Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Portent Princess

Such a regal elegance.
See how she radiates and shines,
Sparkling like the tiara sitting upon her  head?
She’s magnetic.
Surprised at how she draws them to  her,
Slowly falling beneath her spell?
Look closer.
Listen, can you hear her words,
Lulling and guiding them into her dream?
Lady, they call her.
Lord, can you hear the pain,
Lingering beneath her colorful mask?
Forget the loneliness.
Feel the vastness of emptiness,
Frowning behind those bright eyes?
Forever she searches.
For how long can she last,
Feigning hope in a hopeless world?
Pretend no more.
Pray, can’t you see her true face?
Prodigious mess.
Please, won’t you help her,
Protecting the marvel of her soul?
Pride is her weakness.
Prince, why have you not
Pranced to her rescue?

Portent Princess.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Make It Work

I’m not an expert at anything I do. But, when I put my mind to do something, I do it to the best of my ability, and a lot of times it turns out pretty good. I make it work. I’m not afraid of hard work, because it’s always hard work. I don’t want anyone to think that all of the things I’ve accomplished in my life were easy or just fell into my lap. On the contrary, each one of them often pushed me to a breaking point before I finally saw a result I could live with. It doesn’t help I’m a perfectionist, but that’s just how the cookie crumbled.

I don’t want the struggle to be hard for you, too, but before you decide to do anything , you need to settle in your mind that some things are just going to be hard. You’re going to have to be determined to do whatever it takes to make it work. THIS is really the single most powerful element that separates winners from losers, from those who succeed and those who fail. Successful winners never give up. That’s not saying you can bitch, whine, gripe or pitch fits – by all means have at it. But, if we only accomplished the easy stuff in our lives, we’d really be pathetic people. I’ll let you think about that for a while.

While there are so many subjects I could tackle, because I’m a multi-talented diva, I’m going to stick to health and fitness for the time being. I want to give a few little tips, a few guidelines, that I use in my daily battle. These things really work. I challenge you to give them a try – for one week or one month – I promise that if you’re faithful to them (there are no short cuts) you’ll see a difference almost immediately.

Grocery Shopping/Healthy Eating –

· Clean house. Go through your refrigeration, cabinet, and pantry and get rid of everything that is processed, canned, boxed, or bagged that isn’t an ingredient meant to cook with (flour, sugar, spices, rice, dry beans, etc). Get rid of the temptation. Learn to love natural food – not manufactured. You be the creator, the manufacturer, the chef.

o Think about this: (Tip #1) if there’s a preservative in it, it’s meant to stick around, and it’s designed to do just that… stick around in your arteries, on your hips, in your heart valves, etc.

· Shop on the outside lanes of the grocery store. Avoid (other than cooking supplies like cooking oil, flour, sugar, spices, etc).

o (Tip #2) If you divided your weekly/monthly groceries into outside lanes vs. inside lanes - the ratio should be 80/20 in favor of outside lanes.. and that 20% of inside lanes should mostly be for cooking ingredients.

o The outside lanes usually consists of Bread, Produce, Seafood, Meat, Dairy, Wine/Alchohol, etc. Most of everything you need for healthy eating can be found in these sections – and yes… a glass of wine with dinner is a great ingredient – it’s good to cook with as well.

o (Tip #3) If you can, avoid the Bakery altogether. Don’t eat a lot of breads, and when you do try to make your own – breads, pastries, sweets, etc. That way you can still enjoy them without all the preservatives the manufacturers adds to them so they ship and last on the shelf. But, moderation is key. Try to get only ONE bakery item a week/month.

o (Tip #4) Stay away from the canned foods, boxed foods, prepared meals and frozen sections. All (even the diet foods) are filled with carbohydrates and preservatives. Remember: Preservatives… preserve – and our goal is to lose, to burn, to use up. Can foods, even canned vegetables, usually have a preservative in them (purposed to preserve for a long shelf life).

· Cook with fresh fruits, proteins, and vegetables. The more fresh an item, the better it is because it’s still rich in nutrients and vitamins. Also, the taste is better.

o (Tip #4) If you MOSTLY cook using fresh fruits and vegetables, you can use the real stuff that tastes good in your preparations– like real butter, real sugar, fatty meats (though try to use leaner meats), salt, etc.

o More people would eat healthier foods if they tasted good. Most health nuts have went to extremes and cut out everything good so that the food is bland and tasteless. Guess how long you’re going to continue eating bland food? The first time you pass a pizza parlor or burger joint.. and you’re done for. But, if you build a lifestyle of eating fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats, you make them taste great – the little ‘flavorful’ things you do are small compared to the amount of healthy stuff you do – and you win in the long run – because you won’t STOP eating the healthier, tastier food. Use bacon grease, salted butter, salt, real cheese, etc… if it makes you like broccoli/peas/Brussel sprouts/ asparagus/cauliflower/ snap peas/pole beans/peppers/etc.

o Food should make your mouth smile and make you sigh with enjoyment, not be a chore. Just think with rational common sense – and operate in moderation. Unless you have allergies, don’t ever say “NO”. Research your ingredient and figure out how to use it in a smart, sensible way.

· Watch your portion size. Get rid of your big plates, bowls and platters. ONLY use small dishes, even utensils. If you can, use chopsticks. It doesn’t have to only be when you enjoy Asian-inspired dishes. The key is to slowly eat small portions. Do whatever it takes to moderate your portions size.

o It’s a mind game. When you think there’s hardly any food on your plate and you woof it down in two or three bites without taking a breath – YOU’RE STILL GOING TO BE HUNGRY. Slow down, talk at the table (that always helps me).. if you’re alone (which I am most of the time) read something, text with your friends online, or Skype with someone while you’re having dinner – and TAKE YOUR TIME.

o (Tip #5) Set your table, even if you’re eating for one. Plate your food, make it a pretty display. Sit down at your table (not your couch) and use your utensils, make a pretty display, use a cloth napkin, and show your dinner respect. (It’s a mind game, remember). Sitting down at a set table (or a single place setting) tells the mind that it’s time to have dinner. Then CHOOSE to take your time, take small bites, really chew your food. Think about the tastes, the flavors, the smells, the colors, the textures. Really take the time to smell, taste and see your food. You’re going to have to make it a habit… but after a week or so – you’ll start to love your food – instead of just using it to feed your body or emotions.

That’s it for today. Have fun. Enjoy your food. Be smart about what you eat. Learn to be in control and love it – not resent it for the way you abuse it. Think about that – food isn’t the enemy – how you use and treat is your biggest obstacle. Food doesn’t jump down your throat… you open your mouth and insert. Now take charge. Be the master of your temple, of your wants, of your desires, and of your discipline.

Till next time,

~Friend and Lover of Food

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's Better to Give

Peace Corp Volunteer Michael Solano with students at St. Denis

There are a lot of charities out there in the world. It takes money to do anything. There used to be a time when money wasn’t more important than having a skill or a commodity to trade. While there are many things we are capable of doing with our hands, it’s sometimes even impossible to do the simplest of things without the proper tools.

