Friday, December 2, 2011

a heart that holds.

amazing what a heart can endure, hold, make room for. amazing what you can find if you listen there. that unmistakable flutter, pitter-patter, that lets you know something is on its way out (but never gone), something is finding its way in, something is building, something is beginning - even if you aren't quite sure what it is.



think about it - all that you have in your heart. i like to think of the heart as having different compartments for different memories and moments, and you choose (or at least you think you choose) how much space each memory and each moment gets. instead of letting go, the heart says, "i've got this," and finds the right spot for every last thing, gently putting the past in its place. your heart can't and won't let it go, but you begin to realize that is not such a bad thing. because other things are taking over, have found their place within. it's almost as if the heart contracts when it comes to the bad, takes a breather and collects itself, then expands shortly after (pushing the bad to faraway corners) to make room for the good. it finds ways to protect, it finds ways to remind. but no matter what's inside, i've found that there is room for all of it. i know this now.




your heart makes more and more room for the good. it says, "hey, i could get used to this," and it does. and soon, you hardly think of those faraway corners, though always with you. your heart continues to let in.. but never lets go. i've watched it happen. i've felt it happen. and i look forward to all a heart can hold.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

it's never just.

the memories that find you when everything falls still. remembering, quiet thinking, filling spaces in between. when the world outside slows down for a moment. an all-the-sudden hush covering the otherwise-hectic autumn days. catch your breath. in the reflection, the looking back, the peeking forward, finding familiar smiles and laughter, and oftentimes songs, that seem to get lost within the ever-moving shuffle. lost but never gone, never far, from us. and it's never just...there is meaning within the moments and the thoughts that stick with you, that appear and reappear on their own. the smile that sneaks across your face, the laughter that brings about relief, the songs that reach a place within and play again and again in your mind. there is meaning within the moments.


it's never just a song in your head.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

jet planes can be dolphins.

I was sitting at the table with one of my anti-sleep preschoolers today during nap. “How do you draw the letter B?” he asked. I drew a B on a piece of paper and told him it was kind of like drawing two circles together. After he had written his own B, and I had praised him for it (it really was a great B), he said, “But my B doesn’t look like yours.” I went on to explain, as best as I could, that everyone’s Bs and letters look different, but that’s okay.

Afterward, he decided to draw a roller coaster, and had me draw a car on the roller coaster – and then, for some unknown reason, a jet plane. Somewhere along the way, in joking, I said, “I want to be just like you when I grow up.” My preschooler looked at me and said, “You can’t be me – that’s against the law. But you could be an animal.” “Okay, I want to be a dolphin,” I told him, as he proceeded to color in my sad depiction of a jet plane. “How does that look?” he asked once he’d finished coloring. “It kind of looks like a dolphin,” I laughed.

The mind of a four-year old is pretty interesting, to say the least. Random, silly, funny and creative. So very creative. Not everything makes sense, but it doesn’t matter – it makes sense to them. There’s no reason a picture that started out as a roller coaster ride can’t involve a jet plane and three dolphins (that happened to look more like fish with wings). There’s no reason scarecrows at the pumpkin patch can’t be sad and fight off dragons (I heard this one in our story-sharing time last week). There’s no reason why scribbles and random letters on a page can’t be a story about Halloween or a fairytale. There’s no reason, at least according to a four-year old, why a person can’t grow up to be an animal. And there’s no reason why all our letters need to look exactly the same.

It fascinates me. Every day. The honest creativity and the wide variety that exists in my classroom. And, while I know having my kids “write” and “read” their one-of-a-kind stories aloud and tell me about their drawings is actually beneficial to and fun for them, it’s also something I enjoy as well. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.

I’m beginning to think that’s why I seem to fit in well with the preschoolers. Our way of thinking. There’s no right or wrong, really. Just different ways of thinking about things, of seeing things. We were striving for a jet plane and got a dolphin instead. Our Bs looked different. But it doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is the willingness to consider. I hope that’s one of the many things I’m teaching my kids – not so much rights and wrongs but the differences in between. Actually, I think they’ve been teaching me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

learn to teach. teach to learn.


there are a lot of days lately like today when my preschoolers seem to settle down at just the right time. all together. and stay settled. it's taken a lot of patience and do-overs and trying out, but, slowly but surely, we've made progress.


today, as each student was telling me one sentence about his or her week to write, and as we then read the sentences together, something kind of hit me. a few weeks ago, these same preschoolers would have been running around the room, or laughing and talking with each other at the table, as i tried to teach them something. anything. these days, though, they're listening and participating and, most importantly, learning enthusiastically. they're into it. and it's the simplest things that seem to be exciting them the most. having them "write" stories and get up and "read" them to the class. having them share sentences like today (about pumpkin patches and dragons and mad scarecrows and princesses..) and read them back with me. using colored popsicle sticks for counting and making shapes and letters (it's amazing how entertaining popsicle sticks can be). learning our colors and numbers in spanish. and, their very favorite, reading books.


i'm always amazed at the power books and stories have over four-year olds. start reading and suddenly, it gets very quiet. it gets very still. and their tiny eyes light up as the story is being read. today was no different, as we made our way through a handful of halloween-themed books, reading about the teeny tiny ghost and pumpkins and witches. and there we sat, reading and reading and reading some more, each child pulling books off the shelf for us to read together.


there are moments every day when i'm proud of my preschoolers. and i tell them that. today, though, was extra full of praise and high-fives and, of course, stickers. and extra full of reminders of how far we've come.

Monday, October 10, 2011

sky lights.

I wonder what the stars look like
From your side of the sky tonight
Measuring up the near moonlight
Before it’s cast into the night

Do they flitter fast and quiet still?
Or store up all their light until
The night calls on them to instill
A constant calm that ever will

And with each flicker, sparkles fly
A kind of peaceful, silent cry
Giving meaning to all you find
Beneath the shadows of the sky

As I peek up into the night
A welcome shine of tiny lights
I wonder what the stars look like
From your side of the sky tonight




Saturday, October 8, 2011

finding smiles.

i know i complain at times. we all do. but i'm beginning to think we shouldn't. you are where you are, doing what you're doing, because you chose it. no one is forcing you to do anything. and you're free to change your mind, to change what you do, at anytime.

i've been blessed to hear the words, "you've got to do what makes you happy, period" my entire life. i've never been afraid of trying something different, or trying something in a different way, in order to be happier (if you're not happy, do something about it. plain and simple). that i know. and i truly believe in the importance of finding happiness in all you do. if you look for happiness, you can always find it. i believe that, too. then again, i've always been surrounded by happiness thanks to my family and friends and faith (the three f's), so i've never had to look far to find it. i know it's always there. and i guess that's why it's so important i find happiness in everything else as well.. i know it exists, i know it can last, and i want to find it in everything, just as i've always found it in my everythings (the three f's).


"refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.."


Monday, October 3, 2011

eyes ahead.

i was on facebook tonight and came across something that really got to me. it was about you, my friend.. who i know is still reading every word. someone had left a message about you for your sister and it said.. he lived a good life with no troubles and followed the word of God. maybe his loss was a way to help you seek God and live a good life. from what i can tell, it seems your sister has been struggling with the same question i often ask myself.. why? why bring someone into the lives of others, and have that person affect them so strongly, weaving memories and moments into their everyday, just to have them taken away so very quickly? finally, though, as i read the message above, it all started to make a bit of sense to me. and, instead of looking for the why, i'm beginning to understand to search for the how.. remembering how my friend influenced the then.. and knowing how to live the now (just as he did), through faith and focus on the good life God has given me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

when to wonder.

i'm beginning to think, at some point, the thinking stops on its own. after thought after thought, wonder after wonder, everything gets very quiet. very still. almost as if there is literally nothing left to question, because you've already asked it all. the problem is the questions are still unanswered. left hanging. gone into hiding for a bit. at least for the night. waiting for the moment when they can finally be addressed or consciously ignored. but they never, ever disappear.


it rarely helps - the overthinking. in fact, it seems to create a lot of extra worry. but it can't be helped. and while i've tried in the past to "fix" it, there's no getting around it. i am an overthinker, period. maybe it's my instinct, and instead of feeling it in my heart or gut, i think it instead. my instincts as thoughts.


how do you get rid of a question you can't answer right away? in my case, you can't. you just think it to death. how do you let go of a question you're afraid to release? when you choose to let it go - the question you're afraid to ask - more often than not, the answer creeps up on you anyway. somehow. and, at the end of the day, how do you know if you are simply overthinking it (as usual) or if you've stumbled onto something worth thinking over and over?


