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

 

Dreaming Together

Happy Thursday Firefans,

If you’ve been with us for awhile, and especially after the last couple of weeks you have probably realized now that our group is…slightly erratic to say the least. Or rather, chock-full of ups and downs. Last week, Natalie basically made a proclamation for the universe to “bring it on.” In this Monday’s Moxie post, Lori let go of some pretty major emotional baggage. After a half-summer of soul searching, and deep in the throes of a nasty summer flu, I woke one morning and found myself nothing left to write. And in this one very extremely long, scorching mid-July week, we have all uttered the same words.

“I give up.”

We are tired for reasons that are very different, and yet oddly parallel. Like everyone else on earth, there are some days we just want to quit. Everything.

And yet…even at the lowest of low, even in the darkest of voids, there is magic. It lives amidst and among our group. It lingers behind each spoken word and floats between the lines of what we write.

It showed up this morning, in a private message conversation between Lori and I. She sent me a small section of a book she was reading, Emily of New Moon. It said:

It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside—but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond—only a glimpse—and heard a note of unearthly music.

That passage she sent was followed by her comment. “This is why we keep writing. This is what we must share.”

I told her I was glad she shared and asked if I could borrow the book. I needed a new one to take on an upcoming vacation. A very long vacation I wasn’t sure I wanted to take.

 And then in the conversation that followed, this incredibly magical, beautiful dream happened between us. We’re going to share it with you, let you just ever so slightly peek inside our heads to see the magic that keeps us going…as writers, as women, as close friends. As sisters.

Hope you enjoy,

~Cindy

****

Lori: When we get old, we’ll have a real vacation without children…in nature…away from everything except tea.

Cindy: and sea.

Lori: I know just the place. It’s on the outer banks, surrounded by water, shaded by trees.

Photos of Frisco Woods Campground, Frisco
This photo of Frisco Woods Campground is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Cindy: Sounds perfect. Lets live there.

Lori: We can. It’s lovely. Old small towns on the edge of the United States, tall trees, sandy beaches and ancient stories.

Photos of Frisco Woods Campground, Frisco
This photo of Frisco Woods Campground is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Cindy: Sounds like home to my soul.

We will bring old books and lavender tea. Lots of spiral notebooks and colored pens. A cat or two for comfort. Listen to classical music. And ride bicycles with baskets…

Lori: We’ll go barefoot and get up early to watch the dolphins swim just off the coast every morning.

One morning we’ll find a canoe sitting on the beach. We’ll fearlessly climb in and head out to the sunrise to see the dolphin up close. They’ll swim right beneath us. We’ll get an occasional splash from the young ones who leap out of the water to get a closer look at us.
Photos of Frisco Woods Campground, Frisco
This photo of Frisco Woods Campground is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Cindy: Dolphins. *sigh*

dolphinsCindy: We will wear big hats and own just a few long sundresses for summer, which we will hang out on a laundry line to dry in the fresh sea air. In the winter we will stoke fires and wear Irish sweaters and…EAT.

Homemade stew with every fresh vegetable imaginable. And fresh baked bread. And triple chocolate brownies.

Lori: We’ll learn how to make grits, cornbread and beans.

We’ll string fairy lights on every tree that will stand still and our neighbors will think we’re witches.

Cindy: Fairy lights. Yes. There will be so many fairy lights.

tree with fairy lightsCindy: And the very brave souls will come to our door and ask if we are…magic. And we will say yes and smile and send them away with warm soup and fresh bread and a brand new spiral notebook. Because only we can know that they are magic too.

Lori: Our grandchildren will come and visit. We’ll tell them stories about brave men and women so that they are prepared to face the world. But we’ll also tell stories of magic and light so that they know how to find it in their lives. We’ll cuddle, feed and educate and they will leave feeling fresh and renewed.

Our children will harbor within themselves a secret faith in magic that carries them through hard times. They’ll always know where they can come to renew their faith in all that is good…because we have been through tough times and found the light and are prepared to share it with them.

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

Guest Post- Jenny Shaw

This is a story about a girl who loves a lost boy, very, very, very much. She knew he was guest-postinglost but loved him anyway. He never returned her affections until one night right before his 28th birthday.

She knew it would never last. And it didn’t. But, these are the words that will remained burned into her heart for the rest of her life.

-Jenny

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On a Wednesday night, the last week in May

 you started saying those words.

