It All Began To Fall Apart

Stone built barn

 

The air had been thick with tension inside the cottage all afternoon.  Everything seemed to frustrate him, and there was nothing Cylest could do that pleased Lachlan.  He bellowed at her from the bedroom that she was too loud putting the pots away after lunch, and then the vinegar she was using to clean gave him a headache.  He flung the door open as he left to work in his woodshop, smacking the side of the house so hard that a picture frame fell from the wall and shattered in his wake. But when she went out to tell him to wash up for supper, it really all began to fall apart

Cylest stood in the doorway, waiting for him to pause, so that she wouldn’t break his concentration.

“What?” he snapped without looking up.

Her blood boiled, but she fought to keep her voice even and free of anger. “I only came to tell you to wash up for supper. I don’t know why you’ve been so angry, but I don’t take kindly to rudeness.” she replied, crossing her arms and leaning against the doorjamb.

Lachlan’s eyes blazed with anger as he spun around to face her. “I’ll speak to you as I please, wench.”

“You’ll not call me names, Lachlan.  I’m your wife, and you vowed to respect me. Take it back”

He slid the chair back from the workbench so hard he knocked it over, and closed the distance between them in two strides.

“I won’t take it back. You challenge me and you’ll get what’s coming to you.” He growled through gritted teeth.

Cylest knew that nothing she could say would change his frame of mind.  She stared coldly at him but made no reply.  Stalking from the workshop, she seethed, and muttered, “You go to hell, Lachlan O’Sullivan. You’ll get what’s coming to you, too.”

 

Linking up with

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and the prompt: “It all began to fall apart”

I Wish You Were My First Love

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The Viking and I had a conversation recently where we asked one another if we loved each other more than we’d ever loved anyone we’d ever dated before.  He asked first. And it was easy for me to answer yes, because I’ve never felt anything like the love I feel for him.  It’s the purest, deepest feeling I’ve ever had for a man, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. 

 

And before you think that’s just naïvete talking, I should clarify that I’m almost 42 years old, and I have actually been in love. A couple of times. But never like this. This is the kind of love that I’ve heard people talk about over the years but I didn’t believe it actually existed.  When I would hear starry-eyed lovers wax poetic about how close they felt to their spouse, or how nothing could ever possibly come between them, I would scoff that it was just that they’d never had their relationship tested.  That their road had been easy.  But I’ve discovered over the last two years with The Viking that there really is a love that has the potential to last a lifetime.. because it’s between two best friends, who each want the happiness of the other above their own. 

 

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I met the Viking about 6 months after I started dating again.  My 13 year marriage and had ended in an ugly, long drawn out divorce.  I was 39 years old, 70 pounds overweight, had four kids, and even though I’d done some hard work on myself to become more stable and less needy, couldn’t imagine who in the world would want to date me.  I was on a free dating site, and saw his profile listed.  Pretty sure I actually said “HEL-lo!” out loud when I saw his picture, and it turned out that I fit within his dating parameters as far as age and body type. (Score!)  So I stepped out of my comfort zone and messaged him. I told him it was simply because he was wearing a Celtic cross pendant and that he was part Irish like me, but in truth it had more to do with the fact that his profile said he was 6 ft 5 and he claimed to just be a big teddy bear with a huge heart.

 

               

 

My profile said the following:

 

“The first thing I notice about a man is his eyes, followed by his sense of humor and his ability to carry on a legitimate conversation.  This too:  Jane Austen wrote ‘There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.’.  Sure you have to keep it closely guarded, and maybe it’s not something readily apparent to most people, but for me, above most other traits, strong shoulders and a soft heart win every time.  I’m also looking for authenticity, just be you.  I’m looking for honesty, security, romance, and genuine emotional intimacy (over time) after a casual beginning.  I’m looking for someone who is willing to open up and trust me.  I’m looking for character and integrity.  A man with depth, who has a soul.  A companion and best friend.  A guy who is emotionally stable, a gentleman, self-aware, and can acknowledge his mistakes. Someone who lets me be myself. Someone to slow dance in the living room with, cook dinner with, and laugh until I can’t breathe with.  Honestly I’m just the girl next door. Good morals, no drama.  I’m looking for someone who will appreciate my personality and respect my heart.”

