Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A few days ago a friend showed up to let me know she was doing okay, and gave me a new number to be able to reach her.  After a major crisis, she and her family had moved a few weeks ago, so I was happy to see her at my door, and glad to hear things were going much better for her.  We stood on the porch, and before leaving she said, "Wow, your plants look beautiful!  You have a green thumb."  I've never thought of myself having that gift, and told her it was nothing more than caring for them.  She raised a brow at me and said, "You forget.  I saw those plants before you touched them."  I just shrugged and laughed.  Yet after she left I looked at those plants again from her point of view, and realized that they were indeed thriving, and expressing themselves with a deep rich green.

When I first got here to this house, my mother's house, all the plants looked dead.  Yet the closer I looked I saw hints of green under all the dead stuff, and knew that with care these plants could thrive once again.  I got busy cutting away the dead stuff, knowing that some plants will use all their resources to try to bring the dead part back to life, virtually killing themselves eventually if the dead part isn't cut away.  Pruning helps insure new growth, abundance.

As I trimmed away the dead I told each plant how beautiful it was, and thanked it for being here, for sharing itself to add to the beauty of this porch.  I told them all I was glad they were here.  My eyes only saw the beauty of their being that was still alive in glorious expression.  I knew their potential, and saw in them the trueness of their nature.  Being plants, of course, they never once questioned or doubted what I gave and saw in them.  I like to believe they were just thankful someone came along to help them express their true natures in all their fabulousness. :)  I know I am grateful for what they give.

Humans, on the other hand, and unfortunately, question and doubt the beauty another may see within them.  I have encountered folks who will argue outright against the good I see there in their heart and soul...the only thing that is true in them.  I saw one man's eyes suddenly grow cold and hard when I thanked him for a kindness he gave to me, and then he said, "You don't know me," and I watched him erect a wall between us in spirit, and he walked away.  I almost said to him, "Well, I would say it is you who does not know you."  But I left it alone and let him defend his right to his bad self.  I have encountered this kind of thing over and over.  Even those who think they are being self effacing are believing somewhere inside them that it is not a good thing to let their light shine.  Humility is practiced and found through a grateful heart, not in covering the light of our glorious expression.

A year ago my mother had a stroke, and during her time in the hospital I cleaned up her room.  It had not been cleaned for a long time, and things had piled up in it, and she wouldn't let anyone in to help her, even though the offer was given many, many times.  As I cleared things out of her room and cleaned, I began noticing something being uncovered.  What was revealed under all the stuff was my mother's natural love for beauty, magic, and the Native American.  I found myself slowing down, and almost moving in a sacred way, gently uncovering something already in existence under all the "dead stuff."  I realized that what was within my mother, what I had always seen there, and she had adamantly argued against, was still very much alive, being expressed in her room.  I felt she had lost sight of it a very long time ago, and I hoped she'd be reminded of it again when she came home and saw her room uncovered.  She told me once, after she returned home, that she'd sit quietly in there looking around at her room.  Sadly, the habit of covering up her light, and believing her reasons for it, had her arguing against it again.  Like that man, she fixes her gaze on her "bad self," whatever that is, and so it becomes an argument thereafter which, frankly, I don't wish to get into.  Most of the time I remain silent. 

I do understand it is a challenge to even see that it is we who are covering ourselves up.  I didn't realize the extent to which I had myself covered until some gentle souls began entering my life and peeked under the blanket to say hello, and asked me to come out and play and express...and believe in what they saw in me.  I know my friends, Mikki and Krista especially, desired to bonk my head with a two by four if that is what it would take to get me to come out from under my thick blanket.  I didn't see, my friends, but I see now. :)

And now that I see ... I think I will make like those plants I love so much and not question or doubt the beauty others see in me, and believe that I am an addition to the Porch of the World, and what I have to give is good, and that they are glad I am with them.  Here.  I suppose I have been a bud long enough, and now it is truly my season to bloom...better late than never :).


Monday, April 25, 2011

The River Flows...

                                              ( artist: Suzanne Lebeda)

This morning, quite unexpectedly, I decided to make breakfast for my family as my gift on Easter Sunday.  It felt felt real good to be cooking not only for myself, but for others as well.  I couldn't go there for a few years.  After my ex-husband and I separated, the desire to cook had left me as well, along with some other things I loved to do.  In the past year I've noticed now and again I'll get an urge to bake some goodies, and have done so, and I am always grateful to have that part of me resurface, even if only briefly.  It lets me know it isn't dead within me, only laying dormant for a time and a season.

The River flows...

I believe in the Spirit of Renewal, in Resurrection.  There is evidence of It everywhere in Life.  The sun rises every morning.  Saplings spring from the roots or seeds left behind from old trees.  The cells of our bodies regenerate.  The waves of the sea continue their timeless dance with the shore, the tides rise and fall to the song of the moon.  Every Spring I am filled with wonder and delight when I just know some plant didn't survive the winter, and there it is, expressing itself in life again.  I don't know why it surprises me, but it does, and I find the same surprise in myself.  I am delighted the love of cooking rises within me again to find expression and new growth in my life.  I am so happy it survived the winter.            

The River flows...     

While in grief it may seem cruel, and we may find ourselves asking how life and the living can go on when all feels dead within us.  Yet I find the very fact of renewal is the hope I hang onto for dear life when my soul experiences winter.  Life goes on, and It is good and right that It does so.  The old adage, "This too shall pass" is true indeed...if we allow it.  I have learned it is we who stand in the way of our own resurrection.  

The River flows...
          ...and sometimes our tears fall into it, being a part of life itself.

Life continuously renews Itself and the abundance It has to give, in nature, within us.  Sometimes, while laying dormant in our winters, our gifts or talents and loves inside us may be reshaped and reformed to later be resurrected with an added depth of gratitude and joy, or send us along a different path.  Sometimes the River leads us to new friends, or resurrects old ones we thought had forgotten us.  Life continues, and the hope of it, the beauty of it, the resurrecting quality of it is truly a miraculous thing.

The River flows...and I am deeply, deeply grateful.

(video made by

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Four Winds

I live in one of the States of the Four Corners.  I like the idea of lands and a people coming together to one point.  A point that disappears once we all stand on it together.  Within me I hear a call for the Spirit of Unity.  My spirit grows weary with the constant opposition.

Years ago I began a journey.  My soul began calling the four corners of my being to come together.  It had grown weary from the constant conflict within me.  Mind, emotion, body, and heart were at odds with each other all the time, never coming to an agreement.  My soul called for help to bring them together.  My soul called for peace.  Without an answer my soul feared it would have to forsake this life.

Then one day, music sprang from the depth of my heart, and out of my mouth a prayer was sung into the world.  A Great Spirit appeared and answered my heart and soul's cry, and taught me how to bring the four corners of my being to a point of unity.  I made peace with them, one by one.  I brought all the pieces of me together.  After a time, learning under the Guidance and Love of Spirit, practicing patience, love, reaching for understanding, giving the dark places within me a voice through the art of writing, they finally came together under One Spirit of Unity.  The past, present, and future within me came together under the Wing of Spirit, and found an all inclusive embrace where all within me is accepted.  They found their common ground, the one point where all conflict disappeared, and each came together with one intention...


To finally have quiet within me felt like a miracle.  No more did I hear a battle raging, nor did I feel my arms and legs were being pulled in different directions.  When all that I am stood on one point, and found Silence, I heard the still, small Voice of Spirit.  Within it I could hear my own voice clearly, one voice.  Out of the Silence I could direct my thoughts, my voice.  No more did they run loose sending my tongue out of control.  With the control of my thoughts, my emotions settled into place.  Thought and emotion were married, I understood their relationship.  Love brought them together through my heart, all three living within the temple of my body.  The Father of thought planted His seeds into the Mother of emotion, producing inspiration and dreams and vision.  My vision saw beauty, saw Spirit's Presence alive in everything, and everyone. 

