Soldiers Of The Same Name

10

It was the summer of 1970 when a little boy was born to a young couple in Atlanta, Georgia. His name was chosen to honor another young boy who gave his life for our country. On that day, as one boy came into the world to parents filled with hopes and dreams for his life, another young boy’s parents had already laid their little boy to rest as a Vietnam Veteran…burying their own hopes and dreams.

Freedom isn't free, Memorial Day, Veteran's Memorial, Washington DC

I captured his reflection when he found his uncle’s name.

 

Neither ever got to meet the other, yet that little boy grew to become one of the most patriotic men I know. His love for our country and his passion for our history make me proud to stand by his side as we instill the same passion and love for the United States of America in our own children and continue to honor the boy he was named after.

Freedom Isn't Free, Memorial Day, Washington, DC

In honoring his name, we honor all those who chose to fight for our freedom. In honoring his name, we honor all those who suited up before him and entered the battlefield. In honoring his name, we honor all those who walked before him, those who protect us today, and those who will choose to follow in their footsteps. Each and every one of these young men and women may not share the same name on their birth certificate or their dog tags, but they do share a name we should never fail to honor…Soldier.

May you each enjoy your Memorial Day and thank a soldier this weekend!

Do We Have To Get Naked To Be Heard?

41

Every time I turn around, I stumble across another viral post whose sole purpose is to get an important message across. The author wants the masses to lean in a bit, cup their ears, and listen…truly listen to what she has to say. And, in a world crawling with people hunched over devices, hungrily devouring more and more useless information throughout their day, what then does it take to get them to listen?

Victoria's Secret, Undressed, Lingerie

You may have come across the most recent article to have gone viral, EMBRACE – The Documentary.  If your news feed looks anything like mine, numerous friends and family members have shared it.

“Body Image Movement’s job is to harness and facilitate positive body image activism by encouraging women to be more accepting of who they are, to use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritise health before beauty. Our goal is to reach as many women as possible around the world and speak to them about how we can learn to fully embrace and love our bodies.” – Taryn Brumfitt

Taryn, or as she lovingly refers to herself, Taz, had an epiphany while considering a little lift here and a little tuck there. Tired of the pressure to look a certain way, tired of preaching the importance of loving your body to her daughter yet hypocritically wishing her own breasts were a bit more perky and her tummy flatter, she took a long hard look at herself and decided to make a change.

She posted before and after photos of herself like the internet had never seen…her before shot was what many strive for as their after shot. Her after shot is of her as naked as the day she entered this world, before the pressures to look a certain way had begun to slowly seep into every cell of her being. Sound familiar?

 

IT GOT PEOPLE’S ATTENTION.

 

Without having to look up from their devices, people started leaning in, cupping their ears, listening.

 

Beth Whaanga’s, Under The Red Dress photos stirred up some attention as well. When she asked commercial photographer, Nadia Masot to capture her naked body marked with scars from a double mastectomy, as well as a hysterectomy, lymphadenectomy and melanoma lumpectomies, she wanted people to listen. She obviously believed the best way to do that was to get naked, show the world her scars, hopefully drawing their attention to the importance of taking care of their bodies as well as supporting those clothed in their own battle scars.

There are other articles floating across social media where people are getting naked and being heard. Brooke Birmingham refused to put her shirt back on when Shape Magazine allegedly refused to show her photo in a bikini after losing 172 pounds. (I get that she wasn’t completely naked, but you get my drift). The magazine had approached her about running her weight loss story, but after seeing her in a bikini allegedly refused to show her photo citing editorial policy.

“If anything, they should want my picture on their site,” she wrote. “My body is real, not photoshopped or hidden because I feel like I should be ashamed. This is a body after losing 172 pounds, a body that has done amazing things, and looks AMAZING in a freaking bikini.” – Brooke Birmingham

We’ve since learned it was all just a misunderstanding (wink wink) and the magazine has recently committed to feature Brooke in an upcoming issue –  as well as other women with similar weight loss journeys who have nothing to hide.