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

by what means?


there are some books i enjoy because of the story being told. there are other books, though, that i enjoy not only because of the story, but because of the way the story is written (pat conroy's beach music. loved walked in and belong to me, both by marisa de los santos). the writing moves me. the words move me. and i get caught up in the beautiful how instead of the what. even the wee free men (the first of many books i'm required, yet excited, to read thanks to my children's lit class), a novel by terry pratchett about the adventures of tiny red-headed men and witches, and a novel i'd never expect myself to enjoy, ended up grabbing me from the very beginning because of the author's witty and charming writing. and, once again, i find myself wrapped up in how something has been done instead of what has been done itself.


and it all seems to remind me of one little phrase. it's the thought that counts.


i'm a girl who has her preschoolers decorate cards with simple notes inside them every friday for their parents and caretakers. who believes in and defends intentions. who puts a great deal of thought behind how her words are spoken, written. and who thinks that sometimes, it's not so much about the story itself, and the what we do to fill our days, but how the stories are lived and shared. how our lives are filled.


there's a part in the wee free men when the young girl, tiffany, thinks her grandmother has put a lamb inside an oven to die (stick with me). she screams and cries and doesn't understand why. a little while later, her grandmother opens the oven and reveals the lamb, alive again. once she gets older, though, tiffany finds out that the oven was simply a space for warming the weak, cold and just-born lamb, no magic involved. "that was how it worked. no magic at all. but that time (that first time) it had been magic. and it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done."


at first, tiffany only had the what, instead of the reasoning and the way. and sometimes, that's the magic, the what happened (the story itself). but then, she found the how. and, more often than not, at least to me, it is more the magic when we find the how (the reason and the way) behind it all.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

rain to shine.

for years, there was a part of me that believed, in order to move forward, i had to let go of my past. entirely. i couldn't think about it. i couldn't revisit it. i couldn't reminisce over pictures that celebrated it. and i couldn't let the old me define the person i was moving toward, growing into. i prided myself on progressing away from the years i had yet to put behind me and building an altogether different kind of life. one day, though, i realized it all went hand in hand. that past life was not a life in and of itself. it was a part of me and my life. just one part. one significant part that connected to the next. that lead me to my better, best days. and so, the remembering was no longer a step back or a set back. it was simply, and solely, a look back. a look back on the days and choices that lead me.. here. a place where i can think about, revisit and reminisce over the past, letting the old me stick around as a reminder of how far i've come and how far i'm capable of going. rain or shine? rain to shine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

but i don't mind the dark, discovering the day.

what's being done... a little sharing from the book...


I find a kind of comfort in nighttime falling rain; in the drops dancing madly against a receiving window pane; in the way it descends relentlessly at times and ever-so-gently at others. I like it best, though, when the rain cascades torrentially from afternoon into evening and from evening into the darkest of midnights, with no attention to the drowning world and collecting puddles. It just falls and pours and masks all that breathes beneath it. And just when you think it’s gone for good, the rain comes in again and takes hold.


Sleep comes easier below a roof being sprinkled with rain. A constant, yet ever-changing, rhythm that lulls and cradles, setting the tone for the night of sleep ahead. A quiet, effortless sleep, uninterrupted and settling, that takes places only underneath a rainfall. So much so that you long for that nocturnal downpour time after time again, because within it and the shadows it creates against your bedroom wall, there and always you find your deepest, darkest sleep.


There’s a certain, recognizable silence within the deafening tumbling down of rain. Thoughts and the innermost contemplations take second place to it almost involuntarily. As drowned out as the newly-soaked ground now. It’s something else to listen to, rather than the noise inside that otherwise takes over. That is, if you listen intently enough. It all goes hand in hand - the silence, the easy sleeping. One only exists with the other, and both only exist when it rains. And perhaps that’s where that kind of nighttime falling rain comfort comes from - the stillness inside the storm.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

here goes nothing. here it comes again.

what's being done.. a little rainy day writing..


When it rains, that is when I feel closest to my friend. Pieces of heaven coming down, bridging the distance in between. I can’t remember a rainier springtime than this past spring, and you are always there in the rain; I always find you there. Maybe rain showers are God’s way, one of His many ways, of helping us continue to stay in touch. In those brief moments, when the rain splashes and sinks down, you’re here again. And, just as it always has, the rain offers up, as it falls down, a sense of comfort when it is needed most.


Today is no different. This lazy, sun-stricken Sunday afternoon in August, when the clouds surprised me in their impulsive strain to rid themselves of rain as quickly as they can. It’s as if God yelled “hop!” to everyone in heaven, and suddenly their footprints against the rain-laden puffs triggered the downpour.


I flinch. A jolt of unannounced thunder cracks against the windowpane. One jarring clap from God, signaling his hoppers to now jump until the clouds are drained entirely. Faint rumbles of thunder crawl across the sky, piercing every so often, shaking the clouds nearly-empty, then slowly receding until they can no longer be heard.


The rain begins to slow. I imagine the jumpers are growing tired, ready for a nap that most assuredly comes after a rainstorm such as this. One by one, the jumpers cease as soon as their job is done. One jumper to water the flowers that now sing thanksgiving; one to soak the thirsty ground; one to fill the forgotten birdbaths; and one to coax a writer into journaling once again.

I see your job has yet to be finished. In my mind, you, my friend, are still jumping, ever-so-lightly, freeing the white patches in the sky of all they have left to give. At least for today. As the final raindrops give and gather, I realize what your task must be when God calls on his jumpers - to remind and surround those who know you best when they miss you the most.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

all this sunlight feels warm on my face today.

it has been a very full summer, july especially. filled with work, school, projects, crafts and time spent with my family and friends. every day has involed something productive, something special. the main project? a room makeover (pictures on website below), with lots of help from my loved ones. i have loved spending the summer like this, with those closest to me closest to me, doing things together and making the absolute most of the time we have been given. it's not that, because of what happened a few months ago, i set out to live every day to the fullest. instead, it's almost as if it's all happening automatically now, something inside pushing the outside into meaningful, purposeful motion. so, i think from here on out, this blog will be about all that is being done, here and now. the projects, the crafts, the baking. and the memories being made with my family and friends along the way.
http://s1236.photobucket.com/albums/ff450/JenBen13/


the room, what was done..

~ painted the walls.. a robin's egg blue.. *painted with care* :)

~ painted wooden 4x6 picture frames with blue and white paint for bookcase

~ added blue and white vases and flowers to the bookcase, along with floral-print boxes

~ used pink butterfly and blue damask scrapbook paper to fill white wall frames and frame boxes, hung small white shelves under the frames

~ replaced the frames on nightstand with one white decorative frame and small glass jar that i filled with dried blue and green hydrangeas

~ filled the nine-spot white wall frame with my favorite quotes, lyrics and bible verses, hung frame boxes on either side and shelves underneath and placed small glass jars, of different sizes and shapes, filled with dried hydrangeas, all around

*all shelves, frames and frame boxes hung with care* :)

~ replaced my old tv stand/"dresser" with a new expresso-colored dressed, *put together with care* :)

~ painted four wooden 4x6 picture frames with white paint, printed my favorite lyric (a sea of flowers won't boom without the rain) and placed in frames. then, after hanging on wall, placed a white satin ribbon behind the frames

Monday, June 27, 2011

and for all you know, this could be.

along with my family and friends, you always encouraged my writing, my finishing my book one day, and always read and were excited about my writing, too. after a month or so of little, if any, writing, i'm finally finding my way back to it again. i've spent a lot of time with my book this past week, reading through it, adding to it, thinking about it and growing excited by it once again.


tonight, i came across something i wrote in the book almost a year ago and thought i'd share.


