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.

It Was No Secret

Taking the Guinness from Caera, Liam mused, “You know, I was thinking the other day about when we first met. I mean, when you became somebody other than my classmate at St. Brigid’s. Do you remember the night I told you about my mom’s cancer? I didn’t want to. But you made me talk.”

“Sure I do. And now that I think about it, your dad would’ve beat the crap out of you if I hadn’t pulled you off that table and taken it.  I didn’t even know he was that way when I did it.”

Liam sat forward on the couch and looked into his glass for a moment.

Caera continued,” I just knew it wasn’t you, and I wanted to know why you flipped out.”

“Telling you about mom was the first time I ever really let anybody in.” he replied quietly.  “I sure hadn’t planned on telling you.  I wasn’t going to tell anybody.  I was used to just dealing with stuff on my own.”

“Except you caused a scene and I got in your face about it.”

“You did,” he agreed. “Things changed that night. You started being able to tell when I wasn’t okay. I’d built my wall high and thick, and nobody else knew how to get in. But you did. It scared me shitless. I couldn’t hide from you.”

“Well, it was no secret to me that things sucked for you at home. You had to act like your family was good to you because they always showed up to support you at your games and stuff. But I heard the things your dad said, and I watched the way you reacted when people blamed you for stuff that wasn’t your fault.”

“How’d I react?”

“It was all in your eyes, really.” Caera blushed.  “If a teacher or someone else in class said something that hurt you, I’d watch it hit you, then see it disappear beneath the surface.  I’d come find you later and try to distract you, or flirt with you, or validate why you were angry. I couldn’t help it.”

“Yeah. You were literally always there when I needed someone. I didn’t know how you knew.  Why were you watching me so intently anyway?”

“Because I had a crush on you, DUH.” She laughed

Liam grinned. “I was always impressed with your definition of friendship. I knew that you really cared about me, way more than my other friends.”

“I did care about you. It made me feel special that you’d talk to me.”

“You were easy to talk to. I’d been an angry kid, and being a loud-mouthed bad-ass I think those were the kind of guys I ended up hanging out with. Not so good for confiding in. If it wasn’t for the restaurant, there’s no telling how much trouble they’d have gotten me into.”

“Pizza’s almost ready,” Caera announced as she got up and walked toward him. “Come here, Trouble. Kiss me like you mean it.”

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prompt: “Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” ~J. R. R. Tolkien

Author’s Note:  A little more in the Liam and Caera love story

 

Specter

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Today is one of those days where I feel alone in a crowd.

I feel lonely, misunderstood, invisible, ugly, sad, and emotionally exhausted.

And for no good reason.

This morning, I woke up early, spending time talking with The Viking.  I left the house feeling close and connected to him.  It’s payday, and I stopped at the bank to deposit a check on my way to work, and my finances are better than they have been all week. I had a fairly easy commute in, listening to some of my favorite music, and I even got to my desk a few minutes early for work. Low stress morning, things were going along just fine.

And then BAM, right about 10 am, I got sucked into a bottomless black hole of despair.

I’m pretty familiar by now with the sinister, sneaky bitch known as depression.. and it’s her that’s hanging around, whispering lies into my head and warping my perception of reality today.  She’s got a metal box that she’s locked my heart in, shielding it from any light or goodness that might filter through. She’s pressing against me from every side, making me feel claustrophobic. She’s got her wispy fingers trailing through the synapses in my brain, and she’s willing me to indulge in the tears that are asking to fall from my eyes.

She’s a flowy, shapeless, dark spectral thing. She’s very real. And she’s trying to ruin a perfectly good Friday.

I’ve lived with depression for most of my life.  I’ve had seasons where it’s been awful and required therapy along with several different medications.  I’ve had other seasons where I can cope with it with diet, exercise, and writing as an outlet. And right now, without any situational triggers, I can recognize that it’s just a shift in my brain chemistry. Self-defeating thinking didn’t get me here, or worry, or anything at all, really.

That’s the worst part of it. When depression just shows up like an uninvited party guest. Taking up space in my space. Her presence sucks the life out of me.

