Thursday, August 28, 2014

three hundred words a day. august 28. on anger.

The anger sets in, infiltrating every fiber of my being – every cell, every molecule, every space in between – it catches me off guard. What is this? This… emotion? It is as black as night and as thick as smoke. It envelopes me, so deeply that I cannot get clear, I cannot breathe, no matter how hard I try.

But, how?

I am a peaceful woman. It has been a process, a growth, a learning these days gone by, and each day I get closer. Each day I remind myself… patience. Each day I practice… love. Each day I remember… the greatest gift is to forgive.

Have I been here before? Back when? Back before my days were filled with breath and yoga and affirmation and prayer?

I don’t think so.

I recall anger with my sisters, the meaningless, monotonous sibling tug and pull that ends in tears and yelling and inevitably an I love you.

I remember anger in young adulthood, irritation over a perceived wrong, frustration over my lack of control. He said, she said, ever the same.

And I have felt anger as a woman, hormone-fueled indignant rage whose catalysts, unsurprisingly, today I find hard to recall.

But, this anger?

No. This anger is new. This anger for what has been taken and not given, this anger - it roils and boils like a tornado inside as my heart, my soul, my very being threaten to implode with its might. This anger, it is beyond comprehension, beyond description. How can this be?

My own words, they fail me.

You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise...
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise. - Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Today on facebook, I posted a thought...
this weekend on super soul sunday on own, oprah interviewed steven pressfield - they were discussing finding your purpose in life and a couple of questions you can ask yourself to uncover what yours might be. like... what are you afraid of more than anything in the whole world? and... what would you do if you knew you were going to die in three months? what would you do if fear was not a factor, if money were not a factor?

I've been thinking about these questions for a long time.  I've discussed them over and over again, with friends, with family, here.  I've posed grand and lofty aspirations - to donate my time, to write a book - as well as the more down to earth desires - to be the best mom I can be, to make a difference.

And while I sometimes feel I am making progress, with the exception of maybe the book idea, some days I know I'm falling way short.  Are my expectations of what I should be doing in line with where I am in my life?  And even more so... are we all even called to a higher purpose?  Is simply being the best me I can be right now enough?  Because believe me when I tell you - oftentimes the best me takes a tremendous amount of work. 

I decided that since I asked the questions, fully expecting a response or two, it would be unfair of me not to post an answer myself.  And, since I have never been a woman of few words - you'll get my answers, and my thoughts... here. 

What am I afraid of more than anything in the world?

After much soul searching, I've realized there are two things I am most fearful of and they actually go hand in hand.  My greatest fear is being alone.  Being left...  alone.  I don't believe I realized the full magnitude of this fear until my momma passed away, and it was only recently that it has begun to make any sense to me.

My mother was my closest friend, my sole confidant.  The only person I trusted with me - my fears, my true thoughts, my feelings - both the good and the not so good.  She my rock, and when she died, well, the only thing I can say is that it felt as if something in me died that day too.  I look back and I realize that slowly, from that day forward, I put a padlock on my heart.  If you don't let yourself really love, you won't get hurt.  If you push away the ones that want to love you, it won't hurt as much when they leave anyway.  Borne out of fear and a desire to protect myself, I am certain, and yet - inevitably leaving me exactly where I feared the most.  Alone.

My second greatest fear is disappointing those people in my life that I care for.  As a child, I hated to disappoint my parents, I didn't want them to be mad at me, so much so that I was that child.  You know, the agreeable one?  The perfect one?  Never in trouble, always over achieving?  Yes, that was me. 

As I got older, that fear of disappointing got me into a few more messes than I would like to admit.  With friends, with family, with Big J.  I've gone along with what others wanted.  I've been in friendships I had no business being in.  I responded with words that I didn't really believe, just so you wouldn't be angry.  Wouldn't be disappointed.  Would like me.  Wouldn't leave me.  Alone.

See the connection? 

What would you do if you knew you were going to die in three months?

This question is always a difficult one to answer - there are so many things I'd love to do in my lifetime.  I would love to travel more, visit Europe and take my littles to Greece.  I would love to run the Grand Canyon.  I would love to go to the Super Bowl, preferably when the Colts are playing.  I would love to lay on a white sand beach for an entire week with a good book or ten.

But the truth is that, given just three more months - I would simply do what I fear most... love.

I would love my family and my friends.  I would call my sisters every day, and spend time with my littles.  I would laugh with them and hold them close enough to feel their hearts beat.  I would sing more, stress less, speak my truth and say no a tad bit more often.  I would be present in each and every moment, and never ever speak of when or what-if. 

And just maybe start on that book I keep threatening to write.

Simple, really.  

What would you do if fear or money were not a factor?

With nothing to fear and all the money in the world?  I have been thinking about this for more than a few hours now since first posting the question, and still the first and only thing that comes to mind is that I would do exactly what I would do if I had only three months to live.

Just... love.

Maybe we are not all called to some higher purpose in life.  I know I will never be the next Mother Teresa, I will certainly never be President, or raise a gazillion dollars to build schools in Africa.  What I do know is that stripped of the extraneous, stripped of the busy noise that surrounds each of us every day, stripped of my fear of being alone and disappointing - my first thoughts on waking and my last thoughts at night and countless in between are about those I love and care for.  My people.

And if I really think about it, maybe that's all there needs to be to my purpose right now.  Maybe it doesn't have to pressure filled or grand at all.  Maybe for me, its just all about opening myself up to love, about not holding back or being afraid and doing as my friend Kristine suggests... simply enjoying the ride. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

thirty days with a grateful heart. day nineteen.

day nineteen.  o holy night.