"i guess your heart renews itself, piece by piece, and only piece by piece, as you’re ready for it. 'today,' says your heart, 'you’re ready for independence; today, you’re ready for forgiveness; now, you’re ready for moving forward'; and on and on until your heart is finally repaired and ready for its grand reopening.."


even though i wrote this during an altogether different time in my life last year, i know the same idea applies now. today, you're ready for remembrance, for settling in, for putting the final pieces in place.


i feel like, now that you are gone, we're called to live our lives more completely, to live our lives twice as well, as if to make up for the time you lost. i know, if you were here, you'd still be encouraging me to write and to finish my book, just as my family and friends do now. in many ways, i still feel you encouraging me, to keep on, to make sure i've got it all down. and i'll keep doing just that, knowing in some way, you'll keep reading.


Monday, May 16, 2011

that was the night the sky turned green.

We were talking about you the day that it happened. At the time that it happened, as it turns out. Melissa and I. Sitting at a Japanese buffet for lunch that Sunday afternoon. A little boy, about five years old, with dark black hair, played in the booth next to us. As he smiled at the little girl at the next table, I said something to Melissa like, "Aw, little Javi," and we both laughed. "It really is! It’s like a miniature Javier!" Melissa told me. As we got up to get dessert, for whatever reason that day, I got grapes. We sat down, and with you on my mind after our recent conversation, I began laughing as I looked down at the plate. Melissa laughed and asked, "What?" I told her how, whenever I’d come over to see you, you’d always offer me orange juice, hot pockets (try lean pockets, too!), oatmeal, cereal and, of course, grapes. "He always called them love grapes," I said to her, still laughing.

~


I don’t know what made me think of this "story" tonight. I don’t know why "mini Javi" was beside us that afternoon. I don’t know what made us talk about you that day, or what made me get grapes for dessert.

~


I’ll never know why, but I know who’s behind the why, and that’s all I ever really need to know.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

remember everything, she said, when only memories remain.


There are no letters for me to write and send
No lingering heartaches left to mend
And no rules that I could bend
To bring you back

~
There is no fight that is waiting for its end
No remaining worries I have to tend
And no helping hand to extend
To bring you back

~
With time, comes healing, or so they say
But the farther I get from that February day
The harder it gets to only remember you this way
And the sadder it seems to move further away
From the times we had that will forever stay
In the moments before that February day

Thursday, April 28, 2011

hoping i would see the world through both my eyes.


I picture you looking down on us
You’re always standing
Arms crossed and a smile on your face
With a look of anticipation
As if you’re waiting for the show to start
As always, you don’t want to miss a thing
You won’t miss anything
You look out over us
Keeping an eye on what’s ahead
But always laughing, always being, in the moment
Your eyes are wide, taking it all in
And getting the most out of everything you see
I picture you happy
On the edge of your seat, so to say
And always ready for anything
And it’s more than you watching out for us, watching over us
It’s you standing beside of us, still refusing to miss a thing

Friday, April 22, 2011

i wanted to see you walking backward.


There was something about the river’s bend
That let me know we’d me again
And there you wait, my sweet, missed friend
Across the stream, and ushering in
Your arms stretched out, two hands that lend
I reached and leaped and over I went
Knowing full well the journey we’d spent
Just like the ripples - without beginning or end
Now I sit at the side of the river’s bend
Knowing one day we’ll meet again
I picture you waiting, my ever-present friend
Through the clouds, and calling from within
Your arms open wide, two hands that send
Messages of hope and faith in leaps again
Remembering the journey destined to amend
A heart, and all its ripples, without beginning or an end

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

get right to the heart of matters.

You find me on the drive back home
In simple, quiet songs that usher in remembering
You’ve become the catch in my throat
And the deep breath it takes to release it
You’re the tears that fall unexpectedly
That fall until they’ve had enough
The clouds aren’t clouds any longer
They’re reminders that you’re now overhead
Looking down and watching over
And in these ways, you feel within reach
Some days, it’s comforting just to know you’re there
Other days, it seems it’s just not quite enough
I’ve begun to learn the past year by heart
And the memories it held
I’m holding onto your laugh as best I can
Looking back, I find myself often thinking, “this time last year…”
Memories I thought we’d keep adding to, creating
Instead, they’re all I have left of you
I never thought that’s all I would have left
Never thought I’d have to remember you in these ways
And so it appears today is one of those other days
When I’m thankful for the memories
But I’m wishing for so much more


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

no need to bear the weight of your worries.

baking has always been relaxing to me. something about the measuring and the mixing and knowing something bigger will come from the small steps i'm taking.

there are the standards i have made throughout the years, like red velvet cake and pumpkin pie. and the not-so-standard desserts, like carrot and pineapple cake and the cranberry, walnut and white chocolate cookies that have become a christmas tradition.

i like having a recipe in front of me. exact measurements and directions. knowing that, if i follow the instructions carefully, the end product will be just as i expected and hoped for. no real surprises, and a consistency between making the recipe one time and then trying it another.

i like the sense of control. and i think that is where the relaxation comes from when i'm baking and not having to worry, because i know it will all work out just as it should (just as the recipe promises).


i know, in reality, i am not the one in control (baking or not). but i feel as if we are given ways to feel in control, especially in those times when it is especially hard to understand why something has happened the way it has, and that there is nothing we can do about it - that is, nothing we can do about it to reverse it or erase it. instead, if we look, we find tiny things, like making a batch of cupcakes, that are our own, predictable and, more often than not, reliable. because, although we cannot change the "bigger picture," we can change how we deal with it and handle it, accepting it is all out of our control, knowing something bigger is in the future thanks to our tiny steps, and trusting that everything works out as it should, because there is always someone baking right alongside us.


["and it's good to know it's out of my control. if there's one thing that i've learned from all this living, it's that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go..]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

i'm by your side.


there's a comfort in knowing you're still with us. i see you when i look at the sky, particularly the clouds and the stars. i was told not too long ago that you couldn't hear us or see us, that that wasn't the way it worked. i have to disagree. maybe it's just a way to make myself feel better, or maybe it's something more. i like to think, to believe, that, at least every once in a while, you get a peak at what's going on, that you can hear me, and that you're smiling in return.


~


it was today, april 3rd, last year that i bought my first new car. i remember meeting you at buffalo wild wings for dinner out on the patio, and then our driving in my car afterward. i probably tried to play hanson, but that never went over too well :) lately, i find myself pretending you're in the passenger seat next to me sometimes. maybe that's crazy, but it's the truth. especially when i'm listening to 30 seconds to mars, or, you know, that "scary" music. i have to say, even though you were a terrible "backseat driver" (ha), i miss those drives and rides with you.


~


i look back a lot lately on all we did last year.. in my ongoing journal. i can't tell you how much of a comfort that is as well.. being able to read and remember all our good times.


~


"now, though, looking back, i wondered what it meant, knowing it meant something, and questioned whether 2011 would be anything like the past year.." i wrote that a few months ago, about you, friend, as i wondered if. 2011 has been anything but similar to 2010, and although i know you're still with me, it's in an altogether different, and an altogether unexpected, way.


