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.

The Coin

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I would like to tell you my story. Now, to you I may look like a normal silver dollar and if you found me, you might spend me or you might put me in a treasure chest or a piggy bank. I don’t have a great deal of value on the market but I am more valued than you will ever know.

When I was new, a man gave me to his father in law. I was new and shiny. I was fresh out of the mint. I was brand new. The word liberty was stamped was stamped on the front of me over a picture of President Dwight Eisenhower in profile which was in the middle and my year of birth was along the bottom of the coin. On the left side of the front of the coin were the words ” In God We Trust”

Tattooed on my back was an American Eagle, “The United States of America ” and “One Dollar”. My edges were ridged. I was beautiful.

The father in law thought so much of me, I went every where he went. I went to work with him, when he worked in the field, I was right there. Even when he ate his meals, I was there.  When he slept at night, I was on the chest at the foot of his bed. The next morning we would start all over.

I lived in his pants pocket. I met other coins but the came and they went. I was the only one that stayed. For 23 years I was with him every step he made.

When the man got sick and knew he was going to die, he placed me in the hand of his daughter. Give this to your youngest daughter. She said she would and she  put me away in a safe place.

For another 23 years I stayed locked away. I didn’t see any light. I just laid there, waiting. The other day,  I saw light for the first time in a long time.

Yesterday, the daughter spent the day with her mother. They did a little shopping, took  a nice long drive and went back to the mother’s house.

The mother reached into her pocket and pulled me out. She handed me to her daughter and told her my story.

With tears in her eyes, she (the daughter) ran her finger across my surface and felt how smooth I had become. Some of the letters in Liberty were gone. She had to strain to see the words “In God We Trust”. The eagle was still perceivable. The words on the back, they had all but disappeared. My edge was now smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Here I am old and worn. I have be aged by time and pressure. I am not shiny and new anymore but yet in this woman’s hand, I was treasured. I was LOVED!!!  I am of infinite value and she wouldn’t sell me for a million dollars. You see,  she knows the value of the fact that her grandfather wanted her to have this precious thing.I matter to him and now I matter to her.  He wanted to make sure that I was taken care of after he was gone and now I am on my new home. Tonight, I am  in her pocket as she works. She introduced me to her person today. He held me on his hand, he seems like  a great guy. She is her happiest when she is with him.  She also  showed me to some of her coworkers and they all seemed touched by my story.

When she gets home from work tomorrow morning, she will remove me from her pocket, she will lay me up on the chest at the foot of her bed, just like her grandfather.

My journey begins again, only with a different person to love, just like her.

Maybe that is why she is supposed to have me. She knows what it is like to be loved for a second time. This is going to be another awesome journey. We are both excited to see where it will lead.

 

Humbled….

When I came into work, I was kind of down. That is okay it happens. It was one of those really busy nights. That too is okay. Made the night go by faster.

Always when I am down, something happens to allow me to see the greater good in life. Tonight was no exception.

There was a man under a bridge at an odd time of night. When someone stopped and spoke to him he said he had left a certain city  and was going to a certain city. I don’t want to pinpoint so I won’t name the cities.

He said that his girlfriend was sick. He was trying to get to her. The only mode of transport he had was a bicycle and he had spent all his money to buy an inner tube for his bicycle.

His total trip is going to be 161 miles. He has ridden 75 of those miles, partway was mountainous terrain. He was give a ride to our office. He was given food and slept in our lobby.

I thought about what I had seen this night.

A man who loves a woman so much he will ride 161 miles to be with her when she needs him. Real love does still exist.

Another man who went out of his way to make sure the first man was not cold and hungry. Charity does still exist.

I sat here and I prayed for this man as he continues his journey. The woman he is trying to get to as she lays sick, I don’t know who she is but I prayed for her as well. Faith does still exist.

When you think about, the little things we worry about are just that, little things. It’s those big things that this man is facing that are the big things and after speaking with him, he is determined to reach this woman he loves.

That is a big thing, in and of itself.

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.

If You Stop Dreaming You Are Just Sleeping…

I am struggling right now.

I want so many dreams to come true. I am a dreamer. I admit that. I have big dreams.

Sometimes, it takes time for dreams to come true. You work your hardest. Sometimes you get too invested in it and you drive yourself into a frenzy.

My person told me once not to chase my dreams, to just walk beside them and be their friend. I guess that is true.

It seems like when I worry over it, for lack of a better phrase, it goes all to hell. When I am doing something else, things seem to fall into place.

I have to be careful not to get too engrossed in the what ifs because although I am a dreamer, I also am grounded in realism.

Dreams are good but you have to survive. When you live alone, survival is a way of life. It is all on you. The house, the yard, the bills, you have to do things to make a living while pursuing your passions. You hope that some day that passion can support you but for now you support it.

You are invested in your dream. You want to see it thrive and bloom.

You can have many passions in different aspects of your life. You can be passionate about your person (I am), your hobby (I am), your community (I am), your world (I am).

I am most relaxed when I am out in nature with my person. I love going to parks and seeing what we can find. It is like a treasure hunt and I never come out disappointed. I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend time with him. I could see him everyday and never be tired of seeing him.

I could just sit somewhere beautiful with him and be the happiest person on the Earth.

So, I dream, about a great many things. I like to sleep but dreaming is so much better.

We Are Glass….

I don’t know anyone who is truly and entirely happy. Nobody.

Everyone is worrying about something.

I worry about everything. It is what it is.

In the past week, I have had someone come to me with a very personal problem and all I could tell her is what I have experience with. I have not walked in her shoes so I couldn’t say I would do this. I know what I think I would do but I have not been there.

