Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Traditions: Of Love & Christmas (12/21)



December 21st
Tradition: What are your traditions of Christmas? Or Hanukkah, if that’s what you celebrate. Is there one thing that spans generations or your family or just in your life? 

This will be the fifth Christmas since my Grandma passed away and the sixth since we had Christmas with her last. So many of my Christmases and traditions involved her, but that was another time.

There are a few traditions that have followed my life.

One, my Dad has a little blue nightlight that he will plug in my bedroom and turn the light on Christmas eve. The theory was, if the light was off when I woke up in the morning it meant Santa Claus had come. The light was always off in the morning, even the last time I spent Christmas at home, when I was 29. 

Second, when I was a lot younger, my Dad started buying little house ornaments from Hallmark. They were on of the "collections." Each year, from about 1985, I'd get a new house for Christmas. When I was about 12 or 13, and I only had a few, I used them to be the "neighbors" for my gigantic dollhouse. Suddenly, when I was about 26 or 27, there were enough ornaments for my Mom to decorate the Christmas tree with only the houses. That's what she did this year, she said. [photo to come when I see it!] 

Now, as I look at these two, these are the only two traditions that continue to this day. But, there are others. 

There is the tradition that lasted for several years of my hometown Church holding a midnight service and we would sing Silent Night outside in front of the sanctuary. 

Then, there is the tradition when we would have Christmases with some family friends to watch a movie. 

For a long time, just after Thanksgiving, a package would arrive in the mail. It was a three foot piece of green felt with three golden rings tied to it, cascading in rows to the bottom. The dates were cut out in red felt. Each day, I'd have something new to open: a pencil, a dollar bill, a pair of socks, or maybe a piece of candy. 

Even still, another memory involves my Grandma taking me out onto the front porch to see if I could hear Santa Claus. She would bend slightly over with her arms around me, holding me close to keep me warm. Then, faintly, I'd hear, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" off in the distance. It wasn't until I was about 16... that I figured out how close Santa Claus was to my backyard. 

These are all memories that I'll be able to carry on into my own family, and one I'm already planning on passing along to my pseudo-nephew. Every child and every family needs a Christmas tradition that spans time, whether the people who helped make them happen aren't around anymore, or not. Sometimes, when we stop experiencing the tradition ourselves, it's time to pass it on to someone else. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear: Fear Itself (12/12)


December 12th
FearWhat were you afraid of in 2011? How did you let fear control you? What will you to do confront it in 2012?

I was once afraid of seaweed. I grew up, for the most part, in Southern California. Boogie boarding and taking to the ocean were the highlights of much of my upbringing. Years earlier, however, when I visited Hawaii for the first time (25 years ago) I was pulled down by the undertow. 

A mixture of sand and water forced its way up my nose and into my throat, and while my eyes were peeled open, I couldn't see very well. Everything looked foggy and hazy like looking through a blurred and water-filled hourglass, the sand just slowly passing through. It would be at least half a year until I'd find out (as a second grader) that I would need glasses. 

I felt my body slam against the bottom of the ocean, which may have only been three feet down, and the force of the water sent me ashore. It felt like hours, but possibly wasn't longer than thirty seconds, and I remember it as if it were yesterday.

It was one of the most frightening moments of my young life; to be sucked beneath the surface, unable to see, hear, or breathe, until I appeared once again.

A theme for me this year has been to trust my instincts and let go of the fear. Instinct, I believe, is about seeing something and knowing it's there. Faith, on the other hand, is about believing in what you see, without knowing it's there. Somehow, Heaven-sent, I've been able to slowly grasp my instinct, and faith when allowed. 

The thing I feared most in 2011 was, in fact, fear itself. 

I pray that I'd be able to stare down the fear and be able to make the necessary decisions for advancement and contentment and pure joy in life from the perspective of faith and the instinctual good of the moment. 

To read more about the end of the year journey, visit Resonating Reflections of 2011 by clicking here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Miracle: Rediscovering Grace in the Restoration of Faith

December 4th
Miracle: Do you feel you experienced or witnessed miracle this year? How so?
It might depend on how you describe a miracle. Some people describe seeing them in the moonlight, or in the sunshine, or in how the rays of sun glisten through clouds.
Miracles, for me, come through receiving grace. It seems that it often takes feeling a hurt deeper than you ever have felt before and sensing that your friendships, or your job, or your sanity will come crashing down. The sense of feeling as if you don’t do something and quickly you’ll never recover is what I call grace and a defining moment. 
A long-term relationship ended just shy of one year ago. It pained me and yet I so desperately wanted to prove that I was going to be fine and that I could move on, I pushed myself to move on and be alright without ever actually confronting why it hurt so bad to begin with. Several months passed before I realized that this "thing" I wasn't dealing with could destroy every other relationship I had: feelings of doubt, feelings of mistrust, and a general feeling of abandonment. 

