Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Face of My Mother

She looks in the mirror and reflected in place
Are the colors and lines of a woman’s face
The brow, nose and lips are a delicate shell
Comprising a history of stories to tell

Her eyes see the humor in life each day
At times they hold sorrow for things gone astray
They see hope without doubt and love without fail
And compared to their warmth, all else is but pale

Her nose is a creature that is sly and wise
It embraces sincerity and sifts out the lies
The smell of home or her garden of flowers
Remind her of joy in its simplest power

Her lips form a multitude of shapes for her life
They’ve parted in laughter; pulled taught through strife
The tones from beneath can be chiding or nice
Full of secrets and wishes, and treasured advice

Her wisdom and faith can be seen in the lines
Bearing honor and grace, aged perfect through time
For the character and features unlike any other
Are the beauty and love in the face of my mother

For my mother, Carol Jean.

I love you, Mom.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pop-Pop

His overalls were faded blue and oil-stained
And had dirt and grease smears on the seat
An old John Deere cap sat crooked on his brow
And a toothpick was always between his teeth

He feigned surprise and fear at the word “boo”
And he’d give me shiny pennies for good luck
I loved bouncing around next to him on the seat
As we drove around the farm in his old truck

Bellowing from the pew in church on Sunday
Above all others his bass voice would ring
He was talented; a naturally gifted musician
And he could make any instrument sing

I fascinated in watching him concentrate
As his hands and his fingers shook
While he set up an old skinny bamboo pole
And threaded twine through a fishing hook

His grin was enhanced with certain wisdom
And years of laughs and earned wrinkles
His voice and gestures could animate a story
As his eyes held those mischievous twinkles

He loved to piddle and tinker around in his shop
To fix up machines and old engine parts
And a puttering rusty red riding lawn mower
Made for a mighty fine kid’s go-cart

Like a hawk, he’d watch me use his pocketknife
As he instructed me on how to whittle a stick
Afterwards I sit on his lap in his rocking chair
While we sipped a root beer and talked for a bit

He’d tickle me till I had tears in my eyes
From laughing and having so much fun
And he could pull a quarter from his pocket
Faster than a cowboy could draw his gun

He let me sneak popsicles from the freezer
And taste range cubes and chicken feed
My favorite place was next to him in the garden;
He’d scoop out the dirt and I’d drop in a seed

He hung up a rope from the rafter in the barn
So I could swing high and land in the hay
He gave the best horsey rides around on his back
And he never seemed too tired or busy to play

His hands were rough with scars and calluses
Weathered from hard labor over time
And though my hands were small in comparison
I remember how gently his held onto mine

The years that separated us never seemed to matter
For he was my hero, and I was his Kellie Jean
The bond between a grandfather and his special girl
Was unbreakable; one nothing could come between

In November ’04 he left behind a legacy of family
When his spirit went home to Heaven above
There will never be another like my Pop-Pop;
A generous soul of extraordinary friendship and love

Withered Rose

Time is an endless circle, forever spinning round
One day it lifts you high, the next it pulls you down
The ground beneath my feet shall fail and I know I will fall
And lonely is my sacrifice; I fear I have no time at all

Day breaks though my window and I begin to breathe
I reflect my unseen shadow and the mirror just sees me
My soul is trapped within my skin, in a trench that is my heart
All of life has left me in a world of pain and dark

The music rapt within my head is missing and unheard
I dance behind these hollow eyes and sing with silent words
I create a world where hours go by and days turn into years;
Held captive by this dwelling pain and shielded by my tears

I mourn for all my withered roses now replaced with scorn
The joy that was my blooming wish now bears its ugly thorn
The reverence that my soul desires is just beyond my reach
And I long to heal the suffering of the child inside I seek

Father Time shall come once more and take away my sin
Mother Earth shall cast my pride afar and bury ashen skin
My heart will be complete again as Heaven unties her hands
I begin a life, renewed and whole, to emerge from sacred lands

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Country Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas
When we all gathered ‘round
To open the presents
From Santa, we’d found

The stockings weren’t hung
By the chimney with care
(‘Cause Mom put ‘em away last year
And couldn’t remember where)

I, in my Aggie shirt,
Furry house shoes and jeans
Had eaten so much
I was bursting at the seams

The little dogs were happy
To hoover the floor
From the tidbits we’d dropped
Only moments before

My BlackBerry was handy
To take pictures of the fam
While Chad roamed the room
With his video cam

Dad sat in the recliner,
Like a king on his throne
As Jen sorted loot
Into piles of our own

Mom wore her apron
As she sat by the tree
And Aislynn kept asking,
“Can we open them? Pleeeeease?”

Soon ribbon was flying
As we all looked inside
To reveal the big secrets
The wrapping helped hide

We oohed and ahhed
At the treasures we’d found
As I soaked in the laughter
And smiled at the sound

There, in that room
With my loved ones so dear
I realized I’m blessed
To have them all near

And then I reflected
From earlier that night
When we’d attended church service
And sang by candlelight

The kids marched on stage
To perform in the play
Complete with a manger,
A doll, and real hay

Their smiles were nervous
As they all took their place
And there was always that one
Who stared off into space

Or had forgotten his lines
Or sang a little off-key
Or mumbled, or shouted,
“Hey, Mom, look at me!”

What a joyous message
About Bethlehem’s star
And some wise men that traveled
From kingdoms afar

They fell on their knees
To worship a boy
Who’d give us salvation
And bring the world joy

Mary and Joseph
Would watch over Him
Until the day came
When He’d die for our sins

I thought about the life
That was given to me;
My wish is for everyone
To see what I see

So let the spirit we feel
During this season of cheer
Overflow from within us
To last the whole year

For the hope that surrounds us
And the gifts we bestow
Was given to us first
So many years ago

Our most gracious Father
Gave us unending love
In the form of a Savior
From Heaven above

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Well…I had high hopes of going to sleep tonight. That plan is shot to hell. I even took a sleep aid. It figures that it would have an adverse effect on me. Instead of sleeping, I feel like running up and down the freeway.

As I type this, it is now 1:52am.

Why does everything in life seem so ominous during the night? I’ve literally been tossing and turning for the last couple of hours. My mind is so bogged down trying to absorb things. And not only am I grasping for explanations, but within that existential yearning for answers lies of list of about a thousand things to do.

Life took a big turn for me this week.

I’ve been steadily listening to hard rock for the last few days in an effort to drown out the shouting that’s going on inside my brain. I attempted some Christmas music this afternoon – well, actually yesterday afternoon – but after a while it only made me feel forlorn. The screaming guitars and drum pounding seems to parallel my thoughts. It’s a better fit for my frame of mind. I am overwhelmed with fear, hope, anxiety, anger, and have laughed hysterically with disbelief. I feel like I have experienced the grandfather of all roller coasters this week.

What scares me is that I’ll run out of track up ahead.

Before I deduced that sleep might be a lost cause, I found myself lying in my bed, envisioning a transparent ceiling so that I could gaze at the stars. I used to do that when I was little. It always amazed me how vast and endless the night sky was. As a tiny child, I was fascinated with the great unknown. I was invincible. I was going to conquer the world. I just hoped there was room enough in it to contain me.

Now, as an adult, I just feel tiny. Insignificant. Alone.

The things that went bump in the night used to terrify me. Now, they remind me of reality. The lulling sounds of the household appliances, or the rustling of leaves outside my window, the gentle whooshing breeze from my fan…all of these things should sing me back to sleep with their own musical montage. But, instead, they remind me that even if tomorrow brings the sunlight, it also brings a dose of certainty. Bills to pay. Decisions to make. Life, for whatever length I’m allowed, to keep zooming past me as I’m trying to keep up. I can't afford fairy tale dreams anymore.

My dreams of princes and castles in the sky have been replaced by cars with no brakes, falling while trying to run away, and searching endlessly for a faceless person.

Maybe the faceless person is me. I’m trying to find myself. Always. Like a game of chess; strategizing. Agonizing over every move to achieve victory. And just when I think I’ve got the game figured out…checkmate.

**sigh**

Regardless, it’s all part of a plan. Every moment in is merely a small piece to fit a larger puzzle. A trial, or a lesson meant to teach us to lean. Or be a rock for someone else. Sometimes it’s tiring to hold my chin up. To be strong. Some days I’d just like to curl up in a fetal position, in a quiet dark room, and cry for a while. A good, cleansing cry.

The hour is quiet now. And dark. Perhaps I should try and put my head down to try and dream again. I’d like to mentally regress for a brief time. When my mind didn’t carry the worries it does now. I’d like to see through my child eyes, picturing outer space…

Beyond my ceiling are shooting stars. I might not see them, but my imagination has painted them a breathtaking arc of light across a velvet midnight.

