Inspiration from the beach

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Happy New Year everyone!  My family and I spent Christmas in Florida at the beautiful Navarre Beach.  I wrote this piece while we were there and thought I would share.  I’m hoping this small piece will eventually turn into something larger.  Hope you enjoy!

Persistent in my face, the rays of the sun provoke me from my rest.  The waves of the ocean gently sing in my ear as they crash against the shore.  The desire to sleep and the lure of the sun battle for my attention.  The sun gloats in her victory as I arise and make my way to the ocean with unkempt hair, still rubbing sleep from my eyes.   I tilt my face toward the sun; letting her bask me in her warmth; fill me with her brilliance.  Seized by her glory, I plant myself in the sand and allow it to contour my body.  Paying no mind to the mixture of salt and sand finding their way into the locks of my hair, I welcome the brisk feel of the ocean as it crashes over me.  Unobstructed views from sand to sea; unsure of where the sky ends and the earth begins.  Birds with the freedom to go and come as the wind calls remarkably choose to share this spot with me.

The beauty of the day fleeting away, I soak in every minute of light the sun offers until she dips beneath the sea.  As her radiance slowly fades, her beauty still captivates with shades of blush and lavender.  Even in her departure she commands the attention of all creation with her magnificence.  I extend my graciousness to her for the wonderful day she supplied, humbled by the scarlet tint that remains on my skin.

All remnants of the sun disappear and the sky gradually transforms with the probing darkness.  Exhaustion creeps over me as the moon barely emerges over the horizon.  Sleep comes peacefully, but escapes prematurely.  Jealous of the attention I devoted to the sun, the moon demands his portion of my reverence.

Much like myself, the ocean is restless; even more alive than before.  Though tired and weary, I take in the night sky.  The cool breeze the night provides soothes the burn that too much sun imparts.  The stars in their splendor blanket the sky.  Darkness blends the sky and sea; the only proof of segregation is the twinkle cast by the moon over the water.   The moon calls to me as he calls to the tide.   He draws my attention to the beauty of my skin beneath his illustrious glow .  He beckons me like a long-lost lover reminding me why I favor him over the sun.

He directs my gaze to the beauty and pleasures the sun distracts me from.  Everything he touches sparkles with delight.  Surrounded in silence and darkness, floods of memories and hope for the future invade my mind.  I am reminded of all that I long for; exposed by the deathlike kiss of the cool salty wind.   In quiet satisfaction the moon pulls me to his bosom and embraces me in his luminosity.  His kiss of seduction transcends that of the sun; he leaves no rosy mark in his wake.  He appeals to the darkest side of my desires.  His cool breath reminds me while I may be apprehended by the sun; I am a prisoner of the moon.

Letting Go

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Letting go is difficult.  It’s the damndest thing feeling everything so deeply.  Some of us struggle to find the meaning and purpose in the midst of grief.  We begin to doubt that life has any point outside of the pain; a bottomless pit that you’re not even sure you want to climb out of.  You begin to believe that dying would be easier than having to pick up the pieces of yet another broken mess.  You grasp to try to discover the meaning and lesson behind the situation.  When you’ve been in this predicament many times, you begin to think you must be running out of teachable moments.  Surviving seems to become your life-long mission.  Maybe that’s why happiness is so overwhelming; you know it is temporary.  You saturate yourself in the moment and get every ounce of it so that when the storm hits, you can fight through it.  Fighters aren’t born, they’re made.

Questions I don’t have the ability to answer flood my thoughts and wreak havoc on my restless state of mind in the wee hours of the morning. My body implores me to rest, but my soul aches for answers.  So begins the battle within myself; silent and all smiles on the outside, shattered and sobbing on the inside.

The only conclusions I have are these…..I can continue to be shattered or I can get up off the damn floor and pull myself together.  It’s a choice; one only I can make.  I can give someone who doesn’t deserve it the power to cause my own destruction, or I can let it become another moment of strength and perseverance.   There are always going to be highs and lows and this is not the lowest I’ve ever been; not by a long shot.  I’m better than this, stronger than this.  I no longer am willing to accept that my destiny is a sea of pain and brokenness.  I alone am the author of my story, not the slew of people who have chosen to treat me like a doormat.  There is better than this and it’s up to me to stop settling for the leeches.

