When I Get Old, I Hope To Look Back On My Life And…

10

When I get old, I hope to listen to the steady creak of the rocking chair beside me and know that you are still by my side on our front porch. I hope to look over and not only see the aged man you’ve become whose every wrinkle reflects my own, but also relive the stories each line on our skin has told.

Front Porch

As I reach out my trembling hand for yours like I have done so many times since we met as young college kids, I hope it reminds you of all the times your hand in mine made a world of difference in our relationship. I hope we recall as we sit and rock during days of no demands and no schedules, all the obstacles we faced and more importantly all those we surpassed to reach this day.

I hope we remember where we started, our trips through stores we could only dream of shopping in as a young couple just getting started on life’s journey, creating our wish list of items we would one day purchase for our first home as a couple. I hope we will have filled the shelves with photo albums of all the places we only dreamed of visiting back then.

When you look at me, I hope you not only see the young girl you met who became your best friend before our first conversation even ended, but also the strong woman and loving mother she grew up to be with you by her side.

I hope as we take in the view from the comfort of our front porch, we take a deep breath and thank the Lord for having made our dreams come true. I hope we never forget the struggle and hard work we endured to reach this moment, because it will be those sacrifices we made that made us who we are today.

I hope we open our minds and hearts, dust off the cobwebs, and turn the pages of our life’s album together. I hope if we listen hard enough, we can still hear the patter of little feet, bedtime giggles and even the cries, wails, and tantrums that will now be music to our ears.

I hope we will have filled our home with more laughter and happiness through the years as we created memories with our children, their children, our family and many friends.

I hope when I get old and I look back on the roads I have traveled, I see you and our children always walking alongside me, hand in hand. And, when I get old and look in the mirror, I hope each and every line on my aged skin, reflects a life lived, all the love bestowed upon me in each and every crease, and many many laugh lines from smiles shared with my best friend.

 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, where writers and bloggers each finish the same sentence and link up to read one another’s answers. This week’s prompt was “When I’m really old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I…”

Lessons From A Third Grade School Performance

17

I watched you from my seat in the second row of the right side of the auditorium. Your eyes scanned the room, row by row panning left and right, left and right. Hands in your pockets, you stood tall and attentive, fully aware your third grade performance would begin at any moment. You had the notes, lyrics, moves memorized as you had been practicing for weeks in the comfort of your own home. Though, now you looked a bit nervous, standing on the stage, in the spotlight, anxiously searching the audience. You had told me to sit on the right side of the auditorium so I would have a good view of you. Today, on the drive over, we even reviewed left and right a few times to ensure I would be in the right seat.

 

As you searched the eager faces in the room, I knew we had gotten our right and left mixed up. The more your big brown eyes sought mine, the tighter my heart squeezed. I tried to catch your attention even waving my hand in the air but you were focused on the other half of the room. I stood and waved once more and it was then your eyes locked with mine, and as your little body visibly relaxed you nodded your curly head ever so slightly in my direction.

I sat back and watched you shine on that stage much like you do in our living room every night and throughout your performance I thought of all the things I want you to know as the world becomes your stage.

1. I will always be here for you, even when you can no longer see me. You will never be alone.

2. When life’s spotlight shines too bright, blinding you from what’s really important, I will help you see it.

3. And, when that same light dims eventually leaving you in moments of darkness, I will be your guiding light.

4. There will be times when our signals will get crossed and lead to misunderstanding. Know that we will communicate and straighten things out and even through disagreements I will never stop loving you.

5. Enjoy your successes, the big and the small. Those that seem insignificant are often the ones that will fill your heart with joy when you look back on them.

6. When the spotlight is on you, remember that all eyes are on you too. Use that opportunity for good.

7. Never take life so seriously that you exit the stage completely. There’s always room for creativity, imagination, and those things that make you laugh.

8. I will always be your biggest fan –  in your brightest moments as well as your darkest.

9. Don’t ever pretend to be someone you aren’t simply to please others. Who you are behind the scenes is better than anyone you could ever pretend to be.

