3.20.17 Like a Lady

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Whoever says that little girls should be seen and not heard has,

in my opinion,

no ear for beauty.

And whatever little girl has listened to such a sordid phrase,

has no hope of growing with a clear perspective of her own reflection.

Maybe that’s why so many try too hard … or not enough …

why women sacrifice their integrity –

in order to heal wounds from words that have already turned to scars.

And though thick and calloused skin has replaced the cuts,

they never notice,

because it still hurts.

I wish that every girl had a mother like mine,

who taught me to act like a lady …

because it is an honor to be one,

not a favor to the eyes of the world.

She taught me that elegance is the sum of grace and strength combined –

and that the only shame you should ever feel,

is when you cannot forgive yourself after God already has.

If there were a way to speak truth into the hearts of all the girls in the world,

to heal all the fractured, fissure-cracked self-images … I would.

I’d remind them that their identity is waiting to be reclaimed,

and that even if their childhood wasn’t golden …

even if they haven’t been treated like a lady in quite some time –

they still are.

It is their right to be respected,

to be admired,

to be listened and attended to.

I want the teenagers who cut to be noticed, screaming from the inside out to hear me.

I want the mothers who are losing themselves to daily routine, and can’t find the woman they once were to hear me.

I want the grandmothers who feel their beauty is disposable, and society has no place for them anymore to hear me.

I want the single women who haven’t accepted their own bravery to face this world alone to hear me.

I want the girls in school, masking their insecurities with name brands and makeup trends to hear me.

I want my seven-year-old daughter … who we adore, we dote on, we love, but –

who has already asked me if she’s pretty

who has already asked me if she’s fat

who has already asked me if she’s smart

who already questions if she’s enough to HEAR ME!

You are a lady.

You are grace and strength personified.

You are meant to be seen,

but most especially, my darling –

to be heard.

Do not ever quiet your voice … even if it only comes out in whispers.

3.12.17 … And Then I Met Wendy

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I’m not sure how many of you know this about me, but I am a writer beyond my blog. Besides the occasional blessing of writing for Bella Grace, and the baby book I have published, I have fourteen finished manuscripts just waiting in the wings. Yup. Fourteen! Picture books, a middle grade novel, and three-fourths of a young adult novel done. Waiting. Sitting in the digital files collecting whatever digital files collect in lieu of dust.

In the midst of writing three other novels, and jotting additions to my ever-increasing list of ideas, (currently eight pages of one liners, titles, and character snips) it can get a little overwhelming. And, if I’m being honest, I get lost in my own words … the unpublished ones that call to me from beyond the laptop screen. But life happens right? I get busy doing other things – more “productive” things that lead me to that dark place that questions why I’m still trying.

And then I met Wendy. And just like that, God put an amazing woman in my path and I am re-inspired … to keep trying … to honor my imagination … to write on. But today, this is her story. Getting published with her debut novel in April, I hope you will read and share Wendy’s story as far as your social media connections will allow – for she has earned her place in the spotlight, and I ask you to help me make her entrance into the printed page shine!

Elle

WENDY’S STORY

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Let’s talk about dreams. Not the dreams you have at night while sleeping, the ones where places merge together, and people who shouldn’t know each other do, and everything makes perfect sense even when it shouldn’t make any sense AT ALL. No, I’m talking about the dreams we have when we’re awake. The dreams we craft for ourselves and our futures. In those dreams, too, places sometimes merge together, but I’d argue we have a bit more control over our waking dreams. Or at least I’d like to believe we do.

My dream has been the same since I was 10 years old. Other big dreams have come and gone and been fulfilled in the meantime: getting married, having kids, taking fun trips, redoing the bathroom. But this specific dream eluded me for years. It was the one that might not happen. The one that was maybe too unrealistic, too out there, too BIG.

My dream was to write a book. And not just to write a book (because I wrote a book when I was 10 and that’s how this dream was born), but to have a book PUBLISHED. For a while in my late teens and early twenties, I backpedaled on my dream and tried to be practical because … well … rejection is hard and I doubted myself too much. But, as dreams often are, mine was too powerful to just sit quietly and let me ignore it. My dream was kind of a nag, as all the best ones are.