 I thought it was absurd, surely I misheard…

 You asked me to come back to you after I had gone away…

 So, come back I did, to reassure your soul.

 As you fell asleep, I went to go.

 Told you that I loved you so…then…you started talking too.

It started with “I love you Jenny”

followed by “Goodnight”

I didn’t believe my ears, I couldn’t have heard right.


.

 Two days passed, and then,

 I found myself once again

alone with you in your room

 where you were trapped in your spiral of doom

 trying just to keep yourself afloat…


.
.

 “Don’t leave me”, you pleaded

 my bleeding heart went out to you

I held you in my arms as you cried

“I’m so sorry, Jenny. So very sorry…”

For what, I didn’t know…


“I broke your heart so long ago…”

 That simply wasn’t true, this is what I told you

 I’m tougher than I look & stronger than I seem

 I saw in your eyes then a hopeful gleam

 “I’ve always adored you, I care for you so much

 I was just too afraid to ever let you know.

 I thought I would destroy you, I never wanna hurt you…”

 The sad smile on my face was matched by your own

 when I told you I loved you & I always would…

 But it was time for me to go.

 “No! Please, don’t leave me?

 Don’t leave me; I’m begging you Jenny-Bird.”

 As though your life hung on every word, you pleaded with me to stay…


.
.

couple holding hands

 So, I stayed.


.
.
.

 But the pleading didn’t stop,

 if anything it got stronger & more desperate.

 “I couldn’t stand it if you left, I think I might die if you leave…”

 Then you started to cry…


.
.

 “Oh, Peter Pan,” I said to you, so worried for my friend.

 “Are you talking about when I’m done with school?”

 I felt so foolish. Why should you care if I leave or I stay?

 I didn’t know what to say…

 “I couldn’t bear if you left,” you said in a rush

 Then with your voice quite hushed, through your tears you whispered

 “I think I would die without you here…”


.
.

 My heart stopped

 Tears filled my eyes

 I tightened my arms’ hold around you

 “No matter where I go, no matter what I do

How far away I am… I will never, ever leave you.

 I’ll always be right here for you, Pan.”

 You didn’t like that answer.

 You shook your head; you growled & said,

 “That’s not the same.

 You’ll be gone, I’ll be here…

 You’re leaving in a year.

 You’ll be with what’s his name who does the stuff.”

 You tried so hard to sound tough…

 I laughed,

 you frowned

 I turned your head around

 Took your face in my hands & I said,

 “Adrian. I think you have been misled.

 There is no what’s his name, not now at least

 and if you wanted to…

 You could come with me.”

 Your eyes, how they lit up,

 your smile brightened the room

 I saw you come out of your spiral of doom… and then…


.
.

love in the shadows

 The kiss.


.
.

 The thing I never knew I would miss

.
.

 exactly as I’d always imagined and better at the same time.

 For those minutes, for that hour… You were mine.

 But I knew it wouldn’t last

 the sun would rise, oh so fast…

 And with its rays your words would fade

 Disappearing in the light of day.


.
.

 You felt my hesitation,

 you asked me why?

 So I addressed the situation…

“I’ve loved you for so long,”

 a tear sliding down my face

 “It was always wrong… Wrong time, wrong place…”

With a deep breath I explained…

 “Tomorrow this will be over.

 You’ll wake up, you won’t remember.

 I know you too well, Peter Pan,

 More than anyone else, I understand.”


.
.

 Another growl then these words,

 “MURDER.

 I’ll do whatever it takes Jenny-Bird,

 to prove to you how much I care

Even if it takes forever, you’ll see just how much you mean to me.

Everything I’m doing now, everything I’ve done was to be the man you deserve to have;

so I could deserve you, too.

 I just can’t get rid of you, Jenny-Bird.”

 “Get rid of me?!” I cried, “If that’s what you want, I’ll leave right now,”

 Only half joking, I pulled away.

 You pulled me harder to your side,

 you kissed me long and hard, you said,

 “This connection that we have, it just won’t go away.

 I don’t want it to; I couldn’t imagine life another way.

 I’ve missed you Jenny, so much,”

 You showed me with your touch, the passion in your heart…


.
.
.

 As you drifted off to sleep,

 I wouldn’t let my eyes close

 I wanted to remember everything from this night

 So that when the sun rose and you forgot I would know…


.
.

 You told me that you loved me

you said how much you cared

 more than I had ever dared to hope for

 you showed me in one bittersweet night…


.
.

