Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm here!

I was looking in the mirror the other day and I asked, "Where did all this gray hair come from and why does it seem like it grew in overnight?" Then, I stared at my reflection and thought, "Who are you? Where are you?" Instantly, a few things popped in my thoughts.

Tired
Restless
Brave
Faithful
Honest
Uncertain
Happy
Silly
Sad
Frustrated
Inspired

All of those are true emotions based on how crazy life has been. With life, there has been changes and with changes, I'm no longer the same person I was a year ago, a month ago, heck, even a day ago.

When I first moved out to Oregon, I missed "home".  I hated that I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my twin sister as well as others who were such a huge part of my life. At times, I think my dogs got tired of me telling them all of my troubles or having dance parties with them. They would sometimes roll their eyes and I'm almost certain I could hear them say, "I sure hope she doesn't want to have a dance party again!!!"

Then, life changed. I walked in to a new job, a new neighborhood, a new church...most of all, a brand new LOVE in my life, my J. Did it get easier? No. With being new came the challenges of settling in.

I remember the first time I took my two puppies out of the car and set them on Oregon soil, they sniffed the air as if to say, "This sure ain't California anymore!" and they couldn't be more right about that! But, I felt like Julie Andrews, wanting to spin around and around singing, "The hills are allllivvve...."

Where I'm at now is indescribable. God has brought me to the very place where I know without a doubt, I need to be. This is home. In this place called home, I've experienced the joy of seeing my daughter get married to her very best friend. I've held hands and kissed the love of my life in places beautiful beyond words. I've been able to speak for women's ministries and youth groups and summer camps. I've been able to go to football games and become a platypus (a person that not only likes the Oregon Ducks but also the Oregon State Beavers). I've held my cousin as a newborn and I've had the joy of seeing him grow into a big boy of 4. I've had the chance to be a daughter in law to a man who was funny, grouchy and loved all at the same time. In that same breath, I had to say goodbye to that same man as the Air Force honor guards folded up the flag and handed it to my J for the last time. I've adopted two kiddos from Compassion International, loving that they are so very precious to me yet, so far away. I've tasted Voodoo donuts, seen waterfalls up close while feeling the mist on my face. I've touched moss with my bare feet and fed the homeless. I've flatlined and experienced a glimpse of heaven. I've laughed hysterically with tears running down my face. I've sung on my church worship team, caring not how I sounded but feeling just how in awe I am to have the privilege to worship my Creator, my Father. I've earned the title of Bonus Mom and sometimes, I feel like I'm a pretty cool one too. (other times, not so much). I've added another furbaby into my life from death row in California, Bohdi who is absolutely the cutest, greatest dog ever! I've seen nutria up close and they are quite creepy. (Think beaver, rats and hamsters rolled up in package - giant sized!)

And...

I found creativity, peace, beauty, restoration, inspiration, joy and most of all...friends.

There's no other place I'd rather be but HERE.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Storms Happen

I was so optimistic about getting back into the creative part of "me" until a storm blew through. Some storms are foreseen  but others totally catch us by surprise. This is one storm that we never saw coming.

On Thursday, I was settling in from working all day when the doorbell rang.Two state troopers. The dogs began to bark so J went outside to speak to them. He came back inside with both of them following close behind.

"What's wrong?" I whispered, afraid to speak any louder. I had only seen on movies what happens when state troopers are at your front door.

"Dad was killed," was J's reply.

The bits and pieces slowly came together. Dad was driving on a curving two lane road and for possible unexplained medical reason, he veered into ongoing traffic and hit a fully loaded logging truck. There were blessings in it but we wouldn't see it until later. He was riding with his partner in crime...his buddy, his dog Max. Max survived as did the two people in the logging truck.

Dad was the kind of guy who could crack himself up over a joke that only he got. He was also the kind of guy that had euphemisms for days. I admit that I hated watching sports with him because he missed the point of the game while looking at the players and saying, "That guy needs a hair cut!" He also believed in all things Sasquatch and watched the shows that somehow "proved" to him that Bigfoot really existed. Let's not talk about aliens. Those were real too.

Dad liked to win and hated losing. One day, we went fishing and he wasn't getting a nibble so in 15 seconds or less, he pulled his rod out of the water and said that he just didn't like fishing anymore.

He never got my name right either but he was the only one that I let it go with. It really was no big deal to be called Ramone instead of Simone. After all, he got some of it right. If he couldn't remember Ramone, then he resorted to calling me "Kid".

As much as Dad was funny, the serious part of him was this...he loved his son. He fought for him. He sacrificed for him. He taught him what to do and what not to do. While cleaning out some of the clothes in his closet, we found t-shirts from when J was playing football. He was one proud dad of his son's accomplishments.