After my heart, mind and emotional kingdom were cleansed of corruption, after I made peace with the four corners of my being, I walked into the world and found to my dismay the battle I had left behind was raging in the world, in others.  They were suffering, and I tried to share what Spirit had given me, but their resistance was great, just as mine was initially.  I recognized myself in them, the same spirit of war, conflict, opposition, believing enemies were everywhere outside themselves.  They did not want what I had to offer them, what the great Spirit had given to me to share with them.

I asked Spirit, "How can they not want peace?  Do they not see that the Love they seek is available within them?"  Shock made me tremble at the sheer resistance and rebellion, and the outright refusal of a people who warred, making conflict with each other.  They hungered for war, for enemies.  There was no willingness in them at all to change their perception, not even to a small degree.  They didn't know.  They did not know the enemy wasn't outside themselves.  Their ways reflected the battle within.

My heart grieved for them.  I prayed to Spirit, for them, and for more faith to be given to me.  I could not stand by and witness such destruction - where a spirit of opposition, competition, is the name of the game.  Where winners and losers, right and wrong, ruled of the day.  Constant arguing, with no one bending, no one coming together under the Spirit of Unity.  Their eyes saw only where they were divided, not where they stood on common ground.  And worse, they liked it that way.  My heart bled with a Grief I thought would undo me.  Yet...I learned it was myself who also needed to make peace with a warring people, and to allow within myself their own choices.  Spirit was alive in each one, and they had a choice to listen to Its voice within themselves.

We have all been given free will, and are using our free agency in every moment...whether we believe we are or not, this is true.

Several years ago I was given the privilege of attending the Sun Dance ceremony, the path of my bloodline allowing me admittance.  The Sun Dance is a sacred ceremony, a living, dancing prayer to the Great Spirit.  We prayed for our families, our children, and their children, those to come in future generations.  We prayed for Mother Earth, and all our relations.  We danced together, sang together, each with our individual prayers, yet praying together in One Voice of the People.  We celebrated our Ancestors, and each other in the present, and those to come in the future.  Once, during one of the gatherings of song and prayer, I was lifted to a vision where I walked among my Ancestors.  I walked the entire line of them from the beginning.  They stood on each side of me as I walked, I heard their prayers, their chanting, their voices of encouragement.  They asked something of me, and in spirit I agreed.  When I reached the end of the line, I saw my mother.  She smiled, and pointed to the daughter and her children, and her children's children.  For them we prayed, for them we danced and sang with One Voice.

Now I call upon my Ancestors, I call upon the Four Winds, I call upon a People to come from the Four Directions, I call on the Great Spirit to bring us all under His Mighty Wing to bring peace and love to the hearts and minds of humanity.  Our future generations depend on you.

Mitakuye Oyasin -- All My Relations


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fall In

The last several days have been a little rough.  The image above is a pretty good depiction of how I've felt.  She isn't sleeping...and neither was I.  I found myself in the grip of a spirit of helplessness, and felt like I couldn't move.  Couldn't even write.  And if I can't write, then there is definitely something not right in my kingdom.  As a child, when I was frightened, or just couldn't stand the world anymore, I'd sit with a blanket over my head to escape.  I suppose it was my attempt to make like an ostrich, and bury my head in the sand.  I felt maybe if I stayed under there long enough, the outside world would magically change somehow, and poof!, when I uncovered myself the world and my life in it would be a better place.  To be truthful, I still do that now and again...sit with a blanket over my head when I feel like my life has just gotten too much for me.

I wrote about how my relationship with God began, in the Wings section of this blog.  A couple of weeks ago I removed the Wings tab with the intention of writing something different in it, but I've decided it will stand, and I've now replaced the tab with nothing in it changed.  A little while into my relationship with God, I remember feeling a bit jipped.  I thought God would save me from all the shit in my life.  I thought to use Him as a blanket in which to cover my head.  I wanted escape.  However, I found out soon enough God is all about Truth, and facing the truth of our lives.  Yet as I also wrote in the Arrows tab, which I've also replaced, most times, facing truth will initially piss us off.  Like I said, I felt a bit jipped, and I let God know it!  He didn't really care, and worked His truth into me, my view, my perceptions, and my life anyway...

I wasn't going anywhere until I fell...into life.

As my relationship with God continued, I learned that much of my problem in living life was in actuality not living it.  I discovered an unconscious desire for escape was uppermost in my mind, and the very desire for it was causing most of the havoc.  I also came to the conscious realization that most of the answers I received from God were through my actual living experiences.  There were times while in an experience I felt the Spirit of God had deserted me, only to find out after the experience was over that He had answered me through it.  I can't tell you how many times this happened before I finally saw the light!

I watched one of my favorite movies yesterday called, City of Angels.  The story is about an angel of God, Seth, who falls in love with a human, Maggie.  From the beginning of the story he shows a fascination for human life.  The movie begins with a little girl who dies, and after she dies, while he guides her to heaven, he asks, "What did you like most?"  And she answers with the sweetest whisper, "Pajamas."  Soon after, we see him talking to another angel friend of his sharing the conversation he had with the girl.  She asked if she could be an angel, and he reluctantly had to tell her no, angels aren't human, and never have been.  The friend asked how she responded, to which he replied, "She said what good would wings be if you can't feel the wind on your face?"

Throughout the movie, and his relationship with a human woman, the message is clear that the difference between angels and humans is angels can't feel their life.  They don't experience touch, taste, tears, hugs, and all that jazz.  Then he meets Nathaniel Messenger, "a former celestial body, and recent addition to the human race."  He finds out that angels have one thing in common with humans, free will, and there is a way for him to join the human race if he desires.  He can fall.  His love for Maggie finally has him making the choice to do just that.  He falls into the human race, and in the act of falling he becomes human.  Falls into love.  He surrendered to Love, and fell into its embrace.  Love was the thing that led him to being human.

My spiritual journey has been very similar to the story of Seth, (far from saying I'm any angel!).  When I met God I couldn't feel my life, not realizing the desire to escape it in whatever form I could find was the cause.  More accurately, the desire to escape my feelings regarding it was the cause.  God desired to give me life more abundant, which is what I asked for.  Within the past 20 years of my relationship with Spirit, I learned the only way to have life more abundant is to fall into its embrace.  Anything within me that causes me to desire to withdraw from life, to separate from it, that causes me to not reach out and touch it, and those within it, has to go.  The truths I had to face were emotions like fear, guilt, judgment, pride, and facing all of them gave me a sense of falling.  I soon realized that the more I freed myself of these things within me, the more I actually felt my life, and that they were the very things within me giving me a sense of separation from it.  And the element that helped me do that more than anything else was Love itself.  When I chose to surrender to love, act from a loving place, reach out and touch, connect, these things fell away from me.

On more than one occasion I misunderstood, misinterpreted, and felt like I was being humiliated, the sense of being brought down low, when in fact I was being humbled.  Humility is a necessity for feeling life, for communing with Spirit, but the lesson of it will almost always give a sense of falling initially.  Yet I have found if I willingly sit in that sense of falling, then I am brought to a place of closer communion with Spirit, of reception, a more real experience of It and Life.  Anything in life I avoid, or try to avoid, will separate me from that real experience.  Avoidance keeps me suspended, skating on the surface of life, away from truth, away from love, separated. 