 It hurts but I know I’ll be alright

 now that once more you’ve gone away…

At least, for just a moment

 you found the courage to say what was in your heart.


 And now, just like we knew you would,

 this night has disappeared.

 It didn’t happen if I don’t remember…

 But I will always remember.


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  Though our story may be over,   crush couple silhouette

 I will always be grateful for this one fateful night

when our paths met along with our lips

I’ll consider it our farewell kiss

before we embark into our new lives…


.
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Goodbye Peter Pan.

.

 

About Jenny Shaw:

JennyI grew up in a rural town in northern Utah. My life wasn’t particularly exciting, no grand adventures or epic love stories. The oldest child of a middle-class American family, homeschooled and the only non-LDS family on the block, I didn’t have many friends growing up. So, I made them up. Writing became my escape, my way into the life and friendships I only dreamed of having. 

I’d been singing since before I can remember and writing for almost as long. Eventually, the two merged into angsty teenaged poetry which then evolved into something almost called real music. At this point in my life, my music and my writing are my ways of expressing myself, reaching into the world outside of me to add to it, make it more beautiful than it was before…and it is much cheaper than therapy. Ha!

Top Ten Finally

Top Ten Tuesday…er…Thursday.

Okay, Fate, you piece of $#!%, I’m going to post this one way or another!

(Ahem)

Top Ten Saturday.

The Top Ten Lies That Keep Us From Writing

(And yes, I see the exquisite hypocrisy in posting this specific post late.)

liesEvery writer knows that there is an anti-writing demon that possesses a part of their soul. From the moment you discover that your calling is to be a writer, something sinister awakens and attaches to your spirit. It begins to send messages to specifically interfere with your pursuit of writing. Some writers fail to realize the message they hear is a lie. I myself just barely escaped. Today we will explore the Top Ten ways we allow this anti-writing fiend to keep us from accomplishing our goals.

10. The Lie: You can do it all! – There are only 24 hours in a day, and they must be used wisely. There are many activities that we want to do, many that we should do, and many that we need to do.

The Solution – Where does writing fit for you? Is it something that you NEED to do so that you can find release and peace in your life? If so, schedule it as a need and don’t let less important things interrupt you.

(You’ll find that this is a theme running throughout this post. Make time for you to write every single day. Schedule it!)atlas3

9. The Lie: You need to “be there” for every person in your life – Most writers and artists are sensitive, kind, loving and generous; and that is wonderful. There comes a point in all the giving when you have to realize what people really need vs. what they think they need. Some people will drain you dry in every way possible. They will take up your time, your money and your compassion.

The Solution – If you have someone draining you in your life, set some boundaries! Decide now, before they ask, what you are willing to do for them and stick to the plan.

8. The Lie: You don’t have time to write because of your work (or school) responsibilities. – Yes, I know we all have responsibilities. And yes, I believe that you should have a job, and you should do that job to the best of your abilities. However, I know that some of us will use work or school as an excuse to NOT write. “If I didn’t have this paper to write, I’d be able to work on my book.” I think I have said those EXACT words. Or “I’m swamped at work. I don’t have time to write.”

The real reason I didn’t want to write will be discussed in number 1.

The Solution – No excuses!

7. The Lie: I don’t have time to write because of my family. – I know that you’re surprised that “the fam” would be at number seven and not at number one. Listen, the family will continue to thrive if you take up the pen again. Moms, it’s okay if you step away to work on something for yourself for a few minutes a day. The same goes for you Dads.

The Solution – Defend your time to write. Unless someone is bleeding profusely, you are not to be disturbed.

6. The Lie: You must begin to write every story that pops into your head. – This one too-many-ideasmight seem counter intuitive. It happens like this: You start working on a story and, for whatever reason, you stop. It might be stopping to grab a sandwich. It might be that you stop for a few days to let the story solidify in your mind. Whatever it is, you let your mind take a break and new ideas start to tap on your shoulder and introduce themselves. “Hello. I know you’re busy but…” and they begin to explain themselves in excited tones. You, as a writer, LOVE new ideas, and so you, in turn, get excited and open a new document and begin to develop this new idea until you need a sandwich or for that story to solidify…and the process goes on and on and on.

The Solution – Jot down your new ideas, but keep plugging away at your current project.

5. The Lie: Your work is not as good as (insert name here.) – Comparing your work to comparingthat of your peers serves no one. Each of us are different with different skills mastered at different times in our writing career. Each of us has a different story to tell, in a different style, with different characters.

