Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Just Try

If I had never tried I would have never known my husband as friend. If I had never tried I would have been a widow now with resentment at the 30 years his rough treatment wasted. If I had never tried the memories our children would have dwelled on would be negative. But I did try, and after some protest he tried too.
We succeeded because we tried. Some lessons learned along the way were repeated over and over until we finally got it right. Daring to act is a bit like walking blindfolded sometimes. You stumble, you even fall, but standing still never gets you anywhere.
What ever your dream. What ever your prison. Just try. There is much to gain and really not so very much to lose. So what if you fail? Failure has its benefits too. But to never try is to settle always for the certain; to settle for the mundane; to settle for the ordinary. Seems a sad waste of such a awesome thing as a lifetime.
I am dedicated to at least an honest attempt at my hearts desires. I just try! It is scary sometimes, but I am much more afraid of not really living. Settling is for dust, and in my lifetime, at least, I am going to do my best to always stay as dust free as possible.
I am often breathless, when trying something new. But it is the breathlessness that comes from anticipation, not the out of breath sensation from being in a walled up area too small to support dreaming. And it all revolves around the simple fact that I try. Just try.


Monday, November 29, 2004


Happiness is a state of heart that begins with a state of mind. It can transcend any obstacle, bridge any gap, but only if you first believe in your right to own a fair share. It can embrace you even in the darkest night, and bring you safely to shore in any storm. It can become as much a part of who you are as your name.
But tending to it is your responsibility alone.
Do not place the burden of your happiness on other shoulders, others have no real power to make you soul happy, although they can add to your happiness in a special way. In the same way they do not have any more power over your unhappiness than what you give them by freewill.
So many things in life go much deeper than some people realize. Decide to be happy. Opt for laughter. Choose to smile. Place as much emphasis on giving your soul a happy home as you used when choosing the house you reside in.


Sunday, November 28, 2004


I spent today with my family celebrating Thanksgiving, retelling old stories and catching up on new ones. Familiar laughter echoed through my mother's house and one laugh sounded very similar to mine, but of a male tone. It was reassuring to recognize something of myself, in someone of my beginning bloodline.
Both of my brothers that were there share the twinkle in my eye, and my ready smile. Truly though, since I am the youngest it must be me who was gifted with what first belonged to them. So Brother's Both, I thank you for sharing with your little sister all the answering gleams and grins that passed between us today. And thank you for choosing wives I love and having children that I do too.
And Mom, thank you for always being there for me. I would have fallen face forward several times over, in the past two years without your support. I saw your eyes twinkle a time or two today and your smile never wavered, except for a split second when you first saw my tattoo. Thanks Mom, for saying I am a grown up now, sometimes I forget.
Every embrace I got today was given by arms that have hugged me forever, it seems. To my children, their spouses, and their children both present and absent I thank you for making me proud, each in your own way.
To my oldest brother and his family we missed you all, (and yes I love his choice and issue too). I thank you biggest brother for the ghost stories you told me as a child, and for letting me drive your car when I was a teenager.
Granny, thank you for sharing in our family in such a way as to be a perfect fit, with a charming southern accent. And thanks for the peach cobbler that my son still brags on. How about the recipe?
To the faithful few who visit here, thank you for the echoes of love left behind. And a special thanks to you Lancelot, from the Tower Princess. Happy Thanksgiving to both old friends and new.


Friday, November 26, 2004

My Echo

My echo will linger on long after I am gone. If I am lucky and plan ahead, it will have a gentle rhythm that comforts the left behind. My song will be resung often if it lifts the hearts of the ones who hear me singing now.
I have tried to be vivid enough, showing some of what is deep inside, to paint a portrait that will hold up over time. Not hiding every wart, so the image will remain lifelike even when recalled from memory alone.
I always wear the same perfume, attaching a scent to the picture. I took some time over this decision. Assigning traits to every scent until I found one that was earthy enough, bold enough, layered enough, and passionate enough to belong to me.
I have tried to keep my voice gentle even when it would have been easier to explode. I failed in this sometimes, but if I succeeded often enough then my echo will be mostly soothing. The noise I leave inside another head might, at times, play over and over like a broken record. I want to sound like a haunting flute, not like clanging cymbals with neither rhythm nor rhyme.
I seek to leave no bitter taste behind to choke those who loved me by choice or by design. I hope to be remembered, and remembered well. Not for fame or fortune. Not for beauty or intellect. But for the echoes I leave behind from my heart and soul. If I echo wisely now, I will echo often then.


