Archive for the ‘Why blog?’ Category

(30) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: You

July 31, 2012

These springtime bluets seemed to be growing right out of the rock. They look delicate, but they are tough little buggers.

If you click on my “About” link, you’ll see where I mention that I started my blog in 2007, in part, as an attempt to re-awaken my muse.  Going through repeated hardships can sure suck the juice out of you, and that’s pretty much what happened to me—my well of inspiration went bone dry.  The last straw was when my abusive ex-husband’s third wife contacted me out of the blue in late 2006 and asked if I’d help her.  I must admit—I didn’t want to do it, but I did because they had a six-year-old son together, and he was the one who was suffering most.

Helping her (and she was a lovely person) was even more intense and difficult than I thought it would be.  I relived not only my own abuse, but I heard of the egregious lies he had told about me.  I don’t know why the outrageousness of his lies surprised me—I certainly knew he was capable of it—but it did.  It seems I am constantly blindsided by the depth of meanness that people are capable of.  I never seem to learn.

Anyway, I’m not sorry I did what I did because she finally found the courage to leave him, and she and her son are doing very, very well now.   But going through that, on top of everything else, somehow killed the spark in me.   My creative spirit was a dried husk of a thing.  So I decided to start a blog, hoping that being forced to write often might squeeze out whatever juice was left.

And it did.  I learned that I could write, that my muse was only sleeping, not dead, and that there were people who actually wanted to read what I wrote.  Imagine that!   But even better, I’ve made connections through my blogging that have helped to sustain me—in so many ways.  Your kind words not only have given me more confidence in my writing, they have restored some of my faith in the goodness of people.  And, oh! how I needed that.

So…thanks, y’all.  Thanks especially to those who have stuck by me as my family has gone through yet more hardships—your kind comments have meant a great deal.   And I’m thankful, too, to those who read before, even if they no longer do. It’s always difficult to know why folks stop reading your blog, but I’ll have to say that I’ve grieved every reader I have lost, because I do think of y’all as friends.  But no hard feelings—I know they had their reasons and I respect that.

But my heartfelt thanks to you, dear friends, who continue to read my rambling, raving, and ranting writing.   And who put up with silly puns and possibly excessive alliteration. 🙂 To y’all—who continue to help me believe both in myself and in the kindness of people.  I am deeply grateful for you.


My Alter Ego and Me

November 17, 2010

(Junaluska reflections)

I have a confession.  I’ve had another blog.  Since June.  Not that it’s been completely hidden—it’s been in my Bloglist (Mr. Schwump Has His Say), but it’d be easy to pass over.  Just like Mr. Schwump himself. 

Not that I’ve posted on it much—only two posts since Benjamin broke his back—but I guess I just lost my spark for a while.   I’m still looking for that spark, but I’m happy to at least see the occasional small flicker. 

(The good news is that, thanks be to God, Benjamin is feeling better.  Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers.)

Perhaps you’re asking, “Who’s this ‘Mr. Schwump’??” Well, I explain that in my first post on the other blog, if you’re curious. (If you’re a big fan like I am of The Andy Griffith Show, you might remember the humble Mr. Schwump.)   It’s worth clicking through, though, just to see the really cute possum we caught!  And the surly groundhog!  Not to mention the snakes…umm…entwined.

Maybe you’re wondering, too, “Why another blog?”  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I explain that, too, in the first post on Mister Schwump, but to make a long story short, here goes:

I can be awfully neurotic at times, especially when it comes to writing.  It got so that on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl, I’d write a post, only to go into a sort of crazed obsessive/compulsive edit mode.  I couldn’t stop finding fault with what I’d written. But despite the fact I’d edit ’til the cows came home, I’d still not feel satisfied with what I’d written and would suffer terrible anxiety every time I published a post.  Stomach-churning, heart-pounding, hands-atremble anxiety. That’s not the reason I quit the blog, but it was a factor. 