(This group is guilty of this. One day I said, “I feel like I’m the weakest link.” Then, Cindy, the wise one, said, “We all are…for different reasons. But we’re also the strongest links too.” Since then, we’ve moved beyond comparing, it doesn’t work and just makes us all feel bad.)

The Solution – Accept yourself and your work as it is now. If you want to improve, then do it! But don’t try to improve by comparing your writing to someone else.

4. The Lie: You must make your current project perfect before moving on. – This is one of my very, very WORST habits. I participated in NaNoWriMo one year and spent almost the whole month editing the first chapter of my book. I wanted it to be perfect. At one point (on November 29th) I realized that I had to move on or the rest of the story would never be told.

The Solution – Make sure to set aside time during your “writing time” to edit and leave the editing to ONLY that specific time.

3. The Lie: Something important is happening on Facebook/Twitter/Email. – This does not need any explanation. It’s so easy to fall into the web of…well…The Web.

The Solution – Take time to write before you open your browser. Set a timer and write for 30 minutes.

2. The Lie: Others know what you are capable of better than you do. – When I was young, someone told me that desiring to become a writer was a silly idea. He would rip into my work and criticize nearly every single word. (This is not an exaggeration.) It was a person who loved me and so I trusted that they had my best interest at heart. As an adult, I know that he was merely voicing fears about his own discarded dreams.

The Solution – Examine your beliefs about your dreams. If it is from anyone else, let it go. You do not need other people’s fears holding you back.

1. The Lie: You can’t do it! – This is the biggest lie of all. It is the most personal and the hardest lie to dispel. Thoughts begin to run through our mind, “You are wasting so much time.” “Why do you even do this?” “This is just crap. You’re writing crap.” “What makes you think anyone is going to want to read this?” “People are going to read this and laugh at it. It is so ridiculous.”

The Solution – The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to let go and do three extraordinarily frightening things:

1. Allow someone to read your work and ask for their feedback. Share it! It doesn’t matter if you think it’s ready; email it to someone you trust. Just attach it and hit the send button. You can explain it later. The important thing is to share it and ask for feedback.

2. Introduce yourself as a writer. For the first little while, you will flinch when you say it. You will berate yourself and internally call yourself a liar and a poser. That’s okay! The discomfort means growth. Pretty soon, it won’t feel like a lie. Something will change within your heart and you will realize that you already are that thing which you most want to be.

3. WRITE! Make time for yourself to hone your craft. Make it an important part of your life. We all have responsibilities and sitting behind a computer does not, from the outside, look like a productive use of time. But, if you don’t tell your stories, who will? You have ideas, dreams, visions, and thoughts to share through the written word. To do that effectively, you must make time to practice.purpose

I believe that each human being, has a rich purpose in this life. We all have something to share with the rest of our fellow persons. There is nothing as sad as witnessing someone who has a purpose and desire ignore it because they doubt their ability to do it.

Don’t be one of those people.

You be the kind of person that ignores all the lies and fulfills your purpose.

After all, what else is there?

A Little Bit of Nothing

The post we received from our guest blogger, Margo Loftus, started a conversation in the group about the things that mean a lot to us even though they are small and seemingly insignificant.

I thought that, in the spirit of “Nothing” I would share a small experience I had…

My sister came home. She’s been living in another state for over a year, and has just moved back, she brought with her two beautiful, enchanting girls and one handsome and loving husband.

Her husband and his girls immediately fit into our, somewhat unbalanced family. He was funny, engaging, forgiving and kind and the girls are a reflection of those values.

One day last week, my sister and her family stopped by my house after spending much of their day unpacking. My children played with her children, and chaos reigned (as it usually does at these family get-togethers.)

Maybe not exactly like this.

Maybe not exactly like this.

My readers must understand that I have four children, my home is lived in and comfortable, at no time would Better Homes and Gardens come to ask organization advise from me or take photographs of my home. (Read…her house looks like a landfill.) To add to the mess, my 3 year old has some large flash cards which she loves to play with. To her they are not flash cards, they are confetti, paper airplanes, skis, stepping stones and anything else that involves throwing them all over the floor.

My new Brother – in – Law, after visiting for a few moments assisted my 3 year old in flash cardscollecting her flash cards and putting them back on the book shelf. This is a task I do multiple times a day, and having him take on that small task, was such a relief. It seems like such a simple thing to pick up flash cards, but to a busy mom who does it several times a day, it was a blessing.

