Words I Have Never Spoken Aloud

33

“I am a runner.” “I am a writer.” Words I have never spoken aloud. Why? I guess because I don’t truly believe them. Yet. I’m working on it, but it is still a work in progress. I am still a work in progress. What words have you never spoken aloud because you don’t truly believe them?

Running - I don’t run fast. I don’t run far. I don’t win medals. Yet, I do compete. With every step I take and every mile I run, I compete against myself. Every night I set my alarm to get up and run in the morning, giving myself a little pep talk that I can/will do it. Every morning, when the alarm goes off I give myself another pep talk that I can/will do it. It is hard to get out of bed. However, I face the terrain, push myself mile after mile, uphill, downhill, and back home. I run because I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m done, not because I feel like a runner. I try to lose myself in my music, headphones on, drowning out the voices in my head and my heart that tell me I’m not a runner. Recently, I’ve acquired a new running partner. He doesn’t accompany me on every run, but when he does I find I run better. I still wear my headphones, but solely for the music. This little person beside me doesn’t allow me to believe I’m not a runner…even for a minute. When I run beside him, I am a runner.

Why? He is my inspiration. I want my son to believe he can do anything as well. I want the voices in his head and his heart to always tell him he can/he will. I want to be his inspiration.

kids finish tri copy

Writing - I’m not a famous author. I haven’t been writing long. I started this blog only five months ago. I don’t have books sitting on bookstore shelves waiting to be purchased. Writing isn’t effortless to me. I have to carve out time to sit and let my thoughts find life on my computer screen. Even with interruptions, as my fingers hover over the keys I work to translate thoughts to keystrokes to full-blown ideas on the screen. I write because I love to write. I write because when I do I lose myself in my thoughts and my words. When I write, I drown out the voices in my head and my heart that tell me I am not a writer. I write because I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m done, not because I feel like a writer. Recently, my daughter has decided she would like to write a book. She says she wants to be a writer like her mom. I watch her sit with her laptop, a faraway look on her sweet face, her fingers traveling over the keys bringing her own thoughts to life. This little person beside me doesn’t allow me to believe I’m not a writer…even for a minute. When I see myself through her eyes, I am a writer.

Why? She is my inspiration. I want her to believe she can do anything as well. I want the voices in her head and her heart to always tell her she can/she will. I want to be her inspiration.

An (unedited) excerpt from Olivia’s book:

It was an ordinary day. Taylor was in her room texting her friend, Hannah. “Want to come to my party tonight?” said Hannah. “Definitely, but I’ll have to ask my parents!” replied Taylor, so off she went down the stairs. She went into the kitchen to see if her mom was there. Sure enough there she was making tuna casserole. “Um mom?” said Taylor “Can I go to a party tonight?”  “Absolutely not!” replied her mom “we are going to have a nice family dinner!”  “But mom please?” said Taylor. “No and that is final!” said her mom. Taylor stormed off outside to think. “If I’m not at that party I’ll be a total loser!” thought Taylor. Just then a portal-like thing appeared right in front of her! Before she knew it she was inside of the portal! She screamed, cried, and whined for help! “Mom!” she cried, but no one could hear her! Just then, she fell onto a bed of grass and flowers, but she wasn’t alone.

Tons of villagers had heard some commotion, and wanted to see what was going on. The villagers were angry! They were holding pitch forks and torches. Taylor immediately got up and ran ( even though she had no idea where she was going ). She ran into the woods and cried for help. “Help! Mom! Save me!” she screamed, but no one came. She kept on running, but she tripped over the root of a rather large tree. She fell to the ground, but immediately got up and kept running even though she was hurt. She soon realized the villagers stopped at the beginning of the woods because those were the woods that belonged to “The Destructor”. Taylor stopped and sat down. Her leg was throbbing in pain. When she took a look at her leg it was bleeding heavily. She grabbed a leaf and wrapped it around her leg. She looked at the size of the leaf and wondered ” Where am I?” Taylor didn’t know what to think. As far as she knows she was just sucked into a portal, and ended up in a weird placed where there were angry villagers. She was very tired, so she decided to leave the thinking for tomorrow and go to sleep. She curled up right then and there and went to sleep, but little did she know that The Destructor was on his way towards her.