Love does not come with the condition of convenience and it isn’t just some feeling that creeps up on you in the heat of the moment.  You’d better have a solid foundation to stand on when your feelings deceive you, because they will.  Sometimes people just refuse to give and only take.  They are famous for the old, “it’s not you, it’s me” bullshit. The truth is we are all flawed and imperfect. It isn’t so much that someone deserves better than you. The truth is that they deserve better from you.

Don’t become angry and vengeful over the takers; pity them.  For they will never experience life and love the way it was intended to be experienced.  They will always be the ones who are left feeling unsatisfied and miserable; like something is missing.  It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with their own demons.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking away from people who have done nothing but rob you of your happiness and bleed you dry time and time again.  For too long I ignored the signs that it was time to write the closing chapter for this story.  After months of reflection and some time in solitude, I discovered peace and the ability to let go and turn the last page.

Happiness starts from within.  The chance of happiness comes with every new day. Being happy has nothing to do with your circumstances or the situation you are in.  Rather, it has everything to do with your perspective and how you choose to view the world around you and the people and relationships you invest in. Happiness is a lifestyle. You have to commit to whatever lifestyle you choose and make your choices and decisions based off that commitment.

So begins a new chapter in a new book….

Sweet Release, September 16, 2013

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The man I called dad until I was 14 was laid to rest one year ago today.  In remembrance of him I post something that I wrote on that day……I learned a very hard lesson the day he passed.  Take the time to try to mend what is broken.  Settle differences and forgive past mistakes.  Heal old haunting wounds of the past.  Above all, always tell loved ones how much you love them…..