In 1995, my family sat around a scarred wooden table  when my mom asked us all to make predictions about the year 2000. I predicted that by the year 2000, I would have a book published. (This was pre-children. I was 26. Oh, silly, optimistic, naïve young Wendy … you have so much to learn.)

But I made that prediction because I was writing. I wrote a college romance called Mostly Flannel. I wrote a WWII love story called The Soldier’s Wife. I wrote a chick lit friendship/vacation story called Rock, Paper, Scissors. I wrote the story of a widow who falls in love again called Keep Breathing. I wrote a story about the May-December romance between a single, pregnant woman and a college student called Pregnant Pauses. I wrote a bunch of fanfiction based on the TV show The Office.

Life marched on and throughout all the writing, I worked. I raised kids. I lived a normal, suburban life, and my writing was a secret I kept mostly to myself. I tried off and on to find an agent (and actually did have one, for a while). I received a lot of rejection. I doubted myself constantly. I thought about giving up. I eventually told some people (besides my family) about my writing and they encouraged me, but I could never tell if they really believed in the possibility of my dream when I wasn’t even 100% sure that I did.

Fast forward to 2011. My oldest child was now a young teenager and I were reading and loving the same books, so I wrote a young adult dystopian novel called The Swailing. I was convinced that this book would be THE ONE (spoiler alert – it wasn’t). I spent a year revising and waiting for agents to get back to me and getting THIS CLOSE and then … nothing. I’d missed the dystopian window, the market was oversaturated with Hunger Games wannabes, and like someone suffering a breakup after a long-term relationship, I had to face the truth: The Swailing would not be THE ONE.

Now it was 2013. Eighteen years after I had made my prediction. Thirteen years after it was supposed to come true. At 44 years old, it felt like time was running out. All this writing, for what? For fun? Sure, it’s fun for me or I wouldn’t do it. But a part of the fun of writing is the potential of what could be. Could I be an “author” and find an audience? Would someone pay me something for my time and whatever talent I have? Would it lead anywhere? In the fall of 2013, my answer so far had been a big, fat NO and I was about ready to give up. I didn’t even know what to write next. I was lost.

It was a feeling of surrender that I’ve had a few times in my life, and it should have been a sign to me that things were about to change. Whenever I let go of my tight grip on needing to control everything, that’s when the best stuff usually happens. My feelings about God’s part in all this are too complicated to go into now, but for me, surrender is the precursor to salvation of any kind.

One beautiful fall day I went for walk, taking my journal with me. And then (because exercise isn’t always my top priority) I sat at a picnic table at the park, stopped feeling sorry for myself, and brainstormed. I jotted down a list of seven pretty mediocre ideas. This was the last one on the list: “Girl who is a popular tutor because she can see into the future meets a boy who can’t let go of the past.” I thought about that idea a little more and jotted down a few more notes – that because she “sees” things, often heart-breaking things, through touch, she has become hesitant to touch. Something about the idea connected with something inside of me. A teenager yearning for connection and intimacy, but being trapped by her own body. Hmmmm.

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So I started writing a book about that, and I called it Zenn Diagram. I wrote a lot that fall – about 50,000 words during the month of November, and then … guess what? I finished it?! I found an agent?! Ummmm, NOPE.

I did nothing. The half-finished story sat on my computer and collected virtual dust for a year and a half. Until the spring of 2015 when my dad, who had been my boss for 20 years, decided to retire and sell his business. I had no idea if the future owners would keep me or fire me. I tried to think of what other job I could get, what other job I was qualified for, and I was completely stumped. What was I good at? (Helping with homework? Nagging kids to practice instruments?) What did I enjoy? (Eating chocolate? Taking naps?) The idea of starting a new career sounded horrible to me. I just wanted to write.

This is where surrender simply wouldn’t do the trick. I had to take ACTION. It was now or never. So I dusted off my manuscript and finished it. I asked some friends to read it. I edited and revised. And then in June, I steeled myself and started querying agents again.

But this time was different. I got an offer of representation. And then another. And then a third, all within the first month or two of querying. I selected an agent and we worked together to revise some more. I was tempted to get excited by my progress but I knew from experience that having an agent doesn’t necessarily mean you get published; it’s just a step in the right direction. But then my agent started submitting my book to publishers, got an offer, and in January of 2016, the deal was done. I was going to be a published author.

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My book, ZENN DIAGRAM, comes out on April 4, 2017. Almost 40 years after the seed of the dream took root. Seventeen years after I predicted it would happen.

Yeah. I’m a regular overnight sensation, aren’t I?

So why am I telling you all this? Because this is what I’ve learned:

  • Sometimes you have to surrender to get unstuck.
  • Surrender doesn’t necessarily mean give up – it can mean let go.
  • Patience is essential in just about anything, but don’t let it make you complacent.
  • Tell people about your dream, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. There is value in accountability.
  • The key to accomplishing anything is ACTION.

So … those are my thoughts on big dreams and how to take steps towards making them come true. I encourage you to think about yours. What do you need to give up to get there? What action do you need to take? What rules do you need to break? And then start taking some steps in that direction.

Wendy

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Wendy Brant is the author of the upcoming young adult novel, ZENN DIAGRAM, published by KCP Loft. To learn more about her or her book, visit wendybrant.net, or you can follow her on various social media:

Facebook: zenndiagram

Twitter: @wendyjobrant

Instagram: @wendyjobrant

3.7.17 A Pocketful of Simple Truths

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Marcus Aurelius once said that, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” While this may be, I have found that there are some realities in my life that have become my own simple truths. And whether they are my opinion or not is less significant than the fact that they have become real, in my life, for me.

A Pocketful of Simple Truths

*Hugs are best received when offered, not asked for.

*Prayer is always more effective as a first resort, not a last.

*There is no such thing as, “Keeping your emotions in check” with someone you trust enough to be real.

*Making time for someone will bless you more than them.

*Children do life the right way. 

*Books are the most immediate, cost effective, and satisfying answer to, “Where should I go next?” 

*Love is strong enough to conquer anything if you let it.

*Keeping your imagination alive will serve you well, and may even save you when you least expect it.

*Art is the closest expression of dreams. 

*Some things do last forever, if you’re patient enough to see them through.

*Life is not simple, easy, or fair … but it is a gift, and should be handled with the utmost respect and care.

*Hope is the strongest armor we have.

May your day be blessed, and your pocket of truths be full. I’d love to hear a few! Share them with me. I too could use a pocketful!

Elle

2.27.17 “Lucky You” – Lucky Me

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Did I ever mention that I teach in the same school that my children attend? If so, did I ever mention it is a small, private, Christian school where everyone knows everyone? It is my first year there. I came from teaching literature in a public middle school where my class size was around 100 students a year; I now teach fourteen.

It’s different alright, and if I’m being honest, I’m still navigating the halls between “Mrs. Harris” my son and daughter’s mother, to “Mrs. Harris” the teacher. It’s weird to say the least. I get fun comments like, “Hey, Mrs. Harris, remember that time I came over for a playdate, and you and Mr. Harris were dancing in the kitchen and he dropped you?”

Yeah. That happened.

Or, “Mrs. Harris, remember when your hundred-pound dog stepped on my foot?”

Oh, boy do I.

Never a dull moment here at the Harris household, and this weekend was yet more proof of the same. Friday was a mixture of piano lessons we hadn’t finished preparing for, and a vehement argument about raisins.

Me: “Hun, do your piano homework.”

Her: “Ugh.”

Me: “Dolly, eat your raisins.”

Her: “I don’t like them.”

Me: “The good news is, I didn’t ask how you felt about them; I asked you to eat them.”

Her: “Ugh.”

Me: “They’re good for you.”

Her: “What are they anyway?”

Me: “Dried grapes.”

Her (unimpressed): “How many do I have to have?”

Me: “All of them.”

Her (aghast): “ALL of them!!!”

Me: “Yup.”

After eating four of them and gagging on three, she tearfully resumed the conversation.

Her: “How many now?”

Me: “Still all of them.”

The piano teacher came in the midst of it all, probably keeping time to the choking sound of tears and dry heaves. Nothing but professional lessons over here.

Later on, still embarrassed from the failed raisin reasoning, I relented as the kids had playdates for a few hours. My daughter had two friends over to, “prepare for the talent show,” which basically consisted of jumping on the trampoline and screaming and giggling around the house. My son had one friend over and they basically absorbed themselves in Pokemon cards and video games. All was well and good with the world until the three sets of parents came … at the same time.

More fun background information. My husband is now the Vice President of the Parent/Teacher’s Association for the kids’ school. MY school. Thus, we are again, intimately tied to more people in more ways. Well … my husband also wears Lucky Jeans. And at this point you’ll be thinking – so what? What do jeans have to do with anything at all? Oh it relates my friends … trust me. Because as those three parents came into our foyer, all standing together, my husband started to chat with them about an upcoming appeal he is leading for the school to initiate a new program. Right about the time he launched into his campaign for the agenda, was about the time I saw that his fly was wide open.

At this you still may be thinking – okay, I’ll admit that’s bad, but who cares what the name brand was. Well, let me enlighten you. This particular name brand is cute. So cute that its clever branding prints two words on the fly of their guy’s jeans … LUCKY YOU! Lucky me alright! There I stood, trying to seem like a bit of a professional as their children all attend my school, some with older kids in my class even, and my husband is flashing his business WITH advertising no less!

Backing up and turning purple with stifled nervous laughter escaping me, I pointed animatedly to the general groin region, hoping he’d get the point. Instead, I’m pretty sure it looked like I was being inappropriate, giggling and gesturing downward. My husband awkwardly ended his conversation and walked away to zip and return a few moments later.

Are you kidding me!?!

Now, Monday night, another amazing opportunity to feel like a tool. My son, the drummer, was supposed to practice. When he couldn’t find his drum kit he said, “Where do you think it is?”

“No clue buddy. It is your drum set after all.”

“Oh, I remember!” he said. “It’s in my music teacher’s room! We practiced there last Wednesday.”

Translation: “Mom I left my drum in my music teacher’s room for an entire week without anyone, including you, (the one who is supposed to be in charge) noticing. This not only means I’ve not practiced for five straight days, but also that my music teacher knows it!”

Fantastic! What on earth can I do but laugh at this point?

I work for a small school. It’s a lot like a family. They are beginning to know everything about us. The good. The bad. And the embarrassing.

Oh well. ‘Cest la vie … such is life. As an unknown quote says, “I’m the type of girl who will burst out laughing in dead silence because of something that happened yesterday.” LUCKY YOU! Lucky me. I’m still here … laughing.

2.16.17 Please Visit and Share!

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So I’m totally blessed to be a guest writer on “Bella Grace Magazine’s” blog, Grace Notes.  All about finding your own personal “Neverland,” this article is for anyone who needs a dose of defeating reality with just a little pinch of pixie dust.  I hope that you are able to visit and share. Letting Neverland Nourish Your Soul

Second to the right and straight on ’til morning, 

Elle 

 

2.12.17 Elsewhere

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Elsewhere

Sometimes she goes

elsewhere

to a place where the stories come

and go

and float in

and out

of her consciousness with or without her permission

Sometimes ideas stay,

and grow

and she plants ink-word seeds on paper

hoping against hope

they will bloom

Sometimes pages file past her

too fast for her to recognize that they are her own

thoughts evolved into chapters

she’s almost reticent to claim

but delighted to read

from the outside

Sometimes new notions crowd out the old

vying for space

she has little left to give

and she must choose

which to let go of

and whom to hold onto

more closely

Sometimes she goes

elsewhere

to a place no one else can go with her

until she creates a reality

a door of chapters unlocked with keys of imagination

of numbered pages

they must desire to read to enter

And so you’ll find her there

2.5.17 A Little Angel Will Call You Barbie

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So I have many, many faults. Of this I am quite aware. I talk too much. Worry too much. I’m busy. I’m somewhat stubborn. I’m loud. But I would say that one particular strength of mine is my transparency. I don’t ever really try to conceal my true self, because I have a feeling (with my heart-on-my-sleeve personality) she’d just come out anyway. In the spirit of transparency, I am going to be honest. Lately, I’ve been feeling that I look old. Audrey Hepburn once said, “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows.” I think she was right metaphorically, but sometimes, mirrors speak louder than figurative language. 

About a week ago, I was really hung up on the glints of silver peeking around my highlights, and the forehead creases that never seem to ease up, even when I try to tell my face I’m done being expressive. This self-criticism might have been amped up due to a certain time of the month when us women get a, heightened sense of emotion let’s call it, but that was beside the point. I was feeling insecure.

It isn’t ironic, therefore, that little hints (I’m certain were dropped by the devil himself) kept rubbing my doubts in my face. “Here’s a new age cream,” I heard one co-worker say to another, you’ll love it.” I leaned in closer, thinking that the fifty-something, lovely teacher with less wrinkles than I had didn’t need it, and I nearly swiped it off her desk when she wasn’t looking. Then, I came upon an infomercial, raving about the way his formula revolutionizes the skin cream world. Would you believe I wasted a half-hour watching before I was smart enough to look up the credentials of the guy, only to hear that the “doctor” wasn’t recognized in any of the institutions he bragged about working at. Finally, a friend of mine said the one thing that was sure to break me, “Your husband has such a babyface … don’t you think?” 

Insert expletive here. 

I was a little more than freaking out at that point, and when I went home that night, I decided to work out my frustrations by working out. Nerd to the core, when I work out I often watch documentaries … strong body, strong mind and such. Anyway, I decided to watch a show about the Edwardian Age, which demonstrated how, though inventive, many of the newest technologies were actually quite damaging to your health, if not fatal. Imagine my delight, therefore, when they began talking about the beauty treatments women underwent, trying to maintain their youth and elegance. In the next half-hour, I learned that many women went bald, trying to use new electric curling irons that burned their hair off. Women used facial products and powders made from camphor, bleach, lead, and ammonia to keep their skin unblemished. At the most extreme, they would eat arsenic wafers, which they were told, would take care of any offending skin problems. 

Insane and sad as it was to hear it, I felt a little flick on the forehead from God in that moment, to appreciate that I was not quite that desperate. I’m embarrassed that it took so drastic a program to knock me back to my senses, but then, as I said before, sometimes I am a bit stubborn. Sophia Loren, one of the most iconically beautiful women of any age described that, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” 

Yesterday I was at my niece’s birthday party, and there was an adorable three-year-old there who looked up at me, smiled, and turned back to her mother saying, “She looks like Barbie.” I laughed, taking it as a compliment, though Barbie is fifty-eight, and I am only thirty-four. After immediately falling in love with that kid, I did a little review of my insecurities only two weeks before. The truth is … I’m not super excited about my forehead creases, but I’m not about to stop being expressive. I’m not a huge fan of tinsel-colored hair, but I’m certainly grateful to have the extra sparkle. I don’t always appreciate when people (out of concern only of course) tell me I look tired, when I know those dark circles are hereditary. But it’s all a part of the wheel. You can’t have living without aging, and I’ll choose my crazy, loud, exhausting, wrinkle-inducing life anytime. Once in awhile God will make you laugh at yourself and be okay with it all – once in awhile a little angel will call you Barbie – and all those times in-between, I’ll do my best to appreciate the reasons for all of those smile lines I’ve achieved. 

Stay young-at-heart,

Elle 

 

1.28.17 Being

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Sometimes empty wishes soar, above my mind, or near my door,

and then I am inclined to think my life is passing near the brink

of all that was and was to be, of all my own slight history,

so then I find my future’s more than simply what I had in store,

for days and weeks and years ahead, I’m living in those days instead

so time I thought I hadn’t spent, so carelessly has came and went

and I am left with silent longing for a sense of apt belonging,

of feeling deeply, sure – fulfilled of what I wanted, wished or willed

and yet I wonder if I know, where truly I do long to go

am I just ever – lost and aching, passing? missing? or mistaking?

I think I know, but when I’m there, I find myself less self-aware

and once again I’m captive, free, chained to what I don’t yet see

my vision has been apparated, haunting new dreams while I waited

between desire coming true and unformed plans that are too new

for me to know or recognize although they pass before my eyes

so what answer can I give my restless spirit but to live

and someday, when in memory, I see my purpose was … just be

1.21.17 Memoirs of a Wife Whose Husband Travels

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I take you back, to this … me … “Summer Me.”  Take note of the oversized sun glasses, the relaxed smile, the pool behind me, and the sun, dousing me with a healthy dose of Vitamin D.  One might say, wow – her life is idyllic.  But then comes THE SEASON.  No, I’m not talking about winter, I’m talking about the traveling season, and not a family vacation kind of travel, but my husband’s gone from November to February kind of travel with a few spotted weekends home here and there, (just so I don’t forget I’m married). 

I think it is ironically cruel that his job doesn’t make him travel during the summer months when, “Go play outside,” or, “Let’s go to the pool,” are the most common utterances out of my mouth.  My current pale-faced, dry-skinned, winter version of me also wears over-large sunglasses, but it is mostly to cover the twitch in my eye from lack of sleep, lack of Vitamin D, and – if I’m being honest – lack of sanity.  This is the time of year where we are the most contained.  Where things like indoor soccer, piano lessons, and dance lessons, and gymnastics lessons, rule my schedule and determine that I will have no time to devote to anything aside from a thirty-minute work out so I don’t go postal. 

Most of the time, I’ve totally got it together; and when I don’t, I fake it pretty well.  But this particular season is worse than usual.  You see, my husband has been in places for “work” like: The Caribbean, Trinidad, Tobago, Florida, and soon to be Dubai.  I’m not mad – it’s part of his job, and my life, but I’d love to give him just a little glimpse into what it’s like when he’s gone.  This one’s for you love … yes you, who AGAIN, is not here, and probably deserves to know what goes on without you. 

Memoirs of a Wife Whose Husband Travels:

*When you’re gone, we go out to dinner a few more times than usual.  And by a few I mean whenever I can’t get my work and their practices coordinated … which is pretty freakin often. I think we are on a first name basis with the staff at Chipotle and Jimmy John’s. 

*Idiotically, when you’re gone, I temporarily lose my sense of taste, and drink lots of lemonade. You know I don’t like lemonade, but I know you do … and sometimes (all the time) when you leave me, I order it … suddenly craving the soured-sugary concoction … because, well it’s your favorite. 

*Once in awhile when you’re gone, I let the kids watch marathon episodes of Disney Channel shows –sometimes until the Netflix shamefully asks, “Are you still watching?” I want to tell Netflix to stop judging me … it’s only been four episodes (maybe five) and everyone needs a break sometimes, right? 

*When you’re gone I wear your clothes, a lot.  As soon as I get home, I look at my side of the closet, and then yours, and immediately yours wins.  And I choose the softest long sleeve t-shirt I can find, and sleep in your boxer shorts. 

*Often when you’re gone I frequent Starbucks to get a decaf Caramel Macchiato with light ice at least twice a week. Okay, fair enough … I do that when you’re here too.

*When you’re gone our pets drive me nuts, and I swear that if I hear another bark or meow I’m going to lose it.  But then a wicked little part of me wants to go to the humane society and get another, because you aren’t here to tell me no! 

*At times when when you’re gone I get a little self-conscious. I think about the exotic people you must meet, and in my overactivity imaginative mind they are all young, accomplished, beautiful business women.  And suddenly I feel very dull by comparison. So I search my phone for the best picture of myself I can find, then I use the most forgiving filter to make it even better, and send it to you.  Now you know why. 

*When you’re gone, our pets or children inadvertently make a mess somehow.  A few years ago it was our dog and her explosive diarrhea episode.  This time it was our daughter and her projectile vomit all over our bedroom floor.  Why couldn’t either of these things happened when you were here to lug the power wash vacuum cleaner up from the basement? When I said I liked being independent … this wasn’t what I meant. 

*When you’re gone I don’t sleep well. And I know when you’re here I complain about your hot, heavy leg resting on mine … but without it, I wrestle the sheets and get annoyed at myself for NOT sleeping while I can.  I end up watching romantic comedies or romantic dramas, but sappily skip all but the romantic parts … and then I miss you more. 

*When you’re gone I go out for ice cream with the kids … sometimes before dinner, because why not right?  I know you’d do the same if I ever went anywhere … which I don’t, but if I did – I’ll bet you would. 

*Usually when you’re gone I end up accidentally hurting myself somehow, I whack my arm on the cabinet and get a monster bruise, or I sleep wrong and get a stiff neck.  This time, our son spilled water and didn’t tell me so I slid right into the wall and crunched all my toes!  And it’s no fun complaining to myself how much it hurts. 

*When you’re gone I implement mandatory nap times … though our kids are well beyond the age where they need one.  I need one, and they seem to agree, shutting their doors with a sort of, “Yeah, let’s have mom take twenty.” What smart kids we have! 

*When you’re gone I don’t really make dinner. We eat, but it’s more like a … “Hmmm, that looks like something that I could put together and call a meal.”  Oh, wait!  That’s what I do every day no matter what. Sorry. 

*Sometimes when you’re gone I get a little spiteful, and I might buy a new pair of boots, or an outfit, or a darker shade of lipstick just because.  

*But mostly, when you’re gone, I miss you. Plain and simple. And I think about all the parts of you I love best … especially the part that I know you’ll always come back. That might be the thing I do the most – wait for your return. 

Here’s to all who can relate, and to those of you who can’t, I hope you never take your local worker for granted. 

Elle

“Our journey isn’t perfect, but it’s ours, and I’ll stick with you ’til the end.”                    – Unknown

1.15.17 Tell Tale

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Yesterday I had my will notarized.  It’s official.  According to paper … my death is in order.  I’m not going to lie, there’s something significantly disconcerting about having things “finalized.”  It seems like tempting fate in some way.  But, as the character Nate Scamander says in Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, “Worrying means you suffer twice.”  So it’s probably better not to.  

As easy as it is to tell myself, it would be dishonest to say that the what if’s in my mind haven’t been kicked a little into high gear.  What if my husband and I don’t get to die together like we planned (I choose to be delusional okay)?  What if I died before I got to help my daughter pick out her wedding dress?  What if our four pets outlive us all out of spite?  What if my sister would go insane having to take care of my kids and her own?  What if, when I watch my life again with God, it ends up being a  total snore because the majority of my time is spent folding laundry?  Yes.  These are the things that run through my brain.  

When I’m being a bit more rational, (which I can be from time to time) thinking about death actually makes me think a lot more about life – about my life and what I’m doing with it, about the lives of those around me, and about the way we all process our own stories. Like the hundreds of books I have in my house, there are so many perspectives … so many genres … so many tales of heroes and villains … often portrayed by the same person – us.  I have to wonder about whether or not anyone maps the chapters of their lives like I do. 

What chapters do they sink into, reading slowly and savoring the memories of precious things only they know?  What sections to they skip past, too fearful of revisiting old demons?  What parts surprise them about themselves?  What parts enchant them?  Disappoint them?  Remind them to dream?  Make them feel most alive?  Do they think their stories are worth reading twice? 

Regardless of where you are in the process of looking back, or looking forward.  We’re all in the middle of our very own book of life.  I think the most important thing to remember is what Susan Statham said, “Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.” It might just be me and my writer’s heart, but I believe there’s no such thing as a lost cause in a story … no matter how many plot twists yours may have.  Only you can rewrite the character of you … so what tale will you tell? 

Never lose faith, you are the hero after all. 

Elle