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Tonight's Prayer

Tonight I say a prayer...

For the lovers.
For the survivors.

For the true and pure of heart.
For those who don't know where to start.
For those who think they've lost their way,
And those who know what friends would say.

For those who love and have lost before,
For those who are knocking at love's front door.
For those who know what love truly is,
For those who don't and wish they did.

For those who reach for stars and beyond!
For those I sing this prayer in song.
For those I love and those who love me,
For all of us, who wish to be free.

I claim not to know where the words flow from
Only that they're carried on things yet to come.
Promises made from God's holy hand,
That we shall prosper in this, his land.

The Bus Driver

Lynn was a wise man.  He sat behind the gigantic wheel of the bus every day, rain or snow, sun or hail.  He was as faithful and loyal a man as we could ever ask for, starting at the 7th grade and carrying us all the way through the years.  I sat in the front row of the bus every single day to talk with Lynn, all the way up until I changed schools.

Lynn would talk about things with us.  He understood when girls had boy trouble, when boys had girl trouble, and when any of us needed to complain about parents or teachers.  He would offer advice by way of telling us a story we could relate to.  Often kids would take turns sitting in the front row in order to talk with Lynn. He loved us all dearly, as though we were his own children.  He took care of us. 

Sometimes the snow was deep and the way up the mountain was slow.  The bus would come dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, but each of us trusted Lynn to keep the bus on the road.  He never failed us.  He somehow managed to keep us all going.  On those days it would be such stress for him that he would get quiet and not say a word to us.  Minutes would pass without a sound.  We could see the tension and pressure in his face.  But we were children and all we could do was go where Lynn took us.  He was the one in charge.  He controlled the path and road ahead.

During the construction, the road was rough and the way was hard.  He tried to guide us around the potholes, but once in a while he would catch one.  The kids sitting the farthest away from him would feel it the worst - often a bone crunching bounce, nearly tossing them from their seats.  Those of us closest to Lynn barely felt it at all.

He would go slowly when he needed to, unconcerned with the rate of traffic.  He knew what needed to be done and when it needed doing, so we trusted him completely.  He would slow down around every turn, lest us kids slide right out of our vinyl seats and straight into the aisles.

He would speed up when it was safe to.  Sometimes he would speed up to make it up a hill.... we would start out at a race track speed to get a good start, and sometimes things moved incredibly slow by the time we got to the top of the hill.

Sometimes the road was smooth and the way was easy.  We hardly felt a bump.  Those days were always good days, but the ride wasn't nearly as interesting.

Sometimes I would close my eyes and just trust Lynn to make sure I made it to my destination... and he always made sure I did.



Though this story was true and based on an actual man named Lynn, it's also an incredible analogy of life itself, and the bus driver we must all (all 147 passengers) depend on in order to get to where we are going.  Trust in that bus driver... because we mere mortals don't know how to drive that thing to where it needs to go.  We don't always know the way.  We don't know where the potholes are to go around them.  We don't know how slick the road ahead might turn out to be and how much strength and concentration it will take to make it through the ice and snow.  We don't know every stop along the way.  Only the bus driver has all the answers...

Now... knowing this analogy, read the story one more time...














Fears

While the majority of my stories are upbeat and uplifting, sharing with the world my funny tales, I also have my share of heart breakers and thrillers. I'm a strong person. I haven't always been, but I've always contained a strength I didn't know that I had. Still, even now I struggle with insecurities on a mass scale - insecurities I did not realize I suffered so much from.

Bill and I went swimming the other day at the YMCA... I was suddenly reminded of several long-time fears I struggle with every single day. These are things that nobody in the world typically knows about me ... until now.

Neophobia- Fear of anything new.

This one will surprise a lot of people. I don't seem to really fear much of anything... and yet I'm terrified every time I have to walk into any place I've never been before if I am alone. It is truly frightening.

Harpaxophobia- Fear of being robbed.

Since being robbed in 2009 this has become a phobia of mine. I hide my belongings if I can, fearful that they will be gone when I look again if I do not. There are VERY few people I trust any of my belongings to remain with. As I walked into the YMCA women's locker room, the first concern I had was for finding the lockers and making certain my lock would fit.

