Tuesday, September 27, 2011
When I opened my eyes this morning, I heard the gentle pitter-patter of the rain on the windows. The house, in its morning solitude, allowed me to lie there and lazily dream in, dream out, to relish the meditative song of the falling water, lulling me into peace and solitude. It wasn't but a few years ago that I woke to the voices of my children, excitedly getting ready for their day, maybe even quarreling over their rights to the bathrooms or laughing at each other's jokes....
But this is good.
This is very good. As much as I miss them and the fact that I wouldn't trade those years for ANYTHING, I find myself enjoying this time of peace. Lazily, I stretch my arms over my head and push my feet from beneath the covers. Or I will roll over and bury my face into the pillow and smile. I didn't know that empty-nest syndrome would hold such little gifts for me to enjoy. I didn't know that having the last serving of ice cream could taste so good. Or that taking a few extra minutes to soak in a hot bubble bath could rejuvenate my spirit.
But it has.
I miss my kids, and their friends, tearing through the living room at break-neck speed, sharing the day's events with me. But I also like watching my favorite program uninterrupted. I love taking as much time as I want in my woods, quietly reflecting on nature, the beauty of it as it surrounds me in it's raw, gorgeous embrace. I miss having them with me during these times, but there are new things I've discovered in my own backyard that I haven't seen before. Nor heard before. I miss having my phone calls to and from my friends interrupted with a fact they needed to share at THAT VERY MOMENT. But everyone knows not to interrupt me when I'm on the phone with my kids. It seems so odd to converse with them this way now. But for some reason, the conversations are more meaningful, more special because they are not every day. They are mature, deeper conversations about what they are searching for in life, not who stuck whose tongue out at who....
I like my new relationship with them. My oldest has taken a job at GE in Kansas City. The second oldest is raising my grandson, working and going to school. Bre is at OU, volunteering, making the Dean's List and finding new things about herself every day. Paul is on the road to self-discovery...it's a difficult road for him but I know deep down he has the strength to overcome his adversities and will come back to us when he is ready, settled, and strong in his ability to believe the wonderful things about himself. I trust them. I trust them all.
Now, it's my turn. To lie in bed for as long as I wish. To listen to MY music in the car and to dance in the living room to the beat of my own drum. It's my turn to indulge in going to lunch with my friends and to see a movie JUST BECAUSE. Because I can. Because I WANT TO.
This is good.
This is very very good....
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Ahh, such a nice change of pace....
Letting go and accepting the events in your life. It doesn't have to be perfect. Life doesn't. You can still find peace and contentment in the disorder around you, especially when you learn to accept that nothing is ever neat and clean, very seldom is it 100% as you wish it to be. But the thing that you can always count on is the loving hand of God caressing your weary shoulders and whispering, "Just lean on me, I am ALWAYS here..." It's taken me a loooong time to get to this place. It's taken many stumbles that have left me on my face, bruised and bleeding, shaken, for me to realize that there was always a hand to help me stand once again. And in that stance, gathering my strength once again, was a love as warm as the rising summer sun. I may have given up on me at times, but He didn't. Never once. It was never His option....
I am the type of person who would rather retreat into a cubby hole and lick my wounds, alone, from the eyes of others. I find myself at times pulling away from the people whom I love the most, especially when I need them the most. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve for awhile then distance myself, either out of shame or weariness...not fair to them, I know. But I also did that with God. Or tried to. I THOUGHT I was hiding from Him, but it seemed He always found me. Even when I didn't want to be found. He doesn't give up so easily. He doesn't give up AT ALL.
My life isn't perfect. Far from it. I am far from perfect. But, my GOSH, it feels so good to just let that "goal" go. I am imperfect. My life is, gulp, imperfect. And IT IS IN GOD'S HANDS, not my own. What will be, will be. I am where I am supposed to be RIGHT NOW. My life is as it should be RIGHT NOW. And even though I am imperfect, my God still loves me for who I am. He has forgiven me for my sins. He has looked past my faults and seen His child, hugged His child and accepted His child for who she is. My God loves me. He loves me for who I am, who I will be and, most importantly, what I will be NOT.
I am set in stone. My life and what it is supposed to be is painted on God's canvas, lovingly created by His brushstrokes. He didn't promise me or anyone else that it was going to be easy. I wouldn't WANT it to be! I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't go through the heartaches and turbulence that I have suffered in my life. I would be spoiled, ungrateful and selfish. I wouldn't have empathy or sympathy for those around me.
I wouldn't be here.
No, my life isn't perfect. It never was nor will it ever be.
But my God is.......and He loves me. That's ALL I need.
God bless you all...