I was exhausted - emotionally, hurting and fearing that the people I love and who I believe cared about me and sustained me during the initial difficult time would back away. 
Tired, feeling very much alone, and with nowhere to go, I went to a Church. It wasn’t like any Church I’d ever been to... a satellite campus and broadcasted at  a high school auditorium. Yet, I walked without resistance into the quad of the campus to see a sign that said, “A Place Where It’s OK to Not Be OK.” I immediately felt tears streaming down my face. 

I was undoubtedly torn. At one point, I didn't know who I could trust nor did I know why I wondered and doubted that. This Church I had just walked into announced they were starting a series called, "Torn: Trusting God When Life Leaves You in Pieces." 

The Pastor, Jud Wilhite, said at the beginning, "Maybe you don't know why that relationship ended, or maybe you don't know why it hurts." The tears at this point poured down my face. 

I thought, and somewhat still believe that the people I wanted to confide in, or had already vented to, may have considered me too emotional, or presumed I would have already moved on. I felt as though also these people I loved had their own concerns that I didn’t want to bother them. My ears heard the words, "It's not about you." 

My heart ached. Of course it wasn't, it was about all of them. I wanted to be there for my friends and for my family but knew I couldn't because the hurt I felt inside was greater than any love - at that moment - that I could receive or offer. 

Drug addicts.
Domestic violence victims.
Assault survivors.
Foreclosures.
Job loss. 
And so on... 

Many of us often rationalize that our hurts, a simple breakup, or the natural end-of-life death of a loved one, are not significant enough in either the eyes of God or our peers because our neighbors may be dealing with something that much "worse" or difficult.

In discovering grace, it becomes known that it doesn't matter what it is because you're the only one who is experiencing it. Only you know what it feels like to lose the job, to be abused, to have lost your house or try to quit... something. The one common theme is that each of us can be torn by that one issue only one of us knows about. That's where we can come together. 

So, when I realized my life had left me emotionally in pieces, I chose to seek my faith. It was the beginning of the return back to feeling at peace with myself, at the risk of losing loved ones and friends in the process.

Whether fortune or unfortunately, I had to work at rebuilding my faith, then myself, before I could tackle anything else. It's now all an evolving process. 

Torn: Lyric Video from Central Online on Vimeo.
My prayer for the end of this year, is that through the restoration of faith and self-worth, may also my relationships with family and friends be restored too. That also, one day, if a friend is hurting and feeling like they need to climb out of darkness, I can either have the awareness or the invitation to offer a hand in that climb.

Join the Journey. Answer the Prompts & Tweet Your Link using #resonate11 & #reverb11

Friday, December 2, 2011

Make: A Master's Degree & Wine Corks (12/2)


December 2nd

Make: This is a two pronged prompt! What did you enjoy making this year? Did you “make the Dean’s list”? Or, maybe you made a really good wine, or maybe you made some furniture? And, what do you look forward to making during the holidays? Cookies?  Homemade gifts? 
In 2011
At the end of April, or at the beginning of May, I finished my last final for the last class of my graduate program. I can say, looking back, that I thoroughly enjoyed “making” my degree. After all, learning is a key part of staying alive. 
Deciding to go to graduate school in 2009 was a decision crafted by the downward spiral of the economy.
My profession and my skills felt as though they were headed to the grave. The Internet takes much away from broadcast and the monotony of my daily tasks left me craving creativity. Fortunately, the program I enrolled in allowed me much of that.
For the Holidays
Last year I blogged about looking forward to making something with wine corks. I now have enough wine corks to make a Christmas tree, place settings, and I could definitely contribute to making a wine cork chair. My friends at ONEHOPE Wine will understand where that came from. (Yes, finishing my Master's Degree has something to do with all the wine corks.)
And, speaking of wine, I was a part of a winemaking group at the end of 2010 and we bottled the wine in April. It’s supposed to be ready for the palate by Christmas. That’s something that I am looking forward to trying before the year is even over. Therefore, I suppose my answers could be the same. 
How about you? Did you make anything this year? What do you think about the value of education? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memory: An Empty Airplane Seat (12/1)

