Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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This is the gorgeous view from directly outside my hotel. See what I mean about gorgeous mountains? El Paso is beautiful. So far everyone has been amazing. They’ve been kind, welcoming and generally just bone deep nice!

Tonight, I’m chillaxing by my hotel bar with a glass of Malbec and feeling inspired. Last night was my first good, full night of sleep since I arrived. It wasn’t overly crazy so I had the opportunity to relax and catch up on some of my favorite passions. I’m enjoying Sophie Oak’s Siren Unleashed and read some of the amazing people whose blogs I follow. In fact, Crazy Train To Tinky Town wrote a really cool blog about airports and people watching. It inspired me.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in or around airports. This trip would be no different. In fact, I’m about two or three miles from the airport right now. As fun as people watching in an airport can be, I’ve found that the people you meet on the plane can be even more intriguing.

So my question…do you remember your most interesting travel seat mate? Tell me about them…and what made them so memorable. If you don’t have a memorable seat mate, maybe share your most intriguing conversation that happened during travel…

My cousin says I’m a magnet for “interesting”. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s not that I’m a magnet…it’s that I interact! I talk. I listen. And then I’m constantly entertained…which always translates to storytelling.

I’ll start with the most interesting interaction I had in an airport. A few years ago, hubby and I were heading to Dallas for a Cowboy game. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it…it was our honeymoon! Usually we catch a flight from our nearby airport, but this time we headed out of Tampa. As we sat in the airport, John Gruden came walking up. Apparently, he was also going to be on our flight. He was working for ESPN at the time and doing the show. I spotted him, then pointed him out to hubby. He walked up and shook Mr Gruden’s hand and told him how much we enjoyed him. The guy was very cool. In fact, he found us when we landed at DFW and told us to find him at the event and ask questions. He was absolutely great. He treated us like new friends. We loved it.

My most interesting “on the plane” interaction? The June I graduated from high school, my biological grandfather died. I knew the news was not going to be good when my cousin called at 6am. No one calls that late in my family in less there is an emergency.

I was going to be flying alone to Michigan… I was 18, so it wasn’t a huge deal. When I boarded, I noticed an elderly couple toward the front of the plane, but otherwise it was just me. Seated by a window on the center of the aircraft, I was just settling in when a group of tall, large, strong men walked onto the plane. As they took their seats, I noticed I was surrounded. Two of the giants (I’m only 5’3″…and back then was only 105 lbs) were sitting behind me, two in front & 2 more across the aisle, plus the rest of the guys on the plane. The guy in front of me was the sociable sort and turned around.

Kneeling on his seat in my direction our conversation went something like this:

Him: Hi there!
Me: (tilting my head to make better eye contact) Hello…
Him: How are you?
Me: Fine.
Him: Are you from Detroit?
Me: Nope. Going to Michigan for a family emergency.
Him: I’m sorry. (Pauses) Soooo…. How old are you?
Me: (Realized he was hitting on me and checking my status as jail bait…Rob Lowe had just recently gotten busted) I turn 19 tomorrow.
Him: Really? Got any proof?
Me: My military brat ID.
Him: Can I see?
Me: Sure.
Him: (smiles down at me) Happy birthday! (Turns to his other buddies) Hey guys…can you believe she’s 18?

I laughed. He had just waved the “go” flag for himself and his friends. I was also right…I was on a flight with a college football team. Suddenly I found myself under a microscope as they all peered over the chairs at me and said hello. I laughed. Then the guy continued:

Him: So, how long are you going to be in town?
Me: A few days.
Him: You should give me your number. I’ll take you out and show you the city.
Me: (laughing and a bit coy…and not nearly as naive as he thought) My mama told me not to give my number to strangers.
Him: I introduced myself. We’re not strangers anymore.
Me: Why don’t you give me YOUR number. If I want you, I’ll call you.

After a bit of playful debate, he gave me his number. As we got of the plane, he and five of his friends insisted on escorting me “safely” to my family. The look on my relatives’ faces were priceless! Their eyes were huge as the boys all said goodbye, each stooping down to give me a hug.