I knew today was going to be a difficult day. As much as I knew I should probably force myself to go to work, I just could not bring myself to do it. I got Lucas off to school and did not want to go back home just to sit and think. I decided to go for a run on the Greenway between Noble and Stewart Nelson Park.
The usual routine when I think about running…..normally, I just sit around and wait for the urge to pass. For the record, this usually doesn’t take very long. But, I knew today, of all days, I really needed this. I parked the car, got out, and did a little bit of stretching, still looking for an excuse. I looked up at the sky and noticed how cloudy it was; I pulled my handy smartphone out of my pocket and checked the weather. Oh boy…..sixty percent chance of rain this morning. 1.75 miles is a long way out to get stuck in the rain and have to come all the way back.
Then, my inner tough girl decided to come out full force. “Quit making excuses, get your ass out there, and run! If God decides to show off a little bit this morning, it might be because you need to see the display.” All right, all right! For those of you wondering; yes, this back and forth dialog is a common thing for me. If that makes me crazy, so be it.
Off I go. I didn’t take any music with me, because I just wanted my senses to be in tune to my surroundings. I didn’t want to focus on anything but what I came here to dump this morning. I started off with a fast walk, then worked myself into a steady jog. I always hate starting the jog. I’ve never been a strong runner. Even in the military, when my fitness level was at its peak, I was not a runner. I could do it, at least enough to meet the standard, but I am not a sprinter. The start-up is always what sucks; trying to get your breathing regulated, your stride just right, and working out all the kinks in your muscles and joints. I find that the urge to give up always comes in the first five to ten minutes of a run. I am well aware of this, as much as I have done it, and I just give myself the pep talk to keep going and the urge will soon pass. Of course, I was right.
As I slowly get into the groove, I start paying more attention to everything around me. I notice that there are only a few other people out this morning, which is kind of nice. On top of everything else, I really do not want to feel self conscious too. I realize that the trail is dirt and white gravel and was quite glad; this is much easier on the joints than pavement. I start to notice the trees and brush surrounding the trail. The leaves are beginning to turn and I smile at the thought of fall. One of my favorite times of the year. I love the bold reds, yellows, and oranges that paint the skyline during this time of year. Oh crap! A cute guy is running towards me. I suck in my gut a little and pick up the pace just a tad. We give each other the slight smile and nod and keep on trucking. Okay, you can relax now.
I reach an opening in the brush and notice a field to the East. The clouds are beginning to pass and the sun is beaming down on my face. “I feel you, Lord,” I audibly say. My mind drifts back to the reason for my run, and I feel God in my face. “I see that you decided not to drench me this morning with a thunderstorm. In a way, I am kind of disappointed.” I sense God’s reply, “My child, you don’t need the storm this morning. You need me to be warm and gentle. You need comfort today.” I instantly feel the sun shining brighter, and the breeze picks up just ever so slightly and blows directly into my face. The tears begin to well up in my eyes, and I can’t help but smile. He knows me so well, so much better than I even know myself. I often repeat that phrase, but I never cease to be amazed at how well my God knows me. Out of the billions of people, I always feel as if I am the only one in the world when I am alone with Him. How does He do that?
My thoughts begin to take me back to memories I have not reflected on in many years. I believe that when we go to heaven, we will be able to look down on the ones we love. I begin to wonder about the mechanics of this. Can he see me right now? I believe that he can. Does he know that I am thinking of him in this very moment? Then, I begin to wonder what the barriers are to watching over loved ones on earth while in heaven. Is there even a barrier at all? Can they sense when we are thinking about them? Do they know what we are thinking or is that reserved only for God himself? In this very moment, I wish that he could know what I am thinking. Did he ever know how much I loved him? Did he ever know that many of the good memories I held onto all these years included him? I know that he was aware of the bad memories I carried along, but did I ever bother to tell him what he did right?
I called him Dad. Not out of some sense of duty or because he married my mom, but because he had earned it. I wanted to call him Dad. That’s how I looked at him and I began to wonder whether he ever understood that during his short lifetime.
My thoughts take me to where he is right now. Is he standing next to God right now? Can he be spiritually present with me in this moment the way that God is? I find myself wishing I could see what’s on the other side of the veil. I start to feel a little homesick, wishing I could be there seeing what he is seeing; wishing that my spirit was not bound to my flesh.
I start to envy those that get the chance to say their goodbyes and have the opportunity to experience that closure. There is a sense of peace that must come with that; knowing that you got to tell someone everything you wanted to say before they left this world. I wish I had that; in this situation particularly.
As I begin to feel the despair rise up, the wind picks up and turns my attention back to the big guy in the room. I love how He knows just how to get my attention. Sometimes He has to do it with a thunderstorm; most of the time it’s with a gentle breeze. He turns my attention to the sound of my breath and the sound of my own heartbeat, pounding loudly and strongly in my chest. I am reminded that He controls even this. He has control over my next breath and whether my heart continues to beat. He was in control when the man I used to call Dad took his last breath. There is a reason that things happen the way that they do. While I don’t understand, and I want so badly to play God and reverse the clock so that I can look at him one last time and tell him everything I want him to know; I must let God control what is His to control and trust that He is handling the situation with the utmost care and concern. I am reminded of my favorite Bible verse in Matthew. He loves me and cares for me even more than the sparrow. He watches me; every single hair on my head is counted. He watches me and He watches those that I love. He loves me and those that I love beyond what I can possibly imagine. I can imagine quite a bit; if I am incapable of doing anything else right in this world, I know how to love. Yet I still fall short of the way that He loves.
“Abide in me, my love. There are no goodbyes; this is not the end.” Thank you, Jesus. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I don’t know whether Brian knew, whether he knows now; but one day, I will be standing where he is and I will be able to tell him everything that I should have told him while he was here. There is no greater comfort than that.
As I get closer to my car, I begin to hope that heaven is not just mansions on hilltops with streets of gold. I hope that at least portions of heaven are like the Garden of Eden as well. Maybe I feel this way because it seems that I am closer to God when I’m surrounded by His creation. Whatever the case, I love God the artist. Of all the many names and different aspects of God’s character, I love the artistry. Artists are more in tune to what lies beneath the surface; I’m glad that God passed a piece of this character along to humanity. While I enjoy outward beauty, I am mesmerized when I discover something deeper. There is something much more fascinating and breathtaking when you immerse yourself in the spirit of someone or something. You will not find it on the outside; you have to dive deeper than that.
I feel renewed. The pain and the sorrow that I felt before I started have melted off my body along with the sweat that perspired out of my pores. Why is it exactly that I hate running? I find myself wishing that I could stay here forever. Thank you, God for giving me what I needed this morning. You always meet me right where I’m at and embrace me with love in exactly the form that I need. Stay with me today and keep my eyes on you.
I pray that you provide all of Brian’s loved ones with this same comfort and peace today. Remind us of this when our finite minds forget and Satan comes to steal our joy. Brian is with you and there is no safer, happier place for him to be. This is not the end; his life is just beginning.