10. Live your life in such a way that you will exit the stage with dignity when the final curtain comes down.

One Ring To Rule Them All

3

“I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with air, slowly lifting the weight that seconds earlier was crushing my chest. My relief at hearing his voice didn’t allow me to focus on his words. In his endless string of hurried phrases strung together with pauses to catch his own breath, I could only make out a few words. Wedding. Flood. Ring. Elevator. Almost died.”

I Love You

My first contributor post is live on Felicity Huffman’s website, What The Flicka?

Head over and check out One Ring To Rule Them All and take a moment to look around.

You won’t be disappointed!

Twas The Night Before Blogging…

67

‘Twas the night before Fabulous Blogging, when all through the HomeOnDeranged

Every bloppy was blogging, even time-zoned Lizzi (not that she’s deranged)

Pen Paper Pad laid on the desk with care

In hopes that Hasty Words would soon be there

Carrie Anne Foster and TwinDaddy nestled all snug in their beds (not together)

While visions of Enchanted Seashells danced in the rain – I mean danced in their heads (it was the weather)

Gunmetal Geisha with Sand in Her Toes, and Aussa Lorens and her wonderfully unkempt locks,

Rattled their brains against the muted voice of writer’s block.

When out in Our Land there arose such a clatter,

I summoned my Left Brain Buddha before seeing what was the matter

Off to social media I flew like an indiebutterfly

Threw open all tabs, and let out a sigh.

Words of deliciousness and musings on motherhood

Gave a lustre of calculated chaos out in the bloggerhood.

And what to my wrinkled mommy eyes should appear

But closet confessionals from a recovering pessimist! Elleroy was here?

Like an honest mom with some bitch and some wine,

Thanksgiving, Place Setting, Thanksgiving Table

 

I knew in a moment Don Of All Trades was online.

More rapid than eagles, his comments they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and tagged all by name:

Now, Samara! Now, Kim! Now, Beth and Jhanis!

On, StephanieOn, Katia! and Her Royal Thighness!

To the top of the Twitter feed and FB walls!

Now blog away, blog away, blog away all!

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot

A bundle of toys (sex toys if I had to guess), he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack,

His eyes how they twinkled (no doubt what he was thinking)

As the cursor on his screen continued its blinking

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow

As he encouraged the bloppies to give it a go!

The stump of a pencil, he held tight in his teeth

And he wielded his words on the keyboard beneath

He was witty and funny, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed at his comments, in spite of myself;

He wrote and he wrote, of home and of work

Filled all the comment threads, and was sometimes a jerk,

But a wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave all to know there was nothing to dread.

And like the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Bloppies’ computers gave a lustre of midday glow

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up the google ranks, the bloggers they flew

With a folder full of drafts, and some good leads too

And then in a twinkling it was heard all around

The clicking and clacking as their fingers did pound

I took a brief pause to kiss my list of so then stories and notes from the shallow end,

Of well tempered bards, my chef’s last diet, and laugh lines to mend

Of nurse mommy laughs, the Science of Parenthood, and Sarah’s brand new chapter

Of A Mother Life and that American Small Town feeling I wanted to capture

The words came to life on the glowing screen

An early gift from St. Nick or was it Don Re?

Either way the bloppies were grateful (Thank you Honey)

And went about writing both the sad and the funny.

Whether you’re still becoming super mommy or it’s after the kids leave

Write like chocolate with grace, the words flowing  – no reprieve

Whether an Indian American Mom, An Inquiring Parent or a CarPool Goddess

The Mother of Imperfection, In Ripped Jeans and Bifocals, or Blessed but Stressed

This talk ain’t cheap and perfection may be pending

Cellulite looks better tan, and our passion for words is never-ending

Whether 10,000 followers or merely just ten, let your light shine

Can I get an Amen or Another bottle of whine?

May your readers eyes twinkle, their spirit be merry

May the agents start calling when they’re blown by your query.

Celebrate your talents and let out a whistle

Let your words blanket the net like the down of a thistle,

Be true to yourself in your writer’s plight

Happy Blogging to all and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please and Thank You…Say It With Me

24

From a young age, we are taught to say please and thank you. Over and over, we are told to use our manners, thanking someone for inviting us over for a playdate, thanking someone when we are given a compliment. We are encouraged to say thank you when a treat is bestowed upon us and we are expected to say thank you when we are given a gift.

