I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Simple…

I am not hard to understand. I like simple. My mind is busy, but not complicated.

This morning, after finishing a 12 hour shift, I went for a walk. I enjoyed the smell of the fresh morning air. I looked at the dew as it lay on the blades of grass. I got into my music as I walked. I twisted my lower torso to get more effect of the walking. I did a dance with a robin that would hop along in front of me just a few paces ahead, it would fly just a bit and land back in front of me, we did this for a good while.

After he got bored with the game. He flew off.

I went home and I slept. I slept until I woke up. No alarm needed. No phone call from my mom. I woke up feeling refreshed. I didn’t sleep as  much as yesterday. Yesterday I slept all night and the whole day. I needed rest. I was tired.  Today, I was rested.

I wanted fresh air and sunshine. It was my late day to come in. I went and took some of the best photos I have taken in a while. I actually shot in manual and took more control over the camera than I have in a good long time. I spent over an hour trying to get a good photo of a dragonfly darting about. I didn’t get it but I tried. I got some good practice in. I got to understand what I can do without the camera doing it for me.

As the sun set, nobody knew where I was. When I had spoken to my  mom, I was going to get dinner. When I had spoken to my best friend I was going home to get dressed for work. My person, he had no clue where I was.

Where I was, was standing in the middle of a cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It was the best place to get the photos of the sunset I was seeing. I paid respect to them while I was there but the sunset was what had drawn me to this place.

Once again, I shot with the “M”. This mode scares a lot of people. You have to do the thinking. It is in my mind, a dividing line. I would shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again. It was a learning exercise for me. When did it get grainy? What are the limits I could push it to and still get an acceptable shot.

I enjoyed my day and I did that thing I love to do. With no thought of what was going to happen with  the images. I am not taking them for monetary gain. I am taking them for me. Most people will never even know they exist. They don’ t need to.

When I got to work, I got into a conversation with one of my co-workers about life. He is newly married and he doesn’t realize that it is a world of compromise. He told me some things and I asked him some questions. The most common phrase I heard was I never looked at it that way. I was just asking questions. It was up to him to make his own assessment of the situation.

It was a simple day. It was a day of reflection and not loneliness.

I don’t need the world. Looking at my little corner of it in a way that no one else sees it, that has to be enough for me, for now.

Life is simple we make it complicated. A place to relax, someone to love, something to be passionate about, a roof over our head and food in our belly. Those are the “simple” things in life that are the grand things.

I Like Using My Hands…

I love to work with my hands for many things but for the purpose of this post, we will limit it to jewelry making.

When I am working with my jewelry, I lose track of time.

I love to take parts and pieces of things and put them together.

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When I am working with my glass, I talk to it. Court it. Make it feel special. I tell it the things I want to hear. It going to be hot in there but just hold it together and you will become something amazing. When it comes out of the kiln in one piece, I tell it is beautiful. If it comes out broken, I still try to finish it and make it something interesting.

Sherry

As I have worked more with the glass, I feel like my skills are improving. Stay on task. Learn all the rules. Safety first. Have fun, first and foremost have fun. Learn something new. Add to your skill set.

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I bought a grinder, I am one of those females who get excited by power tools. Dremels, grinders, I even looked at a saw the other day. It has made a world of difference in my final product. While I am grinding the glass, I forget to worry. I run on caffeine and anxiety.  So when I are shaping the glass, I listen to the hum of the grinder and I watch as this glass in my hand becomes something that is desirable. Something I long to be.

I don’t worry about what is going to happen later at work. I don’t wonder what I have done wrong. I just sit there music playing in the background, listening to the hum of the grinder and work with my hands. I relax. I let the grinder do its job and I create something beautiful. The thing with glass is….it is fragile. Just like us humans. Glass breaks easily!!!

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For my birthday, my person fed my passion. He bought me glass and kiln paper for jewelry making. Then he gave me some lights that I can embed in the jewelry. Once again stepping it up a notch or ten.

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Taking it to the next level. I told it that it would be something amazing when it came through the fire. Just like me.