Yesterday I Discovered

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Am having computer issues that have slowed me down. Also have been paying close attention to some new signposts in my own life, some of which are very compelling. The winds of change have filled my sails, and I am eager to see journey's end.
Not long ago I was invited to join an online grief group. I accepted not because I felt I needed additional help with coping, but that quiet voice I always try to follow said, please step this way.
Yesterday I discovered a blogspot just started by someone closely connected to a member. I had not put my link on there, but now I have. If this is the reason I was meant to join then I hope it comes full circle. All the signs are there.
I understand so much about fear and its intense power. Once it has hold it feels as if there is nothing you can do to break its embrace. But the right word at the right time has the power to give breathing room. I pray that somewhere in my rambling she finds the right word. It is why I write. It is why I struggle on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Be Prayerful

Whether you support the president and his policies; whether you support the war and its strategies; whether you voted republican, democrat, or not at all, I hope you give full support to our men and women in harms way. Be aware, be informed, and be prayerful.
As of Tuesday the Pentagon said 1,210 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the conflict began 20 months ago. At the beginning of November the Pentagon count stood at 1,119, and it rose rapidly as the Fallujah fighting intensified and insurgents struck back in other cities and towns.
Because of the heavy fighting in Fallujah and the insurgents' apparent attempts to respond with stepped-up attacks elsewhere, this month also is seeing one of the highest wounded totals. The number of wounded jumped by nearly 500 this week, according to Pentagon figures released Tuesday.
Since the start of the war, 8,956 U.S. service members have been wounded, of which nearly 5,000 were serious enough to prevent them from returning to duty. At the start of the month the total was 8,287.
Of the 91 or more U.S. deaths so far this month, it appears most were Marines. Of the first 71 deaths for which identifications were announced, 48 were Marines. Twenty-one were with the Army, and the Navy and Air Force each had one fatality. None of the 48 Marines was older than 29, and most were in their early 20s. Six of the Marines were 19 years old.



Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The What If Bogeyman

My daughter called first thing yesterday morning in a panic, almost fully submerged in a sea of what if's. I smiled softly, and began reciting the speech she loves to hear when the bogeyman invades her orbit.
"Don't borrow trouble, sugar. Just take a deep breath, and put that burden down until it's really yours to carry."
Pausing, I listened to the rhythm of her reply. The speed of both breath and fractured thoughts seemed to be decelerating nicely. My smile widened as I gave her a healthy dose of faith.
"Girl, none of that will probably even happen... But if it does, you'll land on your feet. You always do! Right?"
A rush of breath later she replied, "Yes."
"Worrying about tomorrow is keeping you from enjoying today. Right?"
A slightly embarrassed chuckle preceded a gentle, "Yes."
"Is there anything you can do now to change whatever is fated to happen?"
Without a pause she declared a determined, "No."
"Well, then relax. If trouble doesn't come you'll have tormented yourself for nothing. If trouble does come you'll have less energy to face it if you waste it all today."
A giggle was her only answer.
Our conversation lasted for almost an hour after the bogeyman departed. We talked of what is, and he could find no platform there to build his panic upon.
I talked to her late this afternoon. And of course all her fears had been for nothing. I wish her a life overflowing with what is, and the strength to face what facts she finds there. And after my voice is silenced, I rest in the certainty that in her mind, at least, its echo will always have the power to overpower the bogeyman.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Crossed Paths

What kind of footprints are you leaving behind on paths crossed on your journey. Is your step so soft that no hint of passing remains once you travel on? Is your tread so fierce that the damage left behind will take an ocean of tears to repair? Do you race like a lightning bolt or crawl snail slow? Have you ever paused long enough to help someone to grow.
The real quality of our journey is measured by the thoughtfullness of our footsteps, not in the clothes we wear, the homes inhabited, or the money we think we own. Things left behind are quickly claimed by others once we leave this journey behind. But footprints left upon the path of another soul belong to you for all eternity.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Know Yourself And Love Who You Are

Before I knew who I was, I tried to be what the people I loved needed me to be. I struggled daily to fit a mold that would please others as a way to recieve love. That plan failed miserably, but for the first 40 years of my life, I just kept trying as if at first you do not succeed try, try again was the secret to final success.
Then I woke up to the fact that if I did not know and love myself how could I expect others to do the same. After that everything tumbled into place. It was not a painless journey, but well worth every ache suffered along the way to rediscovery and rebirth.
Once done all the love I had struggled to earn by compliance was mine for the taking just because of who I was, not because I earned it by being a perfect paperdoll cut out of who I imagined they wanted me to be. And sometimes I have been lucky enough to be loved in spite of myself too.
Unconditional love came to me freely only after I gifted it to myself first. Now I dont play a role to get a place in the hearts of others. Today I am who I am with pride. Tomorrow I will be the same, although I will continue to grow. Being a work in progress is an exciting, awesome thing to be.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Dreaming While Awake

