Monday, June 10, 2013

     It's a poetry writing, coffee sipping, library visiting kind of rainy day.  Summer, a time to nourish my creative side, to listen and let my ideas run free, flying.  In the quietness the words come to me, poems not written to perfection, but my words that my heart and soul want and need to say. 

Dawn breaks
A thousand birds
Sing a chorus
Of beautiful voices
Orchestrated by
An unseen hand.

Another poem I worked on:

Sky opens to a
Deluge of rain
An unseen hand

The last poem is a little longer than the other two.  The last five lines need some tightening but I'm pleased with the first part of the poem, just some tweaking with the last lines later on.

Gloriously lived
Shatters and scatters us
Pieces left in shadow
Others in sunlight
Fragmented yet whole
Goes on living
With an open,
Yet guarded heart
Puts on a societal mask
To shield the soul
But honest, forthcoming
In my heart
That others do not need to see
It is felt, experienced,
Acknowledged, guarded safely,
Known honestly by me,
What's inside of me.

     Through this writing I am aware that I'm focusing on the "unseen hand", which is God leading my life, people's lives, and all of nature.  God is in ultimate control, so that leads me to an underlying belief in connection and trust.  I trust God to lead me to create what nourishes me, my life, and hopefully extending that to help others.   

     Later on this afternoon I plan on taking out a canvas, acrylic paint, brushes, and letting God work through me to surrender to creating.  I want my hand to flutter color across the stark white canvas to create beauty, letting it flow, surrendering, and letting go.  Time to exhale. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

     It's been 12 years.  In so many ways it seems like yesterday and at the same time like a life time ago.  Twelve years since I looked at his handsome face, his emerald green eyes always sparkling with the vibrancy of life.  May 8 was the apex of our relationship.  May 9 began the slow spiraling downhill descent.  With the enchantment of the May 8th evening, I thought the relationship would only get better, more exciting, sense and feelings heightened, but this was not the way the story goes.

     Our story.  For four years I could only replay our story in my mind.  Just like our relationship, the days crescendoed until May 8th, then a decline in intense emotions.  Finally after four years, I realized I had to write about our relationship, to tell our story.  One of the ways that I make sense of my life is to write about it.  Writing about a situation forces me to think about what's happening, to make abstract become real, concrete.

     So, four years after we went our seperate ways, I found myself in the mountains of North Carolina vacationing.  The mountains, stretching, reaching heavenward, standing tall and proud.  Lush green thickness of grass and trees, streams gurgling, beautiful bird song.  A balm for my heavy soul on an early spring day in May.  Sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch cabin, I put pen to paper pouring out my heart and soul.  I remember that day vividly, when healing began.  After a day of hiking sitting on a porch with a river continuously flowing in front of me, on crsip, clean, stark white paper, I began the messiness, the realness of our story, from the fledgling awkwardness of our flirting, to the fluttering passion, the craziness of love, to the everyday mundanity of a relationship.  There were times that I was consumed by thoughts of him.  He was the first thing I thought of when I woke up, he was in my last thoughts before I drifted off to sleep.  Inevitably I often dreamed about him.

     I wrote the story in starts and stops, sputtering and puttering along.  There was not a straight line from point A to point B.  For a while I would write daily, then when things felt heavy, too much, my emotions on overload, like I was going to fall apart, never to be reassembled, I'd take a break from writing to distance myself, gain some insight, some stregth to tackle it again. 

     When I journaled the other day the questions of why were answered.  Why I began to write the story:  writing is healing.  Writing Vance Woods helped me heal from love gained and love lost.  Writing and healing, healing and writing.  They are the same. 

     So after eight years, I was able to pose other questions for myself.  Why have I started to edit the story and why do I want it published?  I want Vance Woods to have the fire, life, and vibrancy that I had when actually experiencing first love, but at the same time I want the writing succinct, tight, concise, and direct.  Love is what Life is all about.  I know I'm not the first person to be in love, falling desparately, I won't be the last either.  At the same time I want to feel connected to others and others connected to me.  I don't want anyone to feel alone. I want a reader to pick up my book, read it, and mentally say yes, they have experienced these feelings and felt this way.  There will be someone who remembers the first flickers of their first love.  I want a person to pick up my book and have my words touch their heart, resonate within them, and know they are not alone.  They will survive, they will heal, they will thrive!        

