I’m Not the Picture of any Man’s Dream

Sometimes I think that God not only had a vivid imagination, but also a great sense of humor as he created the human race.  How the population can be so vast, so unique, so different is almost beyond comprehension.  Every line on a face tells a story.  Every fingerprint identifies who we are.  Every hair on our head marks us as a unique individual set apart from all the rest.  How can this possibly be?

Look around you…we humans have so many of the same features.  Yet these same features are what set us apart.

But, through another’s eyes, how do we appear?  What do they see when they look at us?  Are they judging us by our appearance, our attitude, our speech, our walk?   Or, do they disregard all physical aspects of our being and look for our wisdom, our spirit, our character, our heart?

Initially, I take notice of the physical aspect of a person.  However, once they have caught my attention, the outer shell takes a back seat.   I find that I am most attracted to a person’s sense of humor, and their compassion for others.  I find a good listener as well as stimulating conversation invaluable.

Of course, it would be nice if we could all be Barbie and Ken with the chiseled features, the perfect hair, and sculptured body, but that just isn’t in the cards for the majority of us.  I would be lying if I said I never dreamed of  seeing heads heads turn as I walked in a room, to know that eyes followed as I walked passed, or even to hear the words, “Wow, you look hot!” However, as I have gotten older, those dreams have faded to a point.  I have learned that a person’s value to me isn’t their outward beauty, but rather the beauty that I see inside.

A person that reaches out to another, that brings a smile, that talks with love, that listens and really hears, that encourages laughter, and spreads hope and encouragement is a person that is beautiful to me.

I have witnessed that time has a way of altering our outward appearance and in many cases not in the most flattering way.    We gain weight, we acquire wrinkles, parts begin to sag, and our hair begins to thin and gray.  But the beauty from within seems to make a person more beautiful with the passing of time.  There is a certain glow that follows, there is a twinkle in the eyes, there is wisdom in their speech, and there is a love in their heart.  That my friend is true beauty and what we need to strive for.

Today I am thankful for the beauty from within.

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I Need a Tropical Depression

Catcha Falling Star Resort /Negril, Jamaica

I am in a bottomless pit, swallowed by fog, and drowning in nothing.  I am alone in a crowd, lost in a room, and consumed by emptiness.  The gray, the dark, and the cold backs me in a corner and will not let me retreat.  I squirm to get out of its clutches, but I am no match for the grip that it holds.

I love the beauty of the seasons, but I dread what it brings.  I know what’s in the forecast for me on an emotional level and no matter how I prepare for the oncoming “storm” I am never fully prepared.

I remember the first time it was brought to my attention.  I was visiting with my therapist and discussing the things that were weighing on my mind.  I was frustrated, and feeling down for no apparent reason.  I couldn’t pinpoint any particular issues, things in my life were running fairly smooth, I wasn’t dealing with any drama, and the job was going good.  Why I asked, was I feeling like I was at the end of my rope?

She took a deep breath and calmly said, “Well, it comes as no surprise.  You get this way each year at this time.”  I looked at her and questioned, “I do?”  She nodded in response as I gave her the tell me more look.  She added, “It’s called seasonal depression brought on by blah, blah, blah, and you suffer from it.”

Of course, me being the skeptical patient who thinks she knows more than a licensed therapist, laughed and said, “That’s the silliest thing I have ever heard!”  Her conclusion was I was down in the dumps because the sun wasn’t shining.  The gray, cloudy days dampened my spirits, squashed my enthusiasm, wrestled me to the ground, and kicked me while I was down.  How absurd is that I silently muttered as I left her office.

However, over the years, I have found her diagnosis to be justified and correct.  That is why I am always a little hesitant to see the fall and winter seasons approaching.  I enjoy seeing the colors of fall and the blanket of snow that winter often brings, but I dread the unwanted baggage that often follows.  I want the rays of sunshine, I crave the blue skies, and I need the warmth they both offer to put that spring in my step, the smile on my face, and the joy in my heart.

Today I am thankful for the clear blue sky and a little ray of sunshine.

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Did that Ring Burn your Finger

Did that ring burn your finger

Did that vow mean a thing

Is that new girl your dancing with

Your latest little fling

Does she make you feel much younger

Or do you think your cool

I guess you know that others saw

And thought you were a fool

I remember hidden phone calls

And your early morning “drives”

Guess I didn’t want to know then

Or listen to your lies

When you wined and dined me

You shared with me your past

How you were left for another

But you said we would last

Now you’ve left me standing here

Alone and full of fear

Wondering what just happened

And if I could trust again

You said you were tired of responsibility

That marriage and family brings

Yet it didn’t take you long at all

To buy new wedding rings

I’m sure she thinks that she’s the one

Different from all the others

If she only knew what she had coming

She would run for cover

Perhaps you’ve found your soul mate

And maybe three’s a charm

You always needed someone to dangle off your arm

I hope you truly love her

And consider her your equal

But we both know that’s not the deal

To your happy ever after

***********

Today I am thankful that I had to lose to win.

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Raise Your Glass

2011 Chamber Banquet

Table decorations

When I am asked what I do for a living, I often respond that I get paid to party!  How many people get the bragging rights to that statement?   While I might not be paid to actually “party”, I am in the middle of the action, the center of the stage, and close to the spotlight in a behind the scenes way.  That’s the way I like it.  I love the behind the scenes part the best.

The planning stages of an event takes months to prepare.  I never dreamed how much work truly went into the preparation.  I (along with my two co-workers) have sat through many meetings, spent numerous hours, made countless phone calls, and spent many sleepless nights wondering what had been forgotten.

Truthfully, before I went to work at the chamber, I didn’t give much thought to the planning at all.  Perhaps I thought that someone just snapped their fingers and “POOF” it just fell into place.  I guess you could say I took the whole thing for granted.  My eyes have been opened.