I am a dream weaver by nature and design, but never wait till slumber to exercise that God given prerogative. Some dreams are too large to achieve inside my small orbit, yet that does not stop contemplation. I have learned to take lofty dreams and cut them down to Glenda size, which gives a much better chance of success.
Take world peace as a perfect example. I dream of it often. Knowing that I have no power to wave a wand and make it happen world wide, I simply cut it down to fit a pattern I can work with.
I keep my three feet of personal space as free of conflict as possible. I refuse to borrow trouble, or worry about what might happen. Dealing with only what IS seems the sanest option. I keep both hands firmly on those reins, so it is impossible to try to drive anyone elses.
On my way down my lifepath I stop from time to time and post signs along the way, some warning danger, some pointing to beauty noticed that I fear others will miss in their haste. But my wagon is not attatched to a long line I am pulling by force.
Others are welcome to follow along at their own pace or not at all if they choose. Often on my journey, I have climbed down and strolled beside fellow travels who needed someone to listen and care, but when their strength is restored I am always ready to go back to path finding on my own wagon ride.
World peace begins for me in my own small world and there I can achieve my dream. And if in some little way my peace stops the war inside someone else then it grows.
And if they, in turn, touch someone else then the cirlce of peace widens. And if it continues to be payed forward in like fashion then my dreams of world peace will bloom into a reality that far exceeds anything that would have happened if I had not bothered to dream at all.


Monday, November 08, 2004

For Our Men And Women At War

I say a prayer as I wake that follows me throughout the day,
For the safety of all service men and women, half a world away.


The Picture Story

The picture of my husband posted yesterday was taken the summer of his sign building. It is my favorite and played a huge part in his life in a way he never anticipated.
Cancer changed his appearence, making him look years older than he was. When he entered the hospital each time, I taped that photo above his bed, first thing.
I sat back and watched caregivers look from picture to man and back again, and knew first hand what they were feeling. Years spent working in a nursing home had taught me well that a picture of youth, health, and happiness placed above a bed made caring for the old, ill, or unhappy more of an honor and less of a burden.
A snapshot puts things in perfect perspective for the ones who tend to the needs of the weak. Jerry recieved more tender care because of a picture hung overhead. Busy Doctors', Nurses', and Aides' clearly saw the man, behind the illness. It slowed them down just enough for real smiles and words of cheer that always comforted my frightened mate.
The picture kept me centered too. Because of it I never lost sight of him either. I treated him like my man even after he became as dependent as a child. His place was secure and dignity rock solid, all due to a single moment, frozen in time, and securely taped to sterile hospital walls.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Tips For Making Friends With Your Mate

1-Let them know you love them and that your only aim is to improve what you share. They will be less intimidated by any suggestion made in a loving manner than by demands made out of frustration.
2-Be yourself in the same way you would with a same sex friend, but go slowly at first. Understand any change in your normal actions will naturally put them off balance; going slowly gives them time to adjust to your new attitude.
3-Find time alone away from everyone and everything that will distract from total concentration on each other. No phones, no kids, and no time limits.
4-Talk about everything. Explain how you feel and why you feel that way. Sometimes the reasons behind your feeling are more important than the feelings themselves. Leave nothing hidden.
5-Take turns talking. Do not interrupt. If you stop them in mid-sentence, or mid-thought you will both miss important insights about each other, as well as some surprising ones about yourself.
6-Keep in mind what is a certainty; as things you reveal will often shock and sometimes distress your mate, the same will apply to you.
7-Do not be afraid to be the one to make the first move. You may have to begin again and again, it happens minute by minute sometimes.
8-Resolve all old issues in a calm manner. Get old baggage out of the way, but do it in a friendly manner, like friends should.
9-Forgive, forget, and go on. Once resolved let go. If your partner continues to revisit old demons do not join them. Explain your desire for a relationship free of the past, aimed toward the future. Push their demons toward them, and explain that it is up to them to slay them. If they are as committed as you are to achieving an equal partnership they will do their part to make it a peaceful union.
10-Realize early the vast differences between not only how males and females think, but also how they express those thoughts. Misunderstandings are easily possible without much effort on both sides, because our expectations are often poles apart. You can not make them think your way, but you can enlighten them on how your mind really functions. Just because they are clueless does not mean that they do not care, and is often simply a symptom of not enough information. Inform them when they need it, and allow them to return the favor.
11-Touch when you talk; as long as you are physically connected it is harder to close doors, or build walls.
12-When walls appear on either side, and they will from time to time, tear them down before the cement dries. When either person is sealed out the relationship can not grow, and that often causes backsliding into old habits, which have no place in your new relationship. If you are equally committed to each other, getting past the wall building stage is easier. But it takes time to unlearn old habits, so be patient.
13-Use pen and paper to address subject matter you have trouble gettin out in the open face-to-face. Gently, words are powerful tools and deadly weapons so do not argue on paper.
14-Be unpridictable, break old tired habits.
15-Do not over analyze. Do not crowd them. Do not let them crowd you.
16-Celebrate your differences as what makes your relationship special. Your differences make you unique, they can be utilized to make your relationship unique too.
17-Be proud when others find your mate attractive. Be honest, would you really want to be with someone nobody would ever try to hit on. Keep it all in perspective.
18-Be as willing to praise good behavior as you are to condemn bad ones.
19-Let them have enough space to grow. Remember just because you love them that does not mean you own them.
20-Be willing to say you are sorry when you should, and you are wrong when you are. Do not make assumptions about what they know about feelings not voiced. Say it out loud, because unless they are psychic they will not know what you are feeling without hearing it from you.


