Thursday, May 23, 2013


looking back, i'm not sure which one of us was more of a mess...which one of us needed the other more.  in the beginning, i thought it was you but now i'm not so sure.  on paper you were clearly in a worse spot while i was fairly certain i had my act together.  what i couldn't see at the time was how with each moment i spent with you, a part of me i didn't realize was broken...was healed.  with you i was never alone....something i swear i'm not afraid of, yet if i'm completely honest, is a part of why i've hung on.  no one has forced me to be as honest as you, no one has ever allowed me...encouraged actually be honest with what i think, how i feel.  in exchange, you gave me honesty and truth...even when you knew it would hurt me.  and, you have...more times than you may remember...yet, from the moment you walked through my door i just...knew.  i knew you were meant to be in my life, and i in yours.  to me, we were the epitome of my greatest belief.  while i've accused you of not listening, you always heard me.  gently you've pointed out faults of mine no one ever has...things i'm sure have annoyed not only you, but are likely to blame for other relationships not working as well.  you've been there in your own way when i've needed you...rarely as i've expected, yet always exceeding any expectation i could have had.  friends is all you've ever been able to call us...all you were capable of giving.  but, for some reason, no matter how hard you worked to convince me of this, i always put us somewhere above that.  this, our greatest difference, is the only one that matters now.  the words "i'm not going to force my feelings anymore" were the final blow.  you could have slapped me and it would have hurt less.  you have a good heart, of this i have no doubt.  while i see potential in you that may no longer exist, i choose to believe somewhere inside of you is the man i've seen glimpses of in the rare moments you've let your guard down with me.  you've come so far in the time i've known you, but i know you aren't yet where you want to be.  i deserve to have everything from someone...just as you've told me so many times.  and you deserve to not have to worry about whether or not you'll hurt me as you continue to find your place.  we both fear not being enough...and now i fear being "too much".  what i have to remind myself is, for someone, i will be just right.  i just hoped that someone was going to be you.  i know we met when we were meant to...filled needs no one else could at the time.  in many ways you are my best friend, but i'm having a hard time letting you be just that.  but, i'm trying.  i'm trying to let it be.  trying to trust that the future holds things i can't yet see. friend...i won't ask you to force your feelings ever again.                 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


tomorrow.  may 22.  seven years.  i will wear my ladybug shirt and be all-too-aware of the time.  i will likely find myself drifting back in time as i always do on that day.  i will think often about sarah and wish, yet again, that i could take this from her knowing full-well i can't.  and then, i will remember what we did tonight...charlotte's pre-school graduation.  somehow the little girl i connected with the moment i held her is five and on the downhill side to kindergarten and i love her to pieces.  she and her incredibly cute little brother do a very good job of filling the holes left by one very precious little soul. 

time is flying...too fast for my liking at the moment.  in just over two weeks m leaves for the summer and for some reason i'm terrified she will leave in june and come back in august all grown up.  i have a different kind of anxiety for this trip.  maybe it has something to do with the fact i've watched her change so much over the past nine months.  maybe it's seeing all the footage from things like the sandy hook shooting and the boston bombing and now the moore tornado...i was watching a mom as she finally found her son sitting on a curb yesterday after the tornado and i found myself crying along with her; certain that if it were me and m i would never let her out of my sight again.  now, don't get me wrong, i want her to go and enjoy her time with her dad and step-mom...and, while it's very hard for me to admit, i selfishly enjoy a little time to myself.  but, there will be a hole inside of me when she gets on that plane and sometime about three weeks later i will find myself wandering around feeling like someone has cut off my right arm.  but, tomorrow we get to do something we've never done.  tomorrow we are going on her third grade field trip and i'm honestly not sure which one of us is more excited!  she asked me to go, not just kind of suggesting that she might like for me to meet them down there; but, rather, a "mom, i really want you to go.  to ride the bus and lead a group and be a part of the whole day."  okay, m, okay.  so, i will ride a school bus for the first time since the last away football game in 1994 and be in charge of a few nine year olds who (in her words) usually think i'm her baby-sitter instead of her mom.  i. can't. wait!  and i pray we make a few memories neither one of us will forget...not just over the eight weeks we're apart, but maybe one or two that might last a lifetime.