Gymnophobia- Fear of nudity.

I'm far from afraid of seeing naked bodies - unless I'm looking in the mirror. This fear has gotten worse over the years... I'm absolutely terrified of getting changed in front of people, especially strangers in the YMCA, and find that I am incredibly insecure about this. I took my blue bag into the toilet stalls and changed right there, with nothing to put my things on, nowhere to hang my bag and an extreme balancing act in order to simply change into my swim suit.

While my next challenge wasn't a phobia, nor does it resemble a phobia, I pulled a skirt out of my blue bag and pulled it on over my suit, embarrassed by my own legs - my thighs in particular.

Thanatophobia or Thantophobia- Fear of death or dying.

I was, at one time, an accomplished swimmer. It's been a long time since I swam for the sport of swimming though, and I had forgotten that I always suffered with the fear of drowning. I have always hated to have water splashed in my face. I hate to have my face in the water. I feared it, in fact, though that doesn't seem to be a phobia on the list of phobias. I could barely stand to have my face under water for more than a few seconds. I would come up sputtering and gagging almost every time. At one time, when last I swam for recreation, I combated this by swimming with a mask and snorkel. As long as I could breath, I was fine.

I was swimming the crawl stroke by the end of the swimming session (thanks in no small part to Bill) with my face underwater, breathing on every 4th stroke. I felt like I knew what I was doing. Bill even said I looked like I knew what I was doing. It felt great!

I doubt I'll change my clothes in front of strangers anytime soon, or stop locking car (and bedroom) doors. My legs will continue to embarrass me until I loose a few pounds in them alone. I'm working to conquer the water fear though, since I love swimming so much... and it's a daily struggle for me to go new places but I've managed to deal with that all my life so far. These are a few of my fears. I plan to conquer them all... I will rule them. They will not rule me.

Quote

Such a beautiful quote...




"Thank you for listening.
"Thank  you for caring.
"Thank you for loving me.
"Thank you for laughing at my lame jokes.
"Thank you for being you."


A Better Place

Every now and again we all have our emotional melt downs. Every now and then we need to shed a few tears.  Every now and then 1 it's the only thing that eases the pressure we feel and stress that we're under.  Sometimes there's a period of time when we're emotionally distraught as we wait "to allow the pendulum to settle" just a bit, as a friend of mine put it earlier tonight.

Heartache comes and goes. We all know the feeling of a broken heart, a lost love, a family member missed so much it 4 brings us to tears.  It's a natural thing and a fact of life.  We each deal with the crisis in our lives in different ways.  I'm no exception. 

I went to lunch with Bill today, wonderful friend that he is.  I had several drinks containing alcohol, and in no time I was a blubbering heap of redheaded mess.  Then I was smiling and laughing.  Then I was in tears once more.  By the time he dropped me off back at home, I was smiling and laughing once more.

I'm lucky 7 to have the friends that I have, new and old.  Somehow they know the right things to say to me in order to cheer me up, make me feel better and help the hurt to go away. 

It was darkness earlier... nothing but darkness.  I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. 

There is still no light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm no longer blinded by the darkness.



Life is Unfair


For anyone who reads my blog posts on a regular basis, it must almost seem like I delight in the daily drama I often find myself entangled with.  Truly this is not my desire, and usually I run for the hills when drama begins to rear its ugly head.  There are some situations though in which that is something I find impossible for me.  Certain matters of the heart and soul seem to rule in favor of ration and wisdom.

It's no secret that August has historically been a difficult month for me emotionally.  I seem to wall myself off and hide from the world.  Some days it's a struggle just to get out of bed.  This year has, until the last couple of days, been an exception to that rule.  I've been happy and confident.  I've held on to hope and even found friends to help me through my struggle - and yet I find that I'm struggling once more.

I'm loved.  I know that.  There are many who love me and care about me.  Yet, I am once more alone in my struggle.  I know that nobody out there understands what I'm going through and what torture it is.  I want and need a shoulder to cry on, but that shoulder isn't here.  I want and need two arms around me, just to hold me without a word or sound aside from the rhythmic breathing of two souls in deep understanding.  Yet I sit alone on the bedroom floor, typing on my cold, slick, hard surface, emulating the exterior I wish to show the world.