~


i don't know how it all works. but, to me, when i think of you, look up and speak to you in my own way, and especially as i write about you, it feels to me that you're right here, that you can hear everything, that we're sitting here having this conversation. that's what i feel, and to me, that's what i believe.

Friday, April 1, 2011

creep on in. and once it has begun, it won't stop until it's done.

it hit me funny tonight, friend.

~

another friend encouraged me to write.. to write in my book.. something i haven't done for a good while now. and so i did. i wrote about you, going back over the past month and missing you so much it hurts.

~


it's hard because i can't fix it. it's not like a disagreement with someone, when you can call them and try to make things right. it's not like we've just not spoken for the past month, and i can email you to catch up. it's not like it used to be, when i would run into you at the gym and we would talk and laugh.

~


it was never a thought that you wouldn't be here. i just got used to having you in my life, in one way on another, especially after all the time we spent together last year. it's hard to believe someone who was, and always will be, such a big part of my life isn't here any longer. i don't get it.

~

i want my friend back, plain and simple.


Monday, March 21, 2011

stay up and make some memories.

i know you were there with us this weekend, friend (as always).
~
i can't tell you how honored i was to get to meet your family and to spend time with them saturday. they were all so loving and kind. hearing stories about you and your cousins growing up, looking through your old pictures, enjoying the food your aunt made, sharing stories and thoughts with jeff as we peeled the 800 shrimp together and your sister as we stood in the kitchen together and helped prepare the food.. all the while laughing with the guys and being back at brandon's. your family seemed just as cautious about washing their hands as you always were.. and me, too, of course.. it made me laugh. something about being back at the house felt comforting. i thought it would be hard, with you not being there. but, instead, we all felt you there and knew you were there with us, and we were comforted instead.
~
the show was pretty crazy (or rowdy, as you would say), but i know you saw it all (i know you definitely heard it).. the guys running and jumping around, while your sister, your friend and i stood at the back and watched from a safe distance. you would have loved it. you were so passionate about music and live music, and i'll never forget the shows we went to. even though i remember feeling nervous at times, i remember you stayed by my side at those shows, making sure i had a good time and felt comfortable and safe.. and i always did. that music always moved me (emotionally and literally), and although it kind of scared me at first (ha), i got more and more into it over time, thanks to you (as you once told me, "I knew you would like this kind of music and not just John Gayer").. and that's something i would've never discovered had it not been for you.. those shows are something i would've never experienced had it not been for you.
~
it was an emotional evening/night, that's for sure (which ended with your sister, cousin, friend, jeff, brandon and me standing around the kitchen, laughing at the random things brandon decided to share with us.. your cousin thought he was especially funny.. "he has no filter.. it's like hearing his entire thought process"). the hugs and the "how are you holding ups?" and the "i love yous" and the love in general.. all kept coming last night. i think we've all realized how important it is to just say it, to make sure your loved ones know it.. and how important it is to watch out for each other, just as you always watched out for us.. just as i know you always will.

Friday, March 18, 2011

like the season changing, i felt it too.

i like to think, friend, you can read what i'm writing. i like to think you know the thoughts i have on my mind of you, the memories i go back over. i like to think, when i laugh or smile because of something funny i remember you saying, you recognize that laughter and smile and know you're the cause of it. i like to think, when i look up to the sky at times and say hello to you (though it may be silly), you greet me in return. i like to think you know how much you are cared for, admired.. how much you inspire.. how much fun you brought about.. how much you are missed..
~
i keep thinking that you're just on vacation or that i just haven't run into you at the gym for a while. i realize at times i'm looking for you, expecting to run into you.
~
being at the gym hasn't gotten much easier. there is a very strong, strange feeling that hangs in the air there for me. it's almost as if i can feel your presence there, if that makes any kind of sense. my eyes played a trick on me tuesday evening as i left the gym. i looked in one direction and i could have sworn i saw you. needless to say, that was a strange feeling as well.
~
it hits me funny at times, especially late at night, just like tonight. just like now. catching me off guard and coming over me all over again. there's no hint of acceptance or sinking in. it's still as if i don't believe it. at all.
~
missing you, friend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

watch the sunrise and fill our souls up.


Jeff left me a message tonight. “It’s tough. It f’s me up. Keep your head up and smile. That’s all he'd want.” He said something similar to me the day I picked up Suka. I couldn’t agree more with him. I know none of us will ever get used to it, or believe it, or understand it. And I know certain times will be harder than others. But I also know you would want all of us to keep smiling, laughing and enjoying life - just as you always did, every second of every day. I know you’re with all of us through it all, even the tears. But I think - I know - you’re even more with us through the smiles and the laughter.
~
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that, in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

it’s change that suddenly reaches down and lifts you up.

yesterday was not a great day in the world of subbing. it was frustrating, to say the least. but, once that was over, my day only got better from there.
~
last night, i was thinking back on the day. a not-so-great experience like that would have probably thrown me all out of whack this time last year. and i probably would have let that one experience in the day define (and ruin) my entire day. this year, though, things are different (and, now, things are even more different), and i know there is no use in letting something like that ruin my whole day. i was able to get out my complaints from the day, and then let it go and enjoy the rest of my monday.
~
i'm thinking this new way of thinking has to do with a change i feel within me. a feeling that i'm happy, i'm blessed, and i can have a good day (and still be happy) even if i have a bad experience. i'm thinking, too, it's all thanks to my knowing (now more than ever) that there are far more important things, and it's also thanks to the faith i have.
~
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillippians 4:6-7
~
the last nine days or so have been challenging, and i still cannot believe that what happened actually happened. the amount of support that has poured in, though, has been pretty amazing, and once again, i'm reminded of the wonderful family and friends i am blessed with. actually, i'm reminded of that every day, and it's always, always with me.
~
dear friend, i know you wouldn't want us to be miserable (although it still hurts). i know you would want us all to laugh and to really live and to enjoy every little thing (although we still cry). i know you wouldn't let a bad experience take anything away from you. i know you wouldn't want us to take what happened and let it consume us or bring us down completely (although you're still, and always, very much on our minds). instead, i know you would want us to take the experience and learn from it, and to remember that you're up there, laughing right along with us (and silly suka bear).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

in your heart you'll have all of our good times.

So, I have to say, it's a strange feeling going to and being at the gym. There is definitely a feeling of you there. Just something in the air. It's hard to explain.
On another note.. I think I'll keep Suka bear. Ha. "Phil" has decided to call her ninja, by the way.
She seems to really enjoy broken up Ritz Crackers and Honey Nut Cheerios.. and she and my dog are getting along better and better every day.
There was this old man in step class today, working out in jean shorts. I know you must have gotten a good laugh out of that. I sure did ("sssuper silly").
I still can't believe it, and I know I'll never understand it. But knowing and remembering how fully you lived your life, every single day, helps a great deal.
Well, it's bedtime for Suka bear and me. The pup is completely worn out.
"Okay, see ya" ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

god bless you for the song you sang us.

Suka bear is officially worn out. She's snuggled up at my feet, passed out ("she asleep!"), after a big day playing with my dog, my family and me. She and my dog are becoming friends, I think. They're so different, but it works :) We've all had a lot of laughs thanks to her, especially when she "gets gangsta." I like to think you're smiling and laughing right along with us. And I have to say, I'll definitely miss her when she heads back to uncle Brandon's Sunday.
Today started off kind of rough. I don't know why. I just woke up feeling out of it. But, with Suka here, hopping around the bed, I got up and got going, and we spent the afternoon doing homework together. She was a little confused, though - I don't think she has been around books before. Hehe. Just kidding, turkey.
I was listening to Deftones this afternoon, too, while Suka bear and I worked away. I remember hearing that one song, "Knife Party," so many times in your car and in the basement when you guys would play. I listened to that particular song many times this afternoon ["God bless you for the song you sang us"].
It still doesn't seem real. I'm not sure if it ever will. Night, J Dawg.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

and the sweet pang it cost me not to call.


