Friday, April 26, 2013

Bring her flowers

The other day my friends came to pick me up, this is a regular thing as my arm heals to the point where I can brave the highway. As usual John got out of the car to open my door for me. He does this, not because I am the one-armed-wonder-woman, but because opening doors for women is part of who he is.

Before he let me pass him he requested, in that gentle voice of his, that I close my eyes and hold out my hand. I willingly obliged not knowing what to expect and surprised at bit at myself for trusting him. I don't really trust men in general. I'm working on it, but let's be honest, I don't.

Into my hand was placed something long and somewhat smooth, and there was a fluttering feeling in the instant before I opened my eyes. For half of that instant I thought it was a lizard, which, if you know anything about me, would have been quite welcome. However, it wasn't a lizard. It was a flower, a beautiful, open, yellow rose. It was fragrant, in the way only garden grown flowers can be. I quickly heeded his suggestion that I put it in water before we left, and it's this bright happy spot on the counter in my kitchen.

Now, lest some of you *cough, my dearly protective brothers, cough* get ideas, John is just a friend. He's the guy lucky enough to take Jessica out several times a week. He's one of my secret-keepers. He's a wonderful, dear, soul. I love that he brought me a yellow rose, instead of the ones he brings Jessi all the time, because the yellow rose is the rose of friendship. I doubt he knows that... or maybe he does, but all the same I am touched that he did it.

It's funny, really, because over the years I'd rather come to hate flowers, and yellow is my least favorite color, and yet this yellow rose brings me great joy.

"Why did you hate flowers?" You may ask of me, and I will answer you now. I can, because I started contemplating on this a few weeks ago. I hated flowers because they were the symbol of a man seeing something beautiful, and thinking of me.

I remember one time I was out with friends, once again accompanied not by a man who I was involved with, but by the man dating my best friend. We were riding in his newly completed go-cart, and he took a turn that ended with the wheel snapped off the cart, and under the cage, while we sat in the clearing dust. We had to walk back.

As we walked he reached out and snapped a wild flower off its mother plant and presented it to me. It was a spontaneous gift, and I found it a very sweet gesture. He probably thought nothing of it, but it has stayed with me.

I've gotten flowers at other times, cut flowers on dates or for special occasions. First into a vase they would go, and then upside-down on the wall to dry. I also often get flowers from my children, and they have always been beautiful.

I got flowers from my then-husband, on occasion, but ONLY under some external pressure from friends, family, or society. One time he even went out the day after Valentines, bought a bunch of roses, scattered the petals in a bath, up the hall, and all over the bed.

Then I found out that the woman he had insisted we host for Valentines dinner the night before, was his lover.

So, over time I had grown to hate flowers, because the thing that had once to me been the symbol of gentility, was now the thing men throw at you to get in your good graces, whether they deserve to be in your good graces or not. I didn't want to be bitter like that, but I was. I was bitter because every vase of flowers I saw, every ad for a holiday where one might expect flowers cut me like a knife. I didn't expect them, I didn't want them, because it was all a lie. Men did not love me enough to see something beautiful and think of me.

I cry as I write this, and I laugh at myself too. I'm not crying because I'm mad or sad that my life was this way. I'm crying because I'm loving that I was WRONG. Men, good men, kind men, do love me. They do think of me when they see something beautiful. Right now it's not men I'm dating, because I'm not dating. (Notice the period.) I have been very blessed however to have met a number of men over the last few months, no... that's wrong, I've met many men over the years who have cared about me enough to think of me. Granted, they couldn't bring me flowers, that was the office of one who... well didn't even want the office, but they still cared.

Slowly, one guy-friend at a time I am learning to love flowers and gifts again (and you would not believe some of the thoughtful gifts I've been given lately.) I'm learning to close my eyes and put my hand out and trust again. I'm learning that while I seek to do good in the world, simply because I despair to think of doing harm, there are those who echo that sentiment. I'm learning that there truly are good men in the world who can care about, think about, and give to a woman, even if they require nothing but her smile in return.

