Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Winter Whimsy

February is one of my weird months. Things either go really well or really bad. There never is any between. This year has been no exception.

The Winter Olympics are on. I must confess I was a little disappointed in the Opening Ceremonies. Perhaps I was expecting more from a technologically forward country like Korea but it was underwhelming.

My darling daughter, after twenty years in the home, is moving out. An empty nest awaits me and I must confess I am excited for the challenge.

I participated this winter in a tradition which dates back to when I attended college. That is the magic of no-shave winter. That's right, I didn't shave my legs since November. We did this in school as we were all female and it was a bonding experience in our freshman year that turned into a liberating statement for all of us.

That being said, the weather here has been approaching springtime temperatures, and I wanted to be ready for the change of season. Which meant breaking out the shaving creme and a new razor. So that chore is done and now I'm headed to the Walmart for some Drano. Oh well, at least my legs look fabulous as I go.

I've made the decision to go back to school a reality and need to go take the placement tests soon. A new direction for my life, and I'm finding myself excited for some writing I've been doing.

I'm learning anew that life is a journey, and I shouldn't be so eager to race for the finish line. There's still a lot of time left in my dash, and I need to embrace each moment instead of always searching for the next one. It is nice to learn new tricks as I grow up.

True confessions time: I found myself involved in writing fan fiction (I know, right?!) and it's awakened a new spirit of creativity that has been boundless. So far, I am like 100K words on this piece and only now see an ending. I'll never earn a dime from this, but I'm really proud of the work. I hope to carry this over into my real work writing and kick some writer's block ass on the three stories I have in various stages of development.

Clues: An Archive of Our Own. Username: LadySansasDirewolf
Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Time to Change the Road You're On

As a child, in my mind, when I pictured the change from one year to another, it presented to me visually as climbing back up a steep hill from December to January. It's odd, I know, but I've always been a visual person. It also gives me a chance to reflect on where I am, where I'm going, and what is meant to be.

Last year, in my personal opinion, was probably the worst year of my life since I was in my late twenties. There is not one aspect of my life that hasn't blown apart in the last 365 days. To say that my sense of self-worth is low would be overstating low. I have none. I don't even feel strong enough to go out and pursue a new direction.

But that doesn't move me forward. or sideways, or even backwards. It just keeps me stuck. Joyce Meyer says that frustration is a sign that I am acting independently, apart from the design the Creator has for my life. So I am watching myself carefully for that sense of not belonging to my own skin. Cocooning away from irritations in my real world in order to put my internal strife into place, I find a small growing kernel of self taking shape where previously there was only dissatisfaction with my own actions.

I have resentments I have carried for years still hanging on my shoulders, old friends I cannot seem to separate from on this journey toward peace. My heart pleads 'Some day', while my head screams 'Never', and I understand regret.

I've allowed hurts, real and imagined, to take root where previously only trust and confidence grew, and I stagger through the weight of failure and I understand my weakness.

But perhaps worst of all, to protect those I love, I tried to take it all on me, and forgot that this life is a shared voyage. I became the martyr I always swore again and I understand now what breaking truly costs.

It's time to stop, drop, and roll. We only have one shot through this life, and regrets are anchors pulling my soul to inaction. I cannot stay in this morass and I cannot find my way through, so I spend hours wondering. It's no way to live. It's time to once again learn to breathe in the air of acceptance and return to who I am, stop trying to ignore the truth of what comprises me.

Once, as a teenager, my father stopped me in a hallway to tell me I was the one of his children most like himself, and that he pitied the journey that would take me on. How sad that it has taken me forty years to understand the wisdom of those words. As a teen, it filled me with pride to be compared to my father, who I idolized. It's only as I look back that I realize the curse of being who we are.

When you can see the truth of a person, how to you reconcile their actions?

So I have decided this year to search for the woman who has somehow gotten left behind in all of this upheaval. The one who knew her own mind and had dreams she wanted to chase. through addictions, and rejections, and loss and growth, the one who at the heart of it all only wants to be loved. I do not know where this road will lead, nor am I particularly afraid. At the end of things, it is only myself that I am chasing, not an unknown enemy. Who knows better than I the distractions I can throw to keep from success?