But I found I missed writing.  So I started another blog.  I’m sorry not to have mentioned it.  I wanted to tell you—it felt strange not to—but I was afraid you’d naturally compare it to this one and find it lacking.  My alter ego Mr. Schwump doesn’t worry so much about “perfect” writing…and he doesn’t ramble on and on like I do. 🙂  He trusts that his story deserves to be told, whether anyone out there cares to read it or not.  Even if the writing is only average.  As it turned out, my most faithful readers were my sweet children, who know and love Mr. Schwump (or, at least, the Mr. Schwump in me).  And they were my only commenters (under…ahem…assumed names. Apparently, they have alter egos, too–ha,ha).

I did say “long story, short” so I guess I’d better get to the point:  I want to feel, like Mr. Schwump, that my story deserves to be told.  And I want to be able to write without that Nasty Critic in my head telling me that it has to be perfect to be worthwhile.  (Not to say that my posts were ever perfect—far from it—but I always felt like I had to try to make them so.)  So as of today, my alter ego, Mr. Schwump, will be ending his blog and will begin to write on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.  He’s going to teach me how to write freely and with joy again.  How to write without giving the Nasty Critic so much credence.  And in the spirit of writing freely, I’ll be writing even more honest and true than I have in the past.  Words flowing straight from my mind and heart to my key-tapping fingers.  No, the posts might not be as polished as my old ones (again, NOT saying that my posts were all that polished, but that I couldn’t stop trying to polish them).  You may even choose not to read them, though they will be shorter (I’m trying to learn to be more succinct, too) than my previous posts so will require less of a time commitment.

I’m hopeful that somehow in the process, I can come to believe, like Mr. Schwump, that my story is worth telling.  And that my life, however dull or ordinary it might be, is worthwhile.  My messy, imperfect, often boring life.  So what I’m saying here is that I’m sort of, more or less, reviving Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.

Besides, y’all never took me seriously anyway when I said I was quitting, did you? 🙂

But my greatest hope, as always, is that even my most ordinary writing about my most ordinary life will resonate with someone. Or give them pleasure.  Or make them laugh. And that somehow, somewhere, someone will find truth in it. 

Because in the end, I reckon that’s about all that matters. 

(Autumn rainbow at my house)

Summer at the Doublewide Ranch: An Update

September 29, 2010

(Why, yes…that IS a pink flamingo in the background!)

I’m finding it hard to write these days.  Even emails…and the comments I leave on your blogs.  You’d be surprised how long it takes for me to write those comments, as ordinary and dull as they sometimes are.   I’m not sure why I’m struggling so, but whatever the reason, I did want to give you a small glimpse of our lives this summer here at the Doublewide Ranch–in pictures.  If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then here are 10,478 of them. 🙂

(Notice there are TWO monarchs here.  Monarchs in love?)

(I love that morning glories will claim anything they can reach.)

(Cosmos and the cosmos)

I also thought some of you might want to know how Ariel and Benjamin are doing.  Ariel is feeling much better, though she does feel quite tired in the evenings.  But who wouldn’t with full-time school, part-time work, and lots of trips back and forth from Chapel Hill to Raleigh where her fiance works and lives? Benjamin’s broken back seems to be healing well, especially considering he walks miles a day all over campus, lugging books and laptops and such.   Thank God the young are fast healers.   Physically, at least.

But the heart’s a little trickier.  If only a broken heart were as simple as a broken back and you could rest in the assurance that that broken heart will knit itself back together in a few months time, with a little extra care.  But, of course, nothing’s simple when it comes to the spirit.

Benjamin is feeling sad.  I wasn’t going to mention this, but it occurred to me that not mentioning it implies that I think there’s shame in being depressed.  But there’s not.  And I don’t.  It’s been a tough year for my boy, and…well…life has never been easy for him.  Sometimes, the world is not kind to those who are different.  Really, it’s hard for any of us to be completely “ourselves”  because we are so often burdened by other’s expectations of us. But it’s especially hard when you’re autistic, as Benjamin is,  and you’re constantly expected to adapt yourself to a world you don’t completely understand. 

