Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ripples

“When you drop a pebble into a pond, ripples spread out, changing all the water in the pool. The ripples hit the shore and rebound, bumping into one another, breaking each other apart. In some small way, the pond is never the same again.”
― Neal Shusterman

ripples

Ripples in the Pond

So, I’ve been told that I have a wide reach with this blog. More than once, I’ve had a person mention something to me about how a particular entry really affected them – and I was shocked because I didn’t even know the person was a reader at all. It makes me proud when that kind of thing happens. It’s like the quote I posted above, you know? No matter how small you think your little pebble is, the ripples will spread out in a way you may have never even imagined. How cool is that?

Well, guess what? Now, it’s your turn to drop your pebble.

I’ve decided that I’m going to bank on that ‘wide reach’ thing being true, and use my blog for something that I think is extremely important.

jay

Photo courtesy of Jay’s Facebook page

I want to tell you about my friend Jay Erwin.  Up until August of 2013, Jay was a runner. And an awesome runner at that.  In fact, he was a co-founder of the Boone Running Club – a club whose Facebook group has provided invaluable information and race info to me ever since I became a runner.  In fact, it was the basis for the Ashe Running Club page that I and a friend recently started for our area as well.  (Talk about your ripples, right?)  Jay reached out to me many times on Facebook to encourage me as a beginner runner and was very instrumental in working with me to continue moving forward to reach my running goals. And I am just one voice in the pond, so to speak.  I know there are many, many others who would tell you the same thing.

Well, now, it’s time to repay Jay.

In August of 2013, Jay was involved in an accident.  Here’s a portion of the story in Jay’s words:

” I had an accident on 8/24/13….I was cutting a tree down and it fell on me. My son who never had CPR training saw that I had no pulse or heartbeat and he gave me CPR. I believe the hand of God helped him. I was revived by my son and soon after that I was flown by helicopter to a Trauma unit in Johnson City, TN. I died two additional times on the helicopter, but came back. Surgery was administered to my spine and left shoulder. My left shoulder was completely smashed, but corrected and I had two rods inserted to stabilize my spine. I started coming around after 16 days.  I was in Johnson City for 18 days and then I was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. At the Shepherd Center I rehabbed and learned how to live again….I was at Shepherd for about 100 days and I got to come home just before Christmas…”

Wow.  Once a runner, and now Jay will never even walk again. Can you imagine?  I mean, really.  Can you?

I’m guessing probably not.  But you know what you can do?  What we can all do?

Help.

jay2

Jay and his lovely wife, Lisa

Now, obviously, none of us can turn back time.  We can’t go back and take away this accident.  We can’t give Jay his running legs back.  But what we can do is reach out to help him in this time of need.  How can we do that?

A company called Mobility Solutions is sponsoring a contest.  Three lucky winners will be chosen to receive a wheelchair-accessible van that will aid Jay and his family tremendously.  As you can imagine, their whole world has changed drastically. Getting Jay from point A to point B requires great effort.  This van would change his life in ways that those of us who just hop in our cars to go from here to there could never even begin to imagine.  And how does he win it?  Simple.

He just needs votes.

All you do is click on this link.  Register (you can register with your Facebook account if you’d like) and vote.  Vote, vote, vote.  Vote every day.  That’s all it takes!

Simple, huh?

And if you want to help even further, join Jay’s Facebook group and get tips on answering the daily “extra vote” question to gain not one, but TWO votes per day.  Jay is not in the lead, but I think that with our help, he can be.  Surely taking a few seconds out of each day to vote for this well-deserving man is something that you can do, right?

Time to toss your pebbles.  These ripples are going to mean more than you can even imagine.  In fact, let’s start a wave, people.  Shall we?

Please, please vote.  Our friend needs our help.

***
“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Positive Thinker?

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
– John Wooden

Ok, I feel kind of bad.

I was just speaking to someone over the weekend who had never read my blog. I was explaining the types of writings I do – uplifting blogs about everyday events that have hidden lessons in them. (I thought that was a good way to describe it – there’s definitely not a particular theme to this thing, that’s for sure…) So, they said they’d love to check it out and would do so as soon as they got a chance.

Then, I got home and clicked on the link to my blog, and realized what the first thing would be that this person would see. A blog called “WTF.”

guideposts3Heh. Oops.