So thank you New Brother – in – Law!

Please stay tuned for the rest of the month, we will be discussing our goals and Beltane, but I will try to keep you posted on the great “Nothings” that happen in my life.

Oh it’s NOTHING!

guest-posting

My Auntie M (as children we thought we were pretty special to have our own Auntie M–Like Dorothy) shared some of her writing with us this month and– ass that I am, I forgot to post it last night… chalk it up to all the changes I’m supposed to be going through.

Anyhow, it is a beautiful idea that she had and I am honored to share it with you today.

“Oh it’s NOTHING.”

 Have you ever done something for someone that you think is small and they tell you Thank you, And you reply – “Oh, Its Nothing.”?

Something like, taking the newspaper in when you walk in your grandma’s house.

Or giving a child a drink when her mother is especially busy?Pint girl

Maybe you just handed someone a napkin when they were too far away from the dispenser, or said; “Hello”, to someone who was all alone?

To you it may be nothing. But have you ever thought about what “Nothing does?

Today I was filling out a form for a woman.  It was so that she could receive an award, a token of the boss’s appreciation for a job well done.

As I typed in the amount of the bonus I was supposed to input $100.00 but accidentally put in $1000.00! When I proof read the form and realized the mistake, it was amazing to me how much one NOTHING can do.

It made me think of the many times I have said or heard; “Oh, It’s nothing.”

I just imagined what would have happened if I had left the form like that…

The awards were going to go clear up to the big boss’s desk and just suppose that she had missed that amount as well.

(I had actually shown it to the individual’s manager and he didn’t notice my mistake.)

Think with me for a moment, if you will.  What would have happened – say – If it would have gone all the way through the pipe line?  WOW what a bonus for a few hours work!

What if I had left off one of the nothings – $10.00?  WOW what a slap in the face for all that work!  Or Lets say I had not put in another nothing?  $1 – for all the work this employee had done over a month’s time that had helped the company greatly.

If we were to take out all of the nothings in the amount it would be just 1 cent.  That would have been quite a kick in the teeth! Let’s go back and imagine for just a second if I had added ANOTHER “NOTHING” to that award form? $10,000.00 Wouldn’t you have wanted to be the recipient of that?  I know I would.  Shoot – today I would take the $10.00!

This made me think, What if we do a bunch of ‘NOTHINGS” in each day – what a difference we can make, in our lives – because after all “IT IS NOTHING”.  Yet how do you feel when you do a “NOTHING” for someone?  You would feel pretty good most of the time if you knew you were doing little things for others that to you may be “NOTHING” but that they may be struggling to get to or just can’t do.

helping handsImagine – what the world would be like at work – people doing little random acts of “NOTHING” for each other? WOW – we might just want to be at work. Or our days would be so fun!

How about at home?  You and your husband just doing the little “NOTHINGS” that mean so much to each other or your children doing all the little “NOTHINGS” that would help SO much.

Have you done nothing all day?  You should feel pretty good about yourself about now.

Well, this is a whole lot of “NOTHING” for me to write a whole page about –

But it made me think.  “NOTHING” CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE EVERYDAY!

Margo Loftus

Two Young Boys and the Importance of Family

guest-posting

The following two poems are very special to me. They are from my Aunt who wrote them for her son and my brother. I would like to take this moment to express how grateful I am for the example my Aunt set during this extraordinarily difficult time in her life. She doesn’t know, but her example of faith and fortitude have carried me through hard times in my own life.

The first poem is to my brother.

I will let her introduce them:

Bryan was born 3/26/86 and was diagnosed with Leukemia in July 1986. He was not initially diagnosed with Leukemia. They told us it was a virus that attacked his blood system because babies don’t get cancer. He was treated for a week and was sent home.  About 10 days later he went to Primary Children’s Medical center and was diagnosed with 2 kinds of Leukemia.

Bryan was in McKay Hospital getting blood and platelets when Jimmie was being born upstairs!  I feel they were friends and there is a reason Jimmie came when he did and is such a great man.  His guardian angel is the same age as he is.

Bryan died 3/2/87.

Dear Little Jimmie,
Dear little one
Do you know of the loss
Of my own little son?
You come to me
Stay with me
Laugh with me
Play with me.
I can see in your eye
You somehow know why
I cry.

Dear little Jimmie,baby hands
Dear little one.
You can never replace
My own little son.
But you hug me and kiss me
And somehow understand
And you dont seem to mind
when I kiss your small hand
And cry.