These instances then beg the question, “Do we have to get naked to be heard?” 

It seems to me, given most of those getting naked are women there may be an underlying issue here. As women, do we have to shock people in order to be heard or does gender not play a role here at all?

Is it just a matter of a world saturated with so much information 24/7 that the only way to get someone’s attention is to bare it all?

Perhaps, many of us are craving a more basic being, finding the need to strip away all the pressures forced upon us to be someone else…to be more, always more.

Then again, maybe, just maybe the few of us who have reached this state of acceptance simply long for others to experience the freedom.

What do you think?

 

 

screen-19

Passage – Photo Friday

8

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” – Anatole France

“From wherever you are, enter and be welcome.” – Albert Camus

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

“Ask and it will be given to you:
Seek and you shall find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

“Footfalls echo in the memory, Down the passage which we did not take,

toward the door we never opened into the rose-garden.” – T. S. Eliot

Washington, DC, Capitol Building Photo, Room With A View

2014 BlogHer VOTY – The Selected Post And More!

19

This is the post that made me dance and scream around the living room last week when I received the email that I had been selected as a 2014 BlogHer VOTY. California here I come! I am honored to be among some amazing talent and will be counting down the days until the conference in July. Scroll down for more VOTY posts worth your time! 

 

History Of The World Part 2

It was the kind of day when the weather suggests you enjoy the outdoors, warm enough to ditch the heavy coats of winter and the restrictions they provide. Yet as I walked down the streets of Washington, DC, I held tight to a light sweater as I felt a cool breeze in the air. It really was one of those perfect days to sit under a tree, blanket spread with picnic regalia in all its splendor, and a good book in hand. I, however, lost all thoughts of the outdoors and the call of nature, as I stepped through the doors to the dome-shaped building which encapsulates the yesterdays and the tomorrows of our nation’s history.

Washington, DC, Capitol Building Photo, Room With A View

With each step I took upon the tiled floors, tiny squares of intricate designs, I couldn’t help but think of all those whose footsteps graced these halls since 1793. How many men and women eagerly entered this meeting place of the nation’s legislature, with hopes of not only leaving their footprints on these tiles but their imprint on our country? If I listened closely, I could almost hear the intellectual and political discussions, words floating up and around the painted dome with its mythological and historical impressions, secrets being whispered among the collection of American art gracing the walls.

Painting Ceiling in Capitol

For hundreds of years life changing decisions have been made amid the half circle of desks in the Senate gallery and throughout this building, behind closed doors and in the presence of those whose job it is to record it for our history books. The circular theme of the building a constant reminder of how history repeats itself no matter how hard we try to avoid it, coming back full circle in another attempt to teach us the lessons we didn’t grasp the first time. There is a reason buildings such as this one are preserved at all costs. They hold our history and they hold our future.

I felt honored to walk the same path as these leaders who have shaped our nation, to sit in the very seats they sat in, to admire the artistic details on walls and ceilings and look out the windows at the same panoramic views their eyes have also seen, to stand in awe of the majestic statues of American Presidents stoically keeping watch on the history they once created.

Capitol Building, Washington, DC

I also couldn’t help but feel small and insignificant in this magnificent rotunda, the symbol of the American people and our government. And yet, as I looked through my camera lens at my family, positioned in the exact center of this magnanimous building something else came into focus. I saw my history and my future in their smiles. I saw my husband and I in our first home shortly after being handed the keys, slow dancing in our socks in the living room to the music in our hearts. I saw my children’s peaceful looks as I rocked them back to sleep in their nurseries night after night. I saw us teaching our children to read, to ride a bike, to tie their shoes, to love, and to live. The truth is, life changing decisions occur in our homes every day. Lessons are taught and history is written. Our homes hold our history and hold our future. Each lesson we pass down to our children, each kind word we utter to our family, each impression we make upon someone else is a step in shaping their future, our future, and ultimately our nation’s future. As I headed out past the towering statues of George Washington, Susan B. Anthony, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and the many others who have shaped our present, I couldn’t help but be reminded that each of their stories began at home.