 

               

 

And you know what?  He was up for that challenge.  To my surprise and delight, he answered me. He told me his pendant was a family heirloom, and that it was a big deal to him that I would notice it in his pictures. He liked that we had Irish ancestry in common, he’d read and enjoyed the honesty in my profile, and he wanted to get to know me better. We spent several days emailing on the site, then we spent a few days talking on yahoo chat. He poured out his life story in great detail and with a startling amount of honesty and insight as we chatted online.  He trusted me with who he was from the very beginning: no games, no bullshit.  Straight up vulnerability: “take it or leave it this is the real me and what makes me who I am”.  I respected that, and honestly, it only made him more attractive to me that he was determined to be authentic.  We met in person about a  week later, and from that first warm embrace, I thought: “this is where I belong”. I was sure down to my bones that I was with the right man.  He was so genuine, utterly without pretense.  He was well spoken, hysterically funny, a great storyteller, a wonderful cook, a true southern gentleman, and an incredible kisser.  No, really. The kind you can get lost in and forget to breathe kind of incredible.  Have mercy.

                 

 

Our actual romantic relationship started very slowly. I was pretty gun-shy after my marriage ended, and as much as I wanted to dive in headlong and give myself over to the excitement and twitterpation in my heart, I knew I needed to be careful and protect myself. A guy like The Viking could hurt me really badly, by seeming to be this perfect man, and turning out to be a player, or worse, someone who would claim to be devoted to me but leave when things turned out to be harder than he bargained for. Turns out he’d had his heart shattered a couple times in a row, and as much as he wanted to give into his usual pattern of fall first ask questions later, and believe that I was as sweet and inherently good as I claimed to be, he couldn’t let his guard down.  He wasn’t going to be a fool this time, and he was going to keep that armor on and stay behind that barricade until I could show him I cared enough to break it down.  So there we were, both scared, but wanting very much to love and be loved. During that time we were both trusting our intuition, loyal to the hope that this relationship really could be what we’d both been hoping for, and we worked for it.  We took the time to learn each other’s temperaments, insecurities, reactions, and triggers,  and we devoted ourselves to making our relationship healthy and strong. We became best friends, and over the course of about a year, we (well really, he) fell in love. 

 

               

He is everything I ever wanted in a man. He is everything I talked about wanting in my dating profile and has so many other wonderful and complex characteristics that I would never have thought to ask for. He is unmistakably masculine and a natural born leader, he’s tall and broad shouldered and something about him makes me feel safe even when he’s not with me.  He’s got my back and would defend me with his life.  He’s old school handsome with a bad boy edge (plus I think he’s super hot because of his attitude and confidence and personality).   He’s also got these adorable freckles, and has the sweetest, most charming smile ever. His eyes are gentle and kind (when they’re unguarded), and they give me butterflies and make me blush when they hold mine for any length of time. He knows me better than I know myself, and he gets me in a way no one’s ever bothered to try.  I feel seen and understood and valued for the ways in which my personality is unique among women, and he tells me often how grateful he is for those differences.  I try to do the same for him, praising and encouraging those ways he’s unique, because he’s not like any other guy out there. I honestly feel like he was made just for me. There are things about him I feel like only I could see and appreciate and cherish. 

 

               

He loves my kids as his own, and has been an incredible influence on them, teaching them what respect really looks like, giving wise advice, caring for them on a daily basis before and after school, tending to them when they’re sick, and provides a great balance of strictness and approachability in his parenting.  I’ll never forget the day he sat the older two down and told them about the road he’s walked in his life, the challenges he faced and the obstacles he’s overcome.. and how he told them words to the effect of “If I can use what I had to learn the hard way to help give you a good start to life, help raise you into happy, healthy adults, then all the crap that I lived through will have been worth it.” Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that was a really powerful statement. It took my breath away.