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I was walking under the pier this morning in search of more awesome pics, trying to avoid the jelly fish that had washed up onto the shore. They were deceased but I didn't know if they could still sting you (or possibly eat your face off) so I was vigilant about where I placed my sandaled feet. Every-so-often another person would pass and we would exchange a few pleasantries, such as a "How are YOU today?" or a nod and I would smile, basking in the realization that no matter where a person is from, there is a bond that connects all human beings. We all strive to be pleasant or friendly, even when one has sand in their teeth and hair...
I wasn't exactly thrilled to walk on the pier that stretched out into the ocean. Again, the rolling waves have a dizzying effect on my senses and a few days ago, my face bit a thrashing wave rolling to shore. (It was a good thing my sister Marie was there to drag my limp and fear-paralyzed body to the seaside. Amidst the screeches and laughter, my bathing suit top had decided to disconnect itself from my upper torso and she threw herself on top of me to shield me from the gazes of fellow vacationers who were peeing themselves from laughter...) I timidly stepped onto the entrance of the pier, one eye closed, the other slightly squinty, and was immediately confronted by a blue heron who wanted my Fritos. He was a friendly little fellow until I tried to get a picture. I became so enthralled with the birds and the fisherman, that I forgot where I was until I reached the end of the pier. When I looked out onto the ocean, I was mesmerized. Utterly and completely mesmerized.
Leaning over the railing JUST A TAD, I looked down into the clear bluish-green waters and felt something click. Yes, I'm a person who does not do well on boats and who possesses a slight fear of water (okay, maybe A LOT) but once I focused on something else, the fear was not noticeable. It wasn't the first thing that was on my mind. Hmmmm. I wonder if I can do that in other areas of my life that are uncomfortable or frightful for me, I asked myself. I think taking that first step onto the pier was my strength...and that strength carried me through to the end of it. So, I thought again, if I were to take that first step in my personal life, my goals, my desires, perhaps it would escalate into reality, as long as I focused on the beauty along the way.
I have alot of unanswered questions about myself still, to this day, about what makes Michelle tick. But I'm learning. I'm letting go of the fear. I'm letting go of that girl who tries to be perfect in everything she does because I'm finally realizing that trying to be perfect is miserable. It's really okay to get a little messy sometimes and make mistakes. I won't die from them. The people who truly love and care for me have still continued to do so and some have only gotten closer and more loving along the way. I think my different attitude has actually put THEM at ease. So, here I go...I'm taking my first few steps onto the Pier of My Personal Life and I'm ready. Ready to face what lies at the end.
If it's pain or joy, it does not matter. I can accept both. I have to leave what is not working for me NOW. I have to at least give it a chance, to get my toes wet, dare to live and not look at what "could" have been but MAKE IT SO. We are on borrowed time, each of us, and if we don't take the oars and progress forward, we will float and drift the rest of our days. I'm soooo done with that. I'm done with being around people who only wish to keep you tethered to the shore. I'm looking out to the horizon...what is there is up to me. I'm happy to finally say, IT'S ALL UP TO ME this time.
Well, except for the part where I get dizzy and lose my bikini. :P
Talk to you soon. Posting pics soon. God bless.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, staring out my patio doors, watching the sudsy white tide race toward the sand below my balcony. It is surprisingly uninhabited except for a few wanderers searching for shells. My two sisters and niece have departed for a boat excursion to view the dolphins and do some snorkeling. I have gracefully and thankfully not taken part in this little excursion due to my nauseating habit of throwing up while riding a vehicle on the water. I wish I could have gone but found great joy in watching their excitement as they prepared for their trip. It was almost like watching two little kids getting amped for Christmas. I am happy, however, to have a few hours of quiet to reflect on what this trip has meant to me.
First, I am very happy to have some MUCH NEEDED time away from work. Obviously. I am touched, however, at the multitude of texts and emails from my co-workers who have said they miss me and my presence. It tells me that I am doing something right when my co-workers tell me that their shifts just aren't the same when I am not there. It really touches my heart. I actually wondered if I was liked at all! But the night before my departure, I was given so many hugs and well-wishes that I was beginning to wonder if I had fallen through a warp-hole and landed in the Twilight Zone. I will go back this Saturday, rejuvenated, burnt to a crisp, with a new perspective on the people I know there. One fella even told me on the phone that the place was not the same without me and that it actually seemed a little quiet and sad. Maybe he's just brown-nosing for a souvenir?
My daughter has been at college for a few week's now and she has been calling me to tell of her new adventures. It would have been nice if she could have joined us. But I send her pictures every chance I get of my sisters' and my adventures and she tells me that she almost feels like she is here. Well, it really isn't the same and it has given me reason to make plans for her and I to come here ourselves next summer before she leaves for her junior year of college. I think that would be nice...just her and I. A time to bond further and get to know her, the new woman that she has become.