I have some wishes in mind.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Make it Count

Hello, Wednesday. Ahhhhh…you bring the promise of Friday in just two short days. Bless you hump day. Bless you.

The wind today is treacherous. I swear the moment I stepped outside I felt like it was gonna blow the skin right off my bones. I’m crossing my fingers that it will blow a huge, freezing, snowy blizzard smack dab into central Texas. In fact, I’d like for that to happen right now.

I’m waiting…

Well? (I'm not impatient or anything.)

Driving my car in it was quite a task, too. Not to mention the fear of driving next to a gargantuan eighteen wheeler carrying a load of chickens on their way to chicken heaven. His trailer was swaying all over the road and feathers were blowing everywhere. It looked a little bit like snow. But the smell…definitely not pure and delicate.

So, Old Man Winter, where are you? You’ve given us a few cold spells, but I’m ready for the kind of weather that turns my fingertips blue. The kind that requires a fabulous hat and scarf, and a trendy jacket. Maybe some matching boots. (Santa, I’m referring to the ones I mentioned in my earlier blog.)

I’m ready for a lit fireplace and a roaring, Arctic wind outside.

…sentimental and handcrafted ornaments adorning the tree
…the smell of cinnamon and hot chocolate drifting through the house
…baking cookies and homemade bread
...jingle bells heard through a crowded distance
…rosy children’s cheeks
...colorful wrapping paper
…Jim Reeves flowing from the stereo

Hmmm, sounds like I’m ready for Christmas.

The holiday spirit has soaked into my skin now. I’m looking at it very differently this year. Gift-giving aside, I will treasure the time I have with my family. What a comfort to sit in a room with the familiar smells and sounds of loved ones. One of my favorite quotes from a child: “Love is what’s in the room at Christmastime when everyone stops opening presents and listens.” Indeed.

I can’t wait for the Christmas Eve children’s program at church, followed by the candlelight service. And singing “Silent Night” in German. How special the privilege is to be alive to celebrate the birth of our Savior. He was/is/forever-will-be the promise of salvation and hope. My ultimate wish this year is for those who don’t know Him to discover His love.

Good luck to all of you out there who haven’t finished your shopping yet. I’m right there with you. My middle name should be “procrastination”. I hope while you’re mingling in the crowded chaos that you don’t forget to embrace the true reason for this season.

Don’t wait until the holiday to tell your loved ones how special they are. Hold them close – in your arms and in your heart. And cherish the time you have with them.

Count the moments that take your breath away. And make each moment count.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Uphill

Whoa. Talk about a blast from the past. It's amazing the things you find...in the top of the closet...in your old bedroom...in your parents' house.

I wrote the following poem when I was sixteen.

Uphill

When life is hard and your burdens are many
And an effort is needed to smile,
Remember to count your blessings;
Let God be in charge for a while.

Look for the silver lining that’s hiding
Behind those gray clouds in the sky.
Mr. Sunshine is waiting to pick up his brush
And paint a big rainbow up high.

Your feet might be bare on a road full of thorns;
Step wisely throughout the terrain.
Those rough spots are little reminders
Of the wisdom and knowledge you’ll gain.

So keep going when you feel like giving up
For your purpose is just up ahead,
Or around the corner and through the gloom;
You’ll find grace on the path you’ve been led.

You shall not falter and your steps will not fail
As you struggle uphill on the road.
The weight of the world is light as a feather,
For God helps to carry your load.

The poem might be over a decade old, but the message is timeless. Hopefully, I'll remember it when it counts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hello...SpongeBob?

Hello, Monday. Nice of you to show up again. You’re so thoughtful. And consistent.

But, really, it’s not a bad day today. Kind of laid back, which is a nice change from all of the past Mondays that seem to filter in every week. I’m doing my best to get back into my writing routine, since I have fallen short of my original goal of five times per week. I figured Monday is as good a place to start as any.

Hmmmm…what to write about today?

I think I will write about whiny children. I have no children of my own, which leaves me free to criticize the parenting style and misbehavior of others. Don’t hate. Trust me, no offense intended. I just think some parents ought to consider leaving the state of childhood before they partake in procreation. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just putting that out there.

Case in point: Earlier this morning, I had the pleasure of being within earshot to a whiny child (guessing he was about five years old) who was pestering his mother for a cell phone. I’m picturing in my head some little navy and red plastic contraption with an emblem of Optimus Prime on it. But, I kid you not, the mother replied, “I know honey. You want an iPhone. We’ll see. You’ll have to ask Santa.” She did not sound put out, just resolved. The boy began to whine even more at this point – and the pitch of his mumbling kept climbing to an octave that I’m pretty sure only dogs could hear. I could detect a note of defeat in her voice as she tried to reason with him.

Who the hell is a kid that age gonna call? SpongeBob?

I don’t get it. This disturbs me. Greatly.

Can’t exactly blame the kids, though. One cannot make thieves and then punish them for the act of thievery. Parents, I blame you.

What you spoil your children with is your business. But it seems to me that today’s children have a supreme sense of entitlement. Society has allowed itself to gravitate away from fulfilling the emotional and disciplinary needs of children, and instead, is catering to their materialistic and self-rewarding behaviors.

Don’t spank your child anymore, because it teaches him to be violent. Really? I got spankings (ahem…a lot of them) growing up, and you don’t see me going around smackin’ people upside the heads (though sometimes I’d like to).

Don’t correct or punish your child because it might damage his psyche. Right. Instead, let him throw a fit until he gets his way. By all means, don’t instill in him the responsibilities of sharing with others, or being considerate of them. Or learning how to respect the concept of ‘no’.

And for Pete’s sake DON’T force him to go outside to play. Seriously. Let him stay indoors in front of the X-Box, Playstation, Wii and Nintendo, so that he never has to develop any skills at interacting creatively with other children. Or - **gasp** - get any exercise.

Oh, and make sure you don’t make an effort to actually be a parent. Concentrate on being your child’s friend instead. That’s way more important than being a leading example of authority or providing instruction to raising a levelheaded, well-rounded human being.

Okay…done venting. For the moment.

Growing up, the words ‘wait until your father gets home’ used to strike fear in my heart. And if my sister or I acted up in a public place, we were abruptly removed – usually with a harsh grip on the arm, or the threat of a belt across our rear ends when we got home. I didn’t necessarily get everything I wanted, but I never wanted for anything either. Mom and Dad were wise in the choices and decisions they made for my sister and me. I see the influence of that upbringing bleeding over into how my sister raises my niece. She is a fantastic mother, and Aislynn is a very well adjusted child. And smart. And kind. And loving. I hope that I do half as great a job with my kids if I’m ever blessed with the opportunity to become a mom.

So, back to the whole cell phone debacle…I guess I just fail to see where giving your children everything their hearts desire is a good thing. What happened to teaching a child to earn something? What happened to encouraging him to put forth an effort so that he may value his own integrity? What happened to letting kids be kids? They grow up too fast anyway.

As we advance in society, so do the mindset and expectations of its people – especially its children. I think it would do us a lot of good if we digressed a little to embrace a bit of old-fashioned parental management.

And SpongeBob, you really creep me out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fall Forward

“When at first you don’t succeed, try ‘try again’.” Common quote. Profound truism.

I’ve tried again a lot. And again. And a lot. Lately, I find that I am disappointed in the steps I’m taking. Am I on the right path? Hope so. I don’t think God would lead me somewhere He didn’t intend for me to go. Even if I stumble. And fall. Or fail.

I hold myself responsible for my failures. But it is in my failures that the thought of being defeated makes me work harder to overcome them. To move forward. Hence, the “try again.”

Everyone fails at one time or another. My failing experience has been a humbling one. Mostly because I was too busy riding my own personal high to stop and appreciate the lessons that helped me along the way. I forgot the people who carried me when I was weak…encouraged me when I doubted…caught me when I fell.

When we spend our time in the limelight, we are sometimes blinded by the glamour and promise of possibilities. Personally, I find that I get caught up in it from time to time, and begin to lose sight of the practical side of veracity. However, if that light shines on us long enough, we are forced to take a good, long look at ourselves – the mirror from which we cannot hide. The one that illuminates every imperfection, and magnifies every fault. Try as we may, the longer we look at those reflections, the fewer flaws we see. If we choose to see ourselves as God sees us, then we only see beauty. The shapes and distinguishing features blend together, producing a collage of value and worth.

Still, the imperfections and flaws are there; they are what make us unique. And real. And human.

Do I want to be perfect? No. Why would I want to subject myself to unfair expectations? Why would I want to paint myself in an unrealistic light? My lack of perfection enables me to keep trying. I take comfort in the fact that when I fail, no one notices but me. I don’t want a perfect existence. I want to hurt, and ache, and make mistakes, and make memories, and smile, and laugh, and love, and ride the roller coaster, and fly.