Benjamin is the bravest and strongest person I know, but he’s struggling these days.  And there’s no shame in that.  And there’s no shame in my being honest, either, even if reading this makes some uncomfortable.  I simply cannot manage a pretense of happiness right now.  

So I’m asking for your very special prayers for a very special child of God–my beloved son, Benjamin.   May he know how much he is loved–by his family, by his many friends, by my readers who have come to know him through my posts.  But even more, may he know how much he is loved by his Creator, his Heavenly Father, who sent him to us so that he might shine his unique and lovely light in our lives and in this world. 

And Benjamin’s light  is a beautiful, blessed, and holy light indeed.  May he always see and know that, too.

A Barely Discernible Ripple

May 5, 2010

(Morning light through morning glory leaf—on my porch)

Well, it’s just 10:46AM, and I see on the WordPress site that WordPress bloggers have already written 69,148,215 words today. That’s a lot of words. And here I am about to add my 700 or so.

It’s humbling to realize that my little blog makes barely a ripple in that vast ocean of words, those overwhelming waves of words that wash over us daily. But it’s gratifying, too, to think that sometimes, somehow, my almost indiscernible ripple just might make a discernible difference in someone’s life.

It still amazes me, after over two and half years of posting on this blog, that people come back time after time to read my thoughts. And sometimes it scares me, too, because I’ve so often clicked “Publish” filled with fear and doubt that my words would measure up to your expectations. And, very likely, sometimes they haven’t. But one thing I know for sure is that my words have been honest. And true to who I am (for better or for worse). That was important to me.

I never found my niche in the blogging world, never found a place in the blogosphere where I fit in. No surprise, really. I’ve never found my niche in the “real” world either—even after 52 years. And maybe I never will, but I’m so grateful when I do find kindred spirits amongst my fellow pilgrims. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it seems miraculous.

You can probably guess what this is leading up to. Initially, I’d planned to end it cleanly—by deleting my entire blog. You’ve seen those blogs that people just abandon, floating out there in cyberspace. Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man says that they are like ghost ships— those abandoned vessels found adrift in the sea with no one aboard. So I thought the least I could do was to give this vessel of my life a decent burial.

But now that the time is here, I can’t do it. Delete my blog, that is. It would be almost like I’d killed a part of me. And even a part of you, my valued readers, since you have blessed me with so many beautiful, insightful, and moving comments over the years. And so, I’ll leave Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl up for now, in case I decide to return someday. Because I’ve really come to love the connections I make through my blog, and I know I’ll miss them. Amazing what happens when you extend a virtual hand out into cyberspace—sometimes hands reach back and gently grasp yours.

By most standards, my blog wouldn’t be called a success. It never brought me fame or fortune. Some people make money advertising on their blogs; others find paid work (in writing) through their blogs. That never happened with me, though I have found rewards of a different kind. And that’s why I’m quitting, at least for now. I need to put all my energies into finding the kind of work that pays the bills. Sure, it would be great if that work involved writing, but, realistically, it’s far more likely to involve a broom and toilet brush than a word processor.

But enough about me. I want to talk about y’all. Because y’all are amazing. You probably have no idea how much your comments and the love, compassion, kindness, wisdom, and humor in them has meant to me. Occasionally, in difficult times, I’ve gone back and read them and been buoyed by your benevolence. And your kind words about my writing have kept me writing and even believing that someday I might be published in a bigger (and more profitable) venue.

So thank you. I won’t say goodbye because I’ll still be hanging around in cyberspace, visiting your blogs to see what you’re up to. Not as often as I do now, but often enough to make sure you’re behaving yourselves and staying out of trouble. Or not. 🙂

So. No final goodbyes. Just…so long for now from the Doublewide Ranch. Thanks for stopping by and sitting a while on my front porch. I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit. You’ve been the best of company, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Some Pictures and a Thank-You

February 11, 2010


(Just a reminder that you can click on any of my photos to enlarge them, should you wish to see them better.)