Earlier this week after learning that a blogging community I participated in last year would not continue, but would rather be a self-initiated event I decided to create Resonating Reflections. Last year, the group #Reverb10 built a community around one another and those who participated learned a lot about themselves, each other, and found support that otherwise may not have been there. Upon the suggestion that we each create our own #Reverb11, I settled upon the concept of #Resonate11. In essence, it's the same thing. I just used a different "name." So, whether you are in a #Reverb11 group, or joining this one, we're in this together. Thanks to the team that brought us here to begin with.

December 1st
Memory: What’s the first thing you remember about 2011? What stands out in your head? Grab a piece of paper and write down the first five things or moments that come to your mind. Then, write about them. Choose one that you remember the most. Why? Or, use your camera. Take a picture. Maybe you captured that moment you remember.
  1. Hawaii- Particularly an empty seat on an airplane
  2. Pretzel M&M’s in Nashville 
  3. A fun night with a friend with whom I hadn't spent much time with
  4. Watching Sara Evans sing “Stronger” on TV for the first time
  5. Being dumfounded and surprised

That’s my list. They didn’t come to me so quickly, did they come quickly for you? 

For anyone who has followed the journey thus far on the blog, they likely know why the song “Stronger” resonates with me so deeply. Yet it’s nearly been one year since I had to become stronger.
An Empty Plane Seat Next to Me
January 12, 2011
The first moment is the best moment that set me up for the whole year. I got on a plane to go to Hawaii, a trip I was supposed to take with someone else. Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean I realized why the seat was empty. I don’t know why it took me so long, I had only been single for a month. With the holidays in-between the four weeks felt like a mixture of four minutes and four years: a blur. 

As soon I figured it out, I took a picture. Then I asked the flight attendant for a glass of champagne. 




Join the Journey. Answer the Prompts & Tweet Your Link using #resonate11

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Putting the Puzzle Pieces of Life Together


In five days it will be one year since I started this blog process. It started out as one kind of journey, and as life changed, it has become another. 
Writing often helps one put the
puzzle pieces of life together.
The other night, while on an airplane traveling to a getaway I wrote a poem. Writing, for me, has always been an idiosyncratic process. It just happens. When I write what reads like a poem or song lyrics to me the words flow in one stream of consciousness. Once, I wrote a two page poem, front and back, while in between classes in college. I had about seven minutes to do it.
Sometimes, with writing, the words just come because the story is already in the author. 
At the top of the page on yellow legal pad paper I wrote, “Written just shy of 11 months from the day since my life changed (not that anyone is counting).” I wanted to put some finality on the shock that comes when a relationship ends; or rather, when my relationship ended
If you remember, I started this blog because my boyfriend at the time would call me things that hurt my feelings. The ending of the relationship though, when that happened, it hurt more. Then, there were a lot of other feelings that came out over the course of time. Removed, I finally had a way to address what it felt like in that instant that everything changed. 
Who knows, maybe this will help you or someone you know deal with the pain, heartache, grief, or whatever it is. 
I don't know what you just said.
I'm sorry, I missed it.
Tell me one more time that everything
is not alright.
Cuz I can't think.
I'm lost inside.
I can't find - 
Where am I supposed to go?
You said goodbye, I know
That part I got right.
I'm sorry, but I don't know why?
Tell me one more time that everything
is not alright.
Cuz I can't hear you.
I'm not listening.
I can't find - 
Where am I supposed to go?
You're gone, You're gone.
I'm all alone, all alone.
Just get up and say goodbye. 
It's not for me to leave.
I'm sorry, you've got to go.
I don't know what you just said.
I'm sorry, I missed it.
But that don't matter now -
You're gone, alright, and out of my life.
and now I'm free
Thank God you had to leave.
I am free.
Now that I'm who I'm supposed to be.
And I am fine.
Everything is alright. 
How do you deal with loss? With heartache? What’s your method of dealing with what you know to be good (like the ending of a relationship that should have ended) and also with the sadness that it ended anyway? Do you allow yourself to realize that it’s alright and natural to feel both relief and sadness at the same time? Let me know what you think. If you want... 