One of the most difficult and challenging aspects is finding sponsors willing to donate their time, their equipment, their talent, and/or their money.  Businesses are hit constantly for contributions for various worthy causes, school activities, and organizations, so competing for their budget dollars can difficult.

Fortunately, we have many businesses that are willing to step up to the plate and do their part for the community.  They can see the value, they visualize the big picture, they understand the benefits.  If an event is successful, the more people it will attract in the coming years.  That in return means more money being spent in our town.  Everyone benefits if this cycle is complete.

This is what the chamber is striving for.  Our job is to attract people to Snyder so they will spend money in your business, eat at your restaurant, sleep in your motel, have repairs done at your shop, establish roots in your neighborhood, and enroll students in your school.

One of the greatest aspects of my job is representing the community and the people that I love.  I am fortunate to work with two women that love Snyder as much as I do.  We each have different areas of passion and expertise and I think that is why we work so well together.  We are a team, we are a family, and above all, we are friends.  (Our team also consists of a dedicated group of volunteers, but that in itself is another story).

Today I am thankful for my hometown.   I have been known to threaten to pack up and move away on occasion, but I’m not sure I would ever be happy any where else.

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The Beauty of the New Fallen Snow

The Beauty of the New Fallen Snow / My backyard

There is nothing quite like pulling back the curtain at dawn and seeing the earth blanketed in new fallen snow.  The crispness, the clean, the pure beauty that can’t be matched.  I feel the coolness against the pain of the glass.  I watch the glass as it fogs from my breath as I breathe.  I pull the blankets up to my chin and long to stay tucked inside my warm cocoon.

However, the snooze on my alarm rudely keeps nagging that I need to rise and shine and face the new day.  I finally drag myself away from my nest and stumble to the kitchen for my morning cup of joe.  As I sit  in front of my big picture window, drinking my cup of motivation, I am in awe of the season.  I am not a cold weather person, so finding the beauty amidst the chill of the dawn, is a milestone for me.  But to ignore the simple artistry before me is impossible.

The rooftops are dusted, the trees are garnished, and the streets are paved with the beauty of the new fallen snow.  It’s like the picture in a storybook, but it’s not in a fairy tale.  It’s my own front yard.

Today I am thankful for the beauty of the new fallen snow.

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Everything and Nothing

Writing

Image via Wikipedia

There are just certain days the words won’t come.  I try to put my thoughts into phrases, my dreams into words, my feelings into paragraphs, and my views into written images.  I toss around ideas, I try to map out a plan, I brainstorm topics, and I research different subjects, texts, and themes.  However, if my mood isn’t in the right frame of mind, writing is like trying to get blood from a turnip.  It just ain’t gonna happen.

When you stop to think about how many things we witness each day, how many conversations we have, and how many stories we read, it’s hard to comprehend how one cannot find a topic to write, ramble, and discuss for at least 300 words.

I have concluded that it’s all about the mood, the stage, and in a sense, a mind set.  I don’t write because I have been assigned a topic.  I write for pleasure.  I write for expression.  I write for me.  Although I set a personal goal to write five times per week, there is no law that says I have to.  I won’t be penalized, I won’t be graded harshly, and I can drop the project at any time I choose.  That’s what makes this assignment enjoyable.

Writing is something that has filled a void.  It’s one of those things that I’m afraid if I didn’t make an effort to do on a daily basis, then it would just be another hobby tossed aside.  That is why it’s important to me to keep writing.  I want it to become a habit, an addiction and a ritual in my daily schedule.

Even though my son doesn’t have an interest in my writings at this time, my hope is that as he matures he might like to dig a little deeper into the person that I really am.  I want my writings to tell him my story in bits and pieces.  I want the stories to chip away the walls and reveal the inner core.  I want to answer the questions he may never think to ask. I hope to expose some new chapters in my life that he never knew existed.

Today I am thankful for being able to tell a story.

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Heaven Help Their Heart

The silence is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  The pain is so raw it hurts to meet their gaze.  The loss is so great I cannot imagine finding the strength to breathe.  To be swallowed up by grief and drowning in fallen tears is all I can see.  Yes, I have watched two close friends bury their children.  Two families touched in a way that they will never be the same again.

Death is something we all face, know is inevitable, and cannot escape.  There is no denying the fact that it is part of nature’s plan and part of the circle of life.  It is something we accept as part of the process.  Yet when we think of death, we think about burying our grandparents, our  parents, and perhaps our older siblings, but the concept of burying our child, rarely if ever, enters the equation.

As I stare across the room at my own child, I cannot imagine my life without him.  I cannot envision planning his funeral.  I cannot comprehend reading his tombstone or visiting his grave.  My heart literally aches for my friends when I consider this thought.

It also reminds me of my selfishness.  How dare I grieve over the fact that my son doesn’t live under the same roof as I any longer?  How dare I  shed a tear over a night of loneliness? How dare I weep over a dinner alone or not doing his laundry?  Although it is justified to feel hurt, and sadness over the loss of the daily routine of raising a child, it does not compare to the loss of a child.  I am working on putting these things in perspective because truthfully, my attitude over my son leaving the nest simply stinks…Period.

A visit from my son, even for a few minutes, is worth it’s weight in gold verses a visit to the cemetery.  A  phone call  where I hear his voice or a simple text with the words, “I love you” at the end, I’m certain my friends would trade over the silence.

When I think of what I have verses what they have lost, I am ashamed by my past actions of selfishness.   However, I am grateful that I am working through the rubble that has built up around me.  I am thrilled that this wall is coming down. I am blessed beyond measure.  I am loved beyond means.

Today I am thankful I can hear the voice, hug the neck, and hold the hand of my son.

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