My Beautiful Readers…

I’ve missed this community so much. I hope you are able to hear the sincerity in my written voice.
The last time we talked I said that I would be sharing the exciting changes that are happening. I never came back and did that. The truth is, I got busy. Really, really busy. And now, well, I’m not so busy and here I am. That sounds much like you are getting my leftovers. I realize how not cool that is.

This year, my faithful friends, I vow to meet you here more often than “every now and then.” This place, here with you, is the energy drink when reality wears me down. Selfishly I want this to be a place where I can expose my wounds in hopes of finding a comfort. That’s what my ego wants anyway, but I will not be getting away with that. The winds of change are stirring, leaving me unsettled and excited.

What is God up to?

He is changing my heart. This is not the first time. It isn’t comfortable. It goes against every ounce of my human nature. It is, however, necessary in order to fulfill His plan for my life. He is drawing me away from the place of comfort and towards the place of risk.

He is providing everything I need at the exact time I need it, not a moment too soon nor ever too late. When this happens… when He makes it so blatantly obvious that He alone provides for and sustains me, it shows me how faithful he truly is. It makes me feel closer than ever before to His plan and purpose for my life. It helps me trust His design.

This year, I want to care more about how many people know love, compassion and Jesus than how many followers I have or don’t have on Twitter. I want to be quick to help without caring who gets the credit. I want to mean it when I pray, “Thy will be done.” even when it’s hard. I don’t want to be embarrassed or hesitant when people ask me about my faith.

So what does this mean?

I’m not totally sure? I have an idea. Some things are already in the works. Things that require time, energy and resources. Things that have no monetary gain. I know God will provide. He is my Great Provider and all I have to do is look at His track record to remember His faithfulness.

I also know that I am one of the few who has been given the opportunity to pursue my passion. It’s quite sobering to think about how much Chris has sacrificed so that I can chase this dream of mine. I also know, were he not in full support it would not be possible for me to follow the path of what I believe to be my destiny.

I guess what I’m saying is, “More will be revealed.” I miss sharing my story, I miss this community, and I’m going to do better.

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The man I love lays down next to me. He reaches over, lightly caressing the top of my bare shoulder with his strong hand before sleep sets in. Nothing is said. Words are not needed. His arm slips down beside mine as his breathing changes to deep and rhythmic.

I turn to see the outline of his face in the darkness and I whisper, “Thank you God for this man.” His mind brilliant. His body strong. His passion intense and his love complete. Leaving my heart full and desires lacking nothing.

I take his hand and lace the sleepy fingers between mine to feel the energy pulsating through. Is this a dream? This life that I have… is it real? I have been asking myself that same question for the last 10 years. Usually at night when the only sounds are those heard when everything else is quiet.

I turn onto my side and close my eyes soaking in my reality. Knowing how completely undeserving I am of this man and the security he brings. Not underestimating the chemistry that we share.

Pressing my eyelids tight, expecting tears to come, they never do. I squeeze his fingers between mine as he sleeps, realizing that I am growing in the understanding of unconditional love. I am accepting the imperfection of self while giving in to the happily ever after that exists even for a girl like me. At least here. Now. In this place. In this moment of beautiful calm.

Five Minute Friday: Stay

Words, quotes, statements, pleas, heartbreak, uncontrolled happiness… all flooded my mind when I read Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday prompt.


How many times and in how many ways do I use this word?

With my husband;
Can’t you stay in bed a little longer.
Can you stay with the boys while I run some errands.
Thank you for staying even when it wasn’t easy.
I could stay right here, in this moment with you forever.
Where will we stay when we go to __________?

With my children;
Stay right there! Don’t move!
I wish I could stay with you at school all day. It would be so fun!
We are going to stay with family when we go to California.
I wish you could stay this little forever.
Papaw is coming to stay for a few days!

I have so many uses for this word stay. Some healthy, others not so much. Regardless of the category in which they fall I have learned much about this word, my interpretation and the way I use it with others.

With Chris it’s, “Don’t leave yet. Stay.” What I’m really saying is, “I feel insecure. Please don’t leave me.”

When I tell my children I wish they would “stay little forever” it’s not really what I mean. I want them to grow and thrive and live life to the fullest.

Many times the things I wish could stay the same must evolve for my betterment. I don’t always see it, or want it for that matter, but it must. Few things stay the same and I am quite certain I wouldn’t want them to. Nothing but the Father’s love and faithfulness. Upon those I can rely, build my future and speak my truth. All else stays for a time and is gone.

My five minutes are up! Thanks for stopping by.

Intimacy ~ It’s not what you think

What is the first thing that came to mind when you read the title of this post? For me, it’s sex. The truth is, intimacy is so much more than that.

