anything.  i am thankful for some of the moments, but if given the chance, i would choose today - choose this little life i've created for m and i - over that life anyday.  what i learned in that time was that i was (come to find out) quickly replaceable and never could we have ever truly fit there.  but, now, here in our little apartment, i feel like i am who and where i'm supposed to be and thus able to give m a much better life worth way more than anything we had there.

we all want what we can't have.  that's no surprise.  and, i think that's okay.  it pushes us to try harder, to do more, to hopefully not become bitter and jealous but more empathetic and appreciative when we do acquire something we've wanted for some time. 

i'm human...and, if asked what i want, what i's sharing a life with someone and doing so in our home, with our children, creating memories and growing together through whatever life hands us.  perhaps that doesn't sound like much to some, but to me it sounds just about perfect.  i've had the time to do whatever i want.  i've been single for quite some time now and i have no doubt many married people reading this would argue that i have it made and in some ways they are right.  but, i want more.  i have a hard time looking to the future by myself.  to me, making long-term plans includes someone else - please don't see that as a weakness of mine because i don't.  i believe we were created to share this life with others and find myself feeling unsettled thinking about anything much further in the future than a few weeks - ok, confession, living on my own has allowed me to be that way in that i do what i want when i want not feeling the need to expect others to plan around me but, rather to just be wherever i feel like being and with whomever i choose to spend my time.  selfish?  in some ways, yes.  but, i miss things like planning holidays in my home...i feel very much like i'm a college kid again in many ways and i don't like that part of being single at 35.

so, back to the whole "a life worth envying"...i have everything i need...more than i deserve...and try so very hard to be thankful for all of that.  tonight, if anyone looked in our window, they saw a mom and a little girl creating something symbolic of everything worth envying in our little life.  that tree, those moments together, represented so much more than what was happening in those few moments.  it represented our life in all its beauty and chaos and that is something to envy.        

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


i hate how life jades us, how it makes us afraid to give of ourselves completely because with each loss we leave a piece of our heart, our soul behind.  i hate that loving someone becomes so hard, so complicated because the purity of the concept has been robbed from us by those who have hurt us.  i hate that each time we try to step forward we run into a wall of fear and insecurity so high we can't imagine climbing over it so we turn around and go the other way.  i hate that if we aren't stuck dealing with our own fears and insecurities when it comes to relationships we instead must take on those of the one we potentially love...a worse fate because we have zero control over another and much less over those terrible demons they fight. 

i love that i am still able to see the good in others...that somehow after losing pieces of myself i've been able to recreate new, better ones to fill those holes.  i love that i can look into another's eyes and see into the depths of their soul and know instantly if they are what my soul has been looking for.  i love that when i hold someone's hand i can tell within seconds if the fit is good enough to last. 

there are those who are worth it.  worth taking a chance.  worth letting go of whatever scares you. worth setting aside your past and taking down your walls.

"you are a piece of the puzzle of someone else's life.  you may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you."
- bonnie arbon  

likewise others are pieces of the puzzle that is your life.  each fitting together in ways that may take a little extra time to see, sometimes requiring a little different perspective, but with a little patience we figure out how to place them so each one fits.  smooth edges are placed next to jagged ones that become seamless with time.  i used to think it was me who needed to figure out whose puzzle i fit into, then a very good friend told me to stop thinking that way...that what i needed to do was look for the one person who was the final piece to my puzzle, the one who made my puzzle exactly what i wanted it to be.  perhaps the best advice i've been given...  

Monday, November 26, 2012

monday randomness...

i've been awake since 3am...why knows why?  honestly, other than the fact i was dozing on the couch at 8:45pm, i can't think of a reason.  but, when i can't sleep my mind winds incessantly; bouncing from one thought to another with little break in between and next to no reason or rationale (although, much of it is spent stressing over just how tired i will be).  so, here are a few of my monday early morning thoughts...

life's perfect moments...sometimes they startle us, never happening when we expect or want them to...rather, sweeping in silently catching us off guard so as to make us appreciate them all the more.  something so simple as a cup of coffee prepared for me by somene who doesn't even drink it but knows how much i love it....or, a child, sleeping on your chest giggling in their sleep...or, often for me, a glance - a simple look shared between two people that says way more than any sentence ("i didn't say anything."  "no, you didn't have to...")...

i miss letters.  few people write them anymore, but my gran always did.  hand-written, usually very simple with stories about our family or the basics of her day.  she hated her hand-writing, but i loved it...mostly because in it i saw how much she loved me in those words...she took the time to sit down and write something special just for me.  i should write more letters. 

i have a mental list of things i have to get done in the next couple days...stupid stuff i've put off for too long.  procrastination.  it's an art. if they awarded degrees in it i would have my ph.d!  you would think i'd learn by now not to do this to myself, but clearly i'm a bit slow.  people say it helps to make a list.  here's a little idea of what's on mine:

get car inspected/oil changed (damn it!  my stupid back light is still out!  eff...)
suffer through the dmv before the end of the month (don't even bother telling me that i shouldn't have put this off - i already know and am beating myself up enough about it)
switch the laundry
pay bills
order christmas cards
buy stamps
order new checks
sign m's notebook before we leave this morning
get gas
make my christmas shopping list (you know, in an effort to actually use it!)
pull out pictures for christal
buy a christmas tree/lights (don't even get me started on the emotional baggage i'm fighting for some reason this year regarding the holidays - i'm determined to fight through whatever personal lonliness/drama i'm feeling to create a great christmas for m)

on thanksgiving i had dinner with my extra family...people i love so much...and, they asked me to pray before we ate.  see, in my family, sarah is the one who is always asked to pray - not me.  i haven't prayed out loud, publicly in a while.  i used to do more of it a few years ago when i was more involved in church, but since i've basically been a bystander when it comes to my religious life of late, i haven't been doing much of that.  it felt good...and i asked them (ok, i gave them no choice what so ever) to each say something they were thankful for as we prayed...there is something special about hearing the words of others on a day like thanksgiving - to know what is in their heart and to take a couple moments to focus on those things rather than on the chaos of whatever else is going on.

i bought a book yesterday called "Now Is the Time" is what i just read:

now is the enjoy the day
make the most of every day.
use up the hours like a child.
there are no guarantees how many we get.
older people will tell you:
they rarely regret the things they did,
only the things they didn't do.
don't spend your life intending to do something.
start now!