I recently wrote this to a friend, "Spirit is in the earth, in our bodies.  Body and soul are one thing, [which includes our mind and emotions] just as earth and sky.  I've found I've had to reach up to bring people back down, not down as in depressing, but down to in their bodies, not in their head, life.  That is where the greatest resistance is.  But that is where we get in touch with Spirit, feel its realness, is in and through the body, in and through the earth, then we can fly.  People have it upside down.  We learn to walk before we learn to fly." 

The past 20 years I've been in the act of falling slowly to earth, to becoming human, and joining the human race, which is precisely where God wants and needs us.  I wrote a poem not long ago called "Everything Human," which depicts what I am putting forth here.  It is something else I removed from this blog, along with some other poems, and now I'll put back within the poems tab, Truth Sleeping Under Wings.  The things I removed are very telling.  The act of my replacing them also speaks :).    

About a week ago I came face to face with one of my greatest fears.  A fear I've carried with me, and has lived inside me since I was a very young child.  I've faced enough fear to recognize it is just me carrying around a nightmare in my head, believing there are monsters under the bed.  All that is needed is for the light to be turned on, and love to step into the room of my mind to let me see none of it is real.  This particular fear kept me from truly experiencing, and giving love on a more full level, especially romantically.  It kept me separated from an area of life, and from a sense of connection I've desired to experience, to live.  In facing it, the light was finally turned on, and the truth was revealed.  I found myself, again, with that sense of falling...and what I fell into was a deeper sense of Love's warm embrace, the Lap of God.

I became more...human.  And now I can feel the wind on my face.

Below is a video of Seth, from City of Angels, in his courageous act of falling into everything human...

...And the following video is for my daughter, who I am in love with, and who taught me about falling into love, who just happens to have fallen in love with horses...where she feels the wind on her face.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Airports (end of a series)

Jody and I agreed to meet my daughter at O'hare International Airport, where she and a group of her graduating class were bound to take off for their next duty stations.  She was supposed to arrive there at 3am, so me and Jody decided to be there before she arrived.  O'hare is huge, confusing, and we wanted to make sure we had our ducks in a row so we wouldn't miss her.  We hardly slept at all.

My daughter finally arrived with her group, and we spent the next 8 hours with her at the airport before her flight showed up to whisk her off again.  Since we were family, the airline gave us a pass to be able to go to the gate with my daughter, which we thought seriously rocked.  Until, that is, the security check point, where Jody once again had to strip down to basics, mumbling about all he had to put in the trays, swearing he'd remember to dress differently when we left later that day for our own departure from Milwaukee. 

We finally made it through, and decided to have a bit to eat for breakfast, so we stopped by Dunkin' Donuts on the way to my daughter's gate.  The lack of sleep for all of us was beginning to take its toll, so conversation was sparse.  That morning, I think it was just good enough to be together.

When we were done we continued to make our way to my daughter's departure gate, and noticed little twisters painted above the bathroom entrances.  We assumed it meant everyone was to crowd into a bathroom for shelter in case of a tornado.  The thought of it was like some foreign custom, us being from an area where we don't have to worry about twisters.  We didn't particularly like the idea of being cooped up in a bathroom with a whole bunch of people, and hoped for no tornadoes.

My daughter needed to find an outlet to plug in her new cell phone, so when we got to her gate we were delighted to find a little area against the wall made just for the purpose of plugging in cell phones, computers, etc., with built in desk areas and chairs just in case.  We thought that was a pretty cool novelty, us being country folk like we were, inexperienced with the new techy stuff in the world.  The two other people seated there wore jaded expressions viewing our delight like we were noobs just comin' in from some backwoods.  My daughter and I decided to have a bit of fun with their attitude while Jody put his hat over his eyes and pretended to snooze.  Slap happy as we felt from lack of sleep we were soon practically rolling in fits of laughter. 

After my daughter's cell phone was charged up, we found seats closer to the gate with her seated in the middle of me and Jody.  We snoozed, talked a bit, snoozed some more, until her flight was called, and we said our tearful goodbyes.  The thing I remember most of all about our time together in that airport is the love that surrounded us, almost like all three of us sat in its quiet, soothing embrace for those hours before she had to go.  I don't quite have the words for it.  I only know it's presence enfolded us, and we were peaceful for a time, in the moment with each other, and it was good.

Another good thing we now had that we didn't have before was instant contact with each other.  My daughter now had a cell phone on her, and she certainly knew how to use it.  She began texting immediately, as soon as she was seated on the airplane.  No more waiting for snail mail to hear from her.  Even us country folk from the wild west love modern technology.

When Jody and I got back to our hotel rooms we decided to take a short nap before heading out to Milwaukee to catch our own flight home.  When I met up with Jody a little while later I took one look at him and laughed out loud.  I told him I was not going to be seen with him.  He laughed as we got in the car and headed to the airport.  As soon as we got out of the rental car to turn it in, the looks started.  Being aware of them, Jody laughed, and asked me to take a picture of him with his phone so he could send it to his wife.  I couldn't resist whipping out my own camera, and taking a picture as he sat texting my daughter.  Then we thought of a pose for him to do, the famous cowboy silhouette, but this time in shorts, slippers, white socks and t-shirt.  Oh yeah, sexy cowboy!  We laughed and laughed as he did one pose after another.  I couldn't wait to send them to my daughter.

The looks he received from others was priceless, and ranged from sneaked side glances with giggles to bold looks of disbelief.  Why people cared is beyond me, but Jody and I both found it highly amusing and entertaining.  I think it was the cowboy hat.  He behaved lackadaisical, playing the part to perfection to match his attire.  When we got to security, he was happy to already be dressed down to basics, which was his entire reason for being in his get-up.  His plan was a success, and he slept easily, and comfortably on the plane.  We both had a window seat this time, and with fewer than 20 folks on the flight with us, I enjoyed the quiet, and snoozed off and on until we reached Phoenix. I did manage to get a few pictures from the window of the plane during sunset. 

We were home.  Exhausted, but feeling good and more settled after seeing my daughter.  It felt like we could finally breathe, and move.  I'd learned a lot during that short trip, realized a great many things about myself, and I am so proud of my daughter.  Just today she sent a comment saying:
"I have had closed doors or so I thought for alot of my adult life and Now I know its not about finding one that is open and looking for an easy out, its about making your own door that is made out of your own wants and dreams and being able to open it after the creation. The door is made of all types of wood.  ....looking for or waiting for an open door is a massive waist of time. Why wait when you your self can be the carpenter and create your own. There is no wrong path or forked road when you go through your own door." 

My daughter is a rockstar.  She's my hero :).  


Friday, April 15, 2011

Day of Tears

This is a hard blog to write.  I've found myself putting it off as much as I put off picking up my daughter's things after she left here for bootcamp.  I've thought of writing something else and forgetting this little series, but once I start something I have a hard time letting it go until its finished.  I mentioned we had 7 hours to spend with my daughter before she had to report back to base, and during that time there ended up being a lot of tears.  My daughter was not a happy camper with her choice to join the Navy.  In letters she sent home she mentioned her unhappiness, but having experienced bootcamp myself I thought it had to do with that hardship.  However, seeing and talking with her after she graduated bootcamp, I realized there was something way more going on with my daughter.

She had a list of places to go for things she wanted to get before heading back to the hotel room to have some alone time with her husband, and as I mentioned in the previous post, the first place on her list to go was the convenience store for some candy.  Next on her list was Starbucks for some "real" coffee.  I'm in love with their Chai tea lattes, so I wasn't arguing.  After Starbucks we headed to the T-Mobile store so she could buy a new cell phone.  Cell phones were not permitted where she was currently based, but the new base where she was heading the next morning allowed the use of them during her free time.  We agreed to meet up with her at the airport early the next morning to give her the new cell phone, and spend more precious time with her before her flight to her next station. 

