February Art Challenge: Take A Picture Outside Your Home

This past week has been interesting weatherwise. Sunday through Monday it snowed. It didn’t snow on and off. It didn’t snow a little. It snowed consistently for at least 24hrs.
Those in the northeast will mock me. Those is the deep south will be horrified. Here in my little part of eastern Kentucky, we got between 15-20 inches of snow.
Thankfully, it was light snow. If it was the heavy stuff, a collapse in society may have taken place. More on that shortly.
The light snow came, then the below freezing temps, then some more snow (the heavy kind), then the sleet, then just ice, then the temps went up above freezing, and finally the rain.
The light snow from earlier in the week had melted and refrozen where the salt trucks had scraped and have created barriers to the water causing it to sit in the roads. Water that does make it to the creeks, along with ice chunks, have caused some flooding. To add to the water misery, our water utilities have been shut off.
I could go on a tirade about the water, or how people seem to believe that it is OK to put your truck’s front bumper right on my back bumper. Yeah, I’m looking at you large pickup truck obviously bought to compensate for SOMETHING…ass…but I’m not.
As much as I hate being stuck, it has been nice to just read a book, do a sketch, play the ukulele, see my parents, and not feel like I need to run anywhere. The snow was beautiful…the ice, not so much. I got to spend my birthday with my parents just enjoying the day. I was able to help my Dad shovel his road and I’m really thankful I could do that on a couple of levels.
So, while I probably will gripe about certain aspects of this last week, particularly that douchebag in the pickup, there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for.
I’m going to try to remember that while I boil water for my sponge bath.

Oh! Here’s my pic from outside.


This was taken while on a break from shoveling my parent’s driveway. My Uncle Preston and my Papaw built a treehouse for me and my brother. Since our home burnt down in ’04, it has served as a storage place for items we are still too bound up to look through.
We always say we’ll go through it, but we don’t. Maybe it’s easier to forget what you have than remember what you lost?
Still, it’s one of my favorite places and seeing it reminds me of games played, times with friends, and, most importantly my uncle, grandfather, and brother – my first friend.

Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

Memories….I Have Them

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how memory works. As I get older, I am intrigued by what I – and others – remember.  I want to hold on to those memories and keep them safe.
I am terrified of losing them.


Early Morning, Driving Through Clouds, With My Mind Wandering

Yesterday, I left for my first 5k at the bright and early time of 6:30am.  I was heading to meet my friends and start a new chapter in my transformation from a person who hated (and I mean HATED!) running into a person that looks forward to her feet hitting the pavement, when my mind began to wander (yes, as it is prone to do).

While driving through clouds (“fog” is just too boring of a description don’t you think?), I was thinking about how much of a coward I am.  I let moments slip by until at last faced with a “do it now or it may be over” kind of mentality which is both insane and, I think, very human.

Most of us go through our days trying so hard to do our best.  The best for our jobs, our families, our friends, heck, even ourselves.  At the end of the day, I think it’s easier for our minds to look at the problems of the moment and not recall painful lessons already learned.  It’s easier to be afraid of failure and miss an opportunity than to remember all those other moments that hurt, or paid off, at cost.  It’s easier to forget how you promised yourself never to let a chance to tell someone you care about them, then to remember how much your heart broke when a loved one passed away.  We are creatures of the moment, but sometimes, when it’s quiet and we let our minds wander, we remember…..

Yesterday, I remembered and, for once, I didn’t cry.

Random Writing Exercise – Poetry?

I’m not sure where this is coming from and, to be honest, it’s probably lame poetry (never my strong suit).  Still, I wanted to try something and this memory has been on my mind because it’s a nice one from a long time ago – nearly ten years! Crazy how time flies.
Hope you like it or, at the very least, it doesn’t make you hate my writing.

Hot and sticky best describes
that summer night.
We held hands and gazed at the summer stars;
pulling the blanket up to hide from wandering eyes.
When you said you wanted to marry me
someday, on that spot,
my heart wanted to believe you.
My mind knew it was an empty statement, made in a moment that couldn’t last.

Promises made in the dark disappear in the silver of early morning light.
Nothing hurts quite like a broken heart, except one that doesn’t mend.
It’s taken time.
The scar is visible.
The wound is closed, only opening when torn by memory.

Field Trip Memories

I am currently monitoring students on a bus back home. All in all a good day at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV. With a few minor incidents, the occasional eye roll from a 6th grader, and the absolute wide-eyed amazement of children – not at the music or science discovery center of course, but at the prospect of buying *gasp!* pizza for lunch this trip has been successful.  Sure, I wanted to see the Art gallery, but like the Stones say “you can’t always get what you want.” Upon reflection, I think they were talking about teachers…..maybe not…..hmmmm

This trip has brought to mind some of the field trips I was able to go on when I was in elementary school.  Of all the ones we went on – a trip to Virgie for a play, Shelby Valley for track meets, Camden Park for the heck of it – the trip to Richmond, KY and the EKU Planetarium was by far my favorite.  I remember being so excited getting on the bus and sitting near my crush.  Having extra batteries ready for my Walkman and a few cassettes to jam to on the 5ish hour ride we were getting ready to take – it was awesome!  I loved being at the planetarium.  Even more, I loved that my crush sat with me on the way home instead of with someone else.  Sure, I was totally aware that he sat with me only because he was (and still is) my great friend, but…..it didn’t matter!  We sat together, had a great time, and I got to wear his jacket and so-and-so didn’t.  Win for me!

It’s the small victories right?

Not all field trips were school related.  I grew up a member of the Williamson Presbyterian Church’s youth group with some amazing young people.  Our revered, John Duncan, and his family were like a breeze floating in to a hot room.  Their arrival brought about what I think of as a golden age of church going for me.  We now had a large youth group and  a young family willing to take us places.  Heck, they were willing to put up with us both in their home and at events (Halloween parties, lock ins, etc) which was different from what we were used to: Sunday morning Sunday School, hanging out in the balcony, and going home with my grandmother.  Church is still what I consider time to spend more with my family and friends and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I am off track…sorry….  I truly loved church during the time of the Duncan’s and the memories I have of that time.  Sometimes those memories sneak up on me, but they always bring a smile.  A hand held tightly, a group sitting listening to records, painting on the classroom walls – and so many more great memories.

Back to field trips.  When I remember my past field trips, especially while watching the children I am responsible for, I wonder if they see these excursions as I did.  I wonder if the bigger world in which they now live has taken away the excitement of an adventure away from home to a place you don’t know much about.  For how many of them, will this trip be the one where they get to sit near their crush?  Hold their hand?  Share an adventure with their friends?  Do they even think like that?  I worry that in a world in which they grow up so fast – and trust me, for more than I’d like, they are growing up so very, very fast – that they don’t even see those small joys.

So, on this bus, watching students who have spent a day in Charleston, I am reminded of how great those simple pleasures can be and how fleeting those times are.  I really hope these children can have those moments and enjoy them.