Are You Scared?

I wish I could describe to you all in most perfect words what is going on inside of me. I wish I could explain to myself what is going on inside of me.  Truth is, friends, I don’t know, and I am more than okay with it.

I was doing a thing last week and I was asked a question.  The Person looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was scared.  There was no hesitation in my answer; I gave myself no time to think about it.  “Terrified.” I told them.  I was.  I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be a good answer, because who likes to admit to being afraid.  That question stuck with me and has been replaying often in my mind, over and over.  

I gave the Person some additional information after answering that I was terrified.  I told them my fear is why I was there.  That when I think about things and if they scare me, they are most likely worth doing.  Now that I have had a week to think about it, I think it may have been the answer to everything lately.

I. Am. Terrified.

I watched “The Way” with K yesterday.  It’s a movie about a man who travels Camino de Santiago.  Maybe about a month or so ago, I discovered this and brought it to K.  I told her we should do it; we decided in 7 years because that would be the next holy year and it would give us time to save and prepare.  We watched the movie and there was a line that got me (the whole movie got me, but right in the beginning, I knew it would impact me).  It was simple.  “You don’t chose a life, you live a life.”

The walk could be done for religious reasons, or personal.  It could be none or both, but I hear it changes you.  There have always been things I planned, things that may not have happened, or things that didn’t quite happen the way I had planned them, but this cannot be one of them.  It’s almost like a calling.

I can’t tell you every story of my life, because we don’t have enough time, and I don’t think you would want to know everything, but I know the day that I lost my religion.  I was in a bind, as I usually end up being in, and was faced with one of the most difficult choices of my life.  I knew I was standing at a moment that would pave a road, and I wanted an answer, a sign.  I wanted something to help me make my decision.  I went at night, in the rain, to the closest church.  I wanted to sit in the church, have a conversation with God, ask for help.  The doors were locked.  It’s hard even as I type this, friends.  It’s so hard.  I felt alone, and abandoned.  I felt that my answer was in those locked doors.  God had turned away and told me I couldn’t go into His house anymore.  

I made my choices; I chose my life.  I didn’t walk back into a church for 8 years.  Goodness, I was so afraid.  I was afraid I would be struck down, or that everyone would know.  They would all know that I was turned away on a rainy night and branded.  They would give me looks, and tell me to leave.  I had Girl2 with me.  She was the only thing that could have gotten me back into a church.

They didn’t kick me out, look at me funny, or shun me.  I nervously sat through, waiting for the moment to come where it would happen, but it never did.  

I honestly don’t know where I stand with it all now, but I can tell you that I am having a strong sense of life change moments lately.  The decision to plan this walk is one.  My weekends being spent having more life; it may seem small, like small things, but I am reconnecting out there in nature.  I told K she was the only one who I would be able to make the camino with.  She is the one who would accept my silence, just as she does when we are caching.  I can have my inner moments, and she gets that.  When I have been out there, on the trails, in the woods, I am reconnecting with myself.  I say I am caching, but I really am breathing in the air, seeing the trees, listening to the river.  I am finding peace and myself.

I don’t know what I believe anymore.  I have my logic, and it serves me fine.  I can’t help but think there is something though.  There has to be something out there, that puts us in places, at the right times.  That something silently guides us along, watches our mistakes, lets us learn our lessons.  It puts the people in our lives, and also takes them out of them.  There has been so much lately that seems like things are happening and rather than be a spectator, I need to be in it.  I need to stop choosing my life and start living it.  It may be small things, like spending the morning out in the woods, or taking a weekend for the beach, but it is really me saying that it’s time.  

I am scared.  It’s hard to take those steps, to face your fears.  I remember when I was little and watching The Neverending Story.  Atreyu reached the Southern Oracle and he had to face himself.  I couldn’t understand how that would be such a big deal, how it could be hard to face yourself.  Oh, was I wrong.

K and I were talking to The Boy, and he had made a comment on how he wanted to have his life figured out at 20.  We laughed, not at home, but rather at the fact that we were probably once young and thought we would have everything figured out at 20.  I am less than one week away from 37 and I am nowhere closer to having it figured out than I was 17 and sitting at her kitchen table playing cards. 

I honestly don’t know how this all comes together, friends.  It’s one of those days that I can feel it; the mystical strings pulling me along, the sense that there is more meaning than what I am doing now.  The sense that I need to reconnect to myself and make changes.  I need to be connected, not just to myself, but those I love as well.  It isn’t enough to go through the motions, you have to be present, to make memories.