Dear little Jimmie,
Dear little one.
Your Parents are thankful
For their own little son.
I’m thankful too, that their son is you.
You are helping me through some difficult times
Sometimes through the tears
Because of your special charms.
I smile.

Margo Loftus
August 4, 1987

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you are gone,
Did I tell you I love you each day?
Before you left here for your Father so dear,bryan
Did I teach you my very best way?

Dear little Bryan,
When you were here
Did I say all that needed be said?
Did I cover you softly and kiss you enough
as you lay in your sweet little bed?

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone
I know I did not do enough.
Cuz there’s never enough time to do all that you should
But I did do the best that I could.

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone,
I can tell you in three little words
And I’ll send them to you so that they can be heard
On the wings of a special blue bird.

Dear little Bryan,
I’ll be with you someday and then I can do all the things
And tell you the three little words you have heard
That have come on that special bird’s wings.

Dear little Bryan,
I miss you my dear
And I think of you day after day.
I doubt that the pain that I feel in my heart
will stop ’til you’re walking my way.

Dear little Bryan,
My sweet little child,
’til that day comes and I hold you again
Be happy.
Do God’s work.
And remember ~
You’ll always be my little man.

Love, mom

May 1988
Margo Loftus

The End of Music Week…For Now.

Music has always meant a great deal to me. As Cindy told you, I believe that music is a more complete form of communication.

Music has also brought me some of the best things this life has to offer. I met my husband and my best friend in high school band. These relationships are two of the most important gifts that music has afforded me.

But there are others…

I have memories of my grandmother playing her guitar as our whole family sang, “You Are My Sunshine.”

I have memories of Cindy and I playing Christmas Carols on our flutes for our families one year. We went to her grandparent’s home to play for them. I received a phone call the next day from her letting me know that her grandfather had passed. I was so relieved that she had been able to spend a few moments with him…something she may not have done had we not gone Caroling that year.

I remember tours to Canada and California with the band in the spring. Some of my favorite memories are from those trips.

There are certain hymns that never fail to bring peace to my spirit and provide hope when I feel that all is lost.

Without music, I don’t think I would have met my husband, I would have missed out on raising four amazing children with him. I wouldn’t have met Cindy, my kindred spirit, and we wouldn’t have this group. Yes indeed, music has brought me so much joy!

Below you will find a song and a scene that I wrote for a book that our group is writing. I hope you enjoy reading it with music as much as I enjoyed writing it with music.

Exhausted, Heather cuddled the newborn in her arms and gazed into his gray-blue eyes; the wisdom of innocence gazing back at her. Whenever one of her children had been placed in her arms she always had an immediate rush of unconditional love that opened a new and surprising place in her heart. She knew this tiny being! He was brand new and to anyone else he would be an enigma, to her he was just as he should be and she knew him perfectly.

She looked expectantly at her bedroom door. David should have been back with Frank long ago. The baby had only waited for about 20 minutes after David left to get him. She was sorry that Frank had missed the delivery, but reveled in the quiet solitude with her sleeping infant.

The baby in her arms squirmed and then went back to sleep. She wanted to shower while the baby slept but fatigue was dictating her actions and she decided to stay in bed with her new baby boy.

She could hear Janet, with her four other children playing some game that involved cleaning up the toys. “Okay Pirates,” she was saying to the younger two “Let’s clean up the um..uh…starboard side and then I’ll make you peanut butter sandwiches in the galley.”

“I don’t want to be a pirate,” said Eleanor. “I want to be a princess,” her six year old desires asserting themselves.

“Maybe you can be the princess that us pirates have kidnapped,” said Mary. Heather was always grateful for her oldest daughter. Mary had an intuition about people that allowed her to smooth over almost any situation.

“Then I don’t think I should have to clean up,” Eleanor said. “If I’ve been kidnapped, I would be locked in my room.”

Heather giggled.

“I know why you want to be in your room,“ Tim yelled angrily. “Your room is already clean and all of your toys are in there. That’s not fair!”

Mary’s soothing voice followed, “Well, maybe we’ve made you our slave and since you’re a princess we will be kind to you and give you princess chores. For example, I think princesses would like to have a clean table and our princess has been playing with clay for a long time. Look at all the clay on the table in the play room! What if you wiped off the table? That seems like a princess thing to do and I will put the clay in the tubs.”