Once again, words seem inadequate to express how grateful I am for the kind hands extended and love shown in your responses to my last post.  You know, I actually typed “virtual love” at first in the previous sentence.  But that would seem to imply somehow that it wasn’t real.  But I think it was.  Every word I read (and I read them all more than once) seemed as honest and true as the generous and compassionate hearts behind them.  So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your healing words of love.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks here at the Doublewide Ranch.  Yes, the dreary cold and relentless ice and snow continue and the medical bills keep coming, but there was a bright spot last week when I did our taxes and found out (thanks to an increase in the Earned Income Credit) that we are getting back more money than we ever have before.  And it so happens that it should be sufficient to cover most of what we owe on Benjamin’s hospital bill.  So thanks be to the Lord for His grace and kind provision.  And thanks be to God for birds that sing in the bitter cold.  And for snow-dusted mountain tops and white, icy frost flowers.  And for squirrels that make me laugh. 

And thanks be to the Lord for you.

See the pretty little frost flowers on the ice?

There is still life under the ice that will be there long after the ice is melted.

Eventually, all that pristine snow makes mud.  At least, in our driveway it does.

Comic relief.  We are easily entertained with a potato from our garden.  Mrs. Potatohead and her baby Spud.

A rare bit of golden morning sun on my Grandma’s pie safe.  Yes, I do like whimsical knick knacks.  I hope those of you who like spareness in your spaces are not too horrified. 🙂

I really love the way this squirrel was holding his tail.  Made me feel oddly happy.

Leaves in ice

Can you see the little heart on the tree trunk?  Happy Valentine’s Day!

My Appalachian Alps 🙂

For Smiley

February 4, 2010
 Why is it so hard for us to lay our souls bare—-to expose our deepest griefs and yearnings?  What are we afraid of? Why do I feel something close to shame when I talk about my sadness? I wrote this several days ago, but have been unable to hit that “Publish” button.  But if I don’t, then it would seem that I don’t believe the words I write.  So if you’re reading this right now, it means I finally had the courage to click “Publish.”  It will also mean that I’m sick to my stomach, as I always am when I put myself out there like this.  But I guess it’s better to risk your heart than to close it…
When I first started blogging, it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. I didn’t give a lot of thought to what my objectives were other than a desire to revive my dormant writing muse. As time went on and I began to post on a regular basis, I was genuinely surprised to realize that people out there were actually reading my stuff. And every so often, someone would tell me that something I’d written had moved them or changed their thinking or, best of all, given them hope.
Of course, it thrilled me to think that, with my words, I could encourage or maybe even enlighten someone. Or make them laugh. But I’ve realized over time that it is most important to me that my blog be completely true to who I am, whether I am feeling happy and hopeful or sad and lonely.
Now that I think about it, I think maybe THAT’S what I really want, more than anything. To help people feel less alone. I know how it feels to feel alone. When I was small, I felt alone when my oldest brother abused me—physically and otherwise. Thank God he stole a car when he was fourteen and was sent to reform school, giving me two years of peace. Well, not complete peace. My sister was prone to inexplicable rages and almost killed me twice. Daddy had a real hard time pulling her off the second time, and I passed out before he could pry her fingers from my neck. He said later that had he not been there, she would have surely killed me.  I think my parents did the best they could, but they were overwhelmed. Mama always said I practically raised myself.
But had you seen the girl I was back then, you never would have known all this. I had plenty of friends because I was always smiling or laughing or trying to make others laugh. My uncle called me “Smiley.” But I remember that sometimes I’d be in the middle of a group of my friends and suddenly be seized with the most overwhelming feeling of loneliness. But I never told anyone. Because I was Smiley—the girl who was always happy. And the world loves a happy girl.
I can’t help but notice that I get the most comments when I write a happy or cheerful post. And who can blame you? Lord knows, we need all the positive we can get these days. I myself am drawn to positive people because I think there’s always something to hope for and I believe that almost always, joy follows sorrow.  And it’s a lot more fun to write a happy post.  But sometimes I do feel sad. Or angry. Or lonely. So I reach out with my words, knowing that it’s not always just the positive posts that help the lonely feel less alone. Sometimes it’s good to know that others feel sad or angry or lonely, too—that you’re not the only one. So maybe sometimes even my less cheery posts might help someone out there to feel less alone; to know that it’s okay to feel that way and that there are those that love you whether you’re feeling happy or sad.
Please know that I don’t mean this at all as a rebuke to those that don’t comment on my angry or melancholy posts. I’m sure you have good reasons why you don’t, and that’s okay, too. Perhaps it’s because YOU are feeling sad. But I do want to thank those that do. I think you understood that my last post wasn’t just about poor customer service, but about how awful it feels when another human being treats you unkindly. So thank you. For accepting me as I am and for helping ME to feel less alone. I am grateful.
But really, I’m writing this to that little girl named Beth from so long ago. The one with the stubby hair and wide crooked smile that never stopped. For Smiley. I’m writing this to tell her that I love her whether there’s a big smile on her  eager freckled face or big tears flowing down it. I’m writing this to tell her that it’s okay to feel sad. But that she should never feel lonely. Because even though sometimes people will turn from you when you’re sad, there are always those who love and embrace you for who you are—no matter how scarred or broken. There are always those who will extend a hand of kindness—whether virtual or real—to let you know that you are not alone. You are not alone.

