26 Random Facts

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It’s been a while since I’ve played a blogging game, (they all start to look the same after a while, don’t they?), but 26 Facts A to Z looked like fun. I spotted it on Paula Acton’s blog and if you want to see her list you can find it here.

A- Age: I’m hurdling toward 40, but I feel like I’m still a kid in many respects. I still love Disney movies and coloring.

B- Biggest fears: Drowning, someone breaking into the house, and failure. However, snakes literally paralyze me. I have no idea why as snakes have never given me a reason to fear them.

C- Current time: 3:19 p.m. It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Clouds are in the sky and it’s a warm 70 degrees.

D- Drink you last had: Tall Cafe Mocha – I’m still enjoying it, actually!

E- Every day starts with: Feeding my furkids. I’m not allowed sleep past 5:00 a.m. Ever.

F- Favourite song: At the moment, I love Life Support by Sam Smith, Coldplay’s new album A Head Full of Dreams, and the soundtrack for Cinderella (the live action version, 2015).

G- Ghosts, are they real?: Not sure. Haven’t met one, yet.

H- Hometown: That’s a tough question. I’ve lived in a lot of places, so I’ll go with my favorite: Land O’ Lakes, WI. It’s a tiny town in Northern Wisconsin (not the Minnesota town that makes the butter). My best childhood memories live in thick forests and beautiful lakes.

I- In love with: My husband, Edward Cullen (even after 8 years), Jim Halpert (it’s been longer for him!), and Charlie Cox a.k.a Matt Murdock a.k.a Daredevil, (my newest love)

J- Jealous of: Anyone with a literary agent. It’s been a long stretch of rejection! However, it’s not a bitter jealousy.

K- Killed someone?: I killed a character in my first novel. Does that count?

L- Last time you cried: Today. One of my furkids is struggling. He’s elderly and near the end of the line – it’s not easy knowing I’m going to lose him and soon.

M- Middle name: Nope. That’s my secret.

N- Number of siblings: One younger sister. I love her dearly.

O- One wish: At the moment, I just want more time to knit. Of late, it seems life is invading my precious crafting time!

P- Person you last called: My mom.

Q- Question you’re always asked: Are you ever going to have kids? No.

R- Reason to smile: Even with hardship and loss, life is beautiful. I just have to look out the window or give my furkids a hug to know how lucky and happy I am to have this life.

S- Song last sung: I don’t sing. Trust me, I’m doing the world a favor.

T- Time you woke up: 5:00 a.m. As always.

U- Underwear colour: Today, it’s blue.

V- Vacation destination: My most recent adventure was in Portland, Oregon. This year, I’m not sure I’ll be going anywhere. My husband is currently in night school, which means someone needs to be home with the furkids.

W- Worst habit: Compulsive chocolate eating. It’s wildly out of control and is likely to get worse with Valentine’s Day around the corner.

X- X-Rays you’ve had: Just my teeth. I’ve been lucky on the medical front, so far.

Y- Your favourite food: Chocolate. Much to my peril, I can’t leave it alone.

Z- Zoos visited: Out of Africa, Phoenix Zoo, Chicago Zoo, Payson Petting Zoo (this is barely a zoo, but we had fun).

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Feel free to play along and post your link in the comments!:-)

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c.b.w. 2016

Walking Through Grief

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When my grandmother passed away three years ago, I was flooded with so many emotions I couldn’t even process what I was feeling. There was intense sorrow mixed with relief, gratitude, and nostalgia. I know – that’s an odd mixture of feelings after losing someone I was incredibly close to throughout my life.

The sorrow was obvious,  but I hadn’t counted on the relief. Her death was not a surprise. I had watched her slowly deteriorate from dementia for more than a year. She wasn’t suffering anymore and there is a certain amount of thanks for that when someone you love is suffering. What’s more, I was with her the night before her passing and those last moments are now beautiful and happy memories.

Gratitude came from feeling unbelievably blessed for the privilege of knowing such a beautiful person. I had the kind of relationship with her the most people will never experience with their grandparents.

Nostalgia is probably the most painful, because all the memories I cherish are also the reason I miss her so much it hurts.  My only saving grace on this front is a poem she wrote to both me and my sister telling us not to cry over her. It hangs on my fridge as a daily reminder of how she wants to be remembered, (See In Grandma’s Words). This is where the gratitude comes in as well. Her poem continues to keep me grounded.

All of these emotions thrashed around inside of me with nowhere to go. There comes a moment when you realize there needs to be a release. I didn’t want it to be ugly or messy or traumatizing. I wanted it to be peaceful and joyful like my Grandma’s poem.

I did the only thing that made any sense to me. I put on my hiking shoes and went for a long trail walk. The desert sand crunched beneath my feat. Every step seemed to push the sorrow into the ground and replace it with a sense of purpose and assurance. Life will go on and it will be beautiful. The smell of creosote came with each breath. The sun lit up the mountains and sky in a glorious shade of coral. Life didn’t feel heavy with the enormous weight of loss. Not anymore.

Every emotion rolled through me, but they were no longer thrashing. The evening air, cacti, and stones all seemed to invite them to come out and simply exist. It was liberating and calming. In so many ways it allowed me to accept the natural course of life and all the feelings that go along with it.

Whenever the grief feels overwhelming I go back to that day on the desert trail.

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A view along my desert trail. c.b.w. 2012

When my grandfather died last year, I found myself dealing with the same emotions all over again. Even with experience, it isn’t any easier dealing with the loss of a loved one. I held onto those thrashing emotions a bit longer this time around. I wasn’t ready to let go of something so precious.