Taylor woke up and saw a little creature sitting by her leg. It was about as big as a puppy. It was very fluffy and looked like a very small mammoth! It had purple ears and legs with an aquamarine colored fur. Taylor stared at the little guy with curiosity. “Ok now this is just weird!” she wondered aloud. She thought for a moment. Then she realized “If I follow him I’m sure to find water and food!”  Taylor had a little backpack that she always carried with her no matter where she was. She pulled out a little note pad and drew a sketch of the little animal. “Are you ok?” Taylor heard someone say. “Did you just say that?” Taylor asked the little creature. She looked up and saw someone, but it was no Destructor it was just a little boy. The little boy was wearing jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and some sandals. He looked about six or seven. “Yes I’m fine, and who are you?” said Taylor. “I’m Peter, but the animals call me Pete!” Said the boy. “The animals?” said Taylor ( who thought the boy was insane and should just go home). ” I know what your thinking Taylor” said Peter.  “You what?” said Taylor. “I’m not insane.” said Peter. ” I can read people’s and animal’s minds, and that is why I said the animals call me Pete” said Peter. ” Oh I’m so sorry Peter” said Taylor. ” Follow me!” said Peter. So Taylor packed up her things and followed Peter through the woods.

As Taylor followed Peter through the woods she saw old abandon houses, broken down factories that looked like they had never been opened, she even thought that she saw a sparkle behind a tree or two. In other words, these were not the woods you would want to be in when you are alone. “Are we almost there?” asked Taylor. ” I think so…” Peter trailed off. “what’s wrong?” asked Taylor. “I’m not sure we are safe here, I-I can feel it” said Peter. Just then something jumped out of the bushes and took Peter. Taylor screamed, “Peter!!! Don’t leave me here!” Peter didn’t answer. He couldn’t answer because he was so scared it was like the whole world froze itself. Taylor knew she didn’t have to save him. It wasn’t her responsibility anyway, but Peter reminded her of someone who she couldn’t quite remember the name of. Taylor didn’t have all day! She decided to run after that beast that took her friend. Was Peter her friend? He never really seemed like one, but in a way he did. As she ran she heard a scream, a scream so loud it could make you completely deaf. Taylor stopped. It was the sound of a screaming boy.

Embracing The Spotlight And Learning From Shadows Cast

17
Photo Credit: hardwoodparoxysm.com

Photo Credit: hardwoodparoxysm.com

What does one write after the post that got more attention than a two-year old’s temper tantrum in aisle five of your local supermarket? If you’re me, you write absolutely nothing for days on end because you just don’t know how to follow that. If you’re me, you learn that the spotlight showers you with warm light while also casting shadows. If you’re me, you learn that putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is an act of courage that can be therapeutic for both writer and reader alike. If you’re me, you learn that you still have much to learn in this great big complicated world, and that a Weekly Writing Challenge can challenge you on a whole new level.

How often in life have we heard the phrase, education is key and been told to hit the books because you’re nothing without that diploma? It has been years since I have attended an academic institution, yet am still chalking up lessons. I’m not sitting behind a desk attentively listening to the professor and frantically taking notes, but I am still learning. The lessons I’m clocking these days are life lessons and taking notes may not be a bad idea. While I am a firm believer in getting that diploma and striving toward academic excellence, there’s no arguing with the value of life lessons.

How sad would it be if everything we know, we really did learn in kindergarten? There were definitely some good lessons there which many of us should brush up on from time to time. Sharing, good manners, kindness, waiting your turn… basic common courtesy far lacking in our society nowadays. However, let’s face it, the most important lessons are the ones life provides. Life experiences are what teach us how to be better. It’s those life experiences that make us realize just how strong we are, sometimes surprising ourselves more than those around us. While life shows us our strengths and our weaknesses, it also teaches us how to walk through that fire and come out stronger on the other side time and time again.

The thing about life lessons is you can’t sign up for the Tues-Thursday class at 8:00am. You can’t buy the book that will guide you through each lesson, and you certainly can’t get the Cliff Notes. There’s no Dummies book for life. You just have to live it! You have to keep your eyes and ears open and don’t let one pass you by, because I guarantee you it won’t be made into a feature film. You won’t get to grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show, because those life lessons on the big screen were someone else’s not yours. You and I have to take it one day at a time and embrace each lesson life presents because each one is meant for us individually. What we do with it is solely up to us!

If you’re me, you decide to continue writing with your own voice whether anyone is listening or not. If you’re me, you decide to continue challenging yourself on every level. If you’re me, you learn that embracing the shadows as well as the spotlight is a lesson in and of itself. If you’re me, you decide the only way to be is to just be me. As my wise, new blogger friend says, “when you do that there’s no pressure.”