Having Suka bear here this week is a blessing, and I’m so glad to be babysitting her. You loved that pup so much. In fact, I remember you telling me one time that you never needed to get married, as long as you had Suka. We’ll be sure and take good care of her, and don't worry, I’ll be sure and play the monster game with her.
My family think it's so funny she has so many names. Her sneaky ninja skills are confusing the hell out of my dog. She's already stolen his ball, too. She looks so tiny next to him, it's hilarious. We shared some fries at dinner, and now she's cuddled up at my feet, watching tv with me. Reminds me of so many times we would spend with her on the couch (or watching her run around the coffee table, and up and down the hall, like a maniac).
I saw Brandon, Jeff and Joe this afternoon. It was so good seeing them, and laughing at/with Brandon and Jeff again. They were checking out the van they rented, messing with every possible thing they could - the seats, the drawers, the compartments. I can only imagine what a road trip that will be.
It was difficult, to say the least, to see your new place, the music room, your guitars and your drum set, and your room, but I'm glad I got to do that today, to see it all.
Brandon and I stood in the music room for a little while, and he asked me, "Remember how loud he used to play that music? How loud it used to get in the house?" I can't tell you how much I wish we were all down in the basement, listening to you guys play again. Brandon played your guitar some, and we all just sat around, fairly quiet, as they got your pictures off the computer to take to your family.. and your music for the drive.
Your memorial at the gym was tonight, too. So many people showed up, and it was a very nice service. The speaker reminded us that this is only a temporary separation.. I like thinking of it that way, although it is still incredibly hard. You continue to keep bringing people together. So many of your friends are reaching out on Facebook, and now we're friends as well. As Bobby put it in a message I got from him last night, "we're all in this together."
Missing you a lot today/tonight. Having Suka bear here is comforting, I have to say, but I keep thinking you're going to show up at the end of the week to pick her up, or that I'll drop her off and you'll be there. I know, though, in some way, you're always here.. and always will be.

Monday, February 28, 2011

i will never forget.


The sky was kind of green tonight, your favorite color. I went by and saw Brandon today at the gym. Something about being at the gym, and being there with him, was comforting. People have been putting flowers and things on your desk, and there’s a memorial service tomorrow night at the gym for you. It’s so strange without you there. So, so strange. When I pulled up this afternoon, your car was in the parking lot. I don’t know why, but there it was. I couldn’t look at your desk just yet, because I can’t imagine not finding your smiling face there.
I've been listening to 30 Seconds to Mars.. very loudly.. in the car all day.
I’m reading through some old emails again, and they’re making me laugh out loud. These are some of my favorite parts from you.

“Na mean lil wody. fo skizzle my rizzle lil j nizzle... I know what you’re thinking... “damn that's gangster.” Thanks, but I have no idea what that means. I heard Cuba Gooding JR say that in a movie once (great actor). I too thought it was pretty gangster.”

“We just gotta get our ninja suits back from the cleaners and we're ready to go.”

“We came home and I ate like 3 English muffins toasted with butter and jelly. They were delicious.”

“Maybe you should play your game with the patients just to make it interesting. Just try not to get arrested.”

“I came home and cooked some white rice with corn and onions in it, and sautéed some string beans with chopped onions, and grilled a big salmon fillet (pronounced phil-ett). It was a delicious yet healthy meal. And for dessert I had some love grapes.” Always with the love grapes.

“I knew you would like this kind of music and not just John Gayer. But anyway you should definitely look into a writing job. I’m sure they're out there, you just have to look for them. Or become a physician's assistant and make the big bucks. Then you can have a house out on the lake and a boat and a baby llama and 3 peacocks. And maybe a flying squirrel too if you’re into that. But just do whatever makes you happy.”

I’m going to miss laughing with you and all the silliness.
 
 

"remember everything," she said. "when only memories remain."

Because I don't know what to say out loud.. Because I can't sleep..
You are already so missed. Never did I think there’d be a day I knew without you. So young. So full of life. And always with a smile. I saw you for the last time Saturday, February 26th, 2011. I passed by you at the gym, you passed by me. “Hey, what’s up, Jennaynay?” you said, with a big smile on your face, with a big smile in your eyes. I said, “Hey, how are you?” with a smile on mine, in mine. I read back through our old emails tonight, but mostly, I read back through my journal from last year. All we did, all the memories and inside jokes. I’m so glad I wrote it all down. I’m so glad I have it all with me still; although, it doesn’t come close to having you here. This time last year, things were so good with us. You showed up last year at just the right time. We were always, always on the same page, both of us wanting the same things at the same times. You got me. I miss that so much.
I miss you so much, my dear friend. I miss your laugh - I can still hear it. I’ll miss seeing you at the gym several times a week. I’m not sure how it’s going to be going back there - not seeing you at your desk, not waving hello and goodbye to you, not making funny faces at you, not hearing you say, “Hey, Jennaynay. What’s up?” I will miss the “What’s up?” so much. I’ll miss getting emails from you that always, always read “contains offensive language” at the top of them. I’ll miss hearing you say, “I wish my name was.. Floyd.. Sampson.. Willy..” you name it. I’ll miss so many things; I already do.
You were a good friend, to say the very least. My heart is broken, and I’ve cried for hours, literally. I wish I could just talk to you, text you. I’ve left two messages on your wall on Facebook now, and it does help for some reason. I’ve looked through pictures tonight from last year - the February snow, your car stuck in the snow outside my house, the pictures at my house with the girls and Brandon around the kitchen table, your pictures from Battle of the Biceps and Mayhem. Someone added pictures of you on your wall tonight - they were pictures from the night of my birthday party - you know, when we went to Macado’s, and then went to El Rodeo and had a little too much to drink (and there were 18 waiters singing "Happy Birthday" to me). I’ll never forget that ride home, screaming with the windows down, hair flying, putting lotion on Jeff’s knee because someone farted and I thought it would help the smell (and, really, it just confused Jeff).
I’ve read so many comments on Facebook tonight about how people said they’ll miss seeing your smiling face, how you were always smiling. It’s true, and I know exactly how they feel. So many people are missing you, are grieving. It’s a sad, sad day. I remember the late-night runs to McDonald’s for chicken nuggets and fries; I remember all the movies we went to see and watched (especially the stupid funny movies that always cracked us up.. funky fresh); I remember allllllll the music - my iPOD hasn’t been the same since; I remember the cook-outs and the many trips to Alejandro’s; Suka bear ninja fox dog; watching “Paranormal” and you freaking out; the red velvet cakes; McGruber (and seeing him in person that one night); all the laughs (there were many) and giant hugs; and so many other memories.
You always found something special in everything, always enjoyed things to the fullest, always took things one step at a time. I’ll keep that with me always. I know you always read my blog; I believe you’re still able to. Lots of love and giant hugs, turkey.

Monday, February 21, 2011

the skyline is bright tonight.


The night tilted down
Gathering with it, in its hands
All that once failed to find a sound
There were themes of rain
And with it
Came a change
Suddenly a shift in motion
A revolving
Another place in time
Giving a voice to what was lost
In the days of some mistaken town
There were colors
I swear, I saw them
It just took the shimmer starlight
Casting insight
To remind me, to find me
And bring me back again

tonight's lesson.. there's always a bounce back.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

learn to be still.

today's lesson (actually.. yesterday's lesson.. i wrote this tuesday).. return to stillness.

so, i have my quiet days. i mean, i'm a quiet person in general. but some days, i'm even quieter than usual. today was one of those days. today was also one of those days when i guarantee i wrote more (and laughed more) than i spoke. it doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong. more often than not, nothing is wrong (including today). and it also doesn't mean i'm not enjoying what i'm doing at the time, or that i'm unhappy, either. sometimes i worry it gets taken the wrong way. but it's just what it is. quiet stillness.

this has bothered others in the past. those who felt the need to fill every possible second with spoken words. those who felt the need to change me until i, too, was screaming. those who failed to see the beauty in the silent spaces in between. but i.. i have never minded the quiet. in fact, i prefer it most of the time (except when it comes to music). and it's nice to be surrounded by family and friends who get that, who let me be.. that's something i'm forever thankful for.. something that always means so much to me.

it’s amazing what you can hear, what you can learn, when it’s quiet and you keep listening.