And yet, as we grow into adults focused on getting through a busy day, we throw out “thank yous” without truly meaning them. We often go through the motions, rushing to the next appointment, meeting, deadline without really seeing all the little moments we have to be thankful for, the little gems throughout our day, our week. We fling a thank you in the general direction of the person wishing us a good day, throw out a quick thank you to the one who paused to hold the door open for us.

The slightest smile when we’re having a rough morning can change our mood if we allow it. A few words from a  friend, letting us know they’re thinking of us is something to cherish. We read them, smile, let them wash over us and warm our heart, yet often quickly move on after hitting send on the little eight letters that make up T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, the response that has likely brought a smile to the recipient.

Trees, Landscape

Looking back, I would like to thank ten people who have made a difference in my life this past week, big or small. I challenge you to do the same!

1. To the doctor who really listened to me and ran the proper tests to help me find answers. I thank you. It makes a huge difference to find a doctor who cares enough to listen.

2. On that note,  I am thankful for the medical system in the United States. After having experienced others firsthand, I will no longer take this one for granted.

3. To the school bus driver who made it a point to wish me a good day every morning when picking up my son. It’s a nice start to the day. Thank you.

4. To the stranger at the grocery store who complimented my hair. I’ve been having good hair days since moving to a less humid climate, but it is always nice when someone notices. Thank you.

5. To my husband, my other half, who was home all week instead of traveling. It’s nice to have you home sharing the responsibilities of this exhausting thing we call parenting. Thank you for being my partner in life.

6. To the people at Nordic who make treadmills, thank you for making mine. It has been a savior as I try to ease myself back into exercising as I continue to recover from my fractured foot.

7.  To my daughter, I thank you for wanting to sit and talk to me about your day every, single, afternoon. I cherish those conversations with you and it warms my heart that you ask me to stop what I am doing and sit at the table with you for our afternoon snack.

8. To the trash guys who must be so sick of picking up my numerous empty moving boxes. I’m almost done. I promise! Thank you.

9. To my son, I thank you for your humor.  Your laughter is contagious and you make us all laugh when we need it most. I treasure the fact that you still enjoy cuddling with me and can’t walk past me without stealing a kiss or wrapping your little arms around me for a quick hug.

10. To God, who has blessed me over and over again in so many aspects of my life. I can’t thank you enough. My heart is full because of you. Thank you.

 

Link up your Ten Things Of Thankful Post here!

d8fc4-tenthingsbanner

80vs8012

Photo Friday: Last Call

1

 Photo Friday: Last Call

Our football season has come to end with a non-competitive game to wrap up the season.

What a great group of kids, coaches, and parents we were lucky to spend our weekends with this season!

Photo Friday: Off With Her Head!

2

Execution was a public spectacle; free entertainment for the masses. Vendors sold hot potatoes, fruit and gingerbreads, and peddled gin. Life was cheap in an age where diseases raged and life expectancy was short. So frequent were the tortures and punishments, the exact number of victims will never be known.

 

My Starbucks Name Is Leah

29

People often ask me how I chose the name Leah Vidal as my pen name when Red Circle Days was published. Well…it’s my Starbucks name and not because they purposely misspell Leonor. I got tired of the barista stuttering when my coffee was ready or worse yet, not even trying to attempt my name at all leaving me to finally approach the counter for my not so hot coffee. I’m not one of those people who needs it piping hot, but I’m not the kind who drinks iced coffee either.

What kind are you?

Starbucks1

Picture this. You have just been served a steaming cup of your favorite coffee. You know, that cup you’ve been tasting since you opened your eyes to the tunes of your local station. Lifting the cup to your lips and inhaling that powerful aroma will make your senses awaken to a brand new day full of possibility, and everything will look just a little brighter with some caffeine in your system. For most of us coffee drinkers, that first morning cup is key to starting our day. That’s a lot of pressure on a little mug, even if it has carried the title of “World’s Greatest Mom” for twelve years and counting.

I personally, am a hold the hot cup in hand for a some time, taking it all in and allowing it to cool down a bit for fear of burning my tongue. However, I have been witness to some who cannot wait one second before taking a gulp. Not only am I in awe of these folks, specifically that their tongue can be submitted to such temperatures without even a flinch, but I also wonder if that’s how they approach life in general.