Pearl Jam meets WrestleMania

15
Photo Credit: deviantart.com

Photo Credit: deviantart.com

As a mom, there’s nothing sweeter than seeing your kids showing each other some love. Those moments when they are hugging each other and smothering each other in sweet smooches is priceless. However, on more than one occasion that loving moment can quickly turn into a full-blown scene the likes of which WrestleMania can only aspire to achieve. The eerie thing is how quickly it can take a downward spiral into the depths of screaming and torturing. I have witnessed my two children perform this incredible feat several times and each time sit in awe (after I have intervened and sent them to their separate corners) at how two human beings can so quickly fluctuate from love to what I know in my heart is not hate but paints quite the picture of all things hate. There is nothing worse than being in public when the love fest begins because I then find myself holding my breath waiting for the tables to turn, especially when some complete stranger takes an interest in the two little angels love for one another. I can’t even enjoy the compliments being expressed to me, the perfect mother of these cute cherubs (truly you would have to be perfect or deranged to be able to raise children who never fight), because I am holding my breath waiting for my kids to reveal their true selves and in turn my true self since they are a reflection of me after all. I find myself repeating that moment’s mantra “just breathe, just breathe, just breathe” and hearing Pearl Jam in my head.

How many times in our lives do we hold our breath waiting for the worst? How many moments do we miss out on because we’re too busy worrying about the other shoe dropping? How many genuine messages of love and admiration have we skipped over because surely there must be something more to it right? Surely, there must be some ulterior motive behind someone’s compliment or kind action? They must want something right? There’s no way they’re just being nice. It will surely morph into WrestleMania at some point, so why enjoy the moment? Why bask in the glory when something terrible must be right around the corner? We’ve seen the pattern, been there done that, we know how it ends.

BUT

What if something really great is around that bend? What if something nice is actually followed by something nice or maybe even nicer? What if this time is different? How will we ever know? And how can we enjoy the moment if we’re so worried about what’s to come? I say, show ‘em your best smile and remember to just breathe.

What song or mantra gets you through those moments when you need to remember to just breathe?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Beyond

25

BEYOND

Photo Credit: littlemisswordy

Photo Credit: littlemisswordy

In the midst of winter with its harsh cold temps and snow shoveling duties, summer seems so far away doesn’t it? This is the part where I shouldn’t mention that I have no idea what that’s like since I’m currently living on a tropical island. I’ll leave that out, but will share this sweet story with you.

This past summer, my seven-year old spent ten days at the heels of his older sister and his three older cousins. No doubt this kid can hold his own, loves an audience, and is one of the most entertaining seven-year olds I have ever met. However, he was still the youngest and with that sentence naturally comes a tiny bit of impatience. Impatience to understand the topic of conversation, impatience to do the things they can do, and impatience to fast forward beyond this point in time and be as “grown up” as they appear to a seven-year old. It was sweet to see him in the midst of the older kids, trying to get their attention all while playing it cool. Being the youngest, he was the center of their attention most of the time anyway. However, there were those moments when I would catch him off to the side wistfully looking at them. This photo was taken at some point during those ten days, and in my eyes not only perfectly captured my cutie pie but also the story I just shared with you.

I’m heading off to Bermuda for a few days and not sure what internet access I’ll have while I’m there, but I set up the scheduler to publish a couple of posts while I’m gone. Here’s hoping it works! I’ll share photos when I return.

Here are a few more interpretations of Beyond shared by fellow bloggers:

alwaysbobswife.wordpress.com

theretiringsort.com

acrossthebored.com

gleaningthenuggets.com

3rdculturechildren.com

“This Gun Killed Someone”

45

The instructions read: Connect the dots to see the picture, then draw something you might see in it. He drew a picture of a gun floating in white space, with the word “News” above it. When asked to explain his picture he said, “The news is on TV, and this is a picture of a gun.” As his homeschooling teacher and more importantly his mom, I asked him to elaborate. He went on, “The news is reporting that this gun killed someone.”

(Insert screeching sound of tape rewinding)

When the heart wrenching tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, Connecticut I made a decision to shield my children from that news. I don’t watch the news often. I don’t enjoy it and seek my news updates via other channels. I didn’t feel the need to unnecessarily scare my children with the details of a man who took it upon himself, for reasons unknown and that will never be justified, to take the innocent lives of those children in the very place they felt safe and surrounded by people whose job it was to care for them. Since we started homeschooling this year outside the United States, our social interaction is limited. I have no idea where my seven year old son got this idea, nor if it is even related to the same horrific event. We spent the holidays in the states and they had plenty of time with other children and grownups so it is possible that he heard something then. That’s neither here nor there.

When I saw the picture of the gun my son drew, it didn’t faze me. When he made the statement, “this gun killed someone” my heart stopped. I don’t normally discuss politics, religion or other controversial and divisive topics, and I certainly don’t blog about them. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel the need to change others views or maybe it’s because I don’t feel the need to open myself up to others who might want to try and change my views. I don’t know.