Sunday, April 14, 2013

     Spring break has been a time of exploring and discovery.  I have had both active and quite restorative days.  I have found myself swept away in antique shops, art galleries, an old college town filled with memories, and nature walks.  There have also been repetitive, day-to-day tasks such as laundry, cooking dinner, drinking coffee, lingering over a great novel.  I've planted, craved the cool feel of soil on my hands, it's scent permeated the air.  Dirty, messy, and refined artistic endeavors have helped me weave a life during Spring Break.   
     Last weekend at the start of break I was in Barnes and Noble one evening savoring a raspberry mocha reading a creative writing self help book.  As I read I jotted down words and phrases that caught my attention, captured my creativity for some reason.  I didn't even take out the journal I had with me, or write it on sticky notes that I always keep in my purse.  I scrawled these phrases and/or words on a napkin. 
Here are the creative tidbits:

~ sun greens leaves on trees

~random seams

~scatter shot


~silent spring

and a writing prompt = Evening was a time for........

These are topics that will be popping up in my creative writing soon! 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

     The first day of Spring Break has dawned breathtakingly beautiful!  The sun is shining bright, the sky clear and blue.  It is warm, there are a few light green buds on the trees, only a few leaves unfurling to feel the warmth.  Some trees sprout magenta hue blooms, bee buzz felling the first hints of spring.  Purple hyacynth poke their heads tentatively out of the ground.  Beautiful nature abounds all around.  The air laced with expectation!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Interesting!  This past week has been very interesting!  I find myself more and more feeling blessed beyond measure and gracious for life!  There have been many opporunities to be a participant as my life unfolds.  I have not been forcing, pushing, striving, I've turned it all over to God.  This has allowed me to stand in the River of Life and be taken with the current, not swimming against it, but floating along.  Many times in the past week I have been in situations that could be called "uncomfortable" but there was nothing to do about them but just breathe through it, smile, and be swept away with the current.  I was driving in a hail storm, with strong winds, lightning and thunder on Tuesday.  There was nothing to do but sit in my car and wait for it to pass.  Many other times God's grace saw me through.  There was never a time that I even thought about working against what was going on around me.  I knew that it was time to surrender and let my life unfold as God planned.  I have been happy and rewarded by a new found strength and confidence because of having experienced these incidence in my life.  For this I am thankful!  Unfold, breathe, and be!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

     The day before my 37th birthday.  I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a precipitous.  I'm ready to soar into the life that's meant for me to live!!!!!! 

     My 30s have been a climb, a struggle up this mountain to the point I'm at now.  Thinking back, my teen years were happy ones, my 20s were a time of happily floating along.   From the age of 30-35 I was fraught in becoming, being an "adult."  The word adult to me is still foreign because I feel like I'm still a teenager or in my 20s.  I say that, think it, but also sometimes through some situations I felt so old, so very old.  Sometimes vibrant and adventerous, and most times somewhere in between feeling old and vibrant/adventerous.  I guess that's life - the in between.  I'm thankful for that. 