After conversing with people from all walks of life, it’s incredibly clear that there is a real disconnect when it comes to intimacy, sex and being vulnerable.

This is something worthy of discussion. And not just once or twice. Ongoing. Admittedly it’s a tricky subject. I don’t want to make any career altering statements and at the same time I want you to understand that it’s not about where you’ve been as much as where you are.

Women, I don’t know what you’ve grown up hearing about sex, but here is what I know to be true…
It doesn’t have to be dirty.
It’s possible to relinquish everything that has happened and start fresh.
Nothing feels as good as redemption.
When you give yourself permission to stop sorting through the wreckage, you discover a new kind of freedom.

Men, don’t treat us like a whore. We don’t want to feel replaceable and when we look amazing, TELL US.

I cannot say everything I want to say. Nor explain in detail where my heart is on this because, quite honestly, it wouldn’t be pertinent to everyone and there are things in my relationship with my man that are just ours. Sacred things that allow us to look across a crowded room at each other, confident that we are fully known.

Love in it’s purest form. Transparency without limitations. Trust beyond comfort. The unalloyed definition of relationship. A safe haven. A source of life and freedom. Being pursued and overtaken by someone who wants every part of you, and you them. Heart, mind, body, past and present. That is intimacy.

If you are in a committed relationship and you are not able to do this, something is missing. I didn’t say, “Something is wrong.” I said, “Something is missing.” Marriage is your golden ticket to “get your freak on.” Not in a crazy sadistic sort of way, but in a fun, exploratory sort of way.

If you don’t believe me, If you are someone who can’t even be naked in your own presence without shame and embarrassment, I would encourage you to start with the following…
Stop making small talk or expecting a long conversation before being physical. When you are at a level of true intimacy, it’s possible and at times more beneficial to communicate without using words.
Be comfortable in your skin. It’s okay to be naked with the lights on.
DO NOT, under any circumstance, discuss perceived flaws of your physique.
Learn about your body. We are complex creatures. It doesn’t go down the way it’s depicted in movies. It’s better!

Now, go send your hunka burnin’ love a suggestive text message… even if you’re right next to them. It may be their go-to while sitting in that budget meeting tomorrow at work.

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Mixed Blessings

The word “Mixed” by definition means; containing a mixture of both favorable and negative elements. While the word “Blessing” means; a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being. I have had a bit of experience with mixed blessings. You?

I hear interesting conversations about in-laws. Sometimes I think that they were put here to make holidays stressful. When discussing this sensitive subject with several girlfriends I asked how different their lives would be if they didn’t have a mother-in-law. This brought a smile to most of their faces. (If you’re a mother-in-law who’s already feeling offended, just hang with me.)

I then asked how it would change things had they never met their husband’s mother. They agreed that they have learned a great deal about their man from talking with his mother.

The truth is, I have never met my mother-in-law. We talked on the phone when I was a teenager, but she passed away before I was able to sit down and share in conversation over a cup of coffee or give her a hug and breathe in her unique smell that would later bring her to memory when a passerby was wearing the same scent. I was not able to ask her how she survived being a full-time working single mother.

When Chris and I were apart for a time I would have dreams about Lou Ann. We would be sitting in a cafe having conversations about life. I would wake up the next morning with her on my mind and throughout the day I felt a closeness to her.

Weird, I know. Especially for someone I had never even met. Eventually the relentless persuasion of thoughts to write Christopher a letter about his mother, whom he loved dearly and I had never met, led me to a pen and paper. My hand could not move as quickly as the words formed in my mind.

Suddenly, I was speaking of this woman I had never known as if we had been in each others company on a regular basis. I explained in the letter that I knew it sounded crazy, but there were things I felt she would want him to know. I then held on to it.

The next time I was in New York Chris and I had dinner and talked about our lives over the last couple of years. I nervously gave him the letter knowingly that he would probably think I was nuts. I asked him not to read it until the day I left. It was April 17th, two years to the day that his mother had passed away. I was not aware of that at the time.

Many things have fallen into place between then and now. Things I never dreamed possible. All I have of Lou Ann are a few photos and the memories that Chris shares with me.

She was an Educator. Brilliant. Beautiful. Strong. She was a fighter. A Survivor. She is my husband’s mother. Isn’t she stunning?

I was never able to ask her about Chris’ childhood…when he cut his first tooth or if he tried to climb out of his crib the way our oldest son did.

“What was his first word?” “When was the first time he tried rice cereal?” “Did he like sweet potatoes as much as my boys did?”

“What was his favorite lullaby when he awoke afraid in the middle of the night?” “Did she rock him to sleep?” “When was his first haircut? Did she cut it or take him somewhere to have it cut? Did he scream the way our youngest does?” “Did he have a favorite blanket or toy?” “How old was he when he took his first step?” “When did he lose his first tooth?” “What was his favorite thing to do?” “Do our boys look like him?” “Do they have the same mannerisms?” “When did he skin his knee for the first time?” “What is your favorite memory from his childhood?” “Has he always loved to draw and create?”