She was pretty torn up when she was talking to me. She wanted me to tell her what to do but I wouldn’t. I just told her a story and asked her some questions.

It was up to her to make her own decision. Tonight, she came and talked with me and thanked me. She told me that she had thought about what I had said. It had helped her. She told me that she appreciated my honesty and being up front with her.

Today, she asked me some more hard questions. I told her I didn’t know those answers either. She said it just made her feel better to be able to talk to me about it. I told her that things would work out just as they should.

She is very much like me. We have a commonality. She looks to me as a person who she has known since childhood but now sees that sees me as someone she can come to for advice on the tough stuff.

Tonight, I really didn’t want to work. It was a beautiful day outside and I just wanted to point my car in the other direction and just go. I knew where I wanted to be. In one of the most peaceful places I can imagine.

We are all glass. We break easily. Life can break your spirit, like it did with this young woman. Sometimes it can leave you with more questions than answers. You just have to wade through and try to work it out.

Maybe today, I was supposed to be here for more than one reason. Maybe I needed to here to hear that I made a difference.

A True Artist Knows No Limits….

My friend, my person, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. If you have read this blog very much, you know I have referred to him as such many times.

Often is the time I have studied his hands, he has the hands of an artist.

He has the soul of an artist. I told him today that he was a natural born artist and I had to sneak up on it. He then reminded me that I have been singing all my life and telling stories to children, that is creative. True. Busted!! I was talking more about visual art.

He is a painter, a sculptor, a designer, a photographer and so much more. He does them all well. Much better than I. As a matter of fact, he has been my mentor on a great many things. He is my muse. (Don’t tell him I said that).

I have seen photographs he has taken of athletes that look like they are dancing. I have seen photos of dancers that show the strength of an Olympic athlete while maintaining the grace of a swan. He has this uncanny ability to see beauty in all things and capture it.

I learn from him every time we are together. I feel like he loses brain cells talking to me sometimes. He can say something and it is followed up with twenty questions.

It is not that I am trying to “build up his ego” as he said today, it is just he has so much knowledge on so many subjects that I want to know more.

On the MBTI scale, he is a thinker; I am a feeler.

He has to understand the puzzle and solve it. I must at some point question why the puzzle is there in the first place. I need to know the why. I have to study on it, think about it, which ultimately leads to me overthinking, which leads to me doubting myself and putting roadblocks in my own way.

He reaches out and does his own thing with ease, I tend to compare myself with others, who have been doing it longer and planting seeds of doubt about my own work. He is a visionary and I, well, I piddle. I play with squares and rectangles of glass with smaller squares and rectangles on top. Nothing ground breaking there. If I am feeling especially frisky, I might try a circle.

He can spend countless hours learning something. If I don’t get it in 10 minutes, in my mind, I am the dumbest person on the planet and should be dragging my knuckles on the ground.

It is just a difference in us. I am envious of how talented and knowledgeable he is.

He did point out somethings to me today that enlightened me, about me. He has a way of doing that.

He pointed out that just because he uses lights, motors, actuators to enhance other art forms does not make him “the tech guy”, that he is an artist. He is simply using those things to enhance the beauty that is already there. It is a tool, like a paint brush, sculpting tools or a grinder. You are using another tool to add to the loveliness that already exist.

Not meaning to refer to him as “the tech guy”, yet doing so, my inner Beetle Bailey steps to the front and says I’ll take it from here. At this point I am unable to articulate clearly what I am trying to say, (I babbled).

This made me even more frustrated with myself, which made the babbling worse. At one point the voices in my head were screaming for my inner Beetle to shut the %*^*  up. He didn’t.

Having lived in rural Southern Appalachia for my entire life,  he pointed out that I have some cultural bias. There are guy things and there are girl things. I above all people should know that roles in life are not gender specific. I have never been the fragile little thing. I grew up on a farm where you worked as hard as a man.

There are very few guys here who take dance, paint or even sing until they at some point pick up a banjo.

He has lived in large cities and seen places that I would love to see. He has had contact with different people and cultures that I have not. He has photographed models and help design buildings schools and hospitals. I ……well….went to work, in a factory,  in the same hometown I have always lived in.

In our maker group we saw a divide. The females gravitated toward the jewelry and the painting. They guys toward technology. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. We both tried to bridge the gap, with no success. He couldn’t make us understand that it is just a new tool to work with. I can only speak for myself, but I made it harder than it was. I still do. I need to close that divide in my brain that they are two different things. They are the same thing. I need to see it as a new type of paintbrush or a new kind of glass I am learning to work with. I am going to work on that.

Having said that, he has made much more beautiful jewelry than I will ever make. He has been featured on some pretty high profile websites. I told him today that I would like for my jewelry to have a more finished look. When asked what I meant, I didn’t know the words to use. I just want it to look more complete, more presentable, more finished. He told me that the he thought the glass was, I think he used the word gorgeous, but I can’t be too sure of that. I take his opinion on my projects very seriously. I trust him. He is going to say what he thinks. He will give suggestions that if I follow them, I have a much better project. My way is not the only way, I always want to try to improve.

I was trying to explain to him today that I wanted to share his blog with you all and that is how this conversation got started and it was a pretty intense conversation. It shined a light on some of my own shortcomings and bias. Once again, I got schooled, in a good way.

He did give me permission to share. I hope you go and visit often. He has some pretty awesome thoughts that he wants to share with the world.

Here is the link.:::::      http://tangoofthegeeks.blogspot.com/, if you know someone in the maker community, turn them on to his site as well. They’ll be glad you did.

Until next time….Love, Peace and Cupcakes.