     For a long time I didn't have the in between sensation.  My early 30s were a time of turmoil, who am I, where is my place in this world, what do I do, just questions, questions, questions.  There never seemed to be any answers, only more questions.  My father had heart problems and major heart surgery in April 2009.  He was in the hospital for three weeks at one point.  The hospital was in downtown Atlanta, which is about an hour drive from where I live.  I know that doesn't seem like a very long drive, or long time, but when you've worked all day teaching five year olds, then have to drive there, and stay for a visit, yes, it's long.  I would teach all day, come home, my Mom and I would drive the hour down there.  We'd stay for three to four hours, then drive back home around 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. every night.  I would sleep, my alarm clock would go off at 5:00 a.m. and I'd have to be back at work by 7:30.  The cycle went on and on, repeated for three weeks.  During that time, I watched as my Dad had the heart surgery, tried to recover, had fluid on his lungs, struggled to breathe.  He was put on a ventilator and stayed on it for four or five days.  Me and my Mom sat by his bedside evening after evening, each weekend all day on Saturday and Sunday.  I read book after book, I wrote in my journal mundane, superficial things, never getting to the heart of what I was feeling, doing, experiencing, only scratching the surface of my emotions.  Me and Mom ate each evening in the hospital cafeteria, if we got there late, we grabbed a sandwich from the vending machine.  I had a basket of snacks given to me by co-workers, so I munched on those.  I sat, I gained weight.  I watched spring bloom outside my car window driving to and from the hospital.  I'd walk out to my car on early, chilly, spring nights to feel the flutter of a cool breeze comb my hair, dry my tears, see the twinkle of stars.  I was numb to all around me.  That numbness remained for a while.  Dad was awake, off the ventilator, he was disoriented, he was on pain medicine that made him disoriented.  He came home at the beginning of the third week. 

     Oh wait, before my Dad was in the hospital I had strep, caught it from one of my students in December 2008.  It was right before Christmas break.  At the student's Christmas party I started having an itching sensation all up and down my arms.  I went to my doctor, who did a strep test.  I was given antibiotic.  Pretty soon I was itching all over my body, the rash spread.  I went back to the doctor, at first he said I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.  He changed my antibiotic.  I continued to have an outbreak.  I went back to the doctor, where I was able to see a Nurse Practioner.  She referred me to a dermatologist.  The Nurse Practioner told me that the dermatologist would have to take a skin biopsy more than likely.  Not in front of her, but with my Mom I freaked out.  I didn't like needles, scalpels, or anything of the sort.  There were a few hours before the time I had to be at the dermatologist.  My Mom and I went to brunch.  I picked at my food.  We drove to my appointment.  The dermatologist looked at me and said, "You say you have strep?  Do you ever have psoriasis?"  I told him yes that occasionally I had a few small psoriasis patches mottling my skin here and there, usually in unnoticeable places.  He didn't have to do a skin biopsy thank God!  He gave me some options.  I could have a topical cream to ease some of the itching and burning while I either decided to take medication that would take a long time to clear the effects of psoriasis and could damage my liver, or I could go into a tanning bed like machine that zapped me with radiation.  It was low levels of radiation.  The first time I went in the "stand - up tanning bed" was only 4 seconds.  This treatment would clear up my psoriasis more quickly.  I chose the tanning bed zapping me with radiation.  I was thankful it was in the winter so I could wear long sleeves, turtle necks, and sweaters to cover my psoriasis laden body.  I felt so unattractive and self conscious.  This went on from mid December until mid March.  Three afternoons a week I had to take off work 30  minutes early to drive to a nearby town to my dermatologist, along with three rounds of antibiotic to make myself strep free.  Thankfully by the time my Dad was in the hospital I was over strep and just getting over the psoriasis outbreak. 

     From December 2008 until May 2009 I was miserable.  For five months.  I was thankful because I know things could have been lots worse than they were.  I could have lost my Dad, I could have psoriasis all over my body, still itching and miserable.  I lived through it.  I survived.  It was tough.  I'm not going to lie, it was very tough.  I don't think I'm the same person I was before all of those situations started.  Most of the rest of 2009, 2010, and some of 2011 were spent healing.  Wait, no I'm still healing, as we all are. 

     Somewhere near the middle of 2011 I seemed to have got my groove back.  I realized I have this beautiful life to live.  The beginning of last year I started reclaiming my life for me.  I started living again!  I wasn't and I'm not stuck in a shell anymore, the protective layer is gone.  I feel free and untethered.  There are so many choice, boundless choices!  Yes, I'm still hesitant to take chances.  It still scares me, but I go on and charge on anyway, fearless.  I think that this fearlessness is also a healing balm in some way.  Healing had to take place in order for me to take more chances and live a life of more freedom, but in the same way, this liberation is a healing in itself. 