I am terrified and that’s okay.  I am giving myself permission to make mistakes, to learn, and to live.  I am living my life and giving myself permission to not beat myself up for the things I don’t have control over.  I am going to start mentally and physically preparing for my road ahead.  I may even start to accept the fact that maybe I am not as shunned as I believe myself to be.

 

 

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So Much Life Part Two

Two posts in one day!  I know!  This has been a pretty event filled weekend though, so I though I should hang with you guys a bit longer and tell you about Saturday.

My mom had a birthday a few weeks back and I was really trying to find something different for her.  I know what she likes and I know what I usually get her, but I figured this year should be different.  I saw something on my Facebook about a paint bar close to me.  I have heard of paint ball, and decidedly knew my mom would not fare well with that, but I had never heard of a paint bar.  I found out what it was and basically you look at their schedule, find a painting you like, sign up for the session.  

I talked about it with K (she is very artsy, me not so much), and we both thought it would be fun.  I thought that it would be nice to do something outside of the box with my mom so a plan was born.

I took the first available Saturday, which was yesterday.  I was feeling quite fine, I mean, how hard could it be?  We showed up early (planning on my part – my mom is notorious for late) and looked around.  It was filled with white canvases, painted pictures on the wall, a cute little bar.  We found our spots and waited for the class to begin.

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White canvas, so full of promise.

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What we were going to be painting.  It wasn’t even the picture I had signed us up for, but I decided it was still a cherry blossom tree, so good enough.

Friends, meet Jeremy and Brian.  Jeremy is wearing the hat and he was our artist teacher.  Brian also teaches, but today he was helping out Jeremy.  It’s as if they knew I would be coming and would need extra help.

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So, Jeremy gives a great talk before we begin, and I am still feeling very confidant.  Then it began.  He told us to dip the brush in the paint and start mixing colors.

This is where I began to panic.  I don’t art.  I sometimes pretend to art, but it isn’t pretty.  I was never good at drawing, painting, pottery, etc.  I am logic and precise.  I like directions that spell things out.  I have no talent when it comes to the being creative.  Just instilling this fear in me wasn’t enough for Jeremy.  Nope, he wanted to take it a step further.  He wanted me to put the paint on the canvas.

Jeremy took it a bit far.  That was commitment. Doesn’t Jeremy know or care about how I feel?  He did not.  He kept talking, telling us to not only touch the brush to the canvas, but to move it around in a circle.  Damn it, Jeremy.  Damn it all to hell.

At one point he suggested a break and I looked at him and yelled, “Jeremy, I am stressing out!” Didn’t he understand that my circle didn’t look like the circle on the wall?  He came over, taught me how to use a paint brush to make a circle, and as I kept doing it, he walked away.  I was left alone.

K kept reminding me not to stress out so much, that it was just the background.  I had a hard time with this, because stressing out is what I do.  

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My mom could do a circle.  Look at Jeremy, helping someone else, and I was still freaking out about my circle.

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Here is K, working on her circles.  

As I sat there, looking at everyone else who did not seem to be having a nervous breakdown, I realized that they didn’t seem to care as much about their circles.  They accepted them and kept going.  I learned about art in that moment.  It isn’t about having a perfect circle.  It isn’t about blending your colors like everyone else’s.  The bottom of mine at that time actually looked like a choppy sea and I was debating making a boat.  I then set the tone for myself for the rest of the session: I was going rogue.

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Selfie moment with the not perfect circle and the choppy sea at the bottom!  

I then started to relax.  We got to the tree and I yelled to Jeremy that I was going rogue.  He accepted this.  I think he accepted my not perfect circle, and my tree that looked like Tim Burton created it and used it for The Nightmare Before Christmas. I painted, friends.  I painted a picture that ended up looking like a damn cherry tree.  I let go, and just decided that I was okay with a pitchfork branch.  My mom kept saying her tree was too fat.  I had a pitchfork.  Some trees are fat, and some have pitchfork branches.

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It was an amazing, awesome, experience, with two women who mean the world to me.  I learned to let go, accept, and it was okay if it wasn’t perfect.  I’m proud of my painting.  I am proud I created something.  Do something that scares you and smile when you make it through.  I kept looking at a quote they had on their wall, and I am going to sign off with it.  Until next time friends, I hope you all have days coming up filled with so much life.