Just In Case You Still Remember My Last Post…

May 26, 2009

Since it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post, you’ve probably all pretty much forgotten what the post was about.  But just in case you do remember and just in case you’re curious about whether or not my shameless exploitation of Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man’s hurt toe actually got me into Blog Log…why, I’m happy to report that…yes…yes, it did.

But the thing is, Brian was a little late with Blog Log this week (apparently he was moving last week), so until today, I thought I had embarrassed myself  for nothing.  In fact, I was just about to publish a post bemoaning my previous post and exposing the egg on my face.  It was going to be titled something like The Folly of Following Fickle and Fleeting Fame.  (You know how I love alliteration) 🙂 Here’s an excerpt from my unpublished post: 

Yes, it’s true—it seems I humiliated myself and exploited my beloved husband’s injury for naught. It would appear, in fact, since it has been two weeks since the last Blog Log was published, that the Mountain Xpress has decided to discontinue the column. And they apparently made this decision just as I published my post where I all but begged to be in Blog Log again.  So it seems, as usual, that my timing is thoroughly and painfully off.  Which, of course, is nothing new.  I’m always the one who remembers the punchline of a joke long after everyone has walked away; who arrives at the party after all the food is eaten, half the crowd is gone, and the balloons are starting to deflate; and who sends a cheery “Get Well Soon!” card only to find out that the person I sent it to has just passed away.

My, that certainly was a light-hearted little piece, wasn’t it? 🙂  However,  I then went on to say:

But, on the bright side, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is still employed!  And his completely blackened toe did not wither and fall off!  In fact, it no longer looks gangrenous so I can now see it without flinching. 

Yep, it’s a good day alright when your toe doesn’t fall off!  I mean, I really hate it when that happens.  Bummer.   Yeah, nothing ruins a good day like losing a digit.

Seriously, we are truly grateful that Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man still has a job.  And that his toe didn’t drop off. 🙂  He even scored some free vegetable plants for our garden last week when there was a closeout at one of the places he does maintenance, along with some herbs that we can’t identify (but they sure smell good).   And I found the butterfly bushes I’d been wanting at a price I could afford.  Plus,  all the perennials I planted last year have come back this spring, except for the purple verbena.   All that…and I got on Blog Log, too!  Almost too much excitement for one week!  Things are definitely looking up.

So thanks, Brian.  I hope your move went well.  And I sure am glad the Xpress isn’t dropping Blog Log.  I enjoy it, even when I’m not on it.  But I sure do like it when I am. Makes me ridiculously happy.   Quite a thrill to see Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl in print, even if that isn’t really my name.  That would be “Beth.”  With a “B.”  As in beaming.  As in buoyant.  As in bountifully blessed.