Monday, May 20, 2013


the past couple weeks i've found myself thinking back to this time 18 years ago...

i was 17, one of the youngest in my graduating class.  hair long and curly, bangs i forced to curl under to be like everyone else, the shortest one in my class of 66, determined to take on the world yet hiding a fear of the unknown to anyone who asked what my plans were.  i was a 13-year of many in the LHS class of 1995.  we were a close group, most of us friends from before kindergarten and some second-generation friends from parents who had also grown up in those same halls we walked for four years.  i have no doubt we thought we were special - maybe that's typical for the age, but looking back i'm pretty certain we each thought we had it all figured out, or at least pretended that we did.  little did we know, the things that would ultimately make us special were the friendships we made in those years spent there - friendships that, to me, have become family.  invincible as only teenagers can be, we each laid a plan for the next few years of our lives - for most of us this meant college, and for many of us, the first time leaving our little town.  my own plan changed many times over the next few years leading me ultimately to las vegas - someplace i can guarantee no one i grew up with ever thought i would be!  we crossed another stage, taking another piece of paper and started off on the next chapter of our lives.  weddings, houses, babies and jobs became the focus for many of us.  life took us in various directions in our 20's...some moved around, some settled down...conversations surface-level much of the time because we had yet to find the common ground that would, in time, help us see just how blessed we were.  by our 30's each of us had experienced a little  and by 34, the original group of friends i started my life with had found our way back to each other. 
this weekend i was blessed to celebrate with four high school graduates...each of them holding a different, yet very special, place in my heart.  one i've known literally since the day she was born...her mom and i friends our entire lives.  watching the pictures flip past on her slideshow i saw images of me holding her and realized not only how much (and how quickly) time had passed, but that in different ways we grew up together in those first years.  with a heart for christ like none i've ever seen, she knows her path and will walk it with grace.  the second, a cousin...oddly, not by blood, yet i was there, too, the day she was born.  smart and funny, she knows a lot more about life - and loss - than anyone her age should.  she has a spirit that is contagious and i pray she holds fast to the plans she is making because i have no doubt there are great things ahead for her.  the third, the only boy in the group...a young man i've known less than two years yet love like it's been a lifetime.  this kid could do anything he puts his mind to...he is driven and smart, but in unconventional ways.  his heart is huge and his will is strong...i pray he never loses either.  in him i see so much and hope he never loses sight of who he is or everything he is capable of.  the fourth, a young lady i first met when she was nine when her family moved in across the street.  it's no secret i love her like my own...i've laughed with her and i've cried with her...worried about her and prayed for her; and last night, watched her cross that stage next to her mom feeling almost as proud of "our" girl.

i've learned many lessons over the past 18 years...most of which hinge on the basis of relationships.  the people in my life mean more to me than any job, house or car.  i'm the first to encourage all teenagers to go to college...not just for the education, but more so for the experience.  honestly, the only real advice i can give is to live your truly is the journey, not the destination that matters...feel every bit of it - not just the good parts - the unbelievably painful ones too; they will shape you in ways you can't imagine...ask questions and seek true to yourself, respect yourself and demand the same from open to new things - foods, places, people, experiences - all of it; you never know who or what you might gain...give more than you take...find something you're passionate about and learn everything you can about it...and, surround yourself with people who make you a better person.  and, when you get hurt or disappointed - which you will...more times than you think you can handle...give yourself a break and then choose to find happiness again.  life is too short to waste it on those who don't matter - in any given situation.  live a life you're proud of and find your purpose; whatever it may be. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


"walk by faith" by jeremy camp...

