Labor Day

I have had the perfect weekend – the weather was beautiful, with cool mornings for writing, lazy afternoons for reading and surrounded by family as we eat excellent food. This morning I will sit with the one family member that is not present – for even in the good times I miss him so much it hurts.

I believe the perfectness of the weekend has to do with the person we are missing. We have acquired an appreciation for each other’s company – for we know that in an instant a person you love might be gone tomorrow. My children have seen true love made visible by a loss. Nothing shows love more than how broken a heart is after you lose someone. They know I love them with the same intensity.

I wish I could have both – the knowledge of how precious life is without the loss. Maybe if someone told me – than maybe I could have had the best of both worlds.

Maybe I am the one to do the telling.

I sit here in the quiet on this Labor Day morning and I find myself in between feeling contentment and feeling sadness. It is in this space – the in between – that I have found survival.

When I am looking at my life from this point of view – I find that the world is full of contradictions. It is simply complex and perfectly imperfect. One can either have cake or one can eat it.

I can’t have the best of both worlds – but I can find comfort somewhere in between them.

The Sidewalk

Daily Post Writing Prompt: Sidewalk
The word sidewalk takes me back to last year – the year I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that terrified me.

I remember pulling into the parking lot and finding a spot close to the stairs that lead to a beautiful tree-lined sidewalk. I unclenched my sweaty hands from the steering wheel and forced myself to exit the car. I climbed the stairs and stood at the beginning of the concrete path. I knew the sidewalk would take me into a building that held the local theater company but I also knew the metaphoric path would take me some place too.

I was to audition for a part in the annual Christmas play and I remember vividly standing on the sidewalk and fighting a fierce battle with my fear. I have worked back stage and have made a few good friends; they and my family had talked me into auditioning. Did they see something I didn’t”?

A young girl of six or seven skipped past me and up the sidewalk, following close behind was an older gentleman, her father perhaps. She turned towards the man and exclaimed, “I am so nervous!” and her pigtail flapped with her bobbing head. The man offered her words of encouragement, they joined hands and continued up the path. I felt my inner child stir.

My inner child yearned to enjoy life.  I wanted to try new things and to quit sitting on the sidelines (or staying backstage). Yet to be child-like at forty-eight is not an attractive sight. A six-year-old trying something new is cute, but I would look like a fool. The fear of appearing foolish eclipse my desire for a part in the play.

My inner child must have sensed fear was winning the battle, because I had a sudden urge to skip along the path like the six-year old. I wanted to throw caution to the wind and to take a risk – I wanted the experience.

I didn’t skip, but I squared my shoulders and lifted my chin and marched down that sidewalk, into the building and I auditioned. I did feel foolish and so ashamed that I cried all the way home afterwards. I was rewarded a small part and I rehearsed for weeks. I had the time of my life. When the curtain open for the first show, I was ready for it and I was as giddy as my six-year old co-actor.

I think of this day whenever I want to try something new. If I could perform on stage I could lead a bible study or sing in the church choir.  I will use the memory for my future experiences.

Sidewalks are to take us some place – both literally and metaphorically.




I am no expert….

Daily Writing Prompt: Expert

Knowledge can only take one so far. To be knowledgeable about a certain subject will give you the title of expert. I have been told that I like to argue and should submit to authority and respect their expertise. I ask too many questions, looking for a better way or a better explanation. I threaten their title of “expert”; or do I do this because I am threatened by their “expertise”?

As my life evolves I find myself searching for experience instead of researching for knowledge. I have found the lessons are in every situation – in every moment, if I am open to it. The simple act of sitting down and writing about the word expert, has taught me a lesson on how I relate with some people. I now realize I am fighting a war that is not worth winning.

I do not want to be an expert. I want to approach life with a hunger for experiences and to be on the look out for the lessons that will make me aware of how precious life is. I want to share these experiences and I want to hear about other’s experiences. As we share each other’s stories we gain insight from the listening as well as in the telling – to be both student and teacher. If I could discipline myself to approach each relationship this way – I would not only gain wisdom, but friendship.

