Friday, May 24, 2013

This Moment...

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Confessions...

I sometimes wonder who would be at my funeral...
I sometimes wonder what life would be like if Eve hadn't eaten the apple.

I hate - I mean, I really REALLY hate the expression "FML"... 
People should think about what it implies...  No matter how bad things are (or you think they are), there is most definitely someone else out there far worse off than you...
I wish I had more to offer the world.
I care (sometimes too much) about what others think.
I sometimes wish I could go back in time and know then what I know now...
On the list of my pet peeves are people who say, "I have no regrets," as if having them is such a terrible thing...  Really?!  There isn't one little thing you would have done differently?!  Everyone has regrets; it's living in the past and constantly laboring over what you would have done differently that's the problem.  So, yeah, I have regrets...
I regret not studying harder in school.
I regret not going away to college and getting a bachelor's degree.
I regret trusting some not-so-trustworthy people.
I regret not writing down or recording the stories that my grandparents used to tell.
I regret bottling up some of my feelings.
I regret falling hard for the someone who taught me what it feels like to "get played."
I regret all the time I wasted being upset over the someone.
I regret letting the negative opinions of others get me down.
I regret loaning money to someone who will never pay me back.
I regret not having my best friends in my wedding.
Those are just a few that come to mind in a split second.  Trust me - there are many more... 
But, with each regret I've learned something valuable - either a lesson...or about myself. 
One guarantee about the entire human race is this - we're going to mess up. 
Our perfect intentions will fall short.  Our perfect efforts won't quite achieve. 
Our bad decisions may come back to bite us.  That's life... 
We are imperfect beings - point blank.
I strive to lead by example.  I know there are times that I fail.
I acknowledge that I don't have all the answers.  Not even close.
I've made plenty of mistakes, had pitfalls, and learned many lessons the hard way.
Hitting rock bottom changed my life - it changed me.
It opened my eyes to a whole new world.
A world that I'm trying to find the words to share.
Because, I know that in the midst of it all - tragedy doesn't define you.
How you choose to live does...
Because, I know that life is a journey.
Full of ups and downs, twists and turns.
Full of decisions. 
Because, I know my journey, my life - is, has been, and will be...full of joy and struggle.
Because, I know that I'm trying my best to find my way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Forgive & Forget...

I'm in a little bit of a weird place right now...
I can't seem to clear my mind...
I'm worn out - mentally and emotionally.
I'm tired of hiding how I truly feel...
Many times I've thought, "I'm over it."
"Be the bigger person."
"It is what it is."
"The past is the past."
But, if I'm being honest...I'm not over it.
I don't know if I ever will be...
I'm still hurt.  My trust has been shattered.  My respect - lost.
How do you just "get over" something like that?
The anger I still sometimes feel burning inside is a force to be reckoned with.
Some say that I just need to forgive and forget...
I've tried - time and time again...
But, it's MUCH easier said than done.
How do you forgive someone who isn't sorry?
I just don't know...  I'm not sure you can...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We Are More Beautiful Than We Think...

As I type this, I'm sitting on my couch with big tears in my eyes that are threatening to ruin my mascara.  I just rewatched the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" video that has been circulating around the web and on Facebook the past few weeks.
tears.  chill bumps.  wonder.  conviction.
 Pretty captivating.
If Gil drew a sketch of me, I'm sure I'd have a hard time describing myself, too.
Throughout the years, I have been so harsh and over-analyzed every inch of my face and body.
more this.  less that.  bigger chest.  tinier waist.  tanner skin.  flawless complexion.
I'm ashamed to say that the list could go on and on...
Today has just been one of those days... 
One of those days that I'm sure every single breathing female can relate to! 
One of those days where no matter how many times I glance in the mirror...I'm not exactly thrilled with what I see.
You know, one of those days where you shower, get dressed, put your makeup on, and fix your hair just like you do every other day...accept today - something just looks different!
Surely, I'm not the only one this happens to!
It also doesn't help that I received a catalog from Victoria's Secret in the mail today. 
I glanced at the first few pages and then threw that little booger in the trash!
We live in a world constantly bombarding us with subtle (and not so subtle) messages on a daily basis about what is beautiful and what is not...
Little whispers that constantly surround, mock, and overwhelm...
You hear them while watching tv and see them on a billboard as you're driving down the road...
Or, for that matter, just open any celebrity gossip magazine and flip through a couple of pages.
And the sad part is...we I buy into it...
When, in's not my face or body that is flawed - it's my self-perception.
We're all our own worst critics...  True?
Of course we all have insecurities - and those can make us feel vulnerable and hesitant.
But the lesson here is that we shouldn't spend so much time focused on our "flaws."
What a revelation to watch the descriptions of what other people saw...
I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be a model!
...And I will never be the perfect size (according to Glamour)...or look like a Covergirl 24/7!
It may be easier said than done sometimes...but, we need to embrace who we are. 
Who God made us to be.
We were created uniquely, and we were made that way for a reason.
For a purpose.  That only we can fulfill...
Remember that out of the billions of people in this world - no two are the same.
...And no one person is better than any other...
Remember that.
Someone will always have prettier hair.
Someone will always be skinnier.
Someone will always have something that you don't.
Remember that. 
But don't be consumed with it.
You are beautiful.
I am beautiful.
We are more beautiful than we think!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It Happened Again...

