A Tomato Sandwich – The Perfect Comfort Food

tomato sandwichIt is my ultimate comfort food.

There have been a few times in my life when I was so stressed that my diet consisted entirely of tomato sandwiches. When you can rely on one food to sustain you for weeks at a time, you know you’ve found your ultimate comfort food. I love them and I never get tired of them.

I just received the last tomatoes of the year from my Step-Father. They’re small because the weather began to turn, but they’re the last, and they’re mine.

I was so busy today that I forgot about them right up until the time everyone was in bed. I had just finished working on a project, sent an email to my boss and realized that the only sound I heard was the fan my son keeps in his room to help him sleep. Peace…

Then, I remembered the Last Tomatoes!

I tip toed in my worn gray-white socks to the kitchen and began to prepare the tiny feast for my soul. Opening bread bags can awaken sleeping children and the operation had to be done silently.

Once the bread was prepared I selected a tomato from the bag. It was firm and fragrant. I cut into it. The scent of summer came rushing up to me and memories of the weeks of anguish which were highlighted only by the quieting peace of tomato sandwiches flickered across my mind. Juice ran between my fingers as I placed the tomato on the bread.

Curling up into my favorite chair, I ate my sandwich and listened to my son’s fan. I rarely get moments of peace like this, and when they comes I revel in the solitude and quiet.

I put away my plate and knife then realized that there was also a tiny bit of cinnamon applesauce left in the refrigerator. And I ate that too. Because right now, I don’t need to eat tomato sandwiches to survive. Right now, it is just the last of them, and tomato sandwiches are my favorite.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Your writing prompt for today is to describe, in detail, something that seems mundane to the rest of the world, but brings you simple happiness.

Advertisements

Moxie Monday: Boundaries

boundaries

I remember my first introduction to the word boundaries. I was in Kindergarten and there were boundaries to the playground, an invisible line I wasn’t supposed to cross. It was meant to keep us safe, to guide us toward where we needed to be. I quickly learned to follow the rules.

When my husband was in the Navy, boundaries were only crossed with a card which I was required to carry. There were checkpoints, rules and regulations. I got used to these types of boundaries as well.

But there is one type of boundaries which I never got used to, those which I put in place myself. Personal boundaries. For reasons which we don’t discuss I never did create personal boundaries. I allowed myself to be walked on by just about everyone I knew. I ignored myself and I allowed myself to be ignored. My feelings, ideas, opinions, thoughts, and needs were put second to everyone and everything else. I was not safe; there were no checkpoints.

As I’ve become acquainted with other creative types, I have noticed that many people discount, what should be, their personal boundaries. They become people pleasers; they change their life to fit around the lives of those around them. That doesn’t work for ANYONE. It makes us depressed. It stifles the growth of others. We BECOME a lie. We do NOT fulfill our purpose. We are stunted.

My advice is this week’s writing exercise.

Make a list of your personal boundaries. Decide now what type of life you want to live.

Let me give you a start:

1. I deserve to be spoken to with respect.

2. I deserve to have my voice heard.

3. My feelings and opinions are valid.

4. I can trust myself to form my own opinions, and find truth.

5. I am worth self-care.

These are just a few, but it’s a start.

How about you? Have you set your boundaries? Where will you start?

Moxie Monday- The Summer of Letting Go

My turn for a Moxie Monday post is long overdue, and there is a good reason for that. I’ll do my best to explain.

I’ve been referring to this three-month stretch of sun as the Summer of Letting Go, long before I had a grasp on what that would mean. But somehow, in spite of my ignorance about it, those words have proved themselves inside and out. This summer:

I discovered, relived, and let go a small piece of my history.

I let go of regret at things undone, unspoken, undreamed.

I let go of thinking that any human being understands love, in it’s fullest. We are all just trying to love with the tools we’ve been given. Sometimes that is nothing at all.

I let go of the notion that magic does not exist. It exists with our without us believing in it. All we have is the decision whether or not to let it in.

 

I let go and let go and let go, until I was empty of all feeling. And then I rose up and did it again. It’s not over. This is likely to happen again and again until there is nothing left to confine or define me. Only then will can I say I have once and for all let go, and be free.

It has been a beautiful, unthinkable, boundless summer. And it has been a heartbreaking, weepy, arduous one as well. It is for this reason that I’ve been avoiding talking about my goals, my strength, my strategy. At times, I literally had none. And you know what? For the first time in my life, I’m okay with that.