Yet I'm vulnerable and weak, speedily racing from the top to the bottom of an emotional rollercoaster.  I know I'm not alone in that.  I know there are others who go through the same rollercoaster... but my only hope for any salvation is to know others do not face it alone and have the shoulder of someone who cares.  They can share that emotional pain and torture with someone. They can cry together, mourn together, feel together, share together.  I can not help but to feel guilt for the jealousy I harbor.  I cry my salty tears in a dark room alone.  I moisten the fur of my loving cat by holding him until he can't stand it any longer.  Finally he breaks free, tearing a scar into my soft belly, letting the blood flow as it will. 

For now it is as it must be.  Life must be unfair.  Life must be filled with pain in order for us to appreciate the pleasure.  I must be alone in order to appreciate others I suppose.  For now I hold my pillow tight, wishing it to be a comforting shoulder of someone who truly, fully understands.

I am a tough girl though... I've survived much worse, though for the life of me at this moment I can't think of any.  This too shall pass. That's what I keep telling myself. 





Things of Beauty

Things of Beauty:

Warm sunshine on a chilly day
The hand of someone you love
A memory so warm and sweet
It makes you smile to think of.

A cool breeze on a summer noon
Love in all its splendor
A gentle hug when we need it most,
A shoulder, warm and tender.

Our pets who love us dear,
And to our hearts hold fast.
That is love in truest form,
A love that forever lasts.

A warm bed at the end of the day,
When our bones are weary and weak.
The cool side of the pillow,
As we rest our exhausted cheek.

The tears we cry for others
When they feel that they cant
It's such a selfless act of kindness
The greatest gift we can grant.







Words Fail Me

I long to write...

I wish to tell the world what I'm feeling and going through but know I can not. Words can not express...

Splash!

A couple days ago I did something I intentionally tried not to do. My phone went into the toilet.

I needed to use the ladies room (and with two female roommates it is MOST DEFINITELY a ladies room) and I've got a routine down for when I walk into the bathroom these days. Normally I stand by the sink and remove my phone from my back pocket. I place it on the counter top, do what I need to do, and pick it up again when I'm done. I do this mainly because I've dropped a couple of really nice phones down the commode and regretted it very much.

Two days ago, I walked into the bathroom after drinking a lot of water and stood in front of the sink. I was wearing a draping blouse that day and didn't take that into consideration... that was a mistake.

I removed the phone from my back pocket to place it on the counter, and in my hurry to put it down, it got hung up in my shirt. As I reached forward with it in my hand, it suddenly flew out of my hand like it had been fired from a sling shot. The phone then flew through the air, launching no less than 5 feet across the bathroom, bounced off the seat of the toilet three times before I could grab for it and splashed right into the bottom of the toilet.

It's a good thing I'm not a squeamish person. It's equally a good thing the toilet had been flushed since last used.

These last few days I've gotten to where I just leave the phone in the bedroom when I need to go.








Doug MacLeod

Several years ago a friend of mine stumbled into Cafe Boogaloo in Hermosa Beach, CA when he heard some of the most amazing music he'd ever heard pouring out of the open door. Stunned, he wandered in and sat astonished until the music ended and the phenomenal musician, Doug MacLeod, finished his set. It wasn't long before Phil told everyone he knew about the amazing man he heard singing that night.

He is a real Delta Blues legend - and a National Treasure. He learned from the best blues men in Mississippi growing up and has a story behind every song he sings. Since the first second I heard him sing, I've been in love with that voice. Me being me, the social butterfly that I am, it wasn't long before I introduced myself with both my first and middle names, something every musician remarks on. My middle name is Lynn, and I was named after a musical instrument (a mandolin).

