Black, White, Straight, Gay…Isn’t There Room For All Of Us?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

Like a few other English words, Room means two contradictory things. It can be the four walls that enclose us, giving us shelter and comfort but also limiting our movement. It’s also the limitless space into which we can wander and which we can fill — or try to (think about that expression, “room to grow”). – Ben Huberman

This week’s challenge: From the four walls that currently surround you to the infinite potential of space,

this week we’d like you to show us your take on room, rooms, or a room.

Gay Pride Parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Statement: Bank Account Low. Immediate Deposit Necessary.

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“If you think back and replay your year and you don’t recall tears either sad or happy consider your year a waste.”

This line has stuck with me for some time. I don’t recall where I heard it, but I’ve carried its meaning with me each year as I’ve looked back at my life and the string of moments that are now in my past. Moments I may not have fully appreciated at the time and others I vaguely recall fleetingly passing through time…my time, my year, my life. As is often the case, life’s little moments present the biggest lessons but too often we are so caught up in what we are feeling in that particular moment that we miss the full essence of its significance. The present moment stirs up emotions that slowly roll over our heart and mind like a cloud cluster across an expanse of sky blocking the light that could bathe us in warmth and wisdom. It is only when the clouds move on that we look back, not knowing what we are seeking but sure we’ve missed something meaningful.

Beach, Sand Art, Heart In Sand

Thus, if I could give my younger self a bit of guidance now that I’ve had some time to deposit moments in my memory bank, I would share the following.

  1. Life isn’t always what it appears to be. Always take a moment to look beneath the surface. It is when you dig a little deeper that treasures are discovered.
  2. There are moments when your heart will break into a million pieces. Know that another moment will arrive that will put those pieces back together and you will be the better for it.
  3. The moment you think you can’t do something is the moment you’ve allowed someone else’s negativity to cloud your judgment. Believe in yourself.
  4. There will be moments when your heart will burst with love. Cherish them. These are the moments worth living for.
  5. At times it will feel like you’re drowning, kicking your legs, burning your lungs, clawing at the surface. Keep going because the moment where you can shoot out of the deep water and break the surface, filling your lungs with air and feeling the sun on your face once more isn’t as far off as it seems.
  6. There will be moments when you will be so proud of your accomplishments, you will want to share them with the world. Share them and bask in the glory, never forgetting the journey that got you there.
  7. The moment will undoubtedly arrive, likely more than once, when you will be paralyzed by fear. Do not let fear dictate your outcome. Pray. Listen to your heart. Choose a direction. Take the first step.
  8. If the moment ever comes when you have to choose whether to forgive or forget, understand that the two do not go hand in hand. You can forgive without forgetting.
  9. You will have regrets. Do not let them define you.
  10. Moments of failure are necessary in life. In order to be a winner, you have to understand what it’s like to be a loser.

Beach, Sand Art, I Love You

Contrary to popular belief, filling your bank account with money shouldn’t be your ultimate goal in life. Money may make some aspects of your life more comfortable, give you a sense of security, and maybe provide some experiences you might not have otherwise. However a memory bank full of moments and each tiny detail that makes up a single moment in time is definitely worth your effort.  Don’t miss out on the many opportunities to fill your memory bank with “moments.” Good or bad, each moment will be one of many of life’s valuable experiences. It will be scary sometimes to think of what the future holds, but know that it will be filled with many many moments…some of which you will learn a painful lesson from and some of which you will want to relive over and over again. Just know that a memory bank full of “moments” will be more valuable than gold when you get older.

 

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Paper Wedding Anniversary

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Glancing at the clock she moved toward the bathroom, aware of each tick announcing the passing of time, each minute bringing her closer to the moment her husband would pull into the driveway, wheels crunching gravel. He promised to be home early tonight, had even made reservations at her favorite little Greek restaurant. They would sit at “their table” tucked back in a cozy corner of the restaurant. The place where they had shared so many words over good food and a bottle of wine. Tonight they would celebrate their Paper Anniversary. Their first year as a married couple. She had flipped open her laptop earlier that afternoon and looked up the meaning to find the first year of marriage is like a clean sheet of paper, a new beginning upon which to write your passage through the years together. Also like paper, it is fragile and can easily rip, not having yet been tried by the fires of adversity and the storms of life.