Will I fail sometimes? Undoubtedly. But that failure leaves me with a chance to do it all over again. A chance to fall forward.

So, why are we so hard on ourselves when we fail? We can’t win all the time. For every situation in life – be it a race, a job interview, a personal struggle – someone has to come in last. But being last is not always a bad place to be. Being last allows us to see what’s up ahead in the race. We get a hindsight view of those ahead of us who are creating a path for us to tread on with more ease. It is an opportunity to learn. And rest assured, even those last in the race have followers. It’s just not their time to run yet.

At the fear of failing, do we abandon our dreams? Do we stifle the yearning inside us because we are afraid of rejection? The only restrictions are those we place on ourselves. If we refuse to look beyond our own imaginations, and push our own boundaries, then we will never achieve the things of which we are capable. The things created to drive us to be extraordinary. No one is a failure in the eyes of God. He didn’t create us to fail, as we were created in His image. I can’t envision a more prolific opposite of failure than that.

Time to tighten up my laces and brave the dark and winding road again. My moment is still out there. I refuse to stop until I find it. With God as my guide, I may fall, but I will not fail.

It is in our darkest moments, that the dimmest light can sometimes produce a tenfold of hope. Hope leads to perseverance. Perseverance leads to self-discovery. Self-discovery leads to strength. And strength teaches us to reach into the depths of our characters to try again.

It is those moments when we try, that define us. We become more than human. We shed our own limitations, and become champions of our own souls.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Monday, You Suck. That is All.

Sometimes all you need on a Monday is for it not to be Monday. I really can’t put my finger on why it’s so hard to recover from the weekend, thus embarking on the new week...in hopes of it being productive and fast-paced. And by fast-paced, I mean go by so fast that it’s Friday before you know it.

Today has been a blah kind of day. Really blah. Here is a grim list of my accomplishments so far (in order):

1. Woke up.
2. Worked on the computer.
3. Tried to go back to sleep.
4. Ate lunch.
5. Tried to go back to sleep again.
6. Was interrupted by countless things.
7. Worked on the computer.
8. Played with my niece.
9. Typed some emails.
10. Went back to sleep.
11. Woke up.
12. Worked on the computer.
13. Read another chapter of Decision Points.
14. Ate dinner.
15. Watched about 15 minutes of television.
16. Checked emails, played around on Facebook and surfed the web.
17. Now I’m typing this blog.

Soon, I will take my book to the bathroom, where I plan to submerge myself both back into another chapter and a tub full of scalding hot water.

I hate idle days. I’m not knocking the pleasure of having time to yourself, but when you have an active imagination (like I do) and overanalyze things (like I do), I find that I feel useless, inferior and unproductive. What makes me feel even worse is that my writer’s block has been defeated, and now I’m at a standstill as to which direction the story in my book will go. Essentially, I can write now, but I have to hold off. Which leads me to begin a new book (dare I say “possible series”?). And leaves me feeling like the one I’m currently writing is being neglected through procrastination – an art I’ve mastered on many occasions.

On top of all of that, I still have some major decisions to make, which I am avoiding. Mostly because I haven’t made up my mind yet. (See? Procrastinating again.)

Monday is supposed to be the first day of the workweek. If today is any indication of setting the pace for the remainder of my week, then I’m screwed. I’m in a funk today and just can’t seem to get out of it. And nothing - anywhere, any time or any place - on the planet, can slow down the week’s progression more than if you’re anticipating something. It’s like trying to focus on a mirage. I see it from a distance, and as I approach it, I realize I wasn’t nearly as close as I originally thought. Then I look up and see it again, and go a little further to reach it. And the cycle continues.

At the moment, the mirage is Tuesday. Let’s hope I can get to it easily, and that it will lead to Wednesday (and so on).

I think maybe we should revisit the notion of having eight days in a week. The eighth day would be reserved for whatever the imagination could produce…

Monday – the first day of the workweek, and the day we are most likely to have a heart attack (fact)
Tuesday – actually begin the workweek, and get on our knees to thank God that it’s no longer Monday
Wednesday – depression begins to wane as there are only two days left in the workweek
Thursday – aka Friday Eve, brain starts to perk up, producing hope and endorphins
Friday – pretend to work, and clock watch the entire day until 5pm
Funday – **insert whatever blows your hair back**
Saturday – need I say more?
Sunday – give thanks, rest, and prepare for another week

So, Dear Monday, I’m closing you down now. I know I’ll see you again in just six short days. You ever-reliable @#$%!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sound the Trumpet

Do you ever find yourself pondering the meaning of life? I do. There are endless songs, poems and odes written to describe what is deemed to be the unattainable answer by artists and philosophers alike.

For what purpose are we here? Is it to achieve the pinnacle of success as a person? Or as a child of God? Are we to use the talents we have been given to advance our own interests, or serve the Almighty by helping others? What are we to become as we establish our place in the world? Is it possible to do all of the aforementioned, and still maintain the faith and integrity of leading a Christian life?

A lot of questions, I know. Lately, though I’m in a great place in my journey, I find myself wondering what I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life. God has blessed me with numerous talents, and not too long ago, I was modest in admitting that. Among the many things I love to do, and do well, are designing/painting/sketching, singing, playing the guitar/viola/violin/piano (more adept at some over others), and writing. I also love to make jewelry. And I can pick up objects, open/close doors, and pinch people with my long toes. Not a talent mind you, but a still a freakish quirk to be proud of.

So where does that leave me? One can't ride two horses at once, and sometimes I feel like I’m trying to ride an entire herd. What irritates me even more is that I’m ashamed for it to be a problem I have, as I know there are others out there who are struggling just to make it down a single path in life. I’m through questioning whether or not I’m deserving of good things happening to me. God is responsible for that, and I will most certainly be thankful for my gifts. And at the same time, I’ve dealt with a lot of heartache to get to these good moments. Maybe we’re all due for a break now and then.

It’s all give and take, ebb and flow. For everything positive, there has been a negative. Some of which have occurred in the past. Others recently. Retrospectively, for every negative, there has been a positive.

I can’t help but think that all of these encouraging moments and opportunities in my life are leading up to something of a grander nature. Do I want my name in the marquis lights? Not really. But, I would like to know that I have the abilities to put it there if I so desire. I don’t aim to be famous. I do aim to make something of myself. An honest version of what’s inside me. No smoke and mirrors. Something I’m proud of. Something that lets my parents know that they raised me right. Most of all, I aspire to honor the skills that God has given me, for I would be nothing and nowhere without Him.

Coming back to my original question…what is the meaning of life? Everyone has his version of what that entails. For some people, it’s the designer clothes, car, house and salary. For others, it is to raise a family and grow old with their significant other. And still others are satisfied with the simple things, like a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or listening to the evening wind rustle the leaves in the trees. For a select few, it’s accepting a wholesome life in the Spirit, teaching and guiding others. There is no greater sacrifice, than giving of oneself to lead others to salvation through Christ.

I’d like to think I’m able to obtain a combination of all of the above...financially successful, but humbled by my upbringing…love another with all of my heart, and create a lifelong legacy through raising our children…and remember to stop and smell the roses…all while being a faithful servant to the Lord, and a good Christian example to those in my life.

Perhaps the secret of life is simple. To me, it’s just simply living - every single day, being truly happy with who you are, and making a difference in the world. That world may be as small as a family unit, or beyond the boundaries of our imaginations.

Years ago when I was a little girl, I had a black and white poster, showing the progression of a gosling growing into a graceful swan. At the bottom of that poster was what remains one of my favorite quotes to this day: "What you are is God's gift to you. What you become is your gift to God." (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

Even now as I sit here and type this, I’m reminded of my ‘ugly duckling’ days. That was then. This is now. I'm ready to embrace the beauty in life; the ‘swan' that God put inside me.

What will I become? It’s time to sound my trumpet and spread my wings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

31 Wishes

Dern it. I was going to go to bed until I realized that I didn’t post anything for today. Since it’s now after 11pm, I’m going to have to make this a quick post.

And since it is December 1st, and there are 31 days in the month, I’m going to compile a wish list of things I would like to see happen in this month...