We were going to go out for dinner to a nice Italian restaurant, but time was going by too quickly, so we decided instead to go back to the hotel room to order pizza.  Jody, her husband, had decorated his room with a string of shiny little graduation hats pinned from one wall to the other, and tacked 20 glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling, something I'd started with her when she was a little girl, and it continued into adulthood when he began calling her his North Star.  He'd also bought flower petals, and scattered them all over the bed and room.  Having knowledge of his surprise for her, I told my daughter I had to stop off in my room before meeting up with them again for pizza.  When I thought enough time had gone by I made my way to their room, and knocked tentatively, hoping I wasn't interrupting anything.  If it was me seeing and being alone with my husband for the first time after a two month absence, well, I wouldn't be able to resist jumping could wait!

As luck would have it, for me, the mom, they were practicing restraint to have dinner with me first.  I walked into the room and found my daughter seated on the bed, already out of her uniform, wearing Jody's shorts and t-shirt, covered with flower petals.  What a sight she was, and I'll never forget it.  We ordered pizza, and it is during our dinner that I began seeing and hearing in her something that told me she was not okay.  Besides physically, she had a very swollen knee she was afraid to have checked out, there was something in her eyes, and spirit, that gave me great concern for her well being.  She stayed on the verge of tears the entire time, and the pain in her beautiful eyes was killing me.  Something wasn't right, and I felt a trembling of worry begin to take hold of me for the first time regarding my daughter.

This is a girl with grit, who doesn't take shit from anyone or anything.  She's been bucked off horses more times than I can count, and gotten right back on to teach them a lesson for doing so.  She shows more courage and bravery and confidence than anyone I've ever met, and here she suddenly was before me in the most vulnerable state I'd ever witnessed in her.  I cannot even stress how unlike her that is.  She was a hurtin' unit, and bordering on a spirit of hopelessness and fear, and I wasn't liking what I was seeing.  I knew it was taking everything she had in her to hold herself together.  I let her talk, and open up as much as she was able in the moment, which wasn't much, and then it was time for me to leave and give them privacy.  I was so upset by what I saw in her I went back to my room and wept...and prayed. 

After an hour or so I heard a knock on my hotel room door, and there she stood with Jody, dressed again in her uniform, both of them looking solemn.  I knew she'd been crying from the look of her red, swollen eyes, and I felt my heart break seeing them.  I took her in my arms, then they both sat on the bed across from me looking like they were about to tell me the world was coming to an end.  I watched her crumble, and she tearfully told me she wasn't going to be able to go through with staying in the Navy.  I think she was afraid I'd judge her, be disappointed in her, look at her like a failure, but all I've ever wanted for my daughter is for her to be happy in this life whatever that looked like for her.  I've told her many, many times that I'm proud of the person she is, and the woman she's grown up to be, not what she does.

I don't feel it was a mistake for her to go into the Navy, because there was just too much good that sprang from that choice for all of us, not the least of which was her finding focus on what she truly desires in her heart for her life.  I know what drove her choice to join the Navy, one of the reasons being to find some way out of the nightmare that was this past year for all of us in our family.  We were all overwhelmed to the nth degree, not knowing how to handle what was going on, and certainly feeling utterly alone and helpless.  It was a flippin' nightmare, and we're still not out of the woods yet, but we are all, like my daughter, beginning to finally find our focus, and to lean toward that desire.  Desperation makes for desperate moves.

There are times when you know you just don't fit in an environment, be it a job, relationship, a group of friends, whatever.  You know deep down, your gut telling you its just wrong.  This is what I felt and heard in my daughter, and if that's the case, then she's right, she needs to leave for her mental, emotional, and physical well being.  I look back on my life and find my biggest mistakes were the ones I made to stay in something that I knew was wrong for me, and I refused to listen to what the inside was telling me.  I didn't trust what it was telling me.  I didn't trust myself, and not trusting myself, not listening, led me down roads with so much pain that could have easily been avoided.  Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but with the wisdom I've gained from it I have encouraged my daughter to listen and trust what her insides are telling her.  I back her in whatever she decides, because I have faith and trust in that within her.  It is her life, and in my mind she belongs first to God, and far be it from me to get in the way, or judge a path she is on if God has other plans for her life.  I'm not that brazen to go up against God, which I consider to be the Life in her.  I've trusted God so far with her, and I'll continue to do so.  I'll stand by for guidance, but only to guide her to listen and trust what the inside of herself is saying, which I may or may not agree with.  

If she finds a way to leave, my daughter knows precisely what she is coming back to, but now she's got new eyes, a different view.  One that is full of gratitude for what she has been blessed with, what she has, and one where she knows what to now focus on to move forward in her and her husband's dreams together.  They both have new eyes, and new heart, and I have faith in them and their decisions.  Their love for each other is one of the most profound things I've ever witnessed, and I can't help but think that God, the creator and essence of Love, is behind it. 

We were all a slobbering mess of tears as we drove my daughter back to the base, and it was so hard to let her go, and watch her sad, solitary figure disappear down the walkway toward her barracks knowing what she was experiencing and feeling.  We promised we'd meet her at the airport early the next morning, but even knowing we'd see her in a few hours didn't relieve the ache in our hearts.  When we got back to the hotel, still sitting in the car, I watched as Jody, big tough cowboy that he is, give way to tears so heartbreaking I thought it would undo me.  After he pulled himself together a bit, we both parted ways to go deal with our emotions in our respective rooms.  Later, he came to my door, brighter, more positive, and with a renewed conviction that he'd do what it takes to get his wife back home if that is what she wanted.  His brightness and confidence helped me to find my own again, and as I lay down to get catch a bit of a nap before getting back up to go meet my daughter at the airport, I sent up a prayer of gratitude for what the Love of God taught me that day.

When it comes to Love's tender mercies, I am humbled and awed.


(Next post:  Airport)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Graduation And Bad Hair Day (3rd in a series)

Graduation day had finally arrived, and boy was I excited to finally see my daughter.  I had missed my little buggeress something fierce while she was away at bootcamp.  I found myself not being able to touch any of her stuff she left behind in the house for awhile, like with not touching it I could pretend she was still here somehow, just out and about enjoying her day.  A game I play with myself for sure, but I don't like that "missing" feeling, and will go easy on myself in whatever way I can to adapt.  I've had enough experience with the feeling to be confident that it will eventually pass when I give myself time to let it. 

I hopped out of my hotel bed and hit the shower with a smile, which soon left me after I realized I forgot my hair products aimed to keep my hair under control, especially in a wet climate.  I've got naturally curly hair, and not having some kind of product to control the curl leads to some seriously wild frizz.  Picture a witch just landing from a crazy ride on her broom and you've got a pretty good idea of what my hair looks like with no control.  I didn't have time to go buy any mousse or anything, so had to accept the idea that I was going to show up for my daughter's graduation looking like something the wind just blew in from the woods, most especially out of place in such an orderly, pristine environment as the military. I hoped my daughter missed and loved me enough she wouldn't mind her mother showing up looking like a wild woman.  You never know with young peoples what will embarrass them.  Although sometimes I've found it fun to give her a little poke in public, this was not one of those times.

When I was as ready as I was gonna be, still fretting over the frizz, I finally met up with my son-in-law, Jody.  He reassured me my daughter wouldn't mind my hair, which kinda validated that it was as scary as I was thinking.  So I bucked up, and did my best to live with it.