As a child I often found myself hiding in the back of closets and under the bed, trying to hid but from what I never knew. How sad it is now to figure out the person I was hiding from was myself.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I Refuse to Use the Obvious Title (Bonus Points if you know what I mean!)

The Solar Eclipse was today. For a while, life in America stood still while we watched a miracle unfold. The sun and the moon have been dancing with each other since the first day, and still we gape at the uniqueness of Nature.

I felt the energy of the world  at odds with itself these past few weeks as we approached the eclipse, and it has been an extremely uncomfortable feeling. As if life were waiting, unwilling to be held in place by the day with no night and the night with no day. It's been a strange feeling, prickly sensation across my skin.

The moment came, and the moment went, and after all the hype it was interesting and underwhelming all at the same time. But I will say this - the energy seemed to drain out of the atmosphere, and all I've wanted to do since moon and the sun swapped places is sleep. Since we heal when we sleep, I assume this is a good thing, and tomorrow will bring another day.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18)

I intend to use this new energy, this new thing, to do the best I can every day, be the best 'Me' I can be be every day, and always strive to follow the path of my life to wherever it may lead. To grow and study so that I can make the most of every opportunity.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It Is Well With My Soul

For the past few years my life has been a mess. Through a series of failures and misplaced actions, we've lost everything we had built - our business, our incomes, our retirements, my husband's health, all gone with the capricious winds of fate. But fate has a Master, just as we all do, and while I don't usually open a window into my soul, for some reason tonight I feel a calling to put where I am inside into the ether.

One hundred and forty-four years ago Horatio Spafford placed his children on a ship headed for Europe and never saw them again. The ship sank and only his wife was saved. This after another child had already died at a young age. Upon arriving in Wales after her rescue, Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, "Saved alone. What shall I do?"

That pretty much describes where I have been these past few years. Saved, alone, doing what I thought I had to in order for all the balls to remain in the air. It's only now I can look back and see the wreckage with a clear head and an acceptance of my Lord's hand in things beyond my grasp. If not for the faith I have carried since childhood my personal ship would have sunk in rough waters a long time ago.

Faith in something greater than ones self is hard. Faith in yourself is even harder, especially after fortunes change. More than one I have joking compared my journey to that of Job, but I now know for a fact every person's experience with trials is different. Regardless of religion. belief in a greater being gives hope that tomorrow will be brighter, that not all days are worth hiding from.

I confess I have no confidence in my ability to change anything that is happening to us right now. Rugs are pulled out from under me with frightening regularity and my lack of coordination has brought about more than one face plant. But I get back up and I keep going because somewhere out there lies the answer, not within myself or within the walls of my house.

I am by nature an introvert, which makes some of these disappointments seem large and menacing, and in reality some of them are. But even though I work at a low paying, crappy hours job, it helps pay the bills. And even though all I can see in all directions is unending turmoils, I take a deep breath and being to function on the second part of that cable: "What shall I do?"

As Horatio Spafford raced to meet his distraught wife, the ship he was on passed directly over the spot where his young daughters now lay entombed. During that passage he penned the now famous Christian hymn, "It is Well With My Soul". The line which sticks in my head day after day as I listen to people gripe about things which are completely trivial is this: "Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul'".

Because at last I understand that I am where I am for a reason. Multiple reasons but the most important is because that is where my Higher Power, whose name is God, wants me to be. I fulfill a purpose, even though I have no clue what it is, and that is all I need to know right now. There are still immovable mountains ahead of us, and perhaps that is no other employment avenues have opened themselves to me. I don't know and that's okay.

Now, don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'm not angry, and sad, and about a million other variations on the four basic emotions. I'm totally angry at the way things worked out, but what hand could I have played that would have worked out better? That also doesn't mean there aren't things I wish I had done differently. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. But for the first time in almost two years I no longer feel the Sword of Damocles hanging over my neck. It probably still is, but I have faith things will work out in the end.

That, I think is the key to faith: the believe it will all work out in the end.

If you've made it thought this, thank you. I know people are not all the same about religion, but I consider faith as more than a part of religion. Faith is a basic staple of life. Food, Water, Shelter, Faith. With these four man can create anything. I believe it.