Live Like You Are Dying…

I didn’t realize how long it has been since I have written. Sorry about that. I have just been trying to deal with life. A great deal has been going on and honestly, I haven’t been writing in my journal the way I should. I am beginning to feel it.

I have been battling with what I wrote about in my last post. Feeling not good enough.

I am seeing some things I don’t understand and I am not saying anything. I just don’t get it. I am working on my jewelry more and getting more of it out in the world. I am not seeing the results that I would like to see at this moment but I will so until then I work.

I have some friends who are helping me promote it. So, I promote it myself. I am not so good at promoting myself. That don’t be prideful thing.

I have had some fun along the way, don’t get me wrong. I have had some pretty cool things happen since I last wrote.

I have ridden in a helicopter. I have walked into a burning building. I have (hopefully) given someone one of their best birthdays ever and I stood under a waterfall (sort of) just for shits and giggles.

I might should go back and explain some of this.

I work for an agency who deals with many different types of emergencies. Sometime the helicopter lands and our local hospital. Recently, we were allowed to take flight with one of the crews. I was so excited. Remember, I am learning to fly with this blog.  The only time before that I had ridden one, I was terrified to the point that I didn’t enjoy it. This time, I luxuriated in it. I took photos and video and I wanted to remember this with the awe it deserves.

Now walking to a burning building, I was a little more nervous about. I was facing one of my worst fears. Fire. There is a reason why I fear fire, my grandmothers neighbors died when their home burned down when I was a child. I don’t talk about it much.

So when I was invited to join a local fire department for a burn, I said yes. As the day grew nearer, it took more resolve on my part. I invited a guest to go along with me. They said no. I told those that mattered to me most what I would be doing and I set off on my way. Just in case something went wrong.

It was right comical to watch me put on the gear. It took the whole village dress the idiot. They kept saying it is your first time putting all this stuff on. One of the guys must have sensed that I was nervous because he asked me if I wanted him to go in with me. What a relief knowing that someone had my back when I felt very alone in a group of people. He was going to make sure I got out of this thing safely and more educated.

While inside the house, we had an visitor. A black snake. The guy who was there for me, told me to stand still, he would get the snake out. I learned that most firemen will run INTO a burning building and FROM a snake.

I learned about how gasses burned off, rollovers, how to turn off the beepers that go off if you don’t move enough inside the fire. I made human connections with people who hear me but never see me. These people appreciated my effort to understand them and what they do.

Then came the birthday day trip (let’s just say part one of the birthday trip) I say this because I am planning something else, I am keeping that one quite though. Haven’t mentioned it to a soul. Until now, I really can’t keep a secret.  Part one, we enjoyed food, laughter, found a new place to explore and at one point I even took him by him arm for a second.

Yesterday, it was rainy and cold here. We went to look at how high the water ways were in the area and we wound up at a place where the water was rolling off the rocks in water like fashion. I got some great photos and while he had the camera, I was debating with one thought, I want to be standing in that water. I want to see what it feels to stand in a waterfall. Although, this was not an actual waterfall per se.

Now, the air temperature was cool. That water had to be really cold. I let him do his thing and I talked myself through it. I would need to take my jacket off, I was within running or a very swift walk to the car, I had another jacket in the car, I really wanted to do this. I told him I wanted him to take the photos but he would have to be quick because as soon as I did what I was going to do, I would need to go directly to the car. With those words, I stepped into the surge of water cascading down the rock face.

It was flipping cold, I haven’t see any of the pics but I am sure the look on my face is awful. I enjoyed every second of it as long as I could. I was soaked. I was cold and I was happy as a clam.

No, I don’t have a death wish. I am (to quote the Tim McGraw song) living like I am dying. Because I am, we all are. Every day we are getting closer to what is inevitably going to happen to us all.

So I am less than a month from 49 and I feel like a kid.

Just Do You…

I have something on my mind and I need to get it out there.

I am a big girl. Not as big as some, not as small as others. I am too big to be average size, certainly no supermodel.

I am one of those women who doesn’t show all the cards she is holding.

I think about a great number of things when I am alone, which is a good deal of the time.