I never did call the guy back…but is it any wonder why I so enjoy ménage stories? Does this not help to explain my interest with the Mile High Club?

Your turn!

Getting the Flock Outa Here!

Today is a mad rush of final cleanings and packing as I prepare to head to Dallas to feed my love affair with the Dallas Cowboys. As a few of you may remember, my passion for the Cowboys started when I moved back into the country from the Philippines after living abroad most of my young life.  So at 10 years old, the first thing about football I remember was watching Tony Dorsett break for that 99 yard run…and I was in love!

A few years ago, my boyfriend (hubby, now) booked us a trip through Maximum Sports to see our Cowboys play.  (Thank Goodness he’s a Cowboys fan, too…or there may have been problems). On that trip we got the opportunity to see the Cowboys play the Houston Texans (we won!) as well as meet Jason Witten, Tony Romo (2 weeks before he became the starter) and Chris Canty (his rookie year…before he became one of the hated Giants). After we booked our trip, the only thing we had to worry about was the occassional lunch and sometimes, drinks.  This cemented us as permanent customers of Maximum Sports. The icing on the cake is that the owner of the company, Ronni Sokol, is a fantastic person and a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness…she’s also a survivor.  I’m lucky enough to call this wonderful woman my personal friend.

Since meeting her, I’ve gotten the opportunity to shake Emmitt Smith’s hand at the luncheon following his induction into the Hall Of Fame, not to mention watch him get the honor he so richly deserved. We’ve also gotten to hang out with some of our favorite Cowboys in the Bahamas!  How many people can say they get a chance to do that?

In fact, this is a picture of my favorite nose tackle, Jay Ratliff, wearing a children’s play helmet at the dinner in the Bahamas the night before we left.  He’s one of my all time favorite people…and players!

And here’s a picture of me with Bill Bates, holding one of his 3 Superbowl rings! Pretty cool, right? And he’s a really nice guy.

But my all time favorite guy is probably Everson Walls. For those of you who don’t know who he is…this wonderfully generous man actually donated a kidney for his former teammate when diabetes took it’s toll and began to slowly kill him.  Later he co-wrote a book about his experience called A Gift For Ron. Since I heard he will be at the tailgate party, I’ll be buying the book and plan on getting him to autograph it.  I’m telling you, he and his wife are such wonderful human beings…I was glad to get the opportunity to get to know them in such a different venue.  Here’s a picture of me & hubby with both Everson and Bill, along with Kenny “The Shark” Gant.

Can you guys tell I’m excited?  Outside of writing…what are you passionate about? What kinds of celebrities would you like to meet or spend time with? Which celebrities have moved you? Have you met any?  If so, who? I love to hear about this stuff…

As you can tell, hubby and I are well matched.  And if none of those apply…or even if they do…what travelling songs do you enjoy?  Here’s what I’m leaving you with…Ha!  You had to KNOW I’d be leaving some music.

When in Dallas…. 😉

Oh yeah… (Michael Clark Duncan will be missed)

 

Evolution From Sister To Friend

Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while have heard me talk about my sister and how she helped to inspire me to chase my writing dreams.  She’s the one who wondered why I wasn’t writing in the first place.  She’s the one who got my membership to the Florida Writer’s Association…to encourage me and to push me to follow my dreams. (Oh, and she was also the one who saved us from that evil frog in the toilet)

Well, in about a week, she and her husband, along with her furbaby will be down for a visit.  I’m excited!  I love to spend time with my sister. We do all those girly things…shop, get our nails done, read by the pool. We also spend a fair amount of time singing together. We’ve been doing it our whole lives.  Where I’m the writer in the family, she’s the musician.  In fact, not only was she my maid of honor, she also sang in my wedding.

But there was a time…a long, long time ago…where she was my annoying kid sister.  She came along when I was two.  My mom says we were inseperable. In fact, I was her translator. She’d say “Oh Dear!” and I was the one who would tell my mom that she wanted “orange joice”.  Yeah…still not sure how those two translated, but apparently I had kid-sister-speak down!