So gentlemen, bring her flowers, and if it be not flowers, bring her something that somehow says, "You are in my thoughts." Call her at lunch. Do the dishes with her. Hold her hand. Write her a poem. Make something for her. Spend time with her. Listen to her, and ask her questions about her life. Watch a chick-flick. Open the door for her. Pay attention to  her hobbies and get her something hobby-related, she will be touched that you paid attention.

In little ways, every day, tell her you love her, and under your husbandry she will bloom all the brighter.

Friday, April 19, 2013

On Turning 34

It's become a bit of a tradition now to pause on my birthday and try to look both ways down the path of life. I don't know how long I'll be able to make this, my arm cramps up pretty quick typing as my bicep recovers from surgery, but we shall see.

I could never have predicted how much my life would change this year. I look back and on my birthday last year, I was steps away from a massive leap of faith. I didn't know then how soon I would be allowed to take it, but take it I did with whole heart.

I landed here, in St. George, having met previously a handful of locals. They reached out and gave me a roof, a job, and instant friends. I have never met people more generous, guile-less, and anxious to serve.

Not that life here didn't have it's problems. I had trials of health, legal trials, financial trials, and for some reason they all crowded in at once. I was better armed than my adversary though. No matter how hard the devil tried to get me down my angels lifted me up.

It's funny because it was really, really hard at moments, but I would get through those moments and look back thinking, "Well, that wasn't so bad." It wasn't long before I realised that my feet weren't even touching the ground anymore. I was being carried.

To be honest, that's a disconcerting state, to know that, no matter how long you have been a hard-working-do-it-yourself-er, that God is INSISTING on carrying you. I decided long ago to stop fighting God, so I watched as He took the last vestiges of control of my life out of my hands. Then He showed me what He offered instead.

My dear friend told me the other day that this time is the happiest she has ever known, and I couldn't agree more. I don't know if heaven itself could hold more joy than I feel these days. Each day I am staggered by the blessings of God, each day I shake my head in wonder.

My friends tell me I deserve it, as if any person could earn bliss like this, as if any person's heart was made to accommodate this much love and joy. No, I don't deserve it. I have so many flaws. I am so impatient, so quick to indignation, so selfish, so carnal, and land can I be lazy. So I must credit my joy to God's generosity alone.

I still have problems, like the cramp that is getting worse in my arm with every word, and the money issues that I will likely have forever, but those problems aren't in my hands anymore. I will do all I can, rest assured, but there is only so much I can do. God will do the rest. I know because he already has, again and again.

33 was honestly the best year of my life, but I think 34 is going to be better. I'll start school, get on the road to that psychology degree I've been putting off all these years. I'll work. I'll teach my kids through love. Maybe, just maybe, I'll find love too, in a man with a heart like mine, with a devotion to God like mine, for that is all I require. This is my path, the one I float down, the one that cannot hurt me only heal me, teach me, and make me better.

So today, on my birthday I make a wish. I wish everyone could have this kind of relationship with God, so we could all be this happy, for I love you all and wish you all true joy.

God Bless,


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Labels We Wear

(This has taken me days to type because I'm recovering from surgery and get a cramp in my newly repaired bicep after a few paragraphs. I needed to get it out though, so here it is.)

My 12 year old daughter came to me a few weeks ago. She said she wanted to get gauges.

Yup, gauges, as in stretch your ear lobe to massive proportions to fit around a piercing big enough to dunk a basketball through. Those gauges.

I managed not to panic.

I then pulled out "The Talk." No, not the one about sex, because we've had that and will continue to have it as she ages. No, I pulled out the other "Talk" that I've been formulating in my mind for years. It's the talk I wish someone had given me when I was her age, you know, when I lived in Reno and thought the "fancy women" on street corners and the even LESS clad women on casino billboards were the kind of women all men wanted.

Apparently not everyone has this talk in their arsenal though, so today I am going to give it to you.

Imagine you and I are in a car driving around. We see a building. On the front of the building there is a sign that says "Elementary School." What do you suppose happens inside that building? What do you suppose people go there for? What would you expect when you walked through that door?
I won't answer for you. Let's continue our drive.

Look, there is a building with a sign that says "Bank." What do you suppose happens inside that building? What do you suppose people go there for? What would you expect when you walked through that door? What is that building?