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So Much Life Part One

Hello friends!  I hope things have been going well for you and yours.  I do have to say, things have been going pretty well from my neck of the woods.  Spring has come, school is almost out for the children, and the weather (for the most part) has been bearable. Recently, my girl K and I have discovered geocaching.  It’s been around for a while, but it wasn’t anything I was familiar with.  In a nutshell, it’s hide and seek (with objects).  People place caches of various sizes in places in the outside world.  Your job is to use a GPS (I use my phone) and find said objects.  You can sign a log book, if there are items you can take one (but you have to leave one too).  If interested, I would recommend geocaching.com, or download the app (it’s free!).

So, K and I decided we are taking this on.  We usually don’t have the same days off, or I will have J with me (we tried this with J, but it wasn’t very pretty).  What we do now is pretty much the nights I don’t have J, when I get home from work, we venture off to find some near our house.  There is a bunch around, so finding one to track isn’t a problem.  It usually gives us a good mile+ walk and I am finding this to be a much better use of my time than playing a video game until I go to bed (I still will get a Diablo run in for now, but it is really relaxing to come home and then be outside).

The first time we ran out, it was raining.  I didn’t have a poncho, or an umbrella, so I did what any sane person would do:

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I donned a trash bag and we headed out.  Classy!

I wish I could say that we fared well that day, but alas, we did not find a single cache.  We did find a family of geese.  There was like 13 babies, three adults, and they were all huddled around where I needed to be.  That was enough to stop me, but not K.  She was on a mission, and geese or no geese, we were getting to that spot.

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No, baby geese.  

Even though we may have walked away empty handed, it was still the most amusing of times.  It also ended up being an awesome stress reliever for after work.

Today, since no children were in the house, we decided we were going to make a morning of it.  We found a spot a few towns over that had bunches of them along a trail.  I woke up this morning, one eye opened, saw her and said, “You ready?”  I decided we could get coffee on the way as I wanted to get started as early as possible.

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Seriously, this is how I looked getting into the car this morning.  

So, now I will regale you with some pictures of our adventure along Hop River trail.

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K has a cache!

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Look!  It’s a dinosaur in a rock!  This one was called Jurassic Park.

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I was only slightly uncomfortable with where the cache was.

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We probably were knee deep in poison ivy.  It’s cool.

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This was taped to some artificial flowers and planted next to a tree.  Tricky!

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Here was one that was taped to some pussy willows.  Best thing about this one was that I was standing in front of it for about 4 minutes telling K I thought it mat be in a pussy willow bush and we had to keep searching for a pussy willow bush.  I failed to see the fake ones right at my feet.

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Here is one we found from today.  This one was full of so much goodies.

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Not from today, but we discovered this, less than a half mile from my house.  I had no idea this even existed.

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Sometimes you have to make the climb to get the prize.

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My hair was still pretty awesome.  The bugs thought so as well.

Which now brings me to things I have learned about geocaching, while geocaching:

1) Camo really works.  I have only seen it used as a fashion statement, and I am still trying to figure out where you would be camouflaged where hot pink is needed, but out in the forest?  Yeah, the regular camo coloring works really well.

2) Just because the GPS says you are 3 feet in front of it doesn’t mean it is 3 feet in front of you.  Or see number 1.

3) Bug spray.  One day I will remember.

4) I learned that you really need to be incognito while geocaching.  That or people stare at you really funny when you are walking around in a circle holding your phone out in front of you.  Plus, you don’t want to give the spot away.  Really though, I think it is so people don’t think you are a maniac.  I tend to just not make eye contact which maybe also makes me look shady combined with the hair.

5) Trails will throw out some benches here and there because I think they knew I am not that outdoorsy, and I may need a place to sit.  Thanks, nature.  I appreciate your benches.

6) It does not however, have docking stations for your cell phones.  When using your iPhone as a GPS, it tends to suck batteries down pretty quickly.

7) Nature has an answer for that too, and will usually color coat their trees so I have some help.  Good looking out again, trees.

8) Bring like 5 pens.  You will lose them all.

9) Remind yourself to bring 5 pencils instead since the one pen you have left may run out of ink on the last cache.

10) Enjoy yourself.  We spent a lot of time on our one way walk to the caches, but put the phones down when we were done and took in our surroundings.  It’s gorgeous out there and one should get out and reconnect with it every once in a while.

So, all in all, I can solidly say I have an amazing new hobby.  If you are reading this and in my area, hit me up and I am sure K and I would be happy to show you the beginner ropes that we are still working with.  We try to go out a few times a week, either when I get out of work, or one of the weekend days.  If you go on your own, pocket a couple of small trading items (in case you find a cache with items, take one and leave one sort of thing) and something to write with.

Happy caching, friends!  Get out there and find something someone hid for you to uncover!

