Ifs, Ands, or Buts

30 Jun

As I slapped my hand on the steering wheel…another sigh escaped from my lungs. Dang it! Once again…my thoughts jumbled with the “other” choices.

My temporary job was located clear across the city. Determined to avoid the idiots, the hurried, and the cluster of the freeway, I chose a different route. Necessary to go through parts of town I’d never known, I tried many options. Always trying to best my last drive, I’d contemplate the ‘what ifs’.  If the light hadn’t been red. If there wasn’t any construction. If only that accident hadn’t happened.  A constant nag of betterment resounded in my head. Over and over I questioned my route. I wanted a clear shot, but that never happened.

And so with my writing. If only I didn’t have to market. If only I knew more about publishing. If only. If only. If only. But if I want to get somewhere, I have to keep driving. While still avoiding the fast lanes, my own path calls. I may encounter wrecks, red lights, and detours, but I’ll get there.

And those various city routes…never mind the challenges…I made my destination every time!

~ ~ ~

Update: The project alluded to in The Party’s Over

I’m in the process of editing and designing an eBook…
“The Evolution of a Stir”
…the first in a MAY YOUR SOUL STIR series.
Coming to an electronic shelf near you!

Lightning Bugs and Beer

15 May

It’s been eleven years…and still when I see his picture, I get a pit in my stomach, a lump in my throat, and my mind fills with what ifs.

A recent dig through the photo box prompted his return. He was a great love in my life and I miss what we shared.

One of our first dates was atop a picnic table several miles from the city.  With a spectacular view of the night sky, we shared stories, a cooler of beer, and stolen glances.  Against the backdrop of a darkened field, an immeasurable show of lightning bugs graced our presence.  What an incredible setting it was!

We shared more moments of splendor, yet our paths deviated from similar. He in his life, and I in my own, we lay those celebrations behind us.

As day comes, the light from the fire fly grows dim. In the bright of day, it does not exist, yet the flickers of their illumination still linger in my mind.

Be Still

8 May

Some days I write with eloquence, other days…not so much.  Today is one of those days.  I’m just going to wish everyone a good evening and be still.

 

SELL SELL SELL

1 May

I have a friend on Facebook…his usual post “SELL, SELL, SELL”.

There is a difference between my friend and me.  He is a salesman.  I am not.  I’ve always shied away from any type of peddling.  Of the opinion that salesman were vile creatures looking to sell snake oil, I wanted no part of that.  Perhaps my view has changed.

Before beginning this blog, an epiphany to write became the catalyst.  A story in itself, one of healing and spiritual awakening, I imagined this could somehow blossom into more.  Through hours of varied research, I’ve learned in lieu of a bestselling novel, to make a living you must supplement with speaking engagements, newsletters, or some type of innovative promo.  Just as marketing is not my forte, neither is speaking.   I began writing as often my words flow better on paper than from my tongue.

With articles submitted for publishing, I realize that path is a difficult one.  A story is stirred from my heart, not my pocketbook.  Substantial attempts to promote are not in my nature, as neither is writing on demand, but

My writing has a purpose.  Still unclear exactly why, this I know…it has its place.  I’m trying to discern…where I fit, where I don’t.  I do have a gift for seeing a story in the mundane and the inordinate.   I am confident my words are worthy…the context, the message, the delivery.

Although I may not be a salesman, I do have something to offer.  But rather than snake oil, I sell bits of inspiration.  I hope you’re looking to buy!

Fighting Lizards

14 Apr

There’s this lizard…and it’s BIG!  It lives in the flowerbeds around my patio.

While I watched it from a distance, I just couldn’t force myself to face my fear and jump in.  Jump into the flowerbed, that is.  The weeds needed pulled, the shrubs needed trimmed, the mulch needed replaced.  But I was scared…so I let that lizard, and his rowdy friends, keep me from beautifying my garden.

Today…round 1, weeds…and I won.   I was tentative but knew it had to be done.  At first I tiptoed quietly peering into every crevice.  Then a bit relaxed, almost forgetting the enemy’s presence.  And finally…the feeling I did it… in spite of this fear, whether rational or not…I did it.  I flexed my muscles, patted myself on the back, and knew I could conquer more.

Perhaps fears are keeping us from tending our life garden.  Imaginably our fears are big creepy lizards, or evil venomous snakes.  But we should face them, one weed at a time.  If we fight, we may find that gargantuan thing we feared so much was really not so big after all.