I found out later there were almost 1000 graduates in this ceremony, which is held almost weekly, just not usually as big as this one.  We got through the gate, parked, and headed in.  The excitement in the air was palpable.  Jody wore his western finery again, and just as we entered the door to the auditorium he was singled out by a guard, and asked to step aside so he could be searched.  He was taken into a room off to the side where a female officer asked him to dress down to basics, just like they do with airport security.  Apparently, the Navy doesn't mind bad hair days as much as they do cowboy bling.  I couldn't help it, I laughed...poor guy.  He couldn't seem to get away from security checks.  Once again, he vowed to dress differently on our flight home so he wouldn't have to go through all this again.

 My daughter warned us ahead of time she would not be marching in the ceremony.  Her Division was in charge of standing guard during the ceremony, and she told us she'd be guarding the top rail, and we could sit right across from where she stood.  ( The picture above shows where the top seating is, and sailors guarding each post along the rail ).  It just so happened she met us downstairs in the center of the auditorium. 

Looking at the picture to the left brings tears to my eyes all over again.  I missed her so much, and to see her standing there, that big smile on her beautiful face undid me.  She motioned us to follow her to the stairwell, and I had enough of my mind left to get my camera ready so I could snap this picture when she turned to face her husband and they both fell into each others arms.  Seriously, I'm sitting here crying, lol.  It's all so fresh! 

She finally motioned us upstairs so she could get back to her guard duty, where she had to make sure no one got close to the rail, and we literally sat right across from her.  How great is that?!  It was great!  Her beautiful eyes were animated as she told us about one adventure after another, and listened to us share news from back home.  We drank in each others presence, not quite believing we were actually with each other again. 

Finally, the ceremony began.  (I took the picture above from where we sat before the ceremony.)  The only other military ceremony I've witnessed is my own when I graduated bootcamp from the Army many years ago.  The Navy put on quite a show.  It truly was a magnificent event, and I felt proud for all those young sailors there who were graduating.  The picture to the left is of a group of drumming sailors who came out to perform right before all the graduating classes marched in.  Its not a very clear, or good picture, but I've always loved the sound of drums in marching bands in parades, football games, etc.  These guys ROCKED!  Even Jody, decked out in his cowboy gear, couldn't keep himself from moving to the beat! 

I honestly don't know how long the ceremony lasted because I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, watching my daughter's expressive face being the best part.  When it was over, my daughter told us she had to go grab her "outer gear", and told us where to go outside to meet her.  When we met up again she once again fell into her husband's arms, and then fell into mine.  She told us she had to head back to the barracks for "muster," and to grab some things before liberty was given, then we'd have 7 hours with her off base before she had to report back, and prepare for departure to her next base, (schooling).  Her barracks just happened to be down from where we parked the car, but before we began walking that way I asked Jody to take a picture of me and my daughter where we stood.  ( I don't have a good editor to blur my daughter's face in the photo, so the paint program hack job is what you get to protect my daughter's privacy :).  As you can see, I wasn't joking about my hair!

I was getting ready to take a picture of my daughter and her husband when a female guard came over and told me I couldn't and to please move along.  Me and my daughter took a look around, saw all the other people milling about taking pictures, and then shrugged at each other and moved on down the walk toward the parking garage and her barracks.  Personally, I think the guard just didn't like the look of my hair.

My daughter told us we couldn't go with her to the barracks, so we waited for her in the parking garage.  She brought back gifts for us;  pictures, a T-shirt for Jody, and hoodie for me with her Division's logo painted on it.  Fun!  We all hopped in the car while my daughter told us she had some things to do before going back to the hotel room.  First on her list was to stop at the store for candy.  She was in sugar withdrawal in a bad way, she said, not having had any candy for 2 months.  She bought her candy of choice, Laffy Taffy, and she bought some Starburst Jelly Beans, knowing I love jelly beans.  I'd never had Starburst's version of them, and let me tell you, if you like jelly beans, and haven't tried!

My baby was back with us, and being in her shining orbit once again was a soothing balm to my spirit.  I couldn't take my eyes off her as we rode in the car en route to do her bidding.  Seven hours just didn't seem enough, so I slowed down time, and spent the next 7 hours with her right there in every moment.

(Next post:  Day With My Girl)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Great Lakes (2nd in series)

It was raining and cold when my son-in-law, Jody, and I arrived in Milwaukee, WI.  As the plane landed I looked out the window and saw nothing but gray.  I love rain, but I guess I like rain that adds a depth to color already in existence in the surrounding area.  Even the desert, where I live, has some color to be enhanced by the wetness of rain; different shades of brown, with an added touch of green here and there are better than the flatness of gray in my book. 

Be that as it may, I'd never been to Wisconsin or the Chicago area so I decided to make the most of it and enjoy the rain after being in an arid climate.  As we drove down the freeway toward Great Lakes, IL, I took in my surroundings.  I'm used to mountains, and as I looked out over the horizon I saw nothing but flatness, and leafless trees, and of course, gray.  So I had to entertain myself with looking at signs and buildings.  I didn't have to wait long.  When we drove past the sign pictured above I bust out laughing and exclaimed, "Are they kidding??!  They did not really name it that!"  Yep, they did.  I had all kinds of images going through my head that entertained me for quite awhile.  I couldn't resist looking up the story behind this recreation area after I got back home, and apparently the park sits on land originally intended for an Air Force Base named after Maj. Richard Bong.  Because of the sign's name alluding to marijuana use, I found out the sign was a frequent target of theft until they came up with the idea to make T-shirts and sweatshirts bearing the image of the sign.  I hope Richard is happy bringing all those smiles to folks.

Another oddity, for us anyway, was a small castle sitting out in the middle of nowhere named Mars Cheese Castle.  It wasn't very busy. 

We finally arrived at our hotel in Great Lakes, and during the check in process the hotel clerk asked if we desired our rooms next to each other.  I had already decided beforehand I didn't, but was distracted and answered in the affirmative, until my son-in-law spoke up, and with raised eyebrows asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that.  Then I remembered why I didn't, and told the confused clerk no.  Jody and I began laughing and the poor clerk looked even more confused, so I decided to clear things up for him.  I told him we were there to see my daughter, and this (pointing to Jody) was her husband who hadn't seen her for 2 months, and I was the mother.  I let that info sink in a moment before hitting him with my desire to not be in the next room while my two children were having fun with each other.  Without missing a beat the clerk asked with laughter in his voice, "Hows three doors down?"  I laughed and told him it was perfect.

After dropping our stuff off in our respective rooms we decided we still had energy to burn with a few hours of daylight left.  We had to be up and at the base gate by 6:30am, and decided to go find the gate so we'd know precisely where we were going the next morning.  There were a lot of gates, ( I counted 8 in just a 2 mile stretch ), and we finally had to ask someone to point out which gate we needed to enter for the graduation services. Once we found it, I asked Jody to drive me to Lake Michigan.  Even without the tell tale signs of the calling seagulls flying over, I felt the water close by and had to get to it.  I'd never seen any of the Lakes, and heard they were like oceans.  I haven't been to the Big Water since last summer, so my soul was jones-ing in a big way.

You would think access to the Lake would be easy, it being so close by and all, but we could find no road getting to it, and finally had to stop and ask someone for directions.  We had to drive to a quaint little town called Waukegan to finally get to a road that led to the Lake.  We came to a dock that was closed, but we found an off road that led past the dock to the Lake.  I was so excited to see water, I leaped out of the car before Jody had a chance to put it in park, and was hit by a blast of cold, bitter wind coming off the Lake.  That crazy look you see in my eyes was me trying to keep myself from shivering and stand still long enough so Jody could take a picture without it blurring.  As soon as the picture was taken we hightailed it back into the car to enjoy the Lake with the heater on at full blast warming us. 