The need to be the expert gets in the way of this kind of lifestyle. If one needs to be an expert then someone else must be the inferior. If one is an expert, what else is there to learn? I want my life to be a never-ending lesson and experiences that will fill me with wonder and excitement. I will ask many questions and I will try and fail at many things and at times I will look foolish – but it is a price I am willing to pay – it is probably the cure to my need for perfection.

Already a burden seems to have been lifted. I have nothing to prove.

I am learning how to live – if I become an expert, the learning stops.

Reach for it…

Daily Writing Prompt Reach

My dreams were within my reach. I am transitioning into the next stage of my life. My children were nearly grown and I find myself with free time. I feel the beginnings of hope that I might achieve to be something more than their caretaker.

I played in the creativity of writing like the child I was never allowed to be. It felt incredible to spread those creative wings and express the jumble thoughts that always roam around in my head. I felt I was on the verge of flying, – then obligation tethered me.  I am expected to start working full-time.

I have to squeeze a lifetime of yearning into Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. It feels like I am standing before a huge mountain and I am to shape it into something profound with a tiny chisel – it will take a very long time with such a small tool. I don’t know how I will conquer it. I do not know where to begin. I lie down in the shadow of that mountain and stare up at its massive size. “It seems impossible”.

I recall the massive mountain of motherhood I had to face when my children were babies. The days were filled with so much responsibility and I felt I would never have a moment’s peace. That mountain has been honed over the years and before me stands the most impressive masterpieces. All that time was well worth it.

I also recall the mountain of grief – that formidable sheet of rock that seemed impenetrable, now has a wide canyon created by a river of my tears. It is still impressive but navigable. Or the mountain of guilt weathered by forgiveness and the mountain of pride conquered by humility; they both are now manageable foothills.

Life is a series of mountains, one right after another and this mountain that stands before me is no different. As I imagine myself lying in the shadow of my metaphor, the huge chunk of rock blocks the sun. I look up I can see the beautiful rays creating a halo around the peak. If the mountain were to be removed I would be blinded by the intensity of the sun. I thank the mountain for protecting me, shielding me. The mountain immediately loses it menacing appearance and becomes something to behold. I can see something begin to take shape in the rugged edges and sharp points. I approach it with my chisel and chip away small shards of rock. I work until my time is up and I put my chisel down until next week. I accomplished very little today but over the years it will become something spectacular.


If I Could Paint…

Writing Prompt: Paint

If I could paint – I would be able to create without needing the conditions to be just right. I would not have to wait for sun to peek out from behind the cloud to capture the spotlight on a flower. I would not have to wait for the leaves to shine in the golden hour. I would not have to wait for the lake to turn that color of blue, the color of someone’s eyes. I would not have to wait for the hummingbird to pose in the right spot at the right time for the light to create a halo out of the movement of it’s wings.

If I could paint, I would not have to wait for the gloomy days to turn bright in order to find all the spider webs hidden in the garden. Nor would I have to wait to find tiny rainbows in the dew upon the grass. I would not have to wait to capture the the sun’s rays as it shines through the tree branches. Nor would I have to wait for the reflection to appear as a crane stands in water.

If I could paint, I would be able to capture the mirth in my son’s eye and the highlights in his sun-kissed hair and the dimple in his right cheek. If I could paint I would be able to capture it from memory – for a photograph is no longer possible.

If I could paint, I would be able to portray the emotions that I cannot capture in my camera’s lens. Sadness would be an array of colors in gray, brown, and black,  regret in plum, blue and forest green and my joy would be splattered here and there in bright oranges and yellows. My hope would be in red – a small blotch of color in the center of it all.

A camera cannot capture everything – but if I could paint, I would have the freedom to capture sweet memories and powerful emotions any time I wish.

I apologize…

Daily Writing Prompt: Apology
I am sorry, Momma, for not being the perfect daughter. I didn’t try hard in school and I was unpopular. I am sorry for all the mistakes I made growing up – all those bad choices. I apologize for my pouts of depression. I am sorry for all these things and more.

I am sorry, my dear husband, for not being the perfect wife. I apologize for my fail attempts of cooking and of keeping an orderly house. I am sorry for being a day-dreamer and for loving books. I apologize for times I was so afraid and for those times of great sadness. I am sorry for not being strong enough. I apologize for all those arguments. I am sorry for being too proud to admit when I was wrong.   I am sorry for all these things and more.