"and in the end, it's not the years in your life that count it's the life in your years."
- abraham lincoln

i think my favorite line is "use up the hours like a child" - a child doesn't wait for life to find them.  they create life in each moment.  they live fully every second they're awake, expecting nothing but the best from everything; not knowing that something less than perfect could happen.  i think back to summers as a kid...when we stretched the day as long as we possibly could.  time didn't matter.  the only disappointment was not having enough time to do everything we wanted.  i want to see that kind of potential in each day.

and, now i'm really thankful for a great cup of coffee! 

Friday, November 16, 2012


"imagine meeting someone who understood even the dustiest corners of your mixed up soul"
- anonymous

imagine.  someone who understood every single thing about you...about your soul.  even the deepest secrets you keep buried somewhere so far down that even you don't have the answers or don't want the answers, or the explanations for them.  what if we each had that person, someone who saw us so completely, so fully...but, in seeing us like that, didn't judge us but rather took the time to understand us?  how would we feel?  complete?  safe?  less alone?  less afraid to truly be who we're meant to be?  whole?  i don't know.  i don't have the answer to that, but i can guess that i would feel all of those things and perhaps some others.  i believe we all seek to be understood, that the disappointments we encounter in our most intimate relationships stem from being misunderstood...that we want desperately for just one person to see all of us - all. of. us. - completely imperfect, exposed, broken.  yet, when seen by that one person who sees us as a whole; rather than seeing only our faults, our cracks, our ugliness, or even the pieces of ourselves we choose to let the world see...we are beautiful, complete...exactly who we are meant to be.

i love the lyrics to the song "broken and beautiful" by mark schultz...

we all fall short, we all have sinned
but when you let God's grace break in
it's beautiful
come as you are
surrender your heart
broken and beautiful  

is it possible to find someone who understands us so completely that we are able to surrender our heart, to trust them with our brokenness in the hopes that they will see us as beautiful?  i hope so.  

"sometimes people are beautiful.
not in looks.
not in what they say.
just in what they are."
- markus zusak

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


sunday at church three questions were asked...

who have been saints in your life?
who are saints (currently) in your life?
to whom will you be a saint?

saints - maybe not what you're thinking...not simply those recognized most often in the Catholic church or other denominations where you truly pray to a saint.  no.  saints are defined as anyone who is christian, holy and sanctified by God - His people.  paul wrote that all believers are saints and God's possession (acts 9:13) and His beloved (romans 1:7) and because they are called by Him they owe their status to no one but Him.  also, and perhaps the most important to us as we are right now...saints are outlined as those who touch us, who help us become who we are meant to be, inspiring us and showing Christ's love for us.

the first person who came to my mind was gran - not a surprise to me or anyone reading this, but a clear, simple answer none the less.  carter, too...although for somewhat different reasons...what i can say is that i learned much from his short time with us and there is no question in my mind that he was a gift from look in his big brown eyes and you knew you were looking into the face of God - patience, perseverance, the absolute will to endure whatever happened to his little body with the grace of someone much older - a true testament to all of us for sure.   

as for my current saints...that takes a bit more thought, perhaps because it's a lot more personal given that those people are still with me and may not even realize i see them that way.  they are people i have been blessed with for various reasons...all of which were placed in my life at very important moments and who have given me things they may not even realize.  

the last question hit me the hardest.  to whom will i be a saint?  there is no way to answer that.  unfortunately, instead, i think it's easier to know who we fail...

i've always needed to know i matter...that i'm special somehow.  judge me if necessary, but the truth is we all have a similar need i believe.  it is vital to me to know that i make a difference, that my time with someone means something, that even a few moments are worth...something.  i think it's because i am one hundred percent certain that life is made up entirely of tiny moments, fragments really, that when squished all together are the sum total of who we are, of what our life becomes.  i believe whole-heartedly in saying what you mean, never holding back out of fear or uncertainty when you need to tell someone something, and always...always saying "i love you" when you feel it.

a saint.  sanctified.  holy.  a believer.  someone who inspires, who loves, who helps us become who we are meant to be.  to whom will you be a saint?

Friday, November 9, 2012


"i have so much to tell you, mommy!"  - the words she all but busted out once we were finally alone in our car after a long day.  she had saved up every bit of goodness that had happened in her day just for me...stories of  scoring her first playground soccer goal and sharing the same birthday as a college football player who had come to read to her class...stories that meant the world to her.


"you have to promise not to tell!  double pinky promise not to tell!  okay?" - the first real secret she has shared with of huge importance to a little girl, and made even more special because her older friend had chosen to share it with her.


"just a little longer, mommy...this is my favorite place to be.." (mine too, precious girl.  mine too.) - we start each day the same way...wrapped up in my bed just before she has to get started out as five minutes, but has stretched to seven or eight some days...and no matter what i'm doing, or how big of a rush i'm in, i stop and just "be" with her for those few minutes.  they may be all we really get that day, but they are ours.

i'm having a hard time with the fact that i can barely hold her anymore.  of course she can sit on my lap, but to really pick her up and hold her it takes a lot of effort because she isn't all that much smaller than me these days.  when she was younger she almost always would wrap herself around me while i was singing in church...laying her little head on my shoulder and wrapping her tiny arms around my neck.  this past sunday we were in church and i had this absolute longing to do that again...and it made me a little sad.  i've known for a long time that there would be a "last time"; that there would come a point in the not so distant future when i truly couldn't hold her anymore...and that simple fact alone causes me to ache somewhere deep inside.

there is something about having only one child.  not that it was my intention to do so, but just the way it worked out.  she has to be everything - the firstborn, the baby, even the often misunderstood middle child.  she is the only one who knows our life, our stories, our traditions.  she has no one to blame anything on (although she tries to blame the dog from time to time), nor no one to learn how to share or argue with.  although we are blessed with many good friends who are often very much like family, our world is small in many ways.  i try very hard to surround her with a variety of people who give her the things i can't, or help enhance the things i want her to learn.  i'm well-aware that i'm only one person, that i alone can't do it all - as much as i want to most of the time.  i hate asking for help.  hate feeling like i can't do or be or give it all to her.  but, in the end...when it's all said and done, and it's just us at the end of a long day sharing stories...or curled up with charlie on my bed before the day has a chance to get in the way...i get to love her.  i. get. to. love. her.