 

               

He’s beautifully self-aware and tenderhearted, and when he talks about the depth of his love for me it has the tendency to move him to tears. Whatever I might have been holding back before, I fell the rest of the way in love with him the first time that happened.  Because I get it. I get overwhelmed and misty-eyed all the time thinking about what a privilege it is to be trusted with his heart.  Almost on a daily basis to think “wow, he chose me out of all the women he could have had, I get to be loved by him. What did I do to deserve a treasure like this?”. 

When you first fall for someone you can get feelings like that, and maybe even that often..but after the honeymoon phase is over and real life sets in, that’s not a daily kind of feeling.  Your partner usually has to do something out of the ordinary or exceptionally romantic to remind you why you fell in love, to garner that kind of reaction. But it’s a rare and wonderful thing for those moments to invade the everyday and mundane. Sitting at work, picturing him smiling at me across the room at home, his eyes lit up and his steady gaze assuring me that he’s both happy and very much in love with me.  I just get all mushy out of nowhere. My heart beats faster every time I walk in the door to our house because I know he’s waiting for me there. I haven’t asked what they are, but I know he has those moments all the time too. He’s a deep well, my Viking, but very private about what affects his heart.

 

               

We’ve seen each other at our worst, and loved one another through some tough times already.  I have been his rock, and he has been mine. Neither of us is perfect, but we’re both ready and willing to admit to our faults and weaknesses, and can be glad for the ways we balance each other out.  Sometimes it’s as simple as I do his spelling and he does my math, other times it’s that I’m his calm and he’s my clarity. For both of us to have always wanted the fairy tale, and to have been in relationship after relationship where we’ve given everything we had to people and been devastated by their abandonment… we’re just profoundly grateful to be together.   And for two people to live daily in that gratefulness, it’s a wonderful foundation for a very intimate, deep-soul friendship.  We do argue sometimes, and it’s painful to us, but we know that it’s because we care so deeply that we confront issues and make things right again. Making the decision to forgive one another over and over is easy when we both know that no fight is worth the destruction of what we have. 

 

               

For me at least, it’s not scary to contemplate committing the rest of my life to him.  I hope we’re blessed with a long life together.  I’ve asked God for at least 40 years with him, to make up for the first 40 without him. He’s my heart, and I love him with every breath.

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Author’s Note: I had a lot to say after a long absence.  Pouring my heart out comes easy when I talk about the man in my life.  I was inspired by the word “belong” from Five Minute Friday but wrote for a lot longer!

Throwback Thursday Stories : Scotland 2001

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There’s a collection of pictures that people are commenting on and sharing around FB lately, off BuzzFeed or somewhere, that list this castle among one of the most beautiful places in the world. I would agree.  I came upon it by accident, on a drive through central-ish Scotland in the summer of 2001.  It’s situated on Loch Duich, which lies between Inverness and the Isle of Skye. It’s called Eilean Donan.

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Even in late June, it’s about 50 degrees there with a really brisk wind off the water.. check out my daughter’s hair!  She was about 18 months old during our visit.  We walked around the grounds and took pictures and just enjoyed the ancient looking scenery for a while before we moved on to the Isle of Skye, where we were staying that evening.

 

If the castle looks familiar to you and you haven’t seen the post going around facebook like I mentioned, it may be that you recall it from the 13th century scenes in the Highlander movies.  They used the castle and bridge in the flashback sequences when he was going to battle, the first time he met The Kurgan, and again when he was cast out of his clan for being a devil.

 

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Every Thursday, TheMomCreative hosts a linkup where we’re encouraged to post pictures from our past and tell the story that goes along with the picture.  I love this linkup, and hope you’ll join us!

Throwback Thursday Stories : Family Antics

 

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Round about 1989, my brother was in 7th grade and I was a junior in high school. He had just come from a soccer game, and had eaten more than usual because his resources had been depleted.

Chris was moaning that he was too full, putting his had on his stomach as if he was stuffed, and then he slunk down in his chair under the table.  I was laughing at his antics, and he decided to surprise me by jerking me out of my chair. Soon I was under the table with him.

We could hardly breathe we were laughing so hard, but quickly decided to grab our mom’s legs and pull her under with us.  I don’t know how long we lay there giggling hysterically, but it was enough time for my dad to go get the camera and take this picture.  It’s a great representation of the bond the three of us had at the time, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

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Do you have a picture that has a story behind it?  Link up with Throwback Thursday Stories at TheMomCreative!

Deep As You Go

The first rays of light peeked through the blinds as Liam turned toward Caera.

“I need to love you more than I need to breathe,” Liam murmured as he cradled her in his arms.  “Have you ever felt that way about me?”

“I have. When you kiss me, I feel like I’m drowning, LIke I’m being pulled down deeper and deeper into your love for me.” She inched closer to him and placed her hand on his hip.  “And I’d rather feel that than catch my breath.”

“Yeah” he agreed, his eyes closing as he pulled her onto him again.

 

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Author’s Note:  A little bow chicka wow wow for your Wednesday afternoon.  More in the Liam and Caera story can be found here.

Spontaneous Praise

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TheMomCreative has begun a series called Throwback Thursday Stories. It’s purpose is to invite bloggers to link up and share an old photo, as well the story behind the picture. You can write the story of the photo itself or you can write about how the photo makes you feel. But the goal is to share a little more about yourself, your past and have fun doing it!  You can read more here.

 

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This picture is one of my very favorite moments ever.

Though the scenery is lovely, and my daughter is very cute in all her toddlerness there in the foreground, it cannot fully capture the moment my Smallish Girl was having. It was something very special, to her and to me.

After an afternoon hike in Joyce Kilmer National Park in the mountains of western North Carolina, my family drove to a mountain overlook.  The kids piled out of the car, and Smallish Girl soon found this particular vantage point.

She twirled around to take in the panorama, and began to spontaneously praise her Creator.

Seriously.

She couldn’t have been more than 3, and her small heart was so moved by the beauty, that she spread her little arms wide and made up a praise song, singing “Jesus, I love your world!”.

It was just about the most magical thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Is there a special moment you have from a picture that you might share for Throwback Thursday Stories?  Link up here.

 

 

Lips Like Sugar

 

“She said she’d be here” Liam shouted over the music.

“Was Nuala coming?”  Ian yelled back, “Or Delaney?”

Liam swiveled his hips through a few tables to get a look at the dance floor. Through the haze and lights, it took a moment for him to recognize Caera.

“Over here!” he called, motioned for Ian and Aidan to follow.

Her eyes were closed as she swayed with her arms over her head, lost in the music. Liam grabbed her around the waist, picking her up and spinning her.  Startled, she laughed, and then kissed him above the crowd.

“Hello Baby”

 

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Linking up with

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and

 

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prompt: recognize

Author’s Note: A little more in the story of Liam and Caera today.

 

 

 

Twisted Mixtape Tuesday : The Missing You Edition

My friend Jen Kehl has had a wonderful linkup for a long time called Twisted Mixtape Tuesday.  This is the last week she’s doing the linkup before it goes on hiatus, and I wanted to take a minute to participate.  The theme for this week is Missing You.

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Hurricane Drunk by Florence and the Machine

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This is a song I always thought would make me think of Alan.  I could imagine myself feeling these same things if I ever saw him out with another woman.  But you know, feelings fade and things change.  And I wouldn’t react the way Florence does these days, but it’s still a great song about missing someone all the way down to your bones.

 

Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands

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This is a really powerful song, and one I could watch unfold in my head just listening to the music.  It provided inspiration for a scene I wrote in the Liam and Caera story, and really, I think this song is really representative of Liam’s regret about his friendship and feelings toward Caera.

 

If There’s A Rocket, Tie Me To It

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This is a great song that tells a story of feeling a physical connection to someone you miss.  My favorite part is the “chest to chest and feet to feet” reference, being able to picture that closeness in my head.

 

The next three make me ache when I hear them for various reasons, all good missing you type songs.

Don’t Wake Me by Skillet

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Here Without You – 3 Doors Down

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But this one?

 

This one is worth a listen, even if you didn’t check out any of the other songs I posted.

