Well hello there! Thanks for clicking! You are in for a treat! … I’m not sharing this with everyone, just YOU who clicked to be here. Why?! Well, because you’re here, in my funnel and I am oh so grateful for you! The fact that YOU are HERE right now, means you took extra time to click a link. I figure it’s only fair for me to favor you and for you to savor the attention! ;)
I’ll share what I learned about gratitude (and THE change) below but we’re coming into the time of year where gratitude and gifts get the spotlight and “YAY” I say! Because with the losing of the daylight, we need something to keep spirits up! By the way, if you use a SAD light, or have ever used one, I’d be grateful for your opinion on them. I’m about ready to buy them in bulk. This early darkness is really getting to me this year! I think it might be because THE Change is upon me but whatever it is, I need some light in my life! I digress…
Ah yes, gratitude for my favored friends! I want to say thank you for being here. For clicking. For buying. For reading. For reviewing. There’s a story in the bible where two men named, Peter and John were asked to give a man money. He was a beggar man and that’s how he made his living. Peter and John told him they didn’t have money, but they’d give him what they had… They happened to have miraculous healing power from the Holy Spirit! Like them, I have no money to give you. Unlike them, I don’t suppose I have the Holy Spirit power to heal (but if I did I’d send it out to a man named Carl Carlson who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer – please do say a prayer for his miraculous healing if you would). As for what I do have… well, you already know. I have books! 10 of them now!
~ I’d like to give you a book in gratitude of your support!~ Hang on! There is a slight catch! ~
If you’re not local, you’ll need to provide your mailing address as I only have print books to give away, and you’ll have to be patient… I have a habit of delaying shipments until I have five to send. Bear with me.
If you’re local, as some of you know and have experienced, I’m not the best at actually getting books delivered in a correct or timely fashion. So… I will have the books with me at Bianchi Vineyards on Wednesday, December 13th 5:30pm-7:30pm for their Wine Down Wednesday event. Come on down, enjoy Elaine Eagle’s music, and get a good read on me! Please let me know which book you’d like so I’m sure to have enough on hand. (Check out the BOOKS tab to see what your choices are)
Oh and if you didn’t know… Elaine Eagle is the musical inspiration for the Gia’s Sonata series (now an Amazon Bestseller!). Way back when, she graciously gave me hours of her time to help me craft Gia’s character. I am so grateful for that!
And now to what you actually clicked for...
Gratitude, simple sentiments of thankfulness and appreciation. I’ve made an effort this month to notice something I’m grateful for daily! Sometimes the thoughts end up on my Facebook page as well, which leads to another by the way... if we’re not friends on FB you might want to find my Author Page before the holidays are over. I have some fun, festive plans for Christmastime, which include gifts, artisan fairs, giveaways and probably a NEW BOOK RELEASE!!
Again I digress… Ah yes, gratitude…
Not only am I intentionally expressing gratitude daily, I’m trying to speak it out loud, offline! I challenge you speak your grateful thoughts too. Clearly, written words are of utmost importance to me, and they matter, but there is definitely something to speaking words. Spoken word influences our personal thoughts, not to mention others. There are amazing studies on words, language and emotion I encourage you to check them out, but I challenge you to SPEAK gratitude out loud this holiday season.
What we say directly affects thoughts, feelings, emotions and even our health and anxiety levels. Spoken words are POWERFUL! The cool thing is that it doesn’t even have to be said to someone else to have significant influence. In fact, some studies show that what we say out loud to ourselves is more influential that what others say to us. So, speak it loud, speak it strong, speak out your gratitude to yourself and to others if you’re brave enough! Be grateful my friends and know that I am oh so grateful for each and everyone of you who chooses to give a small amount of space in your life to me! Thank you for your time & loyalty :) I hope to see you at Bianchi Vineyards on December 13th!
Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute… there was more to this article wasn’t there? Why yes there was! It must have slipped my perimenopausal mind! I tell you what friends, this CHANGE is no joke. I am a mess of emotion and physical symptoms that have me fuming one minute and loving the next! I’m in the early stages. As best as I can tell, I’ve had “major” symptoms for just under a year. It took the better part of this year, though to figure out what was going on. Have you started the change? Whew! Not for the faint of heart…
As far as the change goes, what I’ve learned is that the UK is actually all about The Change and helping middle-age women navigate it with a little negative effects to relationships and careers as possible. Did you know the Change can cause symptoms other than hot flashes and night sweats? I honestly didn’t, maybe I heard about mood swings and heavy or awkward periods, but nothing more. There’s so much more! One of my worst symptoms has been dry eyes. I am so glad I learned about this before reaching for eye drops or prescriptions that may have more side-effects than I want to experience. I’m going to try HRT and will probably share sporadically about my experience on my social media.
If you wan to keep the conversation going I HIGHLY encourage you to download the “Balance” app. It’s a squiggly blue “B” icon and within it you can find so much more information than anything I can share here. You’ll be welcomed into the community and a have access to a symptom tracker that you can use to document your symptoms for your health care provider. They also encourage the use of #PauseToTalk to keep the conversation going on social media. Go ahead and check it out! I absolutely love it and have learned so much from it.
So there you have it, as the seasons change, so too do our bodies and lives, but we don’t have to go it alone or in ignorance. I’m glad you’re here with me! Until the winter … you know where to find me!
Oh… Here’s another great article on how words affect us! I couldn’t figure out where to link this one, so I’m just adding it here: https://brm.institute/neuroscience-behind-words/
The goal was to publish two new books this year. Y'all... I SMASHED that goal! (Assuming this book is officially published by 12/31 that is). It's down to nothing but production minutia now. Production and all that self-doubt that hits me every time I get "here" and wonder what it's all for. It's not for me, but then again, I honestly want to make my living writing, so it kind of is, isn't it? Hobby, passion, calling, failing business... I can't ever decide what exactly it is. I hope you know that they're for you, these words I write. You know that right?! YOU matter to me. I can far more easily keep them all to myself and enjoy them in the ether between my ears just fine. I have these thoughts, feelings, ideas and stories and compulsion to share them with anyone who wants them. They are yours and for you. I get better every day and long to pour more words out for you. Thank you. If you've ever purchased a book I wrote... thank you. If you've ever read one of them... thank you! If you've taken time to leave a review for someone else... thank you!! If you've shared a book or post with someone else... THANK YOU!! If you want to click the "Buy Me A Coffee" button and throw a few bucks my way... THANK YOU!!! If you actually do it... YOU'RE THE BEST!
For all my musings give my Patreon a try, because I'm going to try to put them there...
I am surrounded. Murky southern reservoir water laps the edges of the dock I sit on and we call our own for this one glorious weekend. Earlier this morning the birds and water filled the air with music and sound, a serene welcome to the day. It’s mid-morning now, the world is awake, so I unleash the music from the little square speaker. Kenny Chesney sings Blue Rocking Chair. My hand-picked serenade to fit the mood, if not the color or style of the chair Jeremy sits in. Not too loud, not to quiet, enough. Like this weekend and this vacation get away. Enough. There’s no loss of nature or the slow ease into the day on my speaker’s part; the speed boats, pontoons and wave runners have already washed out the birdsong and we’ve been to the store and back for bait and more supplies. While he’s focused on the lines. I’m focused on remembering how I ended up here, surrounded by water this morning.
After we returned from the store, I contemplated staying on the cozy, covered porch of our “glamptastic tent” or moseying down to the dock to be nearer his essence. I love this tent and this Airbnb space. It boasts all the pieces of nature I adore, hills, trees and water with the luxuries of modern convenience, indoor plumbing, running water, covered spaces, air conditioning, electricity. Near perfection. It would be quite perfect if not for the mass of humanity. The lake is fairly full of gas powered this and screaming engine that disturbing the natural wonder for the sake of leisure and entertainment (but isn’t that why we’re here too? Just turns out our leisure is preferably a little more slow and quiet than theirs.). I digress, back to my contemplation. Of course nearer is better, I am a quality time soul, so I work my way down to the dock… to him, getting this and that for me or for him on the way. It occurs to me that a laptop is an odd thing to bring out to a dock, but it’s sturdy and also covered and there’s an outlet above the table and chair set for the Christmas lights that illuminate the night, so I shrug and do it anyway.