Thank You

October 20, 2008

Words are really inadequate to express how grateful I am for all the loving, thoughtful, insightful comments so many of you made on my last post, but since words are all I got, here goes:  I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.   Every single one of your comments touched me and moved me to tears.  I read them over and over and even printed them out so I could take them out and read them on some future terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  🙂

One thing that struck me as I read them was how so many of you, in commenting on my post about risking my heart, had risked your own in commenting with such honesty and candor.   I am grateful for that and for all the wisdom, love, and compassion shown me in your comments.  And I was humbled by your kind and generous words about my writing.  It’s funny—most times my first reaction when someone says something really nice about me is to think I don’t deserve that!  But I’m trying to learn to accept compliments gracefully.  After all, that’s a part of learning to open your heart, too, I think—to let the light pour in.

And I want to thank my children, too, for their comments and for being who they are.  I have learned so much from them about having a bold spirit and a courageous heart.  They both have such a strong sense of who they are and where they are going—I think I want to be like them when I grow up.   🙂

In my friend Judy’s comment, she mentioned my post on finding a heart in the grass.  I thought those of you that read that post earlier might be happy to know that the heart’s still growing there in our big, imperfect, mongrel-grass yard.  🙂   Here is the original picture:

And here is one I took yesterday:

As you can see, there’s a little breach in the heart now, but it’s still largely intact.  The other day, when I saw the breach in the heart, I thought, “Aww, now it’s a broken heart.”  But at least that heart’s still growing.  And now, I think I’d say that little crack is not a break, but an opening.  Because, as my friend Wesley said in her comment, quoting from the words of Leonard Cohen: There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.


“You Are Here to Risk Your Heart”

October 17, 2008

(Bee leaving glory having tasted its sweetness)

Sometimes, I’m not so sure I was meant to be a blogger.  For one thing, I’m actually rather quiet and not much of a talker, though my sometimes lengthy posts may seem to contradict that.  For another, almost every time I write a post, when it comes time to click the “Publish” button, I get downright queasy, and when I do finally click it, sometimes I feel like throwing up.  Then there are those frequent dreams I’ve had since I started blogging about being in a crowd and looking down and realizing I have no clothes on.

Okay, maybe you don’t feel that way—maybe it’s just me, neurotic, quivering jelly mass of insecurities that I am.  But most times, after I post a piece, I do experience a sort of blogger’s remorse—especially when that post is very personal and revealing.

And so it was last week when I clicked “Publish” on the post, “Wayfaring Strangers.”  Perhaps you read it in the two days it was up.  If you didn’t, let me summarize for you.  Pretty much, I talked about how Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I have almost despaired of ever finding a church, a spiritual home where we might fit in because we just feel so unlike the rest of the world—almost as though we are from another planet.  And I talked about how the many difficulties we’d been through made us feel even more that way, so that we sometimes feel broken and sad. Or as Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man puts it: sometimes we feel like God’s Crash Test Dummies. 

So, when I clicked “Publish” on that one, I had something very much like a panic attack.  Pounding heart, nausea, light-headedness, and difficulty breathing.  I almost deleted it then and there.  But I’m trying to learn to trust people again and that means learning to reach out and ask for help and comfort.  So, a deep breath and a little pep talk to myself and out my heart flies into the blogosphere.

Red Smith, a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper columnist once said: “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”   And, of course, this is particularly true when your writing is personal—when you lay your soul bare for all to see.  It’s difficult and requires a sort of faith that the world will treat it kindly. And, for me it never gets easier.

But I was more anxious than usual about this one.  So a day and a half later, I was grateful for the four comments I’d gotten. But then I looked at my stats, and that was my undoing.  That’s when I saw that 162 people had read that post.  One-hundred and sixty-two people had read that we felt sad and broken and only four had extended a virtual hand.  One-hundred and sixty-two people had read that we often feel alone in this world and one-hundred and fifty-eight seemed to confirm our suspicions.