It had been an amazing first year, this honeymoon phase of theirs, and she was sure there would be many more pages filled with happiness, hope, dreams and passion.

Feral Little Secret, Fiction is for Lovers

She stripped down and stepped into the steaming shower to ready herself for the evening. As drops of hot water singed her skin her nerve endings came alive and she threw her head back losing herself in the waterfall of feelings born of another time. Her hands instantly travelled over every inch of her body conjuring up another touch.

She was instantly back there again…the day she first laid eyes on him among the group of hikers on foreign soil. She had felt something stir deep inside her and as they found themselves side by side in awe of the waterfalls around them, she felt the need to put distance between them. The others held up cameras trying to capture the scene no doubt in hopes of returning home with images to accompany their stories as they recounted their trip to friends and family. She recalled being torn between the habit of seeing the world through her camera lens and the need to feel every bit of this moment, free of all that weighed her down.

She walked away from the group making her way to the far side of the opening and toward a smaller waterfall tucked behind its lush landscape. Surrounded by nature there was beauty all around, but the need to stand under that waterfall as it made its way down the side of the mountain was overwhelming. Dropping her backpack and camera, she quickly ditched her shoes and stepped forward into the gushing waters. Immediately, she felt more alive than she ever had as the water flowed over her, drenching her hair and traveling down her body to her bare feet. Eyes closed, head tilted to the sky, she allowed herself to be completely present in the moment.

Expecting a cooling sense of peace, she was surprised by how her body betrayed her, instead feeling heat emanating from her very core. Her heart pounded in her chest against her thin, wet shirt. Her feet couldn’t seem to ground her. She reached behind her to grab hold of the rock wall for support. It was then she opened her eyes and looked into eyes bluer than the sky above her, piercing her to the deep recesses of her womanhood. Gaze locked, no words were spoken, none needed.

He crossed the short distance to her and as his arms circled her waist, she knew what was coming and knew she wouldn’t stop it. His mouth covered hers as his body pressed her back against the rocks and water continued to fall over them, holding them captive in its downpour. She lost herself in his strong arms, her legs acting of their own free will wrapped themselves around him. He lifted her to him and as her arms held tight to his neck, he pulled her hair back and trailed kisses down her neck. Fire coursed through her veins. Her mind commanded her to stop, but her body abandoned all reason as it begged for more.

His strong hands came to her waist as the trail of kisses continued lower and lower. As her bare feet touched the wet rocks beneath them, she looked down at the water as it made its way over the rocks, positive if not for his arms on her that she would be carried away with the current – such was the feeling of floating this complete stranger had imprisoned her with. His lips rested on her bare stomach as his hands moved to the front of her shorts. He fumbled with the button and in that moment they were both startled back to reality by a flock of white birds that fluttered all around them. Looking up, she longed to take flight with them, to rise above this madness she suddenly found herself in. Yet, never having experienced anything like this, she knew the temptation to circle back would be too great.

He dropped his hands and she stepped around him. The moment was lost and not daring to look into those blue eyes again for fear of being lost once more, she quickly hurried over to her belongings stopping only to grab her shoes and backpack and rejoined the others.

Out of breath, she turned the shower off and stepped out. Her reflection in the mirror was one of sheer sexual satisfaction as even the touch of the towel stirred her inside once more. She took a deep breath and headed to her closet, knowing just the dress for tonight’s occasion.

The look in her husband’s eyes confirmed her choice as he admired her over the candlelit table that evening. Dinner was delightful and as they decided on dessert and her husband studied the wine list for a second bottle of wine, she excused herself to freshen up.

Returning to the table, she found a small, white paper bird, delicately folded and placed to the side of her glass. “Where did this come from?” Smiling, her husband looked up from the menu at the tiny white bird she was twirling in her hands.

“I have no idea,” he said and went back to the wine list.

She let out a tiny gasp and as she looked around the restaurant she knew. It had been years since she’d seen anything as blue and piercing as the eyes that now looked back at her from the man standing at the bar.

 

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What I Really Want To Scream Out Loud is...

sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens (Final Set)

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Sometimes what I really want to scream out loud is…

Click through my slide show for my spin on this week’s Finish The Sentence Friday!