What I do know is this. I don’t want my children to grow up believing that a gun is responsible for hurting or killing someone. I don’t want my children to believe that a piece of metal is responsible for taking lives. I want them to understand that a gun is a weapon that can only cause harm if someone takes that gun in their hands and makes the conscious choice to hurt someone with it.

gunnews

He added the person after our discussion on choices. Gotta love the extra long left arm.

Our lives are a series of choices. Coke or Diet Pepsi, tropical or winter vacation, the red dress or the black dress. Each choice we make sets off a series of other choices down a path whose direction can change in an instant when another choice is made. From childhood we are presented with choices on a daily basis. PB&J or ham and cheese sandwich? Apple juice or milk? Swing or slide? As we grow so do the choices we are presented with in our lives. We must choose to go to college or join the work force. We must choose with which friends we will spend our time, and which of those friends we will choose to share a lifetime. Some choices we know will be life altering the moment we make them such as whether or not to say “I do” or what career path to take. Others appear to be so inconsequential that we often make them without much thought at all, never foreseeing what kind of domino effect that tiny little choice might set off.

We all have at least one friend who prefers to leave things to chance, roll the dice, take a gamble. However, in doing so hasn’t that friend already made a choice? I have heard folks say, “I had no choice” and think to myself that there’s always a choice. If you think someone else has made a choice for you, then you have made the choice to give them that right. We are responsible for the choices we make, no one else. We are responsible for the smallest of choices that can be made in the blink of an eye…sugar or sweet n low? And, we are responsible for the gut wrenching, heart twisting, choices that cause sleepless nights.

I choose to teach my children to understand human beings choose to get their hands on a gun, choose to aim that gun at someone else, and choose to pull the trigger, ultimately choosing to end that life. I choose to emphasize the fact that the gun by itself doesn’t kill. A choice was made.

Regardless of my stance on gun control, as a parent it is my responsibility to help my children understand the importance of their choices and the effects and consequences those choices may have. Those parents who lost their sweet children that fateful December afternoon had no choice because someone took it upon himself to strip them of the opportunity to teach their children about religion, politics, guns, and their right to choose the path of good vs. evil. Those children will never get to make those choices because of someone else’s choice. I know the topic of guns will be controversial to some, but this post isn’t about gun control or the Second Amendment. It is simply about a mother choosing to teach her children about personal responsibility. At the end of the day, I choose to be confident in my choices and let the chips fall where they may. Let the domino effect begin. What do you choose?

Did you choose to discuss the incident at Sandy Hook with your children? If so, how did you handle the role guns and people played in it?

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunsets

12

Photo Credit: littlemisswordy.com

If you would like to vote for my photo, click here and leave a comment:

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Sunsets

At the age of 2, he couldn’t grasp the concept of one day ending and another beginning. Every night we had a version of the same conversation always beginning with, “Mommy, when is it tomorrow?” Ever a mom, ever encouraging a good night’s sleep and rest for all, my standard response was always, “Well the sun goes down so it can be rested enough to shine on us again all day tomorrow. Once the sun wakes up and starts to shine, and starts to peek through your window, we know it is tomorrow.” Truth be told, I often followed it up with, “then and only then, should you get out of bed and wake mommy up” but I digress.

The above photo was taken on a little weekend getaway with a girlfriend at a time during which she was making some tough decisions regarding her future. I captured this photo at a spot that brings her peace of mind, a spot that fills her lungs and fills her soul. Life changing decisions can leave us paralyzed with fear…fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being alone. And while there is hope in a rising sun, there is also something to be said for a sunset. Laying the past to rest, facing a new beginning, and the unfaltering assurance that the sun will again shine down on us tomorrow.

Don’t Give Up Your Dream…You Might Turn Goth.

15

Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Give Up Your Dream: Advice From My Kids

5. You will end up working at a job that doesn’t make you happy, like the McDonald’s Drive Thru Window

(Hey, wait a minute! How can you not be happy serving “Happy Meals” all day?)

4.  It will mean you don’t believe in God. 

(I guess there’s still the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and the jolly old fat guy)

Photo credit to dogatesketchbook.blogspot.com

3.  You would just sit there.

(What if your dream is to sit? Although, this chair while ergonomically correct, is obviously making this guy miserable.)

2.  You will be…wait for it…BORED!

(Boredom is like the plague to all kids under the age of 10, and apparently this guy.

I’m assuming it was a guy for reasons that would generate another top 5 list)

1. You might turn Goth

(I admit I asked my 6-year-old to repeat this one, certain I misunderstood. It may be time to give The Cult cd a little break at our house.)