My sweet children, to you I offer a thousand apologies for not being the perfect mother. I am sorry for losing my temper and ranting on and on. I am sorry for not being able to work, parent and keep house effectively. I am sorry for those days of sorrow. I am sorry for butting my nose into your business and for all those embarrassing moments when I made a fool of myself. I apologize for making you eat things like kale and Brussels sprouts. I am sorry for all these things and more.

I apologize for being human.

And you all forgive me for everything I deem a failure; you all continue to love me with all my flaws and imperfections.

Why do I feel the need to keep apologizing?


My Sanctuary Defined…

Writing Prompt: Sanctuary

I have a place I call The Sanctuary. It is a place surrounded by my gardens and shaded by trees I planted – my perfect place; my Eden. I believe everyone should find a sanctuary of their own – a safe place to become the person they are destined to be.

My garden is chaotic and I do little to keep it under control. I plant a flower wherever I find a patch of dirt and I do not have a color scheme, I have hot pinks planted next to orange. I put it in the ground and hope it survives – most make it. It is a miracle it survives. My Sanctuary is that miracle and I feel a connection to the miracle – to the mystery – and it is that connection where I feel safe.

In my Sanctuary I feel safe to write, to journal everyday, sometimes I share the lesson, but mostly it is rambling thoughts, concerns or fears expressed on the page – where it can be picked apart and analyzed. From that a beautiful story will emerge – to replace a haunting memory, a lesson to change my perspective on a circumstance or an incredible insight that could only come from the Spirit. It is a place where I can take a word and ponder on it for a while and give my insight on what the word means to me. The miracle is I have found my voice – and the freedom to express it.

In my Sanctuary I feel safe to express emotions. Safe from the ever-critical eye of the world, I am free to grieve and cry the river of tears I deny myself. I am free to express my anger at the injustice and I am comforted by my surroundings – where the flower nod their heads and the trees shake their branches in agreement. I am free to admit I am afraid and face the fear. The miracle is the emotions are expressed in a controlled environment – a safe place. No longer suppressed, bubbling under the surface.

In my Sanctuary, my friends and family visit and we have special conversations and share secrets, protected under the hush of the breeze passing through the leaves of the trees and the continuous birdsong in the background.

My Sanctuary is a place where I dream and find the courage to become – a gardener, a photographer, a writer, a mentor and a friend – and whatever else I decide to dream up.

My Sanctuary is a holy place – a mysterious and spiritual place. It is a place where I learned to pray – to commune with God. I have been moved to tears by the occurrences of wonder and moments of incredible beauty. All of this in my backyard… A place I deemed as The Sanctuary.

Find a place to be your Sanctuary – and make it holy.



All week-long I have pushed myself to beat the clock. Rushing to get as much done as the hands spin faster and faster. I cannot believe it is the end of July, the end of summer vacation for my southern kids and the end of my 48th year

Time flies at lightening speed. I blink and an hour is gone. I wake up in the morning and it seems in an instant I am back in bed, although 18 hours have passed. Life passes by in a blur – and I spent many years wishing it would slow down. I have recently learned I must be the one to slow down.

Today is Saturday, a day I deem sacred – a day I choose to slow down, athough the world keeps spinning. Early morning coffee in the garden, with my writing – to record the passing of time.  Time to think.  Time to ponder and process the week events.

Time to marvel at the flight of a butterfly and be awe-struck by the majestic presence of an osprey, fishing in the nearby lake.

Time to contemplate. Time to breathe – slowly…

Writing Prompt: Slowly


Don’t let Fear drive…

The Daily Post Writing Prompt – Drive

We decided that our summer vacation would be Winter Park, Colorado, one of the highest communities in the state.  I love the first reaction the boys had to the Rocky Mountains.  At first the mountains appeared to be mirages on the horizons, barely visible through the misty rain.  The clouds parted as we left Denver and the sun shown on the peaks, revealing patches of snow.  As the men in the car were busy making plans on which mountain peak they would summit, I began to feel that gnawing pang of fear in the pit of my stomach.  I was terrified of heights and I could only imagine what a drive to the summit of one of those mountains would be like.