Enjoy the final set of sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens.

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“Oh, You’re a Joiner” – Why I Joined NanoWrimo.

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She sat across from me at the local coffee shop, checking her phone, looking around as we “got to know each other.” I was the new gal in town and since it wasn’t my first rodeo, I was out there doing what I do best or at the very least what I know I need to do to acquire that sense of belonging in a new place. I was reaching out to a fellow mom, a local, in the hopes of finding that one friend that can instantly take you from outsider status to outsider with a friend status.

We discussed the move, the re-locations before this one, the kids and all the other usually safe topics that come up in polite conversation. In some ways, it was like the job interview I didn’t see on my wall calendar that morning as I stood in the kitchen, coffee in hand, making sure I didn’t forget my kid’s project or overlook a dentist appointment. I recall finding it strange when she glanced up from her phone to ask me what I was into in high school. Both in our late thirties, I didn’t see the relevance of her question given that neither one of us was likely the same person we were during the most terrifying, unsettling, and awkward four years of a person’s life. Nonetheless, I happily chimed on about being athletic, a cheerleader, class secretary, etc.

In the midst of my recounting my nose always having been in a book and how many of my friends were with me from kindergarten through high school, she suddenly glanced up and said, “Oh, you’re a joiner.” I paused mid-sentence, “Excuse me?” She repeated, “You’re a joiner” and went back to her cellphone. I sat in silence for a moment, not exactly sure why I felt offended by her nonchalant comment.

Truth be told, all the activities I had mentioned were clubs of some sort. Maybe it was the way she said the word “joiner” that made it sound like a negative thing. Maybe it was because as I had gotten older, I had begun to take pride in being my own person, standing up for my beliefs and following my passions no matter what other’s opinions might be. Maybe it was because the last thing I now saw myself as was a “joiner.” Instead, priding myself on being more of an individual. Maybe it was just the way she said it with such conviction, as though she had me all figured out. Then again, maybe it was because I didn’t want to admit there might be some truth to it.

nano_13_shirt_bubble_main

This week is the first week of something called NanoWrimo, National Novel Writing Month, which is “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1st. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 on November 30th.”

This mother of two, wife of one, writer and weekly blogger, crazy lady who should be committed, instead committed to this challenge because keeping the house clean, the laundry done, and getting back into my regular workout routine with my new personal trainer isn’t enough. Apparently, I need more!

Cry for Help: I’ve lost my mind. If found, please return immediately as I’m going to need it to complete this novel and, you know, other stuff in my life.

The thing is ever since this summer when my husband and I decided to enroll the kids in school instead of continuing to homeschool them, I’ve been saying I would use the “free” time to write my second book, a novel. Somehow, I never find that “free”time to dedicate to it. So, when the NanoWrimo talk started last month my “joiner” wheels started spinning. An actual goal, a commitment to join the masses all working toward a similar goal, complete with pep talks by famous authors and a community of support every step of the way. By the way, I was giddy to find a letter from James Patterson in my inbox discussing the importance of outlining my novel before beginning. I took your advice Mr. Patterson, thank you.

So, yeah I guess I am a “joiner” but right now I don’t see it as a negative thing. If being a “joiner” means being a part of something bigger alongside some amazing writers and sharing in the highs and lows of pursuing a dream, completing a project, reaching a goal, then color me a “joiner” and let me be.

If it means on those days when - I’m struggling to get my kids off to school on time, not in their pajamas, with more than a pop tart and glass of recently expired (but not so expired as to be dangerous) milk, all while mentally kicking myself in the butt for believing for two seconds I would be able to pull off coherent sentences with only the creativity found in the bottom of a second cup of coffee, let alone write a complete novel in a one month period – I will log onto my NanoWrimo community and find that others can relate and share in my self doubt and misery, then I’m proud to be a “joiner” and will shout it from the rooftops!

Bring it on “joiner” haters!

I’ll be the one with the completed  semi-completed novel (depending on how much “free time” I have) at the end of November.

“I’m a joiner! He’s a joiner! Wouldn’t you like to be a joiner too? Be a joiner! Oohh be a joiner! (sung to the Dr. Pepper jingle)

Are you a joiner?