Once I'd been semi-satisfied with seeing the Big Water we headed back to town.  On the way back I noticed a little hole-in-the-wall kinda bar that stood by itself on a back corner, and asked Jody if he would mind stopping to check it out.  Over the years, now and then, tiny little bars in the middle of nowhere have attracted me.  I think its the writer in me, because the atmosphere, clientele, and owners found in these little places have great stories that I wouldn't hear anywhere else.  So when I saw this little bar outside Waukegan, I had to satisfy my curiosity, and Jody was kind enough to oblige.

It's name was Manuel's Bar On Twelfth Street.  When we got to the door it was locked, even though the sign said it was open, and we could see the owner sitting on a barstool.  He waved at us to wait a second, and got up to let us in.  Jody and I looked at each other and shrugged as we walked into the bar...and walked into Mexico.  No one else but the owner was in the place.  The TV hanging on the wall was blasting, turned to a Mexican station playing a soap opera.  Every sign, every written word in the place was in Spanish.  We found out even the owner didn't know that much English as we ordered a beer.  He grabbed a couple of cans out of a small refrigerator made for Coke products.  I asked the owner where he was from, and he, not surprisingly, said he was from Mexico, and had moved there 15 years prior.  Conversation from that point grew sparse.  I took a look around.  There was a small dance area in front of a Juke Box that played only Mexican music.  All chairs and stools were covered with shiny felt cloth.  I noticed a room toward the back that lay in darkness so I got up to have a look.  The owner followed me and said, "pool," as he turned on the light.  Sure enough, there stood two pool tables.  I looked at Jody and asked if he would like his ass kicked at pool.  He took the bait, and we played horribly, but I did win...barely.  During our play, the owner turned off the TV, and turned on some music from the Juke Box.  Arriba!  After finishing our beer and our game we finally had enough of Mexico and left.

We stopped at a fast food joint before heading back to the hotel, and ate our food in my room, looking forward with excitement to seeing my daughter the next morning.  We parted ways, and while I had a hard time falling asleep because of anticipating seeing my daughter, it felt good to know that in just a few hours I'd be taking my little girl's face in my hands and kissing her cheek Hello again.  I know there was a smile on my face as I finally drifted off to sleep...

(Next post:  Graduation Day!)


Flight To Milwaukee (first in series)

I traveled with my son-in-law to see my daughter's graduation from Navy bootcamp just outside Chicago in Great Lakes.  We hadn't seen her for two months, and our only communication with her was through letters in the mail.  We were excited to finally be on our way. 

It's been awhile since I traveled by airplane.  Having virtually lived in a cave of my own making in what I call Hermit Mode for the past several years with little to no contact with the outside world, not really even through internet or television, I haven't kept up with what's happening out yonder.   So I didn't know about some of the technological changes that have occurred recently in airports, like self service kiosks for getting a boarding ticket.  It reminded me of what is used in grocery stores now, where we go up to a computer and check out our groceries without waiting for a cashier.  It was simple, fast, and convenient. 

However, I still had luggage to give over to someone, and didn't notice while packing that my luggage had gotten a bit frayed around the edges.  It had holes, so I asked the person taking my luggage what I could do to insure nothing would fall out while it was being tossed around by baggage handlers.  She handed me packaging tape.  I wish I'd thought to take a picture of my poor luggage after my tape job.  One thing is for was easy to spot when I went to claim it at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, WI. 

For the flight I dressed simply and comfortably, but my son-in-law decided to dress nice in his western gear, including black cowboy hat, his lace up Justin boots, and big shiny rodeo buckle.  He's tall, broad, and rather hard to miss as it is, but with hat and cowboy bling he was a target for looks.  Having only my little backpack purse, a notepad, and my coat with me to take on the plane, getting through security was a breeze.  My poor son-in-law, however, took awhile to get down to basics to finally step through the security gate.  I could hear him mumbling, cussing his way out of all he had on, saying he'd never dress like that again.  I think he filled 6 trays with all he had on him, plus his backpack, which was also packed full of who knows what.  Then he had to put it all back on, so by the time he got to me he wasn't too happy.  I smiled sweetly at him, and told him I'd eaten breakfast and had a nice cup of tea while I waited.  He glared at me.

I love flying.  I love that feeling just as the plane is preparing for take off, toolin' down the runway pickin' up speed, then...lift off.  Love it.  I get butterflies of excitement every single time. 

My son-in-law and I weren't seated together.  We both had aisle seats, (yuck), and the flight was packed.  The other two people sitting in my section were quiet, and kept to themselves.  There was one guy sitting in the window seat directly across the aisle from me who didn't stop talking the entire 3 1/2 hour flight.  He was with a friend, and I maybe heard the friend get in a few sentences, but that's about it.  I glanced over at him once in a while to see how he was doing, and I have to say he remained alert and interested in what his friend had to ramble on about.  I tuned the guy out after a few minutes. 

After the plane leveled out, I was surprised to see so many people whip out their electronic devices to entertain themselves on our flight.  That was another thing I hadn't been aware changed during my absence from life in the world.  In the past while flying, people either slept, read a book, or talked.  Now, people brought their own array of entertainment.  I love going to electronic stores.  I consider them my equivalent for candy.  In fact, there are only 3 stores where I'll lose track of time and spend hours looking at everything;  books, electronics, and kitchen stores.  Being on that airplane was like visiting an electronic store without being able to touch or ask questions.  All I could do was look at all the goodies laid out around me, and well, just kinda crane my neck and drool. 

If it wasn't for a little girl sitting across the aisle one section ahead of me, I know I wouldn't have been able to stop bugging people with questions regarding their displayed gadgets.  Her mother had brought a laptop, plopped it in front of her daughter on the little tray provided on the back of the seat, and popped in a movie to keep her daughter entertained and quiet during the flight.  It was Disney's new movie about Rapunzel, called Tangled.  The little girl watched it with earphones plugged in, so I watched it in silent film mode.  I tried not to, but my eyes kept going back to the screen, and I finally just settled into it.  The only thing missing was popcorn.  It was great, and I found myself thoroughly entertained by Disney's animation.  Sound wasn't needed at all.  There were even a couple of times I laughed out loud, and got a few weird looks from the people around me.  They were so missing out.  The little girl finally caught on that I was watching it with her, and would turn to smile at me whenever something funny would happen in the film.  By the time the film was over our plane was preparing to land. 

Having been in the Army, and traveled around in my younger days, I've seen a lot of airports, but I'd never seen or experienced General Mitchell International in Milwaukee.  It's got to be one of the best airports in existence.  I was so glad we flew there instead of O'Hare in Chicago.  It was beautiful, simple in its layout, and best of all, small and not as crowded.  We picked up our bags, got our rental car easily, (a snazzy black Camry, which was a very nice ride :), then we were off to Great Lakes to our hotel, which was less than an hour away.  I looked at my son-in-law and told him, "You're not counting days anymore before you see your wife.  Now you're counting hours." 

His smile was wide as he merged the Camry onto the freeway, eating up the distance to see the love of his heart.  I smiled back in excitement.  Tomorrow morning couldn't get here soon enough for me either. 

(Next up:  Our adventures after we got to Great Lakes)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Take Me Home

Back from Chicago, and have tales to tell...but first, my daughter sent me this video from Mark Broussard today.  She is now at her new station.  The song holds so many meanings for her and her husband while she's away in the Navy, from home and family.  It holds a different meaning for me, meaning I feel I'm finally coming home to myself, and what my spirit wants.  It's gonna happen....all of it.

I'll be back with stories of my trip later.

