Thursday, October 17, 2013

Writer's Block, or Vacation?

I was on a role in my writing for a while, everything inspired me. I was hyper sensitive to every situation, taking mental notes to write about later. These days I find myself struggling to focus enough just to write a single sentence. I have heard of a thing called "writers block" but never actually experienced it myself, because writing is who I was. In my life, writing was as essential as breathing, and while much of what I wrote never made it to my blog, it still sustained me. Lately however, my pen is still. My late night visits with my iPod and keyboard are few and far between. My thoughts are often too scattered off in every direction to even attempt to pull back together. I blame it on vacation. My body has been back for nearly a month now, but my mind and abilities to reason are still sitting by that pool, watching the clouds above the palm trees.

Take for example the fact that usually, I would be able to write an entire blog about what I saw when I got home tonight. A little boy was trying to "weed-eat" the yard for his mom. Since the divorce, he has been trying to do the manly tasks a father just "does" such as mow the yard, or carry out the trash, or check for leaks under the car. I couldn't help but smile to myself as he was trying to haul around a piece of equipment twice as tall as he was and running it full throttle. The grass was flying everywhere, and the yard looked like a really really bad hair cut. Smile I did, but deep inside I was saddened. It's tough to be a kid, tough enough without having your father up and walk out on you. I'm proud of that kid though, he's going to make it. I over heard his mom saying that she told him "you can't expect things are ever going to be the same again, just be thankful for what you had, while you had it, and move on." Those are tough words for a mother to say, and probably tough words to hear for a boy who might be ten.

Or, there is this bird. I have written several blogs in my head about this bird at work. A mother killdeer has laid her eggs in our parking lot, specifically right next to my car. I set up a barricade of rocks around it, because her eggs blend right in to the gravel and they would be so easily stepped on. I worry about that mamma bird out there sitting on those eggs. We have had some really bad rain storms this month, some with hail. I wonder if she is getting enough to eat, if she is warm enough, if the eggs are going to hatch... I suppose I need only to leave mother-nature to tend to the situation, but that's hard to do. I find it inspiring for this mother bird to be so dedicated to her eggs. She covers them with her wings, and warms them with her body. So much to write about really... if I could just do it.

Maybe this will help. What is it they say? The first step to a solution is admitting you have a problem? Well, I admit it... my "writer" is broke.

Spring At Night

I am going to miss this old swing when my landlord comes home. She has been gone most of the winter and all of spring. Josh and I take advantage of that and inhabit her front porch on occasion. Usually it is in the evening that we sneak up onto her porch and plop down in her swing, we stay well into the night, laughing, loving and just enjoying the time together. When we can no longer do that, I think I'll go into withdrawals!

But tonight Josh is inside asleep and I am sitting out on the big old front porch by myself. It's hardly lonely, though. I am comforted by the presence of a bright flickering star in the sky, the same star that Josh tried in vain to convince me was an airplane! I can hear the fountains in my neighbor's yards too and the buzz of the corner street light. There is a dog, Cooper, in the house right next to me who barks once in a while just to let me know he is still aware that I am here. It smells good, the sweet smell of fresh spring flowers and dewy grass. So while Josh is inside snuggled into our warm bed, I am here, enjoying all of this without him. Maybe that is why I'm writing it down... so he can read it tomorrow.

I just glanced up and saw another star, smaller and farther away flickering between the houses. It makes me think of God, and all His splendor to create them. I wonder if anyone else is enjoying this tonight, or if it's just my own little gift from God. Well, it's hardly little, but I can't help but feel it is just for me. He has been showering me with blessings lately, and really, I think He always has. I don't think that my eyes were always open to see them though. Now it is dark, and the only things my eyes can really make out clearly above my screen are the bright flickering stars. That is what spring at night is like for me, a time to be quiet and to really see the presence of God.

I'm "Falling"

Sometimes, even when it isn't Fall, I pretend it is. Days like today that are cloudy and overcast with a few rain drops here and there make it easy for me to play my little game. Today there is even the smell of Fall in the air and that is helping me out too! Why? Why would a person pretend to be in a season they are not? For me, Fall has always spoken to my soul. My soul becomes awake, and there is a sense of peace that rises up inside of me. A peace that makes me feel safe, and at home.

Fall for so many people is a dreary time. They look at it as the end of sunny days and vacations, and dread what follows. However, for me it is a time to settle into a cozy home with fresh baked breads and holiday planning, with oversized sweatshirts and slippers too! I like the colors of Fall, and at least once a year will take a road trip with my camera to capture the beauty that only lasts for a couple weeks.

So today, while summer is still lingering on, I am dreaming of Fall... and feeling better.

Rain Drops

Lest you think I am in a deep state of depression and call the mental health physician, I must put this disclaimer in. Take this blog for what it is. Yes I know the sun comes out and above the clouds it's already shining, yes I know there are brighter days ahead, as a matter of fact... I even intend to play in the brighter days... but for now, just listen.

Listen to the rain drops as they fall. Sometimes when I am sad and have no one else to cry with me, nature will. Thousands and thousands of rain drops that can only symbolize the tears I have in my heart. The few tears that I shed before the rain began to fall were nothing compared to nature's downpour tonight. A perfect rain. No thunder, no lightning, just a hard steady rain and it has taken on my grief and actually been a comfort to my heart. I think it's God's way of telling me that He grieves with me. And grieving is ok. Tear drops, like rain drops, are cleansing.


