My Favorite Place in the World

After my divorce I spent a lot of time alone and so I had plenty of time to think. The beach became my retreat, my escape from the rest of the world. So I would head there to fill any free moment and I would walk. Sometimes I would walk for hours. I would walk most nights until sunset, watching the sky change, the sun reflecting off the clouds. It made me appreciate that I was part of something bigger. That the things going on in my little world were small in comparison. The sun would set and I would be grateful because I’d made it through another day.

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Sunrise has also been special to me but in a different way. I am fortunate enough to be able to see both sunrise and sunset over the water, without having to drive to the other side of the state. For most people sunrise represents limitless possibilities. That certainly resonates with me. But it is also a time of peace, of calm before my busy day begins. It is a time when the kids are still asleep and I can reflect on all that I am grateful for.

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The rise and fall of the sun has been such an influence in my life. I am grateful I have this opportunity to share it.

Revised 3/29/18

A great friend has just sent me pictures of sunrise and sunset on Easter Island where she is currently traveling. She is one of my most faithful supporters so I instantly knew I had to add her pictures to this post.  We miss you!

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This post is in response to the photo challenge Sunrise/Sunset

Mending the Pieces of a Broken Quartet

I have always been very close to my niece and nephew who are now 17 and (almost) 20 respectively. Or maybe I should say I used to be close to my niece and nephew. I give their mother full credit for raising them, but I have definitely had my influence over the years.

When my nephew was born I saw him every day. I could walk to my sister’s house so it was easy. He was inquisitive, bright and happy. I loved him like he was my own, and I say that even after having two children of my own. I fondly remember washing off the birthday cake from his first birthday party, chasing him around the kitchen, bringing him camping with a bunch of girls and watching him play video games until my eyes glazed over. He was quirky, lining up presents from his Christmas stocking before opening them up even at the age of 2 (who does that???), but his quirks made him all the more special.

When my niece was born I was actually living with my sister. My (now ex) husband and I were saving to buy our first house. He was gone a lot of the time as a new pilot so it made sense. I helped my sister and her (now ex) husband with the baby when she was born. She was playful, cuddly and stubborn. She held a special piece of my heart and against my sister’s wishes I would sometimes rock her to sleep just because I enjoyed the connection with her. My fondest memories with her include visiting the animals at the Friendly Farm, watching her smear dirt all over her face and laughing until it hurt. She reminded me to have fun and be carefree (at least once in a while).

When my girls were born the four of them naturally became very close. Even my nephew, the token boy at any gathering, found ways to connect with his little cousins, chasing them around, tickling them when he caught them, the group of them dissolving in to a pile of laughing, flailing limbs. The summer of 2010 I wasn’t working and I took the four kids everywhere. We would spend days camping, just me with the four of them. We’d play games and tell stories. We went for bike rides and swam in the lake. We played at the playground and visited amusement parks.

We were close.

Until I took my kids and moved them to Florida.

Once we moved everything changed. I tried to keep in touch with my niece and nephew via Skype but it wasn’t the same and eventually we all stopped trying. I became caught up in my own life; moving into a new house, taking on a new job, and struggling with my divorce kept me pretty busy. Then dealing with health and emotional problems took my attention. I went up to visit them once or twice a year, but we were no longer close. Things had changed, and not for the better.

It was several years before I started working on repairing this. It’s time I can never get back and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully repair the relationship with my nephew, although I’m trying. He’s basically nocturnal now, not getting up until late afternoon unless he has class, staying up until my day starts. He’s not very interested in telling me about what’s going on in his life but he knows the door is open. I’ve offered to buy him a ticket to Florida any time he wants to come visit (even though he hates the heat). When I’m up in NH I arrange to do something with just him; no one else. He appreciates that effort more than anything. I know he is grateful I’m willing to put what he wants above everyone else, even if it’s just a couple of hours. I’m the only one who does.

My niece has been easier. A couple years ago I brought her down for the summer. I paid her to watch my kids instead of sending them to summer camp. She’s done this for two summers, and my kids feel she is more like a sibling than a cousin now. We all keep in contact with her via text or FaceTime. We are more integrated in her life than in previous years. She will be spending this coming summer with us again, her last before she starts college. She is naturally more communicative than her brother so I’m much more confident that as the years pass we will continue to be part of her life.

Perhaps this matters to me so much because I come from a broken family, not just because my parents got divorced but because I have no contact with uncles, aunts and cousins who all used to be part of my life. They just faded into my past, shadowy memories from my childhood and nothing more. I don’t want that to be how this story ends. I want to mend this quartet and rebuild this connection. I’m going to text them right now actually. There’s no reason not to tell them I’m thinking of them. I’m going to do it…right now.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Quartet

A Dedication

I found this especially touching. ❤️

Objects, and the Distance Between Them

Note: This piece is intended to be read as spoken word. I actually did something very significant for me in that I read it out loud at my first open mic night several nights ago…

I was not planning to post this, as I usually only post “fresh” content, but I was inspired by a fellow writer, Kaurv (http://kaurv.wordpress.com), and a lovely reading of Mary Elizabeth Fry’s Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep that Kaurv had posted as a video (https://wp.me/p7F0ar-M).

So, here is “A dedication”.

This was originally dedicated to “anyone who could use a reminder of who they are – who may have been told something different along the way, or simply lost track and could use a little help getting back”.

In this case, though, it is dedicated to anyone out there who has reached out and taken firm hold of their life and their…

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Protect the Beaten and Oppressed with the Constitution

We tend to get so caught up in our busy lives, in our little micro-universe that we miss the things going on in the world around us. I have to confess, I am like this a lot of the time. I don’t watch the news; it reeks of gloom and thrives on fear. I don’t listen to the radio; they use negativity and sensationalism to capture the attention of their audience, not to mention if I hear the ad for Morgan & Morgan one more time I might scream. I don’t even keep up with Facebook; the posts I care about are buried in “likes,” memes and meaningless ramblings.

