Monthly Archives: November 2012

Upsetify

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One of my students was in Guidance, and during the class, they discussed feelings. The teacher said all of the other children were calling out feelings like sad, happy, etc., then one little fellow hollered out “Upsetify” as his feeling.  He made up a new word, and I kinda like it. 

Please don’t upsetify me.  It upsetifies me for you to not laugh at my jokes.  Let’s not upsetify our daily routine and my life.

Fun new word. 

What is sad, however, is that this young boy lives an upsetified life.  He’s been abandoned before, been sexually abused, takes medication every day, and is currently living with dad, mother, and stepmother – all in one house.   No wonder he feels upsetified.  Bless him.

There are so many things in life that can upsetify us – work, children, losing loved ones.  I believe it’s how we handle all of those things that show our true colors.  Some of us douce the pain with alcohol, some of us hide from other people and become bitter and rigid, while some of us rise above the pain of life and keep moving forward.  I strive to be the person who rises above, the person who doesn’t become bitter and weighed down by the unexpected.  And yes, it’s an every day journey, a journey to strive to be the person you want to be, while at the same time letting go of what you know is no longer healthy.

A friend of my son posted this on Facebook a while back:  “When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanaide.”

Happy Thanksgiving

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Gobble, gobble and a hungry hello!  Thanksgiving is almost here.  I love Thanksgiving – the premise behind what the word means, the gathering of people without the burden of presents, and of course, the food!  Being from the south, we lean toward southern dishes…cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, cheese grits, lima beans, corn, pecan pie and of course, turkey and dressing.  I’ve noticed something on T.V. lately – the dressing they show in commercials looks nothing like the dressing of southern, middle Tennessee.   The T.V. ready dressing is chunky with huge bits of breading….ours is more of a solid…hmm, I hope that doesn’t sound gross because it’s really delicious.  Our dressing has smaller pieces, more liquid and is baked in the oven.  It is also made with cornbread.  What is your dressing like?

I heard something over the weekend about Thanksgiving from a wise, older man.  He stated, “Shouldn’t every day be Thanksgiving?”  That is so very true.  Shouldn’t we wake up every day and count our blessings?  Even on the sad days or the yucky, I don’t feel good days?  Finding those joys, those little things that give our lives meaning every day, is important every single day.  How often do we overlook the tiny things that make our lives so much better? 

Of course I am thankful for my family, my friends, my job, but here are some other things I am truly, deeply thankful for:  a brilliant blue sky, trees, bright yellow buttercups in late February, air conditioning in the dog days of summer, indoor plumbing, books, classic rock music, smiles from strangers, love, hot coffee in the mornings, a house to have that coffee in, my computer to write on, cardinals, the sound of the ocean hitting the shore, the awe of the mountains as they touch the sky.

I hope you have a wonderul Thanksgiving…Thursday and every day!

Read, Read, Read…

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“Read, read, read.  Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.  Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.  Read!  You’ll absorb it.  Then write.  If it’s good, you’ll find out.  If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”   William Faulkner

What a great quote.  Reading has always been my first love.  I fell in love with books around the fifth grade when my parents let me begin ordering books from book clubs.  I was ten when they gave me Charlotte’s Web and it is still one of my all time favorite books.  I read it to my students every spring, and yes, I cry every time I read the part where Charlotte dies. 

The fascination with books has never ended.  It’s complete and total escapism for me…a venture into another world, a place so completely different than my own.  Complex characters, what they eat and wear, the crazy things they get themselves into…I can’t get enough!

Here are a few of the books I’ve been reading:

A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure – great read, had my head shaking at her courage;   Courting Carolina by Janet Chapman – love Janet Chapman maybe because I love Maine so much;  The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – hmm…good…but so not my type of book;  The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James – she’s a great historical romance writer.

I am looking for an awesome book – a book that stays with you after you finish it, a book that when you put it down, you just want to read it again.  Does anyone have any suggestions??

Faith

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I don’t put my faith in the hands of man.  They tend to drop you.  I don’t put my hope in the love of others.  They tend to forget you.  I instead know that the best is yet to come.  Someone much larger than all of us is in control – of me, of this world.  And for that I’m thankful.

Faith  may be the most beautiful word in the english language.  It implies devotion and strength but still, it’s a delicate word.  It’s almost fragile.  Hope is just as stunning and perhaps a tad stronger.  It gives a window to the future, a longing for what is just beyond our reach, but it too can be bruised and tattered when mishandled. 

The hands of man and the love of others.  How much control do they have over us?  How much of ourselves are we willing to hand over to people who have no right to control our lives and emotions?  Growing older, after living through wonderful times and heart wrenching encounters, I’m learning to let them have very, very little.  I simply refuse to let people who do not truly love or truly care batter two of the greatest gifts of all – faith and hope.   They both are nothing but an intricate, complex mesh of miracles, and I won’t waste them. 

My current character, Maggie, is struggling with the meaning of faith:

       Deep lines wrinkled her skin as she smiled and reassured, “I know it to be so.  Anyone who yearns to love, who is filled with the kindness that fills you like it does, will find it in return.  Hold on to your hope.  It will see you through.”

      “Hope…”

      “Yes, hope in the future being better, and faith, too, my dear.  Faith is what gets you through when you think there’s nothing left for you anywhere.”

      “Explain your concept of faith to me…,” Maggie urged. 

      Reaching out to pat her hand, Mrs. McGreevy warmly answered, “Missus, faith is believing in what you cannot see, in what you cannot understand.  It’s knowing that your dear Lord is taking care of you and your life, no matter how hard it is at the moment.”

      “But…I honestly don’t know if I understand.  There are so many things I don’t understand.”

      “You’re not supposed to understand it all, child.  Just have faith that things are going to be alright.  Let your heart believe it, let the thought fill you, and it’ll see you through.  That’s all you have to understand.”

 

Rollercoasters and Therapy

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“Writing is a form of therapy...” Graham Greene

Life is getting busier.  It happens to me every year around this time…that rollercoaster that begins its climb in August.  Tick, tick, more things to do.  Tick, tick, tick, more responsibilities to take care of.  The rollercoaster arrives at the top of the hill and begins to plummet to the earth right around Halloween.  Between now and Christmas, it’ll be dropping 70 miles per hour while doing some full circle loop-de-loops along the way. 

When I’m busier, parts of me get ignored…like my writing.  And when I don’t write, I’m simply less myself.  It’s a conundrum.  Take care of me or take care of everything else?  This year, even in the midst of the chaos, I’m vowing to write even when I feel like there’s no time to do it.  I’m vowing to work on my book and hash out the rest of Maggie’s story.  That’s my vow, dang it, and I’m sticking to it.

The great thing about the rollercoaster months is knowing what comes after.  With the arrival of January, high speeds give way to a slow, steady pace, like floating on an inner tube down a lazy river.  Even if it gets a little boring, there’s nothing like bobbing along, especially after a nausea induced ride on a rollercoaster. 

Writing will be my therapy, it will be my escape, my secret place to vanish to when the next few months begin to spin.  Whether it be here, in a journal, on a napkin, or working on one of my books, I’ll use the outlet God gave me to hold on when the rollercoaster goes too fast.

What is your outlet, your therapy?  What do you do to hold on when the last thing you can do is let go?