I say this to the world with more intent in my heart than anything I have ever planned to do or be.

Today, I will follow my heart.

 

Till next time,~C

 

Moxie Monday (Taking Down a Wall)

Occasionally, there are crystal moments of clarity when I know who I am, when I feel the power of me churning just below the surface. I can see Who my power comes from and I feel as though I am gently clasped in God’s love. I recognize the purpose of my life is before me and that I will never be alone as I pursue it.

The walls are coming down

I’ve spent a lot of time building walls around my heart. I’ve been hurt; my heart has been trampled. I’ve been told I was worthless and that I wouldn’t succeed in anything I wanted. I was told that I didn’t have the skills I needed to accomplish my goals. I’ve been taught to fulfill other people’s needs. I was taught that my value is solely in what I can do for others.

It doesn’t help that in today’s society we are taught that women are only as good as their beauty. If they are thin, pretty and stylish, they have value. I am none of those things and so to some, I’m not of any worth.

Operating with those erroneous beliefs, I make poor decisions for myself. I’m not saying that I’m sorry that I have four children, or that I don’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I’m talking about things that are internal, and almost undefinable. My self-talk is extremely destructive.

And there are the things that people have told me.

                “You’re ugly. You’re like a cross between…”

                “You’re kind of fat…”

                “No husband wants a fat wife, Lori.”

                “Why don’t you be more supportive of your husband?” (While I was going to school, had a two month old baby and working from home.)

                “You’re a slob.”

                “You look like a man.”

                “What have you done all day? The house is a mess.”

                “Why would anyone want to hear you play?” (When I said I would play my flute for a function.)

                “You can’t be a writer/editor you don’t have your degree. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

                “You’d be a better person if you had graduated from BYU.”

And there are many, many others.

All of these things made me build up walls so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I remember when, as a child, I was told that I was not a pretty girl and that my head was too big. That person said it with such certainty that I couldn’t deny it. I felt myself lay another brick on the wall, mortar it in place, and harden myself. “Now I know,” I thought. “I won’t ever think I’m pretty again.” The bricks kept the tears from falling.

There was a time before the bricks, when things could touch me. Beauty would envelop my soul. Music was something that was potent to my senses. I loved it. I could feel it vibrating though my being. But as the wall grew, the bricks dulled the feeling. I was killing off a part of myself and I was being numbed to peace and beauty.

The pain of being constantly belittled was worse than I could bear and the wall got taller. I began to love the bricks, putting more and more in place. I believed that I could endure anything.

But there is a problem. Things still seep into my heart on occasion and because of the bricks, I can’t let them out. I have ignored it for the most part, but I am aware that the bricks are not totally effective.

There are other ways of dealing with it…

I rarely let anyone in to know the real me and I lie a lot about my life and how good it is. And when I do let someone in, I have horrible anxiety. I am certain that they’re not going to like me; I’m not worth liking. It’s safer to just move through life than to try to make and keep intimate friends. I keep real friends from loving me at the core of who I am.

I lead an empty life.

Until now…the walls are coming down.

I can’t keep going like this. This weekend, I had a day trip with the group. I had an experience in a graveyard that changed the way I view things. This weekend I also heard music that made me cry simply because of the beauty. I haven’t done that since I was in high school and it felt wonderful.

I walk through tall black gate and enter an old graveyard. Trouble haunts my mind. “What am I going to do? We’re not going to make it. My life is falling apart and I’m helpless against it.”

Sweet breezes stir the grasses growing between the headstones. Birds sing a repeating song high in the trees. An unseen gate creaks on its ancient hinges. I continue to walk up the stony path surrounded by the long since dead, secretly envying their peaceful rest.

Suddenly the breezes still. The bird’s song ends and a whisper rises from the ground.

“Part of your purpose is to enjoy these things, to listen to happiness in the song of birds, the feel of the grass swaying against your skirt, and smell the fragrant breeze. You were put here to take in these things to drink deeply of life, because those are the dreams of your final rest. Make friends, laugh, play, sing and dance. Troubles always end, but life, real life, all of the important things, love, beauty, fun and joy, all of these things will last if you pay attention and receive them.” Peace enters my soul as I realize the truthfulness in those words.

All is once again left to the birds and the swaying grasses. And I am left feeling grateful, aware of my beating heart.

Glenwood Cemetary