Photo Courtesy:  http://uwbwritingcenter.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/confession-i-write-poetry/

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If I Die Young... (Part 1)


Kimberly Perry is somewhat in a state of contentment. The song she wrote, that her band (The Band Perry) sings and has won awards for is all about knowing all is well.
con·tent·ment/kənˈtentmənt/
Noun:
A state of happiness and satisfaction.
Synonyms:
satisfaction - gratification - complacency - complacence
Just in case you were wondering.
In my last post I wrote about writing something down, making it happen, writing it into life. Writing, for me, is a way of putting something out into the world. Then, let whatever the world wants to do with it - have at it. Right?
“If I die young...” It’s a contemplative phrase. 




Life is short, so my question is what can each one of us do to ensure that however short, or long, our lives are that we can say the following:
“I’ve had just enough time.”
This isn’t a message about giving up. This is a message about living on without any hurried pursuit of anything. Just be you, the great you that you were meant to be. 
If you’re thinking about suicide, there is help:
In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Write it Down: What's Your Story?

Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.
Susan Isaacs

It started out with Helen Keller, and then it was Lesley Stahl, and sometime later I tripped upon Chelsea Handler.
Each of these women have either autobiographies or biographies about their lives and their purpose. What’s your story? 
I’ve always enjoyed writing; finding and telling a good story. My Dad used to write down my thoughts on the day, or what I would tell him happened. We affectionately called them the “red books,” because they were in fact red daily diary books. They chronicle my early childhood from the perspective of my father, and occasionally as I told him. 
Throughout my life people have told me to “write it down.” Often, I wondered what they wanted me to write down. 
“You should write a novel, it would help people,” one person told me earlier this year.
“You should write a letter, then burn it, or tear it up,” said another not so long ago.
When I write fiction, I read the story back and it almost always reads like my on life. There’s no fiction in the stories I write. The names change and some of the circumstances are different, but I know who the characters are. I know where they’ve been, and I know where they’re going.
At some point that concept became incredibly frightening. 
On this journey to “something fabulous” I’ve found myself sitting right smack down in the middle of my faith. It’s something I haven’t done this earnestly and honestly since high school. Suddenly, I realized one reason why I cannot finish writing “someone else’s story” is because there’s someone else who will. 
As Christian, and in high school, I leaned up against Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV). The Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For the first time in my life, I actually get it! I can’t write something down to make it true, or to make someone or some circumstance come to life. I can, however, write down whether in the form of a letter, this blog, a poem, or a novel, what I’m thankful for, the lessons I’ve learned, the friendships I’m grateful for, and where I hope I’m going. I can write down what hurts and who I need to forgive -- and no one has to see that! I can also write down the incredible fear in trusting that it will all work out. Whatever “it” is.
Religious or not, if you have faith in what you cannot see, it will work out. Know this: It will work out, even if it’s not as you expected, hoped, or so long desired it would. It’s better this way. 
What’s your story? Are you going to write it down?


UPDATED: 11/8/2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm Not Asking "Why?" Anymore