Those who’ve followed my blogs for any amount of time know that I’m not an activist in any sense. I only endorse those projects, books, music, games, or causes that I feel a personal passion. I’ve worked really hard to build this platform and I refuse to allow it to become a wasteland.

I’m a giver, and most of the time my support is done quietly. For nearly 18 years I supported a child in a 3rd world country, I’ve supported various missions, medical research, shelters, food distribution centers, programs at nursing facilities, etc. I’m not saying these things now for myself, only that I’m not new to the world of giving or working quietly in a volunteer service. I fully understand the value of the selfless act. I also understand and believe in the concept that if we want good things to happen in our lives, we need to sow some good into someone else’ life. Karma, sowing and reaping, whatever phrase or philosophy you want to apply, will always come back full circle. Who you are isn’t about what you do when you have the world at your feet or if everyone is watching you, but what you choose often to do with the last piece of bread you have as you stand in the shadows.

This morning I share a new cause, a new project, a new opportunity. It’s not something that will change the world or start a new movement like the latest Ice Bucket Challenge, but to the students of St. Denis it will make all the difference in the world. Giving to this cause will not offer any spotlight, you won’t receive a nice video message, you won’t get to do a crazy stunt, you won’t need to make a video, and you won’t even get a chance to tag a few of your friends. However, you can take those same concepts and apply them to this cause. I DARE you to send this to a few of your friends, to give them the same chance. I loved the Ice Bucket Challenge. It made my heart smile to see the world giving, no matter the inspiration.

The cause: There’s this little, insignificant school in Lesotho, South Africa that needs a kitchen. The staff and students at St. Denis prepare all their meals outside in three big pots, in the wind, the rain, the cold, the heat, etc. They don’t need millions for research, they just need a few thousand dollars for the equipment and materials to build a simple kitchen. Check out this video my good friend and Peace Corps volunteer and teacher, Michael Solano, made.


Give what you can, even if all you can give is just a few dollars, because you’re down to your last piece of bread. For those who can give a lot, do what you can. If several of us could give a little, we can make the lives of these beautiful students just a tad better. No, we can’t solve all their problems with one opportunity, with one project, but it will make those who are out there every day, just a little bit more sanitary, a little more comfortable, and a little brighter.

Till next time,

~Gracious Giver

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweater Weather

I couldn’t believe it when I woke up this morning and threw the covers back, to find my warm hibernation had been invaded by a frosty chill. I nearly let out a yelp, jumped up, and quickly wrapped in my plush house coat, not the thin silky one. I needed warmth. After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I checked the thermostat in the hallway to make sure I didn’t knock the air-conditioning down to a low temp, mistaking having thought I cut it completely off the morning before. The temperature was set to 75, yet it felt so much colder. I hoped I wasn’t getting sick.

A huge smile crossed my face when I trundled back to my bedroom and picked up my cell phone and shining across my screen was a digital display reading 52 degrees. Below that sat a forecast for sunny skies and an expected high of just 75. Yeah, Baby, it was Sweater Weather!

Now I understood why I had slept so good and yet felt so cold… it was cold. It’s the type of weather you open the windows during the day, snuggle in the covers at night, and set the furnace to warm you in the mornings. So, that’s exactly what I did, I flipped the switch to heat and set the temperature to 68. A few minutes later after all the burners fired up in the furnace, I had to pull the batteries from my smoke detectors and open the back door as the first fire of the season cleared the dust from a long Spring and Summer. Don’t worry, I put the batteries back in as the dust disappeared.

The first waves of Autumn have arrived. This is my favorite time of year.

Other than a few cultural prejudices, the Georgia summer heat is one of the main reasons why I have this strong desire to move. Another reason is simply that I’m an explorer, a rambler, a curious cat that wants to see the world. However, a Georgia Autumn is one of the best and most prettiest I’ve seen in the many places I’ve already travelled. I absolutely LOVE this state when the nights and mornings drop to a frosty temp, the skies are clear, the days are mild, the leaves on the trees are changing, and the autumn flowers are blooming. It means it’s time to get back to the woods and explore more hidden trails, beautiful waterfalls, breathe in some fresh air, and climb some Georgia mountains. It’s the perfect balance.

The seasons are not the only thing changing. I’ve been feeling …different lately. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s a mixture, much like the heat of summer fighting to linger as the cool air of Autumn fights to claim its dominance. My past and my future selves are fighting for dominance of my present. My passions are fighting within themselves, changing from a burning hot excitement to a more mellow, content state of being. Don’t get me wrong – I love to burn hot, but if I’m burning hot all the time, I’ll eventually burn out.

I’ve recently walked away from a relationship that was just… quite frankly, all wrong for me. Though this man made me laugh quite often, which was a wonderful thing, and he had a lot to offer, he also frustrated me in a sense that he lacked a fire burning in him to match the fire burning in me. I had all this passion bottled up inside me, but instead of providing a valve to help me release it, he became a stopper – dousing it with cold water. I found myself compromising often, pushing my desires and plans to the side, to accommodate a lifestyle I had already chosen to leave behind. I knew I could play this particular game, but I didn’t want to play it. I’ve been there, done that, and knew it would never make me truly happy because it’s not a lifestyle that accommodates who I truly am.

I also faced another relationship, another form of passion, another game, but found it too is not really the game I wanted to play. Unlike the above mentioned relationship, this one actually burned really hot, too hot. Instead of dousing me with cold water and smoldering my own flames, it threatened to overwhelm me completely, leaving me nothing but ashes. I’ve been there before too, and got burned. I still feel the licking flames and carry those scars. I don’t want to get burned again, so I found myself walking away from that relationship too.

The change that’s happening is that the relationship I’m choosing, the one that fulfills me most, that balances me, that pushes me into those new adventures, allowing me to experience many of the things I’ve always wanted to do and see, is the one that has the right mixture of hot and cold, excitement and calm, adventure and responsibility – it’s the relationship I’m developing with myself. Simply put – I want to date me. It’s sweater weather, and I want to cloak myself with the right kind of sweater, appropriate for the right temperature, to maximize the right level of comfort. Maybe someday I’ll meet a man that will bring the right balance for me, but until that time comes… I already have the right garment for these changing times.

Till next time,

~The Perfect Sweater

Monday, September 22, 2014

Understanding Humanity

One of the biggest themes in my current WIP is an archangel experiencing and learning about the complexities of humanity. I’m really curious what he discovers in the end (I haven’t written the ending yet), because the thing that confuses me most is humanity, or more specific - human emotion and the way we sometimes treat one another. I’m a human, I should understand it, but I don’t. People confuse the hell out of me. They’re unpredictable, and quite frankly, disappoint me often.