BH14_VOTY_Selected_150X15

My fellow Honorees In the Exploration category:

Amy Mcvay Abbott from The Broad Side for Leaning Ugly
Africadayz for For Ian: An Ordinary Saturday
Angelle Bonnecarrere from She Drives a Vegetable Car for Once Upon a Time in New York
Yuvika Chaube from My Musings for A Letter to the Previous Owner of My Mobile Number
Chris from Campfires and Cleats for Always Hope: The Soldier in the Snapshot
Debra Cole from Urban Moo Cow for Introduction to Eating Disorders
Dalene from hecKtic travels for Death Camp
Natalie DeYoung from The Cat Lady Sings for The Art of Holding Back
Shannon Duffy from Deepest Worth for Shining Through
Cheryl Dumesnil from VillageQ for “I Just Want to Be Like Everyone Else”
Anita Finlay from Anita Finlay for WW II Female War Heroes Deserve to Have Their Stories Told
Gretchen from Second Blooming for Spin Cycle: Haunted Hollywood
Rachel Haas from Dramatic Elegance for To the Men from a Jesus Feminist
Christine Harkin from Naptime Writing for Is That Manic or Depressive?
Kinnary from The Mango Cage for Sunday 29th December
Kylie from The Life of Kylie for When You Were My Age
Elora Nicole from Elora Nicole for Let’s Be Writers
Grayson Queen from Posting Tuesdays for Portrait of a Diabeti
Rara Queen from Rarasaur for I Was Small
Jess Severson from Don’t Mind the Mess for Women, Infants and Children

Kristi Campbell from Finding Ninee receives the People’s Choice Award for Exploration for Sometimes, I’m Maybe Not Myself. By My Maybe Autistic Son.

 

A few more honorees, you should definitely check out!

Michelle Lewson from They Call Me Mummy for The Ugliest Doll in the Shop

Vikki Claflin from Laugh Lines for Doctor, Can You Give Me a Lift?

Marcia Kester Doyle from Menopausal Mother for 10 Reasons Why I Love Menopause

Linda Roy from Elleroy Was Here for While the Iron’s Hot

Aussa Lorens from Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy for 7 Ways Your Life Is Like High School

Darcy Perdu from So Then … Stories for My SECRET Accomplishment

Stephanie Sprenger from Mommy, for Real for My Beautiful Girls: Raising Feminist Daughters

 

Paper Wedding Anniversary

26

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.

 

Feral Secrets Button

My Mind Palace Is Having An Open House!

12

I admit it. I’m a dreamer. I love to lose myself in visions I’ve meticulously created, each detail sewn together with the delicate point of my mind’s needle. I move right in to this mind palace of moments, dreams, and memories and as I stroll up and down each hallway filled with images, I pause and focus on my surroundings. I soak it all up with unquenchable thirst and turn each corner in search of more, always in search of more. Each room holds the mystery of the future and yet turning the knob and pushing the door open is an action as familiar to me as the hand that reaches for the switch that will bathe me in light.

Sherlock, Hallway, Corridor

And much like the lines on this aging hand, past, present and future all reside in this universe. Each thrives separately, yet I am often surprised by the repetitive pattern I sometimes encounter. Like paintings lingering on these corridor walls, the same hopes and dreams resurface time and time again. The same mistakes make multiple appearances. One hallway meets another and then another, each turn can either take me back in time or propel me into a future I long for without providing direction on how to reach it. Inevitably, I reach a crossroad at the end of this inner road and find myself turning my head to either side, squinting in hopes of catching a glimpse of what each hallway holds – a hint of how many doors await in either direction.

I turn to the right hoping it is the right choice, all the while doubting myself and simultaneously lighting the adventurous spark within me. I want to move forward, continue in search of…of what exactly? I take a step back and turn to the left wondering if by a simple process of elimination this is the right direction. I stand rooted to the ground, hesitant to make a decision, unwilling to lift my foot and take that step. Moving in either direction doesn’t bring a sense of comfort so I stand as seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours. I lean my head toward the ceiling, eyes closed and will myself to make a decision, choose a direction.

