my dream

A friend of mine posted this video on my Facebook page yesterday. The first time I watched it, I sat in awe. Listening to this incredible woman, intelligent and knowing she told about building this haven. Her friends and family told about the wonderful place and the heroic woman. Many times throughout the day I have returned to listen again. To hear her wisdom and her humbleness, to see in my own future a work of art.

The differences being the location of this Eden, this paradise on earth and the visitors. I would not build it for artists to be inspired. I would create a place to inspire peoples souls. A quiet place filled with nature, a place of solitude and friendships. I would create a place in which hate and intolerance are left at the gate, a place where nature holds your hand and teaches you to love again.
A place with animals, creeks, and trees: gardens filled with fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers and rose bushes. Like the one in this video a place to give back to the earth.

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My Gift to you

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If I had a million dollars for Christmas just to spend,

not a penny nor a dime would leave my little hand.

It’s not that I am greedy or selfish, nor is it out of pride.

I wouldn’t buy a Christmas tree, tinsel or some bows,

I wouldn’t buy the chocolates, or candy canes this year.

There is nothing money can buy that can fill in all the gaps.

So, I give to you this Christmas the love of a friend.

I give to you the feeling of unconditional love.  

To take away the pain that is buried deep inside,

the fears, the hate, the anguish, all burdens big and small,

replacing them with happiness, with love, with confidence and above all 

with peace.

I give to you a soul reborn.  

One that isn’t burdened with worldly things, that is set free.  

A soul that is free to love without hesitation,

that is free of guilt

free of pain

a soul unencumbered by the world.

A soul that sees the world through eyes of wonder,

one no hate or judgement has ever scarred.

So, my gift to you this Christmas comes only from my heart.

A gift so pure and filled with understanding and love that it fills you with 

the true meaning of the season and spreads through every fiber of the rest of your life.

Memories…

ImageAs I sit here in the early morning, cup of hot coffee in my hand and watching the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, I am transported to Christmas’ past.  My heart is filled with the love and fellowship that each of them brought.  I am reminded of the people in my life that have blessed each and every one of them.  I watch as the years pass and tradition changes with the passing of different people.  

I guess the Christmas that taught me so much was Christmas ten years ago.  I had awakened early much like today.  I was struggling with Christmas coming.  I had a deep seated dread that it would bring disaster and I refused to decorate, to go shopping, or to even begin cooking.  I did not want Christmas to come that year.  Kristen had left right after school let out to spend time with Mom and Dad in Brownwood.  It was just John and I that morning and we were enjoying the cold morning in the den listening to Christmas Carols.  I had found a new song and was playing over and over and over.  It was on the 22nd of December and still no decorating.

I had called Mary Helen, John’s sister early that morning even though I knew that they had been out late that night, asking about some gifts and leaving a message for her to call me back when she got up.  That was about as normal as the rest of Christmas would get.  The phone call I received would in fact make for a disastrous Christmas.  Mary Helen had passed away from a cerebral aneurysm.  

Though we muddled through it, we still had the annual Christmas party at the house on Christmas Eve.  Trying our best to keep all our traditions intact.  Apart from me running out the front door ever so often to throw up in the yard, we got through it.

From that Christmas on, we have learned to make our own traditions.  We have learned to make each Christmas special.  I learned that the true meaning behind this season was to share love and hope.  To make every person in your life have a special memory of Christmas, for you never know who will be missing the next year.

As I started putting up the kitchen tree yesterday, John wondered into the kitchen for breakfast.  He is still very much “Santa” when it comes to the holiday.  He sat at the table and helped the best he could to decorate the tree.  As we sat eating breakfast, I asked him what he was thinking.  “I am thinking of Christmas 10 years ago.  Kristen wasn’t home and it was just you and I eating breakfast.  Much like this morning.”  My heart dropped.  For even though it has been 10 years I know that he misses her deeply.  I know that he is feeling heartache.  I too am feeling it.  This is the first Christmas without Dad.  

This week I had gone in search of a new ornament.  It is a tradition that we have always kept.  Kristen and I open the season by buying a new, unique ornament.  After walking the isles of the local stores, not venturing into the mall or the specialty Christmas store, I was saddened that no one sells glass ornaments any more.  Plastic buckets of plastic ornaments everywhere.  The ribbons and bows were the same, not of satin or cloth but of plastic and massive amounts of glitter.  So I did my usual thing and began watching and listening to people.  It should not be a chore to be accomplished, gift giving.  It should not bring about stress and anger.  Gift giving should be heart felt and filled with love.  That is the reason you are giving the gift, because you love someone.  I watched as people pulled from their pockets lists that others had made.  The things that would make them happy.  Would those things really bring about true happiness?  I listened to a young lady tell her sister that when she received a gift that wasn’t on her want list, she simply would give it back to the gift giver to return.  She told her sister that if they didn’t love her enough to give her just what was on her list that they didn’t truly love her at all.  Really?  Some of the most wonderful gifts that I have ever received, I had never even considered that I needed or wanted.  But each and every one of them came from someone’s love for me, and above all they made a wonderful memory.