     I am thankful!  I have dinner plans with my parents for tomorrow.  Tuesday I'm taking the day off work.  I'm going to get a massage and reflexology, I'm going to have lunch with my Mom, maybe go to a movie, and a quirky indie coffee shop for a latte or mocha.  Wednesday I'm getting together with a friend from book club who is a teacher also.  We are going out to dinner.  Friday I'm going to go with 5 friends from book club.  We are going to go to a restaurant I've never been to - 57th Fighter Group Restaurant in Atlanta.  Should be an adventure!  I'm excited!

     As for today, I plan to sip another cup of coffee while journaling.  Snuggle with my cat Mocha, run a few errands, submit a few poems to a few publications to celebrate my birthday, and paint.  I've had the urge, the drive, and hunger for painting the last few days.  Painting was my teenage and college days passion.  I'm turning to that to refuel.  All in the healing process which is a day to day endeavor, life, glorious life!!!!!!

     Thankful for my 37 years and many, many more!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

     It has been over a month since I have posted.  I continued with the Small Stones project, but I wrote in my journal.  My writing during the last month became too private for me to post.  The year did not start out as expected.  Somewhere in the chaos of life, whether in beginning a new year or in the middle of a random day, there is the expectation that everything will go well in the future.  The future could be a minute from now or twenty-minutes, or the next day, it's still the same = our expectations for the future are "rose colored, Pollyana, white picket fence, pie in the sky" thoughts.  I've learned that each second is perfect.  Whether that moment is going as I "planned" or not, it's still perfect.  God is in control, so life goes as He planned. 

     My Dad passed out on January 3rd.  Mom worked with him to try to get him to come to, while I called 911.  It doesn't matter that I'm 36 years old, and will be 37 years old in less than a month, when a parent is ill, there could be a life threatening issue, I still feel like a child.  Dad was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.  We were in ER with him until 2:30 in the morning.  It all began around 10:15 and I called the ambulance, by 10:40 he'd been assessed here and we were at the hospital in ER.  The hospital is only about 20 minutes away.  In the pre-dawn hours of January 3rd (around 3:00 a.m.) my Mom and I drove home.  We were thankful that Dad was conscious and talking.  He was kept in the hospital until Monday evening.  Before we left on Thursday morning, we found out he had internal bleeding somewhere.  Probably from an ulcer.  He was kept in the hospital from Wednesday around 10:40 p.m.until Monday around 8:00 p.m.  He was given fluids through his veins, he was given B12 and other medicines to help heal the ulcer.  We were thankful he was feeling better and able to come home.  It gave us a scare. 

     I was surprised at my resilience to the situation.  I felt strong and was able to deal with everything in a confident and competent way.  I think that feeling came from writing about what was going on.  I sat with my journal in the hospital room, journaling for hours at a time.  It really helped to get my thoughts, feelings, ideas, out, and to organize myself. 

  After he was out of the hospital it was as if all my flight and fight responses rested.  I was no longer running on adrenaline.  I was exhausted.  Absolutely exhausted.  The fatigue settled into every part of my body.  My lungs felt constricted and sore, almost like they've felt in the past if I've had a severe cold and flu.  I still went to work.  The student's voices and laughter were a balm for my soul.  Teaching got my mind off my Dad being sick and my severe tiredness.  In the afternoons, I prayed, I slept, and journaled.  As did my Dad, me and my Mom recovered from the long days and nights. 

     Now a month later, I feel wonderful.  I feel happy, stronger, resilent, and thankful. Earlier in the day on January 3rd I'd finally discovered my word for the year.  My word for the year is UNFOLD.  I want to live my life as it is unfolding, as it comes to me.  I'm a planner, a control freak.  I want to surrender some of that control and just let things happen.  Let the unexpected happines, joy, and the exhilaration of life unfold.  I want those unplanned things to happen to me, no control, it just is.  Little did I know that a few hours after I chose this word how my life would take an unexpected turn. 

     Lately, I find myself enjoying life more.  Light heartedness bouys and guides me.  With relinquishing some of the control I also fear less.  The fear recedes and life becomes more about living as it unfolds, as God intends it to be.  I am filled with Love and so very grateful to God.