I looked at my phone for what felt like hours waiting for it to buzz or ring or light up.
Nothing. 
My own wrestling with patience prevented anyone from contacting me first, or so it seemed. That’s because I would stop at almost anything to communicate with someone at randomized, seemingly perfect for me, moments. 
“Think about what you need to do for yourself in those moments,” someone said to me recently. I cannot remember the exact wording now, but they continued and said, “Instead of thinking about what hurts or why its hurting, try to figure out what needs to be healed.” 
Have you ever been hurt and knew exactly what you needed to do to help yourself heal? Could you figure out the first step? 
“That’s a good idea,” I said back. In fact, it seems quite simple now that I think about it. After all, when I was younger it was pretty simple to figure out the first step towards healing. 
When you fall down, you get back up again.
When I was eight, I got on my bicycle and started riding it down the steep back hill of our development. It’s not for certain, but I believe I might have been carrying other things with me, weighing down bicycle with a faster speed to the bottom of that hill. Half way down, the front wheel skirted right, the back went left, and I landed underneath it and the bicycle dragged me about ten more feet. I don’t remember if I cried, but I probably did. I have a scar on the inside of my elbow that reminds me just how deep the road carved into me as the bicycle dragged me down the hill. In that moment, I didn’t need to figure out why it hurt or what had happened. It was quite obvious! So, I, in a sobbing and tearful, bloody mess begrudgingly walked my bicycle back up the hill and home. 
Not all hurts are that easy to figure out, and for most people the hurts become a little more complicated when you get older. Not the hurts, but the cause, and the why sometimes is impossible to figure out. Then, sometimes, we, I know I do, get stuck in wondering why something happened that we cannot see the first step.
One thing is for sure, I’m not asking Why? anymore. 
As a child: “Why did Sigmund (the cat) die?”
Parent: “She wasn’t feeling well and she’s in a better place.”
As a teenager: “Why couldn’t I go to the college I wanted to go to?”
Parent: “Because it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be.”
As an adult: “Why did he leave me?”
Parent: “It’s for the best.”
It’s interesting, I think, that the answers are easy when we’re younger and they are more vague as we get older. More deeply, because when we ask such a deep question like, “Why did he leave me?” or “Why did she have to get cancer?” we most likely wouldn’t be happy with the answer. It would not bring us the joy that we so long hoped to feel again.
When I hurt, sometimes I hit the gym and I pound my feet on the rotating belt as if it were pavement. It’s as if I’m chasing after some sort of something on the horizon and I never get there. Other times, I hang out with friends and occasionally enjoy more than what I need to enjoy when it comes to wine. Or, I write down stories that I hope would make sense of the pain. 
Since my last post, I decided to stop asking why and just go to the source that my Grandma taught me as a young girl: my Faith. Instead of asking myself again, why did my life change in the way it did, I asked who will still love me tomorrow? 
If you’re not a Christian, or have never been to Church, it may not make sense to you. But, for me, the message that I knew, and had heard, and trusted for years was much more loud than it ever has been before. In Romans 8, the Bible says, If our God is for us, then who can be against us? 
That’s real soul food, and real comfort, for me, on this journey... to something fabulous. 


If you're interested in learning more about the Bible, please check out this website. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

"How Are You Dealing With...?"


There are repetitive themes in some of my blog posts. 
Sometimes, the best way to deal with something is by doing absolutely nothing. Sound familiar? Earlier this year, I wrote about how sometimes doing absolutely nothing is doing absolutely something! I suppose it depends where you are coming from.
I think of getting a massage or a spa treatment as doing absolutely nothing that some how is some something that we really and desperately needed.
It’s hard to do nothing, sometimes. If something is bothering a person, many times the desire is to seek a distraction. If they’re dumped, they want to go to a bar and meet new people. If they’ve been out of work, they might volunteer or get involved with their child’s school. Or, they’ll go to the gym or make what was once just a hobby an everyday activity.
For me, being alone with my thoughts can be an unwanted reminder of the unwanted events that have occurred in life. Some people would argue and say, “Your life hasn’t been that bad!”
True! It hasn’t. How a person deals with what’s happened in life is unique to that individual. Not everyone responds to the death of a grandparent the way I did and have. Not everyone can still conjure up tears and emotion six years later. 
“It’s time to get over it,” people might say. Or, they’ll ask, “How are you dealing with...?”
The truth is, for the most part, I never once gave it any thought until people started asking, and then they continued to ask. It dawned on me, I guess I wasn’t dealing with it at all
What do you do when you relive how something “bad” made you feel? Do you talk to a friend, a family member, or do you write in a journal? Or, do you turn to something that reminds you of a better time, like an old television show or do you re-read a book you loved?
Or, do you simply do nothing. Sit on the couch, or in a cozy chair, or a rocking chair and look at what’s around you, maybe reading a book? Let me know what you think. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Want to Sparkle


It’s September. 
Of course, you already knew that. 
I’m not sure, though, when, or how, this year became to be three-quarters of its way through. Really, I look at the calendar and I’m certain that the pages just turned to June. By the time I recognized it was June, I think it was August. That may explain that.
Time flies when you’re having fun, moving on, learning new things, or growing up. That’s all happened in the last nine months. What have you learned this year?
This year, I learned that I love to be spontaneous, so long as everything else is planned. It’s important to me to know where I’ll sleep, or how I’ll get somewhere, but the rest -- I can go with the flow.
Also, I learned that I’m content with being alone. In fact, much to my dismay, I actually enjoy it. That being said, I do love companionship and hope one day that I can have a relationship where there’s an honest blend of mutual interests and individual interests.
What I learned most about myself and my experiences of this year is what I don’t want, and how to help those who may not want it either. I don’t want to be stifled. 
I want to sparkle.
Getting the frump out of your rump is a permanent process; it is a constant cycle and the recognition of what does deserve and what one does not; and getting it out allows your sparkle to shine through. 
I have something big coming. It’s still in development and it is coming. As soon as I can tell you, I will. I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Best Way to Heal is to Help