I spoke as loud as I could
So maybe you’d hear me
Always the quiet one
But I screamed in return
Shouting lessons I knew
You’d never learn
You had already replaced me
With your own dreams
Mapping out directions
To a place I wasn’t meant to be
You forgot I’m a homebody
A quiet-natured somebody
Who set her sights
On the plans you changed
The promises you erased
Before I ever had a chance to settle in
Instead, I raised my voice
Hoping to match yours
Hoping to be heard over the words
You seemed to think were more important
Than my own
I gave up screaming
Once I figured out you weren’t paying attention
Anyway
Once I realized you had your own eyes
Set on something more
Once I woke up
The stillness returned
The calm I had forgotten
The quiet I had fought against
All for the sake of being respected
By someone who was never listening
These days, I realize
I don’t have to yell to be heard
I’m surrounded by open ears
That hear me
Even when I haven’t spoken a word

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

because i know there are little things about me that would sing in the silence.

it's a strange feeling when you want to write but can't for one reason or another. i've found, throughout the past six months or so, the more i write, the more i have to write. you'd think it would be the other way around.. the more you write, the less you have left to write. but it doesn't seem to work that way. with school, and with a cold last week that left my head fuzzy, i haven't written quite as much lately.. even though i've wanted to. so, i figured, instead of not writing, i would write about not being able to write (ha), and see what comes of it (if anything).

i think the best thing to do in situations like this is just to write and not think. by thinking too much, and trying to put the words together in my head first, something gets lost between there and here. funny to think.. when you try to make it work the way you want, to put it together just so, it usually doesn't go as planned. when you let go, though, and realize what's meant to be is going to happen (and that everything always works out as it should), well, the words fall onto the page before you and, before you know it, you're writing again.

the important thing to remember? what happens instead (what just happens) is far greater than what you ever had in mind to begin with. i've learned that now.

today's lesson.. let it.
["there are too many distractions waiting for the perfect time.."]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

here is a brighter garden.


today's lesson.. watch the sparkle revive.

Stolen time spent looking back
On a heart meant for something new
Fearing the inhale of the end
Sure I could breathe without you

When I chose to let it go
A deep breath suddenly rushed in
Whispering sounds of a rescue
And a new chance to begin

No more time set to wonder
Or questions that float in my eyes
Instead, I have found the moments
That refuse to just pass by

I’ve watched the sparkle revive
Fireflies on a midnight sky
Forever find their way to shine
Always find their place in time

Saturday, February 5, 2011

on our way, so it seems. blooming flowers waltz before me.


with grad school classes starting, lots of sub days and two huge assignments, it was a very busy week. but a good busy week and weekend :)

it's funny when things all fall into place. when you feel you're right where you're meant to be when you're meant to be there. i know, no matter what, i'm always right where i'm meant to be when i'm meant to be there, but there are certain times when i can really feel it.

when i turned 26 back in august, i had the feeling 26 would be the year it all came together. i remember saying that or writing that. i had no idea at the time what exactly that meant. it was, again, just something i felt. as we move further and further into my 26th year, i can feel it even more.. i'm breathing into it.

turns out, this is the 26th week of year 26 (i know this because i'm still keeping track of "firsts" for each week), and it's off to a wonderful start.

my life continues to be filled.

today's lesson (or this past week's lesson).. breathe it in.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

clap the net over the butterfly of the moment.



from earlier tonight..


so, i'm sitting in the salem mill mountain coffee shop, waiting on a professor and a girl from my class.. listening to this douche at the next table bore his date with statements like, "i like geometry.. all the angles".. drinking an iced coffee drink the counter person talked me into.. i guess he thought i looked like i needed some caffeine.. little did he know, i hate coffee, and i'm pretty sure everyone around me can tell, because i keep making a "what in the world is this crap?" face every time i take a sip.. wondering if coffee drinks could ever be like running.. something i once hated but learned to enjoy.. ugh, another sip. and it stays with you, too. i keep thinking it'll get better. not happening.. i have no way of recognizing this professor.. i wonder if she would like the rest of my coffee drink.. there are two women sitting to my left alone.. i think it'd be pretty funny if one happened to be the professor and the other, the girl from class.. textbook from class now out on the table so maybe they'll find me when they get here.. my bright idea for the evening.. there's chocolate at the bottom of this drink.. i can see it, but i can't taste it. stupid coffee. hmm, perhaps i should have worn a nametag..


today's lesson.. welcome the ramble.


Monday, January 31, 2011

do it with a heart wide open.


what i learned from nursing school and nursing..

..somehow, everything always gets done.

..you can plan all you want, but in between now and what you've planned, eighteen other things will come up to take care of.

..it may not be easy, but it's all do-able.

..always take time, at some point during the day, to do something other than study or work.. work out, watch the bachelor, read, listen to music, write..

..take it one thing at a time.. instead of trying to do eight things at once.

i'm carrying these lessons with me as i get ready to start grad school at hollins wednesday. it's a busy week.. my planner is filling up by the second.. and i'm literally surrounded by paperwork. the nerd in me, though, likes it this way and is excited for all that's to come.

today's lesson.. carry belief.

Friday, January 28, 2011

i remember you painting sunflowers in your room.

i was visiting with my grandparents today, and my grandmaw had the idea to move a chair from their living room to the basement. according to my grandpaw, though, the chair wouldn't fit through the basement door. my grandmaw joked, "will it fit through the window?" we laughed, and my grandpaw told her, "windows are smaller than doors."


for some reason, those words stuck with me through the day, and i knew there was a lesson in there somewhere. it didn't hit me until now, though, what the lesson was (is).

seemed, for a while, i was always looking for another option, a way to make it work, even when i thought it wouldn't. it seemed i had throw it out there, to at least try it. and then, when i finally realized the window was in fact too small, i ended up choosing to only walk through doors.. things i knew i could fit in. more cautious, less trusting, limiting myself. lately, though, it seems i'm getting back to giving it a shot.. and the endless possibilities only discovered by finding my way in through the window.

so, today's lesson is this.. as it turns out, doors are smaller than windows..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

i get the feeling she won't forget.

today's lesson.. ever exchange..


so, i was talking to my friend tonight as i do every night (still am, actually), and we were discussing the value of these nightly conversations. kind of fitting that two writers-at-heart spend their evenings sharing written texts back and forth. it's a neat thing and a neat feeling, to say the very least, and it's especially neat to me to watch it all happen.


"that was a good feeling, knowing i hadn’t missed it, knowing i wasn’t looking back on it and saying to myself, “so, that’s when.” no, it wasn’t like that. for once. instead, i lived each piece of it, watching as our exchange of words every night exchanged us, in turn.." (from the book..)


and that's all for now :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

take the way home that leads back.

i'm sitting here watching the counting crows on tv. as much as i love their music, their lyrics have always gotten to me.

a sea of flowers won't bloom without the rain..

from where you think you'll end up to the state that you're in, your reflection approaches and then recedes again..

wasted time, running scared, when all love needs is to be believed in..

she has trouble acting normal when she's nervous..

make a circle in the sand.. make a halo with your hands.. i'll make a place for you to land..

she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land, just like she's walking on a wire in the circus..

she's nothing but porcelain underneath her skin..

every word is nonsense, but i understand..

get right to the heart of matters.. it's the heart that matters more..

okay, there are about a million others. i read their lyrics a lot, kind of like reading poetry.

last night, i found a version of "sullivan street" (one of my favorite counting crows' songs) by sara bareilles (another of my favorites) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0p1WCfcXuM. pretty amazing. i think my all-time favorite song of theirs, though, is "anna begins."

i spent a good while monday running to the sounds of the counting crows. oddly enough, they're a pretty good band to run to. who would've guessed.

i'm not entirely sure where i'm going with all this.. all i know is, it's been a counting crows-filled week, and i'm enjoying it.. the reading of the lyrics, the listening of the music. it has stuck with me for years. i think the lesson here is this.. get back to basics..