As for the Spaffords, they were reunited and went on to have three more children. In 1881 they moved from Chicago to Jerusalem, where they are buried.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Happy Mid-Summer's Day

It's the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. From this point all our days will shorten until we reach the Winter Solstice six months from now. Animals will begin growing their winter coats after today, and already the harvest is ripening. This is the best time of the year, lazy hot days that remind us of childhood and time spent staring into azure skies filled with puffy white pillows.

Who doesn't love summer, especially as a child? Days when everything was possible and our future was limited only by imagination. Time was spent chasing the wind and climbing trees, exploring the universe until the streetlights came on and the fireflies went to bed. Then you dragged yourself into the tub and scrubbed dirt from half of the county off your skin and avowed to your mother of having no idea how that hole got in the seat of your shorts.

Days watching the fields grow, the baby animals of spring become the children of summer, and for one brief moment it seems possible that August will never arrive, that you will be allowed to stay in this land of sunshine and honeysuckle. Evenings you churn fresh ice cream with berries from the vines in the back yard, and debate the day's activities with gravitas and humor. Night is only to recharge and to dream of new adventures in distant lands, usually the neighboring woods and pastures.

Summer is the season of growth for of nature, flora and fauna, the season of preparation. No matter what, this is when we must get ready, stretch and grow, tend to the harvest to come. As the days grow shorter a sense of urgency comes over us, to gather, to store, to get ready for the lean times of winter. That still applies, even in this age of devices and connections to the ether.

So get your nose out of your laptop, grab some water, your sunglasses, and some sunscreen and head outside. Grow something, can something, make jelly, or just cut the grass, but enjoy the lazy days of abundance. Before your winter coat starts growing...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Literary Love Savannah, 2018 VIP Ticket Program

Literary Love Savannah-2018-VIP tickets

50$ VIP package (only 5 available!):
• VIP Laminate
• POSTER of books by the VIP sponsor authors
• Special not on sale books from VIP sponsor authors
• Limited edition swag
• Premium promotional item
• VIP meet and greet event
• VIP Program Group photo
• First choice on seating for Lunches, dinners and events
• Special line for Registration
• Early access (15 minutes) to the signings
• Special Pricing for bundles from VIP sponsor author

75$ GOLD VIP package (Limited to 5 spots PER AUTHOR):
• Special group hangout
• Special VIP seating with your VIP author at the Welcome event

100$ PLATINUM VIP package (Limited to ONE reader PER AUTHOR):
• Special one on one hangout with the author they chose (to be decided with the author)
• Ability to be the Authors “Assistant” for the duration of the event


Planning a trip to the Low Country in Summer of 2018? Come hang out with me a few hundred of my best friends! Regular program tickets go on sale next month, but this is a chance to get up close and personal with some of your favorite authors.

All proceeds from the VIP program benefit the animal shelter in a nearby county.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another

Two more interviews. Two more turn downs.

I swear I'm starting to get a complex.

I know it's a tough job market, and there are literally hundreds of applicants for every position, but for crying out loud, I've been searching for eight months and the best I've got is $10 an hour and an entire trashcan of rejections. It's enough to make me question whether I have any marketable skills left after more than 35 years working in the public sector.

A wise person once said to me that all I needed to be was myself and I would never lack for opportunities. These days however I question more and more who I am and what I have to offer to any organization. Sure I'm older than most of those being interviewed, but why do I feel like age is a minus, not a plus?

But then I remember I'm on a journey, and I have no control over how long this road will be. Nothing will be mine before I learn what I must learn to progress to the next phase of my quest. The problem is, I'm not sure what is being asked of me.

A friend at work said, "God is preparing you for what is to come next." Those words frighten me to the core, because what I've been going through has broken me. I am only a fleeting wisp of the woman I used to be, and what I wouldn't give to find that person again. However, the slow path only runs in one direction and a locked door will not open again.

So I will continue paying my penance in purgatory, because that's what I need to do now. I need to win back those things which I have lost and the first of those is myself. Who am I when the lights are out and I'm alone with my thoughts? Not the person I hope to be, that's for sure. My confidence is shaken, my spirit not quite broken, but fragile nonetheless.

Perhaps I will stop looking for a while, and let the wheel of fate turn as she will. I want to be in a certain area, at a certain rate, and those jobs don't come along every day. I need to make sure I am worthy when the time comes. There are a few quirks of my life that needs smoothed away, made right before I tackle the next phase. I'm almost ready to make the leap to the next ledge.

I wait.