1. A pair of Cotton Bowl tickets randomly show up to my house. For me.
2. The fat on my ass and thighs to magically melt off just in time for me to wear a fabulous little black dress for New Year’s Eve.
3. Get invited to a New Year’s Eve party.
4. Have a date to that party.
5. Wear my new Sperry-Topsider Chatsworth winter boots somewhere (see above photo). I think they’re worth “chatting” about.
6. Buy another pair of fun boots, just because I need a variety from which to choose.
7. Impeach Obama. And have Joe Biden resign, ‘cause I don’t want him in office either.
8. Live.
9. Win the lotto.
10. Seriously.
11. Throw away my ratty, old socks and stop saving old t-shirts I don’t need or no longer wear.
12. Do something nice for a total stranger.
13. Hope they return the favor for someone else.
14. Be semi-good on my diet.
15. Blow it completely when I indulge (and indulge I intend) in my family’s traditional tamales on Christmas Eve.
16. Learn to make my Nana’s homemade bread and cinnamon rolls – the real old-fashioned way – from scratch.
17. Laugh hysterically. A lot.
18. Not jump off a cliff when I’ve completed my December blogging challenge.
19. Finish paying for my genuine Dali lithograph. Can’t. Wait. To hang it. After I finish decorating my new office. In the house I will move into soon...
20. Appreciate each day of being blessed with my health.
21. Pray for those who are struggling with illness, hardships, loss, or just need to find a renewed sense of their faith.
22. Clean out my storage unit.
23. Not complain while doing it.
24. Attend Christmas Eve candlelight service at church.
25. Remember to thank God above for sending His Son, so that I have a chance at a beautiful life.
26. Not kill those who text and drive. That is difficult for me.
27. Get my dad on Facebook.
28. Spoil myself with a Kindle or an iPad. (Though, winning the lotto is probably more likely.)
29. Remind my loved ones of how special they are to me, and how much I treasure them.
30. Update my bucket list.
31. Love.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Have to go got bed now. Need my energy to shop online for that pair of Sorel Joan of Arctic Snow boots I want. Color Shale. Size 10. If anyone needs an idea for Christmas. **wink, wink**

Ha! Look at that, I’ve already implemented wish no. 17.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Blog Series: Last Freakin' Day!! (30)

Drum roll, please……. Tah-daaaaaaaaah!! Day thirty. The last day of the month from hell.

Well, it hasn’t been the month from hell, but this daily blogging challenge certainly had its up days and down days. And to think I’m going to follow suit for December (but not daily).

Oh well. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Unless I fall in a vat of molten lava. In that case, I’m gone for sure.

So, what do I have that’s interesting to say today? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Oh, except that I’m typing this with wet nails, which is proving to be quite a difficult task. Mom made potato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches tonight (one of my favorite cold weather food combos). I partook. Only one helping, though. Still being semi-good on my healthy eating trip. Then I soaked in a long, hot bath. I only ran hot water, so it took me about ten minutes to lower myself into it. I still resemble a very large, boiled lobster. And then I gave myself a mani/pedi (coming back to my point).

If I ever have the luxury of obtaining a disposable income, I think I will hire five professionals to live in my household to serve me. They are:

1. A masseuse
2. An esthetician
3. A stylist
4. A chef
5. A housekeeper

So, my friends, I hope your November has been a good month. Brace yourselves, because the holiday chaos is about to go into hyper drive. The commercials started a while back, and now the seasonal programs begin. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was on television tonight. "Frosty the Snowman" is soon to follow. I’m ready for “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – two films I watch, without fail, every single season.

Speaking of television, I’m about to go catch up on my DVR shows that I missed last week while I was housesitting.

Champagne wishes, and catfish dreams to you all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 29

Monday. It happened again. On day twenty-nine. One more day to go for my daily blogging exercises, and then begins next month’s writing.

It seems that December has snuck up on us again. I mean, really, where did the summer go? And it seems I was only 21 yesterday. Why is it that once you hit your twenties, time accelerates and before you know it you’re in your thirties wishing you were embarking on your twenties again?

Oh, if I only knew then what I know now. I would’ve taken more time to base my decisions less on impulse, and more on wisdom. I would’ve spent more time with loved ones who have since passed. I would’ve faced obstacles with more maturity and responsibility, instead of competition. I would’ve changed the course of my life, altering where I’ve ended up…not having the friends that I have, made the mistakes I’ve made, cried the tears I’ve cried, shared the laughter and the smiles that have settled in my facial features. I would’ve missed out on a lot a life being cautious.

If I had it to do over again, despite everything I’ve been through, and every wrong turn I’ve made, I’d do it all exactly the same. For it was, is, and shall be part of a bigger plan that God has for me. The strength I’ve developed inside has been nurtured by my faith, though at times it’s fallen to the wayside. Each time it’s weakened, I’ve been presented with a new challenge to renew it. I don’t believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He does. And it is during those times when we are reminded that must lean on Him.

And when we find our footing again, we are comforted with the fact that He stands on all sides of us, protecting and supporting us when our hearts are heavy.

My heart is heavy today. I had to make a tough career decision and I stumbled across some news that felt like betrayal. It left me hurting. But, I am reminded that no one can hurt us unless we allow him/her to. I’ve come too far to allow someone to take away my sense of self. My sense of strength. Or the things inside me learned from invaluable lessons that have shaped my soul.

My heart may not be in its prime anymore, but it has encountered aches, pains, joys and enough love to last a lifetime. Those are the things that I’ve gained. Things my young eyes were not willing to see so many years ago. Things that humble me now, and carry with it a sense of gratitude for every moment I’ve been given.

No matter where I am, I am not alone. I need only to reach out around me to feel the presence of God. I wouldn’t trade that comfort for all of the time or knowledge in the world.

My heart may not be young anymore, but I’m happy being young at heart.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 28

Day twenty-eight. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

That’s dramatic. I should probably clarify the subtext of that sentence. It should read, “Today is the last day of eating like crap, so the diet begins tomorrow.”

My family had our Thanksgiving meal this evening, since my Mom and sister were both under the weather this past Thursday. We enjoyed fried turkey, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, corn, spinach, cranberry surprise and rolls. Oh, and brownies with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. Not the traditional meal, I know, but since there were only six adults and one child, the normal rule of cooking enough to feed an army didn’t apply.

That second helping of mashed potatoes is sitting in my stomach like concrete right about now. How do I always manage to do that? I can honestly say that I’m really looking forward to getting back into a routine of eating healthy, and eating less, beginning tomorrow.

After dinner leaving my parents’ house, I had to slow down to avoid hitting a huge buck in the middle of the road. I saw him in the ditch well ahead of time, and as I came to a stop, he crossed in front of my car and stood directly in the beam of my headlights for one long moment. He was at least a nice 12 or 14 point. It was almost like he was strutting in front of my car. If I had a mean streak, I would’ve hit him and mounted him on my wall. But, my car is still new to me. Not willing to risk that. Plus, no one would ever believe he just happened to cross the road in front of my vehicle. It’s probably much more plausible to imagine me in a Volkswagen Passat, gunning through a barbed wire fence, crashing and bumping through the field to mow down a sprinting buck. Yeah.

In other news, I can now break out the seasonal Christmas music without feeling guilty. Sometimes I have a hankering to listen to it – like on a generic Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of July. And I just love the classics. I don’t really care much for some of the newer remakes that certain divas and boy bands have marred, but it seems you just can’t escape them on the radio. Which is why I love my iPod (and CD player). Some of my favorites include “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by the Judds, “O Holy Night” by Celine Dion, “That Spirit of Christmas” by Ray Charles, and “The Christmas Song” by Martina McBride. Of course, those are merely a handful of my favorites. I have so many that I could reserve an entire blog just to list them.

Maybe I will. I still have December.

Well, it’s bedtime. Tomorrow is Monday. Lots to get done. Have a busy week ahead of me. Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

Happy dieting.

And don’t worry…you can always blow it again at Christmas. I fully intend to.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 27

Welcome to day twenty-seven. Four days to go (including this one).

Okay, that’s a lie.

Because I’ve decided to keep up this blogging challenge for the entire month of December, too. I must be a glutton for punishment. Although, I’m going to do my best to come up with clever and insightful things to write about during the last month of this year. And I'm not going to force myself to post daily. I have decided to post at least five times a week. That leaves room for my brain to have some "off" days. Basically, be prepared for some posts to be nothing more than a few sentences.

Today was a good day. For the most part. I woke up and went to work, and then my sister and I went to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at the theatre. We bought tickets for the D-Box experience. The seats vibrate and move with specific action sequences during the movie. I knew it was going to be expensive, but I nearly choked up a lung when the clerk said, “twenty-nine dollars” (for two tickets). Sheesh! For that price, you ought to get a waiter to serve you during the movie, and a chauffer to drive you home afterwards!