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

go out walking in the sun.

clowns scare me. i'm supposed to wear glasses to drive. i like picture frames. commercials crack me up.. i was sharing these things, and many others, with a friend of mine tonight. it's funny to think about the new music, the new city, the new ways of life i once tried over the past few years. seems i was always trying to make something fit.. always trying to "find myself." nowadays, though, especially recently, things have changed. it's no longer about finding who i am anymore; it's about realizing i already know me.. and living it.


i wrote the following in the "book" about a week ago. seems like it fits in here..

maybe that was the big secret all along, finding someone in whom you found yourself, instead of looking for yourself in someone else..

today's lesson.. find brown eyes that match (i stole that one..)


Monday, January 24, 2011

make a circle in the sand; make a halo with your hands; I’ll make a place for you to land.

i'm blessed with the chance to live at home, to live with my family (my best friends.. including the pup). we sit down and have dinner together many nights a week, just as we have always done, catching up on our days and laughing about the random topics that never fail to come up. and many nights, i'm blessed with the opportunity to get to spend the rest of my evening with my family as well. like tonight, when we (and the silly puppy) shared our time together until it was time to say goodnight.


it's hard for me to believe i lived away from my family for as long as i did, for any length of time, really. homesickness doesn't even begin to describe what i felt at that time. i remember other people saying, "well, you're just a few hours away." and i was. but that didn't change the fact that i wasn't here. where i'm supposed to be. ever since i came back and moved back in, i have appreciated being here, being with my family, so much more than i could ever say.

i have the most unbelievable support and love and care surrounding me every single day and people who would literally do anything for me. from fixing my computer (because i'm a moron!), to helping me get ready for grad school.. from supporting my writing, my going back to school, my every decision to taking care of me and doing so many things for me (so many).. i'm not sure what i would do without my family. not just because of the things they do for me, but because of the way they surround me with support and love and care.

today's lesson? i love tacos. just kidding. today's real lesson? it's good to be home.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

hoping i would see the world through both my eyes.

i went running outside today for the first time in.. well.. a very long time. i basically ran in a circle, up and down the same street, listening to john mayer ("3x5" happens to be a great running song) and feeling my nose freeze little by little. i ran down the hill, around the cul-de-sac, and up the hill again until i reached a certain spot.. then, turned and ran down the hill again. the last time i did my lap, i saw this certain spot from a distance, and i felt i was running toward it, trying to get there. then it hit me.. not until that final lap had that particular thought occurred to me. for the rest of my run, my attention was, well, on the run itself and the music playing in my nearly-frozen ears. that "realization" that i was enjoying the "journey" (sounds corny, but go with it), instead of focusing on the destination, kind of struck me.


today's lesson.. keep your eyes on the road.

Friday, January 21, 2011

all this sunlight feels warm on my face today.

after painting pottery with the girls tonight, and sharing lots o' laughs, we headed to mcdonald's for french fries. sitting in the parking lot, enjoying our snack, all of us started to laugh at the thought of our nights out. "we are a strange group," i told them. "but i wouldn't change it." and it's true. our nights out might not be exciting to others, but it's what we enjoy. genuinely. today's lesson, i've decided, is this.. laugh 'til you snort.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

i'm only this far and only tomorrow leads my way.


oh snap. it's my 100th blog entry.
in flow today (the pilates/yoga/tai chi combo class at the gym), when i was supposed to be concentrating on the moves, the class itself, i instead found myself off in la la land, thinking of other things. even during the relaxation time at the end of the class, when we were lying on the flow, eyes closed, when we're supposed to, as the instructor sometimes says, "acknowledge your thoughts and then let them go" (ha), i couldn't calm my thoughts (then again, it could have been the bombastic music in the room next door or the sound of large weights being dropped in the open gym beside us). i kept thinking of what was ahead, what's coming up, which i do a lot anyway. somewhere along the way, i realized i have a little less than two weeks before grad school starts and before i become a full-time student again. i have a feeling things will get a lot busier come february (in a good way). so, i want to make sure and take full advantage of all the time i have now.. i just have to be sure and recognize it at the time without letting the thoughts of tomorrow creep in. to get the most out of flow, the most out of my free nights, the most out of reading books for fun instead of reading school books. the list goes on and on. the lesson here, then, is this.. enjoy your january before your february.

["we should live in this time now and have every minute of it.."]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

these lessons that we've learned here have only just begun.

i love finding those songs.. the ones i end up listening to about a hundred times in a row.. in one night. i first heard it tuesday night at the gym.. during our cool down for "pump.." and it just got to me. i have no idea who this guy is (i'm thinking.. american idol?), but.. wow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPlSmAWmi1I&feature=related


i just hit "replay" for the third time.. this will literally go on for the next couple hours.


i have to say, this is pretty exciting for me. this is probably the first of those songs for me this year. i realize it's just a song, but "just a song" is always an understatement to me.. especially when it comes to ones like this. i guess this year i should start an altogether different kind of song list.. for the songs that really get me ("replay" number four..).. but i'll get back to that later.


i also love finding those books.. the ones i have trouble putting down.. which, if i'm honest, hasn't happened a lot in my life. the first book i stayed up reading to finish because i couldn't stop? to kill a mockingbird. love walked in is another all-time favorite of mine, along with eat, pray, love. now, it's water for elephants. who knew i'd like a book about a traveling circus. seriously, though, i can hardly stop reading it.


"replay" number five..


i love finding things that become another piece of me. sometimes, it's a song that very quickly makes its way onto my ipod. sometimes, it's a new book that makes its way into my collection. they all, for one reason or another, remind me of the things, and more importantly, the people, who make up my life.. and the laughter surrounding it all.. who have always added their pieces to me, who have become pieces of me.


so, what's the lesson here? if it moves you, it's worth holding on to.


["you're a shell-picker of the pickiest kind, but you always find the ones to keep.."]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the laughter keeps us coming back for more.

i think i've literally been laughing for the past six hours for one reason or another. from the crazy launch night at the gym (i now have a temporary tattoo on my left arm of a body builder), to the usual girl talk in the parking lot (jump!), to the overall silliness with the family tonight (i love tacos!), to the conversation i'm having now with my friend about a movie (together, they become the sensation of the streets crowds).. i haven't stopped laughing. thankfully, almost every day is like this. today just happened to be an extra-funny day.

i was sitting here trying to think of a lesson for today, thinking back on the afternoon and evening and laughing to myself again.

today's lesson: remember to rewind (taking note of all the funnies, of all the good, that surrounds you every day.. knowing it's with you.. always).

["we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of and thankful for our blessings.."]

Monday, January 17, 2011

in the morning, it will find you.



another passage from the "book.."

"The wine glasses were never used. We never even got them out of the box after moving in together, actually. We never had any wine-drinking company over who would use them and probably say things like, “These wine glasses are to die for!” But they were something we just had to have, according to him, something he planned on having around and using on a later day and at a different time. But, just like so many of his other plans, the wine glasses would never be put to use, let alone put into place.