One of my good friends really loves to ‘tell me like it is’ and sometimes makes a comment that I’m too hard on people and hold them to too high a standard; that I make people feel like they can never please me because I expect too much. What am I supposed to do with that? Apologize that I expect people to be decent, to act with goodness and kindness, to make reasonable decisions, to expect them to do and try their best? Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps I do hold people to a higher standard, but not something that I don’t hold myself to first.

Some people are just assholes - self-centered egotists, who can’t get their head’s out of their asses long enough to think about other people. They’re often miserable in their quest for success or domination, but it only makes them end up alone or surrounded with people just as shallow as they are – now, that I find very sad. Most of the time they don’t understand why they feel empty or like shit, because they’re not thinking about what they’re pouring into themselves or into the lives of the people that come into their circle. What you eat, what you read, what you watch, what you participate in, what your habits are – that’s what makes you who you are, determines how you feel, and creates the atmosphere in which you live. If you only consider yourself and what YOU want – you’re not sharing yourself with the people around you, therefore you won’t enjoy the fruits of their true friendship. You get the semblance of a friendship. But a true friendship is an invaluable treasure. All those fake friends don’t mean shit and will scatter like the wind if you actually ever needed any of them.

I love my friends and I have some of the best friends in the world because they genuinely care about me. They love me, and I love them more than I could ever express to them. They share their fears, hopes, complaints, and aspirations with me, and provide an ear and support for me to share mine. That’s what friendship is – and exchange of who we are as human beings. It can’t be all give or take – or else it’s not a real friendship.

I’d rather have one true friend than a thousand acquaintances. I do truly believe in the golden rule – that we should treat others as we want to be treated. But think about that – would you want to be treated the way you treat others? Would you want to be treated with disrespect, indifference, arrogance, selfishness, contempt, prejudice, etc. Would you want to be played, lied to, cheated on, hurt, abused, or used? Would you want to be ignored, bullied, or just thrown away?

Be careful how you treat others. Try to understand humanity. Karma is a bitch. You want friends, be a friend. You want love, love. You want happiness, spread happiness. You want life – live. And for those cancers that come into your life and try to drag you down with their negativity, prejudice, arrogance, and selfishness – give them an opportunity to change, but if they don’t, cut them out like a cancerous tumor lest they kill you both.

I’m a very rich woman because I have a few true great friends.

Till next time,

~A Grateful Friend

Friday, September 19, 2014

Think Before You PM

Instead of my typical blog post this morning, I’ve decided to make a plea.  This is something that’s been bothering me for some time now, but I’ve hesitated saying anything – because I don’t want to upset, hurt, or anger anyone.  There’s this other part of me on the inside screaming, “You just broke out of a box where you were told what to think, what to believe, how to dress, how to act, how to talk, and almost on a daily basis reminded to watch what you do and say because others are watching you.  God forbid I should cause another to stumble.”  That was a heavy burden to carry.  I refuse to ever carry it again.

I will start by saying - I am responsible for what I do and say.  I will one day give an account for ME.  I am NOT however responsible for YOUR response, YOUR behavior, YOUR thoughts, YOUR actions, or for YOUR stumble.  YOU are.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me begin.

YES, I’m single.  YES, I’m a natural flirt.  I flirt with everyone, men and women.  I’m a witty person.  Sometimes I hear or see something and a corresponding phrase will pop into my head.  Sometimes that response is funny, sometimes serious, sometimes witty, sometimes stupid as hell, sometimes it’s brilliant, and sometimes a little perverted.  I have no filter.  Those who know me, know I ALWAYS speak my mind.  That’s not to say my mind always has the appropriate or perfect answer.  On the contrary – it’s usually just as messed up and jumbled as I am.  However, it’s always the truth and always authentic - to me.

Having said that, being single, cute, and naturally flirtatious has led to a few complications.  One of those complications – receiving very inappropriate PM’s.

I apologize if I’ve given the impression that I would enjoy receiving those types of correspondences.  I don’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I love when people are just as open and  flirtatious as I am.  By all means… flirt.  But, there IS a difference between being fun and flirty and being an inappropriate pervert.

I’m not a party girl. I’m not looking for a hookup.  I will NEVER be the ‘other’ woman.  (BTW – tell your wives and your girlfriends they can quit messaging me too.  I’m not responsible for your behavior. ) I respect relationships.  If you have a girlfriend or a wife, you have NO business sending me a PM  for any reason, except perhaps on writing related business. Quit sending me your phone numbers or inappropriate pictures.  I will never call and am not impressed.  NO, I will not send you a naked picture. I don’t take those kinds of pictures and I’ll never send one even if I do.  Grow up.  You want to see a naked woman (other than your wives/girlfriends), they’ve got magazines and websites for that.

My Facebook is not a dating site.  My children and family are on here.  My closest friends are on here too.  I also have friends, work colleagues, and fans here too.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am the SAME on Facebook as I am in person.  My family and friends know who I am, they know I’m flirtatious, they know I’m a little batty, funny, have a serious side, can get confrontational on a dime, and passionate about everything I do.  I don’t censor what I say or do online. I’ve learned to be very open and honest about who I am.  But that’s not a license for YOU to be inappropriate with me or disrespect me.

If you’re interested in being my friend, in dating, in getting to know me better, then interact with me in public until we reach a point in our interaction to take things on a more private level.  People, it’s just like if we met in person.  Interact with me the same way you would if I were standing right in front of you.  Just because you’re behind a computer screen doesn’t mean you skip right to the bedroom.  Also, if you’re in a ‘situation’ where public interaction with me will cause ‘problems’… that’s YOUR problem, not mine. If you interact with me, expect it to be public until we enter into an actual relationship – then I will keep your privacy.  I have several friends who are just private people, and I respect their privacy.  That’s a different ballgame.

Think before you PM me.  If you’re interested in me, get to know me.  I’m an opened book.  Have a little bit of understanding and respect.  I just came out of a 20 year marriage.  My heart has been shredded and I’m doing my best to put it back together.  My life has been turned upside down, and I’m doing all I can to set it upright and move into a brighter direction.  I’ve had some hit and misses on the dating front, but this whole dating thing is a new beast for me. Have patience as I find my way.  But don’t misunderstand my situation.  I’m not a desperate little girl seeking the attention and admiration from just anybody.  I’m a beautiful, confident, independent, strong as hell grown woman, kicking life’s ass. I know what I want and don’t want, and I don’t compromise.  I seek crowns, not gum unworthy to stick to the bottom of my shoes.  I’ve tried to be nice and polite, but my middle  finger has no problem hitting the ‘unfriend’ button.

Till next time,

~Frustrated with Perverts

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life is an Adventure

Not every moment in our lives are monumental, yet each moment is pertinent to every event.  You can be living, but not be alive.  You can be awake, and asleep, at the same time.  You can go through the motions of life, yet be detached, and essentially be the walking dead.  I know, I’m an expert.