And then, I check the mail.  What do I find?  The April edition of Guideposts magazine. Now, I’m not necessarily a subscriber to Guideposts, although I have been mysteriously receiving issues starting a few months ago (Grandma, was that you?), but I was expecting a stack of the April editions to arrive.

Why is that?

I was notified a while back that a quote from one of my stories (Scars) was chosen to appear in a section of the April edition of Guideposts entitled “The Up Side.”  This is a section that contains uplifting quotes by sometimes famous, sometimes not famous (obviously), people who are “positive thinkers.”  guideposts1I knew the magazine was coming, but the thrill of opening it up and rushing to page 15 to check out the Up Side section was pretty cool.  I opened it up to page 15, and the first thing I see is Sandra Bullock.  Woohoo!  I’m listed in the same section as Sandra Bullock?

How do ya like them apples??

And then I flipped the page to the second page of quotes.  Page 16.  And there I was.  Seeing my words – my quote! – in black and white was pretty awesome, to say the least.

 

guideposts2 guideposts2

How cool is that!?

And then, I flipped back to page 15 and read that subtitle again.  “Quotes from Today’s Positive Thinkers.”  Awesome.

Oh…

Wait a minute.

“Positive thinker?”  Ummmmm, yeah.  This positive thinker is the one who just wrote a blog called “WTF” and ended it with “Sometimes people truly suck.”

*embarrassing laugh*

Heh.  Oops.

So, let me just explain a little.  Last week sucked.  It just did.  Even “positive thinkers” are apparently human.  That last blog is not really who I am.  I was hurt and I lashed out.  It happens.  People don’t suck.  That was a harsh statement.  People are who they are, and it’s up to me whether or not to let their actions affect me.  And, most importantly, it’s up to me whether to allow them to remain in my life or not.  In this case, I chose the latter.  (And I feel great about that.  Really.  You should try it sometime – it’s very freeing.)

So, yeah.  I just had what I like to think of as a little “hiccup.”

packBut see this quote?  I came across this a few days ago, and it made me feel so much better about my situation.  I love the part that says not to “unpack and live there.”  That’s great advice.  I had my little fit, and now I’ve moved on.  Time to regain my Guideposts title of ‘positive thinker’ and keep moving forward.

So, to my regular blog readers, let me thank you for allowing me my little setback.  I appreciate you sticking around.

And to you, new blog reader from the weekend, I hope you’ll stick around and get to know the real me.  The me that does not let outside forces break my spirit.  Temporarily?  Maybe.  But forever?  Ha.  Not a chance.

There’s too much good in this world to let the occasional Negative Nancy spoil it.

***
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”
– Pat Riley

WTF

wtf

Yep. You read that right.

W.T.F.

That sums up the weekend I just had.

You know that feeling where everything is going great and it feels like life has finally evened out for you?  You’re floating along, things seem to just be working out the way they’re supposed to, all systems are go.  And then suddenly…BAM!  Out of left field comes a sucker punch that completely knocks you off course.

Well, that’s what happened to me this weekend.  And oh no, one punch wasn’t enough.  Life had to hand me TWO of them, not to mention all the aftershocks to follow.  But I’m just going to concentrate on the one punch for this blog.  The other one – well, who knows.  You may hear about it one day.  But not today.

Now, I’m going to withhold specific details.  And I probably shouldn’t be blogging about it at all.  A part of me thinks that talking about it publicly will just fuel the fire and makes things worse for me.  But then there’s this other part of me – this slightly bigger part – that feels a little differently .  You know what that part is telling me?

Screw ’em.

And that part is a heck of a lot louder than the other part so it wins today, my friends.

I live in a small town.  But the difference between me and the other small town dwellers is that I have not been here long.  In fact, I have never been anywhere long.  I’m a nomad of sorts.  The military brat in me has never really disappeared, which has caused me to float around from here to there, even as an adult, and never really put down roots.  But in the past few years, I actually thought I had finally found a place to call ‘home.’  I go places and I recognize people.  I walk through Walmart and invariably see someone I know and stop to chat.  I start seeing people that I work with out and about in their personal lives and stop for a quick “how ya doin?” conversation.  This may sound like everyday humdrum happenings to most of you, but not to me.  It was new. And I loved it.

But this past weekend?  This past weekend showed me the down side to this small town living.  And to be quite honest – it has made me want to start dragging out the luggage.