Monday, November 5, 2012

in the end...

in the end we're all stories.  that's really all there is to it.  some more elaborate and detailed than others...some with more adventure or mystery...some a bit more sad than others...some full of twists and turns, ups and downs...and some...some seem barely read, the pages still nice and neat and binding fully intact.

what's my story?  i've been thinking about that a lot the past week or so.  if something happened to me right now, who would tell my story and what would they say?  did i make an impression on someone's life?  did i do anything worth remembering?  would people point out my flaws, talk about the things i've done wrong, the ways i've hurt others?  what would they tell m?  would she know my heart?  does anyone know me well enough to truly tell her everything about me? 

if we were to read our own story what would we think, what would we feel once we got to the end?  and, i don't mean in regards to the ending itself but rather about the the whole picture...the bits and pieces, the characters, the plot, the choices we made...what would we ultimately think?  i fear being disappointed.  i want to write the most amazing story ever.  to fill each page and then dog-ear the really good ones so i can go back and re-read them when i want to.  i want the binding to be broken from so much use, from so much love - because that's what we do with a really good book...we open it over and over again, pouring over its contents and finding something kin to an old friend.  i hope that if someone i loved were to read my story they would see themselves almost jumping off the pages because of the special role they played in my life.  that they would feel like i had taken the time to get to know them well enough that their character was just as they imagined it to be. 

the pursuit of life.  the writing of a story.  my story.  full of amazing people, many of which i've loved more than they may ever know.  i've seen a little of the world, and dream of seeing much more.  a mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend.  perhaps someday a wife again.  trusting i will be able to see the path being laid before me and smart enough to follow wherever He leads me.  praying constantly to see my place, to know where i fit, to be whatever it is i'm meant to be...and to never write a chapter i'm not proud of. 

this life.  it's mine.  there are few things i would change.  i regret little and love with everything i have.  i am vulnerable, but don't see it as a flaw.  i think it makes me human, more empathetic.  i hope the next chapters are beyond full...that i stop waiting for my life to find me and create the story.  my story.  so, in the end, it will read as i want it to.  not as someone else has written it.     

Sunday, November 4, 2012


"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.  once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."
 - e.e. cummings

for me, these words are absolute truth.  i have always needed, craved even, acceptance and encouragement.  my greatest demon is the fear of being, the belief i'm not, enough.  it is my fallback, my default, when something doesn't work out...especially when it comes to people.  i hate this part of me....hate that i automatically retreat inward when something goes wrong or when i'm told i can't do something, can't have something/someone.  i immediately look to what could possibly be wrong with me rather than accepting that some things just aren't meant to happen or figure out how to work harder to do better.  i'm not proud of this.  i feel it makes me weak...lowers my potential and ultimately puts me in a position to not become everything i'm supposed to.  i spend too much time focusing on what's wrong with me and feeling sorry for myself rather than stepping up and simply doing better or accepting that because something didn't work doesn't mean i'm somehow less valuable.  it's a flaw of mine and one i'm constantly working on. 

but, why is it that most of us need someone else to point out our strengths, our beauty, our worth?  why is it so hard to simply see those things within ourselves and not need others to validate them to make them real to us?  is it possible to see our own potential?  is it possible to look in the mirror and not see only the self-perceived flaws?  can we walk past a window and see our reflection and smile because we know everything we hold inside, seeing only the things that make us beautiful, that make us unique? 

maybe what we should do is stop looking so much at ourselves, take the focus off of that which is undesirable about us and take the time to point out all of the things that make those around us beautiful, unique, valuable. 

"intense love does not measure, it just gives."
- mother teresa

i'm not saying we shouldn't look inward, shouldn't try to be the best we can be, but maybe if we take the time to see the good in others we may not be so focused on the things we THINK make us less. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


"How He Loves" - David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

And oh, how He loves us
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so
how he loves

i first heard this song a few years ago at jacob's spoke to me instantly, helping me realize just how deep His love for me is...opening my eyes to the absolute power of that love and ultimately helped me see that if He can love me so completely, how can i not give the same to others?

i love so many lines in this song...
"when all of a sudden, i am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and i realize just how beautiful You are, and how great Your affections are for me."...
"drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes"...
"so heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss"...
"i don't have time to maintain these regrets"...
"how He loves..."

and then, i read this...

"i loved you at your darkest." - romans 5:8 (confession: i saw this on pinterest and after looking it up, i can't find it exactly like this - not even in The Message - but, it is a very simple, very comforting interpretation of the actual scripture so i'm gonna go with it)

"i loved you at your darkest." six very simple words. i have been loved at my darkest. when i felt nothing else, when there was nowhere to turn, when nothing made sense....i. was. loved. i have always said i believe God demonstrates His love for us by the people he surrounds us with...they are His arms, His words, His comfort. i felt that for the first time when we lost carter....people who never even got to meet him were right there. always. since then my eyes have been open to these experiences, to see Him "there" when i feel most my darkest moments. and i've learned how to be a better friend to others at the same time.

i often think i feel too much. i care too much. i love too much. i say this because, with these things, comes the ability to get hurt. i sometimes wish i had more of an "i don't care" attitude, that i could somehow just shut it all down and truly not care, not feel, but, then i hear that song, read those words...and i realize He never shuts down when i need Him, never gives up because it's too hard to love me, never holds back with what He gives me, never stops reminding me of how much He loves me. and, if i want to be more like Him, then i have to give in to who He created me to a friend once told me "you are the perfect you, the perfect faith".

Friday, October 26, 2012

why is it that when we lose one person we are then haunted by the sadness of losing others?  isn't it enough to have to face the grief right in front of you without having to also revisit the loss of another? 

i am packing to go be with my family...mixed emotions for sure - a little anxious to face the reality of what has happened coupled with the sheer need to be with them, with the only others who knew him and are feeling much as i am right now.  the family viewing is at 4pm today.  i am dreading it.  i would rather not see him, not stand over him in that way...would rather keep my last image of him safely in front of all the others.  it was three weeks ago now...we had gone up for our annual pig roast and at the end of a very good day, i knelt next to him in his chair and took his hand and just talked to him...nothing significant, just words...i knew he wasn't well, but didn't want to think that they could be the last ones we would share.  but, that moment, brief as it was, will always be mine. 

there is something about losing a's like a piece of your childhood is gone somehow.  so much of my life is tied to them, they loved me unconditionally - only ever wanting me to just be there (something i never did enough of)....and now, they're gone.  first pop-pop, then gran and now grandpa.  yes, it's part of life.  yes, we were blessed to have so much time with him.  yes, he went peacefully.  i know all these things yet right now i'm just....sad.  and it's not just for's for the others too.  mostly gran because losing her was so very difficult for me and i miss her terribly still.

what i'm finding is that this week is like the emotional trainwreck of faith...i know, that sounds silly, but it's true.  everything i've been holding in, everything that has hurt, everything i wish was different or more or whatever seems to have risen to the top with this one event and i feel...lost...a bit overwhelmed...terribly alone...and often like i can't breathe because of all the built-up emotion that is trying to somehow escape me.  so, i apologize now to anyone who must see my totally irrational side...but, with the death of a loved one we are faced with the realities, the shortcomings, the disappointments in our own lives and as much as i've tried to ignore some of them; they are proving to be hard to hide from now.  i have yet again been reminded of the fragility of life...of the importance of surrounding myself with only those who deserve to be there and to take time to enjoy the life i have with these people. 

my heart hurts.  my body physically aches.  i've had a headache for two days straight and my shoulders and neck may never relax.  but, i know that's just part of it.  tomorrow we will celebrate his life and then i will come home and maybe finally fill the tub as full as i can and just lay in the warm water letting all of this wash away.  until then, my mind keeps showing me pictures...a little photo album of sorts...of him, of her...and those little memories make me smile if only for a second.  i carry pieces of them within me, of that i'm certain.  characteristics undeniably them that i wouldn't change for anything. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


i lost my grandpa last night.  i have no complete thoughts, only rambling, somewhat distracted ones that seem to come and go.  kind of like my sleep last night, oddly enough.  my heart is head is fuzzy.  perhaps it's easier to just put the basics for now...

John Calvin Olds

AUGUST 16, 1928 - OCTOBER 23, 2012

John Calvin Olds, 84, Ridgeway, passed away on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at his home. 
He was born August 16, 1928 in Florence, Kansas, the son of Clifford and Mary(Smith) Olds. 
On December 16, 1950, he married Dorothy Beck in Liberty, MO. She survives of the home. 
He owned and operated his own trucking service. 
Survivors in addition to his wife are daughters, Ruth Canaday, Ridgeway, MO, Susie (John) Rollheiser, Ridgeway, MO, and Deborah Olds, Omaha, NB; brother, Paul Olds, Eustis, FL; sister-in-law, Shirley Olds, Kansas City, MO; 5 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren. 
He was preceded in death by his parents and 2 brothers, Ralph and Gene. 
Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 27, at the Roberson Funeral Home, Bethany, MO. Cremation following the service will be provided by Roberson Funeral Home with inurnment at a later date. The family will receive friends from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home where friends may call after 8:00 a.m. Saturday. 
Memorial contributions may be made to Harrison County Food Pantry in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 46, Bethany, MO.John Calvin Olds
AUGUST 16, 1928 - OCTOBER 23, 2012
John Calvin Olds, 84, Ridgeway, passed away on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at his home. 
He was born August 16, 1928 in Florence, Kansas, the son of Clifford and Mary(Smith) Olds. 
On December 16, 1950, he married Dorothy Beck in Liberty, MO. She survives of the home. 
He owned and operated his own trucking service. 
Survivors in addition to his wife are daughters, Ruth Canaday, Ridgeway, MO, Susie (John) Rollheiser, Ridgeway, MO, and Deborah Olds, Omaha, NB; brother, Paul Olds, Eustis, FL; sister-in-law, Shirley Olds, Kansas City, MO; 5 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren. 
He was preceded in death by his parents and 2 brothers, Ralph and Gene. 
Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 27, at the Roberson Funeral Home, Bethany, MO. Cremation following the service will be provided by Roberson Funeral Home with inurnment at a later date. The family will receive friends from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home where friends may call after 8:00 a.m. Saturday. 
Memorial contributions may be made to Harrison County Food Pantry in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 46, Bethany, MO.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


there is something magical about watching my child play in my childhood backyard, swing from the same monkeybars i learned to swing on, play in the leaves dropped from the same helicopter tree i sat under more times than i can count...

i walked around the side of dad's house saturday afternoon hand-in-hand with her...we noted what was different about the yard, the house, from when i was her age and i told her stories about playing in various places throughout that very yard and the one next door.  then, i watched her climb up the same ladder i have climbed countless times and reach easily for the first rung of the metal monkeybars i remember climbing on over and over again...sitting on top with friends, sharing stories and hanging upside down until the blood rushed to our heads and we had to turn right side up.  what i also remembered when i watched her there was the excitement i felt when mom and dad pulled into the backyard with the little silver pick up and unpacked what would become a childhood staple...a swingset that transformed into many things - a house, a fort, a castle, an escape route when being chased and a place of secrets and refuge for us and our friends.  that swingset survived our fire, sitting idle with no use for years...waiting for the time when children - our children - would find their way to its now skeletal frame.  all that is left is a rusty ladder, the eight or so rungs across and the empty frame that used to hold two swings, a set of rings and a trapeze bar - all designed to keep us busy and teach us how to fearlessly soar...both were accomplished successfully.

tonight, in our old neighborhood with friends we've had her entire life, i sat in another backyard and watched her and a small troupe of actors perform a two act skit for an eager audience of parents in lawnchairs.  i was split...watching her and her friends proudly show off, thinking she's growing up way too quickly...and thinking back to a time when it was me, my sisters and the neighbor boy putting on skits of our own each 4th of july for the neighborhood picnic.  i was happy she was able to have this experience...sad that because we don't live in a neighborhood she can't be a part of it more often...and longing for a day when we can once again share in this very simple, yet to me, fundamental part of life. 

there is something to be said for "belonging".  it doesn't really matter where or to what.  it's just the idea of feeling a part of something.  with it comes pros and know, the neighbor who means well when trying to set you up with a "high strung, yet perfect for you" guy...remind me again why when asked "are you seeing anyone right now?" i don't automatically respond with "yes"???  you'd think i'd learn.  i digress.  but, i love sitting in a driveway with friends while the kids run around learning the simple joys of life in ways you can't on an ipod or xbox.  i love knowing that if you need them, there are people around, whether it's to help shovel your drive or watch the kids in a know, the little ways we take care of each other, or as i call it, the "it takes a village" theory.  maybe it's the small-town girl in me...maybe it's because i currently reside in an apartment and while it's home in many ways, i can't help but miss being in a house on a street with a mailbox, a trash day and sometimes nosy yet typically well-meaning neighbors.  i think, what i'm dancing around, what i'm trying hard not to that, to me...that life, that world, also represents a normal family and that may be where the twinge of sadness came from tonight. friend, cathy and i were the only people there needing one seat...the other three families required two seats.  i was happy she was, and has been on many occasions, my "plus one" tonight (as silly as that sounds for this type of event, but you get the idea)...there is a simplicity that comes with this little life of mine...yet, i can't help but miss the idea of someone next to me who's hand would fit around mine and i know she feels similarly. 

but, as i walked charlie when we got home, i was filled with so much more than that.  while there are things in my life that aren't perfect, there are so many more things to be thankful for and cherish.  i. am. blessed.  three little words that i felt over and over again this weekend as i held my little i watched her i sat next to her in church, singing and praying with her hand in mine.  i. am. blessed. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


piglet sidled up to pooh from behind.  "pooh?" he whispered.
"yes, piglet?"
"nothing," said piglet, taking pooh's hand.  "i just wanted to be sure of you."
-A.A. Milne

sometimes i feel like that.  i need to be sure...of someone, of a reassurance that exists only within the presence of certain people.  kind of like how m still occasionally needs to just know i'm "there"'s not necessarily a physical space, but more of a conscious state that somehow connects two people when they most need it. 

how do you step back from someone?  especially someone who is that reassuring person for do you somehow remove yourself from the situation so they can find what they need, figure out where they are and what they want...and, scariest of that they may, in the end, find their way back to you in a way you've never shared before yet knowing that there's a very good chance they won't?  i'm wrestling with my selfish, human tendencies tonight...trying very hard to not let my emotions get the best of me.  i've given everything i can, tried being everything i thought mattered...and, ultimately, i have to let go.  it's so very hard for me to do that. 

there's about a million more things i could say about this, but it's too personal.  i'm afraid i've already said, written, too much and sometimes feel like by putting these words (and those of the last couple posts) out there, i've exposed my soul and it makes me feel very vulnerable.  but, the larger part of me believes in sharing how you feel so in order to be honest, i feel like that's what i have to do...share that vulnerable, exposed, in many ways, raw side of me with people who have no real need to even know this piece of me. 

what i realized is this...a couple days ago i spent a few hours feeling like i belonged to someone again...something i haven't felt in what seems like forever.  i know it was just the way i felt, it wasn't real...but, for a brief moment, i felt like someone had chosen me...and, no not just someone...but, someone who means the world to me.  the truth is, it doesn't matter what i feel, what i've felt, what i want or how i wish it was.  i've allowed myself to be in a situation below me in order to hang onto someone who isn't ready to be hung onto.  i've seen it.  i know it.  i just haven't wanted to accept it for fear that the moments that which made it all worthwhile would never be again. 

so, here i am...letting go.  stepping back.  and just letting it be.        

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


she handed me her evaluation sheet, and with eager anticipation asked "did i pass, mommy?"  sadly, what i saw was the blaring class recommendation that said "FS3", no, no she didn't pass.  as i explained to her what the scoring meant, gently told her that she would be retaking level 3 again, i watched her little face crumble...we were still at the rink so she had an audience...she tried desperately to hold it all in, to keep it all together; and simply said "i want to leave.  i don't want to skate anymore tonight."  she held the tears at bay til we were safely in the car and then - like i tend to do when i'm overwhelmed - let it all go. 

the circumstances don't matter.  disappointment is all the same in the end.  what you wanted to happen, didn't.  that's it, plain and simple.  i have found that some of my most painful moments, those i've since discovered were masked as sadness...were really disappointment in disguise.  life isn't fair.  one of the earliest things i can remember my mom saying.  "when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade"...a true, but harsh, analogy.  i remember her saying that the night our house burned...i was sitting on her lap, exhausted from emotion, trying desperately to make sense of why it had happened (i was in sixth grade at the time and was feeling everything from sad to angry, to a bit lost, to thankful, to overwhelmed and even a little scared)...that was the first time she told me the lemon story.  my response?  "yeah, but i can't seem to find the sugar"...a little funny, but so very honest given the circumstances.  i've found myself thinking of those very words many times over the years...faced with difficult situations that in all honesty i don't want to face.  sometimes "making lemonade" just seems too hard...sometimes you just wanna drink the damn lemonade (with a little vodka!!!) and forget about it all.  

sometimes i find myself wondering how i can protect myself from disappointment...but, then i realize, that means sheltering myself  what i have found is...people will disappoint us most of all.  not always on purpose, but often because they see no other choice when trying to find their own happiness.  we, as humans, no matter how self-less, no matter how giving...are still selfish when it comes down to it.  we try hard to do the right thing, to look out for others, to do everything possible to keep from hurting someone else...but, when faced with our own reality...especially in tough situations, we will ultimately choose our own happiness.  i can speak openly about this subject, as i've done it myself.  i am far from innocent where this is concerned, and while i'm not proud of it in the least, i do own up to it.  and, if you're totally honest with yourself, you will likely see you've done the same.  

so, how do we minimize the disappointments, or maybe even the effects of them?  i don't know.  sometimes i am thankful for the arm that holds me just far enough away...thinking that because of that distance, i am not getting close enough to really let myself get hurt....that if i don't fight it, that arm is right where i need it to be, keeping me safe from falling too far.  but, then i blink and i realize that no, i don't want that...i want to fall completely, and to be fallen for have no distance, nothing protecting me from us and our let him be my safety net.  i think what i find myself not being completely honest about, is just's an interesting balancing act and i'm never 100% certain of where either of us stands but i know that in some very unique way we do balance each other out when it really comes down to it.  and, ironically, we are each terrified of disappointing the other.  ah, to feel safe enough to finally let that fear know that the other would still be there even if we disappointed them...that no matter what, they are always there to come home to.  i think that's what we are all searching for...     

life is hard...we will fall, and we will somehow pick ourselves back up.  what i'm finding is that it's so important to find those people who will be right there next to you with a little hand when you need it.  that there is nothing so important as the people we surround ourselves with - yes, the human, often selfish, certain to disappoint us people.  what's that saying?  "don't make someone a priority who only makes you an option"?  right.  that one.  i never want to be anyone's "option"...only their "priority"...     