Wake up!

Life is an adventure.  That’s not to say that life is only full of good things.  Adventures are not just good experiences.  Every adventure I’ve ever been a part of has usually been fraught with roadblocks, detours, obstacles, ups, downs, good times and bad.  If calculated, it’s more than likely filled with more bad than good, but that really doesn’t matter.  The point of the matter is that I’m awake and I’m living.  I’m feeling everything.

There was a time I felt nothing.  I had closed everything off so much I could literally feel nothing.  By every societal expectation, my life looked almost perfect. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years went by in a routine, doing the same empty things day after day, and was praised for it.  I wish I could blame anyone else, but the only blame lay at my own feet.

I blinked.

Now this is where the story is supposed to turn around and all the good things in life are to come rushing in and overwhelm me, and Karma pays me back for all the good I’ve done to balance out all the bad I’ve experienced.  I don’t live in a fairy tale.  Things changed all right – I  opened my eyes to find I had created a place of desolation.  The only difference now, I could see and feel everything – and everything crumbled around me.

But, this isn’t a sad story by any measure.  It’s about an adventure, remember.

Walking out of a place of desolation takes time.  Your atrophied muscles have to get used to moving, your lungs have to get used to breathing in and out, and your heart has to get used to pumping blood, and they protest and hurt and ache, yet you can’t stop.  Staying still only puts you back to sleep.  Putting one step in front of the other you will eventually make progress.

You can’t take the desolation with you, you have to leave it behind, keep your eyes forward, keep your feet moving no matter how much it hurts, and the ground below you will eventually turn from burned ash to a barren desert, to a budding meadow, and eventually to a lush paradise.

Life is beautiful – all of it – the good, the bad, and even the ugly is beautiful – because life is movement, it’s precious, it’s unique, it’s individual, it’s a gift, it’s an adventure.

We think we  have no control over the adventures we experience in this life, but that’s not entirely true.  While there are obstacles we have to face as our life’s adventure crosses the adventures of other lives, we are the Captains of our own souls.  We must learn to overcome and adapt, to know when to defend and when to attack, when to fight and when to help.  We will get knocked down, but our only true choice is to get back up.

Be grateful for your life.  Get excited about your adventure.  Breathe. I can’t say it will always be alright, but I can say that living as loud as you can is worth it.  You are worth it, even if no one else in this world can see that.

Till next time,

Life Adventurer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

North Star Literary Agency: Jeff Suwak - Working Class People - The Prague Rev...

North Star Literary Agency: Jeff Suwak - Working Class People - The Prague Rev...: Check out the latest excellent article by North Star author Jeff Suwak in The Prague Review "Working Class People Are Not Sitcom Cha...

Lover of Words

I love words.  I love reading them, hearing them, saying them, texting them, receiving them, having them whispered to me, etc.  Most of all, I love learning new ones.  I love long ones, short ones, scientific ones, poetic ones, sexy ones, big ones, small ones, complicated to pronounce words, especially beautiful words.

Learning words is exciting, but it’s not a race.  Don’t get into a hurry. It’s not about how many words you can memorize, but really learning the one’s you come across.  Research them, apply them, say them, hear them, and use them in a sentence; try them out.  Some of them work and become part of your vocabulary, they steal a piece of your heart.  But then some of them just don’t feel right, just don’t click, so let them go – having enjoyed them for that moment, but move on to the next word that comes along. 

Words turn my head much the way a good-lookin’ body catches my eye.  Don’t get me wrong, a beautiful pair of eyes, a sexy smile, and a healthy fit body turns my head and I enjoy the moment.  But, I’m such a dork for a beautifully constructed word.  I melt when a term is applied in an exciting, adventurous manner. 

Satisfying the body is easy, ridiculously too easy.  But satiating the mind?  I don’t know if it’s just the times in which we live, or perhaps it’s because I live in the present, therefore pay more attention to my surroundings, it seems the world is filled with a bunch of zombies – brainless idiots following base desires to fulfill single lusts and needs.   Maybe it’s just regional, because I might meet 1 in 10 that seem to have a spark of genuine intelligence, a sense of seeking, a smidge of knowing, or an appearance of life and a thirst for knowledge. 

Don’t you find it funny that the thing zombies crave most are brains and life, things they’re not using.  They don’t go after the brains of other zombies, only the gray matter of those who are awake. (Don’t laugh… I know you’ve had those same nerdy thoughts.)

Want to impress me or catch my attention?  Introduce me to a new word.  If you want to seduce my body, you’ll first have to seduce my mind.  Society has it backwards – they are so focused on satisfying the flesh, usually ignoring the mind, thinking the mind and heart will follow if they can first satisfy the body and the eyes.  Just so you know – the eye is NEVER satisfied, so said King Solomon in Proverbs.  Maybe physical attraction is most important for the general populace, but I’m not an average, general, regular, or common woman.  I’m strange; peculiar.  The only way you could ever satisfy me physically is to have first intrigued me intellectually and touched me emotionally. 

So, learn a new word today.  Ponder a mystery.  Think outside your box.  Share that word.  Feed your brain. Expand your mind.  Who knows …you might like it.

Till next time,

~Lover of Words

This post reminds me of a poem I wrote once called ‘My Muse, My Master, My Lover’

My Muse, My Master, My Lover

Swirling dreams and vain imaginations fill my mind, pierce my heart and tease my senses. When I think I have enough inspiration to dip my pen into the ethereal ink, my Muse assaults me.  I call it an assault, because it comes violently, suddenly, and overwhelms my sanity. My pen forgotten, my ink spilled.  I’m lost …yet I’m found.

Like warm hands on a cold night, my Muse reaches out and runs his fingers over my shoulder and down my arm, leaving a line of prickled goose bumps, and sending a shivering jolt through my center; my being.  No matter my intent, my will, my choice, my body betrays me and submits to the call of my Master.

Like a ray of sunshine after a torrential rain, my Muse kisses my brow, the tip of my nose, and then brushes my lips with his own, stirring my desires and inflaming my passions.  What once made rational sense, now seemed as compost; and the words of my Muse like a new dawn, a new day.

Like the birth of a brand new babe, after hours of hard labor, my Muse makes love to me, impregnates me and I conceive, giving new life to his gift. Plain black font transforms into golden swirls of tantalizing beauty; Words - the offspring of my Lover.

The dream clears and I pick up my pen, dipping into the remnants of spilled ink, place the sharpened tip to parchment and release the gift of my Muse, my Master, and my Lover.  I smile, for all is right in the world, and vain imaginations are now full of divine revelation. I write.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Gray Lady

I never claim to have all the answers.  In fact, I often proclaim, quite loudly, that I don’t really know anything.  Because every time I think I begin to understand something, become confident of a certain outcome, get comfortable with  believing something will not change – it up and changes on me, disrupts my life, and messes with every piece of security I’ve tightly gripped.