I don’t talk about all the things I think about and I don’t put them all on here.

I have those super secret saved pins on Pinterest boards about corsets, lingerie, fishnet stocking and such. Not that I am ashamed of them, it is for the simple fact it is nobody’s business but mine.

I have battled my weight for ummmm….forever. I was a chubby kid, the fat girl, the plus sized woman for most of my life.

Here is what I am… I am a woman. I like frilly things although no one has ever seen them but one man. I don’t wear them for others, I wear them for me. I like they way they feel on my skin. I like knowing they are there and nobody else has a clue.

I have spent an entire lifetime getting to the place where I can feel comfortable in the skin I am in, no matter what the size in my clothes say and believe me when I say the size I used to wear was much larger than I do now. My goal is to live healthier not skinnier.

For my entire married life, my late husband tried to assure me that I was a desirable creature. Believe me, he tried, every chance he got.

I couldn’t or wouldn’t believe him. Shame on me. I should have believed him when he told me those things.

My person has more than once told me that he wishes I could see me the way he sees me. I could tell him the same thing. He kind of blows it off when I try to tell him I find him desirable. I do the same thing. I should say thank you not ahhhh nah.

Lately though, there has been a shift in my thinking. It is up to me if I feel sexy. Sexy is not a clothing size. Never has been, never will be. Beauty comes from the inside. Beauty is seen by those who wish to see it.

What I have been criticizing all these years is what makes me, me. I am not the size I want to be but I am not the size I was and once upon a time, someone found that me desirable.

 Recently, someone told me that I looked happy. I said I am, they said no, you don’t understand, I have never seen you look truly happy. Now, this person has known me for two years. They were part of my troubles which caused my job change. In that however I did find my voice. I also found a place where I am appreciated for the talents I bring. It is appreciated, not abused.

So, no matter if you are a size 2 or a size 22. Love yourself. Love your body. Treat it well, it is the only one you have. Love your heart, your spirit, your soul and your mind for that is who you truly are. Those who make you feel like you are less than if it be for being too skinny or being too fat, that is their problem not yours.

If you wanna wear sexy knickers ( or none) under a uniform, that is nobody’s  business but yours. Just be who you are. Either people will love your for it, tolerate you for it and some will hate you for it.

As a friend told me one about five years ago…. “Just Do You”.

Collecting Moments….

So my break on Sunday was a great thing. I have made progress on my glass projects and I am working through thousands of photos that I have keep stored on memory cards thinking I can do that later.

I fell into the Pinterest rabbit hole last night. I didn’t work on them any at all. I had the 9 memory cards and the computer with in arms length but I was watching glass fusing tutorials and looking at ideas.

So tonight, there has been only one social media interaction. There has been no looking for ideas or watching YouTube videos. Only looking at photos.

I am doing it very methodically. I look and each image, pick the best one and delete the others.

I edit want I want to post right now, the others are saved for later perusal. As I was scrolling through the moments I had captured, I saw places I had visited for a week and got to relive the amazement of walking a greenway several hours from my home. I saw urban scenes that I normally don’t see. I saw butterflies dancing on thistles in my moms yard. Here it is the dead of winter and I am looking at two other seasons.

Then I saw it.

It was a photo I sneaked and took of him. Instantly, a smile spread across my face. My heart sped up. It was my heart living outside my body. We had been walking in a national park and I was lagging behind, as always, short people  and I had captured the moment. I knew right where we were. It was a beautiful summer day and he had taken me on a trail I had never been on. I am still smiling. He makes me smile, what can I say. I have several of those photos. They are always from the back, one of the benefits of having short legs.

So, I sit and I smile knowing that nothing can take that moment away.

I am a collector of moments but my favorite are those that make the smile in my heart spread across my lips.

A True Love Story…

He was born in a blizzard. They had to plow in to get his mother to the hospital. His father drove the truck that cleared the path to the place where his son would be born.

That son would only have his father for nine years. Then death would rob this child of that same father.