Thursday, October 4, 2012


time.  we get so little of it.  it moves slowly when we are in a hurry, and seems to fly by when all we want is a little more.  it's a cruel irony, yet we can't fight it.  every moment we get is one less we will have.  i'm not sure we ever fully take advantage of this until we are, sadly, faced with the reality there is little to no time left.  we pray to stop the clock, or at least slow it down...wishing we could turn it back even a few moments but never is that an option.

this morning a dear friend will bury his father just two months after losing his mother.  a couple days ago another close friend walked away from what appeared to be a devastating accident.  monday morning i walked into the hospital and met two clearly lost and confused women who were looking for one of the oncologists...and my heart broke for them. 

life is short.  it is over in the blink of an eye.  both cliches, but full of truth.  i see this more and more the older m gets.  we get one chance with each moment.  if we screw it up we can't really take it back.  if we waste it, we don't get a do-over.  if we sit back and watch it pass us by, we can't complain about the outcome.   

i am a firm believer in not wasting time when it comes to telling others how you feel...mostly because we never know how long we have with them, how many opportunities we might have to do so.  we don't get to go back.  people will disappoint us.  we will get hurt more times than seems necessary, but hopefully we will be loved enough to make up for all of that in the end. 

there are so many things i hope to someday get to tell you.  words i hold back because i know the time is not right...they reside in my heart, taking up space in my mind...making my chest tight with anticipation, wearing on my body with the exhaustion that comes with holding back.  they are only words.  would mean little to most, yet to the intended, could be everything.  to you they would come as no surprise, yet i feel the need to actually say them.  i never want you to wonder where you stand.  never want you to question what you mean to me.  if ever you're faced with something that seems too hard to handle, i want you to know these things and hopefully find comfort in knowing you are completely loved, and never alone.  in you i see my best self.  the truest, most honest side of me.  i find comfort in knowing that while i may never have everything i want, i have had many moments where i felt everything i needed.  i know your hand like i know my own.  i can look in your eyes and feel time stop.  yet, i get anxious when i'm afraid there won't be enough...enough to share everything with you, to show you everything i want you to see, to help you see all the good within you and around you.  i'm far from perfect in every aspect of my life, but i hope that in the end you will feel that i loved you perfectly. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


disclaimer:  this is NOT intended to garner any sympathy or make anyone feel sorry for me.  it's simply a part of my story and i (for some reason) feel compelled to tell it. 

i went to church yesterday.  nothing new, just went to church.  but, i went completely alone.  no m, no friends with me...just me.  i've started going to a new church (again, nothing new for me since i seem to do that from time to time), and most of the time a good friend is there with me or i see familiar faces that make me feel kind of at home...but, yesterday i guess God meant for me to experience it without the comfort of companionship because no matter where i turned i saw no one i knew.  i sat a few seats in on a row fairly close to the back.  by the time the service started i was surrounded by families, or at least couples; but mostly families with small children and in particular one large family who was there to celebrate the baptism of their newest family member.  i honestly don't remember much about the message...something about facing our giants (ironic, now that i'm writing this), but the music was pretty good...what i do remember was how i felt.  alone.  in that moment, i felt completely alone.  i got kinda anxious; fought back tears during one song that really spoke to me...feeling, at the same time, like i was kind of floating in a bubble where no one could touch me and like the walls were caving in on me.  i really had to internally step back to readjust my focus (a bit of a struggle, i'm sad to say) take it off of me and put it back where it belonged.  it wasn't horrible, and i  survived; but i left wondering why it had bothered me so much.  i mean, i understand why i felt physically alone; that's easy enough...but, can't explain the rest.  i wished i'd had a hand to hold, or an arm to reach around me, to rest softly on the small of my back...i watch others do that now and i'm accutely aware of the tenderness expressed between people who truly care for one another.  there's something about those outward displays of affection in places like church that seem very intimate to me.  i feel like i'm witness to something very special while doing something so simple as sitting a row behind strangers while sharing the same worship service.  maybe it's because it's been so long since i've felt that sense of comfort, that genuine reassurance that comes in moments like that - moments often either taken for granted by those living them or, sadly, brushed away in haste because of embarrassment or frustration.  what i'd have given sunday for that...

anyway, i'm not sure what God was trying to say to me...and, you're wrong if you assume it has something to do with a fear of being alone.  i'm no different than anyone else.  of course i fear that to some extent, but i've made peace with all of that.  i'm just thankful the feeling passed.  i think, in those moments, i'm reminded that if ever given the chance to have someone next to me again i will value that time, that person...truly take care of what i have in ways maybe i haven't in the past.  it's a harsh lesson to learn, but one of value for sure.        

Thursday, September 13, 2012


how's that saying go?  "beginnings are usually scary.  endings are usually sad.  but, it's the stuff in the middle that really matters."  or, something like that.  you get the idea.  i spent today trying hard to make it seem like any other thursday, like it wasn't my next to last day, pretending that each "normal" thing i do everyday would continue to happen...but, none of that was true.  and, in all honesty, most of today i felt almost lost...kind of in a bubble, not entirely sure what to do with myself yet trying hard to absorb everything around me. 

these past two weeks have gone quickly.  i've tried to leave with things as "done" as possible, but even that is hard.  i have a hard time walking away from anything - even for a great opportunity.  it's hard for me to step back and watch others do something i've done for so long.  i had my last ribbon cutting, my last after hours, my last ambassador meeting...i've heard from people i never would have imagined; kind people who have taken time to not only wish me well, but to also genuinely remind me of just how much i've meant to our organization and how much i will be missed.  encouraging certainly, humbling for sure.  it is in these moments i realize how many people i've met in my seven years at the many people i've talked to, worked with, and perhaps given something good to.  it's also in these moments that i realize what an impact one person can make and how that in and of itself is a gift; one not to be taken for granted because with it comes great trust and the belief you not only matter but that people see you as maybe more than you see yourself.  it's funny, i can remember either the first time i met many of these people or something unique about each one of interraction or a moment that likely no one else noticed because in all reality it wasn't that consequential yet stood out to me. that's just how my mind works. 