Merry-Go-Round’s Final Round

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I was different.

I knew this from a very young age.

I also knew I wasn’t different in the way other kids thought I was.

alone-on-the-playground-1

Alone in the Playground by Michelle Weber

If I’m being honest, I felt closer to animals than the people around me, and maybe that’s something they picked up on. I didn’t have many friends, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. It’s just I wasn’t interested in their games. Pretending to save the world from make-believe villains seemed silly to me when there were true villains all around us, and so many who needed saving. Why pretend when we could take action? In turn, they weren’t interested in helping me carry a bird with a broken wing to safety or studying the caterpillar and guessing what colors it would be dressed in when it became a butterfly.

My disinterest in their imaginary playground adventures, only caused to further distance the other kids, which is why anyone watching me that week didn’t give my sitting off to the side another thought. Even back then, I knew I couldn’t save the world, but there were smaller acts I knew in my heart could make a difference.

I tuned out Ms. Valerie’s reminders on studying our vocabulary words for tomorrow’s test, and furiously scribbled the spelling words in my notebook as I stole glances at the clock. I tapped my foot, rocked my chair, and twirled my pencil, nervously anticipating the sound of the bell that would signal lunch hour. I was halfway out of my seat with my brown paper lunch sack in hand when the bell finally rang. I practically ran out the doors to the playground and took my post at the merry-go-round much like I did every day. The rusty old merry-go-round had gone its last round. No longer adventurous enough for the others it was often neglected. Like me, it had been pushed out-of-the-way, off to a corner of the playground where it didn’t get noticed much. It wasn’t that I was afraid someone would want my spot, more that they would discover my secret.

Mother_And_Kitten

I waited until everyone was distracted with their lunches and slowly crouched down under the merry-go-round. As I looked at the animals circling me above, I silently thanked them for protecting our sweet friends below. I pulled out my milk carton, poured it into the old plastic container I had hidden near the fence, and presented it to the sweet kittens that had become my closest friends this past week. As much as I wished to remain with them in this little alcove of ours, I also knew that drawing attention to them wasn’t a good idea. Back then, the thought never crossed my mind that there were people out there who didn’t instinctively love animals, but I had seen how some of the kids would throw rocks at birds that were perched on the slide or take a stick to a bug just to watch it ooze. It was something I didn’t understand.

I still don’t. The years have come and gone since the days when I sat watch over those kittens, many years of witnessing abused and neglected animals arrive at my clinic. Some I’ve been able to save. Others I’ve lost. In many ways I’m still that little girl who doesn’t understand that there are people in this world who don’t instinctively love animals. Worse yet, there are some who wish to hurt them. They should know, my joints may be a bit rusty and I may move a bit slower, but unlike the old merry-go-round I still have a few rounds left in me and will help and protect these innocent animals until my final round.

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This was my creative response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words:  A fictional story based on the photo, Alone in the Playground, would be great. (Who is this little girl? Where is she? What is she waiting for? Where is her family?), but we also look forward to non-fiction posts inspired by the photo. How does the image make you feel? Does the girl remind you of anyone in your life, or of yourself? Are you as scared of the unidentifiable green creature as we are, and is that a nose or a beak?

The challenge is called “1,000 Words” after the famous phrase, but don’t feel that you need to write that much (or that little) — however many words your story requires is the right number of words. Feel free to include the image in your post, with a link back here.

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Related Articles:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/

http://www.nycferalcat.org/info-kittensnew.htm

http://www.animalalliancenyc.org/wordpress/2013/05/what-to-do-and-not-do-if-you-find-a-newborn-kitten/

http://www.petadoptionnetwork.org/?page_id=182

Rock On!

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rockwallThat’s me. My first attempt at a five-story rock wall.

As I stood on the ground getting all harnessed up, the attendant shared some wisdom with me. The young girl nonchalantly said, “At some point while climbing the wall, most people are gripped by fear. The thing to remember is the fear doesn’t become greater if you continue to climb. It’s the same amount of fear whether you choose to continue or you choose to quit. You might as well keep going until you reach the top.”

Isn’t that what life is all about?