I used to be so certain of things when I lived in my black and white box and held tightly to my concrete beliefs.  As long as I kept my eyes shut, I could pretend that I lived in a picture-perfect world.  As long as I shut my feelings off, I didn’t have to care.  I could continue to spend my time telling everyone else how they’re supposed to believe, react, and live.  As long as I led a crusade to save the world, no one could see me.  As long as I put duty and responsibility first, I’d be accepted, praised for my efforts,  and hailed a model of respect and dignity.  Never let them touch me. Never let them see my weaknesses, my fears, and especially my tears – not my real ones. That’s doubt.  There is no room for doubt in a black and white world, only certainty.

But I opened my eyes, and I pulled out the cotton from my ears, and then stepped out of the box and into a gray world. All I had known and had been certain crumbled along with the box I left behind.  There’s no going back.  With no sun to guide me, no signs to lead me, no mile markers to measure my distance as I wander aimlessly within this gray world.  Each step I take, I shed another layer of the disguise I had once worn.  I now walk naked, exposed, gray like the world that surrounds me.

I pass by many other boxes and peek inside them from time to time, witnessing the occupants like rats scurrying around as if they believed they were on a mission.  They’re hungry and they search for food, but they only have the four walls in which to explore. Their food is fed to them in a daily portion, yet they believe they found it through their own exploration and skill.   I’m hungry too, but within my gray world, I wonder if it’s truly open or just a bigger box?

I wish I had all the answers.  I wish those I’ve come to care for deeply didn’t vanish with the wind.  I wish families loved one another.  I wish people meant what they said, and did what they meant.  I wish fear didn’t rule so many lives. I wish there were no boxes. In this Gray land,  it strips us down to our essential selves, to our honest selves, to bone.  My skin melts away and I’ve exposed my heart and all that is on the inside.    From dust I was made, and unto dust I shall soon return.  Maybe then I’ll understand.  Maybe then God can breathe life into these dry bones

~Till next time,

The Gray Lady

Monday, September 15, 2014

North Star Literary Agency: Jeff Suwak - Drabble: The Howling Terror of Cadill...

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North Star Literary Agency: Hear Me Scream - R.M. James - Barnes & Nobel

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Melancholic Optimist

My emotions are all over the place today.  Perhaps it’s because my hormones are running rampant - my baby girl turned twenty, a budding relationship seems to have withered, I work all the time and it doesn’t seem I get anywhere, yet at the same time appreciated and admired for my abilities, talent, inspiration, and professionalism. I miss my kids like crazy. So many things have changed, yet some things still remain the same.  At the same time I’m excited and energetic this morning.  I had a GREAT workout, pushed myself a little further, a little harder (having gained over 2 lbs this week – I’m thinking because of the crepes), one of my writers are about to launch their first book, got a lot of editing done on another writer’s manuscript, my collaboration on my own current WIP is still going strong, and my prospects for the future are wide-open.

I suppose this emotional roller coaster has been coming on for the last few days.  It always happens when I’ve been with the “family”.  Friday night, I helped my daughter celebrate her upcoming 20th birthday with my ‘former’ family.  I’m beginning to hate those gatherings, because they remind me of what I left behind, what I left to pursue, and what I’ve not yet obtained.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret for one second my decision to leave, but there are some things my decision cost me that hurts me to the deepest part of my soul.  For a brief moment in time, I had my family back. Then as we all climbed in our cars and went our separate ways, I’m reminded I don’t have a family anymore.

My children love me and I will always have a relationship with them, and they will always be my family.  But when I decided to separate from my husband, I lost something that was very precious to me – all the rest of the family I had. Having been estranged from my parents and siblings, my husband’s family became mine.  So, when I left him, I lost them too.  Their lives continue on without me.  They still all gather together to celebrate every birthday, holiday, and special event.  I wasn’t invited to the last two – because they didn’t involve my children.  That’s okay, I know I’m not part of the family anymore, and that was my choice.  They have their Thursday night dinners and their Sunday brunches.  They’re there for each other, see each other almost on a daily basis, take vacations together, their lives keep moving forward, without skipping a beat, not falling apart without me, not even missing me for that matter.  I go home alone, eat alone, sleep alone, work out alone, vacation alone, go on my adventures alone, celebrate my victories alone, and mourn my failures alone.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself or even sad that I do everything alone. I’m actually growing fond of being alone.  It was new for me, having never been alone in my whole life.  It’s taken some getting used to, but I am, and there are lots of things about it that I’m learning to enjoy, especially the part where other people’s decisions no longer keep me from doing things I truly enjoy.  But, I’m angry that I haven’t reached many of the emotional goals I’ve set for myself.  I’ve accomplished a lot in these last few years – done some amazing things that I’m so proud for accomplishing.  I know, without any doubt, there’s nothing I can’t do.  It doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll find a way.  It’s those things that I can’t obtain by sheer determination and hard work that continue to allude me. Those things that depend on someone else.  Will I ever trust someone else again? I don’t know if I can.

I want what everyone wants – to matter, to be loved.  Being with my former family is a reminder that I didn’t matter.  I’m not needed, not wanted, and their lives continue on without me.  Even to my close friends I have now, who happen to all live in separate parts of the world very far away from me, I essentially don’t matter.  Should I disappear tomorrow, they may miss my drama, but their lives will continue on without missing a step, because I’m not an integral part of their world.  I couldn’t have made it these last couple of years without them, but they in turn have never needed me.  So, what happens when I don’t need them as much anymore?  Will they just disappear from my lives too? It’s what I feel happening all the time.  I hear from them less and less every day. That’s what I fear. Yet, at the same time, know that if they do – I will survive.

I had a friend ask me lately why I let people so easily walk out of my life, why I don’t fight to keep them in it?  It’s simple really.  Holding onto someone that doesn’t love you and want to stay in your life doesn’t help you – it only hurts worse.  The pain of losing someone breaks your heart, but it’s not as destructive as much as loving someone that doesn’t love you back.  That destroys your soul.  I’ve already had to restore my soul from death a few times before – I don’t want to do it again.

So, on this Monday morning filled with emotional madness, I smile, and I cry, and I breathe.  I tell myself it’ll get better.  I take a moment to be thankful for all that I have been given.  I wish my daughter a happy birthday and try to impart a few words of wisdom. I exercise.  I go to work, and I live one moment at a time – and I choose to live the best I know how.  It’s all I can do. Who knows what will happen in the next moment.

Till next time,

~The Melancholic Optimist

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On the Road to MasterChef - Day 2

Well, my crepes turned out better than I could hope for.  After the third crepe hit the hot pan, I was learning to roll it round and produce a golden, paper-thin, delicious piece of art.  It wasn’t long before I had nearly 20 beautiful crepes from my first mix of batter.

I felt really overwhelmed, yet bubbled with excitement. Of course, having a plate full of delicious crepes, I needed something to go in them and on them.  I hadn’t got that far.  I had convinced myself I was going to spend a full weekend making crepes.  But, I found myself ahead of the game. 