tomorrow will be the last time i walk in and say "it's just me" or sit across the desk from gayle as i drink my coffee and we share stories from the night before...i won't sit on laura's desk and share ridiculous dating drama...  no, i will pack my office - something i just haven't been able to do yet - and go to my last fall festival meeting...then spend a couple hours with some of my best friends eating a few of my favorite things while hopefully laughing more than i cry.  i feel kinda like it's a series finale to a beloved know the scene...the girl stands at the door, and as she looks back her mind is flooded with a million memories while some sappy song covers the diologue...and, as she walks out the door for the last time she smiles because she is so thankful for all of those incredible memories because they are part of what got her the doorstep of her next adventure. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

change...aka "faith got a new job"...

change.  it's a dirty word to me.  i don't do it, or at least avoid it at all cost as much as possible in every aspect of my life.  mostly because even the best change causes at least a smidge of discomfort and i tend to fall into the group (like the majority of us i've discovered) of people who prefer to leave things as they are rather than experience anything that resembles disarray or chaos (two of the primary side-effects of change).  we like our water placid, our sailing smooth, our boat unrocked...but what of that? 

this week marks the beginning of a very big change for me...friday is my last day at the chamber...the job i've had the longest, the job that has given me the most professional growth, the job that has opened doors and given me opportunities i never imagined seven years ago when i answered an ad for a part-time communications coordinator.  morgan was little...i was still life was pretty least compared to what it would become.  i was barely an adult, still innocently unaware of what harsh realities i would face in my years there.  the chamber, the people in it - many of which have become very good friends...all my source of stability in some very unstable moments.  i grew up in that building, discovered my strengths and my weaknesses...and found my voice again.  i walked through things i never dreamed of...felt emotions i wasn't sure i could handle, and was often carried by those very people who were only "members" when i started there.  these past seven years have given me so much.  i've been blessed with a boss who is way more than that; she is a friend...someone i know will always be a very important part of my life.  i've built relationships with incredible people; and i know it's because of those relationships that i am being given this next opportunity.  this time next week i will be preparing for my first day at liberty hospital in what i'm certain was a role written perfectly for me.  i will be their new community relations specialist and i couldn't be more excited!  i get to stay in the community i love and do all the things i'm best at, while learning and experiencing new things.  it's the very best situation i could have imagined and i am beyond thankful.  i knew early on that God was leading me through this door...that He had laid this path for me.  rarely do i feel that way, and it was pretty cool. 

so, i will spend the next five days wrapping up my current job and on friday celebrate with some of these people i've grown to love.  "will your office be empty by then?" was what my co-worker asked the other day..."yes...yes, i suppose it will be..." was my only response.  this change is a good one...but, even good ones come with mixed emotions.  i am a bit afraid, yet all the good far out-weighs any of that.  i know i will cry...likely more than once or twice.  and then i will walk out that door for the last time as "the chamber girl" and walk forward into my new role; taking with me so much more than i could ever find the words to put on here...mostly because often there are no words big enough to describe some things.  but, very blessed...those are the two words that i leave with.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


out of fear i am selfish.  perhaps the biggest realization i've had (and, yes, had pointed out to me) in a long time.  it's a harsh reality, but very true none the less.  fear is paralyzing in many ways...but, perhaps most destructive when it's tied to emotions.  i think, in my case, i'm constantly afraid of fact, i'm certain that's the case.  that's why i hold back in almost every area of my life.  it's stupid, i know, but real all the same.  i'm afraid of letting someone down, afraid of not being enough, afraid of the embarrassment that comes with those two things. 

"you don't fight for what you want..."  and worse... "you don't say what it is that you really want..."

two statements i heard last night that are 100% accurate.  i think i'm afraid of what i really want because if i say it i can be turned down, or disappointed, or any number of ridiculous reasons that don't come close to justifying either of these things. 

what i can see is that despite all of my writing about living life and loving openly and giving everything....what i'm really doing is sitting back and watching my life pass me by because i'm afraid.  that makes me a hypocrite...and i am beyond disappointed in myself.  how, at 35, am i so afraid of failure?  it's not like i've honestly failed all that much in my life...but, i haven't had to work that hard, or give that much effort either.  i've simply...gotten by.  who wants that?  i mean, who wants to look back on their life and see that they did "okay"...that they "got by"?  not me, yet that's exactly what i'm setting myself up to do. 

thank you to the voice who constantly forces me to look inward.  who, while painful at times, is brutally honest with me.  something i'm fairly certain i need, no matter how hard it is for me to take.  i don't like the image in the mirror and have to find a way to stop being afraid, to stop holding back and open myself up for whatever it is i'm supposed to be doing, supposed to be feeling.  good, bad, whatever.  it's my life, only i can live it.     

Monday, August 20, 2012

"plans to give you hope and a future"

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

these words have been heavy on my heart the past few days...for reasons that matter none to most of you reading this; yet chances are decent that if you stop and really read them you will find some relevance.  i have them on a sticky note attached to my computer, always visible, always a sign of reassurance when i need them.  a very good friend has them tatooed on his arm, a simple reminder that there is something bigger than this very moment...that God Himself has laid out a plan for us greater than anything we can imagine in our darkest hours.  i think i love this verse for a couple, i love the idea that there is some sort of plan for me...that God cares enough about me to lay out a roadmap for my life - one that, if i somehow figure out how to follow it, could be amazing!  and, two, i love the words "plans to give you hope and a future"...see, there have been times...yes, times - plural...when i've had absolutely no idea where to go next, what steps to take, what direction to turn; and ultimately saw no future because i felt so completely trapped in the moment i was presently experiencing.  was i depressed?  maybe a little.  heartbroken?  for sure.  scared, confused, exhausted, guarded, uncertain of nothing other than the desperation i felt in those moments?  yes...all of those things and more...  but, it always got better, always.  no matter if it was a mess i created myself or one that was thrown at me with zero warning; i somehow always came out of those moments stronger, wiser, and with a greater appreciation for the good days.  i have to believe that it's those plans, that will of His for my life, that LOVE He somehow so graciously gives me (even when i can guarantee i don't deserve it) that shows me hope and gives me strength to see the future I am trying very hard to trust He is laying out for me.  do i understand it?  no.  do i need neon flashing lights?  uh, yeah.  do i shake my head on an almost daily basis trying my hardest to figure out just where it is that He is leading me?  more than i'd like to admit.  there are some things in my life right now that i'm trying hard to figure out...funny, i've been told that i have the gift of discernment (the ability to grasp and comprehend that which is obscure)...yet, not when it comes to my own life.  frustrating beyond belief.  i just can't understand what He's trying to tell me right now and i feel like i'm some sort of detective puting together clues and there is one missing...of course, it's the most important one.  but, maybe that's why i keep hearing these words "for i know the plans i have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"...maybe that's His way of telling me to be wait Him out...that in His perfect time He will show me those plans and only then will i be ready for them.  *sigh*  so much easier said than done.  but, i'm trying.  until then...i'm focusing on plans...hope...future... 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