It’s time to fish. All this time while I’ve been contemplating, he’s been preparing the lines. Sweet! I haven’t missed a minute of the lazy summer action. We have two licenses and poles and I’m not opposed to catching fish, I even tied one of my own lines to a swivel this time, but he seems to like baiting and stringing for me, so I’ll let him… until my bobber dips under, then I’ll be all about the catch! I day dream that mine will be the biggest catch and I’ll bring it in flawlessly (with his guidance of course) and it’ll make him, and my son, proud of my catch too. Hopefully I don’t pull a silly girl move and lose a fish. That’s the worst! Don’t get me wrong, I’m OK being a novice at fishing, I do not pretend, nor could I ever pull off a bluff that I love to fish as much as true fishers do, but I don’t want to ruin a good catch either.
And there he is. He who loves me. Big, broad, brawny, bold, bald and bearded. My favorite human. Maybe it’s rude to say that with children I’ve known and loved longer. Is it fair to put them “second” to him? Maybe if they were still really children that wouldn’t be a right thing to say, but they’re all grown, doing their own things. I love them and am devoted to them but, if I’m honest, it’s the truth that Jeremy Worley is my favorite human, save for myself. My kids had no choice, I am their mom, or adopted mom, or ex-step mom, or step-mom. They didn’t choose me (well maybe Matea did). It is what it is and we are family. He chose me. He chooses me every day. I’m humbled and grateful for his love and also for his family. They live in this Tennessee area and their annual reunion gave us the excuse to make a point to be here. I might not have left Washington otherwise, the work to plan for my grandmother’s care while I am away was extensive and exhausting! I might have thrown in the towel for an eight day vacation “just for me.” I was willing to put in the work and effort for family. My look back at the work from this dock tells me the reward was worth the effort!
If only the boating traffic wasn’t so profuse, this would be bliss! Two books on a bait laden table flank my left side. To my right … the rapid lapping water, yes, another boat went by a few minutes ago. In front, the best view! Him, two poles and a watery reprieve from work and care giving for a dying loved one. I struggle though. Part of me feels like I should be up there with him, nearer him, touching him maybe, or at very least sitting by him but I wanted to write. This is fishing for me… sitting, pondering life, waiting for the bite! They tug at the strings of my heart these inspiration filled, ripe, hungry emotions and thoughts waiting for me to set the hook on the concept, give it some slack, let it swim and fight a bit, reel up and guide it in when it’s time. His bites too are filled with anticipation of what’s on the hook at the other end of the line. This is bliss! But after one thousand wonderful words of reflection on this morning and this moment, the books beside me beckon. It makes sense to close here, grab a book and lay nearer him. Who know maybe I’m the luck he needs to bring in the big one!
Once upon a time, while on a lonely wilderness hike, a sojourner came upon a band of merry souls (or dwarfs, or whatever fanciful person-like creature comes to mind and suits the story). They were a joyful and proud lot and danced around a sacred fire. They heartily welcomed the stranger in to listen to their tales of the eternal fire, stoked long ago by their very hands. It burned with warmth and fury. The fire kept them, sustained them and guided them with its light. This fire was indeed warm and seemed friendly, so long the sojourner stayed listening to their tales of the fire. The embers waxed and waned red, gold and sometimes even a glorious blue while they shared their stories of the bygone days of the fire. Then there was a stirring, a waking, and everyone knew it was time again to stoke the fire, to keep it burning. While the sojourner was permitted to watch the gathering, the preparation, the cutting of branches and falling of trees, they were not permitted to actually stoke the fire. It was a sacred right and no matter how merry the gathering, and inviting the stories, the lore and legend wouldn’t permit a stranger’s participation.