Heading closer and closer to the Wonderful Christmas holiday, I seek out things that make a memory.  Every Christmas is the perfect day to cherish those that we love, it is one day that important memories are made, ones that will last a lifetime.  

Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Chanukkah,  Feliz Navidad, or Happy HO HO HO…..How ever you celebrate it.. love to you and yours.  Make awesome memories!!Image

Christmas time….

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What is truly behind the feeling of Christmas?  I love Christmas.  I love the season when people are how they should be all year.  If they could carry but a small part of that Christmas love throughout the year, would the world not be a better place?  

I love to watch children trying their best to be on behavior fitting the idea of “being good”, their faces filled with wonder, their hearts filled with anticipation.  I watch as parents do the best they can to give their children a few of the things they want.  I watch as people speak to each other, do wonderful and selfless things for each other.  I watch as the closer the special day gets the more loving people get. 

People decorate their houses, their cars, their shirts, and everything else that will stand sorta still long enough to throw some red and green on it.  Baking cookies, cakes, and candies, and preparing a feast for the family.

What if we baked a batch of fudge or cookies on a day off and took it to someone that would smile and appreciate it?  What if while you were shopping you picked up a throw or a little prize for the elderly neighbor down the road.  Why not say “Good morning” or “Hello” as you pass people?  

Since I was just a little girl, I have never been too much about the gifts I receive.  Mom and Dad used to get upset with me because my list was always simple.  One year my want for the Christmas tree was a University of Texas bandana.  That was it, it wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t flashy or even something I needed.  It was something I wanted.  I collected bandana’s it was one that I did not have.  I would much rather help someone else’s Christmas miracle come true.  It is where I learned to listen throughout the year, things that people really needed.  Finding a way, if only a nickel or dime at a time to surprise someone with that one thing that would make their lives better.  

I wish more people were like that.  My idea of the perfect Christmas has nothing to do with spending money.  It has to do with being with family and friends, if only for a few minutes to let them know how important they are to me.  How much they are loved.  To see them laugh and love is more important than what I can give to them.

So take the season and store it safely in your heart and share it the rest of the year.  Love each other and respect each other.  Do for each other and touch each others lives with some love.  Think instead of deciding whether to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or any other such salutation.. I think I will just say, ” I love you.”  Means the same and cuts through all the junk. 🙂  I LOVE YOU!  

Soap box time…..

Soap box time…  CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Let’s see if we can define this term.  Customer…person in your store, spending hard earned money that has the right to spend that money with you or with the store down the road.  Human.  Deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, deserves a smile and a kind word.  Service… verb.  Assisting another, providing some sort of action to provide a more pleasant experience.  What you get paid for.  Now let us see if we can possibly put these two things together.  Customer service.

I have worked in retail for many years, either through my own business, my parents business or another.  I was taught to smile, to be courteous, pleasant, and helpful.  Yes, we have freight to stock, we have a store to clean, we have paper work to do that is beside the point.  Without customers, we have no reason to put out the freight, or clean the store, or for that matter to unlock the door.

Getting pissy because you have to do your job and deal with customers isn’t gonna cut it.  First you got mad because you had to check in the milk and then the bread, then you got mad because there was a return and a void that was no fault of the checker of the customer but of corporate.  Then to top it all off you were rude to several customers.  One because she holds your feet to the fire when it comes to sales tags, one because you don’t like the smell of her, and one just for needing assistance.  All because you say that you have to get the truck of  freight worked.  But you are not putting out the freight, you are pittle assing around.  The final straw was when you didn’t take down an ad sign that ended on the 1st.  The customer asked for the sale price and you rudely refused.

Yes I do stand by my words, you suck at customer service.  Your people skills are so lacking that you look like an idiot.  You have no compassion for your employees, or your customers.  You are the reason that people watch to see who is working before they come into the store.  You wonder why I can run 2500.o0 in a 5 hour shift when you have only run less than 1000.00 in 8.  hmmmm gee I wonder.

Customer Service.  Get to know it, embrace it and live it daily.

The journey of creation.