Circular Window, Landscaping

I can’t. I take a deep breath, slowly lower my head and gradually open my eyes. I am amazed at what I see as a complete sense of calm envelopes me. Before me is the most picturesque garden right outside the small round window that greets me. How did I miss this? How did I not see such beauty and tranquility right before my very eyes? Was I so focused on choosing a direction that I overlooked the wonder that stood before me, patiently waiting to be acknowledged?

We sometimes find ourselves at stages in our life where we feel compelled, pressured to make a decision one way or another.

We believe we must act quickly for fear we will miss out. And yet, sometimes the best decision is to just be still.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you handle it? 

 

 

Raising Champions

1

Little boys all grow up to be men someday.

The kind of men they grow up to be is still to be determined.

Or is it?

Football - Little Rascals

 “I watch them from the sidelines as they stand side by side on the edge of the field. Every so often they turn and high-five each other, throw an arm over a teammate/friend’s shoulder. With the short attention span of little boys, a couple of them roughhouse with those standing closest to them until the coach reminds them to focus on the game. In these instances, I catch glimpses of their faces and can’t help but wonder if I’m catching a glimpse of their future as well.

My eyes methodically travel down the line, and come to rest on each jersey, seeing more than just their number. These boys already exhibit certain characteristics that will become prominent as they grow into men.” 

On The Bench

I’ve spent the last several months getting to know these same boys from an earlier post titled, Boys To Men: A Glimpse Into The Future. I’ve watched them grow in ways I never could have imagined during those early practices. I’ve witnessed the highs and lows of a competitive team sport through my lens week after week – tough games and great plays, bad calls and good calls, tackles and ultimate victory. Through my lens I’ve taken thousands of images of these boys, each capturing something unique about them, each depicting a piece of themselves that will eventually play a huge part in their future selves.

And, while earlier in the season I sat back and wondered what each of these boys might be like in the future, I no longer wonder. You see, the images that I will forever carry in my heart clearly show the type of men these boys are destined to be. As my eyes wandered away from the little warriors armored with helmets atop their heads as they prepared for battle each week, I caught glimpses of the people who are shaping them into the men they will someday become.

Coaches who volunteered their personal time day after day, week after week, to ensure these little guys would not only learn the sport, but learn lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime. Lessons of dedication, lessons of commitment, lessons of hard work, and lessons of compassion. Men who gave them a beautiful example of the importance of carving time out of your busy enough life to unselfishly give to the children of our future, instilling in them the importance of being present.

 

And, as I positioned my camera toward our sidelines what I saw week after week was the ultimate example of support from mothers and fathers alike I have ever witnessed. These boys were given a clear picture of what good parenting is all about as fathers helped them suit up, moms provided snacks, grandparents came to cheer them on, and siblings shouted their names from the sidelines all confirming that simply being present in our children’s lives is a priceless gift they will forever cherish.

Due to such an amazing team of people, these boys had an undefeated season and went on to win the championship. However, I can’t help but feel that during this season they won so much more.

The glimpse of their future selves is of men who will know how to be a part of a team and who will lift each other up, men who will have faith and men who will never give up. They will grow up to be dedicated fathers and supportive friends. They will dig deep when the going gets tough and they will see the best in those around them. Trophies and titles will come and go, but the greatest reward these boys received was the love that was showered on them all season long, proving they were winners long before they became champions.

Football Prayer

 

 

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

8

The last few weeks this true story has come up on more than one occasion, so I thought I would dust it off and share it once more. Enjoy!

The sound of the waves, the sand beneath his feet, the warm ocean breeze were all a part of him, ingrained into his very soul. He was a true island boy, climbing palm trees in the blink of an eye to retrieve a coconut, catching fish with his homemade spear in the most primitive manner. It was the only manner he had ever learned…not from his father, as he had never met the man who had given him life. His mother never spoke of him. He carried his questions in his little heart, the one place they couldn’t cause the fleeting glimpse of pain he sometimes saw in her eyes…the pain she thought she hid so well.