Coffee Drinker A: Are they the kind that are all about instant gratification, impatient, the “I Want It Now” generation? Are they the kind who don’t think before they leap/drink? Can they not be bothered with strategic planning and cost analysis or are they simply fearless, live in the moment kinda folks who will always take that leap of faith no matter the situation?

Coffee Drinker B: Based on my approach then, I guess I might be categorized as too fearful to make a move, the kind who has to analyze everything before taking a step/sip. Or maybe I just like to savor the moment, commit it to memory before moving on in case what’s coming down the pipeline isn’t as pleasant. I’m definitely comfortable in this category as I’m sure to avoid getting burned.

An interesting and totally random thought…the caffeinated approach to life. Think about it when you pick up your next cup of coffee or as you’re standing in line waiting to be rewarded with a steamy, grande, two sweet n low, skinny latte…oh wait that’s my order. Nevertheless, I guarantee you will observe both types of coffee drinkers all around you.

How about you? Are you Coffee Drinker A or Coffee Drinker B?

Of course, if you’re not a coffee drinker, then it’s a moot point. And, I just basically wasted 2.3 minutes of your life or however long it took you to read this random thought. Cheers!

Ten Things Of Thankful

27

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

He was my introduction to so many things in life, my first in so many ways.

He was my start line to events I never knew I wanted to experience, my cheerleader along the way, always waiting there with a smile as I crossed the finish line.

He was my gas pedal when I didn’t know I needed a push and my brakes when I was unaware it was time to slow down.

He loved a road trip –  teaching me so much about life and himself on the open road during long talks I still treasure.

IMG_9719

He taught me lessons I didn’t always learn the first go round, but left me with a knowledge I would find priceless one day.

He was my guiding light when I couldn’t see the darkness that threatened to surround me. A beacon of hope I still gravitate toward.

IMG_9717

He was the first to hold me with strong arms that embraced me in such comfort and safety their presence still lingers on my skin.

He made me laugh when I took life too seriously, always reminding me to seek the joy in the pain.

IMG_9726

He not only worked hard to provide the basic necessities for his family, but more importantly the sense that what we had was more than enough.

A few days of bare feet on warm sand was enough to carry him through the harshest of winters.

IMG_9734

He loved with all his heart and made me want to love and live life as passionately as he did. Music made him come alive in a way that was contagious.

IMG_9736

He gave me more than ten things of thankful. He gave me life and left a legacy of love I will always treasure.

IMG_9716

A special tribute to my dad, my hero, my best friend.

It has been 21 years today since we said good-bye

and while I miss you every day,

I always take a moment on this day to honor you in a special way.

Thank you for being you and in turn making me the woman I am today.

 

Lizzi Rogers from Considerings does a weekly event called “Ten Things of Thankful” and for the first time I am participating. A bit late or a bit early, but participating nonetheless.

In Lizzi’s words – “One day when life was particularly tough, I remembered a trick I’d employed when life had been tough before:

Find ten things, right now, to be thankful for about today.

And I began to write them on Considerings, partly to share what was good in my life, and partly so I could hold myself accountable for doing them. A week’s self-challenge of ten things behest a ten-day challenge, then a two-week challenge, and by that time I’d realised how much change I’d made in myself.

By actively choosing to seek the Good things – by hunting them down and dragging them out (kicking and screaming, sometimes) I was making a change in my own attitude.

Not only that, but people seemed interested in how I was doing this. Inspired to try taking charge in their own lives and actively seeking the Good. So very tentatively, I began a blog hop, with some very supportive, wonderful co-hosts, and Ten Things of Thankful was born.

Dear High School English Teacher, Don’t Kill My Buzz

22

I sat at the old worn oak table and nervously tapped my foot on the linoleum floor, stealing glances at my parents as they sat next to me obviously trying to hide their own anxiety. How many students had awaited the unknown in this very room through the years? How many parents accompanied their children, likely being transported to a time when they were the student awaiting the fate thrust upon them by adults they never imagined becoming?