I later thought to myself, even if his plan had worked out and the wine glasses were finally taken out of their box and used; even if I had faked enjoying wine and had just gone along with it; even if I started saying things like, “This wine is to die for!,” I myself – not to mention everyone else back home – would have known I was taking pretend sips all along."


today's lesson has to do with sticking to what you enjoy, what's you, something i've learned to do again. sweet tea instead of wine. cardigans instead of graphic t-shirts. nights in with good books and music instead of nights out. butterflies instead of mistrusting eyes. january snow instead of a january tan.


the lesson? don't unpack the wine glasses.


["i'm choosing happiness. i know i am. i'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.."]

Sunday, January 16, 2011

and for all you know, this could be.

my friend melissa (mel-steps-a-lot) and i were talking tonight about her recent decision to become a step instructor, about my going back to school, about all the things that our happening, beginning, in our lives right now. things we never expected to be doing and things that seemed scary at first and then.. altogether exciting. we both agreed that knowing that everything always works out the way it's supposed to helps when it comes to taking chances, leaps, and making changes.

over our french fries and sweet teas, mel and i decided today's lesson should be this (inspired by her weekend of step training, i believe).. just do it.

[from eat, pray, love.. "what would i do if you never came here?" but i was always coming here. i was never not coming here. this was never not going to happen..]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

our lives are made in these small hours.



from the "book.."

"The snow of a week ago wasn’t ready just yet to melt, to leave us. Still frozen to the streets in sheets and bundles; still slowly fading away under trees; still draping a few select branches with relentless attention. I wondered what it was waiting on and why it had chosen to stick around. Was it waiting to be met with a bigger snowfall, helping to add to its weathering? Was it simply stuck and hoping to disappear into something else? I had a feeling the snow was waiting, in waiting, for something more, after it had already sneaked its way into our everyday. That was the next step after snowfall - snow stay. After welcoming its early December appearance, we find ourselves growing ever more comfortable having the snow around. It becomes a part of our holiday, sending afternoons into cozy glimmer and creating a nightlight as we sleep. It becomes a part of our conversation, as we wonder if and when we’ll see its addition. It sets the tone for Christmas, I believe, a certain kind of warmth rising off the snow as it hugs the ground. The snow was unexpected, no one knowing just how much it would fall and just how long it would choose to stick around. But, just as soon as it had fallen and made itself known, just as soon as it had weaved its flakes into the most hidden, and sometimes the most secret, of places, the questions disappeared and I knew there would be more to come. I knew there was meant to be something more.."

the lesson for today.. watch for the snow stay.


Friday, January 14, 2011

times have changed. but isn't it strange? lifelines stay the same.


my days always involve family and friends. in many ways. and i'm very thankful for that. today was no different. after a work-out at the gym, i headed over to see my grandparents, to visit and to eat some cake (ha). we caught up on our weeks, enjoying the time together. i spent dinner with my family, as always, sharing stories from our fridays and lots o' laughter. and, now, here i am, talking to a couple friends o' mine and getting ready to watch a movie with the family and the silly puppy. i feel so blessed to have days like this every single day, and i try and be aware of it, in it, as it's happening.

today's lesson is this.. all you need, you have.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

i see a tiny light, like a flashbulb sparkle in the night.



short and sweet.


so, i love my carbs. always have. pasta, rolls, chips. you name it. it didn't hit me until tonight, as i enjoyed my ginormous bowl of frosted flakes, that all this running i've been doing lately helps justify my carb obsession.


today's lesson: there's always a plus.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

once you've had enough, carry on.


so, i was watching "the middle" tonight. brick and sue ended up punching a hole in the wall and spent the episode trying to repair it. at first, the hole got bigger. then, they ended up dropping random things into the hole and behind the wall (a screwdriver, an egg..). and the problem, the challenge, kept getting worse and worse. regardless of the challenges, though, brick and sue continued trying to better the situation. in the end, the screwdriver was retrieved and the egg rolled out from the hole, and the kids found a way to "fix" the hole.

today was the first day running didn't kill me. i was waiting for a day like today, for it to get easier, to get better. i honestly wasn't sure if it would ever happen. but, sure enough, this afternoon, it did (hopefully, it will last). i've been running regularly now for about a month, setting small goals each week. this week's goal was to run five times (two more to go). those small goals help a lot.. to help better the situation.. all the while continuing to "tackle" the challenge.

today's lesson has to do with determination.. wait for the egg.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

this morning, there's a calm i can't explain.


a note to myself (and a lesson i'm still learning): if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. i believe it’s important to give everyone and everything a chance (or two or three..), but keep your instincts in mind. more often than not, they are right after all.


i wrote the following a while back, and something about this entry made me think of it..

On one of my favorite television shows, the main character finds herself in love (or what she thought was love) and moves away to Paris with her new special someone who is working in the city for months at a time. She leaves New York, her friends, her family and the only life she has ever known. In some ways throughout the television series, this character becomes synonymous with the Big Apple, and her leaving the city, and those there, seems altogether unnatural.

She arrives in Paris excited and overtaken by the city and its beauty at first. Her boyfriend, however, is busy working (too busy working) and wrapped up in only that which he has going on. Each day, she finds herself lonelier than the day before, walking the streets of Paris alone, thinking of her home and those who are there - secretly thinking, secretly knowing, New York is where she is meant to be.

Back home, her friends and family think of her as well, hoping any day that she will return to them and her life in New York. Soon, these same friends find out they are not the only ones missing her and wishing she would come back home. The character’s lost love soon confesses to her friends how much he too wants her back in his life.

“Go get our girl,” says one of the girlfriends after his heartfelt confession. And, just like that, he is off to Paris.

He finds her in the hotel lobby, after she and her boyfriend have had an argument, as she is trying to find a room for herself and for herself alone. As soon as their eyes meet, she is overcome with tears.

“Paris is a mess,” she cries to him. “I never should’ve come here.”

today's lesson: stick to new york.


Monday, January 10, 2011

spinning on the streets of stars and ride away.



what have i learned today? i know very little about geography.
i'm taking an online geography course through virginia western as part of the undergrad requirements for a master of arts in teaching. the class began today, and after taking the pretest, and a "survey of geographic literacy," i realized i have a lot to learn.

my tenth grade geography course (the first, last and only time i've ever had geography) consisted of coloring in countries on a map. that's about all i remember. i have a feeling, there won't be any coloring in this class. but i also have a feeling i can learn a lot from this course, and since it's a requirement, i figure i might as well get the most out of it.


today's lesson (it's another corny one): shape your world. taking what you're given, what you're blessed with, and getting as much from it as you can.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

find out what you are, face to face.


so, i'm sitting here looking at the information for one of my online courses, trying to get an idea of what i've gotten myself into. being out of school for a little over three years made me wonder how i'd feel about going back, and how it would all go. i mean, i'm so old now (just kidding). but, as i look through the course orientation and the assignments and the syllabus, i almost feel like i've been in school all along, without any break in between. weird. was not expecting that. and, yes, i'm kind of a nerd for filling out my planner and checking things off my to-do list. i enjoy that kind of stuff. and, now, with classes officially starting tomorrow, i'm even more excited for what's ahead.

the lesson today? fly your nerd flag.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

and i could tell what form my dreaming was about to take.

today's lesson is short and sweet (mostly because i want to catch up on "the bachelor" now).. with words, write.

the "book" is starting to really come along. for a few months this past fall, i couldn't think of anything to write. i hardly wrote at all. come december, though, i caught the writing bug again and since then, have kind of been on a roll. the best writing days are those when you don't even really have to think too much.. you can just write and write. today was one of those days.

the lesson isn't as literal as it sounds. yes, obviously you write with words. but what i mean more than anything is when the words come, especially when they come without thought, write.

okay, "the bachelor" is calling, and i love my reality tv.

["it is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. how else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? for the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. that is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.."]

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