“Get me the princess rag.” Eleanor said empirically to someone. They must have complied because after a few moments Heather could hear the kitchen sink running as if someone were getting the rag ready for her.

“You have quite a club to join,” she cooed to the new baby.

The front door opened and then she heard it slam closed. Frank couldn’t be angry that he missed the delivery, could he? After four deliveries he should know these things happen whenever nature dictates.

“Everything went fine. Both of them are in your bedroom resting.” Janet said. “Congratulations!”

There was a muffled response from Frank and then her bedroom door opened slowly and he peered in.

“Hi Honey! Baby Patrick is here!” Heather grinned at her husband.

David entered her bedroom behind him, obviously uncomfortable.

“I’ll just go home now; this was more than I bargained for when I came to pick up your manuscript.” He forced a smile. “I need a drink. I’ll come see the baby next week; I’ll get your manuscript then. You need to just be a family right now.” He caught Franks eye and gave him a stern, angry look. He left, slamming the door behind him.

Heather could only puzzle over his anger for a moment before Frank was next to her caressing their newest son.

“Here,” she said, “you two should meet properly.” She handed him the sleeping infant.

Frank sat in the rocking chair next to their bed and rocked the baby in silence.

Heather stretched and then got out of bed. Her fatigue was fading and she knew she should take advantage of any energy she had. She was sore, but movement made her feel useful and she knew it would help the healing process. She assessed the damage to the bed. Thanks to the midwife it was minimal and she removed the sheets to take them to the washer.

“Can you keep an eye on him for a minute? I’m going to run these to the wash, if I do it now they won’t stain.” She was met with silence.

She turned to the rocking chair. Frank was gazing down at his son in his arms. Tears were streaming down his face and his shoulders shook with silent sobs.

“Frank?…Are you okay?”

“I…I have something I need to talk to you about.” His voice wavered as he spoke. She had never seen him this upset.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Heather.”

She didn’t know if it was intuition, God, Fate or something else, but in the way he said her name all of her worst fears were confirmed. She realized she had known what he was about to tell her for a very long time.

“I’ve been seeing someone.”

The silence lingered like a bad odor in the room. Heather experienced a strange mixture of emotion. Anger and sadness were expected; she knew she would feel those when he finally told her the truth. Unexpected emotions also revealed themselves; satisfaction at having known for months, fear at what the future held, relief for everything being in the open, pity for Frank and herself, and was that humor? Strangely, that’s the emotion that surfaced. Her laughter stunned both of them.

“Does she know that you are afraid of spiders?” She paused as if she were expecting an answer. “Have you been to the movies with her? Does she know how many times you get up to use the bathroom because you refuse to get a small drink? Or that you can’t ever read the word “debris” on the first try? Has she seen your underwear at the end of the day?” She continued to giggle and shake her head as she thought of all the things that had surprised or annoyed her during their 16 year marriage.

Frank’s face showed that he wasn’t quite sure how to react to her sudden laughter.

“Heather, I’m serious.”

“I know you are. I’ve known for a long time that something was wrong.” She stopped laughing and let sadness take its appropriate place. It slowly seeped into her heart as she began to think of the impact this news would have on her life-and the lives of her children. She quickly pushed images of her father packing his things into the back of his car out of her mind. She hadn’t made that decision…not yet.

“I’m so sorry,” he whispered

“How long?” her voice was quiet and calm.

“For about two years.”

“Who is she?”

“I met her at the auto supply store. She used to work there.”

“That’s where you were just now, isn’t it.” This was not a question. Heather now understood David’s anger.

“Yes.” His answer was so quiet that it took her a moment to realize he had spoken.

“David had to track you down to her house?”

“Yes.”

“Do you love her?”

“No.”

“Then why?”

“I don’t know.” He stroked the baby’s fine, soft hair.

“Is this the first time?”

She waited through a long pause, “No.”

“The first time was about four years ago…right after I had Robert?”

Frank looked at her shocked. “How did you know?”

“Intuition. I gained a lot of weight with him. You told me you weren’t attracted to me anymore. But that wasn’t all of it, Frank. I knew there was something else. You had this deep disdain for me. You made me think the problem in our marriage was my fault and I couldn’t figure out how or what I had done. I didn’t understand your contempt for me. It made no sense…until now.”

Frank sat in silence.

“You stopped seeing her after about a year?”

“Yes.”

Heather just nodded as if this was the answer she was expecting. “Are those the only two times?”

“Yes.”