So, when the previews first started there was sound, but no picture on the screen. This continued for about ten minutes and my sister and I just couldn’t resist the wisecracks. There were only a few in the theatre that actually found us amusing, but the two of us had joked ourselves nearly to the state of tears. I said, “Oh, I didn’t realize you needed special glasses to see the screen, too. Guess that part’s extra. We just get to ‘hear’ it and use our imaginations.” And she would say things like, “Didn’t you know this is one of those really special ‘0-D Invisible’ movie experiences?” The sound would start again, but still no picture, to which I shouted out, “Just kidding?!” We thought we were funny. So did the girls sitting to our left, and the guys sitting behind us. The mean old hags sitting to our right did not.

Finally, they get the movie going and we begin to enjoy the whole ‘picture/sound/movement’ experience…

…until Tweedledee and Tweedledum back up and to our right began to get rambunctious. I’m talking young boys, maybe ages 10-12. They giggled and snorted. Spilled their drinks. Chunked pieces of food down a few rows in front of us. Spilled their popcorn. Ran up and down the side aisle. Spilled their candy.

And after almost 20 minutes of enduring their nonstop noise, I was ready to spill their blood. I kept my cool. I’m real proud of myself for not snatching them up and putting them over my own knee for a serious ass-whoopin’. Of course, I’m not sure who needed it more – them or their moron parents.

Somewhere, out there in the world, was a man who turned to his wife after just having dropped them off at the theatre, and through his missing teeth says, “Maw, I sure am glad we dropped off Junior and Junior Jr. at the movies so we can go get ourselves sum good grub.”

And she would reply, “I’m sure glad, too, Paw,” as she pulls on her leather cycle jacket with a winged skull embroidered on the back, lights a cigarette, and smacks Paw on the butt. “Them’s sum good idears you have lettin’ the folks at that there theatre babysit.”

Then they’d both howl with wicked laughter as Paw gave Maw a nasty, snuff-encrusted kiss and they speed off into oblivion as their old pickup truck backfires and lets out a plume of blue smoke.

Back to reality…or, at least how it happened on my end.

Rather than take matters into my own hands, I did end up going to get the manager. He proceeded to tell me that he’d already had about three complaints.

Really?

Really???

And why didn’t you march their little butts straight out of the theatre after the first two? Did I really just pay nearly $15 to be at the mercy of an overweight, pimple-faced, teenage manager to act as a terrifying authority figure to two uncontrollable boys so that I could attempt to enjoy the movie?

There went another year off my life from elevated blood pressure.

After the movie (and, yes, it was good), my sister and I did a tiny bit of shopping at the local beauty store. Then we went to eat at our favorite Mexican food restaurant. It was crowded, but not so crowded that we deserved the poor service we received tonight. I swear it took us almost 15 minutes, and a couple of requests to even get drink refills and the queso we ordered (as an appetizer, mind you). When we were finally served our meal it was good, but there’s just something about bad service that puts a damper on what should be an enjoyable eating experience.

Despite it all, it was still a good day. Tomorrow is Sunday, and then…Monday! **loud, piercing shriek of dread** No need to panic. We all knew it was coming. Without fail it keeps repeating.

Without fail it keeps repeating.

Hey, there’s an echo in here.

Now, I’m going to enjoy a movie sans the theatre. I’m gonna turn the volume real low. At a level not intended for humans.

And fall comfortably and blissfully asleep on the couch. As I strain to hear the dialogue. Eyelids fighting to stay open…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, November 26, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 26

Friday. Day twenty-six. Fridays are usually good days. And today was among them.

Thankfully.

I went to work this morning, got off a little after 2pm, and then ran a few errands and paid a bill. My sister and I took my niece to see “Tangled” at the movie theatre. It was A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!! It’s honestly one of the cutest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Lots of laughs and even a few tugs on the ol’ heart strings.

After the movie, we went to eat at On the Border. Not our first choice, but since our favorite hole-in-the-wall was closed for the holiday, it was the second best selection closest to the mall. Yes, I ventured there. Even after I swore I wouldn’t. But, it was actually tolerable. By the time we got there at 8pm, most of the crowds had thinned down to a light trickle in and out of the stores, so there was plenty of room to move about. I bought a down filled, fur-trimmed winter vest, a brown tweed newsboy cap, some hand sanitizer (holiday scents) and all of us got a cookie. And here’s the best part…I didn’t even break $40. Now that’s my kind of shoppin’! Granted, combined with the $200+ pair of boots I treated myself to the other night, the expenses incurred will wash out more evenly. But, still…

And of course we couldn’t leave without taking a few rides up and down the escalator at Macy’s. At my niece’s request.

As I made my way back from dropping my sister and niece at their house, I had to stop at the end of the driveway, in the dark, to enjoy the scenery. There are few things more beautiful than a sky full of stars on a clear night. No street-, porch-, or headlights to interfere. Just miniscule shining bursts of beauty scattered amongst a veil of midnight. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what He was doing when He painted the night sky.

Sitting there, star gazing, made me think of the bad day I had yesterday. Today left it in the dust. I love how something so simple as a hug from my niece, a shared laugh with my sister, or a tiny twinkling object millions of miles away, can make me remember to count my blessings…and smile at life.

Among other interesting news I have to share, I’m pleased to tell you that The Sarcasm Divinity now has a page on Facebook. Feel free to become a fan at: The Sarcasm Divinity. If you prefer shorter blurbs, you can follow me on Twitter (username: SarcasmDivinity). I’ll be posting links to my updated blogs, as well as a few upcoming projects I have up my sleeve. One of them involves getting my fans involved, which I think will be lots of fun.

Well, friends, I’m off. Work tomorrow. Then my sister and I are going to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”…in the D-Box seats (they move and vibrate with the action sequences in the movie – so freakin’ cool!), and maybe do a little more shopping before the work week sneaks up on us.

Wishing you all a sky full of shooting stars…and wishes that come true.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 25

Day twenty-five. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mine wasn’t a happy one, though I have more than plenty for which to be thankful. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and have pretty much been in a pissy mood all day.

The first time I woke up was shortly after 7am, and I stayed up until about 8:30am. I fed the dog and put her outside, then trudged upstairs to crawl back into bed. What should have been a nice, peaceful sleep in a quite house was not. The neighbors were obviously hosting an all-day music fest next door, because the boom boom boom drifting up the stairs did not make for a restful lullaby. Suffice it to say, I did manage to finally go to sleep and woke up again at 1:43pm. There went my day.

My family’s dinner was cancelled, due the fact that my poor mom and sister ended up getting the crud that I had last weekend. And, my dad managed to twist his knee pretty badly, so he was mostly confined to his chair. He will have to go in for an MRI next week if it’s not better, so I’m hoping the pain meds work for him and it heals quickly. It’s no fun being immobile. I know.

So, continuing in my state of irritation, I reheated some leftovers and watched a movie, read a magazine and a little more of my book, then – you guessed it – took a nap. Mind you, I hadn’t been up for even two hours before I went back to bed at 3:27pm. I slept until 5:30pm, when the dog nudged my hand to let me know she wanted to go outside. By this time, at least, the cold front had arrived.

I left to go over to my parents’ house to watch the Aggies vs. Longhorns, and on the way had to go by the grocery store to pick up some milk and corn chips (for turkey chili frito pie). It was closed. I zipped into a convenience store and ended up paying twice as much. **sigh** Then, some idiot who wasn’t paying attention cut me off, nearly running me off the road. Further encouraging my crappy demeanor. And, traveling the dark, damp roads to my parents’ I found myself getting angry at the drivers in front of me because they were too close for me to use my high beams to see better. Like they had a right to be there. Don’t they know the world revolves around me sometimes? The nerve!

Turkey chili frito pie was good. The game was not. Oh, the Aggies won, but it was honestly one of the worst games I think I’ve seen them play. I lost count of the incomplete passes, fumbles, turnovers, and penalties. And the ball was coated in Crisco, ‘cause none of them could seem to hold on to it. At one point, after the first touchdown was made, my father – who is nearly unable to walk at present – got out of his chair and came over to the couch to give me a hug. I think I took a few years off my life with my elevated blood pressure this evening. I’m still stewing.

To top it all off, I feel absolutely miserable from all of the junk I’ve consumed in the last few days. Starting tomorrow, I’m going on a three-day fast. Seriously. I do not like feeling like this. I know that part of my bad mood is because I haven’t been eating healthy.

I’m calling it a night. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. I sincerely hope that all of you enjoyed spending time with your families, and that you never run out of blessings in your lives.

Good luck to those of you brave enough to venture out on Black Friday. I’d rather put a bullet in my brain.

Now, where’s my chocolate milk?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 24

Day twenty-four. Turkey Day Eve.

I’m sitting here, in my camo t-shirt and pink and fuchsia Mickey & Minnie Mouse pajama bottoms, watching a movie on Netflix. Typing.