And we used to move around a lot (being military brats it was a given), so there were times where all we had was each other.  Until my brother came along two years later, then my other brother, two years after that.  Oddly enough, the only two children born in the same country was me and our youngest brother.  We were both born in the Philippines.  My sister was born in California, then we moved to Germany, where my other brother was born.

It was in Germany that we first played with snow and built the biggest snowman ever! In fact, this is my sister and I with the our parents and the snow man.  My mom would be pregnant with my brother in a month or so… That nose kept falling off, so my dad had to break off a giant icicle later to make his nose.

It was also in Germany where my mom taught us all about the joys of baking.  We’d hit the forest preserve behind our house and go berry picking, then make fresh berry pies. Or sometimes it would be breads. This was also when we were very young and didn’t understand sibling rivalry.  Here’s a pic of us with our brother shortly before we left Germany to head back to the Philippines.

Life in Germany was fun.  We’d got to France sometimes on the weekends… and other times we’d chill at home.  It was then that we learned that our English vocabulary was a bit extensive for our age.  We’d been on a walk with a bunch of kids from church along with some of their parents.  As kids are prone to do, we were running instead of walking.  Well, there was giant horse turd in the middle of the road….and the conversation went something like this (I was 4 or 5 at the time):

Me: Uncle Dennis, Uncle Dennis!
Uncle Dennis: What?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: You WHAT?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: Oh! What do you say when you have to pee?
Me: Pee? Oh! You mean urinate?

Upon arriving back at the house:

Uncle Dennis: Josie, what the heck are you teaching your kids?
Mom: What?
Uncle Dennis: Feces? Urinate?
Mom: I don’t understand…
Uncle Dennis: Your daughter jumped over some poop and called it feces.
Mom: What’s poop?
Uncle Dennis: You know, crap, dung…POOP!
Me: Mom, he’s talking about feces.
Uncle Dennis: Who talks like that?
Pastor’s Wife (laughing): I remember when I was young we just called it #1 and #2!

And that was just the beginning.  You see, my mom was born and raised in the Philippines, so her knowledge of the English language was very technical and all from school.  She had no idea about slang, so she taught us English the way she learned it.  Our next tour was back in the Philippines.  This is where the closer than close relationship my sister and I had began to evolve.  She was very unhappy when I started going to school because it meant I wasn’t there with her anymore.  It didn’t help that people at church would tease her by telling her they were taking me away with them.  She would cry…until we told her they were just teasing.

It was also at this time when I gave her “the haircut”. Oh, yeah…  Mom really was NOT happy with me for that one.  In third world countries during this time, lice was not uncommon.  Not only did you learn in school what they looked like, you learned how to search for them.  What did I do to my trusting little sister with that knowledge?  Well…before I continue I plead “the devil made me do it”. I was playing with her hair one day when I got this brilliant idea.  Looking down into her hair, knowing how trusting she was, I thought I’d play a practical joke (I was about 8).  The tsking sounds started to come.  Lil sis got steadily more concerned until she couldn’t hold it in anymore…

Sis: What? What’s wrong?
Devil Me: Nothing  ::sigh::
Sis: Something’s wrong. Tell me!
Devil Me: You have lice.
Sis: (wailing) Oh no!  Get it out! Get it out!
Devil Me: I don’t know….
Sis: Please!
Devil Me: Ok, wait here.  I’ll get the scissors.
Sis: Thanks!
I proceeded to hack a big chunk of hair right out of the center of her head…about as close to the scalp as you can get.  Needless to say, mom was furious.  It didn’t matter to her that I’d gained my sister’s consent first.  I got my butt paddled.  Poor sis had to wear all sorts of funky hairdo’s with barettes, trying to pull hair over to cover the near bald spot I gave her.

Here is one of the last pictures taken with all four of us back in the Philippines.  I’d just finished doing a native Filipino dance for one of the school performances, so I’m dressed in local Filipino attire along with the coconut husks they use in the dance. Sis’s hair had grown back…thank goodness!