Please enjoy this rockin' intermission...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I will be taking a short hiatus.  I am flying to Chicago tomorrow morning and need to make preparations today for the trip.  I will hopefully return back here to write about and to share my experiences with you on Monday.  Until then...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Open Sesame

Some of you may remember my story of trying to find where the computer mouse opens so I could insert some batteries.  ( My post "Mouse of Power" for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about ).  Well, the challenge of finding where a gadget opens to insert batteries so I can use the damn thing has struck again.  Actually, it seems to be a recurring theme in my life, and has struck more times than I can count.  Of course, it's not the gadget's problem.  How can an inanimate object have a problem?  That would be like blaming the chair leg for being in the way of my toe.  Maybe it's the designer's problem...yes, more fun to blame them for hiding the place where the battery goes.

But then I have to get honest.  Its probably more my problem, seeing as I'm the one who can't find a way in, and I'm the one who wants in.  I'm wondering if the problem is in how my mind works, how I process information, how I think, how I see things... 

I once took a class where the teachers had us undergo every kind of testing imaginable,( it took us a week to get through them all, with several a day given ), for finding out how we process stuff and whatnot.  It's purpose was to help us find our purpose, I think.  To go short here, one of the results of my tests indicated all the ways I process are only found in one-percent of the world's population.  The world's population.  Well, the teachers thought that result was interesting because, of course, they hadn't come across someone like me before.  So when they realized they'd finally captured one, they decided to make a day of it in picking my brain.  I was not a happy camper with the turn of events, but played a good sport, and answered their questions the best I could, in my particular lingo, coming from where I come from in my mind, and whatnot.

What does this have to do with finding the opening where batteries are to be placed in a gadget?

Well, here's the thing...when I couldn't find the damn opening, I tried to look it up on the internet, hoping for some other directions, some picture, some something to give me a clue.  The gadget came with directions, of course, and here is what it said, "Make sure the power switch is in the off position and remove the protective covering.  While firmly holding the upper part of the unit, slide off the bottom part to expose the battery compartment."  So there I am, trying to find how the bottom slides off.  Meaning, I thought the bottom slid off the way a remote control, or my camera, slides off.  I tried everything to get it to slide off.  I even resorted to my handy dandy butter knife solution ( when all else fails ) to see if I could push it with that.  I tried it standing up, sitting down, crouching tiger mode, everything.  It wasn't budging.  Which is why I decided to try looking it up.  I got nowhere with that...because apparently I'm the only one with this problem!  Oh, there were directions on how to use the product itself.  There were even how-to videos!  Which, frankly, pissed me off, because for one, I already know how to use the product, and two, it annoyed the hell out of me to see all those smiling people benefiting from the gadget I couldn't use until I found a way into it to put in one measly AAA battery!

Meanwhile, an hour goes by...(oh, yes, the battle was on.) 

When I couldn't find any indication that there were others out there like me who couldn't find their way in, I began thinking its because of the way I think, the way I process.  So I read and reread the directions, and held up the gadget to study its mysteries from afar kind of thing.  I even went as far as to come up with an affirmation to say aloud, kinda with the OM sound in my voice, "," with eyes closed and the whole nine yards.  Nope, still nothing, and now also providing free entertainment for my mother.

I could feel my brain cells beginning to fry around the edges, circuits on the verge of misfiring, when finally the light bulb came on, and I thought, oh, maybe they mean the bottom half of the gadget.  The way I got there was to read the sentence again about the power switch being off.  I asked, "why is it important for that to be off when there's no flippin' battery in there to make a difference?!"  Well...come to find out, its important because where the power switch is located is where the stupid thing comes apart.  The power switch needs to be off because you can't get it apart when its in the on position.  And the bottom part they are referring to actually has to do with a "bottom" that consists of 2/3's of the entire gadget!

My gawd, I'm exhausted.

Now I'm going to color my hair.  Wish me luck with that endeavor...I think I'm going to need it.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Change is Good

I created this blog 2 months ago, a few days before my daughter stepped into her new life, and left to join the Navy.  Life has been in a state of flux for all of us with my family here.  It has been my experience that anytime big changes are being made in a life, chaos reigns for a time, especially in my family where change is viewed more like an enemy than anything good.  There is always an adjustment period.  A time where the old ways must be let go, and the new is embraced.  Persistence and patience are needed during that time, with self and others, because there is always that part of us that desires to stay put.

I supported my daughter's decision to join the Navy.  I know just how hard it was for her to even come to that place of decisive action.  She took a great risk making it, in more ways than can be said.  Change will always bring with it a ripple effect, and will reach out and touch those closest to the person enacting the change.  It has been no different for the people here in this household.  I told my daughter I would be here for her, it is one of the main reasons I moved back here.  She needed me here so she could do this thing, and know that all was well on the home front.  She worried what her decision would do to others left behind, and knew that I would ensure, as much as I could, a smooth transition from the old to the new.  She had good reason to be worried, and I needed to be here.

For me personally, my daughter's decision, and her courage to follow a dream, and to walk through the open door provided, gave me the courage I needed as well to begin my own.  The first steps are always the hardest, but I have learned to wait as I wade through the chaos after taking a leap of faith.  I'm okay with the mess that ensues.  Its just a part of it.  My blog, in the last couple of months, has reflected that chaos.  I have been waiting as the nerves settled, as I settled, into a decision made to step into a dream and begin its manifestation.  I have walked through doubt, regret, fear, you name it, and through it all have remained steady in my practice.  I have no idea whatsoever where it will lead me.  I'm okay with that too. 

I recall giving birth to my daughter.  While in labor I went through the same doubts, the same chaos, before she was finally in my arms, and all within me settled as I looked at my daughter's little face for the very first time.  It was good.  But during labor I changed my mind a hundred times, decided I can't do it, questioned my sanity for even thinking I could, new I wasn't equipped at all to handle a baby, much less take care of one.  Of course, we can't change our mind in that stage of the game, and I remember feeling like a cornered animal.  Oh shit, what have I done??  Meanwhile, contractions are coming faster, the ball is already rolling from a decision enacted months ago, and now I must sleep in this stupid bed I made, whether its right or wrong, good or bad, or fits my feet.  Then I saw her face....and fell in love.  Suddenly, I didn't care that I didn't know where it would lead me, or if I could do it or not.  And I must say here, now that I have perspective, that my love for her is the thing that got me through every step with her to this point.  My love for her has been my greatest teacher.  We will do anything, walk through anything, for those we love.

It is no different for a dream.  There is the gestation period, and then there is the labor, and then its here.  The labor is what I've been walking through the last couple of months.  The labor is what my daughter, and the rest of my family has been walking through as well.  Where's an epidural when you need one?

My daughter graduates from boot camp this Friday.  The letters I have received from her these past two months have reflected everything I have discussed here.  She has wanted to change her mind a hundred times, she has walked through all of it.  I have sent her letters of encouragement.  I have not known, just as she herself didn't know, if she would make it.  We've been waiting, and walking through it.  The last letter I got from her she said this:

"I feel a little better now, not so much pain in my heart.  I realize I have never been by myself, having to fend for myself.  I thought I was pretty independent and nothing could phase me, and I realized I wasn't.  I have always had a crutch to lean on.  I have always had someone there.  My perception of myself was oober wrong.  But I now know I can be on my own, and fend for myself without anyone.  Although it still sucks!  I've learned a lot about myself here, and how my confidence wasn't all there.  It's like I didn't trust myself to be alone.  I love your letters to me, they make me feel good, and look at things with another view.  I am sorry for never reading what you write, or listening.  I think I would be very interested in what you write now.  Yay for open mindedness!  Thanks again for your words of wisdom, you have no clue how much its helped.  I want to go back to the known, but I want the new stuff more!  Find out what I'm made of.."