I had some fresh raspberries, sugar, butter, and white wine… so I began to mix and stir, over a medium heat.  I worried it would be too tart or just not work, but when I dipped my spoon into that beautiful concoction and tasted it, my eyes nearly rolled back into my head it tasted so good.

But, by this point, I knew I still needed something else.  I had some baker’s chocolate and dropped a couple squares, butter, sugar, and a few tablespoons of water into a small pot, and within a few minutes I had a heavenly molten batch of chocolate. 

It was delicious.  I had to taste it a few times. 

Well, plating is something I’m going to have to practice a bit. For this turn, I decided to roll my crepes after filling them with cream cheese and raspberry glaze, then drizzled them with chocolate, more raspberry glaze, whipped cream and a fresh raspberry.  I thought my plate looked very, very, very yummy.

No good story can be told without a few tears. I cried when I had to toss the five crepes I plated. But couldn’t stop smiling when I brought in a handful to my co-workers.  They loved them, because they didn’t leave a single bite on their plates. I hope none of them are on any diets, because for the next few weeks, they’re going to become my taste testers.

It was a great first try.  I’m so looking forward to how things turn out in the end.

Till next time,
~Crepe Queen

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the Road to Masterchef - Day 1

As most of you know, or maybe you don’t know, but I have registered to audition for MasterChef Season 6.  My audition is scheduled for Saturday, September 27th in Atlanta.  Whatever possessed me to register?  All the blatant comments from several of my friends and Facebook followers about the pictures of the creative dishes I post.

I do not claim to be a chef of any kind.  I have just discovered the art of cooking and eating gourmet food a couple of years ago when I became single and had only to feed myself.  For the first time in my life I could cook what I wanted, how much I wanted, and it really made me stop and consider what I was eating and why.

I’ve went through a lot of changes these last few years.  Health and Fitness was moved from the artic zone in my life up to front and center.  I’ve tackled many bad habits, and one of them being what I cooked and ate on a regular basis.

You really are what you eat, and what I was eating was slowly killing me. In my existential journey of self-discovery and seeking meaning to my life, I started to love myself.  Loving myself meant loving my body.  I didn’t love my overweight, out-of-shape body. I detested it.  Mostly I detested that I ever let it get into that shape in the first place.  I can give you a million reasons, but none of them are really an excuse.  I didn’t love myself, and didn’t love my body.

Learning to love me, I had to first forgive myself for what I had done to my body.  That was NOT an easy thing to do.  Actually, it’s probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m a hardass… and forgiveness doesn’t come easy for me – especially of myself.  I’m very judgmental of myself.  I ALWAYS look to me first in criticism, discipline, and neglect.  Well, not anymore.

I’ve also learned to forgive food, to love food, to look at in a different light.  Food was never my enemy. I was my enemy.  I now look forward to dinner. It’s become an expression of art, flavor and skill for me.

Anyway, I have one of the sweetest, loveliest, and beautiful friends in the world, Sally Balsamo.  This woman has shown me so much love and support since I’ve met her last year on Scribophile, she blows me away, and reminds me of the beautiful, loving people in this world.  We don’t talk every day, don’t hang out, often stand on different sides in political and social debates, but I love her dearly and respect her to the moon and back.  If she ever needed me, I hope she knows she can always count on me.  She’s a friend for life.

Well, my friend, in her support of my insane decision to audition for MasterChef, she has put me in contact with two lovely chefs to help me plan a signature dish.  My audition has some obstacles, and I was at a loss what to make.  Had I access to a full kitchen and every kitchen appliance invented… no problem.   But as it is, there are lots of obstacles.  (I don’t want to give too much away too soon.)

My two new friends, Chef’s Cameron Lokey and Laura Gilbert,  whom I already love and adore, have given me a homework assignment – to practice making crepes.  I’ve never made a crepe in my life and have only eaten them once or twice.  I’m allergic to eggs and am lactose intolerant, so the fact they’re made with milk and eggs, they’re usually not on my menu.  But, I’m determined to become the best Crepe maker the world has ever seen… or at least the judges at MasterChef.

So, tonight I begin.  Tonight I will attempt to make my first crepe ever. Regardless of how bad it turns out, I will post a picture of my failure or success (there is no failure – just perhaps a defined way NOT to make a crepe) and keep you guys updated until my audition, so you can experience this journey with me.

Till next time,
~MasterChef in Training

Too Many Songs ...Livin' Out Loud

Have you ever had so much inside you that you couldn’t really zero in on that one particular thing, allowing all the others to fall by the wayside, to let that one out?  That’s the way it is for me this morning.  Instead of one song playing on a loop in my mind, there’s several playing at the same time.  I’m trying to pick one, but they’re all so good… I’m feeling every single one of them … at once.

“You got me goin’ ‘round, goin’ ‘round in circles. Yes you do, baby.  On and on, every time I see you I get nervous… whisper in my ear tonight, you know how to make me feel perfect.  Put your lips up next to mine, ‘cause you know just how to work it.  ‘Cause baby, you-u-u-u,  you make me feel alright, yes you do, baby. I want you take over… I want you to take over me …when the lights go down.” You - Nathaniel

“I’m a leader, I’m a winner, and I’m cleaner … ‘cause I’m awesome.  I don’t need you, ‘cause I’m neato, and I beat you … ‘cause I’m awesome.” Dollyrots – Because I’m Awesome

“Well, I’m not paralyzed, but I seem to be struck by you.  I want to make you move because you’re standing still.  If your body matches what your eyes can do, you’ll probably move right through me on my way to you.” Paralyzer – Finger Eleven

“To make you want me I can fabricate the truth.  I’ll give you easy, it’ll keep me destitute. You hang me up on the line, hang me out to dry, but you got nothing to lose. You’ve got the story all made up inside your head.  You write me out of it and use your words instead.  You hold me just out of reach, keep me pounding the beat, take all the shore you can give.  You want me to change – change – change.  You want me to change.  You want me to change – change – change. You want me to change.” Change – Churchill

“I need you, darling, come on set the tone.  If you feel me falling, won’t  you let me know.  Oh, oh, oh…wooohoo.  If you love me, come on get involved. Feel it rushing through you from head to toe.  Oh, oh, oh… wooohoo.  Sing! Louder! Sing!” Sing – Ed Sheeran

“Hold on.  Hold on. Don’t be scared. You’ll never change what’s been and gone.  May your smile, shine on. Don’t be scared. Your destiny may keep you warm.  ‘Cause all of the stars are fading away, just try not to worry, you’ll see them someday.  Just take what you need.  Now be on your way and stop crying your heart out.”  Stop Crying Your Heart Out – Oasis.