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What a long road it has been.  Mother died in March of 2007, Dad followed in 2012.  But it has been the in between and the since that has really been the journey.  It has been probably the most illuminating of my life.  I went to San Angelo this week to wish a dear friend Happy Birthday and to go to Sam’s.  As I sat at the table with some awesome women, listening to Charlotte tell us about her “God-smack” moment, I began to look back over the years since I found my friend again.  The first day that we had actually spent the day together, we had gone to the river walk in Angelo and I had taken about a million pictures.  Mother and Bill had not been gone too long and it was one of the first times I had left Dad and John on their own.  I remember that Carrie and I had gone to eat and I was still so shy that I told her what I wanted off the menu so that she could order for us.  Looking back, I wonder if she thought I was nuts.  There would be many trips to Angelo over the next few years, two semesters of college under my belt and many long talks about so many things.  Her house became my safe-haven.  The place of solitude that allowed me to just think.  I could go there and sit quietly on the porch and just breathe.  I think God knew that Carrie would be the friend that was patient enough, had lived through enough to just let me heal, guide me along and never judge me.  That she would open up her heart, her home, and give me a place that peace and quietness would allow me to listen.

As I sat at the table the other night, perfectly okay with who lived in my own skin, perfectly at peace with my own independence it started me looking back at just how far I have come.

Afterwards, John and I went to Sam’s to do some shopping.  I had not realized that this was the first time in over a year that we had done so.  Sam’s was a “daddy and I” place, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.  So many memories of him flooded my heart that I spent the biggest part of the time crying my way through.  Picking up nuts and cheese for the upcoming holiday, taquitos, and a block of cheddar.  These were all favorites of dads.  I always brought him home a block of extra sharp cheddar and a can of mixed nuts.  He and I have spent many nights in the wee hours having crackers and cheese.  That was our time.  Our time in the middle of the night to plan, to learn and to enjoy each other’s company.

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I went to visit Mark for the first time in what seems like a lifetime when he got to come to Texas this summer.  Something he said has stuck with me ever since.  He and I had taken the golf cart down to the water’s edge and I had left my camera up at the house.  Mark told me that it was a good thing because then only he and I had the pictures of those memories together.  It made me realize just how much I had hidden behind that lens.  That I had been living but only to a certain point.  It is like the day that Kristen got married.  I had given my camera to Wes to take pictures of John and Kristen walking down the isle.  As long as Wes had the camera I felt emotion.  I was shaking so violently and crying that I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to stand when I was supposed to.  The minute he gave me back the camera, all emotion stopped and I was in shutter bug mode.    Taking pictures of everyone else and everything else to share with Daddy.  The last years of his life, it was me and the camera that brought life outside in to him.  He encouraged and was excited about the things I would capture.  I brought him Kristen’s wedding, I brought him the animals, the changing of the seasons, the Christmas decorations, the blooming flowers or the rising and setting of the sun.  I captured everything on the outside to share with him.  My friends, the kids, the town, to help him feel like he was a part of it all.  In the past few months I have done very little photography.  I have captured very little.  What I have captured seems lacking.  Seems to have lost some of it’s luster.  The same is to be said about my writing.  A million stories I have shared with Dad, a million ideas, and a million tears.

 

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There are always going to be barriers and barbs in life, it takes great friends and family to pull up on the top wire and step down on the bottom in order for us to reach the light of the other side.

 

 

When Mother died there seemed to be so much left unsaid.  But I now realize that in life there was much unsaid between us.  That even though we were very close, I was extremely guarded with her.  As was she with me.  She was the one that taught me to hide the true inner feelings of my heart.  She guarded her own heart and thoughts so well.  It wasn’t until after she died that through her sisters I learned of her past.  I learned why all those years I dreamed of a young man that I hated.  I hated him for taking her from me.  I hated him like you would hate a cheating parent’s lover.  Somewhere in my own mind I often wondered about her cheating on dad.  Only to find out in the end that it wasn’t a lover that she pined for, it was my step-brother that she had lost years before I was born.   That it was her own guilt, her own past demons that brought about the depression in her soul.  A thing that neither dad or I could help her over come.  In fact, Dad never knew.  She hid it away from him very well.  When he was out working was when it hit her the hardest.  It was his strength, his love, his being that brought her out of it.  It was something that even I couldn’t help her with.  It was her sisters and Dad that had to help me understand it all.  If I had one wish that I could have fulfilled for her was that she could see what an incredible person she was.  How many lives she touched and how many hearts she made smile.  If I could have her for one more day the thing that I would be sure to tell her would be that sharing it all in honest would have helped us all.  She was quite the wonderful Mom and woman.