I’m debating on whether or not I should be good and eat a healthy salad before the smorgasbord of food tomorrow. But a large, pan crust pizza with black olives, mushrooms, Canadian bacon and gobs of cheese sounds sooooo good.

I will probably cave. I’m weak.

Although, I was good last night. I didn’t succumb to the chocolate milk craving. Yet. Still have a long night ahead of me.

And where is the cold weather that was supposed to be here? Weatherman says the cold front won’t be moving into the area until sometime between 1 and 5pm tomorrow. So basically, I can leave my house in the morning wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and by late afternoon I may very well need a parka, a scarf and some fabulous boots.

Ooooh, boots. I need some new ones.

Back on course. The sporadic weather doesn’t surprise me. This is Texas. And you know what ‘they’ say about Texas weather – “If you don’t like it, just wait a minute.” True.

I’m also looking forward to the football game tomorrow. I must pace myself accordingly. Wake up. Eat a huge meal at lunch. Take a walk (ha – yeah right!). Take a nap (a long one). Wake up in time to eat leftovers (an interesting magic trick). Cheer on the Aggies! WHOOP!!!

Well, I’d love to tell you I have some deep, insightful, witty and sarcastic subject planned for the remainder of this blog. But I’d be lying.

Continuing my lazy streak.

Have a great evening, friends. Buh-bye.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 23

Day twenty-three. Two days until Turkey Day. Mmmm-mmm!

I cannot wait until I blissfully slip into that promised turkey coma. Of course, I’ll have to stay awake, and coherent, long enough to scream for the Aggies as they Beat The Hell Outta TU!!! (That’s University of Texas to those of you who've been living in a cave.)

As I type this, I’m sitting here watching a fantastic cheesy 80s movie – “For Keeps”. I just love cheesy 80s movies. Who doesn’t? Great, mindless entertainment with bad special effects and even worse acting (usually). And addicting all the same. After this one is over, I’ve made a deal with a friend to endure “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”. I’m told it will be a worthwhile movie of laughs...we shall see.

I am really enjoying house-sitting for my friends. Just me, Netflix and Bella (the dog). So far, I’ve eaten Mexican food (yesterday), wings (made two meals out of them today), drank four Cokes and eaten about three giant chocolate chip cookies. And a handful of almonds. Had to throw something in there that’s healthy. I can totally see why people gain weight over the holidays. Everything’s too easy. Especially living near the convenience of town. Accessibility is the devil. With giant horns made of funnel cake, Ding Dongs for eyes, and cheese puffs for fingers. I’m going to be a saint (as far as dieting goes) for the next few meals until Thursday, and then resume healthy habits again as soon as Friday rolls around. Or Monday. It’s okay to embrace a little caloric relaxation over the weekend. But, alas, I shall be good.

And is it just me, or does a giant glass of cold, frothy chocolate milk sound divine right now?

Let’s give a round of applause for deniability and justification. Hooray!

Don’t really have much to say today. I’ve mostly just been a lazy sloth. It’s nice to let my brain rot every once in a while. Things are about to get pretty busy, so I should appreciate the down time while I have the opportunity.

I’m going to head upstairs later, soak in a nice hot bath. Read my book. Maybe paint my toenails. Catch up on “The Vampire Diaries” (what? I only watch it for Ian Somerhalder). Then bed. In a quite house.

Seize the day, if you will.

I’m seizing lethargy. Or is that an oxymoron?

Monday, November 22, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 22

Monday. Day twenty-two.

Why does Monday have to happen every week? Without fail, it always manages to show up. However, when considering the alternative of not seeing another Monday, I’ll be lenient with my complaint.

Today is kind of blah. I love overcast, cold, breezy days, and looking out the window from where I currently am, it seems like it should be one of those days. Not so much. The gray thunderclouds and breeze are present, but no dip in temperature. Instead, Texas weather rears its ugly head again, and brings us the muggy humidity with which to ruin our hair. Boo. But…the forecast for the end of the week calls for below freezing temperatures. Yay! The holidays just aren’t the same without cold weather. And seriously, can you imagine trying to take a nice nap after stuffing yourself miserable with Thanksgiving food – in warm weather? Nah. Not the same.

I am sincerely enjoying the scenery, though. Autumn is such a lovely time of year. Everything is so picturesque with the splashes of red, orange and yellow landscape filtering through the backgrounds. The colors seem to pop against even the dreariest of buildings and settings. Especially when mirrored on still waters. Such tranquility. The trees are stretching their branches, swaying, sleepily yawning…preparing for their winter snooze.

The months when so much of the world goes to sleep, seems to be when the rest of the human race wakes up. Or, at least I do. The hustle and bustle of the holidays approaches, with the anticipation of things to come. Getting to spend time with family. Extra sparkles in the eyes of our kids. The electricity of excitement in the air. Making lists to start fresh in the New Year. All of these things, coupled with the crisp, cold air filling up my lungs makes me feel alive.

And speaking of starting fresh, I made a decision regarding “option one” today. I decided not to take it. I am extremely flattered to even be considered, and I know my talents would’ve served me well in the position. However, having some time to think about it over this past weekend, I realize it didn’t quite feel right. I would have been pursuing it for the wrong reasons. In the long run, I would be disappointed in myself for having made such a major decision based on something I didn’t feel 100% about. My inner voice was telling me to hold back. In this case, I chose obedience to my conscience, rather than impulse. Strangely enough, I feel relieved about it. A small weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I face my remaining options with a new sense of exhilaration and confidence.

I feel empowered. It’s nice to be able to sit back and evaluate things from a mature point of view. What a wonderful peace of mind to trust in myself. And knowing that God approves.

Knowing is half the battle. So, I draw my sword, adjust my shield and sit securely in the saddle as I face the next epic adventure of my life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 21

Day twenty-one. Bleck.

I’ve been tossing and turning since a little before 4:00am this morning. Mainly, because I couldn’t breathe very well. And spent most of the night choking on my own snot and getting sick at my stomach from inadvertently swallowing it.

Lovely description, I know. Part of writing is being able to speak the brutal truth though. Mission accomplished.

I hate being sick. Despise it. Loathe it. Detest it. Is there a stronger word to describe it? Not sure, but I’d love to come up with a more colorful phrase to properly damnify this abominating state I’m in.

Why why why can’t people please just stay the hell at home when they’re sick? And wash their hands? No one wants your crap! Especially me! I know some of you don’t have the benefits of sick leave (myself included), but when you go to work (or out in public), you stand the risk of infecting others with your nasty germs. Then they get sick, and so on. It becomes a vicious cycle of disgust, thus affecting the fluctuation of the economy.

So, in essence, the state of the economy depends on you. Stay home.

I have to conjure up the strength to pack some bags later, as I am house/dog-sitting for some friends of mine starting tomorrow until the end of the month. They are flying to New York to visit family for the holidays. I am seriously looking forward to getting out of my current surroundings. And enjoying some peace and quiet. Hope to get some writing done. Lounge around in my pajamas. Order take-out. You see, I live in a rural area (which I LOVE), but often I go without the simple conveniences of living closer to civilization – such as a pizza delivery.

I also can’t wait to start reading my new book, “Decision Points” by George W. Bush (a gift from a friend). I can read until all hours of the morning if I want, and then blissfully, and lazily, sleep as long as I want the next day. Ahhhhh, the little joys in life.

About to go load up on meds to help be breathe.

Maybe overdose on ibuprofen and slip into a nice little coma.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 20

Day twenty. Ten more days.

And let me just say that those corn-fed Nebraska boys don’t got nothin’ on the Aggies! Talk about a nail biter of a game! Wow! Final score 9-6, and between the Wrecking Crew and Nebraska’s defense, field goals seemed to be the only possible means of getting numbers on the board.

AND, Texas A&M set the record of having the largest stadium crowd in history at tonight’s game! This past week, on November 18th, was the eleven-year anniversary of the fateful Bonfire collapse. Twelve students lost their lives, but it was evident tonight that their spirits were with us on the field, lifting us to new heights. Once again victorious, the rush of courage was fervent as silent hands clasped tangible ones, urging their brothers onward...together in unity...holding steadfast to the faith and strength in the hearts of thousands of Aggies...past, present and future.

“There’s a spirit that can ne’er be told.”

Farmers Fight! WHOOOOOOOP!!!

Next week, we’re gonna Beat The Hell Outta TU!! Can ya hear the grill, Bevo? It’s ready for ya to sizzle!