Puerto Rico, Army Jeep, Black and White Army Military Photo

He studied the only photo of his father he possessed, memorizing every detail. Even when he closed his eyes he could still see the way his father looked in his uniform, the way he slightly leaned into his military jeep as though someone had caught him on his way somewhere. Where was he going? Who held the camera that provided the only piece of the puzzle that was his life, his story? He held the tiny black and white photo, yet held not a single memory of this man…a stranger to him.

Mike and Mom Rita early to mid-1950's

It came as no surprise when the little island boy grew to be a soldier as well. He and his mother moved to the United States so he could join the army at the age of eighteen. It wasn’t long before the island boy fell in love, married and had a family of his own. His young bride, wanting to know everything about him would ask him to tell her about his father. She wanted to know if he ever thought of him, if he ever wondered what became of him, if he was ever curious to meet him. His response never wavered. He had a good life, a loving family, and no need for anything or anyone else. After years of seeing the hint of pain in his eyes, she stopped asking him. Many years would come and go before she would tentatively broach the subject once more.

It was the age of computers now, when the internet was becoming all the rage and she had embraced the technology. She loved being able to communicate with all the friends she made during their numerous military relocations. And, she had become interested in a genealogy website where she could build a family tree. Once again, she asked her husband about his father. This time, he handed her the tiny black and white photo his own mother had placed in his small hand a lifetime ago. She scanned it, placed it on the site and listed her husband’s name as someone looking for his father. Neither one of them thought anything would really come of it. Yet, life has a funny way of making connections so intricately weaved, they leave us mere mortals astounded.

Across the ocean, a secretary at a military base happened on that very website. She gasped when she saw the photo and immediately printed it. Her boss arrived shortly after, and headed straight to his office. The first thing his eyes landed upon was a printout of a tiny black and white photo of a man in military uniform. There was no mistaking it was his father. He immediately took the contact information his secretary provided, and made the call that would forever change the life of a little island boy. He never doubted for a moment this man was his brother. Their father had shared a story with him, and the time had finally come to share it with his brother.

Their father had been stationed on a small island and had fallen in love with a young girl. He had returned home at the end of his assignment, but headed back to the island during the first military leave he had only to find that young girl gone. He questioned friends, family, neighbors to no avail. In the end, he found one person willing to talk. The news he was given was heartbreaking. The young girl died giving birth to a baby boy who also didn’t live.

Their father had refused to believe it. In the following years, he made several more attempts to find what his heart believed to be true, but all attempts ended the same. With a heavy heart, he returned home, went on with his life, married and had children, never returning to that island.

Somehow his heart knew what no one was willing to tell him when he sought answers so many years ago. His son lived, and one day he would know their story. He had hoped to look in his son’s eyes, and share this history with him, hug him and let him know he had gone back for them. While on his death-bed, coming to terms with the fact he would never get that opportunity, he shared this story with his youngest son. Their father requested when the brothers finally found each other, the story be shared with the son he never met.

There was silence on the other end of the phone line as a lifetime of questions were finally answered. The island boy, whom my husband calls Dad and my children call Pappa, found a family he never knew he had and a story he never believed could be his own.

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Red Circle Days Book Review And Giveaway

5

The Mom Cafe’s official review of Red Circle Days took MY breath away! 

Check it out and comment to be entered to win your own, signed copy!

Two winners will be chosen at random on Friday, April 4th!

Red-Circle-Days-By-Leah-Vidal

Today I am introducing you to a writer who has taken my breath away over and over again with her words…her powerful themes…and passionate messages. Leah Vidal is a gifted soul, who blogs over at Little Miss Wordy. If you haven’t received her profound gift via her blog, you will be happy to know that she also authored a beautiful book titled, “Red Circle Days”.

Oh my heart…
“Red Circle Days” is one of those books you want to linger in for long. I did just that. One chapter slowly read, absorbed…processed…to then conclude my journey with a deep resounding “Aha moment.” I love books like this, that provide such a powerful purpose.