If you look close (center of picture) you can see…the lizard that turned out to be not so big after all.

If you look really REALLY close (center of picture) you can see…the lizard that turned out not so big after all.

He Arose!

31 Mar

Listen to one of my favorite hymns and be blessed on this beautiful Easter Sunday!

Up from the Grave He Arose

Smell the Roses, Stir the Soul

27 Mar

Food everywhere!  Green apple bread, chocolate chip cake, potato salad, lasagna, ribs, chicken casserole, and on and on and on.  Temporarily assisting my parents for a couple of weeks, I was surrounded by the neighborly efforts of small town America.

While very grateful for the gifts of love, my ever-expanding stomach felt the desperate need to walk.  It took a few days to get that message to my feet, but at last we were moving.

Walking the very route in and out of the neighborhood normally by car, I was astonished at what I now saw.  I noticed the varied landscaping gracing the front lawns…placements of flower pots, bird feeders, and other lawn embellishment formerly overlooked.   I spotted a skillfully arched bridge…a unique wooden pathway to retrieve mail.  I distinguished the bend of a tree…an ever graceful reach towards the sky.

We see things differently when we stroll…a slower pace presents a beauty unknown to those that buzz fervently through life.  Slowing down is crucial.  Our soul demands splendor so take care to oblige.  If stopping to smell the roses doesn’t fit into your day, perhaps a brisk walk instead.

The View Beyond

20 Mar

Looking out the window from my desk strategically placed for the view, I realize…this too shall change.  The leaves soon to bud, impeding my view to the sky.  As anxious as I am for spring, I dread the confinement the new leaves offer.

In my journey of self-discovery, I observed countless settings in which I felt trapped.  I felt a physical strangulation, like hands around my neck choking the breath from me.

It’s odd how the mundane condition of our day brings about the complex condition of our mind.  Then I ponder…perhaps it’s not odd at all, perhaps just a way to remind us of what we, as individuals, need.  I need a window.  I need a view.  I need a horizon.

There is something about the expanse and limitless the blue sky provides…a window to opportunity, to love, and to acceptance.  The frankness in the beauty represents that for me.

Notwithstanding the obstruction, this I know…the sky with its infinite possibilities lies always just beyond the leaves.

Child’s Play

13 Mar

It was the 4th of July.  On the last leg of a much-needed road trip, I took a route to avoid the busy of the interstate. As I traveled alone through small towns of the panhandle, I saw groups gathering for celebration of our independence.  I found myself yearning to belong, some way to take in the atmosphere of the holiday spirit.

Unlike the other towns, this particular’s park was noticeably empty.  Vacant and mute, the motionless swing provided no children with laughter.  It summoned me there as I gazed in passing.  I had to go back.  It was time to play.

Walking across that park, I contemplated what passersby could think.  As I began to swing, I no longer cared.  With each stretch towards the sky, it took me to new heights of alive.  The methodic swaying, once a forgotten joy was now moments of freedom and fun.  My body of middle age had the heart of a child…and that park was empty no more.

Never mind those passersby.  Never mind the naysayers.  As adults, we should never pass the opportunity to reach for the sky.

Dog Days

6 Mar

Sitting across the living room, playing lovingly with his dog, I asked my son “how long will he live?”  Of course his answer was a mere smallness compared to the life we expect of ourselves.  Seeing the adoration and love they offer one another, I questioned how he would deal with the eventual hurt.  His answer “I would rather have a few great years with him, then none without.  All the love is worth all the loss”.

Realizing now I was looking for the heartache, anticipating the inevitable.  Is that how I approach emotional involvement?  Rather than see the beauty in the gift, I see the trauma in the loss?  What a dismal view!

I have come a long way…in wisdom, in perspective, in outlook; but perhaps the void of love in my life is a perfect way to avoid pain.  Have I done this to myself?  Have I shirked the possibility anticipating a negative outcome?

It seems I have some reflecting to do, after all…pain is a price, but love is priceless.

List, Lists, Listing, Listings

27 Feb

Lists

I inherited this from my mom…keeping a list.  I constantly make them. In high school, instead of doodle, I’d make a list…a list of states, a list of state capitols, a list of professional football teams.