The stoking began! Wood and wonder crashed into the red-hot fire ring from all permitted hands, from all sides, with whoops and hollers of utter satisfaction! The flames rose high into the night, fiery flakes fell around the stranger, and the people, or creatures, or whatever they were danced and swayed in the ecstasy of the stoking. It was grand and glorious monstrosity of heat and sacredness, and the interloper wanted so badly to be one of them, but was at least grateful for the warmth and the invitation to sit in and watch the magnificent procession. The men roared, the women cheered, and somewhere deep, down in the depths of the dirt, a delicious drumming of delight rumbled underfoot blending into the melee, as if even the earth itself approved of their fire and festival.
Then one of the revelers came to the weary sojourner with all kindness and sincerity in an attempt to somehow include the stranger into the stoking. The warmth and smoke of the fire enveloped the reveler and the stranger, mesmerized by the sights, sounds and smells agreed, quickly, without a moment’s hesitation, to participate. The stranger could not by rite stoke the fire, but they all insisted wholeheartedly that there was space for the stranger to participate in the celebration. If the stranger loved the band enough and chose to remain in the group there was a simple, albeit painful role that the stranger could join in. All the sojourner had to do, to stay with the merry men (or women or dwarfs, or whatever fanciful person-like creature comes to mind and suits the story) was insert a hand into the fire for a brief moment, long enough to let the flames lick at bare flesh and season the smoke with the flavor of the pain. The pain, the stranger was told, would only last a moment, and certainly there were others who participated in order to belong. Many souls willingly inserted their hands into the fire and their scents melded and mingled with the burning wood.
The stranger wondered how the others endured the burns, and asked if the fire hurt them as badly. They all carefully, thoughtfully, one might even say lovingly inspected the sojourner’s wounds. They compared it to other revelers, consulted with each other and concluded that the injury was minimal. The sojourner loved them for their care and concern and trusted their assessment. The pain afforded the stranger admission into the group, and the group was so, so good and welcoming and fun that the draw to be with them far outweighed the pain. The stranger stayed, the blisters did eventually scab over, the scars were reminders, as much as anything else, of the great stoking and eternal flames. The healing was slow but came in time so the stranger stayed with them, around the fire, watching and waiting for the next stoking.
As time drew near for another stoking, and always and ever with this band there would be a stoking, for the fire could never die, the sojourner knew this time what to do to participate. The stranger loved the band of revelers very much and enjoyed their company so much more than lonely wilderness travels and so foolishly hoped that maybe this time it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Maybe the scars from before had somehow strengthened or shielded the skin. Maybe the revelers had another way for sensitive souls to participate, or a magical elixir that could keep the burns from blistering, maybe the burning didn’t have to be so bad. The gathering began, the stoking was near and the stranger’s anxiety rose; but the wilderness was cold so flesh was again plunged into the fire as the men roared and women cheered and the earth resounded in triumph.
The blisters this time festered and infection set in deep. Not everyone had this trouble with the fire, and the stranger’s sensitivity perplexed everyone. Some arms passed through like a hand over a candle flame without so much as even singe mark of black, they were perfectly content to play their part in the procession. Others licked their wounds but recovered quickly, or at least seemed to. Not so much for the strange sojourner, the pain was devastating and was causing quite an uproar within the once merry band. The revelry, comradery and company couldn’t quite sooth the stranger’ pain and dimmed the glory of the stoking. The healing scars that time didn’t remind anyone of a glorious tradition nor help to honor those who kept the flame alive with the stoking, they only reminded everyone of the awkward, awful pain of the stranger. The stranger, aware of the bands efforts at inclusion, looked long at the scars and pondered the fire, the wilderness, the sacred ritual and all those sorts of philosophical musings that occur in the midst of pain and confusion.
They stoked again, the sojourner burned again but that time with pain fresh and furious, the sojourner retreated knowing the new festering blisters, over too many scars were the last that could be endured. The pain was too great but the stranger has come to truly love the group, and yet couldn’t continue to burn. So the stranger sat at the edge of the camp, on the precipice of a decision, exposed and vulnerable and utterly alone, knowing without a doubt that something must change.