"well i will walk by faith, even when i cannot see.  well because this broken road prepares Your will for me."

i heard this song this morning as i pulled into my parking spot and it just spoke to me.  i wasn't sure why at the time, had no idea what the day would hold, had no idea the people i would meet.  there was no way to know the things i would witness, nor the words i would hear...

sometimes you meet people and your life is forever changed.  today was one of those days.

wil and susan lala.  just names.  nothing more...initially.  their story is special to say the least - a tragic plane crash 20 years ago...killed susan's father and almost killed wil.  he wasn't expected to live, but within this man lies a spirit like none i've ever seen.  after numerous surgeries and months of rehab, he proved everyone wrong.  susan and their then college-age daughter sat tirelessly by his side, cared for and loved by the same staff who had taken to wil like he was nothing less than family.  a dentist by trade, he and susan had created a life in belize where they ran a small hotel.  after his accident, they returned to belize where fishing was his passion.  while offering dental care to those on their island, wil discovered a talent for creating beautiful tapestries out of aluminum cans and today he donated one of those tapestries, called "first love" to liberty hospital in honor of the people and place he credits for saving his life.

his story isn't what got me.  it's touching and beautiful, but it was the life in his words...the amount of genuine love, gratitude and grace he displays no matter who he's talking to.  there is more life in this one man than i've seen in anyone.  i was truly humbled in his presence, reminded of all the good surrounding me.  within moments of meeting them, i felt as if i'd known them my entire life and longed to visit with them extensively to somehow take in even a little of the joy they radiated.

there are people who just know how to live. as i watched wil today...with the doctors, nurses and numerous staff who had cared for him over 20 years ago...i witnessed so much more than what my eyes could take in. wil lost the vision in one eye and his hearing is impaired, but you would never know it. he and susan said repeatedly that there were so many miracles, so many blessings that brought them to this moment...that gave them the past 20 years.

we are shaped by everything that happens to us...molded and polished to be His hands, His words. the path before us is often one we cannot see, a seemingly broken road that we must walk by faith to prepare us for so much more.

that was what i saw in them today...two people who faced a terrible situation, who could have become bitter or angry at what they lost but did just the opposite. they are walking through this life together, a living testimony to what genuine love and grace can do. i left them inspired and renewed, excited about nothing in particular but simply about the possibilities this life holds. i want to be better, to live stop taking precious moments for granted, to be fully present to those who matter and let go of the insecurities and demons that do nothing but make me less of a person.

i know everything in my past, everything I'm living now, is preparing me for something greater. that man likely will never know the impact he had on me today, but that's okay. this is exactly what i mean when i say we meet the people we're supposed to meet when we're supposed to meet's just an amazing feeling when you can actually recognize it when it happens. more often, i don't realize it until much later, after the moment has passed. it's a God thing, i'm sure of it.

so, walk by faith and see where the road leads you. be open to the life in front of you and the people within it. you never know where you will be inspired or where you will make a difference.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


what does it take to be completely honest with ourselves?  it's one thing to be honest with others, with people we trust, with complete strangers...with the world.  but, from my perspective anyway, more difficult to be completely honest with ourselves.  we sugarcoat actions, justifying choices (ours and those of the people around us) to make us feel better about a situation, a person, an event.  why?  to protect us, to protect them?  from whom? are we afraid of what we'll discover in our honesty?  i think that's the answer...fear of what we'll find, fear of seeing things as they really are rather than how we want to see them.

it's easier to see things as we want to see them.  we can hide from the ugliness of life, ignoring the reality of where we really stand, allowing us to blindly enjoy something or someone just a little bit longer while putting off the inevitable.  i'm not brave.  i hate confrontation, hate making uncomfortable decisions and changes.  but, sometimes i find myself overwhelmed with anxiety when thinking about situations in my life...anxiety that i'm fairly certain i could eliminate if i allowed myself to be completely honest and stopped seeing things as i want to see them, stopped putting off making the tough decisions and do something about them.

what's that old saying?  something about how you can't expect different results if you keep doing the same things?  i realize this applies to all sorts of things, but for those of us who aren't so good (insert the word "hate") with change, it's easier (less painful, or so we think) to just let things stay the same rather than face the issue head-on and do something about it.

i'm not sure what the answer is...nor do i think it's as simple as just making the decision to make a change; any change. rather, i think maybe it takes looking at your life for what it is and comparing it with what you want it to be. time is short, each moment precious. don't waste the words or thoughts God puts on your heart. be completely honest with others, but more importantly with yourself and see where that leads you...