Currently, I have a…

Wish List
To Do List
Bucket List
Grocery List
Things I am Grateful For List
List of Ex-Boyfriends
List of must haves for a current boyfriend (precisely why I have a List of Ex-Boyfriends)

And I have another list…a list of ABC’s…positive words describing who I am.  The operative word is positive.  It’s easy to list all the negatives but sometimes it takes more effort to realize the good we have in all of us.

Analytical
Bright
Classy
Determined
Encouraging
Faithful
Graceful
Hopeful
Inspiring
Joyful
Kindhearted
Loving
Meaningful
Notable
Optimistic
Playful
Quiet
Ready
Strong
Trustworthy
Unique
Veracious
Writer
X-cited
Yearning
Zealous

Do it…make your own ABC list…positives only!

A Love Story

13 Feb

A Love StoryThey walked hand in hand…gently strolling along the sidewalk, their body language a bit perplexing. Admiring as though I was watching a play, I sat at a stop light in my car. They continued their stroll in silence, yet an aura of love encircled them.  Unsure whether to smile or cry, I did both.

Their destination…the front entrance of an Alzheimer’s facility.  It was clear then, the sweet awkwardness.

In that small glimpse into their life, I somehow felt I knew them.  In that moment, I saw the graceful courtship in the midst of a dreadful disease.  In that brief invitation into their world, I saw something special.

I continued my thoughts of them throughout the day, full knowing they were challenged, yet in that moment their life was good.  I wish them more of those moments.

In His Presence

10 Feb

With tears strolling down my cheeks, I sang along.  In the far back corner of the church…perhaps no one would notice. Standing in that space, I felt His presence.  So this is what it feels like to feel God.

Throughout the service, I was all in…like an absorbent sponge.  I did however notice a particular man finally make his way to a seat.   I had seen him in the parking lot earlier.  He pulled in just before me and seemed a bit out-of-place.  Not that anyone is out-of-place at church, but maybe that he had never been to this specific location.  Somehow, I felt a kindred spirit with him.  More tears.

Later during the service, as the invitation extended for a time of prayer at the altar, I watched this man make his way forward.  And I watched him return, wiping away tears.

Maybe he was hurting.  Maybe he was scared.  Or maybe, just as I, he felt the presence of God.

Path to a Friend

6 Feb

I had never met her.  Only from his words of love and adoration, did I have a sense of who she was.

He…a dear friend that lost his life in a fishing accident…was someone special.  He had many friends and united in grief, we muddled through the pain.  After a week of deep emotions and wistful tributes, the silence became a dim cavity of devotion.

I wrote her a letter…his mom.  He spoke so proud and preciously of her, I knew she had to know.  With tears for a woman I had never met, I mailed my heartfelt words.

Months later, still reeling in the pain, I felt a need to revisit the church in which his service was held.  And I felt a need to meet her.

I made my way to the church, trying diligently to keep the tears inside.  A bit early, I paused to look at various pictures on the wall.   A sweet elderly lady asked if she could help me.  I timidly declined.

Making my way to the back of the sanctuary, I took my seat.  I saw the music director who sang at his service, a beautiful accolade in song.   His perch on the raised platform reminded me.  Although the church was large and much space between us, the director felt compelled to come speak with me.  I was a stranger, yet something drew him to me.  I told him who I was and why I was present.  He now pointed to the sweet lady that had approached me in the hall.  That was her.

A bit into the service, I stared into the stained glass to refrain from tears,  just as I had during the memorial service.  But it was too much, too reminiscent of that day.  Feeling the tears flow, I made a quiet exit through the back doors.  As I fled down the hall, I heard someone call my name.  As if she knew me, it was her.

We, these strangers, had now become friends.  In an immediate and unknowable way, we embraced…no words, no explanation…just tears.

That day began a bond of a sweet and perfect friendship.  Although it’s been years since, we carry a place in our hearts…for him, and for each other.  No doubt that day, heaven was directing our paths.

The Versatile Blogger Award

3 Feb

Versatile Blogger AwardA heartfelt thank you to Gwen at Writer in Training for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

The procedure is to list a few interesting details about myself and nominate fellow bloggers for the award.  So here goes…

  • I admit it! I am a Blistex Liptone addict.
  • My hair…natural…a beautiful gray for four years now.  I am proud, with not one minute of regret.
  • ABC’s Home Show aired a segment from my home in 1993.  Before the reality boom, an exciting burst into my 15 minutes of fame.
  • Submarine or spaceship?  Spaceship!
  • I have four TVs in my house and not one of them is a flat screen.