Apparently there has been a rumor going around for the past few weeks that I tried to break up a marriage by calling the wife and telling her that the husband had been cheating on her.  Apparently I “witnessed” this.

*sigh*

Now, before I go any further, let me tell you a little story.  A few years ago, my coworker and I were leaving work at the same time.  I was following behind her making my way through town heading home.  I noticed traffic was a little slower than usual, but just went on listening to my music and singing and daydreaming like I always do.  Once I finally made it through the traffic jam and got moving again, my cell phone rang.  It was my coworker.  I answered and she said, “Wow, that was a bad wreck back there, wasn’t it?”

Say what?  A wreck?

I had driven by a friggin WRECK, people.  And I hadn’t noticed a thing.

THAT is a perfect example of my attention to detail.  I am clueless.  A bomb could go off beside me and unless a piece of shrapnel pierced my skin, I probably wouldn’t realize it happened until I turned to walk in that direction and fell into the crater it left behind.  You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.  We all have our flaws, and that’s my big one.  I’m self-absorbed.  I have no idea what is happening around me at any given time because I’m too busy living in my own mind.  That is just the way it is.

And yet…

And yet, I managed to witness some secret rendezvous between two people I barely know and actually cared enough to go out of my way and tell the wife (whom I also barely know) about what happened.

Excuse me for just a second while I turn this BS meter alarm off because that thing is BLARING.

So, here I have been, roaming around this cutesy little small town, smiling and waving at all the people that I thought were my friends and acquaintances, thinking that all was well in my happy little bubble – and all the while I was being secretly hated.  Talked about. Defamed.

And sure, it’s easy to say, “Oh just shake it off.  It doesn’t matter what people think.”  But you know what makes it matter?  What makes it matter is that the people I do care about believe it too.  And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.  I remember an old friend once telling me that the hardest thing to prove is the truth.  If you’re trying to prove a lie, you can make up whatever you need to as evidence to just tangle the web a little more.  But when you’re defending the truth, all you have is the truth.  And apparently that just isn’t good enough these days.

So, am I going to pack my bags?  I don’t know.  I hate to think that one little incident could make that happen.  But when that little incident stretches as far as it has and has affected the foundation of trust that I have built with the people I love, then that makes it not such a little incident anymore.

I am a good person.  I just am.  That’s all there is to it.  And while that may sound like I’m tooting my own horn, believe me when I say I’m not.  In fact, I’m sick of being a good person.  I’m sick of turning the other cheek, of doing everything by the book, of looking out for other people’s feelings and considering others before I take actions.  I’m SICK of it.  I’d love to just take one day off from my personality and just go give everyone involved with this thing the punch in the throats that they deserve.

But I won’t.  Because I am who I am.

I’ll just continue to cry behind closed doors and watch the people and the life I love slip away because of something utterly and completely beyond my control.

Sometimes people truly suck.

***

“Laws control the lesser man…Right conduct controls the greater one.”
– Mark Twain

Laughter

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
– e. e. cummings

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about our dog, Lucy, and a lesson I learned from her one day.  Well, apparently, Lucy hasn’t hung up her teaching hat just yet – she had yet another tutorial for me this week.

lucy3If I didn’t describe Lucy well enough in my last blog, let me give you a few more details.  Lucy is one seriously happy dog.  I mean…seriously.  That girl LOVES everything.  She loves me, she loves my boyfriend Richard, she loves our kids, she loves squirrels, birds, the mailman, the UPS guy, the cats….(ok, that may be pushing it a little – she loves torturing them, does that count?)

But I noticed something else about her the other day that made me smile.  Apparently, Lucy’s happiness isn’t just dependent upon someone or something else being around.  I was walking through the house and just happened to glance out the window and there stood Lucy in the middle of the yard – not looking at anything in particular, not doing anything noteworthy, just standing there – and that tail of hers was just wagging to beat the band.  No one else around, and Lucy was just as happy as she could be.  Just because.

I told Richard about it later and said, “I want to be just like Lucy. I want to be so happy that I wag my tail even when nobody’s looking, don’t you?”

He laughed and agreed, the subject was dropped, and we went on about our business.  Situation forgotten.