 

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June 8, 2014 · 6:42 pm

Why this Kickstarter is so Important to Me

I do have so much to tell you friends.  I can’t fit all of it here, but I can tell you I have been spending time doing some new things that have ended up in ridiculous stories.  I can say it’s mainly about starting geocaching (which has been so much fun getting into).

This is not about that.  This is about what I think may be the most important Kickstarter I have ever backed.

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of money.  What I did have was books.  I don’t remember a time where books were not important to me.  I remember being young and trying to sound out “Grey’s Anatomy”.  I remember the first time a book really got to me and I started bawling (Charlotte’s Web).  I remember trips to the library and many lazy afternoons, curled up with books to keep me company.

I also remember LaVar Burton.

An entire show about books.  It was magical and lovely.  It helped instill in me my love for books at a young age, teaching me that by opening a book, I was no longer a little girl sitting on a third floor porch.  I could go anywhere, be anything.  I could travel to lands and see them in my mind.  I could go on exciting adventures, some of them I even got to make my own choices (who didn’t love Choose Your Own Adventure books).  As I got older, that love didn’t die.  I learned that a book could get my pulse going and make me leave the light on.  I wouldn’t sleep with the closet door open for the longest time.  I could fall in love with love through books.

Friends, this was just as important a show as Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for me.  It wasn’t just me, either.  Most people I talk to around my age have wonderful memories of the show that taught us opening a book and expanding our minds was the most amazing thing to do.

The statistics now are scary.  1 in 4 children in the US will grow up illiterate.  That is just in the US.  There are countries where that number is probably higher; children who will grow up and never know the magic of books, or how much can be learned from them.

We can help.

This Kickstarter is a plan to bring Reading Rainbow to the web, into classrooms, not to a few, but making it accessible to everyone.  What he says makes perfect sense; 30 years ago, TV was the place to be to reach children.  Today, it is digital.  While there are many who may not have computers at home, there is access at schools.  Reading Rainbow can continue to do for those what was done for me.

Reading Rainbow gave me so much, I am so grateful to be able to be a part of this, even in a small way.  I hope you all will consider this as well.  Whether you watched the show or not, the importance of literacy, of the written word, is too important to let 1 in 4 children (more worldwide) go without at least trying to make it better.  You don’t have to be in the US, as this is something that will be worldwide.

The initial goal was met in less than 24 hours.  Now it is over double.  That does not mean that there is not a reason to donate.  Every dollar helps more people, more children.  It expands it more, brings it to more places, hopefully makes more life long readers.  I still love the smell of books, the feel of books, the art of them.  I do contribute Reading Rainbow as helping to foster that feeling for me.

I leave you all with a quote from one of the best authors I know:

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou

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May 30, 2014 · 12:16 am

Dance Party

It seems like it’s been far too long since there has been a dance party at my house.  It used to be a weekly occurrence, usually Friday nights, where I would get home for work, get some songs queued up, and just jam out.

Today has been a really good day, friends.  K and I took Girl2 down the street to the lake and just fed some geese, tried to LARP on a hiking trail (but Girl2 wasn’t having it.  She said no fights, said I could have traps, but there could still be no fighting because it was a peaceful place.  She wouldn’t even see my logic on if there are traps, it doesn’t seem so peaceful.), then came home and just put on music.  It took some time, but soon you could feel the vibe in the air.  Throw on some cheesy songs and people will move.  Myself included.  It was good to feel present.

I will end my day, tired, but happy.  I also have never seen a girl break it down like Girl2 on Gangham Style.  

I hope you all are well <3

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The Ballad Of FFAC Part 1

Life is crazy.  Sometimes, life is crazy in totally unexpected ways.

Sometimes we think we are going one way, and then something will set us back 10 feet.  Sometimes we think we have all the things in the world figured out, and then we find out that we were totally wrong.  Sometimes we make bad choices that end with something beautiful.

Then there is this, which is all of those things and then more.

There are certain events in my life, good and bad, that I remember as if they just happened.  I remember one of my first conversations with K, about snack cakes, skipping first period in high school.  I remember that to me, she was already special.  We didn’t see each other for a year when I switched to a different school, then they first time I saw her, I ran and attacked her with love.  She got over her fear of me.

I remember my first real, true interaction with HS.  My Panera soul-mate.  I will never forget that day in Canton, realizing we had 50 sandwiches to make and understand that together we could do it.  It was like magic.