“Girl, I just want to get inside, just get inside your sexy mind. Oh, I just want to cross the line, the line, Baby.  Before it all goes crazy tonight, I just want to say, you’re beautiful, beautiful.  You’re rock-n-roll, rock-n-roll.  You’re beautiful, beautiful.   You’re beautiful. With you I lost all my control, the minute you walked in the door. But I’ve always got my eyes on the prize, the prize, Lady.  But before it all goes crazy tonight, I just want to say, you’re beautiful, beautiful.  You’re rock-n-roll, rock-n-roll.  You’re beautiful, beautiful. You’re beautiful.” – You’re Beautiful  - Nathaniel

“1-2-3-1-2-3-drink. 1-2-3-1-2-3- drink. 1-2-3-1-2-3-drink.  Throw ‘em back till all I know is gone .  I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier.  I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist.  I’m gonna fly like a bird for the night, feel my tears as they dry. I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier. I’m just holding on for tonight.” Chandelier – Sia

“Hey, I want to get better. You know I was lonely till I saw your face. I want to get better, better, better, I want to get better. I want you to know I was broken till I wanted to change.  I want to get better, better, better, better. “ I Want to Get Better – Bleachers

“So I write, write, write all the things I didn’t miss.  And despite, despite, despite …my conclusion is – nobody wants you, nobody wants you, like I do.  So, I write all the reasons I could quit.  Change my mind, mind, mind …cause my conclusion is – nobody wants you, nobody wants you like I do.  Excuses, abuses, you use me up. My patience, can’t take it, I’ve had enough. It must be meant to be, when you wake up from your break up, now you see, it must be how you look when you woke up right here next to me.” Nobody Wants U – Dollyrots

“You don’t have to fall in line.  Life is such a crazy ride.  Live Louder. Uh.  Live Louder. Uh, Whoo.  Put your rules back on the shelf. Let your freak out, be yourself.  Live Louder. Uh. Live Louder. Yeah! Ow…  Get up and dance like you dance when there’s no one around. Sing your song the way you sing when  you’re in the shower.  Lose yourself, act the fool, redefine a new kind of cool.  Live Louder. Louder.  Don’t be careful, don’t think twice. Just let your heart speak it’s mind. One foot forward, make your move. No one does it quite like you. Live Louder. Let it go… let yourself go. “ Live Louder – Nathaniel

So, what the hell do I do with all that???  I’m shaking my head and laughing right now… but I’m going to end this post, get up, dance… and live a little louder.

Till next time,

~Livin’ Out Loud

Monday, September 08, 2014

Stay Beautiful

When my drill sergeant friend shouts to his privates their bodies are temples and they should respect and treat them with the utmost respect as he pushes them to become ‘all they can be’, I’m reminded of all the years I sat in the church pew and heard the same words.  “Do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?  Honor God with your body.”

The emphasis of obedience was placed on clean living and service mostly centered on attitudes and actions refraining from those moral sins such as fornication, adultery, debauchery, gossip, etc.  Yet I was slowly killing myself.  I hated my temple.  I didn’t respect it.  I neglected it. I abused it.  We, the faithful, were to deny ourselves, to not think of our wants, that our lives were not our own, to take the focus off our selves and put it on our dedicated service.  So I sat in those pews week after week convinced I respected my body because I was righteous by keeping it pure and holy. I wasn’t having sex and spent ALL my spare time in duty, responsibility, prayer, church, or volunteer services, living a selfless life, fulfilling the needs of others. Feeling completely unloved, unwanted, and unworthy.  I could never do enough, be obedient enough, be faithful enough, and I literally ate my guilt and shame day after day, week after week.   I lied to myself a lot throughout my life.  I’m pretty sure I’m still lying to myself on some other issue I have yet to deal.

This is not a slap against the church or religion.  This was my own failure.  However, I do believe that MANY in the church should address the obesity and gluttony problem.  Our bodies are temples and the neglect of them is just as bad as if we neglected one of our children.  Yet, we attend Sunday pot lucks and eat out at restaurants and fast food so much, we put ourselves into a food comas, with huge smiles on our faces, neglecting regulation and the responsibilities to our bodies.  We’d never consider that sort of neglect equal to abuse.  I remember being in prayer once and heard the question in my mind, “Would you stand by and watch one of your children slowly kill themselves or would you do whatever it took to stop them?  Would you risk their anger to save their life? ”  My answer was an instant , “YES!”  Then the soft , yet million-pound question followed, “Why then do you neglect and slowly kill yourself?  You do realize you’re dying, right?  You do realize you’re neglecting and abusing yourself? Imagine how much you love your children, do you think God loves you even less?”

I had to face the truth that I was killing myself, that I was an abuser – not of others, but of myself.  I could have went one of two ways in that moment.  I could have allowed that guilt to push me further into the ground and finish me, or I could lift my head  and allow life to enter into my dead bones. There was a spark, a small ember of hope.  That hope was love.  I finally faced that mangled, ugly, dirty, neglected, angry, sad little girl inside me – and I embraced her and I dared to love her.  Loving her didn’t make everything okay.  In fact, it interrupted the life I had built for myself, and with a vengeance, I smashed down those walls.  Then I started to build a new temple… one of life, of health, of peace, and of love.  Just as I’d protect my children from those who would harm them, I too am learning to protect myself.  I love my temple.

Protecting myself is to protect my mind, body and soul.  I don’t go where temptation will pull me away or sabotage my goals.  I’ve learned to tell myself, “NO”.  I’ve learned to do whatever it takes to move forward, to push myself, to motivate myself, to train myself, and to protect myself.  Those who knew me a few years ago wouldn’t even recognize me today – physically, emotionally, or spiritually. To many of them, I’m a disappointment, a failure, a lost sheep among the wolves.  To me – I’m beautiful – and I’m not talking about my outside appearance.  I love that little girl, and she’s now healthy, strong, and positive …and I will do whatever it takes to keep her that way.

So, to the defeatist attitude, the one that made the millions of excuses not to diet and exercise and take care of my temple,  the one that used to rule, neglect, and abuse me in my old temple, I say, "I’m not that weak abused little girl anymore."  From the lyrics of my new favorite song… I also say, “Just look at me …I’m a leader. I’m a winner, and I’m cleaner, ‘cause I’m awesome. I don’t need you, ‘cause I’m neato, and I beat you, ‘cause I’m awesome. That’s right!”

Till next time,

Inner Badass

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Dance

We all change.  We are living beings that adapt to our surrounding and are constantly going through a metamorphosis, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  Those who know me, understand how I thrive in change, yet hate it at the same time.  While I’m my best in high-pressured situations, the pressure sometimes gets to me because it drains me, requires so much of me, that at the end of the day I’m spent – zombiefied.  Though I change and adapt to the circumstances and situations to keep moving forward in my life – there’s one thing about me that never changes – my honesty.