Until a few days later.  I was driving along in my car listening to the audio books that I always listen to when I’m traveling anywhere, and I realized that I wasn’t retaining much of what I was hearing.  I was just stressed and distracted and not in the mood to try to follow along with a book.  So, I ejected the audio book CD and started looking for something else to pop in, when I came across a CD that my ex-husband bought me the other day.  Yes, you read that right – my ex-husband bought me a CD.  Ok, it was a $1 CD that he saw at Goodwill, but still.  It was nice of him to think of me. What was the CD, you ask?  New Kids on the Block’s greatest hits.  Yup.  He remembered that I used to be an NKOTB freak (their last known fan actually – I have a tendency to hold on a little too long), and he thought I’d like it.  Up to this point, I hadn’t listened to it yet, but I just decided to go ahead and throw it in the player and see what they sounded like after all these years.  And boy, was I glad I did.  I was immediately transformed back to the late 80s/early 90s and I still remembered just about every word to every song.  Before long, I was signing at the top of my lungs like nobody’s business – and with a goofy smile on my face to boot.

That’s when I noticed the car that had pulled up beside me at the red light.

And what did I do?  *sigh*  I turned the music down, wiped the smile off my face, and sat staring straight ahead until the light changed.

Now, what the heck did I do that for?

Isn’t that dumb?  What’s wrong with wagging my tail when I thought no one was looking, you know?  I was just so darn afraid of how I looked to someone else.  Why are people like that?  It’s just plain silly.  I don’t even think I gave it much thought at the time – I think it was just instinct to pull it together and look like a decent, non-crazy, non-NKOTB fan girl and make myself ‘presentable’ once I knew I had an audience.

I so need to stop that.

I’m like that with pictures too.  I am the queen of “Wait – don’t take the picture yet, I’m not ready.”  Or, “Ew, that one looks like crap, let’s take another one.”  My family just loooooves that too, let me tell ya.  And my boyfriend Richard and I couldn’t be more different when it comes to that kind of thing.  He is crazy about the candid photos – the ones that no one knew were coming or that we weren’t exactly ‘ready’ for.  Me?  I think I look like a doofus.  Especially the pictures where I’m laughing.

laughter2See this picture?  For some dumb reason, I never posted this picture on Facebook or had it framed.  I wasn’t “ready” when the picture was taken.  Instead, I posted the version where we were standing up straight, both looking at the camera, smiling, with just one arm around each other.  I even have it framed and sitting on my bookshelf at home.  But this one?  This one was just sitting on my phone as one of the ‘mess ups.’  I ask myself now, “What the heck were you thinking, woman!?”  I mean, look at that picture.  My daughter is all snuggled up to me and I’m laughing.  I think I had told her to stand closer just before the picture was snapped, so she bear hugged me being silly.

Good grief, Me.  Get it together.  *These* are the memories you want to hold on to.

laughter3Or, how about this one?  We were trying to take a ‘selfie’ just before we had gotten all dressed up to go to the theatre together.  It took about 30 shots before we finally got the ‘right’ one – you know, the one where we’re both smiling sweetly and looking straight the camera.  This funny, goofy one where I was laughing so hard my eyes disappeared was never posted.  This shows so much more of our personalities than the one that I did deem ‘post-able.’ Kelly being silly, me laughing like a dork – this is ‘us.’

But I was just so afraid of it not looking ‘right.’  Not looking good enough.  Not being posed and ‘perfect.’

Silly, silly me.

So, today, I ask you this – are you like me?  Do you make sure the picture looks ‘just right’ before you take it?  Do you hold back on laughing so that you don’t like an open-mouthed hyena?  Do you stifle your happiness so that you look decent and presentable to strangers that don’t even matter?  Do you only publicly post the pictures where you’re smiling perfectly and everything is in order?

Or are you like Lucy?  Do you express your joy, no matter the circumstances…laugh until you cry when you see the ones you love…stay so happy that you wag your tail even when you’re alone?  And for Heaven’s sakes, not stop just because someone is looking?

Well, here’s my advice.  Be like Lucy.

We only get one go-around, you know?   Just one.  Don’t waste it.  Wag your tail, people.  Just wag it.

Life sure is a heck of a lot better that way.

Thanks for yet another lesson learned, Lucy dear.

laughter1
 

#tbt Poetry – Aspiration

For all two of you who are reading these throwback Thursday poems, here’s the one for this week.  Circa 2002 or so.

***

Aspiration

You keep me going.
You make sure I take just one more step
Go that one extra mile
Take that final leap.
(You are responsible for all that!)
You fill my heart with music –
My mind with phrases –
My pen with energy.
What would I be without you?
Who would I be without you?