And that is the story of the stoking and the stranger.
My first drink was either a fuzzy navel or Black Velvet and Coke. Say what you will about the Canadian whiskey, it did the trick and got me wasted. I was barely a teen. I graduated on to harder things that occupied most of my time and attention for the rest of my teen years… Then I met Jesus. Say what you will about the Middle Eastern Savior, He did the trick, got me saved and washed me clean!
My life was new, I was born again, and I really took that to heart! I embraced being clean, and church and the word of God and life without drugs. I didn’t drink for about a year after that divine deliverance from drugs, but then added alcohol back. There was no out-of-control binge; like all of the little foxes in life, it crept in a little at a time. Mike’s hard lemonades with family barbecues. Raspberry Smirnoff Ice while camping in the summer. When it was cold I loved hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps. And I lived there for years. I don’t think it was an issue. I could ask my kids, but I’d be scared of their answer and I could ask my ex, but he wouldn’t answer anyway.
Then wine. It tasted disgusting, but it was a whole lot cheaper and “healthier” than those sugar laden Smirnoff’s so… I embraced the bottle, for my heart’s sake when I started to focus on my health and fitness in 2008 after my grandpa died. Concerned, because of my addictive nature and past I did fervent research (all online of course) to find out what was an ‘acceptable’ amount to drink and for years made sure I didn’t exceed the acceptable limit… most of the time. But somewhere along the way the rules disappeared. It was a bottle every two nights and then she who budgeted and shopped fastidiously would magically need something at the store every other day and a full bottle of Merlot would fall into the basket too.
I can’t remember when, in the course of life, I had the talk with my ex, but I do distinctly remember where. We were walking west toward the street in front of an elementary school near our house and I told him I was concerned I may be drinking too much alcohol. I cannot remember anything more about the walk or the conversation. I remember when we moved from Snohomish County to wine country how surprised I was that so much of the culture here includes a drink with everything… well maybe not all Bible studies, but some of them for sure. I loosened up, maybe I was just being too hard on myself.
Then I got stupid drunk the spring break of 2012. My adopted daughter, Matea, was lost to me and my best dog ever was dead and I was fiery mad at God. I got drunk and I ran a six mile training run, mostly in the dark and somehow ended up swinging on an outdoor swing made by strong hands I don’t know anymore. He came to me, in his silent way, and tried to offer comfort. I sent him away with horrible, hurtful words, I did but didn’t mean. He left and I stumbled my way to my dog’s grave in the back yard and cried, and screamed to God, while Jeremy Riddle’s “Sweetly Broken” flooded into my ears on repeat.
I wanted my daughter back! God knew it and I knew God knew it but up to that point, I plead to God with tempered restraint. Not that night, HOW DARE YOU TAKE HER!!! WHY DID YOU EVEN BRING HER TO ME IF SHE WAS GOING TO LEAVE?! WHAT KIND OF A GOD ARE YOU? CRUEL, THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE! HAVEN’T I SERVED YOU? HAVEN’T I HONORED YOU? GIVE HER BACK!!! Then I threw up, stumbled into the house, puked some more and woke up to a hangover and humiliation that I behaved so in appropriately. I do not know if I apologized to my family, I should have. But less than two months later, that girl, that daughter lost to me, wanted to come home. It was a pivotal point in my relationship with God. Sometimes you gotta get down and dirty. And God’s the God of all Creation, He can handle it.
After that, after she was back, and I was a JAG teacher trying to be a good example to impressionable high-risk students, I analyzed my drinking and confessed to them and to my family that I thought maybe I drank too much. One of the girls in the class was inspired and quit drinking. She would mark her sober days on our white-board, and I didn’t quit drinking.
Then he left… was drinking a part of the silent reasons he left? I’ll never know. Closure would be nice, but then again, would it be? Nah, I’ll leave that stone unturned, and besides, The Leaving turned out pretty good for me anyway and I’ll leave the rest of the confession for another time...
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