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The Difference of a Year

We often hear about what a difference a year makes…or a day or a week or an hour. But does it truly resonate when we hear that expression? Most of the time i think it goes in one ear and out the other as we understand the meaning but not the point. I think if this time last year. I was weary and still shattered, soul tired and just trying to keep my emotional head above water.

The compound was still under repair, though that was getting closer to completion. I had argued with the insurance company that they had indeed made a $10,000 mistake in their favor. And eventually they had to admit that they had. I was broke from paying for everything and and felt utterly, completely, unmistakably alone. I once saw a picture of a tree, alone standing in the storm, and I felt exactly like that. Ugly, broke and beyond exhausted. I knew I deserved love, but who in the world was left? There was no one. Or so I thought. But I could not have been more wrong.

Feeling completely alone, so alone that not even God could find you is a hard place to be. But it was not to last long. The start of the love was Thanksgiving, when I took my cousin up on her offer to spend the holiday at her house. And so I did. And there, in the middle of their home, in the middle of this small town, in the middle of the holiday dinner, I found more love than I knew existed. There were open arms and hugs and smiles and laughs and conversations.

And for the first time in over two years, I did not feel alone. For the first time in over two yers, I felt loved.

And from that love that was given to me, a small hope was borne. A rejuvenation of sorts. It is amazing what a little love can do. It can bring a broken soul back to life. And so it did. In that house, with my cousins, I found my light again. I found my smile. I found the Sun. And I grew, from that day on, knowing that I was not alone, and that there was more love out there in the world for me that I could possibly imagine. And it was my job to find and courage that love into a beautiful life.

But it all started a year ago. And like putting fire to gasoline, it caught and spread. And nowm that love light that was lit on that day, burns a warm flame at my hearth. And I have them to thank.

Life is short. Never underestimate what a little bit if love can do, And never underestimate the miracles and growth that can happen in a year.

The Big D

Everyone at some some point will get depressed or a little down.There could be so many different reasons – a death, loss of job, loss of a relationship, or a thousand different things. And this is perfectly normal. I think it is a fallacy in life that we should never feel anything but happy and shiny Because that just is not realistic. And who says it is bad to feel bad sometimes?

Sometimes feeling down can motivate us to make much needed changes in our lives. Because depression is a place to visit not a place to live And eventually we will get sick and tired of being sick and tired. The problem is once we are in a funk, how do we get out of it? Especially when the funk makes it hard to get off the couch, much less be motivated to be a mover and shaker in your own life.

But that is indeed what we need to be. And sometimes getting a root canal seems easier than getting motivated. But you just have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. But how?

I really don’t know exactly, but I do now what worked for me. First, you have to get very quiet, and go deep where the heart meets the soul and you listen. At first you may not hear anything, but eventually you will. That is God’s voice, your gut instinct, your intuition. Remember what brought you joy before, and concentrate on that, and on following that inner voice.

When I was 19, I went through an extremely difficult time. And when I did not feel like getting out of bed, I would decide every single morning that I would find something to be happy about. I would decide on a winter day that I would search for a flower, or look for children playing happily in a puddle on a rainy summer afternoon. Sounds stupid or silly? It probably is. But those little goals are what would get me out of bed.

And every day there would be a goal, and I promised myself that I would smile once completed. I also made a decision, every single day, to find moments to specifically enjoy on purpose. If life was terrible, I would at least find solace in a sunny day, or in the three minutes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

When I got older and lost the rest my family, even those goals were hard, so I cried a lot. And then there were no more tears. I started having a few moments of not being in a funk…and then the moments would last a little longer. I put up a goal board, and I refused to watch depressing or sad movies, and I watched funny TV shows and I made sure that I was around good, positive people who were supportive. And anyone who wasn’t supportive was cut out of my life.

I also decided every morning hat I was going to be happy that day – maybe for only a few minutes, but I was going to find some kind of happy. And I wrote things (affirmations, if you will) around the house to help keep my positive mindset. “I am stronger than the grief.” I am stronger that the depression.” “I can and I will”

And eventually, slowly the clouds started to break and the sun would shine. But it starts with you. Because it is easy to get into the habit of depression, especially if you are alone. And that is where your will power comes in. It takes a lot of strength, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or pull others in. Even when you are tired, ask a friend to come over. They don’t have to go and do anything big. Because your friends can help dust off the cobwebs and help you smile…maybe even laugh.

There are many who say that you have to find it all within yourself. But I disagree. Yes, you yourself have to be committed to getting out of the funk, but that doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers or face the challenge alone. Those who love and care for your will be more than happy to help.

It may be a long road but it is not impossible. Take baby steps, and soon your will look back and see you have traveled miles. Each heartbeat gets you that much closer. And in the space between the seconds, you will find the inspiration to hold on.