I saw Doug just about every time he played at Cafe Boogaloo for quite a while, and when life sent me into another direction I found myself separated from that wonderful music and the even more wonderful and magical person behind it. Doug had a way of speaking to the soul, bringing out emotions we all have known and felt. I connected with his lyrics in a way I'd never known before. I knew I missed him, but I didn't know how much until I saw him again in 2006 after quite a time away. I showed up with shorter hair of a different shade, but my same old Harley Davidson jacket I'd been wearing for years. At first he didn't know me, but the dawning recognition on his face eventually gave way. He was truly surprised and delighted. It was a great reunion with an old friend.

He had written a few songs since I had last seen him, and one of those songs he played that very night brought me to tears. Before the end of the song, I had drops of moisture dotting my shirt, my arms and the table beneath my chin. Doug MacLeod really got it. Whats more, he was watching my face the entire song. He knew he had reached my very soul. He knew that my pain was real, I knew far too much about the blues and he spoke directly to me in that song. I requested it every time I saw him for the next year.

Life changed a few things for me yet again not long afterward and I ended up a bit removed from that life once more. I talked about Doug from time to time, telling people what a fabulous musician he was and occasionally purchasing CD's of his for gifts, but nothing could replace the real deal. Nothing could compare to seeing his facial expressions when he played, knowing the emotion he put into every song no matter how many times he played it. Nothing could replace the look on his face when something he was singing reminded him of days gone by and times he missed. No matter what though, this particular song always brought tears to my eyes.

Life changed several more times for me. I ran into Doug once in Best Buy in Torrance, shortly after I got engaged to Pete. I was proud to be wearing the 1920's art deco ring on my hand and was so proud to show Doug. I told him briefly what was going on in my life since I hadn't seen him in over two years. He told me that I should come to one of his shows sometime so I can tell him all about it. Somehow I never had the chance though, and it was the last time I ever saw Doug - until last night.

Since the last time I saw him, my life has changed completely again. I remember back on all the changes I've been through each time I've been away. I've grown up so much in the past 8 years, and though I hardly recognize myself, that didn't stop him.

His jaw nearly hit the floor when I walked into Lucilles BBQ at the Long Beach Town Center last night. He sat there, stunned. He clearly didn't know what to say. I hadn't seen him perform since 2006, and he truly was someone I could always call a friend. He always had a kind word for me and honestly cared about me. He worried about me, too. I couldn't help myself - I walked right up to him and his National guitar that I knew so well and hugged him. He was between songs, or that might have been a bit more awkward. He nearly had tears in his eyes, and in turn so did I. It had been far too long since I'd seen the greatest Blues man to ever live.

Bill and I stayed for the entire performance last night, and as usual, I was astonished by the talent the man had. I laughed at his stories, I watched his amazingly fast hands on the strings of his guitar and once more I cried to that one particular song. Mascara tinted the white napkin in my lap, but I wasn't ashamed to show it.

Doug speaks to my soul. He's a true friend at a depth and level I've rarely ever seen in my life. When the night was over and we were all saying goodnight, we laughed and joked and had jolly fun. He hugged me and we laughed a bit more. Then he spoke.

"I'm glad to see you're doin' alright."

I choked up. I wanted to tell him all about the disaster Scotland turned out to be and how sad I had been and how screwed up I was and what all I had been through. I wanted to tell him about that horrible day I left Pete, and living in South Central LA and nearly starving myself to death because I couldn't afford to eat. I wanted to tell him about the skin cancer, the car wreck, the tears I cried alone at night. I wanted to tell him how much emotional pain I had been in and how I often wondered if I would ever recover from it. I wanted to tell him how much that one particular song meant to me at this exact moment in time. Instead, all I could do was lean back and look at him with those old familiar tears in my eyes, knowing he understood the pain in my soul.

He smiled at me, patted me on the shoulder and said only two words to me.

"I know."

I had no words... only a smile, because I knew what he said was true.



Sun Shine Down My Way
Doug MacLeod
(Please, listen to the words...)









Time to Live


I've found myself to be incredibly busy lately, almost to the point of insanity.

I've wanted to get back into Martial Arts classes since I was a teenager. When I was about 23 years old I started going to Kick Boxing every week with my teacher friend Julie. Since those days, I've not done anything like it.