So, winding down a glorious evening of football victory, I am just about beat. I spent the morning and early afternoon with a wonderful friend as we grabbed brunch at Cracker Barrel and then perused the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco. Got a few painting estimates done for some faux finishing (I do it for fun now, and usually only for close friends and family). Took a nice two-hour nap after I got home this afternoon. Woke up and spent some time with my niece. Went to Chili’s with my sister and niece and spent more time yelling at the A&M vs. Nebraska game on the television than eating our meal. Trekked to the mall and treated myself to a new sweater and some sterling silver hoops. Waved at Santa Claus. Checked Twitter and Facebook for score updates. Bought my niece a giant lollipop from the candy store. Came seriously close to stealing two of the cutest Boston Terrier puppies I’ve ever seen at The Puppy Store (large purses rock!). Went to Cold Stone for ice cream. Listened to the game broadcast on the radio on the drive home. Then watched the last five minutes of it on television, jumping up and down, screaming, at my sister’s house. Now, I’m typing my blog because I realize that in about 45 minutes, the day will be over. I’m on a roll and I haven’t missed a day yet.

What a great way to wind down a fantastic day! And now I must pay homage to my pillow.

Don’t really have much more to say, except, “good night, friends.”

Oh, wait...and, "Gig 'Em!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 19

Friday. Whoo-hoo! Day nineteen.

Option one meeting went well. I am now sitting in the hotel room watching “Tremors”. Terrible blast from the past. Then again, most of the movies I watched back then are cheesy as all get out. And as an adult, I realize that watching them as a child, I had absolutely no clue what the storyline was actually about.

So, reflecting on my blog from a couple of days ago, when I likely confused all of you with all my talk of “options”, I would now like to add two more to the list.

Yes, that is correct. There are now five options in the near future before me. A couple of them are still extremely premature, but appealing nonetheless. We shall see.

Boom.

Boom!

BOOM!!

It’s nice to get hit with so many opportunities, but I’m starting to feel like the universe may be playing a trick on me. I just know there must be a third party on the line each time I get a phone call, covering their mouth to keep the snorting muffled as they listen to me get my hopes up. The phone conversation ends, and this “person” turns to a room full of friends who all burst into laughter at my expense saying, “Sucka!”

Yeah, I’m warped. No need to remind me.

But, really, it’s a pleasant dilemma to be in. I know there are others who are far less fortunate than I, for they are absorbed in the arduous task of job searching with little feedback.

And let’s face it, I am banking on a windfall in the future – like, in the form of a winning lotto ticket – but until that day comes, bills still need to be paid.

**sigh** Another day, another dollar. And all that jazz.

However, I’m not complaining. I have a roof over my head. My ribs most definitely are not sticking out. I have a vehicle. Great friends. A loving family. My faith. Oh yes, let’s not forget a closet full of fabulous shoes! I am surrounded by a plethora of good things.

So, I pose the question: why is everything coming together so easily now? I don’t feel like I’ve deserved a leg up any more than the next person. There are countless people who have struggled through far more dire circumstances than me, and certainly they deserve to have a few diamonds fall at their feet, too. Part of the ride in life is dealing with the unexpected, thus taking a few wrong turns and learning the roads, but sometimes I would really like to know what this is all adding up to. I’m just an ordinary person. Nothing particularly exceptional. Common. But, I have a whole lotta heart.

And maybe that’s what turns the average into the extraordinary. Everyday people, doing their best to make ends meet and go about the daily grind, until something unusual comes along to propel them to greatness.

I can live with that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 18

Day eighteen. I’m exactly one month older from when I celebrated my “non-birthday” on this day last month. But, you know what ‘they’ say…“age is just a number.”

If that’s true, I don’t feel a day over eighteen. I’m proud to be young at heart, and hope I always embrace that concept.

Tomorrow is quickly approaching, and though I’m still feeling overwhelmed about the decision-making I will face (option one), I’m feeling much more positive than I have in the past week. I have a good strategy in mind, and hope to assert myself in a confident and professional manner. And not cave. Or backtrack.

Keep the faith.

And speaking of faith, I am so humbled to be supported by an incredible network of family and friends who have never lost their faith in me. And of course, I must thank the Almighty Father. He’s had my back all along, too. He has never failed me. I know when the time comes, I am armed with the intelligence and experience to make the best choices that He has selected for me. That is a comfort.

It seems that so much is falling into place… my job prospects are lining up, I have a new car, a new attitude, a new trust in myself...I am happy. Genuinely happy. Are there things about myself that I want changed? Physically, yes (all women do). Emotionally, no. I have endured the things in my life for a specific purpose; all of which have led me to this phase of my life.

Charging forward into my future, I face the unknown. And though the road has been tough at times, every ache, every scar, and every smile has made a breathtaking impact of permanence on my heart. It is all a part of the woman I am – through and through.

My time is now. Going forward, I realize that I’m in the prime of my life. There is nothing holding me back. There has never been a more opportune time for me to start over and leave the past behind. Not forgotten, but forgiven.

Since we are not guaranteed the promise of tomorrow, I want to get a little sentimental for a moment…

Words cannot express the gratitude to those of you who have believed in me, rooted for me, prayed for me, encouraged me, supported me, lifted me up and never doubted my strength or abilities. Even when I did. “Love” is not an adequate enough word to describe how deeply I feel for all of you. Each of you holds a cherished place in my soul and I will forever be grateful that God made you a part of my life.

I am beyond blessed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 17

Day seventeen.

Don’t really have much to say today. My brain is busy analyzing the decisions I will soon have to make. Decisions that concern my career.

Option one gives me stability and structure, and less money (likely).

Option two gives me a greater amount of freedom and flexibility, and more money. But less stability.

Hmmm…

I’m torn between the two, AND a third option that’s on the near horizon (concerning my writing). It’s wonderful to be hit with so many opportunities, especially in this economy. BUT, it’s also very overwhelming. I’m doing my best not to over-think things and weigh my preferences according to what feels right.

Though, I’m not quite sure what feels right at this point. I will have to wait until the weekend, when I will be forced to contend with the specific circumstances that surround option one.

And if I choose option one, will I blow my chances with option two?

Will option two still be available if I take option one and then decide I made the wrong decision?

What if I choose option two and then it falls through and I wish I would’ve chosen option one?

Does option three render options one and two pointless?

I suddenly feel like I’m in the middle of a terrible math-solving riddle.

AAARRRRGGGHHH!

“God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

“Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time; 

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 

Taking, as He did, this sinful world
 as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right 
if I surrender to His will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him 
Forever in the next.
”

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Amen.

I hate to be a wuss, but my brain has nearly fried from an abundance of assessing. Need to put it on my pillow before the fuses start blowing from all of the circuits firing at once.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 16

Tuesday. Day sixteen. This day is draaaaaaaggiiinnng.

Sitting here staring at the screen. Have I mentioned how much of a pain in the butt this is? I’m bored out of my mind today. Waiting on some other things to come together before I complete some pending projects. **sigh** I hate waiting. I’m impatient! I demand instant gratification!

Yeah, dream on.

I mean, c’mon! I’m even sitting in my home away from home (coffee house)! I blame the aroma. It’s making me loopy instead of inspiring me to write. Though honestly, I’m at a standstill with my writing until I know which way the story is headed. I’ve completely betrayed my outline. It now exists for my entertainment only. I look at it from time to time so it doesn’t feel lonely intermixed with all of the completed chapters.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…

That’s about all that’s in my head at the moment.

I am, however, enjoying the interesting pitch and cadence of “valley girl speak” by a couple of girls near me. I’ve completely lost count of the “totallys” and “likes”.

Like, totally.

Speaking of ‘dumb’, did you know that the majority of college students nowadays don’t even know how to write in cursive? WTF? Not kidding. What is America coming to that its young people don’t even know how to write their signatures? Evidently, the art of cursive writing is being rendered obsolete. And since everything in the mainstream has been reduced to sound bites and blurbs, I guess it makes sense that basic grammar and writing skills are being affected.

Like, OMG!

Ey’thg is GR8, tho! So much cooler 2 type this way! IDK. Not! MMWTBMFBO!

(Confused? Thought you might be. That last one is the representation for ‘makes me want to blow my freakin’ brains out’)

Know what I wanna do right now? Stand up in the middle of this place and suddenly let out a loud, blood-curdling scream at the top of my lungs. Think that would get anyone’s attention? The management may or may not find it amusing…while they call the authorities…who then proceed to load me up and take to the psych ward.

I may just go willingly. Might find some things to blog about.

I shouldn’t joke about things like that. Some days I feel like I have a few screws loose. Today is one of them. I’m restless. Anxious. Feeling the pressure about some decisions looming in the near future. Like, at the end of this week. I think my mind and body must be preparing for the stress I know is going to seep in.

My adrenaline is literally surging superfast through my veins. My hands are nearly shaking as I type this (not to mention I’m typing much faster than usual). I feel like I could sprint up and down the freeway and not lose any physical momentum. What’s up with that, Pike? I’ve only had one tall latte (with a shot of white mocha, of course).

