Monthly Archives: December 2012

Resolutions

Standard

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true.  Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.”  Kim Colbertson

I’m a square peg in a round world.  There’s no denying it, and I don’t.  It’s who I am – I’ve accepted it, the people I love have for the most part!  They’ve learned to love me for who I am, not what I’m not.

Being different isn’t a curse.  It isn’t shameful or a scarlet letter to be worn on your chest.  Being different is sometimes cumbersome, sometimes frustrating, but it isn’t shameful.  Different is actually a blessing, a glimpse of something unusual and unique.  I’ve never wanted to be just like everybody else, not deep down.  And truthfully, I’ve always known I was different than most.

Living in a small community, there are very little options for the social scene.  People gather at other people’s houses, in other people’s barns (yes, barns), at an occasional bar.  I do one of those places well.  Can you guess which one?  Hint:  it’s not the barn or the bar.  And since I don’t do either of those well, I often find myself  alone.  Refusing to hinder my family members just because of my distaste for some of these places, I don’t flinch when my husband and son want to gather with friends at a barn.

When we do socialize with friends, my brain, for the most part, is engaged, active, soaking in stories and details, but all the while, another section of my mind is spinning.  Either a story I’m working on, or a book I’ve just read, or even a character I’ve really never written about before is tap dancing in another corner of my mind.  Perhaps that is my distinct difference.  Perhaps that is what makes me unable to quite fit into the world around me.

Granted, there are areas where I’m more comfortable, more secure.  At home, at work, typing away madly on my computer.  They are secure and warm and don’t scowl when I want to flow to my own rhythm instead of someone else’s.   But here’s what I’ve noticed and I know to be true – security can bring complacency and perhaps laziness.  Maybe I get too comfortable at home.  Maybe I get too ‘settled in my ways’.

So…here’s my resolution for this year.  I will (not, I will try)….I will get my books ready to send into agents or publishers.  I will not let the trappings of every day life hold me back.  I will put my writing out there into the literary world one way or the other.  Now that I’ve said it, I will hold myself to it!  Time to focus on that side of my life, time to pry open a door I let very few people behind.  That is my resolution for 2013, and it feels good to say it and set it free.  Happy New Year!

Heartbreak

Standard

I teach first grade.  Never before have those words held quite as much meaning as they do right now.  After the utter heartbreak of last Friday, I went back to work on Monday and found it so very hard to concentrate and simply do my job.  We were told to greet our students in the hall, to put on a happy face and welcome them all to school.  Of course we did – we would have whether we had been asked to or not.  We greet them every day, that’s what teachers do.  I smiled at each one, said good morning, but I was so very distracted.  I kept watching their faces, thinking of what I would do if someone tried to harm them.  I kept thinking of how I could protect them if a mad-man was in our building.  Those children are my kids, my students.  It almost made me sick to think of them being harmed in any way whatsoever.

Monday was a long, hard day.

Oddly, there were no questions.  Not one asked me about it or had a story to tell.  I praise their parents for keeping them shielded from the horror of it as much as possible.  The only words I got were at the end of the day.  One of my little fellows saw a parent in the building, one who had on the proper identification by the way, and he simply asked, “What is that stranger doing in our building?”  I knew where the question stemmed from but there were no direct statements about the horror of Friday.

My heart aches for the babies in Connecticut, for their parents, for the other students and teachers who survived.  I pray they can find peace again, that one day going to school will hold excitement instead of fear.  Dear Lord, please ease their painful memories.

Gotta Love Clark

Standard

Which holiday character are you? Come on, be honest!  If you’re like me, you’re a mixture of many.  Some days jolly, the next day grumpy and disgruntled.  The Grinch definitely visited my psyche today when I thought of all that was left to do in fifteen days.

grinch

But no matter how stressed, I hope I’m never Scrooge.

scrooge

Instead, I’m working like an elf…busy, busy, busy.

elf

And it’s Clark…loveable, goofy, quirky, wants things to be perfect Clark, that keeps me smiling.  In the midst of family angst, tree squirrels, rowdy cousins, a stressful job, decorations and shopping, Clark pressed on.  Gotta love some Clark Griswold.  He brings laughter during a hectic month, silly to the mundane, and a wonderful outlet when things around you get too heavy.  Be somebody’s Clark over the next two weeks…find some spirit, make someone smile, break out the moose eggnog glasses and spread some cheer!

clark

To China and Back

Standard

Six years ago today, I was in China with my sister, daughter and brother-in-law.  Four brave souls had ventured across the Pacific Ocean in search of a province we’d never heard of before.  We conquered the fifteen hour flight, a bout of airline-food-induced-food-poisoning, and the frigid temperatures of a foreign country where no one could understand our southern English, all on a journey to bring home baby Taylor.

James, Jennifer and Hunter at the Great Wall of China.

James, Jennifer and Hunter at the Great Wall of China.

Hunter and I readying for our Hutong tour

Hunter and I readying for our Hutong tour.

On day three of our trip, we flew from Beijing to Hefei.  It was there Taylor waited for his new parents.  Watching my sister meet her first child for the very first time was one of the most memorable, heart warming moments of my life.  She and James were, of course, anxious and scared but more than that, they were like any other expectant parents – they couldn’t wait to meet their child.

Jennifer and Taylor

Jennifer and Taylor – Look how happy she is!

There are times in your life  when you feel ‘along for the ride’ and then there are times in your life where you know you are witnessing something real, something important.  In that moment, snapshots are created in your mind, imprinting the sounds, the smells, the feelings, deep into your heart.  Going to China, meeting Taylor for the very first time with Jennifer and James – that was one of those moments.  It was life changing. 

Taylor taught me something immediately – not weeks or months later.  He taught me that love is expansive.  It can instantly appear and instantly encompass you.  From the first moment we saw him, he was our Taylor and we adored him.  A little boy born thousands of miles away was instantly part of us all.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…Sort Of

Standard

Well, the tree is up, the lights are strung, the ornaments are hung.  Hallelujah!  It’s only the beginning of what needs to be accomplished in December, but it is a wonderful start.  A few presents have been purchased and will soon…(well, maybe not too soon)…be wrapped and stashed under the tree.

The nativity scene is waiting to be set, the stockings are far from being hung, and who knows if the Christmas china will even make an appearance this year.  Instead, I’m looking for a deeper, warmer Christmas.  I asked my son what ‘one’ thing meant something to him at Christmas time, which tradition, and I got a 16-year-old-I-dunno-shrug . I’ve been thinking and here’s what I want to make sure happens even if nothing else does:

I want to watch the movie Christmas Vacation with a blanket tucked over my legs and a bowl of popcorn in my lap.  The refrigerator will be stocked with fresh oranges and tiny bottled Cokes.  Peanut brittle and King Leo candy canes will be on the kitchen countertop.  I’ll listen to the choir sing carols at church, read a little Dickens, dip pretzels in chocolate, and do my very best to think of others each and every day.

Which holiday tradition is a must for you?