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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My First Day of Forty-Eight

Woke up this morning on the first day of my 48th year.  Blessing number one, I woke up.  My jaw aching from the problems that churn there while I sleep and stepping on the scale revealed that my extra pounds of pneumonia weight had chosen to stick around another day. I wake the girl and find that her morning crankiness has decided not to celebrate my birthday through its absence but is also alive and well today.

I feed all the fur babies and smile and tell them it's my birthday.  I look out to find a perfect moon still shining and sunshine on the horizon.  I'm alive.  Not perfect, not without problems or extra pounds but I'm alive.

My daughter has begun to count my birthdays as a count down.  "Two more years til your Golden Age birthday"  She's also now grounded until then. 

It's these middle of life birthdays that have me counting more backwards then forwards.  When we were 9 we couldn't wait to get to the next one and even added the half mid year, "Yes, I'm 9 and a half and I'll be 10 in 6 months".  Now I look ahead and I think, "I've got a lot to do, I better pick up the pace."  I've got books to write, schools to start, kids to raise, and travel to do. 

I want to live fully alive.  I'm not afraid of aging and the wrinkles and gravity taking over, that's a battle you can't win easily or cheaply.  I'm afraid I won't get it all done.  I'm a dreamer and a doer and there's so much more I want to do and see and know and be. 

In the words of my favorite humor author, Erma

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.”
Erma Bombeck

So if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to living, dreaming, doing and using up more of what God has given me.  No resting on my laurels, I think He's still got big plans for me and I don't want to miss it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Don't We Ask?

A beautiful spring run.  Elated, strong, happy.........and thirsty.

I come back into my hotel room after a nice run. I remember that I drank my last bottle of water before I started out on my run.  As I come up the elevator my mind is thinking about the water that's in my car, and then I'd have to go to my room, get my car keys, then go back up - blah blah blah - I'm thirsty but not sure I want to go through all of that.

Then I come down my hall and there is the maid's cart.  I think, "maybe I'll just ask her for another bottle of water."

Immediately my 7th grade inner voice says, "but I'm not sure you're allowed to have another bottle of water, and what if they're supposed to charge you for it."  And then I argue back to my 7th grade inner voice. "But I'm a Marriott Platinum Elite member, doesn't that qualify me for more water?"

Then I smile to myself thinking, "this is the most ridiculous inner dialogue for a beautiful Sunday morning, geez, it's water for crying out loud."  So with an apologetic smile, I say to the nice young lady with her maid cart, "Could I have another bottle of water?"  Of course I say "another" because I don't want to appear ungrateful for the 1st bottle of water that I've been given.  I think I've been on this Catholic College Campus too long, the guilt seems to be seeping into my pores.

She smiles back and needs more clarification, words are not going to be our best form of communication and I hold my hand up like I'm drinking a glass of water and smile again.  She smiles back with her eyes that she understands and goes into the closet for the water.  She comes back with a pack of water and asks me how many.  "Oh just one" I hold up my finger and smile again apologetically wondering how she could ever find me so presumptuous to ask for more than one extra bottle of water.  She smiles a sweet smile and hands me not one but two bottles of water.

How often do we do this?  We want something, maybe something we won't die without but we want it and we sort of need it but we're afraid to ask. We go about figuring out how we can handle it ourselves.  Often it is the lack of courage that holds us back. And if we do in fact get the courage to actually ask for help, we're often surprised by the generosity we receive.  We get more than we asked for.  And isn't this because most of the human spirit, in spite of our often vast differences, wants to help us.  We just need the courage to ask.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Erma Bound! 4 Reasons I'm Stupid Excited!

I'm packing again.  Honestly I just dumped the Spring Break bathing suits and sunscreen in the middle of my closet floor so I can re-pack for another trip.  This one I've been looking forward to for over a year.  I'm attending the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop in scenic Dayton Ohio starting tomorrow through the weekend.  I'm stupid excited.  Here's why.

1. I'm a writer. I should invest in my craft. I just started owning this about myself a few years ago.  I spent several years waiting for someone to grant me the title officially and since my certificate never showed up in the mail I decided to just own it.  I can't NOT write.  I've tried.  It wells up inside of me and threatens to explode my heart.  I'd like to blame the stuff that hangs over my jeans as writer's bloat too but that's pushing it.

2. My writing needs it's own space and time. When you are a writer the entire world is seen through descriptions and feelings and words.  Everything.  The odd character in front of you at Starbucks, the way your cat is curled up in the sun, the seething anger at your loved one that you can only process through your journal.  Writing is not my full time occupation which I used to think was what needed to happen before I could call myself a writer.  But I've let that go because writing is my entertainment, my therapy, my passion, my heart and my soul.  When I'm standing in the kitchen putting away the dishes, my brain is processing how I would write about this simple activity and what's on my heart in that moment.  I can't NOT write.  Not all of my words make it to paper or screen and there are days that threatens to send me over the edge trying to find the space in the chaos of life to let the words out.  You don't get to see all of the words here, some are just to release the pressure and heal my own heart.

3. I will be among my people this weekend.  I've not met them yet but I know they're my kind, my tribe, my kindred spirits.  Those lovers of words and the human spirit that can't NOT write.  I'm not even concerned about who's a better writer, it's the thrill of the year to be in their presence feeding off their spirit and passion.

4. We will laugh from the depths of our guts and into the far corners of our hearts.  Real laughter.  We've already begun the laughter from our social media introductions and comments. Erma Bombeck celebrated every day life in her writing.  She found the humor in the mundane and raised us all up.  I'm hoping for a killer ab workout from all the laughter and a few days to soothe the soul and heal some of the wounds that have built up over a long hard winter.  We will laugh not just because we're at a "humor writer's" conference.  I believe we will laugh because we all share the same passion. As writer's we've learned to see what others don't always see, the story behind the story and the absurd tucked beside the ordinary.

See you all next week when I'll be filled up and inspired into greatness or recovering from an abdominal tear.  Maybe I should do some quick research on the Dayton hospital.