My men decided on Mount Evans, which boasts the highest paved passenger route in North America at 14130 feet above sea level.  It is just 20 feet higher than the famous Pikes Peak and not nearly as “touristy”.  Fear wanted me to stay home but my love for my family won out and I joined them for this adventure. The drive up the mountain was the most terrifying drive I have ever experienced.  Every hairpin turn looked like we would fall off the mountain, and I prayed feverishly at each one “Please no cars!”   On one of the final turn to the summit we encountered a herd of mountain goats, in the middle of the narrow road and we had to ease the car around them to continue our climb.


Once at the highest point we could go with a car, we exited the car and the boys took off up a trail to take them a hundred feet higher to the summit.  My husband and I felt the full impact of the change in altitude.  I understand the term “breath-taking” for it was – literally.  We made our way to the lookout’s edge and the view was like nothing I have ever experienced.  I was at the same height as a single rain cloud raining somewhere miles away.  I grabbed the rail and braved a glance down to the valley, I could see ant like cars crawling up the road.  I eased back slightly from the rail and returned my gaze upon the view.  My husband put his arm around me and we stood there in awe of the beauty.  It was a beauty that touched my soul and a vision that will forever live in my memory.  I tried to capture the moment with my camera, but it did not do it justice.  The experience is hard to express with a flat picture and even harder still with words.

The drive down was much more bearable.  My fear was under control and I was able to sneak peeks of the panoramic views.  I marvel at how calm I was and I wonder if it was because I survived the drive up.  Whatever the reason, I felt empowered with my fear under control and joined my family in their enthusiasm.

We pulled off to explore an area at a lower elevation and I was able to look up at the summit we just visited.  Looking up at the massive mountain and it’s snow speckled peak gleaming in the sun was an impressive sight, but no comparison to what I experience at the top of it.  Fear can keep me on the sidelines, but my soul longs for the experiences.  Many times I let fear dictate where I am going – but not this time.  This time I did not allow fear to drive.

Prisoner Of Cowardice

Dailypost prompt: Cowardice

I feel the heat in my cheeks and the quickening heart beat. My jaw clenches and the small hairs stand up on my arms and the back of my neck. I stand rooted to the spot, wanting to run yet my feet refuse to move. Denial sets in – this can’t be happening – not to me. Why is it happening to me? Am I being punished? This is usually my first reaction when a “bad” event happens in my life.  I will do anything to not face it.

I was taught God blesses those who are good and punishes those who sin. This is not a blessing – far from it. What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong? What will people say? I must find a way to justify why this has happen to me. It is not my fault. That is it – find someone or something to blame. I am a victim in all of this. Pity is a powerful tool. I cannot be classified as “bad” if I am the victim.

When I am the victim I do not have to do anything. Why should I? I am not to blame. By being a victim I have created roadblock in my journey. I have an excuse for not moving forward. I have also created a shield for future villains; for how would it look if one would do wrong to a victim? I have created a perfect solution to all the problems life has to offer. A safety zone all wrapped up in being a victim. I do not have to do anything because I am a victim. No one can touch me because I am a victim. I have made myself a nice and tidy prison and fear is the prison guard.

Choosing to stay a victim is an act of cowardice.

This realization was a hard pill for me to swallow. Choosing to stay the victim is allowing fear to dictate my life. I have learned there is only one way to overcome victimization; and it is through forgiveness. The hardest thing I have ever done is face an event and/or person that wronged me and forgive. When I forgive, I release myself from being the victim and take ownership; allowing it to become a part of me, which is more than it being something done to me. If I allow the event or circumstance to become a part of me, I am then able to expand from it or in other words, grow from it. Eventually I am able to move out from under it and eventually I overcame it and I let it go. Or maybe I should say, I am let go from it, free from the prison that it created. This lesson has changed my life and continues to change me for I am still learning. Forgiveness is a huge lesson and it may take my lifetime to learn all it needs to teach me.

Life is not fair and bad things happen to good people. I may not deserve the bad nor do I deserve the good. I believe God does not dish out trials to those who do not live up to a certain standard. Nor do I believe he blesses only those who have acted righteously.   God gives life – it is up to me how I choose to learn from it.