I've realized new things about myself as well. I like how the sun feels on my skin while splashing in the waves. I like the Florida people and how they have made me feel most welcome in their territory. They are very friendly folks who come from all walks of life and I love the diversity and different cultures of people. I found out that my sisters have a wild streak and I see them for the child-like and fun-loving women that they really are. My oldest sister is 62-years-old and when she ran into the ocean laughing and giggling, tears stung my eyes; I couldn't wait to rush to her, hold her hand and laugh right along with her. When she hugged me and told me how happy she was that I came, I could only nod my head and hold her closer as the tears threatened to cascade down my face. My mother would have loved this time. She never had the opportunity to see the ocean. Or see her babies frolic in the misty white coolness bonding closer than they have ever been before.
I am at peace in so many ways these days. Even before my trip, I was delving deep into my heart to find my true self. I've realized that some of my old ways and beliefs do not work for me anymore. I still have the love of my Lord in my heart and believe that He is with me, beside me, loving me and holding me to Him. But, I also believe that He does not want me to be miserable and stifled in my own self-imposed limitations and I have vowed to break out, to become more than what I was, more than what I used to be. Just as I put my toes into the ocean and felt it's beautiful coolness, I am treading the waters of the unknown and have discovered that I am a woman of substance. I am not chained to routines or people that hinder my growth. I have the ability to break free and just BE ME. For I am my own woman, my own personality, and someone whom I've grown to like. I like me. I like who I am becoming and I am at peace with my new discoveries and the traits of my character that I've realized I possess.
I am no longer chained to that woman who didn't dare to try new things. I am giving my heart louder, more freely. In my desire to not be hurt, I shielded myself. That is not the answer. The answer is to open up more and in doing so, I found someone that I would love to be friends with...ME.
I think I'm going to go to the little restaurant that's by the pier. Yes, by myself. I am going to order the biggest hamburger they have and, when I am finished, I'm going to walk down to the beach and watch the sun set. I am going to embrace the breeze on my face and bury my toes deeply into the sand. That's what my heart is telling me to do...and I'm going to LISTEN.
When I return home, I will share my photos with you. Bless you all. In loving myself more, I have found that I love you more as well....
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Okay. It's official. I'm over the hump of Breanna's departure. To her delight, I have stopped texting her every five seconds to check on her whereabouts and if she's eating properly or not. I knew it was time when the last text from her said, "MOTHER, I swear...." Guess that's my sign to stop being a helicopter mom....
I guess it's time to start doing what I have kept saying I was going to do. Be me. Find what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what makes me ME. I have been writing, pouring my heart into articles and getting them out there for whoever will listen. I bought a whole new set of paint supplies. A few new outfits. I've recently taken on meditation and "centering" myself, going to a place of calm within myself that I didn't know I had before. I kinda like the new me. I'm not so bad after all. At least, I don't think so. (There are a few at work, though, who would beg to differ but they'll get over it. Haha...)
I got my nose pierced a few months ago. It was a mother/daughter thing. I liked having it but after it snagged on my blankets for the upteenth time, I knew it was time to let THAT bird fly. It has grown over and I happily bury my face in the covers each night, realizing that 42 year-old-women shouldn't have to worry about ripping steel out of their nostrils. It was something that I always wanted to do. Okay, did it. Didn't like it. Moving on...
My son is almost non-existent. He is going through a time of regret for his past actions and struggling against the pull of returning to his past behaviors. He is trying to shut the people out of his life who have cared for him. I think I understand why. I went through a period of deep shame and trying to push people away from me...all because I didn't believe I was worthy of their forgiveness or love. He is so much like me. So, I understand why he is doing that. I won't ever give up on him and realize that prayer is what makes the pain less painful. So I ask that you continue your prayers his way...
Life is a never-ending journey of ups and downs. I've had my share of downs and I am moving on my way up now. I can only control what I can control and I now refuse to be brought down like I was a few short months ago. I'm stronger than that. I'm smarter than that. And by golly, I'm going to live now.
I'm actually going to be "living" in Florida for a week with my two sisters starting Saturday. That's a start, isn't it? What happens in Florida, stays in Florida. Right? I can hardly wait. My sister bought me a new bathing suit. A one-piece that goes to my knees. We're going to have to do something about that!
So, I will see you guys in a few days....I might even bring back some pics and post them. But until then, I love you all and plan on being more active on Spark soon. It's on my list of must-dos to get myself back in the game of life. AND I MISS YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!
All my love and prayers.....
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