But sometimes events can’t be ignored. Sometimes situations happening farther away also hit close to home. In these moments I’m reminded that I should be paying more attention to what is going on; I should be more involved; I should care enough about the world around me to help make things better.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was this for me, and I suspect for others like me.

There have been other school shootings that have riled the public but then faded away. People still remember the Columbine High School shooting from 1999 in which 13 people were murdered, but this tragedy didn’t inspire the rallies and marches that we’re seeing today after the shooting in Parkland. What makes this one unique?

I believe this one is different because of the kids. I believe the actions that the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are taking have awakened people who have been sheltered in their little piece of the Earth; people who would normally remain silent but who are now speaking out; people like me. I believe that children, teens and young adults are learning from the example of these students and have found something they can be passionate about.

There are many societal issues this group could have joined together to protest: bullying, suicide, drugs, sex, under-age drinking, teachers’ abuse of power, too much homework. This one is uniting them because the students at Parkland are not giving up. They are bringing awareness to the formerly uninformed.

Gun control has always been hotly debated. Those in favor of our “right to bear arms” have always shouted louder than those in favor of better controls, until now. I read a post the other day but unfortunately I couldn’t find it as I was writing this. In this post the author clearly shared views which mirrors mine. I felt compelled to respond, to add my voice to hers. This post and others like it help keep this moving forward.

Gun lobbyists often cite the second amendment of the Constitution; it is our RIGHT to own and carry guns. Our forefathers however, when they wrote the Constitution, did not anticipate the types of guns we have today. They did not imagine a world where semi-automatic rifles could be used to wipe out groups of people from a safe distance.

The spirit of the second amendment was to allow all Americans to defend themselves and resist oppression. It protects the right of the citizens to join forces against the government. Allowing the American people to “bear arms” ensured that they were not controlled by a government who didn’t allow the oppressed to have guns.

Those yelling about their second amendment rights seem to have forgotten that there is more to this amendment than the right to own and carry a gun. It is the right to join forces against the government.

In this way, the students marching in the protest against lax gun control laws are doing so because of this Constitutional right. They are using words instead of guns, but they are still joining together to demand the government take action. In my opinion, this is different from the first amendment right of free speech, although when words are used this is the amendment everyone points to.

I’m not an expert on the Constitution, but I suspect neither are those supporting the “right to bear arms.” If we are going to argue by citing the Constitution then we need to re-educate ourselves. We need to understand not just the words that were written but also the spirit in which they were written. If we use the Constitution to debate how we should move forward then we should consider what our forefathers truly wanted for this country.

Let’s protect the beaten and oppressed with this amendment, instead of just guns.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Micro
Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Relying On me

This is beautiful! I feel her strength and independence. I used to be this person… Pushing people away, afraid to trust or let anyone help. But I have found that you can be strong and independent…And still let those few people you can trust help you and be there for you. I have been able to accomplish so much more by letting people who love me help carry some of my load. In return I am able to help them in my own way. ❤️

Discovering Your Happiness

Hello loves ❤

She doesn’t rely on anyone else because over time she has learned the only person she can truly depend on is herself. Other people have the potential to let her down. Other people have their own best interests at heart. Other people do not care about her as much as they claim.

She doesn’t rely on anyone else because she is no stranger to disappointment. She has gotten excited over plans that never happened. She has been given promises that were ultimately broken. She has thought someone was on her side before they turned against her. She has assumed someone loved her before they abandoned her.

She doesn’t rely on anyone else because she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, so if she wants something done the right way she might as well do it herself. She might as well carry the burden. She would rather…

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Conquer Your Inefficient Abusive Self-Talk

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.”  As a kid I fully believed this.  I repeated it to myself when kids made fun of what I was wearing, when they called me “big boned” or a “tomboy,” or when they simply laughed in that condescending way they had.  Words couldn’t hurt me, right?

Wrong!

The messages I got from my peers, so called “friends” who sometimes meant well but had their own personal issues, and my family became my reality.  Their words became the words I told myself as I grew up.  From these words I learned that I wasn’t as good as the other kids, I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls, I wasn’t valuable, I didn’t matter.

Words can hurt as much as sticks and stones, the damage is just harder to see.

This morning both my daughters told me they have “fat fingers” (my oldest even said she has “man hands”).  They think nothing of these kinds of comments.  They hear similar ones all day long.  But even if they say these things jokingly these words become their thoughts and feelings.

Today my oldest turned 13.  I couldn’t just let her “man hands” comment go, but teenagers are not overly receptive to the things we tell them.  What we show them is far more valuable, but since we were watching Mary Poppins* I didn’t want to interrupt everything for a lesson.  I simply told her that over time we tend to believe the things we tell ourselves, even if we were “just kidding.”

In typical teenage fashion she sighed and told me to stop teaching.  This is a personal joke of sorts because she’s been telling me to stop teaching her for years but I always tell her that it’s my job to teach her.  I don’t lecture but I will say what’s on my mind.

Today though when she told me to stop teaching, her tone was a bit different than it usually is.  Since I started this blog and working on the book I’m writing I think she sees me a little differently.  I’ve read her some of my posts (she is welcome to read them all someday but since I am open about some things she’s not ready to know I have asked her not to read them all yet).  Trying to appear unimpressed, she told me I should teach writing.  I think she’s starting to realize I might know a thing or two.

For now, if she learns to be kind to herself I’ll have done my job.

Lets change our inefficient, hating self-talk to something better:

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*I love that my kids enjoy the classic movies like Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Inefficient

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!