It wasn’t until I was on vacation a few months later that I realized what I had to do. Those thrashing emotions were going to tear me apart unless I found a place for them go. Once again, I laced up my hiking shoes and went on a trail hike.

This time a thick, mossy forest reminded me to breathe. Like the desert before, it’s like the trees invited those thrashing emotions to come out and simply exist.  To be surrounded by so much life – the green of the leaves and the warmth of the sun filtering through – the  weight lifted once more. Life is beautiful and will go on. We hold those we love close to us no matter where they are. The pulse of the ground  anchored me to this world, giving me a sense of joy that I am still here and must make the most of each day. That’s what he would have wanted me to do.

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Forest Park, Oregon, c.b.w. 2015

I don’t know that grief ever totally heals, but my walks have shown me there is more to loss than sadness. I miss my grandparents every day, but I find their absence isn’t as hollow as I once believed. The memories are always there and so is the love. If I’m ever in doubt that they are near, I just remember the crunch of desert sand and the shade of thick trees.

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c.b.w. 2016

Lighter

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Falling into a space

too deep for light

Too many things to do

Too many things to feel

Too many things to hold onto

Just too many things

Beyond the usual stress,

not even chocolate and coffee can fix

It reaches deep and hollows out a secret place

Everything inside collapses

But no one knows

No one sees

Broken pieces stay hidden,

beneath the survival smile

Lost in the daily grind

Life goes on

The moment passes

Shadows lift

All those things fall away,

packed in boxes,

cleared out

Replaced with something lighter

Something unbroken

Making that false smile

real

 

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c.b.w. 2015

Scribble Diary: Insomnia

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A small bout of insomnia gave me a little extra time over the weekend, so I pulled out my Scribble Diary. When I opened up to the next blank page, I knew it was meant to be – the prompts perfectly matched the day I had as well as some fairly recent events in my life.

Choice Of The Day:

My insomnia likely began because I got home late after a nice date with my husband. We noshed on Chipotle burritos and then headed to the nearest Half Price Books to peruse the used CDs. This is one of our favorite things to do because it’s the only place to find the music of what we call our era – the 90s – at an affordable price.

We spent a good hour combing through every CD, but then it all came down to the ultimate debate of what to get and what to put back. How nice that my Scribble Diary had a spot to record this momentous occasion! I’m already jamming to A Boy Named Goo as Goo Goo Dolls are among my all time favorite bands.

What I Can Hear Right Now:

Late night sounds are strange in my house. My dog was very upset that we were up waaaay past his bedtime and he wasn’t shy about letting us know he was annoyed. His high pitched whining is a lot like power drill on it’s highest speed.

Confession: I love true crime shows. Especially Dateline. I watch them all the time and my love of these shows baffles everyone I know. The happy-go-lucky, creative, nerd likes murder shows???? Yup, and my favorite true crime reporter is Keith Morrison. That guy can tell a story! Aside from him, I think my obsession with Dateline is two-fold. I’m fascinated by forensics and investigator methodology, but I also find comfort in knowing the bad guy is behind bars.

While the rest of the country is buried in snow, it’s 73 degrees and the crickets are going nuts outside my window. Summer is already trying to creep in and deep fry the air.

Something To Be Proud Of:

See A Haiku Victory!

Not To Do:

Obviously, sleeping was not in the cards so it ended up on this list until about 1 a.m.

Even though I had plenty energy the laundry pile was not going anywhere. And why should it when there’s another load in the dryer? I might as well take it all upstairs at once, right? Rationalizing is hard work.

John Carter was on television, so we decided to give it a try. I only made it through about half an hour before I decided this was a bad movie. The books are probably great, but the movie is just awful. No wonder it tanked.

In Conclusion:

A pretty good day!

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Gratitude

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After stuffing myself with Thanksgiving turkey and spending time with family, I can’t forget to take a moment to be thankful for all the little blessings in my life. Every year, I like to sit down and make a list of 22 Moments of Gratitude and this year is no different.

1. My husband. It’s been 15 years and I still find myself falling in love with him.

2. Moments when Grandpa tells a great joke.

3. Time with my mother, to write or to talk.

4 Fridays with my sister. I love how we laugh.

5. Both of my furkids are still wagging their tails. At 11 and 14 years old, I treasure every moment I have with them.

6. While I am still heartbroken at the loss of a dear friend, I am grateful for the memories that remind to smile.

7. Yarn on my knitting needles and a new stitch to learn.

8. Books that give my imagination a place to play.

9. My overactive muse, who never lets me sit still for very long.

11. Poetry in it’s many forms enlivens my senses.

12. The Cafe Mocha that soothes my soul and kickstarts my muse.

13. Refusing to become someone I’m not, no matter how much a situation tries to break me.

14. My editor. She helped me make my novel something I can be really proud of.

15. A small paycheck that always stretches out to be enough.

16. A crockpot that makes it easy to cook.

17. My readers, who fill my world with encouragement.

18. The natural world still moves me. I see the sun rise every morning and it always stuns me.

19. Laughing is still my favorite thing.

20. Finding empowerment in the choice to be happy, instead of relying on something or someone to make it happen.

21. The call to go somewhere new and consider a new start.

22. No matter what, I can always find my joy.

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Previous Moments of Gratitude:

22 Moments of Gratitude

22 More Moments of Gratitude

Yet Another 22 Moments of Gratitude

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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c.b.w. 2014