Each chapter shares a story, an anecdote about her life where she transports us to her world full of memories and significant moments that mark something profound for her…and eventually for us too. She captures a palpable substance that threads through her words as her perspective enlightens the reader from a different angle. Life’s observations can either ignite a passion or a purpose… and Leah seems to be able to successfully embrace both.

At the end of every chapter, Leah asks her readers a question that takes a pivotal turn back to their own life, their purpose, their moments. She presents herself as personal and she reveals private reflections that exhibit an open willingness to reach out and touch the reader with lessons learned, insights gleamed and new observations awakened.

Some of my favorite ‘book moments’ include a few lines that have left an imprint on my heart:

“Why do you wear that?”

-Taken from the chapter that resonates so deeply with me, Leah shares a phrase her “friend likes to use when someone comes to her whining about something someone else said or complaining about someone else’s behavior.”

She goes on to share this truth:

“On a daily basis, we run into people who say something hurtful or critical. Some of us have people in our lives that are a reliable source for pointing out just what we are doing wrong…. “Issues” or “jabs” that we are so affected by aren’t ours… “Someone else” made the decision to carry them. “Someone else” made the decision to fashion that stuff down the runway, not us.”

Oh, how I love this insight! How many of us ‘wear’ someone else’s opinions? We can choose to take them off, send them back, and keep our own wardrobe! Removing those layers would certainly be like striping off filthy pieces of clothing that weren’t ours to begin with anyway.

It’s a beautiful perspective, isn’t it?

Linger here…

Grab My Book Here!

Another chapter that still echoes in my mind and tugs at my heart:

“All Grown Up”

Leah takes us into the hospital room of her dying father’s request to be home among his beloved family. Leah claims this to be the day she had ‘grown up’, taking on the responsibility and sheer determination to get her father where he needed to be… home. After she “Made all the necessary arrangements to transport him home”, he was ambulanced back to his loved ones surrounding him…

And after asking if all of his precious family was there, “he took a deep breath and finally went home.”

Leah describes this as the moment she grew up, a daughter able to fulfill her father’s last wish.

Oh my heart…
Each chapter calls for us to pause and linger…

These are just two “Red Circle Days” of many in this beautiful book. It’s worth the read. Promise.

 You can go here to purchase your own copy, stick it in your car, your bag, or your purse- and take it out whenever you have a moment to linger.

Reflections

RIP C.R. – Gone But Not Forgotten

10

Dear C.R.,

It has been one week since you departed my side for the after life. I have opened my eyes each morning refusing to believe it is true. They say time will heal and each day will become a bit easier to bear without you by my side, but how can that be true when all my most memorable moments are ones we captured together, memories we created for many years to come. I’m not sure I can go on without you. I know you were tired and it was time for you to go, but selfishly I wish you had been able to hang on just a little longer.

One With The Ocean, Beach Calls Me
I know I must find a way to let you go, but today I simply can’t bring myself to do it. It was you who showed me the world in a way I had never experienced before you came into my life. It was you who encouraged me to share my vision with the world and allow them a glimpse into my mind and the randomness of it. Through the years, you were with me at so many of the big occasions. Most importantly, I knew I could always count on you for life’s little moments.

It was you I turned to time and again through my children’s many stages, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You never questioned my views, yet somehow managed to always bring me back into focus on what’s really important. You helped me see the details even when I was intent on the big picture. If not for you, I shudder to think how much I would have missed out on.

I hope you are resting and in a better place, a place full of color because it was you who taught me that color can instantly brighten a mood even though seeing things in black and white can evoke a level of emotion some people just aren’t prepared for.

May you rest in peace C.R. As I continue my life’s journey, I promise to carry your lessons and memories close to my heart in all I do. I vow to create many more memories because I know it’s what you would have wanted. And, although I will eventually find another because after all life goes on for the living, you were my first and I will always have a special place in my heart reserved just for you.

Canon Rebel

RIP Canon Rebel. 

Gone But Not Forgotten

Do you have something you’ve had with you through the years that you find difficult to let go?