Remember When

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Been three weeks since you went away

Not a call, not a message, until yesterday

Took me out, played it cool, not falling again.

But when you look at me that way

It makes me remember when

 

Left the bar and took a stroll

Held my hand, going with the flow

Talked and laughed like we did before

Looks like a good place to kiss a girl

Okay, just let me pick my heart up off the floor

 

I’m not falling for you again

But when you kiss me that way

It makes me remember when

 

We made love like crazy and awakened every star

The drive that took too damn long, I couldn’t wait in that car

The way you smile, the way we kiss

Almost forgot how it felt holding you like this

All it took, one kiss to bring me back to where I was before

I just can’t fight it anymore

 

You drive me crazy

Can’t seem to make up your mind

You’re hot, you’re cold; back and forth

You can’t stay away, just can’t leave me behind

 

I’m done, I’m through, can’t do this anymore.

But just when I think you’re gone for good

You show back up at my door

 

I’m not falling for you again

But when you touch me that way

It makes me remember when

 

We made love like crazy and awakened every star

The drive that took too damn long, I couldn’t wait in that car

The way you smile, the way we kiss

Almost forgot how it felt holding you like this

All it took, one touch to bring me back to where I was before

I just can’t fight it anymore.

A Canvas of Pure Beauty

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I have often heard it said that you only get one best friend in your life.  I am one of the lucky ones who got two.

I was hit with a revelation just the other day as I was looking through my childhood BFF’s boudoir photographs that she had taken recently.  I was surprised that she had these taken, and I’m not sure that she would have had the photographer taking them not been a very close friend of hers.  You see, she is a very simplistic woman.  She’s never been one to put on the glitz and glam.  I can count on one hand the number of times that I have seen her in a dress, one of them being her wedding day.  She’s the jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.  Yet, she is one of the lucky ones who does not require makeup to be beautiful.  I’ve always thought she was beautiful; inside and out.

We have been inseparable since we were in the 3rd grade.  We became classmates when we were in 1st, but for some reason, we didn’t click until a couple of years later.  If memory serves me correctly, our friendship began with my broken pair of glasses.  I can’t remember how they got broken, but she was the one that broke them.  She was apologetic, and I was grateful that she had broken them so I wouldn’t have to wear them anymore.  From that moment, we did everything together!

Those were the days when we were outside playing games of Red Rover, Red Rover, Truth or Dare, Double Dutch, riding our bikes, dancing and singing like fools to every New Kids on the Block song, playing basketball.  The only rules we had was to not cross the highway and when the street lights came on, we had better be home.  There were no cell phones, no 250 plus channels of cable television, and the only game systems we had were Atari and Nintendo.  Our lives certainly did not revolve around the television.  If you dared tell one of your parents that you were bored, they would find something for you to do.

We both had many friends, but the two of us shared something special.  It took me a long time to realize how special it was.  It’s usually during difficult times that you truly learn who your real friends are.  Around the age of 11 and 12, I went through a rebellious stage.  There was a lot going on at home during that time, and I had become an extremely angry child.  I quit caring about my grades and school merely became the place for me to cause trouble and socialize.  I craved attention and I didn’t care how I got it.  I disrupted class and I was very disrespectful.  It was at this age that I smoked my first cigarette and tasted alcohol for the first time.  Needless to say, there were a lot of rumors going around school about me.  In reality, most of them were not true.  But, I had painted myself as this bad ass and I didn’t even bother to deny the rumors.  I just went with it.  Naturally, I became the girl that most avoided like the plague, with the exception of the other rebels…..and my best friend.