 

Come Back Home by Matthew Mayfield

This is one of my very favorite songs ever. The raw emotion behind the singing, the epic musical composition, and the great lyrics all combine into a wonderfully emotive, pleading song to someone that’s missed and wanted to an extreme depth. It affects my heart, my blood pressure, and can sometimes move me to tears. I just love it.

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What are your favorite Missing You songs?  Link me in the comments!

 

 

 

Second Guessing

Are there posts in your draft folder?

What kinds of posts are they? Why did you decide to keep them in draft?

I have about 50 posts in my draft folder.  Some of them are chapters in a fiction novel that I’ve abandoned for the moment, but a lot of them are actually ones I’ve published and then pulled back off the internet.  Sometimes I feel really brave, and want to share my whole heart and risk a lot of vulnerability on my blog.  Sometimes I have the continued courage to leave my words up.  But other times, I re-read those brave words and think better of having shared them.

One post in particular comes to mind when I think of previously published and then “recalled” posts. I had an incident at work that led to a conversation with the Viking. I thought he gave me great advice about the sacredness of trust and how people need to earn it before you share things, and the conversation showed some real connection and insight into our relationship.

The incident and conversation were both about the fact that I’m a chronic over-sharer. It was some hard truth to hear, but something I really did know about myself.  I had to work through some shame as he talked to me, because I felt like my over-sharing was something he looked down on, and showed that I was careless or immature compared to him. It took some significant bravery to publish a post that talked about feeling ashamed of the way I relate to others.

And then no one commented.  I left the post up for a few days, and grew increasingly uncomfortable with knowing those words were out there.  With no validation or encouragement from my readers, I pulled it back into draft, and it continues to sit there.

The lack of commenting made me feel like I was oversharing on my blog, too, to the point where it made my readers uncomfortable.  I know I was projecting my own insecurities, and making assumptions, and my perception may not actually be reality.

I guess what I was hoping for in the responses might be that yes, my readers could tell that was true, but that they understood, or that they get how hard it is to go from being an oversharer to being someone who is guarded.  And the silence just seemed to validate that my way of relating to others was, in fact, something to be ashamed of.

Usually, when I risk vulnerability and share something here, there are words that come from my readers that reassure me that I’m not alone in my thoughts, or that encourage me to keep writing from my heart. And when those words didn’t come, it made me feel very protective, and fearful.

So I didn’t write for a while.

This whole experience made me take stock of why I write.  And why I need validation.  And what purpose my blog serves.  And why I care so much about what other people think.  And how I view my readers.  And the multitude of ways that I seem to be co-dependent and ruled by shame.

So pulling that post back, and the reflection on it, was actually a good thing.  I need to be writing for myself.  For my own creativity, for my own development, and I need to share what I want to share.  I do think of my readers, and I hope to connect with them, but I don’t write here to please others.  I invite my readers into my space where I feel safe being creative and being brave.

I feel like I’m unusual in the blogging world in that I don’t have aspirations of making a career or part time job out of blogging. I’ve never been the sort of blogger who writes to obtain a huge following and make money, and I’m never going to be that way. I write so much here that’s personal that I really only want those who care about my words, and respect my perspective and my heart and my way of expressing creativity to be reading it.  I can count on one hand the number of people I know in real life/outside of the blogging conference and writing community worlds who know where I blog.

I’m grateful that you’re here, and I just wanted to take a moment to explain the little journey I’ve been on lately about writing and sharing here since MamaKat asked her readers to write about a post we have in draft.

Thanks for listening.

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Can’t Get Enough

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Cylest rose quietly from the bed where they had just made love. She didn’t get far before Lachlan’s long arm reached out to give her bottom a smack.

“Trying to get away so soon, kitten?” he murmured, taking her hand. “I promise I won’t punish you again till you catch your breath.”

“Can’t punish me when I’m enjoying it,” she giggled, straddling him.  “You’ve quite a talent for pleasuring me.”

“That I do. And you as well.” He took her face in his hands, kissing her deeply.

“Mmmm” she groaned, “Again. Please, my lord. I can’t get enough of you.”

 

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prompt: love

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prompt: smack

 

Author’s Note: Some lighthearted banter between Lachlan and Cylest, who’ve found love at last.  You can read more about them here.