When I first set out to write this blog it started because of a wound that was very deep, but very few people could see it. No matter how hard I tried to cover it up, the temporary bandages didn’t seem to be working.
There are bruises we can see, and there are bruises we can’t. It’s the latter that are the most common and the least talked about. 
When I set out to get the frump out of my rump, I didn’t realize that it came with the shedding of the source of my “frumpage.” 

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t realize I was being hurt until I wasn’t being hurt anymore.
It’s been a struggle, almost daily, these past several months trying to figure out if there’s a story to tell. If I was alone, and if I wasn’t, could others need to be helped. If they needed to be helped, how can I do that? 
It’s clear, as I write this, that the pain still exists. Some of the wounds have healed, but it’s an ongoing process. 
I heal when I can fit into that little black dress and am confident to wear it.
I heal when I am not afraid, or bothered by the possibility of enjoying tea alone.
There are other moments I heal. 
But, the biggest is finding ways to help. Would you be willing to help me help others? 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Staring Out Into Possibility

Written En Route San Diego to Las Vegas
Now that a year in my life has come and gone, even while in the midst of the current year, I find myself staring out into a valley of possibility. 
I could use the imagery of mountains to climb or hills to scale, but the entire concept of pushing something up a hill never to arrive is not one that I wish to pursue.
The Myth of Sisyphus is one of never attaining the goal, but always be engaged in the climb.
I, for one, am not certain that the climb itself is all that it’s cracked up to be. The journey, however, that’s an entirely different story. 
When people enter a dark moment of their life I never hear them talk about “the climb.” Instead, they’ll refer to it as “darkness” or “a rut” or a “battle.” Never, that I can recall, does anyone mention some pursuit upwards.
That is not to say that there is no pursuit in going up, it’s just that I’m not certain anyone cognitively feels that they are “moving” into a higher capacity while carrying weight in the process.
Leading up to this new series of 365 days, or 525,600 minutes, my vision is not one of standing in the same place, moving, but going nowhere. Instead, it’s almost a series of ballet movements across grains of sand and onto something.
Then, though, that begs the question: Is moving upwards as or more difficult than the grain of sand on previously uncalloused feet? I suppose that answer would be best told by the person engaged in the journey.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bookends, Measuring the Year in a Life

“525,600 minutes how you measure the year in a life?” begs and so tries to answer the theme song of the musical Rent.

When I think about the “year in a life” right now, I think of the word bookends. It’s the marking of both the beginning and the end of something, and the story that’s told between those markers is how you measure that year in a life. 
Bookends are like the sunrise and sunset of the day. 
At the sunset of one year and the dawn into another I made myself a promise. 
“In 2011, I’m going to like myself more,” I said. I wrote it down. I published it on this blog so that anyone could see and hold me accountable should I have any doubt that I could do it. 
A post called “Floating on the Wings of Earthly Angels” told the story of how very real people turned up in my life in previously unimaginable ways. Emotionally, spiritually, and some days, physically, I was floating on angels. Now, I am again, and this time no one had to say anything. I already knew. 
Anyway, days grew into weeks and weeks grew into months and somehow I found myself standing seven months after that post without a single question or doubt that everything had in fact happened for a reason. 
Tomorrow will mark one year since something quite specific in my life. It will also be what would have been my Grandma’s ninety-second birthday. When I look at where I will be tomorrow and where I was exactly 365 days earlier and then all that has happened in between, I can’t imagine it only being 525,600 minutes. 
I started July 22, 2010 in tears of emotional hope. 
I ended July 21, 2011 with a smile that could not be wiped from my face that could only be described as ethereal joy. No hope necessary, it just is.  
The story that’s told in the middle of these bookends is a year in a life. 
It’s told simply: in small and big prayers, in some very big cups of coffee, quite a few bottles of wine, moments of uncontrollable laughter, the making of some wonderful new friends (some old one’s too) and memories, as well as the shedding of a former self that all built up to an overflowing of gratitude. 
Bookends. 

        Oh, and I totally like myself more. 
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