She was right. I reached a certain point to catch my breath, and it was then that I was gripped with fear. Did I mention I’m afraid of heights? Apparently, I paused just long enough for some spectators on the ground to believe this was the moment I would quit. I didn’t quit. I kept hearing the attendant’s words in my head, and while my muscles were screaming for me to quit and just repel back down to safety, I kept going. I kept going because I had a dream, a goal, a purpose and if she was right then I was going to see it through because my fear wouldn’t become any greater the further I climbed.

With each step I climbed, I felt a change within me. As I carefully placed my foot on each rung, and pulled myself up a little higher, I felt stronger mentally if not physically. And, when I finally reached the top, I was drained, exhausted, and a bit disappointed that I didn’t hear any bells or whistles or see any fireworks. However, I didn’t have any regrets. As I repelled down the wall to safety, I felt lighter than I ever have.

We’ve all been there. The rock wall just takes on another form depending on what we are individually going through at the moment. Keep climbing, face your fear, and climb some more. The feeling that awaits is well worth the climb. You may not get a fireworks display (unless you add your own like I did), but I bet you won’t have any regrets either.

Are you facing or have you faced your own rock wall?

Tell me about it!

Photo Friday – The Golden Hour

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 The Golden Hour

 In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Photographers venture out on sunrise hikes or sunset treks to capture a magical shot, due to the quality of the light during that time of day. It is sometimes referred to as “the magic hour” especially in cinematography. Film director Terrence Malick has used this technique in films such as Days of Heaven,[4] The New World, and The Tree of Life (in the case of The New World, the entire film was shot in this hour or blue hour); and film director Stanley Kubrick made extensive use of the golden hour in Full Metal Jacket, among others.

Sources: Wikipedia, The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Other Photography Posts by Little Miss Wordy: Color, Lessons in Gardening, Lost in the Details

The Snoop Dog Rap: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

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This week’s writing challenge: The Best Medicine is an invitation to “Poke fun at yourself, write a limerick, find the absurdity in a real-life situation, come up with some groan-worthy puns, sketch a comic, put some fictional characters in a farcical situation — all’s fair in comedy.”

Obviously I don’t have a humor blog, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use this photo I took on my recent trip to The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.!

New to the neighborhood, walking down the street

Wondering ’bout the neighbors I’ve yet to meet

Got my dogs on the leash, poop bag in hand

My sneakers on my feet, to avoid the sand

Loving the weather, loving the breeze

People so friendly, bless you when you sneeze

Pet owners walking toward other owners

Business suits, runners and even stoners

All give the nod, the slight shake of the head

Says it’s damn early to be outta bed.

Size doesn’t matter, we’ve all heard it

‘Cept when your dog drops a tiger sized sh*t.

photo credit: littlemisswordy

photo credit: littlemisswordy

Pooping tiger released the dragon

Looks to me like you shoulda brought the wagon

No worries, no laughs, wait a minute ’til it’s cooled

All us dog owners have been schooled

By the big breeds, small breeds, the growlers and the barkers

The shy types, sweet ones, and even the stalkers.

We all bow down to our four legged poopers

Embrace our role as human scoopers

Scented bag in hand no match for this steamer

We just keep smiling like we won a Beemer

Well behaved, highly trained, Chihuahua that goes insane

The mangy brown one or the golden-haired mane

The executive, the artist, the homeless man

The bus driver, the banker, and the UPS man

The competitive show dog or the lab who farts

We immediately connect cuz they’ve stolen our hearts.

Frame Of Mind

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Picasso said, “You don’t make art, you find it” and while I realize his words had another meaning, that is just what we did. Today’s Daily Prompt could not have been better timed for me. In our recent hunt for a new home we looked at many, each offering something unique. However, when it came to narrowing it down only one truly felt like home. The views alone were art in and of itself, every window showcasing either a city landscape or Mother Nature’s oceanic masterpiece and that was just what our eyes feasted on outside. Inside, the walls surrounded us with artful displays that spoke to us. Truth be told I’m not well versed when it comes to art, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate beauty and talent when I see it through the artist’s eye. Walking through this home, I had a different frame of mind. It felt warm and inviting. Even my children have found an appreciation for art, making their own small contributions to the walls, further enhancing the feeling of home.

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso

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“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe