My Two Week Wonder

My Two Week Wonder

I don’t believe in love at first sight, and I definitely don’t believe you can fall in love in two weeks. Then this happened…

His smile and the way he tilted his head and winked at me gave me butterflies. When we were together it was just us! He was attentive, and caring. Our intimate conversations ranged from giggling and whispering in each other’s ears, silly kissing competition, laughing at wardrobe choices and loudly proclaiming our affection for each in a crowded restaurant, OK so that last one was more him than me and I secretly liked that he did. We comfortably lounged on each other on park benches and talked about our favorite things. And as quickly as it began, it was over in two weeks.

I told him from the very beginning I didn’t believe people could fall in love in two weeks. Now, as I look back on the whirl-wind high I was on, I found myself wondering; knowing what I know now, would I have done a few things differently.

Are you in love me?

Twelve days into dating, while getting ready to walk out the door for dinner, I was grabbing my purse as I looked up and saw him from across the room staring at me. I was not at all prepared for what he asked. “Are you in love with me?” I didn’t know what to say and threw up my defenses. I replied, “I don’t want to talk about my feeling for you right now”. As I think about my words, I wish with all my heart in that moment I had answered that differently. What I wanted to say but was too scared is, “I’m not sure if it is love, but when I think about you, my chest feels like it’s on fire and I can’t breath until I see you”, but I couldn’t.

Is this what it’s like to be married?

After spending a day  laughing, talking and just being together, I was snuggled up close to his chest and he softly said, “I wonder if this is what it is like to be married?” He’s sweet words as he softy stroked my hair caught me off guard, and I mumbled something like, “I wouldn’t know, this didn’t happen in my previous marriage”. I wish I would have held him a bit tighter and said, “l image it would be with us”.

I’m feeling attached to you.

I was on this natural endorphin high every moment I was with him and I never wanted it to end. When he looked at me and said, “I’m feeling attached to you” I pulled back and looked in his eyes, looking to see if I could read his emotions. He knew exactly what I was doing, smiled and said, “you’re attached to me too”. I wish I would have kissed him, or said something clever, but I didn’t.

I can take care of myself!

This man did everything to show me I could be loved and I was so sure that I wasn’t going to fall in love, I missed what was happening. He wanted to take care of me, more than once I said, “I can take care of myself”. What I really meant was, “I want someone that see’s I’m a strong person and he wants to care for me”.

I didn’t say or do those other things, because it simply wasn’t how I felt. He was charming, fun and made me laugh but he didn’t take my breath away, I wasn’t picturing our wedding day and thinking about marriage, my attachment wasn’t to him but the idea of of him, and he couldn’t see me for who I am and care for me.

I want to fall in love and say and feel all these things, with the right person that will sincerely say and do all these things in return. Falling in love shouldn’t have a time limit, it should be a constant state of a relationship with the right person. I want to continuously fall in love with every eye contact and smile, with the touch of his warm hand in mine, with words of encouragement and comfort during struggles, during the romance, challenges and everyday part of being with the right person.

I find happiness in the experiences in my life that are leading me in the right direction to fall in love.

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Wandering Separately

There is no argument, I have amazing people in my life that have supported me in unbelievable ways. However, I was surprised to find that the encouragement, praise and care of someone who started out as a stranger would help me heal and grow the most. The first time I found myself alone, knowing that I would be alone for multiple days was such a culture shock to me and I wasn’t prepared for it. I grew up in a large family and shared a room with two sisters and on occasion a friend that needed a place to hang out for a while. I loved every moment of my crazy, always someone there childhood. Meeting someone that is content living a life without that was peculiar to me. I was fascinated by his carefree perspective of, well everything! His insouciant domineer and lack of planning is enough to drive an organized planner insane, but quickly became something I envied.

Being around him was mostly easy once I learned to let myself wander. I mean that literally.  We spent lots of time together wandering in different directions. I know that makes no sense, “together in different directions”, let me explain. We took a few day trip photography adventures, something we both enjoy. We defiantly see things very different, which made these trips even more fun. We wandered separately, experiencing things separately, capturing things separately. Every once in a while I would look around to see where he was, he always looked amazed at everything he saw, made me smile to see him take in everything with such respect and amazement. Whether he had his camera or not, he was like a kid in the candy store when it came to Mother Nature and all her personalities.

Not only did I let myself wander physically, but also emotionally. I don’t think he ever saw me get emotional while we were together, if he did he never let on. It just simply felt good to be out with someone but not with someone, to be allowed to be myself and not conform to someone else’s way of doing things. To know that someone was right there letting me be me. I took this, learning to wander separately together and began to heal. I applied this simple concept to other areas of my life and started to learn about myself. I can be a part of something carefree and still have a plan. I can appreciate and respect everything about others without changing me. I can do things by myself , be alone but not feel lonely.

When I look back on my life, I’m reminded how much I lost who I was trying to make the impossible work. I was resigned to an idea put in my head, maybe this is it for me. I don’t believe that any more, my perspective, my attitude, my desires have adapted to a new way of looking at life. We are all wandering. I’m looking for the person who wants to wander in my path, sometimes holding my hand, sometimes curiously watching me in the distance, always wanting to see and hear where I have been and anxiously waiting to share his journey with me too!

Me Too

Some of my life’s greatest challenges have come at the hand of others and selfish choices; sexual abuse, marriage under false pretenses to gay man and judgement of others are now a part of my past as I build my future empowered with control over my own emotions and choices because I have forgiven. My approach to forgiveness is directly linked to my faith in God and my faith in the ability to change.