Yesterday was the last day of my niece's dance recital. 
Girard and I had tickets to see the final show with my in-laws.
Kennedy just turned 7 a few months ago and this was her second year taking dance. 
She would be dancing along to a little Christmas jingle - and I was excited for and so very proud of her!

As we entered the dimly lit auditorium to find the seats that corresponded with our tickets
I could feel it begin to happen...

My heart started racing.
My chest was pounding.
My hands became clammy.

There were hundreds of others' searching for their seats.
People walking up and down the aisles.
It was crowded - very crowded.
There was music playing over the speaker system.
The voices of everyone talking seemed to echo all around.
It was loud - very loud.

We found our seats - about halfway down the aisle and on the right.
I quickly sat in my assigned chair...and it wasn't long before another reality hit me.
I was trapped.
Correction - I felt trapped.
The rows of chairs literally sit on top of each other; leaving what felt like just
enough leg room to satisfy a child. 
As I sat in my seat - I was shoulder to shoulder with Girard on one side and his sister on the other.
My body wanted to get up and run for its life
but my mind knew that there was nowhere for me to go.
I sat staring at the massive stage curtains trying to find my way through my thoughts.
They were swirling and spinning all over the place, refusing to settle.
I was having a hard time taking a deep breath and I felt lightheaded.
Girard noticed.

As he began to ask if I was okay I remember shushing him.
I was embarrassed, mad at myself, and felt weak...
Embarrassed because I didn't want anyone else to witness my discomfort.
Mad because I wasn't in control of my mind, body, and feelings.
Weak because once again I had to depend on a pill to calm my nerves.

I had not experienced this same panicked, anxious feeling in several months.
The last time it happened I was with Girard in a crowded casino in Las Vegas.
I had chalked that attack up to being in an unfamiliar place mixed
with the lack of much needed sleep.

But, this time - I couldn't (and still can't) rationalize it.
I was in a familiar place - where I watched countless matinee plays on Sunday afternoons as a child.
I was with Girard and his family - people I love and trust.
For the most part the atmosphere was a happy one - full of people anxiously waiting to watch the show that their daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, etc. had worked so hard to learn.
This was a dance recital for crying out loud...

I've mentioned my battle with anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder here before.
In the past I remember attacks being tremendously terrifying.
Perhaps, because it was new territory for me...
  Over time though, I have learned that I have plenty of fears that will "paralyze" me, given the chance.
I work really hard to avoid being in places or situations in which I know I'll feel vulnerable...
and I strive everyday to push negative and crippling thoughts from my mind...

Yesterday's attack was definitely less than welcome, and has left me confused
and feeling upset with myself more than anything else.

Not to mention that it was both mentally and physically draining.
(We got home around 6:30 and I headed straight to bed...)

So, today...I have found myself on the edge of having the blues.
I keep telling myself, "day by day...and tomorrow is a new one."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Color Is Just A Color...

When I saw this picture - it hit me like a ton of bricks.
"Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They're all precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world."
I remember singing that little tune many times in Sunday School as a child.
Each and every one of us was born into this world the same way - innocent.
Completely innocent.
Granted, we certainly are not all raised and taught to have the same morals, opinions, and beliefs.
There is a Yiddish Proverb that states,
"Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough
but not baked in the same oven."
How true?
I simply love it!
We are taught skinny and fat.
Rich and poor.
Love and hate.
Good and bad.
Black and white.
"I hope that people will finally come to realize
that there is only once "race" - the human race -
and that we are all members of it."
- Margaret Atwood -
"Beneath the armor of skin/and bone/and mind
most of our colors are amazingly the same."
- Aberjhani -
I don't like stereotypes.  Not one bit.
Not every Muslim is a terrorist.
Not every blonde is dumb!
Not every black person is lazy.
Not every white person is racist.
For me - it isn't about the color of someone else's skin.
It's about their character.  Good versus evil.
I don't care if someone is red or yellow, purple or blue, black or white...
If they have a good heart - they'll find a friend in me.
"Whoever in prayer can say, "Our Father," acknowledges and should feel
the brotherhood of the whole race of mankind."
- Tryon Edwards -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be Good...

I quite often offer to take old people's shopping carts back to the buggy return for them. Some look shocked that I even took the time to speak to them, and they always thank me profusely.

A few years ago, I was on my lunch break when I saw a man who appeared to be homeless. He truly looked down on his luck and was holding a sign asking for help. At McDonald's I placed my order and decided to double it. With an extra cheeseburger, fries, and a coke - along with a banana I had in my car that I had intended to eat for breakfast, but hadn't...I went back to where I had seen him sitting. I smiled and handed him the food... With tears in his eyes, he said, "God bless you." ...Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
I will never forget his face...

I always stop and move turtles out of the road, no matter how late I may be running!

I once had a pair of earrings, and they were some of my favorites. I was visiting my grandma one day and she couldn't stop admiring them. I took them off and gave them to her. She smiled so big and they looked even more beautiful dangling from her ears!

For the past few months, my husband takes me nearly every single night to our local trash dump to feed a stray mama cat and her babies. I've never had a cat and to be honest, I've never even really been fond of them...but I quickly developed a soft spot in my heart for this bunch. It makes me beyond sad knowing that their lives consist of being deathly afraid of humans and dumpster diving for their next meal... Every animal deserves to be loved.

The last words my Papa Charlie said to me before he died in 2003 were, "Be good."
- I am trying.

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