what causes us to have a connection with someone?  be it a physical or emotional one; i find that those connections happen almost instantly with some people and may never happen with others.  it's been said that i can talk to anyone, that i am easy to open up to...strangers tell me their life stories, sometimes sharing details so intimate that when the conversation ends and we part ways i feel like i've known them my entire life.  yet, there are times with people i should be able to connect with...people who i've grown close to over time, that those intimate moments and conversations never come.  i tend to internalize those things, tend to assume it's something wrong with me because "everyone can talk to me"...but, the reality is, sometimes a deep connection just isn't possible...mostly because of where one or both of us is at that point in our lives.  just one more example of the immense damage created by our pasts, and the weight of scars we try so very hard to keep hidden from even those we are close to.  frustrating for sure, beyond simple explanation and without reason or justification to those who haven't lived true heartbreak...but, for those of us who have, understandable. 

on the rare occasion that we make a connection with someone, it comes at us with such force we are almost always taken by surprise.  it's a look, a touch, a word, a smile...often so small, so simple we don't even realize it in the moment; but we are changed by it none the less.  i honestly don't know why we are able to make these connections with some and not with others...i mean, i get the physical part of it - either we are or we aren't attracted to someone, that's simple enough.  but, the emotional part is harder to rationalize, more difficult to wrap my brain around.  i know enough to see that i'm stimulated by different things, that even something so simple as a person's voice is a turn on or a turn off; but i still can't believe that there isn't more to it than genetics...which goes back to my hard and fast belief that everything happens when it's meant to, that we meet the people we're supposed to meet when we're supposed to meet them; and, perhaps most importantly, no matter what our connection to them, we only get them for a certain amount of time.  i think we each serve some purpose in each other's lives; that we enter relationships based on when we need something specific that only that person can give us (and vice versa).  the really difficult part of all of this is recognizing what we have to give (and what we ultimately need from) those in our lives and to then find a way to let go if we must.  life is just that - a constant give and take marked most by compromise and a search for middle ground...and hopefully few disappointments when it's all said and done.

honestly, i wish i could connect with everyone...wish i could give constantly, that my heart was always full enough, my self-worth high enough; that i never needed anything from others.  but, i'm fairly certain that's not possible.  a friend of mine once said that a group of friends works like this:  we are all in a circle and at any given time, one of us is in the center - surrounded by the others because in that moment she is the one who needs the most and throughout our lives we each take turns sitting in that center spot depending on who's needs are greatest at that moment.  i kinda love that gives me strength just picturing my friends as we surround each other in our moments of weakness.  maybe the best lesson i've learned over time is that i can't force a connection...either it's there or it isn't and that's okay...hard to accept sometimes, but okay none the less.     

Thursday, July 12, 2012

big blue eyes...

*disclaimer:  this most likely won't make any real sense other than the fact that i'm referring to m...and that right now i miss her terribly and since this post keeps coming back to me, evolving and changing depending on my mood, i'm gonna try and finish it - even if it doesn't really make sense to anyone but me.

big blue eyes...they stare back at me in the rear-view matter where we're going i can look up and see her looking back at me, or see her gazing off towards something in the distance; or, on occasion...see them closed, her long eyelashes resting on her soft cheeks.  big blue eyes full of intensity, wonder, and empathy...bright with passion, and full of curiosity...they are the window to her soul and in them i see everything.

i wrote the following paragraph on friday afternoon...almost three weeks ago.  it seemed to fit at the time, yet the words weren't coming quite right, didn't quite flow past this point and i wasn't sure why...

she leaves tonight...goes to texas for the rest of the summer.  this isn't new, we've done it before and i know what to expect but this year feels somehow different....i'm guessing it's because there isn't something else big going on in my life to off-set the reality that i won't see her, won't touch her for six weeks.  people ask me all the time how i handle it, and my answer is always the same:  i know it's coming, i plan for it, i take advantage of the time to do what i want when i want...and i miss her.  like a piece of me is gone sort of missing her...and it starts about 24 hours after she leaves.  however, i'm thinking this time it may hit me around 5:20pm when we say good-bye and they escort her through the door, and down the jetway to the plane...i will watch her as far as i can...wheeling her little skate bag, chatting with the attendant...switching gears to adjust from one home to the other in a matter of a two-hour plane ride.  and then i will go back to my chair, pretend to read while ignoring the tightness in my chest, and wait for the "departed" sign to show up on the board to begin my own adjustment period. 

then, i spent an evening at the Relay for Life walk...made lap after lap around a track, surrounded by names on little white paper bags...names of those fighting cancer...and those who lost the battle but who are remembered by those they left behind.  to say my perspective changed immediately is an understatement...suddenly my tears seemed to have been shed in vain, my sadness for a child i know i will see again humbled by the realization that there are so many who can not say that. my own emotions were quickly put into check as i said silent prayers for the numerous names i read, many of which i was shocked to see that i knew.

sometimes it's good to get a reality be gently reminded that the world doesn't revolve around us...that life is so much bigger than where we are right this second.

skip ahead to now (last friday night, actually) hit me today how much i miss her.  i know, i know, she will be home and ultimately i'm fine.  but, tonight, tonight i felt like a shell...empty and hollow.  i remember this feeling as it visits me from time to time each summer; consuming me for a period of time, making me feel completely disconnected from her.  it's an awful feeling, and i never quite know what to do with it.  there is no ignoring it or pretending that it's not takes up so much space that it's almost suffocating.  i find myself pulling away, feeling the need to be alone and i'm not entirely sure why.  but, it will pass.  i pray that through this moment i am gaining empathy for others whose lives are consumed constantly by this type of emotion; that i may better understand where they are in those moments because i've had a very tiny taste of it myself.