But this isn’t meant to be a whiny or petulant post about those one-hundred and fifty-eight.  What really distresses me and what I’ve thought about most since was my reaction.  What I felt was shame.   Shame—as though I’d done something wrong in speaking honestly about our pain.  In fact, my sense of shame was so intense as to be intolerable.  So I did the only thing I could think of to do: I deleted my post.

Why did I feel shame?  Why is it so hard to shine a light into the darker places of our spirits?  And when we do shine a light there, why is it so painful?  Why do we hide so much of ourselves away?  Why do we (as Robert Frost wrote in Revelation) “make ourselves a place apart/Behind light words that tease and flout?”

I’m sorry I deleted that post.  I wish I had been bolder.  I wish I could have realized that the only real shame was that I felt shame at being honest.  I wish I had been brave enough to leave that door open to my heart.  I wish I had risked making my heart vulnerable for just a little longer.

I do want to thank those who did comment.  I’m very grateful.  I’ve thought about why more didn’t.  Perhaps, as one friend said, “folks just don’t know how to react when confronted with an emotional post.”   Or perhaps others were like another friend who read my post but wanted some time to think about her response.  I’ve done that before. Whatever the reason, I think what really matters here is that, even though I did delete that post to retreat to a safer place, here I am again opening my heart to the world.  Here I am—saying that there is no shame in showing you my pain.

My friend Wesley sent me a lovely quote that she had found on another blog, Pinwheels.  It’s from Louise Erdich’s The Painted Drum:

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.

So, yes—I am broken.  I am hurt.  I have been betrayed.  And, much too often, death has brushed near.  But still, I risk my heart.  And still I love.  And still I feel.  And still I pray that I will always taste the sweetness of even the most bruised of every fallen apple.

A Year Into the Journey

September 6, 2008

(Socket to Me!  from The  Faces That Launched a Thousand Quips)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since I wrote my first post, A Small Wobbly Step Into  the Blogosphere.   I was quite apprehensive and anxious.  It’s not easy to make yourself so vulnerable.  But here I am, a year later, wobbling along.  I was going to write a post reflecting on what I wrote then and how I feel about blogging now, but I guess I’d like to give that a little more thought.

But, for fun, I thought I’d revisit one of my earlier pieces—one of my favorites, The Faces That Launched A Thousand Quips.   Naturally, it’s from the Silliness category (in case you couldn’t tell from the photo…and the title).   I still remember how much fun I had doing that post, though it took several hours to take all the shots.  Take a look—I’m pretty certain it will make you laugh.

Oddly enough, some of my other favorites fall into the other extreme—the I-think-I-might-be-an-old-cranky-curmudgeon category:  A Friendly Word of Advice to the AARP ,  A Note to the Glib, Gauche Guy in Guccis, and A Passel of Personal Peeves.  I would like to note that the Gauche Guy in Guccis piece was written about men where I used to live–not where I live now.  Why, the other day, at CVS, I even had a fellow with a big ladder in his hands hold the door for me.  🙂

But I’m proudest of the ones I wrote about my son Benjamin’s struggle with autism.  I say his “struggle with autism.”  Really, it was more his struggle with the world and how it so often discounts, dismisses, or rejects those who are different.  I’m proud of these posts because the fact that Benjamin allowed me to post them meant that he was finally moving towards acceptance of his autism and acceptance of who he is.  As I said in the post, Benjamin Raps, he was at last breaking “free of the bondage of believing the ill-conceived and ill-founded opinions of others and learning to see the truth of who he really is.”  If you’d like to read them, click on the Autism category.  I’d be pleased if you did.

Now that I think about it, that was one of the reasons I took my own bold step into the blogosphere.  To break free of my own bondage…of fear, of timidity, of insecurity.   I’d like to be able to say that I’ve become a bold, daring, confident woman.    But I haven’t…yet. 

But even if I haven’t arrived, I’m still out here, stumbling along, looking for grace and striving towards light.  One wobbly step at the time.

So, thanks.  For those of you still walking along with me and for those who have recently joined me—I appreciate you sharing my journey.  I am so grateful for the company.  🙂