I remember the moment of birth for all three of my children.  That first moment I held Lena, and I knew that nothing else in the world could be more perfect.  Nick came, and I felt the same thing.  Julie’s birth was so different, so traumatic, but still at the end when I saw her, there was that moment that you felt like nothing in the world could ever go wrong, not on your watch.

These are important to me; important life moments.  They aren’t the only ones, but some of the few.  There are scattered memories all over the place, of times, of people, good and bad.

FFAC.  Ryan.

I remember our first conversation ever.  I remember our first interaction.  As geeky as it is, it was playing WoW.  We were in a dungeon with some of our other guildmates.  K was there too.  We cleared it out, and people went, and we were still on Vent. We talked about coffee and lemonade, and how lemonade in New Zealand was not lemonade here.  It is Sprite there.  I thought he was lying, because how can lemon/lime soda be lemonade?  I had to leave to go to Panera, and I remember the drive.  I remember going over the conversation, and you have that moment where you know something has changed; something important has happened.

I won’t get into the whole story, because no one has that much time.  I will give you the gist.  We spent two years that way, talking on headsets, sending packages.  We were extremely close, but very far.  It still hurts a bit in some places when I think about that time, but all things happen for a reason.  I became pregnant with J.  He thought it would be okay, but I knew it wouldn’t, and I became distant and cold.  When things start to go distant and cold, when there is no nurturing, things and people go away.

It wasn’t his fault, and I don’t hate myself for that because honestly, to do so would be to regret what I received.  I know that whatever may be out there, fate, God(s), whatever, J was destined to be in this world.  I try not to regret, because to me, that is just an opening for never moving forward, but I do not like hurting people, especially not people I love.  I wrote him two letters, but he had moved and didn’t update his mailing address.  I have done the same thing, so I can’t fault him for that.

We stopped talking, for a long time.  4 years worth of long time.  I never stopped wondering what he was doing, or if he was happy.  I wondered if he had done what he was setting out to do when we first started talking.  There were times that I would think to myself that I should reach out, but I was scared.  I was really scared that had I, I would have opened the door for him to tell me I was a horrible person, and I couldn’t handle that coming from him.

I did what I had to do, what I thought was right to do.  I wasn’t unhappy, but I wasn’t happy either.  I could pretend, but I knew.  There was a lot going on, or rather maybe a lot not going on.  Again, when things are not nurtured, they die.

As cheesy as this is, I heard the Adele song, “Someone Like You”.  It resonated.  It not only did that, but it made me finally sit down at my computer and type out the email I waited 4 years to write.  It took me like an hour for not even a full paragraph.  I erased it a few times, closed the email a few times, debated it the entire time.  I had no idea what would happen and that terrified me.  You see, it didn’t matter to me what the outcome was, but I knew I just missed him in my life.  I wanted to communicate, even if it could only be as friends.  It took me a while, but I did hit send.

I did it and then went into panic mode.  I shut down my computer, I turned it back on.  I went into the living room and then went into the computer room and checked my email.  I saw he was online and shut down the computer again.  I turned it back on a few minutes later.  I was a wreck.

Sometimes facing your fears and doing what you are most scared to do can end up becoming a momentous, life changing moment.

 

He emailed back, and everything was very hesitant at first, but quickly fell back into old patterns.  There are rare people that if you are lucky, even if you don’t talk to them for a long time, when you do it is as if you were never apart.  It happened with K and I, and there are a few others I am lucky enough to have in my life that even if I don’t talk to them daily, we can always pick up where we left off.

Ryan was one of those people.  I think when you lose contact with someone important, truly lose contact, when and if you are lucky enough to get them back, you don’t want to mess it up again.  Whether it be a best friend, a relative, a soul mate, you don’t want to make the same mistakes.

I may wonder at times what kind of forces there are out there; whether it be fate, God(s), ka-tets, but I do know that sometimes a door may open, close, and then open again.  If it’s meant to be, then pieces will fall together and things move forward.  I do believe in some sort of fate, but I don’t believe fate does the work for you.  I think fate puts you in the right place at the right time, and you have to do the work.

There has been a lot of talk lately all around me about doors opening and closing.  I know some doors in my past that closed, and they closed because they weren’t my doors.  I don’t regret any of those doors, because they helped me realize who I am.  This may be part 1, and I don’t know when part 2 will be written because this story isn’t over.

Don’t be afraid, friends.  Or rather, it’s okay to be afraid, but then act on it.  Sometimes the best things come when we do what we are afraid of the most.

 

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For D&D over at mygamingadventures.com 

 

Enjoy!

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April 27, 2014 · 3:12 pm