Inside all of us, I believe, live multiple personalities, parts of us that shine at different times depending on which personality is best for the job.  Things get really messed up for us when the wrong personality works at the wrong time in the wrong situation.  That’s understandable. We’re human, not perfect.  However, I’ve met some people over the years that really blown my mind because they become such totally different people than they were upon meeting,  and leave no sign or trace of the personality I often fell in love with.

What happened?  Where did that personality go?  I’m not talking about a simple change, I’m talking about a complete 180 to where this person isn’t even recognizable.  And what do I do?  I cling to this new personality in the hope that the one I fell in love with will return.  So far, that’s never happened.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why people can’t just be honest from DAY 1.  That’s really what it boils down to, that in the beginning of these relationship the other person was lying – to themselves and to me.  They were wearing their masks, pretending to be who they wanted, but then their true selves eventually came forward and their masks fell off.

You know that old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it often is”?  Well, that’s definitely true and one of these days I’m going to get that, and I’m going to understand that, and I’m going to learn to let go of any hope the masks were real.  The masks are not real.  I understand wearing masks, I was a pro at it.  But, I also understand the freedom of being able to lay those masks down and just be who you really are – exposing your heart, your fears, and your weaknesses.  This is what makes humanity so beautiful.

I am who I am.  Who you meet on the first day is who I am on day 20, on day 100, on day 365, and so on.  While I may change and adapt, merge and morph, I’m always honest, even when I’m wrong, confused, and angry.  I don’t wear a mask anymore.  Go back and read through these blogs and you’ll see I have exposed myself in the most intimate way possible – and that is the woman I am.

No matter how dazzling and sparkling your mask may be, I cannot love your mask.  I deserve more than the fantasy, more than the pretention, more than the dazzling show.  I deserve the hidden heart, not the song and dance.  There are plenty of other dancers in the room of life – many of them have extravagant masks – perhaps they’re more to your liking.

I stand maskless – baring my soul for all to see.  If you can’t remove your mask – bow out now and keep dancing.  

Till next time,


Tuesday, September 02, 2014


I love to cook.  I love the taste, the smell, and the texture of food.  I used to hate it because of how I abused it and used it to try and fill an emptiness inside me.  Food never worked.  That hole remained, but I had this huge body that I tried to use to also fill that emptiness, at the same time as a barrier to keep others out.  I couldn’t be filled, but I did succeed at keeping people out.

In truth, I checked out.  I checked out of my life and spent most of my time fulfilling the needs, wants, and demands of others, while hiding within myself.  I narrowed my world as my body expanded.  I snacked on everything I could find and sabotaged any diet I had tried.  Not purposefully, but subconsciously.  I was too much of a coward to quickly kill myself, so I was doing it slowly.

On the outside, people wouldn’t know about the pain and shame I carried.  I really needed help, but having been a survivor I learned to wear my mask so well, no one could see I needed help – I couldn’t even see it.  I remember that it was a daily thought to just drive into a tree, off a bridge, into oncoming traffic – just to make it all stop.  The daily rejection.  I felt like I let my children down, myself down, my church down, God down.  I could never do enough, be enough, I was disappointment – so I pushed harder and harder.  I worked and worked and worked – became excellent in my profession, a leader in my church, a cheerleader to my children. I searched for that love and acceptance from others (husband, church, children, family, friends) so I could love myself.  It doesn’t work that way.

We are fools to believe success, money, titles, or even love and affection and acceptance from other people will make us happy, make us love ourselves – and then expect that love to make us better.  NONE of it will satisfy, just like that food.  It may appease for a moment, but just as soon as the digestion process starts, the hunger pains return.  It’s a destructive cycle.

Oh, how far I’ve come in the last few years.  I’m not even the same person – literally half the size, but THAT isn’t my greatest accomplishment.  My journey started with a suicidal thought.  I was so ashamed.  One of my children had run away from home and I had nightmares worrying for her safety, her well-being not knowing if she was dead or alive.  I felt like such a failure as a parent.  I had done all the right things, followed all the rules, said my prayers, but none of it mattered.  No matter what I did – I couldn’t stop the bad things from happening.  I thought the abuse I had suffered as a child was horrible, but it didn’t compare to being a parent worrying over a child and feeling you had failed them, and failed God.  I was certain these things happened because I wasn’t good enough, didn’t pray good enough, didn’t obey enough, didn’t please my husband enough, so I just wanted to die.

I had a dream I was standing on a stage and it was dark, but I could hear the sound of many voices and knew there was a vast audience.  I stood beneath a single spotlight with my head down, because the light hurt my eyes.  I heard a voice call my name and tell me to lift my head, but I said I too ashamed. I didn’t want the people to see me.  Again the voice called my name and told me to lift my head.  

The voice in the darkness that filled the room, spoke softly, but loudly in front of the vast audience and said, “You are precious.”  Just those simple words felt so heavy, so alien.  I shook my head vigorously and cried, “No, I’m nobody.” Again the voice said, “You are precious.  I have put my words into your mouth and have written them into the palm of your hands.” I fell to my knees and cried out, “No, I’m not worthy. I’m nobody. Nobody wants me.” The house lights came up and all I could see was a sea of people and they were cheering for me.  I turned and a man stood beside me and I asked him, “I don’t understand.” He answered me.  “You are precious.  Open your eyes and see.  Open your ears and hear.”

I looked down at my hands and they were the hands of a dead and rotting person, but the flesh started to change, became healthy and younger looking.  My body slimmed, I become stronger, my hair became longer and I felt beautiful, vibrant, full of life.  The room filled with music and golden words, thousands upon thousands of them, swirled in the air.

I’d like to say I woke from that dream with a new lease on life and a new revelation, but I didn’t.  It only confused me, but one thing did change.  Not very noticeable at first – but looking back I can see now they were the beginning steps.  I did a teaching on how people treated you when you presented yourself in a different way – by me wearing a tiara everywhere I went.  The next teaching was about women who were unloved by their husbands.  Then I did a teaching on loving yourself.  These three teachings changed my life.  Because that’s exactly what I started doing – I started loving myself, recognizing who I was and what I wanted in life and in a partner, and how I saw myself.

It’s been a VERY, very long road, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not going to say it’s been filled with one GREAT triumph after the next.  On the contrary… it’s been scary as hell and filled with so much uncertainty and whole lot of loneliness.   I’m not done with this journey – I’ve really only just begun.  But for the first time in my whole life, I’m happy.  I love me. I love my life. I love my body.  I love my mind. I love my heart.  I’m precious.  I know that someday someone else is going to love me – but I don’t need them.  If I ever let someone in, it will be because I simply want them.

I also have learned to love food.  Food is not my enemy - I was my enemy.  I’ve learned to moderate, to cook well, to have fun, and enjoy my food.  The picture with the blog post shows I’ve turned cooking into an art and eating into a pleasure.  I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m beautiful.  Somehow I’ve transformed into that woman I saw in my dreams a few years ago.  I’m so proud of her and I love her dearly.  She’s precious.

Till next time,