Our relationship changed again when I was about 15 years old. My sister had started dating for the first time.  In fact, she was dating my boyfriend’s best friend.  This was their first time alone together and I knew that this would probably be her first kiss.

Me: So? How did it go?
Sis: (sour face) Ok. He doesn’t know how to kiss though.
Me: What do you mean he doesn’t know how to kiss? Wasn’t this your first kiss?
Sis: Yeah.
Me: So how would you know?
Sis: Because when he kissed me he stuck his tongue in my mouth then left it there like a dead fish!
Me: (laughing hysterically) Like a dead fish? He just stuck it there and left it? Eww!
Sis: Yeah! Even I know that’s not how French kissing goes.  I’ve seen you do it often enough….
Me: Hey! I am so not looking forward to telling his best friend about this…
Sis walks away laughing…

And so the relationship began to evolve back towards friendship. Sisters are great! We laugh with each other, we cry with each other.  We push each other to reach for our dreams.  And we have each other’s backs…even when the enemy is mom.  LOL!  I will say this about the next story. Being a parent takes intestinal fortitude. Being a single parent is even harder because there’s no one to share the burden with….so understand her craziness came from fear…for me repeating her mistakes, for my life to be over before it began…I get it…but it still doesn’t change the fact that I was falsely accused.  😉

Mom: (waving a foil packet with pills in it in my face and screaming) You’re on birth control? You’re having sex? I haven’t given you permission to go on birth control!
Me: What are you talking about? I’m not on birth control. I haven’t had sex!
Mom: Then what’s this? (waves packet in my face again) Don’t lie to me! I know you’re on birth control. I’m not stupid!
Me: MOM! I’M. NOT. ON. BIRTH. CONTROL!
Mom: No? Well then whose are these? You’re on birth control.  Do you want to end up making the same mistakes I did?
Me: (yeah, a bit of a smartass) If I wanted to make the same mistakes you did, would I be on birth control?
Mom: See? I KNEW it!
Me: MOM! I swear, I’m not on birth control!
Mom: Then what’s this?
Sis: (coming from the bedroom) What is all the screaming about?
Mom: Your sister is having sex! See? (she waves packet in sis’s face) She’s on birth control!
Sis: (grabs packet from Mom’s hand) This?
Mom: Yes!
Sis: Mom! These are my cleaning enzymes for my contacts. Did you READ the label?
Mom: Oh!
Sis: Yeah. Oh!
Me: See? I told you I’m not on birth control!

I’m thankful every day for my sister.  She’s become my best friend over the years… The above song is actually a song we’ve been known to sing together. In fact, a friend recorded us singing the song together the day we were preparing for my wedding.  Maybe I’ll see if I can dig it up and put it on here for ya’ll to hear if I can find it again…. That is, if anyone is interested.

So tell me…who has been the rock in your life? The one constant…to see you through the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows? Who pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to be better than you are today? Do you have siblings? Any funny or silly stories to share?  I’d love to hear them!

Freaky Froggy Findings

It’s okay… You can admit it. When you read that I was terrified of frogs a while back you laughed. That’s okay. I get that reaction a lot! But before you judge me, there are a few things you should know (of course there’s a story behind it. Isn’t there always?)

Between the ages of 6-10 I lived in the Philippines. It’s a beautiful place. It is a culture full of great food, warm welcomes and family and they’re blessed with great scenery. I absolutely LOVED being there. What does this have to do with my fear of frogs? Here’s the thing. I lived in a subdivision with a lot of multicultural kids..mostly because our dads were in the military. As kids we’d get into mischief. I’d climb trees and bring down coccoon husks and open them, curious about what was inside. We found a pregnant dead bird once and dissected her, trying to save the egg. So it was natural that when she told me that in her mom’s culture (her mom was Thai) that crickets were delicacies that we’d go out and try to catch them. We wanted to surprise her with a “treat”! What a lucky mom, right? Of course now I know that there are all different kinds of crickets, but hey…it was the thought that counted.