I may not have had him in my life for long but he has left a huge mark on my life but being one of kind.

I miss you, Dad.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Word - ENOUGH!!!!

Happy New Year - 2014. It's been a long time - way too long. But I'm working on a project that is going to keep me from disappearing as long as I have and it's something G-O-O-D.

Need a HINT?

Putting the pen to the paper...hint, hint

In the meantime, I'm feelin' the need to share my ONE WORD - 365. 

Are you ready?

It is.....

Enough

Out of all the words that I could've chosen, I feel as if ENOUGH is it for this year.

I've had ENOUGH of being complacent.

I've had ENOUGH of not trusting God, ENOUGH.

No longer will I allow myself to feel that I'm not good ENOUGH - I am cause I Am says that I Am - ENOUGH.

When I have  ENOUGH on my plate, I need to say to myself, "ENOUGH" and mean ENOUGH.

When the things around me become overwhelming and I feel like I can't take another step, breathe another breath or whisper another prayer, I know that my heavenly Father knows that I've had ENOUGH. 

Today, this very minute, I'm committing to being more than ENOUGH in my marriage, in my relationships, in my time spent alone - enjoying the silence.

I will not throw up my hands and say, "ENOUGH" when the dog barfs on the bed, when the 16 year old princess turns her music up full blast, when I've heard the same story told over and over again, or when I'm in pain and don't think I can deal with it anymore.

I will say "ENOUGH" when I can't eat anymore, think anymore, go anymore or do anymore.

I won't say, "ENOUGH" when I am denial and need more sleep, not drinking ENOUGH water or taking the time to be still.

2 Corinthians 12:8 says, "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need {paraphrased -ENOUGH}. My power works best in weakness.” 

I'm going out on a limb here but I think that Paul has just been told, "You may not be ENOUGH in your weakness but I am more than ENOUGH."

How about you? Are you ENOUGH?



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Soggy Cereal

This is the least of my problems but one that I has grabbed my focus lately....soggy cereal. I got my love of cereal before I was even old enough to say, "I'm Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs!! I have a few that are still my faves even though the sugar content is off the un-nutritional charts. 

Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries...something about the dye in the crunch berries makes the cereal. Then, there's another favorite of mine, Reese Peanut Butter Puffs...but unfortunately, I can no longer enjoy their peanutty goodness thanks to my new tree nut allergies. Then there's Sugar Frosted Flakes...their GREATTTT!!!

But the biggest dilemma is I can't stand soggy cereal and cereal just ain't cereal unless you have some sort of dairy or wanna be dairy product.

The only way I can enjoy a good bowl of cereal is to pour the coconut milk (yep, now allergic to almond milk) into the cereal and try to eat it before the crunch disappears...which is usually 39.2 seconds. (I counted). 

Why does it seem like the crunch lasted so much longer when I was a kid?

And what does soggy cereal have to do with life? 

My longtime blog friend, Jenny Matlock left a comment on my last blog post. She said, 

Write what you feel.

Write knock knock jokes.

Write nothing.

Just don't curl inside yourself because you have so much to offer the world it would be a shame if your voice went totally silent.

Thanks my friend for the reminder that the blog world would be a much more quieter place if I chose not to write. 

Last year, I was asked about my love for writing and my reply was, "I write like I breathe. If I couldn't write, I would probably cease to exist." What a melodramatic answer but one that honestly speaks from the depths of who I am. 

I am not finished with writing. 

Thankfully, writing for me is better than rushing to eat my cereal before the crunch disappears. 

i can take my time, and enjoy every morsel of creativity as it comes (if it comes).

Thank you all for hanging in there with me...through the good, the bad and the sometimes, soggy. You all remind me that that's why I love to write!!

Looking forward to visiting you all!

Now, I'm off to have a bowl of cereal.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Losing My Voice

I couldn't stop the sensation. It was a feeling out of my control. In fact, the inner voice was silent, all except this feeling. Then, everything went black.

I woke up to paramedics asking me questions that I couldn't find my voice to answer. My brain seemed to stop and where thoughts were stored, there weren't any at all. (That was horrible in itself...me...the thinker and talker.)

Humility hit as slowly, it all came back to me. I was at work and the people swarming around me were my co-workers. I closed my eyes to block out the view of concerned faces and to make sense of it all.

This was the second time I had been in the back of an ambulance and still had no ability to be nosy and check out the view. I just wanted to scream, "What is happening?" But, I couldn't find my voice.

I got to the ER and my thoughts were starting to surface again. It was a place that looked familiar to me....very familiar.