The remarkable gift of forgiveness given to me has been a blessing throughout my life as others have asked for forgiveness for deeply wounding me, mindfully  manipulating me, and selfishly taking from me. When faced with the challenge of truly forgiving them, I have been blessed; forgiveness and peace came with ease and my sorrows have been lightened. Please do not mistake my attitude of forgiveness for softness or weakness. It is neither. This ability, for me to offer true forgiveness gives me freedom and control. There is no greater power then feeling freedom from heartache and grief. Forgiveness offers me strength to live my life without reproach, builds my self esteem and shapes me into the person I am becoming.

I have found joy and happiness in the freedom I gain from forgiving others.

 

(I recognize that we all have different coping skills to deal with abuse and other pain in our lives. My heartaches for all those struggling with healing and moving forward. Time, faith, and love of yourself as well as those in your life will aid in your healing. Stay strong, know that your life has worth and value.)

 

 

Chasing the Sun

I remember a time in my life when I would rise before the sun, seek out the perfect place to watch her stretch out her warmth and hug the sky with her vibrant colors. Watching the sunrise and her colors moving across the sky until they faded leaving behind just her warmth, brought a calmness to me, assuring me that with another day came promises of happiness and joy. I found myself repeating this ritual in times of my life when I needed to feel peace and warmth. If I wasn’t up early, I was chasing the sun to the end of the earth where she would kiss the sky good night, lingering her descend with a trail of colors.

Now I begin my days with hugs and end them with kisses from my children, sometimes unwillingly but always with the same peace I once chased. My days are filled with chaos, joy, homework, dishes, service, love, late night ice cream, and often falling a sleep exhausted on the couch as soon as it’s quiet. Although my life has been redirected many times and I stopped chasing the sun, I still pause and reflect on her beauty in a grocery store parking lot, in the car on our way to home from a long day, or wherever I am. I want my children to recognize the beauty all around them that God created for us. I hope someday they will chase the sun and enjoy the promises she brings everyday.

I still find calming peace and happiness in the sunrise and sunset everyday.

Sometimes, Maybe

img_7793Sometimes I have subtle reminders that my children can feel the tension that comes with dividing a family. Every once in a while I have an intense reminder. Maybe that comes from having a teenager in the home. Maybe it’s because it’s just hard. I wish I knew the right things to say to my children when I see that they are struggling, or hurting. Seems like under these circumstances sometimes there is no right thing to say, so I don’t say anything. Instead I wake up at 3:12 A.M. to go buy milk, make banana bread bundt cake for breakfast, or squeeze fresh orange juice. Sometimes I might make their beds or let them stay up an extra hour for a family movie. I’m making this up as go, and sometimes I make mistakes, all the time I show them how much I love them.

Showing my children that I love them and I’m here for them makes me happy.

 

My Mind, My Desktop

Organization is the most comforting word to me. When my life is organized, I can see more clearly, I can focus on the present and plan for my future. In my mind, I see my life, my calendar, my everything as a desktop on a computer. Neatly organized folders, labeled and arranged in an systematized fashion, each folder containing exactly what I need to be accomplish a task, complete a goal, plan a trip, and keep it altogether without losing myself. When my life glitched it was pandemonium in my mind. I found pieces missing from folders, unlabeled folders, things I have never heard of showed up and everything seemed to be floating in a gentle breeze that often changed direction. Suddenly I could not breathe.

As time went on, I found ways to slowly gather the pieces of my life as they drifted by, taking small breaths as I decide where to start. It took me time, courage and love to see that it is safe to change my desktop. Recycling what was holding me back, making new folders as I discovered new pieces and fragments of me that had been missing for years, and taking what I was holding onto tightly and putting it back into place. Everyday breathing more deeply, more completely.

My desktop isn’t in perfect order, but its close. I’m organizing my life a little bit more every day. I have discovered that I need people in my life. I have learned it’s ok to accept help from my loved ones. I have decided that it’s alright to be a single mom.

I have found happiness among disarray, although I am looking forward to my life returning to it’s organized state a little bit more every day.

Through My Camera Lens

The first time I picked up a camera I was in high school and had just become the new sports photographer for the school newspaper, The Viking Voyager. I instantly fell in love with two things, looking at the world through the lens of a 35mm camera and the sound of the football players’ pads crashing into each other on the field. Using the camera become second nature to me as I learned to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to capture life as I see it. Learning to process film and develop prints gave me the opportunity to show others the world through my camera lens. I was stubborn as technology took photography to new levels of creativity. As I learned to embrace new technology I have grown to love photography more.

Looking at a photograph I can feel the image, the warmth of the sun melting the snow, the hope in the eyes of a mourning widow, the love two people share has they promise to be loyal to one another, or the emptiness of place that was once alive. I can see the color in a colorless picture and feel the emotion in its contrast. I can hear the laughter of children playing, or the soft sounds of a creek trickling water over rocks. I can smell the orange blossoms that surround a country road, or the rain falling on the sand in a dry desert.

I take photographs for me, so that I can capture these emotions, sounds and smells, so I remember they way I feel in the moments that inspire me, teach me and help me experience life around me. I share my photographs so others can feel and be inspired as well. I desire for my home someday to be filled with my photographs, to cultivate an environment that inspires and motivates my children in their lives, and for those that enter my home to leave feeling the world through my camera lens.

Searching for and capturing images that facilitate emotions within me brings me happiness.