“But there were other things that happened. Before I mean. Whether you slept with the women or not, you were not totally faithful.” She rolled up the sheets and threw them into the corner making space for her to lie on the bed. Standing was getting painful.

“I don’t know about not being faithful, but I have had female friends…you know…at work. Heather, I didn’t understand what I was doing until today. I didn’t realize the impact my actions would have on my family. It was never serious to me. Never. I have always loved you. Please, forgive me. I know I need to do some work, but please forgive me. David…when he saw me…he said…” He began to sob again.

Heather could only sit and watch him in silence as he held his youngest child. She realized that she had begun detaching herself from him months ago.

“I…need to think and right now is not the time for me to make this decision. I need time to process everything. A lot of things have happened in our marriage. I just don’t know…”

“What don’t you know? Please, please don’t tear apart our family over this.”

“Me? Me destroy the family? The family may already be destroyed!” Now anger showed up, white hot, it stung Heather with fiery tentacles. “I’m simply deciding whether I want to be your wife, whether I trust you. And you need to decide what is important to you.” She realized that she had been yelling and made an effort to calm her voice. “Do you want to keep living like this or are you going to get help? This..what you have done…is a symptom of a problem. There is something wrong. You need help. And I need to decide what is best for the children…and for me.”

She gently took the baby from him and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. Leaning against the wooden door frame to steady her shaking knees, she focused on the fast-paced breathing of her child. She let the pain slip into a hidden part of her heart. She straightened herself and walked to the kitchen to introduce the children to their new baby brother, leaving her husband and the dirty laundry behind her.

Guest Post: Jenny Shaw

A musician’s thoughts about channeling emotion into art…

By Indie Ogden’s Jenny Shaw
 

Writing can be therapeutic. Taking emotions that fill you with pain, anger,anguish, sorrow, love, hope,  hopelessness, dreams, love guest-posting– unrequited or fulfilled – and let you place them outside of you, where they can be used to create, to build, to make something beautiful out of something ugly…or something heartbreaking . The words you put on that page can let other people know they’re not alone, not the only person to feel this way.

Writing can be challenging. It asks us to move outside of the box we normally live in, the way we express ourselves to others. There are no rules to writing (aside from spelling…), no one can tell you what you have to say, what pictures you must paint for your readers. Writing frees you from the confines of the “normal” world and lets you escape into a place where nothing you say is wrong, nothing you feel is “too much”,Jenny singing too passionate, whiny, pleading, hopeful, silly, it’s never too much.

I write songs. Sometimes, I really like what I write. Sometimes… I wish they sounded more like something else. So, I start over. I never scrap anything, because who knows but that something I wrote three months ago and hated won’t speak to me now?

This is mine. It doesn’t have a name. But it speaks to me. It may become a song…maybe not. It might just stay how it is.

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

Who would’ve guessed something so good could ever end…

As one day blurs into the nextgirl moon stars

I long to see you again…

Now I look for you each day

Praying that someday soon you’ll find me,

Somewhere along the way…

As of yet, I walk alone through this dark and stormy world, 

Hoping and wishing on stars 

for a love to call my own

So my heart, at last, can be at home.

I thought I’d figured this out, at last

But I realize now how naive I was

To think someone like you would want someone like me

To keep

To call dibs

To say “She’s with me”

What was it?

What did I ever see?

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

To go from embraces by the fire,

to stolen glances filled with shame

Things will never be the same, will they?

I lie in wait

Waiting for your call.


When I listen to a song by someone else, or I choose to learn a song to play, the words are the most important thing. Followed by how I know it will sound when I sing it. The following is a song called Perivigilo by a band called First Aid Kit. The lyrics speak to me so strongly, a song of passion and desire, unrequited love and hope with the full knowledge that it’s just never gonna happen…

 And that’s all she wrote… for now!

-Jenny

About Jenny Shaw

I grew up in a rural town in northern Utah. My life wasn’t particularly exciting, no grand adventures or epic love stories. The oldest child of a middle-class American family, homeschooled and the only non-LDS family on the block, I didn’t have many friends growing up. So, I made them up. Writing became my escape, my way into the life and friendships I only dreamed of having. 

I’d been singing since before I can remember and writing for almost as long. Eventually, the two merged into angsty teenaged poetry which then evolved into something almost called real music. At this point in my life, my music and my writing are my ways of expressing myself, reaching into the world outside of me to add to it, make it more beautiful than it was before…and it is much cheaper than therapy. Ha!