He would grow up an only child, who lived with his mother and his elderly grandparents. His mother had to survive on the slightest of funds because she was legally blind. He never had the finest of luxury as a child. He did however have the most important things; love and support.

As a child, he was sickly. He would play radio station on his front porch and as an adult, he made his living in radio and in emergency communications. People who did not know his face, knew him by his voice.  He was THE voice of the area.

As a teen, he was lonely and unsure as most of us were at that age. He worked and he went home. He never dated.

He was quiet and shy. He said what he meant and he meant what he said.

Then one day in a local grocery store, he met a young woman. She had just left church. She was wearing a pink floral jacket, a pink skirt, a white blouse, white shoes and starfish earrings; at least he told her that later, and in that moment, he knew that was the woman he was going to marry.

He never said anything to her that day. She would meet him in passing on a regular basis. They would talk but she never thought anything of it. He never let on that there was any interest on his part.

She didn’t realize at the time but he was courting her, pursuing her, waiting for the right time to make his move. She was dating someone who was treating her, well not the best. She was being cheated on, lied to and mistreated. She knew that there had to be someone better out there but because she was made to feel ugly, she stayed.

When she finally had enough and overcame those thoughts being planted in her head, she broke up with the person who called her fat all the time.

The funny thing is she got flowers from both of them the same day. One she was leaving and the other was waiting to sweep her up and begin to try to heal those wounds.

For a year, on every special occasion, she got flowers. If she was sick, flowers were sent to the place where her mother worked. Her mother called the florist and asked about it and she was told not to worry, that it was someone who would love this girl and would never hurt her.

He would show up at her church and her brother in law would poke her in the back and say “there’s your boyfriend”. She would just blow it off. She figured if he was interested in her, he would just say it.

Finally one day, she got brave and sent him a balloon, just on the hunch from a friend.

She waited after she sent the balloon and with in hours, she got 3 red roses with a note that said “Have to be out of town, will be in touch when I return”.

Three days later, he called and asked her out for the next weekend. She said yes.

On their first date, they shook hands.

On their third date, he kissed her.

On the side of a mountain, he told her he was in love with her.

On her birthday, her presented her a heart shaped diamond served on her favorite dessert. In front of the entire serving crew, he asked her to be his. She of course said Yes.

In that same little white church, they said I do. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health, til death do they part. He was 32, she 24.

They settled into a very ordinary life. It wasn’t one of great adventure. It was more of comfort. They worked hard and honestly, loved harder.

They never were given the gift of being parents.

They never really got out of the honeymoon phase because they only had each other.

For eight years, things sailed along smoothly, then sickness crept in. First his back, then his heart, a diabetic ulcer and finally cancer.

Over ten years, she slipped from his wife to his caregiver. She never once regretted it. She never once gave a second thought to being his voice, his feet, his hands, whatever he needed. She was there to supply it.

Many times, he apologized to her for being sick. Knowing that their relationship had changed. He once told her that if she needed her womanly needs met in a way he couldn’t meet, she could go and have those needs met with his blessing. She told him that she loved him and that was not how things were done when you truly, madly, deeply loved someone.

She was by his side when they told him that the cancer was there. She was by his side when they told him that it had spread. She was there when they said there was nothing more they could do. She made the doctor tell him as she explained that their time together would be short.

She was there when he couldn’t feed himself anymore. She was there when hospice came in and asked her to let them stay with him and she left only 30 minutes per day. She was there when that next breath never came.

She was there when the filled church paid respect to the man she loved. She walked from that church numb. She couldn’t let anyone see her cry. She cried a plenty but not in front of anyone. Her heart had been ripped out and thrown into a six foot hole.

She was there for that first night alone, when she prayed for the sun to shine, she knew she would be fine if she just made it through that night.

That was almost 6 years ago.

She was there today at the cemetery. Today would be his 57th birthday. She took him flowers this time. It was all she could do.

She has learned to live again. She has a new normal. She is learning who she is. She has learned to love again.

She knows that she was loved, completely, once in her life and honestly, some people never get that, they look for love everywhere and they never get to experience what they knew.

You see, I know their story very well, for that she is me.