Saturday, May 4, 2013


thursday morning i got out of the shower and looked in the wet, no make-up...and saw 17 year old me in my reflection.  full of promise and innocence; the eyes that looked back at me weren't drained, the lines not so pronounced...and, for a brief moment, i remembered exactly who i was, everything i wanted, at that point in my life.  then, somehow, as i dried my hair and put on my make-up, that 17 year old disappeared and was replaced with 35 year old me...promise and innocence replaced with disappointment and worry, the reality of my life - the one i've created - evident in the lines around the less than bright green eyes staring back at me.  and i didn't like what i saw.

i realized the other day that i've made very few changes in my life over the past year and a half.  the new job being the only real change.  otherwise, i've pretty much sat still in my little life...mostly because i'm afraid of creating a problem i can't handle or upsetting the fragile balance i've worked hard to create.  or, so i thought.  then, i started thinking about things and the truth is, i have little balance - only some very restrained self-control that has gotten me nowhere.  i haven't grown much as a person.  i haven't traveled at all.  i'm hardly going to church.  i'm not dating anyone.  i haven't been exercising. i have made no plans, given myself nothing to look forward to...and all of a sudden i felt clausterphobic in my own life.  i felt small and insignificant, like it wouldn't matter if i was here or not - no, not depressed or suicidal or anything like that - just that my existence is merely that...that i'm just here, not really living...and all of a sudden i felt the overwhelming need to find balance, to make plans, to give myself SOMETHING to look forward to.

for months, years maybe, but months from what i can clearly remember, i have felt a consistent tug to do something very different with my life.  while marketing/communications is my job, it is not my passion and while i am beyond thankful for my job and do not regret the change i made; it fills a need in my life - a paycheck - but not a desire. 

on tuesday night, while on a bit of a road trip with a dear friend and his son, that very subject came up.  i've spent a lot of time with them, yet we've never talked about this before, but on a long stretch of highway as my friend rested, his 17 year old son said this to me..."i think you should be a counselor.  for high school kids.  you would fit in at our school, they are all really great people and you would be really good there.  kids would talk to you."  and as i sat in that backseat i almost cried.  he doesn't know my heart, has no idea all the things i'm thinking about...but this 17 year old kid saw the exact thing in my that has been pulling at my heart and put it into words - gave it life, made me feel, for the first time, that what i've been thinking/feeling could be a possibility.

thursday afternoon i got an email from a good friend who won a trip to turkey while at a conference last week and she's asked me to join her.  we are waiting on the details before making a final decision, but if it's as good of a deal as it initially appears, i'm in!  it's possible that for nine days in november i could be putting another stamp in my little passport, seeing beautiful historic places, eating new foods, meeting unique people...and i'm pretty excited!  i have been itching to get away, to travel and see something new.  i look at discount travel sites often and spend more time daydreaming about laying on a white sandy beach than i should probably admit.  while the turkey trip may not pan out, i've decided that no matter what, i will make plans to go somewhere this year and just making that decision gives me something fun to think about.

i don't make decisions well.  food courts are an excellent example...they overwhelm me.  i would rather (and, it's safe to say this simple fact alone says a lot about me as a person) someone just tell me what to do, what to eat, where to go, etc.  i have never liked making evident in my previous paragraphs.  this also mirrors my dislike for change - even good change.  i think i believe that if i don't make a decision - don't allow change - i am better able to control things in my life, giving less room for something bad to happen...and, in turn, less room for something good to happen.  and, yes, i realize as i type these words how crazy this all sounds.  but, as my friend lezley said earlier this week, sometimes we just have to make a decision...a change...because sometimes making a wrong one is better than making none at all.  true.  scary, but true.  *sigh* 

that said, i'm playing kick ball.  yes, kick ball.  me.  one of the last ones to be picked when we played as kids in gym class.  me.  the least athletic person i likely know.  and, funny enough, i'm loving it!  i'm not as terrible as i thought i would be.  i'm not great, but i'm not terrible.  in fact, i scored last week and while i can't catch a ball to save my life, that little contribution (although we still lost) made me feel pretty darn good.  so, yes, this is one thing outside of my comfort zone.  and i'm really glad i'm doing it.  fingers crossed i can actually get under a fly ball and not drop it just once before the season ends.