Somehow our cricket crusade morphed into a frog catching expidition. (It may have had something to do with hearing that people also ate frog legs and they tasted like chicken, but I’m not sure) We were armed with glass jars and since it had just rained, there were plenty of frogs out. We stayed out catching frogs until our parents called us in for the night. My family was vegetarian, so we sent all the catches with my little friend. The next morning I woke up crying and in pain. My precious hands had water blisters all over them. Turns out, I’m allergic to frogs.

Fast forward to about 8 years ago. I was leaving my house. As I turned to lock the door, from along the door jam a white frog landed on the corner of my face. It happened very quickly, but not fast enough that I didn’t recognize what tapped the side of my face (near my eye). I screamed bloody murder! My heart was pounding a mile a minute. My next door neighbor, bless his heart, came flying out of his house. Apparently he thought I was getting raped or murdered. How humiliating it was to tell him it was simply that a frog attacked. Fortunately the contact was so minute I didn’t have an attack. Curious as to what the frog looked like? I found a likeness…

That’s okay…I’ve also learned that when you’re in a long termed relationship, your phobias become contageous. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I do know that my sister was in town visiting us one fall. She and I had went to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for her to make potato soup from scratch for my guy who wasn’t feeling well. We got back and he was standing out on the driveway with no shoes on, his boxers and a tshirt. He was a bit upset. Apparently a frog had tried to eat his ass! Laugh! I know I did.

He’d gone into our master bath to use the toilet, and just as he went to sit down, something caught his eye. He jumped back up just in time to see a toad the size of a grapefuit staring up at him. He insists that there was malicious intent in that toad’s eyes…but regardless, it freaked him out. He slammed the toilet lid down, yanked his pants back up, found the biggest, heaviest book he could find to put on the lid so that the big toad couldn’t escape…and planted himself on the driveway for one of us to rescue him.

As you already ascertained from my deep fear of frogs, I was the wrong person to be looking at for a rescue. In fact, I believe the words “you’re insane” may have come out of my mouth at some point as he looked at me to find a solution. Finally, after my sister was able to stop laughing hysterically, she grabbed a big plastic cup that we didn’t mind losing along with a magazine. She scooped the toad into the cup, covered it with the magazine and released Mr Toad back into the wild. Thank God for the practicality of nurses.

But is my fear of frogs really so irrational? After the news down here in Florida this week, I’m thinking it’s just good sense! If you have dogs, this story is a must read! It may save your dog’s life! Yes, there have been doggie deaths in Florida recently and it’s all been attributed to my nemesis.

Considering I have my two adorable furbabies, I think it may have turned out to be a blessing that I have this fear. I’d be devastated if anything happened to these two cuties….

These are my two girls. They’re Shiba Inu’s…The little one to the left is named Ryka (after the Mord Sith from Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series. The one on the right is Isabella. She was my Christmas gift several years ago. I’d be devastated if I lost them, so they are not allowed to play with frogs. Lucky for me, they prefer to chase rabbits. 🙂

If you’re a dog lover and a book lover, you should check out this review by Sheri DeGrom. This one may be right up your alley!

If you’re wondering what your dog is thinking, maybe you should check out his/her diary as written by Raelynn Barclay.

Or if you just want to talk about your adorable dog and commisserate about their bad habits, then Jen is your gal!

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent about my frighteningly froggy freak outs…and for adoring my cute doggies.

Happy Friday!

Pausing To Aid In Celebration

Hi Everyone!  I had this big ole blog planned for today, but it’s gonna have to wait.  My mom called and notified me that we will be having a party for my stepdad’s 60th birthday tomorrow at their new homestead.  She also notified me that I make dessert.  This is not an easy feat as my step-dad is a ciliac (has a gluten allergy).  She said he wanted German Chocolate cake, and I found this awesome looking recipe.  When I called, though, and talked to my stepdad, he said Carrot cake sounded good to him.  Unsure of which one was better, I’ll be making both.  Better safe than sorry.  That also means my big ole blog plan is out the window…

Recently, they rented out their home in Chicago to move closer to me.  I suspect she did it just in case hubby and I decide to grace her with grandkids, she wanted to be nearby.  Well, that and my step aunt & uncle live in the area.  So they bought 5 acres about an hour away from me.  It comes complete with a little lake (that gators come out of) and a barn.  Fortunately, the area around the house is fenced so that I can bring my dogs with us when we go to visit and they get to play in a big yard.