As the black hands ticked on the unsuspecting clock hanging on the wall, student became teacher, teacher became parent, parent became teacher, entering and exiting a place where respect was demanded, expected, obligatory, instilled in us and drilled into our psyche alongside the alphabet.

You, sir, entered the room without so much as a greeting, never acknowledging us as you took the furthest seat possible, distancing yourself and immediately setting the tone for our meeting. My parents said, “Good afternoon” to which you nodded, shuffled a few papers, and let the silence hang heavy between us. My dad and I made eye contact, the look exchanged between us saying, “this should be interesting” as we sat a little straighter and waited for you to speak.

 

“So, I’m told you want to be in Honors English. I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

I looked at my parents and took a deep breath. How could you possibly think it wasn’t a good idea when you had never met me and still hadn’t since you didn’t bother to introduce yourself to us?

 

“I’ve been in Honors English all through high school and would like to continue taking an Honors English course at this school.”

Another deep breath, silence, waiting.

“Well, just because you’ve taken Honors English at your old school doesn’t mean you belong in my class.”

 

Well, this was going splendid. At this rate, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in your class after all.

 

One of my parents spoke, I can’t remember which one, “Her current English teacher here recommended she transfer to your class because she did so well on her first two assignments.”

Red Circle Days

My first book, Red Circle Days, is available through Amazon, Nook, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Sarah Book Publishing. Click on the photo to buy a copy!

It was then you took the time to look at my parents, almost as though you were surprised to find them in the room. Immediately, I could see the disdain in your eyes because they expressed themselves in English, not their native language, and spoke with an accent. You stared them down as I shifted uncomfortably in the hard, wooden chair. I wanted to tell you I was no longer interested in being in your class. I wanted to tell you I could already tell I would hate it because it was evident to me you were a horrible teacher and even worse human being. Anger bubbled up inside me when you finally responded to my parents. Unfortunately, so did a little something called determination.

“Obviously, English isn’t your first language and while your desire for your daughter’s transcript to reflect four years of Honors English is evident, I don’t believe her past courses have prepared her for my class.”

Looking back, I should have bowed out then, thanked you for your time and not pursued your class. However, I was young and naive, and you made me feel like I had something to prove. I’m not sure what we said to finally convince you to allow me into your class, but you did and so began the year of English hell for me.

It seems you were as determined as I was, except your goal was to tear me down, and constantly remind me I wasn’t good enough for your class. You shot down my creativity, wanting me to follow a set formula for every assignment, going so far as to demand I begin every last paragraph with the word “Thus” and never giving me a grade higher than C. I tried so hard to write the way you demanded, losing my voice in the process, but determined to show you I was a good writer. I approached you for your help since all you offered was critique with no tools to help me on my next assignment.

 

“What can I do to earn more than a C? What am I doing wrong?”

Your response stayed with me for years.

“Nothing really. You’re just not a very good writer.”

And, just like that you extinguished my creative spark. You planted a seed of doubt that grew with each sentence I wrote for many years to come. The sad part is, I let you. I allowed you to convince me that I wasn’t a good writer. I let you strip me of the confidence I had when I took pen to paper and made my words come to life.

I was 18 then, under the impression that teachers always know more than their students, that all teachers want to better their students . I’m now 43 and know better. I now know not all teachers are good teachers, not all teachers have their students’ best interest in mind. Fortunately, I also know teachers like you are the minority.

I don’t know where you are or if you’re still on this earth, but I want you to know something.

My creative spark was reignited. These days, I grow more confident with each sentence I write. I make words come to life and never start my last paragraph with the word “Thus” because to this day that word makes me cringe. However, I’m going to make an exception today because (no thanks to you) I’ve learned I have a way of expressing myself in writing that touches people, that stirs enough emotion for them to come back for more. The beauty is I didn’t have to lose my voice to do so.

Thus, I AM A GOOD WRITER.

10702042_10203362726563060_7527367334827621972_n-2

My second book, a collaboration with a group of women writers, is available through Amazon.

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends is officially released today. My story is on page 69. Click the photo to buy a copy! 

Have you every had a teacher, a boss, a co-worker, a friend, plant a seed of doubt in your mind? How did you handle it? Did you dismiss it or let it grow?