I love Glee.

I even love this season when things are all discombobulated and there are a gazillion new characters and I'm having a really hard time figuring out where they're going storyline-wise, anyone else??

I either laugh or cry with each episode, I mean, seriously - there's so much going on - but - I sing.  Oftentimes at the top of my lungs to the great annoyance of anyone who happens to be watching along with me.

Lately, though, I've taken to recording it and watching it by myself while the house is quiet during the day, simply to avoid the inevitable begging and pleading from the littles... will you please stop singing???

Just recently, I watched one of the shows I had taped and although it is past Christmas, and the title of the episode, Swan Song, doesn't really sound Christmasy at all - imagine my i-lovelovelove-christmas-nusic delight when Rachel sang O Holy Night.

Sooooo good.

It made me wish I could sing like that just once in my life.  And grateful, since me becoming a singing diva is about as likely as hell freezing over, that I can at least listen to her do it.  On Glee.   Over and over again.  As many times as I like thanks to the magic of Direct TV.

Have you seen the Grease episode?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

thirty days with a grateful heart. day eighteen.

day eighteen.  morning, momo!

This girl and me, we have history. 


History that spans decades.  And friendships.  And believe it or not, men.

In the beginning, I was a little afraid of her.  Some of our history made it that way. 

And then one day, we sat on the beach, just the two of us, talking, and I realized just how very much I wanted her in my life.  Needed her in my life.

Partly because she made me laugh, like pee my pants kind of laughing. 

Partly because she is no drama, ever.  And in a town where drama reigns supreme, she is an anomaly.

Partly because she's so damn cute, I mean look at her.  I just want to squeeze her.

Partly because I can tell her anything and she will never judge me.  Ever.

Partly because she lets me wear her clothes.  And omg, are they cool! 

Partly because, every single morning for years, she has greeted me via text with morning, momo!  Every single morning. For years.

Partly because she believed in me when I needed someone to believe in me.

But mostly I love her just because she just gets me.  Really gets me.

And for that, I will be ever grateful.

I love you, Murph.  Marry me?  ;)


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

thirty days with a grateful heart. day seventeen.

day seventeen.  out of the mouth of babes.

There are days when I, like most parents, think my littles have to have been abducted by aliens, their actions so contrary to what I know I have spent their lifetimes trying to teach them. 

Sometimes I just want to pull my hair out, I get so incredibly frustrated, wondering why, oh why do they not understand?  Why do they not see?

And just when I think I must be at the very end of my rope with them, they do something that surprises me.  That encourages me.  That gives me... hope that they will be the compassionate and loving adults I have taught them to be.

It is on days like that, on days like Christmas, when for the first time ever, my littles gave me a gift that they not only sought out, but purchased and wrapped all on their own.  And when that gift is opened, it reveals the truth.  That what I have been hoping and praying for, for them, for so many years, has become reality.

They see. 

But not only do they see, they also get... me.  Which, in my humble opinion, is more than any parent could ever hope for, don't you agree?

I am...

I am... enough.

So grateful for their lesson today, my friends.  Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 24, 2012

thirty days with a grateful heart. day sixteen.

day sixteen.  talking 'bout my guy.

Last year, during my thirty days, I wrote about my dad

I wrote about what an incredible father he has been to me, what an incredible husband and grandfather and patriot and friend.

I wrote about how much I love him and how proud I am, every day, to be his daughter.

I wrote about the lessons he has taught me, about love and commitment.  And about the values he instilled in me, like honesty and integrity and kindness and loyalty.

I wrote about the way he loved my mother, with his entire heart and soul.  And about how he cared for her when she was dying, with gentleness and patience and gratitude for her presence in his life.

All those things are no less true today than they were last year.  If anything, the feelings and emotions I have for my father have been magnified by his gentle presence by my side these last few months.

Because even at this age, I am still learning new lessons from him.  Lessons about love.  About family.  About parenting.  And patience. 

I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for him and for his belief in me - especially lately when there have been more than a few moments when I haven't really had much faith in myself.

Thank you, daddy.  You are my heart.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

thirty days with a grateful heart. day fifteen.

day fifteen.  angels we have heard on high.

Every year, my mother would purchase three Christmas ornaments.  They were always angels and there were always three of them.  I don't believe my sisters and I put two and two together, at least I know I did not, until my father decorated his Christmas tree for the first time after she passed away.
He pulled the angels out, divided them up, and gave each of my sisters and me a box. 
She'd been buying them for us. 
One for each of us. 
Every single year.
We do that, you know.  Mommas.  We do... things for our children that they never even realize we are doing.  Some big, some small.  Some obvious.  Some not so.  My momma's angels were one of those things.
Without really discussing it, my sisters and I have continued the tradition.  One year, Teresa bought them. A few years, Crista.  Last year I bought ceramic angels for the three of us - with hair painted the color of each of our own.  We never discuss whose turn it is.  We never even really talk about it, but every single year, there are always three new angels.

This year, I didn't forget, exactly.  I thought about them.  I thought as the oldest, I should buy them this year, it might make me feel better.  I even went as far as to put three angels into my cart from a store online.  I just... never completed the purchase. 

I don't know why exactly.  Maybe I figured it wasn't so bad if we skipped a year.  Maybe I figured we all had so much going on that they might forget this year too, and that would be ok, I mean - its not like this year is all that... normal, you know?

But, my sisters?  They didn't forget.  No, they wouldn't forget. 

So thankful.  So grateful, for this beautiful angel that came in the mail when I needed her most, but even more so today for those other angels my momma left me, my sisters