When I’m having these incredibly strong feelings of darkness and hopelessness that I can’t explain, it doesn’t make me want to reach out and share them with anyone. It makes me want to withdraw and hide until they go away. I don’t need to talk anything over with anyone, and talking about it won’t make it better. This isn’t something that I can “think positive”-ly my way out of. I don’t need cheering up, and I don’t need to hear how I don’t really have it as bad as I think I do.

What I do need is a safe place or a good friend to trust with these words: “It’s one of those dark days for no reason again. Just wanted to let someone know I was feeling this way”. And all I need in return is a simple, “I know about days like that, and I’m sending endurance and love your way”.

So the darkness has come to hang out a while. It hurts to feel the way I do right now, but I’m grateful that I don’t live here fulltime anymore. I have love in my life, and I have reason to hope. And even though it feels different to me right now, I know I’m not really alone.

Thanks for listening.

Linking up with

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prompt: crowd

March Old School Blogging: Random Edition

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What is the last thing you watched on TV?

An episode of Eureka

 

When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

I walked across the street to lunch today, dodging traffic like Frogger.

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What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Paint and windows with mini-blinds. Typical office décor.

 

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

Firstly I would buy myself a new SUV.

After that, I would by The Viking a Dodge Charger.

Then I would buy our family a really nice boat with a trailer. I would buy a house with a wrap around porch and 5 or 6 bedrooms, then a house on the ocean.  I would invest, I would fund domestic violence awareness groups and shelters, I would pay my parents back double for everything they’ve had to help me with since the divorce, and I would set up college funds for my children.

 

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know

I have a special love for squirrels. One day when I was very little, was chasing one and he went up the willow tree. I went into the house and covered a graham cracker with peanut butter and brought it outside.  I told my dad I was going to hold it up to the tree trunk and call the squirrel back down to take it from me.  My dad told me that would never happen.  Lo and behold, God saw fit to speak to that squirrel and show my dad that it could and would come back down that tree and be hand fed by a 6 year old girl who believed it could happen.

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Who made the last incoming call on your phone?

My Viking

 

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?

My answer would be different if I had a house I owned, but I rent an apartment.  Right now I would get a new couch and a new bed.

 

What was the last thing you bought?

My answer is almost always going to be either coffee or groceries.

 

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?

Skydiving.  The World Freefall Convention used to be held at the airport in my hometown, and I loved watching it every summer.

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If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?

I’d probably choose Jennifer Garner or Kate Beckinsale. I admire them as actresses and we have daughters around the same ages.

 

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

Ikea I guess, or any major department store that had jewelry, shoes, clothes, and home furnishings.

 

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Half full

 

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?

I went to England, Wales, and Scotland during the summer of 2001 for a month and enjoyed almost every second of it.

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Oldest Sister and I dipping our feet into the (incredibly cold even in late June) North Sea off the northeastern coast of Scotland in Aberdeen.

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The castle behind us is called Eilean Donan, and it’s found just outside Dornie, Scotland.  It was the setting for parts of the first Highlander movie back in the 80s.

 

What’s under your bed?

NOTHING!

 What is your favorite time of the day?

Late at night

 

What Inspires you?

I’m probably most inspired and moved by nature and music.  My children and my boyfriend and my friends inspire me too but in different ways.

 

All The Time In The World

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Recently, The Viking and I have more seriously discussed the subject of marriage.

We’ve been dating for 18 months, but remind each other often that we have all the time in the world to get things right.

We have a really strong friendship, something neither of us have ever experienced before in a relationship. What we have together is qualitatively different, and much richer.

There’s a deep love and loyalty that eclipses romantic feelings and physical attraction, creating a strong foundation that gives me hope for a lasting, lifetime commitment.

The connection we have is exactly what we’ve both always wanted.