Through my dad, my lovely daughter and terrific son-in-law, Trey , John, my most wonderful friends that have stood beside me over the last five years, and my aunts, I have learned so much.  I have learned to share and to be honest with myself first and with all of them.  I have learned that my existence isn’t not an intrusion.  Yes, I thought it.  I used to not call my friends, or share with them anything because I feared that I was intruding on their lives.  I guess that is the one thing that has been the hardest to overcome.  Someday’s I still feel that way.  I will think about someone in my life and instead of calling to check on them I just don’t.  Because I don’t want to intrude.  I am learning still.  I can’t tell you were that hang-up comes from it just is.

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Even my best friend didn’t know my thoughts, my feelings, or my life.  It wasn’t until I started putting incredible people in my life that I began to learn their true value.  That they taught me that sharing is loving.  That even though I loved very deeply that sharing of myself was the ultimate act of true love and friendship.  I am not an intrusion on the planet, I am an asset.  That my feelings, my ideas, my thoughts count for something.   I don’t have to write about them and let people that love me choose to read about them, I can actually share them.  People love me and want to know about me.  That has been one of the hardest things for me to learn.  Being married to an alcoholic just reinforced that idea.  I never had my own thoughts or my own feelings when it came to him.  John would tell me what I was feeling, what I thought, and what I needed.  Not wanting to argue, for it is always a mute point with a drunk, I just stopped fighting.  Stopped fighting for what I believed, for what I thought and felt.  But, that just enabled me to lock myself away even more.  The past year I have learned all these things matter.  Not the past, but the future.  For instead of living, I had thrown myself into caring for everyone else.  For doing all that I was supposed to do to be a good daughter, a good wife, a good parent, a good person.  To own up the all the responsibilities and hold the world upon my own shoulders.  With the passing of my Dad, so passed the last vestiges of that having to take care of everyone else.

With the passing of Daddy, I have felt so lost.  Lost on so many levels.  I felt his loss greatly, he wasn’t only my father, my parent, but for so many years he was my best friend.  There was nothing that I couldn’t share with him, that we couldn’t talk about or that we couldn’t solve.  I miss all of those people in him.  But for the first time in my own life I was free to go and do all the things I wanted to.  Except now I didn’t know what I wanted.  I didn’t know how to feel or what to feel.  I didn’t know what I wanted from life any more.  I was supposed to take care of my step siblings in some way but I really don’t know what dad wanted me to do there.  I think that more than anything he wanted me to just accept them and love them for who they are.  He did.  Years ago he told me that he had come to terms with who they were as individuals and accepted them and loved them for just that.  I feel sorry for them in some ways.  I know that there was so much left unsaid between Parent and Child.  Unfortunately,  those things will always be unsaid.  I had learned that already with Mother.  I just hope that I can be as awesome as my aunts were when and if they come asking.  When they want to know I will always be here and always try to answer as fairly and honestly as my aunts did for me.  I pray that there will come a time when they will want to know the truth about our Father.  His thoughts, his ambitions, his dreams and always his love for both of them.  Other than that, I can’t do much for either of them.  Love them and pray that someday old wounds will heal, scars will form and new relationships will happen.

 

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I am as delicate and beautiful as the summer flowers. I am allowed to bloom where ever I am.

 

 

 

I guess the last six months have probably been the most growing months of my life.  They have been days filled with grief, with happiness, with uncertainty but they have also been filled with love, with friendship, and will rebirth.  Filled with headaches and heartaches but a time of growth and expansion.  A time to stop and quietly begin again.  To open myself up to my own needs, my own wants and desires.  A time to finish up loose ends pay off all the debts both monetarily and spiritually.  A time to seek new adventures and learn new things.  It has been a time of planning and sorting, getting rid of and acquiring.   Above all else the past six months has taught me about me.  Taught me how strong I really am, how passionate I am and how patient I can me.  Taught me to be thankful for those people in my life and those that will come into it in the future.  It has taught me to seek out and share what is in my heart.  To let go of the anger the past caused, be still and quiet so that I can hear the things that I need to and to speak out about the things I must.  The next few months are going to be costly, they are going to be painful but I know in my own heart that it is all going to be fine and the people that I entrust will help me along that path.

I am going to be okay, I have begun to get my feet planted firmly back on Terra firma.  I am learned that it is my choices, my wants, my needs, and my desires that count now.  When Mother died, I set out to find myself.  I wasn’t lost, you don’t find yourself, you create yourself and with everyday that goes by I do just that….I create a better more wonderful me than was on the planet the day before.  It has been a long road to figure that out but with every little step, with every passing sunrise and sunset I paint a brighter more loving picture.

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I am strong and fierce. I am me and that is the best I can be.

 

 

 

 

So, at the moment the plans are like this…. finish what was begun years ago.  Get rid of all the excess and find that special place to fulfill my own destiny my own hearts desire.  Vague but if you know me real well, you know what that means. 🙂