For the last several years Gracie has lived in Wisconsin with my parents. Sometimes I would call up there just to see how she was doing. I thought that her living so far away would make it easier to process her death two weeks ago, but strange how that has not been the case. Even though I sent Gracie back to live with my parents, she never forgot about me. When I would visit them, before I would even go in the house I had a certain whistle that I would do and Gracie had a certain howl she would do and we both recognized each other. The saying is true, a dog never forgets.

My dad got Gracie for me in August of 2000. I was 19 and engaged to be married the following summer, but still living at home. We named her Gracie because she was a gift. Pure bread walker hounds can bring in some good money, and Gracie's breed would have been no exception because they were raised to run coyotes. There was a family we knew who offered us a puppy for free. I am not sure what it was about this particular offer, as I had been asking my dad for years for a dog, but something tells me he agreed because I would be moving out and be married soon and taking my dog with me... or so he thought! In the end, I chose the dog over the man, and never regretted it!

The day we got her, I can remember just like it was yesterday. We drove out to the farm and there were three little puppies left, exactly six weeks old. I bent down to play with all of them, but Gracie would go play and then come back in circles like she wanted to make sure I was still there watching her. Looking back on that, I know that was exactly what she was doing. Her coloring was prettier than the other two pups as well. She had all the colors of a beagle, a brown head, black back, brown sides, and white belly. She was the perfect specimen of what we lovingly called a "hound dog". My mom was dead set against this little adventure, because her experiences with hounds had not been that great. All the way home, she kept saying "that dog stink!" My dad and I laughed and said "she's a hound."

Gracie had my personality. She always wanted attention. She always had to be right next to you and usually right in your way. She was spoiled rotten too, she had me wrapped around her tail and knew it! Throughout her life those personality traits never changed. If she wanted you to know she wasn't happy with you, she completely ignored you, but would look back now and again to make sure you knew she was doing it! If she did not want to go outside in the rain, she would pull her food dish into her house and wait to be fed. If she put her mind to something, no chain, rope, or zip line could hold her back. When she wanted to be, she was as sweet and as good as any pet you could ask for. When I gave her back to my parents, we all felt as if there was a little piece of me still living at home.

There are memories of her life that still make me smile, moments that warm my heart. Like the time she decided to run a marathon in the house, down the steps and around the coffee table and back up the steps and back down to do it all again for at least 30 minutes at full blast! My dad and I never laughed so hard! I can remember her climbing into bed with me at 5:30 in the morning and pushing me out of bed with her paws so she could have the warm spot I was in and then she would start snoring! I remember the first time she played in snow, the first time she ran away, her first Christmas, her first birthday party... but one of my favorite memories of Gracie was when I was very sick. I had been in bed for two weeks and they would bring Gracie in to stay with me during the day so I would not be lonely. I thought I was pretty sick, and I would call Gracie over to me, but she would just lay there on her bed and watch me. I remember one day waking up to her licking my hand and my face, and once I woke up, she went back and laid down. Dogs have an amazing sense about them, and something tells me that day... she was very concerned that I was ok.

My parents said they found Gracie curled up in her dog house. It is sad to imagine her just being really tired and taking her last breath. Yet, it is comforting to know that she was warm and cozy in the fresh cedar chips my dad had put in her house. It is comforting to know that she was home and safe, and that she had lived a pretty good life for a dog. I did not get to tell her goodbye, but then... none of us did. My parents always told me that dogs do not go to heaven because they do not have a soul, so I probably will never see Gracie again, but something about her will never die. It will be the memory that pops into our heads of her when we least expect it. She'll always be around... just wait and see.


How easy we forget! I never realized how much I missed hearing my mom sew, until this past week when she came to visit. I can remember growing up how she was often found to be at her sewing machine making clothes, fixing clothes, quilting, crafting, or working on anything else that had to do with sewing. Much younger, I can remember falling asleep to the sound of her sewing machine and the soft tones of the radio in the back ground. I had forgotten all of those memories until this past week.

My mom came in to visit for a few days and immediately she got right into sewing us curtains! She sewed living room, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen curtains in just five days, not to mention the many pairs of pants she hemmed and the extra pillows, pot holders, and table cloths she made! Our apartment is completely transformed! I refused to buy curtains for this place, because I knew I wanted my mom to make them. Next visit, I will make sure she does not sew at all, she needs a break!

One afternoon during her visit, I found myself curled up in the guest bed that smelled of her sweet "mom" scent. It wasn't long before I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the sewing machine's hum, the snip-snipping of her scissors, and the occasional steam and click of the iron. As I closed my eyes I imagined being back home again all those years ago, and fell into the most peaceful rest. Throughout the week it was wonderful to see push pins here and there, and the many loose threads that seemed to multiply daily.

After I came back from dropping her off at the airport and walked into my house, now silent, I could not swallow the lump in my throat. It was changed forever with her little touches of "home". Although she tried to clean up all the loose threads that had fallen and scattered, I am still finding them. They are comforting! In the middle of church I found one on my pants and couldn't throw it away... it was just a little piece of her with me.

We forget these little things, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to remember again. As a matter of fact, I'm going now to curl back up in her bed and take a nap while breathing in her scent before it's all gone.