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Linking up with

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prompt: marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

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I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about how I’ve been allowing other people to define what I think of myself. It’s such a struggle for me to feel like I’m good enough. If I feel judgment or rejection from someone important to me, I take it very personally and react very strongly.  When the realization hits me that they feel differently about me than they did before, it feels like a punch to the stomach. Along with that comes physical pain in my heart as my chest tightens, and that too familiar wave of shame washes over me. I think it says a lot that I have physical reactions to being rejected as not good enough.  That’s probably a bad thing. Understandably, that perceived judgment or rejection also affects me psychologically. Usually I can get past the worst of it by talking to my best friend, or with some music that either lets me express anger or soothes my pain.

It’s been like this for most of my life, in varying degrees. So much of my sense of self-worth comes from the success of my relationships.  And because I’m part of any relationship… if it’s not going well, there’s blame and guilt I heap on myself. I know there are wonderful things about my personality that help me love others well, and that help me build them up. The insight and compassion I possess helps me nurture and care for them.  I know I’ve accomplished a few things, overcome some hardship, and I should be proud of that. And I know there is beauty in me, even at my present weight, and that I am desirable and dare I admit, pretty some days. There are unique skills that I find valuable in myself that I should have confidence in, and that should help me validate myself. But somehow all those good things are so easy for me to forget in the face of rejection or judgment from people I care about.

I find this most often to be true about my relationship with The Viking. I know I’m one of the most co-dependent people on the planet, and if I could get a grip on that, it would solve a lot of the problems that I create in my own head. I’m so fearful of being judged or rejected by him that I lock way too much inside. It’s not misplaced fear, though. I’ve been hurt over and over by words he’s said or ways he’s acted toward me. The thing is, most of the time I KNOW I’m having an inappropriate reaction to them.  I don’t point them out to him because I don’t think my visceral reaction makes sense or is called for.  Trying to explain why it hurts me would be an exercise in futility, because figuring out what nerve it’s hit can be a process that requires some real introspection.  I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me, or invalidate me, or make me feel rejected. And if I had decent boundaries, if I was more emotionally healthy, it would be so much easier to process and then get past the emotions I have.  If I feel like it’s a legitimately hurtful statement or action, sure, I should call it to his attention.  But so often, that’s not the case. And when it’s not the case, I beat up on myself for feeling hurt, willing myself to get past it so he doesn’t notice I’m upset.

If I think he thinks I’m not good enough, because of something he’s said that totally didn’t mean he believes that, it sends me into a tailspin. If I even think I hear doubt about the success or commitment of our relationship, it causes me to lock down and withdraw. And those reactions are not based on fact.  They’re based on my perception and my past experiences, and mostly they’re based on fear. If I didn’t react so strongly to those things, our relationship might be a whole lot healthier.  If I’m honest, it’s just easier to not confront in general. I’m totally that way. But if I don’t feel like there are valid reasons for my anger or sadness, why would I risk sharing those thoughts with him? If I’m in huge amounts of pain, and I think it’s my own mind’s fault, the last thing I want to do is ask for more pain by hearing that I’m making a big deal out of nothing. It’s invalidating to be told that I’m making my own pain in my own head, even if it’s true. So I just don’t say anything and I work through it on my own.

The truth is that I do have a problem with taking everything too personally. It’s a flaw. And it’s not an inborn personality trait.  My sensitivity and being emotional are wired into my DNA, but the lack of boundaries and making everything about me is something that will change by becoming more emotionally healthy.  I can’t continue to feel ashamed the way I have been, because it’s been leading to self hatred and depression, and that’s a very familiar road for me.  I’m not going to walk down it.  I can’t be responsible for how anyone else is feeling, I can’t internalize perceived judgments about me.  Whether they’re true or not, those are the other person’s issue and not mine.   I can’t allow what I think they feel about me to define me for me.  I’ve worked too hard to find myself after my divorce, and to know who I am, and love who I am.  I don’t want to lose myself in trying to become what I think other people want.

Right now, one of the reasons I don’t love who I am is that I’m a shame factory, and I have to address some things to make those old tapes stop playing in my head.  I’ve lost some confidence in my ability to be lovable and accepted because I can tell there are things about me that need to grow and change. And realizing my need to grow is actually empowering.  Once I begin some real legitimate work toward getting my perspective right, I know I’ll become more proud of who I am.

 

Linking up with Shell and others at:

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