She has always been there for me.  When everything around me and inside of me was crumbling, she was there.  To this day, we have never had a fight.  She finally confessed to me many years later how much of a bitch I was during our preteen years, and I’m still not sure what it was that made her stick by me.  I can tell you that she has probably saved my life on more than one occasion in all the years that we have known each other.  She has been the glue that held me together, the solid rock to grab a hold of in the quicksand that surrounded me, and the voice of reason when I was about to do something reckless and stupid.  I was the cause of most of her groundings growing up and I’m surprised that her parents didn’t forbid her to hang out with me.

So, when I looked through this photo album of hers, I couldn’t help but be slapped in the face with the beauty of this amazing woman.  There was something about this picture that captured all that I knew and loved of this wonderful creature that has been in my life for going on 27 years now.  Of all the pictures that I thought made her look so gorgeous, beautiful, and captivating, this one in particular took my breath away.  The one that you see here……prior to her makeup being applied, unaltered by photoshop.  This picture captured the most exquisite detail of her in a way that made the inner beauty accessible to the outside and able to be viewed in a single picture.  The more I stared at it, the more it hit me just how beautiful she is and how truly blessed I am to have her in my life.  It immediately flooded me with memories and a sense of gratitude.  Few people get to see her this way and know her the way that I do.  She is compassionate, loving, and I don’t think she has a selfish bone in her body.  She is the most loyal, giving person that I know.  She has a gentle spirit and has always been the peacemaker.  She is the essence of love in its truest form.

Nina

She is the friend that I never deserved and could never have earned.  Lucky for me, I never had to do either.  She was always able to see through the anger, resentment, and showing off that I did over the years and she held my hand through it all.  She is the light that shines within the pain and darkness of memories from my past.  She is what reminds me of the good in the world even in the midst of my darkest hour.

Having her in my life makes me believe in guardian angels.  I think that maybe there are many that don’t necessarily have wings.  Without a doubt, she is my angel; never in a million years could there be another like her.  I don’t know that I’ve ever told her how much she means to me.  I only hope that by sharing this with all of you that it will make up for it somehow.

To Know

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I want to see the world through your eyes. I want to know the pain, disappointments, the truth and the lies.

I want to feel what you felt when you kissed someone you loved goodbye. I want to see the look on your face, the one when you’re about to cry.

I want to know the moments of joy and those that defined you. The ones that molded and shaped you; the ones that almost broke you.

When you thought about giving up, what made you keep pushing through?  Have you ever dreamed of being someone other than you?

What touches you and what soothes your soul? Have you ever danced in the rain with someone who made you feel whole?

Who are the people that lifted you up and those that caused you to fall? When things aren’t going well, who is it that you call?

How do you define love?  What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

If you could ask one question of God, what would it be? If you could glimpse into the future, what would you like to see?

What is your vision of the perfect mate?  Do you think everything happens by circumstance or do you believe in fate?

I want to know the good, the bad, the happy and sad. What are your pet-peeves and the things that make you mad?

I want to know your hopes and dreams.  What makes you laugh to the extreme?

What makes your blood boil and what makes you melt?  I want to make you feel the best you’ve ever felt.

All of this and more I am dying to know.  I want to know everything about you to see if love can grow.

Empty Me

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Searching for a place; longing to find

No longer the need to hold it inside.

 

A place for fools, for lovers forgotten.

For dreamers and believers before life made us rotten.

Bled, but haven’t died.  Bruised, but still feel alive.

No doubt, no fear, no reason to rhyme.

 

To love with all that I have;

To think and be all that I am.

Comfortable to cry, and shed all my tears.

To feel completely, with absence of fear.

 

Bare and exposed; the beauty within.

Dare to see through the colors of my sin.

All of me I long to display.

When I do, how long will you stay?

 

Fall into me, leave nothing behind.

All or nothing; no compromise.

 

All of me and all of you.

Wound me with the depth of your love.

Bleed openly and willingly,

Something we can be in awe of.

 

Dare to be the place where I can be free.

Make me feel at home and empty all of me.