I don't know how blogging and writing has become shoved and pushed into the recesses and crevices of my life...but the sad truth is, it has. I am losing my voice. I want to regain all that I seem to have lost but I honestly don't know where to start.

Do I start from where I left off or do I write from the "new, improved" riddled with bumps and bruises "me"? If I write from honesty, you all will get the bumps and bruises "me". Is that fair? 

But, this has been my life lately and to live it "real", then those are the things that will seep in from time to time.

For those of you that are still here, thanks for being so patient with me. 

For those of you that have left, I don't blame you.

Oh! The story hasn't ended yet. I wait to see if I have a concussion from hitting the floor. I also wait to see a neurologist, hoping for some more answers.

Until then...I wait...and I'm here. I've missed you all!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

There's an Elephant in the Room!

There's an elephant in the room. I don't know how it got there without being noticed or invited, but it did. It must've been small enough to enter through the front door but perhaps while no one was looking, he was eating off of plates left unattended, candy bowls left unguarded and and leftover cookies on a platter. He's grown so big, he can't leave the same way he entered.

I once had an elephant in the room that even a mouse couldn't send him running. That elephant was a person that I trusted as a friend. We were as close as two sisters yet, the elephant crept in. It started when she began to tell hurtful jokes. The elephant grew. Then she turned the conversations into opportunities to put me down, while lifting herself up. The elephant plumped up some more. I cringed my way through conversations with her and avoided confrontations with her. Finally, the elephant became destructive enough that I knew it had to leave. I let her know that something had changed in our friendship. I no longer felt that she valued it the same way that I did. I ended it with, "I hope you find the kind of friendship you want and deserve." The air cleared that day as the elephant left the room.

The problem with elephants in the room is that they are common. Some start out by holding back the honest truth in a relationship. "I really don't like the way he dresses." "I think he's cheating on me but maybe if I change, he will too."We have nothing in common but I refuse to hurt her feelings." So we go along with it, hoping that the elephant will shrink before our very eyes yet, it becomes an even bigger elephant in the room.

Elephants are everywhere! I have seen elephants in church, at weddings and funerals. I have seen them at family get togethers and the workplace and parties. Raising teens, there are plenty of elephants in the room. So much to say but not enough words to say it or maybe it's fear...plain ol fear that keeps that elephant alive.

I am determined to squash the elephant in the room by feeling the fear and doing it any way. Speaking what's on my mind and my heart. This may be the only time that I have to make that elephant disappear.

By the way, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Is there an elephant in your room?

There

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's All A Matter of Perspectives

It's all a matter of perspective…that is the thought ringing in my head today. I struggle to fight against things going on in my life. The sad fact is that what I'm fighting against is more than likely what was meant in my life all along.

In almost two years of our marriage, I have held on to a longing to make things "the way they used to be". It's taken me this long to realize that "the way things used to be" is basically the past. And truly I'm not for  living in the past but in the present. For one, I was much younger, a little less bold, fearful and seeking out perfection most of the time. Now, I'm willing to try new things, i.e, adventures, food and a neverending thirst to be myself.

I have learned to look at my ongoing medical saga as a way to breathe through the pain and keep on pushing and if pushing doesn't work, sit and chill for a bit. I no longer think that I'm going to die. The way I see it, is if it was my time to go, then when I flat-lined last year, I wouldn't have come back to life. So, I dance in the rain, laugh loudly, hug, hug and really hug those that mean a lot to me. 

There's no mystery that I miss my daughters but once a month, we get together for an overnight visit…with one of them hosting me. I look forward to spending time sharing, shopping, chatting, eating and just hanging out. 

Although I have been inconsistent with writing, I have been given the opportunities to speak which excites me to no end. It is my dream/goal to be able to write and be a speaker, full-time. So, instead of me getting frustrated at my lack of writing, I'm reignited by the ability to speak and share with others.

As I write this, there's another transition happening in my life. J and I will have two adult kids (not necessarily kids) and a teenager living with us, full-time. It has been a huge stress for me. The first thing that came out of my mouth to J was, "I didn't sign up for this!" But, I realized first of all, he didn't sign up for all of the times he's been by my side through the chest pains and tears and other health related issues. I am beginning to breathe through the idea of it all and concentrating on our house being a place where they will eventually all spread their wings and fly. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to enjoy the comfort of being surrounded by family. (And also pray that they won't harm one another while having to share one bathroom.)

And lastly…I'm getting ready to turn 50 in July. As much as most people may not embrace the idea of getting older, I'm excited about the adventures still to come. My bucket list is growing and I can't wait to experience life in a different set of numbers.

What perspectives have you discovered along the way?