A vital question I wish I could have asked before going into labor with our first son is,
“How big was Chris’ head when he was born?” and “How long was your labor?”

So many questions unanswered. So many moments missed that I know she would have cherished.

Our children know her as “Lulu.” And as far as they’re concerned, heaven is filled with balloons released from their little hands while blowing kisses to the sky.

It’s been some time since I have found her on the other side of sleep, waiting in a cafe, to talk about my boys and compare notes over coffee and hot tea, I can only hope that I will find her there again sometime.

I am incredibly grateful to her for taking care of the love of my life. For making sure that he was provided for and prepared to face a world of both disappointment and triumph, ugliness and beauty.

I know, in-laws can be rather challenging (to say the least.) But they can also be a wonderful resource into the things that made our spouse who they are today. They are much like, “mixed blessings.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on extended family. What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened at a “family” event or around your diner table? Do you get along with your mother-in-law?

Travel theme: Food

Ailsa blogs over at “Where’s my backpack?” I always enjoy looking at the captures of recent travels, but rarely participate in the travel theme because, in this season of life, I really don’t travel that often.

This week is a little different. Though I only traveled in the city, I felt like I had been transported to Japan. I didn’t have my “good” camera, but took some shots with my phone. They turned out pretty good and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this with you.

Real wasabi root

We had several beautiful sushi rolls. By the time I took my phone out, only this one little piece remained. And though the plainest of all the rolls, it was still delicious.

This is why I don’t share my dipping sauce.
When I’m finished, there are remnants of the various rolls enjoyed.
To have it any other way would be stressful and less enjoyed.

Now to the main that had strangers coming to our table asking what it was…

Isn’t it beautiful! I love the way the Japanese appreciate every aspect of their food.
They are the master artisans of the kitchen.

Here is a close-up of the dish so that no detail is missed.

This is now our favorite sushi joint.
I was showing these pictures to my boys because I think it’s important to recognize where our food comes from. We are so separated from the reality of the process that my children think it either comes wrapped in saran wrap, packaged in paper or from a box.

“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too.
And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird ~

There is more to share about this local find in a later blog post
with higher quality pics and more variety.
Stay tuned!

What are your thoughts? Would you rather know where your food comes from
or is it easier to remain uninformed?

You’re not the boss of Me

This was my less than loving response when my incredibly attractive husband walked downstairs and began our first verbal exchange of the day.

It was a Friday and it went something like this…

Him: “Honey, we need to run a few errands and get some things done around the house.”

Me: “I know, but NOT today! It’s my ‘pajama pants wearin’, don’t tell me what to do, day!’ I exclaimed, while shoving another sea salt & turbinado sugar dark chocolate almond in my mouth and chasing it with Peet’s coffee. (Perfect combination if you ask me.)

Him: “Ooooooo-kay.”

Me: “You KNOW this! Friday is MY day to do what I want! And I don’t want to run errands or wash dishes, do laundry or anything else that requires motivation on my day to do what I want! I will do it tomorrow or Sunday, but NOT TODAY.”

Side Note: My man is Sicilian. He is intense and passionate. (Two of the many things that make him irresistible to this southern gal.) Nothing gets his heart racing (in a good or bad way) like I do. I read his cues well at this point and what his deep caramel colored eyes were telling me was that he was maintaining the utmost control by not saying anything. Now, he may have been biting the sides of his cheeks ’til they bled, but I was really proud of him for not engaging my teenage like tantrum.

Him: “Would you mind peeling yourself off the sofa long enough to dress our son so that I can take him to run errands with me?”

I was up grabbing clothes, socks and shoes before he had finished his sentence! (The house all to myself?! You don’t have to ask me twice!)

I don’t know if he passed on telling me that I was acting like a brat because it just wasn’t worth it or because he knows I have enough self awareness by now to realize when my behavior is less than appropriate. I like to believe he was thinking the latter of the two. Either way, he offered to remove distractions, giving me a few cherished moments of “me” time.

I’m a writer. When I’m not able to express myself through written word I feel unsettled with each day that passes. By the time a week has rolled around, I’m ready to implode. I covet the moments when my mind can spill out onto these pages with uninterrupted thought. In fact, there is absolutely no noise other than the tapping of the keys as I write and the intermittent crunching of almonds. Ahhhhhh, serenity now.

So, here’s the deal. I’m keeping my “Don’t ask me to do anything day.” I highly recommend that you do the same. Pick a day that works for you. And by day I mean, several hours, not 24. Oh, and leave out the childish fit, it’s not pretty. Trust me!