Here are some pictures I took from around their house the last time I was out there.  I love all the lily pads they have in their lake. Can’t wait till they bloom!

The barn

Mom loves trees and plants

 

Cactus In Bloom

I notice you
From the corner of my eye
Ruby red buds.
You draw me in
For a closer look.
Sophisticated patterns
Of painful beauty.
Like a rose
With prickly tips.
No one
Who truly
Reaches out
And touches your core
Comes away
Without
Spilling at least one drop
Of blood.
But if you’re willing
Delving closer
You’ll find
Something worth so much more.
For hidden
Beneath that prickly
Exterior
Is sweetness
And sustenance.
It can be the one thing
In the desert of your life
Where you find
The water you crave,
That gives you strength
To press forward;
To never give up.

On my husband’s birthday we went to visit my mom.  She had us over for lunch to celebrate both that and our anniversary.  Next to her lanai, I saw this cactus.  So beautiful and intricate.  I snapped a couple of pictures knowing I was going to share it with all of you, but not sure what else I’d be doing.  And then I saw these awesome blogs about husbands and their super powers!  Natalie had her Hubby’s Corner and Jansen Schmidt blogged about “I’m Watching That”.  Both were hilariously done.

And as I sat thinking about my own husband and his super power I realized.  His super power is his ability to out wait me and his insight.  Boring, right?  So maybe I should tell you how we met.  I was 19 years old and working at an information/reception desk.  He’s honest enough to admit that the first thing he noticed about me was my butt.  In fact he even told me “you could bounce quarters off your butt!”  Fortunately this wasn’t until after I’d gotten to know him a little bit or I probably would’ve thought him a pig and not given him the time of day.  I mean let’s be real.  Vanity has women primping, posing and wearing make up along with flattering outfits, but we all secretly harbor the hope that the first thing a guy will notice about us is our intelligence or kindness or some other characteristic that isn’t visible at first glance.  Right?

Back when I met him he was lucky enough to catch me in one of those soul searching phases.  You know, thoste times when you question who your real friends are, who’s using you and what your purpose is in the world.  Lucky him.  Because I wasn’t really in a place where I was all that interested in dating.  In fact, I’d come to the conclusion that very few of my friends were “real” friends and was in the process of cleaning house.  He told me that during that time, as pretty as I was, I gave off a “don’t touch me” vibe that kept many potential suitors away.  In fact I made him feel “like he could do chin ups on a penny”.  His words, not mine.

Why any man would decide they wanted me during that time…I have no idea.  But I thank God for it every day.  He was sneaky about it, too.  He befriended me.  He actually allowed himself to be put in the friend zone.  ON PURPOSE!  Because apparently, he saw beyond the surface.  Much, much later he told me that he watched the way I treated the elderly people who would come to me with questions or help.  Or the volunteers that worked with me.  He watched how I trained a couple of co-workers and how I talked to my closest friends.  He saw that I hid a very big heart.  Dang him for his emotional xray vision.  I was trying to hide that!

But he’d decided within a month that he wanted me.  And he came at me with singleminded determination.  Truth to tell, he was so slick that although I knew he wanted me (everyone knew this…worst kept secret ever!), I never even realized he was courting me.  About 6 months into our friendship (and he’d become my best friend) he conned me into going out with him…as friends..but inviting me to see a Brandon Lee movie.  I never could resist a pretty man, so I went.  After that we were pretty much inseperable.  This sometimes irked whatever random guy I was dating, but then they rarely lasted more than a month.  We’d even talk about the guy I was dating.  I still remember the day he looked at me, shaking his head and said, “How is it that you can be so dead on and perceptive about practically everyone but whatever guy you decide to date?”  The answer is easy…Things are always clearer when you’re not directly involved.