The First Step Was Mine

I only suffered physical abuse once in my marriage, but once was enough to gain understanding of what it feels like to be a victim. Nothing could have convinced me to remain in that relationship if such actions had become common-place.
But I did allow and absorb tons of mental abuse before putting a stop to it in 1993.
Ugly words were effective weapons for twenty years. Silencing them was one kind of struggle, quieting their echo was another. Belittling by a loved one slices soul-deep. Scar tissue from such injuries does not even begin forming until the abuse ends. A smart verbal abuser keeps old wounds raw, while constantly making fresh ones.
I finally rejected the distorted image created by my abuser. I recreated myself from the inside out then painted a picture for him in bright colors, seeing my true reflextion in his eyes was a just reward for all my trouble. Ten years of happiness excused it all. But the first step was mine.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Certainty Of Love

I will never forget the moment when I knew for certain my husband had really changed, and our life together was worth salvaging. Years of abuse fell away at that instant, never to be revisited in action or mind. The labor on his part was solitary, as was my viewing of it.
I drove home down a lonely back road after midnight shift at the nursing home, my mind filled with tumbling thoughts inspired by the winds of change. Halfway through my trip I noticed a large wooden sign, hanging on a power pole next to a corn field. It had one word painted in bright red, one letter screaming out from a stark white background. It said simply, I.
Looking down the road I noticed signs hanging on the next three poles. I streched, rubbed tired eyes, then gazed absentmindedly at the second bright red word. It said simply, LOVE.
Smiling at the unexpected message, mind full of curiosity about the last two signs I drove faster to reach the next one. It said simply, YOU.
I laughed out loud, heart full of joy for whoever loved someone enough to broadcast it next to a very well traveled road. Wishing someone loved me like that I drove on toward the last sign. But half way there I stopped the car, tears made it impossible for me to see the road, yet I had no trouble reading the bright red letters, hand painted on the last sign. It said simply, GLENDA.
Those signs hung next to that road all summer long. I was asked dozens of times if I was the Glenda, and glowed with pride at every yes. I guess it was the farmer that finally took them down, because they came up missing at harvest time. But in my mind they hang there still, a fitting testimony to the awesome power of love.
Jerry is gone now too. We enjoyed ten years of real friendship and unconditional love before his death. His change was not instant, though; my rebirth occured in October of 1993, and the signs did not go up until the following summer. The greatest gift I ever recieved was handmade from scrap lumber, left over paint, and reawakened love. And happily ever after began for me on that lonely back road leading home.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My Rebirthday


Whatever is held in a tight fist, is yours by force alone. Whatever is controlled, using fear, will either bolt or die.
Whatever is twisted out of shape by possessive hands, is bound to spring back someday.
But whatever is altered soul deep will never pass away.

For twenty years I was fist held, controlled by the expert use of fear, twisted into a mute mummy, manipulated like a puppet by the hands of a dedicated bully. Marriage during those years was little more than a tyranny, and in his kingdom there was absolutely no space for personal growth.
For those who do not truly understand the meaning of tyranny, it is a goverment where one person is vested with absolute power. It is a word that describes well what I lived through. But at forty I realized that if I did not repossess my space it would forever belong to someone who seemed hell bent on my destruction.
One idea kept echoing in my brain as I first struggled to regain control. Whatever power he held I had handed to him. If I gave it then I could take it back. The choice was mine alone. That one concept, so simple, so true carried me past all fear. I have thanked God, for small ideas that change lives, every day since my rebirthday on October 30, 1993.