Ode to the dreams that have not yet faded…

***

medream

I Need A Muffin

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” 
– Jack Kornfield

Well, if you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting on here as much as I used to.  Things have been a bit busy.

As most of you know from previous posts, in addition to being a writer, I am also an actor with community theatre.  For the past month, I’ve actually been working on two shows at the same time.  One just wrapped up last week, and I’m currently in the last weeks of rehearsal for the next one.  In other words, it’s crunch time.

Again.

I seem to live my life in this way, I’ve noticed.  It always seems like I’m on the go.  Training for a race, rehearsing for a show, writing a novel (that’s the new one on the list).  Always busy.  Always working my butt off while inching towards something.  Never seeming to slow down.

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing.  As Maya Angelou is quoted as saying:

“It has been said that we need just three things in life:  Something to do, Something to look forward to, and Someone to love.”

I’m so blessed to have every single one of those things at any given moment.  Honestly, I’m just an overall happy person, with very few problems.  I forget that fact from time to time, of course (like I think we all are guilty of), but it’s always true.

However, the other day, something humorous – and important – caught my attention.  I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, so I thought I’d share it here with you.  Maybe it might mean something to you, too.  You never know.

My boyfriend Richard and our kids go to church on Sundays as often as we can.  And since the kids adore the Sunday school portion of church, Richard and I have found our way to an adult class that we have come to love as much as they do.  Our wonderful instructor, Teresa, does a sweet thing each and every Sunday morning – she bakes muffins and brings them in to share with us.  Well, word has gotten around (or maybe that wonderful smell has gotten around!) that there are muffins on the premises, and some of the kids have started wandering into our class to get themselves one or two.  And this past Sunday, one of these kids who was doing just that very thing, made quite an impression on me.

There we sat in class, engrossed in the powerful words that Teresa always has to share with us, when we heard the church bells ring signaling the end of class.  Since we weren’t quite done with our discussion, we sat for a few extra minutes sharing some final words before packing up to head out.  Once the discussion was complete, we all started fumbling for our things as Teresa walked over to open the classroom door.  She opened the door, and there stood the cutest little girl you’ve ever seen.  She just stood there, waiting quietly and patiently for the door to be open, and once it was, she made her presence known with this statement:

“I need a muffin.”

That’s all she said.  Just four little words to state her purpose.  And in she walked, got her muffin, and went about her business.

muffinWell, of course, we all laughed and laughed over that.  The hilarity behind this little girl just standing there waiting patiently for the door to open so she could state her purpose and get what she needed led to some serious giggles from the adults.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is actually a lot I could learn from that little girl.

1.  Don’t be in a hurry.   She knew the muffin would be there when the door was open, so she was patient. She didn’t bust in the room and interrupt class, no matter how much that little tummy was growling.  She just waited her turn.  She knew when muffin time would be and didn’t try to make it happen a second sooner.

2. Decide what you need, and go get it.  There was no question what Little Miss wanted.  A muffin.  And she didn’t just want it.  She needed it.  So, by gosh, she made it happen.

3. Indulge every now and then.  Ok, so muffins aren’t the healthiest things in the world?  So what!  When you need a muffin, you need a muffin.  That’s just all there is to it.  There is a time for meat and potatoes; there is a time for fruit and vegetables; and then….then there is a time for muffins.  Recognize that time and savor it.  Everything doesn’t have to be done ‘right’ all the time.  Sometimes, it’s ok to take a muffin break.  It just is.

So, there ya have it.  Some “food for thought” for us all from a little girl who needed a muffin.

*giggle*

Maybe I’m seeing too much in this?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  It wouldn’t be the first time that’s ever happened.

But then again – maybe that little girl just taught us all a few lessons that we needed to hear.  Maybe sometimes I need to sit back and take a quick break before proceeding on with the pursuit of all these goals.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop working on my novel, and throw in a short blog again now and then.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop studying my lines, and watch a TV show with my kids.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop training for a race, and just leave my GPS tracking device at home and run a few miles for fun.

You see where I’m going with that?  Eh, I don’t know.  Are you with me?  Could you use a muffin break yourself?

With that said, please excuse me.  I better wrap this blog up for the moment.  There’s something very important and yummy calling my name….

***

“The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” 
– Sir Heneage Ogilvie