I cannot even express in these tiny symbols for words how proud I am of my daughter, and I can't wait to see her this Friday and look in her eyes and tell her so.  She is more an inspiration to me than she will ever know.  I didn't know that while I was giving her what I myself needed, she would return it with her own little words of encouragement.  Did I mention she inspires me?  Her words gave me what I needed to continue on with my dream, my decision, as well.

We're on our way...and it is good.



Saturday, April 2, 2011


 This afternoon I watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy called The Music Event.  This song in it touched me deeply, and I thought it fit perfectly with what came to me in light of the recent events I wrote about in my previous post.

I am thankful beyond words that there exists within us a place where we can find peace.  I don't know if there will ever be peace in this world, outside of us.  I can only hope that it be.  I believe it is we who must choose to be at peace.  Yet no matter what is going on outside us, and our reactions to it, there is a place within that is quiet, that we can reach for, a place to find rest from the eye of the storm, if you will.  There I can go to be still, with my God, and find my way clear until the storm has passed.

Be still, and know...there exists within you a place of peace that you can visit whenever you wish.  

I hope you enjoy this song...below it are the lyrics.  ( I claim no rights to the song, video, or lyrics.)


Chasing Cars

We'll do it all, everything, on our own.
We don't need anything, or anyone.

If I lay here, if I just lay here
Would you lie with me, and just forget the world.

I don't quite know how to say how I feel
Those three words, are said too much, they're not enough.

If I lay here, if I just lay here
Would you lie with me, and just forget the world.
Forget what we're told, before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life.

Let's waste time, chasing cars, around our heads.
I need your grace to remind me, to find my own.

If I lay here, if I just lay here
Would you lie with me, and just forget the world.
Forget what we're told, before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life.

All that I am, all that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where, confused about how as well
just know that these things will never change for us at all.

If I lay here, if I just lay here
Would you lie with me, and just forget the world.

(lyrics by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol )


The Caged Bird

There were two revealing conversations that occurred this past week that hit close to home for me.  One in particular, because it had to do with someone very close.  While I cannot speak for them, I can speak for myself.  I debated bringing it up, because its not a subject that is easy to read, much less write.  But frankly, I'm a bit tired of that being the case.  Plus, I found out something so important for me personally through trying to avoid the subject that I can't let the opportunity go by to not express it.  I have learned it is better to embrace all that life offers, which includes all the thoughts and feelings I may have in response to it...good, bad, or indifferent.  I do not shy away, or recoil from the seemingly "bad", (as someone so aptly put it recently).  I embrace it instead as a part of life, my life.  I have found life to be more authentic in that practice.  And, the very act of judging a thing in myself as bad tends to cause more problems than if I simply accept it, deal with it, cry at my party if I have to, then move on. 

In the past week I have come across a lot of talk regarding regrets, on the internet, random conversations in daily life, etc.  I found myself irritated, and missed the signs of the Universe letting me know what was on its way.  I have only one regret.  But its a regret that I couldn't do much about anyway, given it involved the choice of another as well, so I chose to let it sleep.  I didn't know the one regret I had would rear its ugly little head the other night for me to take a look at again.  It was evoked, brought to life again, during one of the conversations I mentioned in the beginning of this post.  Thoughts like, "If only....then this wouldn't have happened.  Things would have turned out differently."  With those thoughts, for me anyway, comes a temptation to point an accusing finger, either at myself or another.  I give the finger instead to the accusing finger.

The journey to writing has been long and arduous for me.  I have fought with it and myself for as long as I can remember.  My issue has had more to do with letting myself express, giving myself a voice.  The root of the problem going way back to childhood when a man told me if I revealed what he was doing to me, then he would kill me and my mother.  Then, to show me he meant business, he killed an animal in front of me to show me how he would do it.  I was 5 years old.  I believed him, and learned to keep my mouth shut...not uttering a word.  And that was just the beginning of my experiences with that kind of thing until the final one being when I was 18.  The common denominator with all of those experiences being to keep silent. 

One day I read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, and I found in her a kindred spirit, and an inspiration.  My first dream was to be a singer.  I sang the Blues.  Although I'd written in journals now and then since I was young, I found singing and drawing a bit safer, because through those mediums I didn't have to worry so much about letting something slip accidentally, living under the veil of secrets and shame like I was.

It was when I was in college that teachers began voicing to me that I really needed to become a writer.  I had one teacher practically beg me.  I disregarded it, although the seed was planted, and didn't begin breaking ground until God found me on a porch almost 20 years ago.  Thus began my relationship with Him, mainly through writing.  For the first time in my life I gave myself a voice through the written word.  Although I didn't realize it until later, I was setting myself free on the page in my conversations with God.  I didn't know where God was leading me, and I certainly didn't know it would lead here, to a public venue.  Good thing I didn't know.  Its why I'm big on not needing to know my future.  Presently present is just fine with me.  As it is, I've had to be dragged kicking and screaming to get to this point.  Seriously, you wouldn't believe the dragons in my head I've had to slay.  

I wrote almost every single day for over a decade.  It was so much a part of me and my life I couldn't imagine life without it.  Until one day I found I couldn't write anymore.  I thought I'd die, much like I think I'd feel if I lost my daughter.  It was almost two years before I could begin writing again, and only after my marriage was over.  Honestly, I didn't see the connection between my past, and what was occurring within my marriage, that brought about the dry spell.  It was an abusive relationship, full of secrets to be kept, so as not to shame the one abusing,.  I carried the shame instead, and lived once again under a veil of secrets and isolation, feeling humiliated, my voice disappearing.  I felt like a caged bird wearing a muzzle.  A hum being the only safe expression.

In light of these recent conversations with the two people I mentioned, the blow hit so close to home I found myself identifying with it.  In identifying with it I saw myself, as if I'd been lifted to see me in action from within, go to withdraw, recoil, everything in me.  My response being to close up shop, to fold up, give up, and silence my voice.  My fault, my fault....if only...

I struggled.

Then in came a reminder, a ray of light, and like an arrow it pointed to the direction I needed to take.  Its what I'm all about, what I have striven to do from the moment I made the decision the first time to climb out of the mud of shame, and out from under the veil of secrets.  I will live my life fully, giving myself freedom to express, freedom to feel my life, freedom to sing whatever song I wish. 

I made a claim, a decision with the creation of this blog, that I was putting self consciousness aside.  I see the resurrection of this regret which I found tied to the distant past, and in looking at it with a different view, a step in that direction because of what it eventually revealed to me.  All my self consciousness stemmed from that point.  Self consciousness born of the fear of expression...the fear of revealing.  Fear of moving.  Fear of breathing.  Fear of living. 

Now I know how I lost my voice, my expression, what animates me, in the long ago, and in the recent past.  Now I know, and it will not happen again.

I once said that hate's purpose is to silence.  I will not be a victim to it anymore.  The cage door has now been opened, and with wings spread as far as they will go, I fly free through it, singing, doing loopty loops in the air, gliding to land on a tree filled with diamonds, now blended with all there is.



Friday, April 1, 2011


This is my sunset
the one I spoke of
splashed with every color
my soul has to give
Now is the time
to flood the sky
with all I have in me
silenced for so long
the written word
still silent, in its way
more intimate for me
one voice, my voice
my book of life
moments low to high
while diamonds fill the trees
from the sun's last hoorah
and the last bird sings 
its lullaby 
This is my sunset
the essence of me
painted across the sky
a place with no fences
no boundaries
before all goes