With the realization these awards are often thrown around and nominated casually, I for one appreciate the time my nominee took in doing so, and because I truly enjoy their bits of blogging, I recognize…

The Colors in My Closet

30 Jan

The Colors in My Closet

Neurotically placed by their color they hung.  The hues of purple, meticulously grouped by size, shape, and season.  Then others…green, yellow, white, black, and red.  These were my clothes, all lined perfectly as I entered my closet.

As I aged, I no longer saw them the same. Ample light could not distinguish the differences.  They all blended together unseen.  Those beautiful lost clothes in my closet that never got worn.

One day, with no time to sort those freshly cleaned, I hastily placed them mingled.  It was then I realized I could see each more clearly.  Out of my usual, I repositioned them all.  Those beautiful lost clothes now became new.  Each unique and diverse, my wardrobe had expanded.

Perhaps our life is similar.  Perhaps our uniqueness and diversity should stand out rather than blend.

How are the colors in your closet?

Texas Two Step

23 Jan

Two steps forward, one step back.

Growth doesn’t always make a straight and narrow path.  Often it is met with resistance.  A negative thought, a naysayers comment, a minor snafu can set you back.  Leaving a job without my future laid out for me…originally exciting, initially uplifting, then panic ensues.  I have to remember the confidence that allowed me to make that leap.  And that confidence was born of faith.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn.  They say you are closest to your victory when you face the greatest opposition.  They say the devil works hardest when God’s the closest.

Do I believe?  I have to!  Why should that faith I so boldly wrote about a few weeks ago be any less today?  Because I know…two steps forward, one step back is progress.  And with that, I’ll continue my dance.

Black Shoes Brown Shoes

20 Jan

I walked in, head high, shoulders back, and impeccably groomed.  My attitude, my smile, and my confidence were in sync with the physical presence and I was ready!  Summoned by a recent job search, this was my first interview since I left my long-time job.

As I interacted and moved about the office to handle necessary paperwork, I felt an incredible confidence.  I eventually took a spot in an adjacent office awaiting my interviewer.  As I shifted my legs for a more comfortable position…there they were.  BROWN shoes!  I was mortified.

Brown shoes are fine if your attire calls for brown shoes.  But noooo…my attire called for BLACK shoes.

Okay, so now what?  Flustered, red in the face, and so disappointed in myself, I tried to make the best.  I couldn’t let a pair of shoes negate all the good I had in me.  So began the self talk.  “Cindy, they’re just shoes.  They are a minor glitch in your presence.  You have more to offer than the color of your shoes.”

I repositioned my feet, strategically positioned my purse, and shifted the negative thoughts.  I sailed through the interview with composure and pride and upon arrival to my car; those shoes came off with a chuckle.  The way I see it…if I don’t get a job based solely on the color of my shoes, then I probably don’t want the job anyway.  And…I’m good with that.

Two Chairs

16 Jan

I had two chairs on my patio.  I noticed when I sat in one chair; I dwelled on the negative. I contemplated all the ills this world has dealt.  My pity consumed me and I was dark and weak.

In the other, I thought of the positive.  I thought of the opportunities waiting and saw grace in the small and large.  I was confident, strong, and content.

It was my choice…and I began to sit in the positive chair regularly.  My outlook became enthusiastic and my demeanor joyful.

And then…a freak accident.  The negative chair burned.  No option but to toss it away.  So along with the chair, I tossed my dark and weak self.  Only the positive remains.

Coincidence?  I think not.

Toss the Negative!

Toss the Negative!

The Blogger’s Clique

13 Jan

Guided by the red star beckoning to tell me who “liked” my post, I clicked with anticipation.  It was a loyal follower who finds yet another reason to lift my spirits.  They become my circle…the ones I know I can count on. They don’t hit the button just because they’re “in” my crowd.  You can tell.  They are actually interested.

And then the others…the others I want to hang out with too.  It’s like being in high school all over again.   Come on, don’t you like me?  Don’t you notice I like you?  And if it’s not high school, it’s even worse.  I feel like the little one tugging on the popular teacher’s skirt.  If you’ll just look down you might notice me.  And most often they don’t.

From the office, to Facebook, to blogging, and so on.  Will it ever not be like high school?

Okay…so I regressed for a minute, now I am back to my much wiser, older self.  And you know…it’s okay.  It is really okay.  I like my circle.  I find comfort there.  And I hope they find comfort there too.

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