Now, here's one with no sign that we can read. It has big boxes of fruit out front. It has dried peppers hanging on a string from the red tile roof. It has a sombrero hanging on the wall next to the aqua-marine painted door. What is that building? What do you suppose people go there for? What would you expect when you walked through that door? What kind of people do you think go there the most?

There's another building, it has a steeple and great big front doors.

What about that one? The tiny one right by the football field. What happens in there?

How do you know?

Well, dear, people are like buildings. What people see on the outside, written or presented without words tells them something about that person.

It's obvious when it's a word, like "Budweiser," "Aeroposatle," or "YMCA" that the person wearing that label wants you to identify them with a particular brand, group, lifestyle, orientation, or organization. Most labeling is more subtle though, and unless you know something about that group/brand/lifestyle you may miss the labels.

Now picture this, you see a woman. She is in Wranglers, boots, a ruffled blouse, long ringlets going down her back. Her boots are scuffed and dusty, her hands are chapped. What kind of music do you suppose she listens to? What kind of house do you think she would like to live in?

Using basic human logic, we would say, country and she'd love a nice rambling ranch or better yet a log cabin with a fireplace and a view. Why? Because we read her labels, the labels she chose to wear.

Picture a man all in black, pale skin, pierced everywhere, eyeliner, black lipstick, chunky shoes. (I pause for some of you to silence your inner kitty.) He carries a big thick book and looks at no one, at least when they are looking he doesn't.

I'm not asking you to judge him, I'm just asking you to read him. What does his appearance tell you? Do you think he's at home on the range? Do you see him Latin dancing with one girl after another Friday night? What is he telling you with his self-applied labels?

Personally I love pretty much everyone. Who I select to be my nearest and dearest has little to do with their labels. I still read them, I still understand what they are consciously or unconsciously trying to say about themselves, but I look past them and look at the soul.

Most people don't have time for that, or won't take time for that unless the initial labels match their own. We all SHOULD. That's what God WANTS us to do, but let's face it, most people don't. Judging is wrong, and we should never avoid people based on their looks, but don't make the error of thinking that others don't make snap decisions based on how YOU present YOURSELF.

You need to identify, understand, and make a choice about how you are advertising yourself. What does your haircut, your favorite shirt, your car, your jewelry, say about you?

I told my daughter that if she really wanted gauges that given time and thought if she still really wanted them, then I wouldn't stand in her way. She needed to understand the culture with which people would lump her first. It is a culture that doesn't like rules. It is a culture that includes a lot of really "cool" or "sick" (as they call it now) stuff. It is also a culture through which drugs runs rampant. I told her that if that is where her friends are, that's okay, because I know very well how accepting people in that culture can be of people who are different, or at least who feel different. I don't blame her a bit for liking them.

My concern was the drugs. We had the drug talk long ago. So when I pointed out that drugs would be all around her if that was the culture she identified herself with, her eyes got big.

I still went out the next day and got her fake gauges, just like I've made her Vampire jewelry, buy her goth style dresses, and got her a fedora. I know she's just trying on all these things, I know she's just trying to pick her labels. I'm pretty cool with whatever ones she picks too, because I know who she is, even if she's still figuring that out. I'll see past whatever labels she wears because I love her. I just hope her labels give others that chance, because she is one of the most beautiful souls in the world and everyone should get the chance to know and love her.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words...

but when has a thousand words ever been enough for ME to say anything?
I'm wasn't sure if I should put this on thethoughtsofthora or thethingsofthora as it could have been both. I settled on here.

I'm not a great photographer, in fact I'm more of a camera dabbler (see my post The Dabbler). I like to go through the pictures I have taken, mess with them in Picassa, and then throw words on them. Mostly the words are mine, but sometimes I will pick a quote. So, if it doesn't say who said it, I wrote it, and that's why this is on "Thoughts."

Anyway, enjoy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wrote this today, and yup, that's me in the picture too.

The Sea

The Sea

My heart is as the very sea,
Ripped with storm and tempest tossed,
Subject to the winds am I
As down they wail and calm is lost.

Shriek and moan they call
And I fear, I tremble, I quail.
All around me they howl
And within my breast my heart doth fail,

Until a voice speaks
Still and small, but a voice that fills,
To calmness now it beckons me
I hear His voice, and peace, I am still.