Why am I telling you this?  Because he recognized the sweet spot in me (the prickly cactus).  And he was willing to bleed a little (or maybe it was a lot) to help me feel ready and secure that he was the person I could count on to be there for me for the rest of my life.  It only took him 16 years to get it through my thick skull.  LOL!  If you read my blog from yesterday, you probably figured out that I have a few natural defenses.  You see, I’m one of those old fashioned girls who decided a long time ago that divorce would only be an option for me if there was physical abuse or cheating involved.  I also wanted to be sure that any child I had would never wonder about whether or not his/her father loved him/her.  Those are pretty big hang ups.  Fortunately, his super powers…like I said…are waiting me out (aka patience) and his insight.

I think it’s pretty amazing that he thought I was worth the wait.  What about you?  What kind of super powers does the person who shares your life have?  Is it funny?  Is it sweet?  There is no wrong answer…but it’s fun to hear!

Solitude

Sometimes, there’s beauty in loneliness.  In the stillness you have the chance…to reflect, to observe, to appreciate.  I took this picture a few years ago.  The solitary tree standing strong and proud, alone.  The beauty in the stoicism spoke to me.

That lone tree on an island.  What has it seen?  What has it survived?  How does it have the flexibility to bend and not break?  When the storms came through and that beautiful water became choppy and rough, crashing against it’s base, it stood patiently.  It soaked up the water, feeding itself, growing deeper, stronger roots.  And when those tempests calmed, it stood firm, appreciating the beauty, continuing to grow.

And what about us?  How do we look at the challenges life throws our way?  Do we stand firm?  Do we appreciate the challenges knowing in the end we’ll be better?  Stronger?  Do we patiently wait out the storms life throws our way?  Do we appreciate the solitude, realizing that without it we probably won’t recognize the values of friendships made, of bonds built?  Do we love fearlessly?  Or do we just let life break us?

We always have choices, you know…  In how we choose to approach each day.  In how we respond to trials.  In what attitude we chose when taking on the world.  There are too many victims out there.  People who let life walk all over them.  People who are comfortable wallowing in self pity and dispair.  People who have chosen not to pick themselves up and wipe themselves off.

Then there are these amazing, heroic people you meet or hear about.  I know a guy from Haiti.  He works three jobs tirelessly.  He has a ready smile for every person he comes across.  He’s thrilled to be alive.  And if you were to talk to him, to hear his life before he came to the states, you would probably cry.  He’d tell you about being impoverished and orphaned at an early age.  He’d tell you about watching a younger sibling die, unable to afford medical care and unable to find any other way to assist him.  He’d tell you about loading himself onto a little, rickety boat, unsure if he was going to ever make it here.  Unsure of what would happen if he did.  And then he’d tell you the joy of citizenship and freedom and the opportunity to create a life for himself and send money home to his remaining family members.

Some people look at him and wonder how he can smile with everything he’s experienced.  He wonders how he ever became so lucky!

Yep, in solitude you find your challenges, you make your choices.  Most importantly, you decide on the person you will become.  It’s all about the choices.

Rainy Nights

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The gentle pitter patter of the rain against my window pane tonight calls to mind sweet memories; wet kisses in the rain, long conversations in the dark. Such love and nostalgia surround my memories of the rain, so I looked for a picture to suit my mood.

The young lady in the picture found it in an old photo box. These are her memories:
As young lovers we snuck out in the rain to meet and…

I close my eyes and see you,
The soulmate of my youth
Sweet, sexy conversation
Soft sighs, low moans
Cocooned in darkness
Naked, laid out on a bed of grass
Rain cascade down our bodies,
The gentle,
Cool caress of nature
Slide over me.
You surround me,
Arms hold me tight
Keep me safe
Your hard heat throbbing inside
My other half
Making me whole,
Filling me with your love.