Life is short. Make a decision every single day to make the best of it. Most people think that happiness is easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work, every single day, to be and stay happy. And some days are easier than others. But we can do it together, holding hands as we cross paths and share time in this life.

Playing it Straight

It is amazing the how different life is when you are an adult than when you thought it would be as a child. As a child, you don’t understand things like working, or managing money, or getting up early, or even things like laundry. If you are lucky, these things seem to just magically happen.

And there are things that you assume will happen when you are adult that really doesn’t. For example, No one has died from falling in quicksand, or being eaten by a giant snake. I have not made millions from discovering a new kind of metal that could replace everything. And my parents did not live forever.

When I was younger, and even up until a few years ago, I thought healing was a straight line. I thought everything worked in a straight line – love, career, playing, shopping, figuring out what you wanted to do, making decisions, even being happy. But as an adult you learn that nothing is a straight line. Because we are different, and we have paths on which to meander and learn. There on some paths which we are supposed to only visit, some where we learn valuable, maybe painful lessons, and some that delivery us away from danger. After all, it’s a jungle out there.

And then there is the path of healing, which I also thought would be a straight line. I was wrong. what I have learned, is that this path too meanders. There are good days and bad days, or weeks or even months. There are waves. Sometimes those waves come crashing down and you feel like you were drowning even though you thought you were on solid ground. And sometimes you have days where you feel like all of it is done, and you are great. And in time, those stretches get longer and longer…but still there is no straight line.

And that is OK, because there is no timeline on healing. And who said it has to be a straight line anyway? I think that is a myth, just like quicksand. The problem comes when you try to force it, and deny that any more healing needs to be done.

Let’s face it, life a series of paths we must take. Some of those paths are better or more enjoyable than others. But would we want it any other way? The easy answer is yes, but really how deep of as faceted of a life would that be? An easy life would be easy, but we would miss so much depth and width of the person we were meant to be. And while the easy answer would be to have a compass in the great journey of life, would it really help? And would you actually want to use it? Because some of the unplanned paths we take, make our lives so much more rich, even if they require some care and healing afterwards.

So don’t play it straight. Go on those twists and turns. Give yourself the permission to take as much time, and as many paths as it takes to heal. It’s ok. Don’t fight the current, just ride the wave.

Life is short and straight lines are boring.

Where the Magic Happens

Home is where it happens. All the magic of life and family.  And this year I am counting on that magic to add to the wonderfulness of the holiday season.  This year I am hosting the family for Thanksgiving.  We all have our firsts in life, and this is one of mine.

To some this may not seem like a big deal, but to my large and very eclectic family its pretty big.  This is the first year that my parents are healthy and not suffering from cancer.  And this year everyone is in close proximity.  This is also probably the last year my nephews will be local. My oldest nephew is graduating college next month and who knows where he will end up.  The other two are going to school and working as well, but they all have off for the holidays this year.

It is the first time that the family will be gathering at my house.  In the past, we have all made it to our parents house.  But they are getting older and it is a lot of work for them to do all the cooking, cleaning and general preparation for such a family event.  I am hoping that it is a success, that everyone has a good time, even though it will be quite the adventure.  To understand the overtures of this undertaking, let me explain:

My parents are quite set in their ways.  They are great, wonderful, honest, hard working, loyal people.  But they can be extremely difficult to please.  And they both cannot be happy and comfortable at the same time.  You will go crazy trying to make that happen, trust this, I know. I have actually told them to choose each day of the visit who gets to be happy and comfortable, that way there is not constant complaining.  It works.

In the past visits, there have been complaints that the house is too cold (Dad likes the temp at 84-86), too hot (Mom likes it between 74-76) and neither of them like ANY air circulation, so no fans or such. The food is too spicy or too bland. And I live out in Egypt, s where I live is too far, from everything (I actually have the same complaint).

My mother smokes, but she hates smoking outside, mainly because it’s cold in the winter and she doesn’t like to be cold.  Once, in the House of Mold, she smoked on the screened-in-porch. When she got cold she insisted I bring her the warmest coat I owned…which happened to be a mink coat.  So there she is, sitting out in a screened-in-porch, in her pink fuzzy warm house slippers….smoking….in a mink coat. I would have taken a picture if I had not feared death. So I have set up a wonderful sitting area in the garage…along with 2 large, large room heaters, that each one would heat the small garage for most. There will be tables, chairs and a soft couch from which to choose.

My father, on his last visit, complained that he felt some small amount of air moving across his face. This air was coming from a closed air vent in his bedroom that was very suspect.  The threatened to sleep in the garage.  Instead I fixed a separate place for him upstairs in my office.  This time the bed in his room will be moved far away from that evil vent, thus avoiding the problem altogether.