For a while in 2008 and early 2009 I was working out on a semi-regular basis with Pete. He and I did the Navy Seals workout routines together. I did everything I could to keep up with him, and even though I hated running with a passion, I did it because I wanted him to be proud of me. I got to where I could run more than 2 miles non-stop. For me that was astonishing. I screwed that all up though, and I gave up for a while. I even started smoking again... stupid me.

Since landing on the ground back home in California after 5 months of living in a foreign country, I've turned a new leaf.


1. Smoking is no longer an issue in my life. I can't say I stopped completely because I still enjoy the occasional cigar, but 'social' is different than 'habitual', right?

2. I'm now taking Hapkido twice a week - Wednesdays and Saturdays - and even got a good friend of mine to join me. Now there's three of us going that I've known for quite some time and we're having a LOT of fun. Between Bill and Keira, life just got that much better. Now if only I could get my roommate to join in the fun.

3. I'm taking Jiu Jitsu lessons from two guys I've quickly learned to adore. They're wonderful guys. One has a fiancee I was lucky enough to meet, and they are extremely lucky - both of them - to have one another. She's a wonderful lady with a sweet and generous nature, an artistic flair and true spirit. He's a funny, sweet guy with a "White Knight" syndrome, and who doesn't love that in a guy? He's charming and chivalrous, easy on the eyes and gentle with the compliments.

The other guy is just as charming and sweet with a touch of wit and sarcasm, and any girl who ends up with him should count her lucky stars each night. He also has the greatest dog in the world (Lojack) who is a real character. All four of them have earned a special place in my heart. The group meets on Sundays in Irvine (at Deerfield Park) and is MORE than worth the drive.

4. I'm taking my "Open Water Diver Course" right now in order to learn to SCUBA dive! I've wanted to do this for YEARS now and I figured it's time to get a kick in my kiester and get it done.

5. I'm taking my second ever trip to Hawaii in October! I will be traveling to Oahu, somewhere I've never been. The last time I was in Hawaii was the summer of 2003 and I always said I wanted to go back. I also said I wanted to go to Oahu. Well, the opportunity just landed in my lap and I'm jumping at the chance.

6. Once I'm done with the SCUBA course, I'm planning to take Sailing lessons!! I can't exactly write about an adventurous Pirate without knowing the ropes, can I? It's research!

7. I'm working on plans to go for a cruise - my first ever. No dates are set yet, all I know is that I'm going to go!

8. Tahiti is in my future, though not as close as Hawaii. That is a bit more long-term, if a year can be called long-term.

9. I was able to go to a wonderful party in Malibu on the 4th of July (thanks to my long-time friend Patric) where I not only became the event's social focus, but got to meet an A-list celebrity. Not only did I meet said celebrity, but this person asked for my phone number while there, wanting to keep in touch with me and maybe 'go out sometime' to grab a drink. Someday I'll tell that story, but that's for another blog.

10. I stayed a couple nights on the Queen Mary and got to explore with the Paranormal Researchers... what an adventure! Fireworks went off in the harbor and gave a dazzling light display that left me awe-struck.

11. I will be attending my first ever red-carpet ceremony this coming February and I'm currently saving for not only the exquisite gown I'll be wearing to the gala, but also for the car of my dreams in the mean time.

12. I have the GREATEST roommate in the world. She has become my sister in many respects and it is widely agreed that she is quite possibly the best friend I've ever had AND the closest thing I'll ever know to having a real sister in my life. We're so much alike that it's scary how different we are. This fall we plan to take a road trip, just the two of us, and I'm excited to go!! I also got to take her to Disney Land for the first time in her life and we had an absolute BLAST both days!


Life has a way of getting interesting when we let it. I hid in a shell for far too long, swallowed up by my work and responsibilities, hiding from the pain I felt of leaving behind a wonderful life a few years ago. Little did I know that all of this was there within my reach if I just knew how to take hold and go with it. Thanks to one of my BEST friends, I've got the job of my dreams that allows me to have this sort of freedom. I still work hard and put in long hours from time to time, but the rewards are far greater than anything I could ever imagine.

It's time to live - and I am learning just what that means.




SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Sage S
Bill T
Terence and Jonathan
Patric A
Douglas A
Keira Dazi
Dalton H
Gretchen H