Think I’ll go for a drive in my new car. I know there must be some roads in this county that I haven’t driven in the last five days.

Geez, I’m reaching. Blowing this popsicle stand before I lose it any further.

Talk 2 u L8R, peeps.

Like, for reals!

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 15

Day fifteen. Halfway there.

I have a new way to spell “lazy”. It’s K-E-L-L-I-E. Because it’s pretty much what I’ve been all day. A big, lazy slug. I didn’t manage to accomplish much of anything besides occupy extra space on the planet. Oh, and I breathed in and out, too.

I both cherish and despise days like this.

Cherish because sometimes it’s wonderful to just do nothing. It was the perfect day for it – overcast, wet, cold. There’s nothing like crawling back into a warm bed after you’ve decided that it’s a much better place than being awake in the living room.

Despise because I don’t like feeling unproductive. Not doing something makes me feel stale, like an old cracker. Stale days make me feel like I’ve wasted time. Wasted time makes me feel like I’m falling behind.

The cycle begins.

Consequently, I will no doubt think of things tomorrow that I should have taken the time to do today. And I’ll be mad at myself for procrastinating. I tend to do that on occasion.

However…

There are advantages to procrastination and laziness. Sooner or later, you (in general) get so fed up with yourself that you have no other choice but to do something exceptional to get out of your funk. Before you know it, you’re charging full steam ahead. At least, that’s how it happens for me. This especially applies to my writing. Once I’ve ignored it for a while (sometimes not on purpose – writer’s block), it’s easier to come back to. Something will strike a creative nerve of inspiration, and I become a writing machine once again.

I must be patient, though.

Well…?

Obviously I’m not inspired today. It’s taking every ounce of effort I can muster to type this. As I’m sure you can tell.

Think I’ll continue my streak of laziness and quit early. I want to watch “House” that recorded earlier on the DVR, and eat a piece of leftover cake from my parents’ party this past Friday evening. Then I might soak in a hot tub of water, read and go to bed.

And if I’m going to achieve the pinnacle of extreme laziness, it makes sense that I won’t even exert the effort to finish typing this sente…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 14

Good evening, friends. It’s day fourteen. Sixteen days to go. (And only 11 until Thanksgiving!)

As I’m typing this, my cousin, Blake, and I are flipping back and forth between the channels, trying to watch the Cowboys vs. Giants and the Seahawks vs. Cardinals simultaneously. There is a healthy little competition going. We have wagered a whole dollar (cheap!). He’s betting against the Cowboys and I’m betting against the Seahawks. Right now, the Cowboys are actually ahead (33-20) AND Kitna is playing (against Manning). This could turn out to be a monumental evening.

And speaking of football, the Aggies tore it up last night against Baylor! Yeah, baby! The Wrecking Crew rocked! I called it low, so it figures that it would be a high scoring game. I’m not that great with keeping up with statistics and estimating the outcome, but I do a fantastic job at screaming loudly at the television and jumping up and down with enthusiasm (it helps – I swear it does). Baylor’s offense is not to be underestimated. They kept us on our toes. Especially when Griffin gets his legs going. He’s like a freakin’ gazelle! Of course, Tannehill and Gray led the team in some of the best defensive plays I’ve seen yet out of the Aggies. The final score was 42-30, and though I’m certain the Aggies could’ve gotten one last touchdown with a minute left in the fourth, the game was called. Mike Sherman has more class than to further rub salt in the wound.

Today is my niece’s birthday. There are a slew of people standing outside around the campfire, and I can smell wafts of roasting hotdogs each time someone opens the back door. Between that and the aroma of the homemade chili cooking in the crockpot, my mouth is sufficiently watering. The kids have just about worn themselves out on the inflated bouncer and the shrieks and shrills of their laughter are such a joyous noise. Can’t wait for cake and presents. How very blessed are we to celebrate another year with my niece (and extended family).

Yesterday evening, we didn’t get to have our “big kids” night out as planned. All of us were too engrossed in the football game. So, we’re shooting for it tonight. The kids (little ones) will get all sugared up and left with the grandfolks, and the big’uns will head out soon for some bowling, laser tag, pool and arcade games. Thank goodness I’m off tomorrow. I’m gonna take full advantage of sleeping in…with the cold, overcast weather outside...snuggled under the covers…ahhhhh…ya just gotta love the simple things in life.

Have a busy week ahead of me. Lots of things happening, and some major decisions to be made. Cutting this one short so I can go spend time with my family. Some of them are leaving to head back to Seattle in the morning, while the rest of them get to stay until the end of the week. It’s been such a privilege to be able to spend time with them. I so love them.

Better go get some chili before it gets cold. Have a splendid evening, friends. Don’t forget to enjoy the brisk fall weather. And hug your loved ones close.

Sending out a very Happy Birthday wish to my niece, Aislynn. Aunt Kellie loves you so much. You are a precious and wonderful gift from God.

And go Cowboys!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Blog Series: Day 13

Day thirteen. I’m gonna blow off some steam…

People are disgusting. Know why? Because of dirty diapers, aluminum cans, broken bottles, empty snuff cans, soggy paper towel remnants, candy paper, cigarette butts, oily rags, mangled wire coat hangers, empty beer bottles, old shoes, gum rappers, lotto ticket stubs, old newspapers, sandpaper, machine parts, the remains of a cardboard box, a half-empty jar of peanut butter, hair barrettes, Legos, stuffed unicorn toys, marbles, plastic dishes, used condoms, tube of toothpaste, egg cartons, Snickers wrapper, three empty cases of Dr. Pepper, bottle caps, twine, tape, a used diaphragm (not kidding), set of drumsticks, empty box of fried chicken (complete with gnawed-on bones), baby socks and someone’s dentures…

…are just a few of the things I’ve spent the last couple of hours picking up outside. (Helping some friends pick up trash from around the buildings they own in town.)

Now, I will be the first to tell you that I do my best to stay optimistic about the human race, but after this morning’s trash montage adventures, I have a nice big flaw in my theory that people are basically good.

I’m now banking on lazy.

Really? I mean, how much effort does it actually take to walk to a trashcan (or dumpster), open the lid and discard your crap?

Thank goodness I had on industrial strength gloves!

And what the heck are these Richard Craniums doing to result in that kind of trash in a public area???

I place partial blame on the convenience store next door. Evidently, the staff doesn’t ever bother to come outside to tidy up the property. Go figure. So when careless idiots toss trash out of their car windows, or they can’t find that great big, green bin labeled “GARBAGE CAN”, it leaves it available to blow all over my friends’ property with the slightest breeze.

The rest of the blame I place on society as a whole. People drift through life with a sense of entitlement, because society has convinced them that it’s not necessary to exert any effort into anything. Don’t have a job? That’s okay. I’ll keep busting MY ass so that MY tax dollars will pay for you to sit around. Can’t afford to eat? That’s okay. You just keep on driving that BMW and collecting food stamps. I mean, heaven forbid you not look cool, even if your kids are starving. Don’t want to throw away your trash? Well, that’s okay, too. Because I guarantee you there’s someone who takes enough value in the appearance of his or her property to go out and pick it up for you.

Why is society perpetuating this concept of appealing to the lowest common denominator? Why are we dumbing down America so that those who truly put in their time and hard work are left holding the bag? Why are we allowing this lazy, negligent attitude of carelessness and disrespect for others? When did it become acceptable to stop taking responsibility for our actions and lose all consideration for our neighbors?

I believe in helping people. Not handing out to people.

Empower them.

Don’t enable them.

I know I kind of went off the deep end there, but it all ties together. It’s the little things – like the simple task of not littering – that make me sit and stew about the bigger things. It just frustrates and disappoints me that people have such little respect for others.

**sigh**

On a happier note, my parents’ party was a success last night. My feet still hurt from dancing. Lots of family and friends were there. There was so much love in that room last night. It just warms my insides thinking of each smiling face that’s been a part of our lives. Most of them have known my sister and me since we were just knee-high to a grasshopper. What a glorious milestone for my parents to celebrate 60 years on earth, and 40 of them spent together. I am so honored to have been raised by the two greatest people a woman could ever ask for. They have been incredible, loving Christian examples to me. And no matter how proud they may be of me, I am proudest to be their daughter.

Continuing on with the good vibes, I am really looking forward to this evening. Along with the Aggies whipping the fire, hell and brimstone out of the Bears, my family has a “big kids” night out planned at Grand Station. It will be great to cut up and let loose a little. **smiles**

Headed out for today. Gotta go buy some stuff to spoil my niece with (her birthday is Sunday). Think I’ll see if any clinics are open, too. Might have to get a hepatitis shot after this morning.

Farmers Fight! WHOOP!!