Add to the mix my wonderful sister and her 2 sons.  Nothing much will happen with any of them, as they will be face-deep in their phones.  I will have to make a rule that there are no electronic devices at the table. My sister and Dad do speak the same language, sometimes I swear they have the same brain even. My youngest nephew smokes as well, so he will be in the garage with his grandmother, while we will try to keep the oldest from getting into a political discussion with my mother.  Liberal college kid views do not go over well with her  conservative mindset, and he is too young to be able to keep up with her quick wit (not kidding). I would prefer to save the fireworks for July 4th.

And everyone loves coffee. And wine. And food in general. And we can all gather next to the warm fireplace, when we are not out in the garage, hanging out with the smokers.  Or decorating the Christmas. Or asleep in our food comas.

And this weekend will be the flurry of getting the last bit ready…the deep cleaning (but not too deep, because my mother will need something to clean while she visits).  There will be dusting of things and cleaning of baseboards. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping.  The cupboards are full of snacks and such, the throw blankets and sheets have all been swashed and are fresh and soft. There is music that has been picked out for the occasion.  It may be hard but it will be worth it.  Much laughter, love, great moments, memories and pictures.  And I will hug them just a little bit tighter, just a little bit longer.  This year, a year of so many wonderful things in our lives, and so many miracles.  And so much heartbreak and terror in the world.  Nothing like watching the news to make you hold your loves ones just a little closer.

And in those hugs, those moment and those memories, that is where the magic happens.

The Happy Coupledom

I’ve entered into a land which i have never been. The happy coupledom. Dint get me wrong have dated, even fallen madly in love, but this…this is new, this feeling is new.

We were binge watching The Blacklist on Netflix, the best TV on TV. When we realized we were hungr6. He created some egg dish in the microwave while I created a fusion of Chinese and Mexican by combining broccoli beef, Mexican cheese and sour cream in a burrito.

And as we ate our almost-middle-of-the-night, lets-raid-the-kitchen-hurried-dinner, I sat on the kitchen counter and he stood next to me. Both of us smacking and chewing, talking and laughing with our mouths full, not in the least bit self-conscience.

We ate and enjoyed every last bit….and when we were done, I rinsed the dishes as he stepped outside to smoke. And I did the happy dance, right there in the middle of my messy kitchen. And my heart was full. Welcome to happy coupledom.

Simple Little Words

This simple little poem

that you shall not see until I let you

is just to say how wonderful

Life is now with you

You make my heart happy

when you hold me so very close

you make me smile each day I’m with you

And I enjoy this falling for you

Yes, I cannot wait to see you

hear about your day

I cannot wait to plan together

Whatever the next adventure brings our way

Wish I possessed the vocabulary

to truly communicate the feeling

but all I have are perfunctory words

which seem so small in comparison

But if I could write

the way you make my heart feel

No doubt they would be the sweetest

words ever written for another

but all the words I have to say

are so very simple and small

a confession of types:

That I love you

and that is all.

The Destination in the Journey

It has taken a minute, a long minute actually, to get here. Many say it’s the journey and not the destination. I disagree. I think it’s both. First yes it is the destination, because we are all working toward something…a vacation, a better job, a family, a better life, a college education. If these things were not worth our time, why would we be willing to take the trip in the first place? The destination is what starts the journey in the first place.

The journey is what life is all about. The working, the experiencing, the travel before the vacation. That is where we meet the best and worst parts of ourselves and humanity. That is where we learn, grow, decide and Live. And when we get to where we were intending, if we get there at all, because we may change our minds along the way…sometimes we realize our dreams have changed, and that’s ok.

This journey has taken me quite a ways, and I am finally where I want to be. But it has taken many miles, over many roads, some paved, some dirt, some gravel. This journey has taken many years, much thought, lots of laughter, more wine, and more love, so much more love, than I ever thought possible to even hold. It has taken me in the woods, on the inside, around the outside, over the ocean and below the ground.

It has taken kisses, thousands of hugs, friendships, break ups, make ups, break downs and marvelous mornings. It has taken coffee. And pieces of my soul. It has taken scraped knees, dirty nails, messy hair, a cluttered home, hours of writing, and every single heartbeat, every breath, inhaled, held and let go. It has taken hopes, fears and a lot of prayer. And it has taken you, yes you too.

And finally, here I am, this place I so wanted to be, where I dreamed I would be one day, in the not so distant past. Yet at the time, this place seemed so far away, almost too far. But after many steps, and so much life, I have arrived. Just where am I?

At a place called Happy. Finally. And it is fabulous, and joyful and wonderful and amazing and a thousand other words I say softly at night, in my prayers, in your ear, to the sky, … And the sun is shining.

And I have to say, while the journey has been everything and so much more than I ever imagined, as I wondered down those long, hard, twisted roads, sometimes uphill, sometimes down, I am enjoying this destination so very much. While every trip is a mixture of both good and bad, when you can look back and say “what a ride!” Then you know it’s been a great experience. And it makes the destination all the more sweet.