Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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December is Darkest, In June There’s the Light

First off, if you haven’t heard Someday I’ll Be Forgiven For This by Justin Townes Earle, then gear up, click this link, and do yourself a favor. Then keep reading.

It’s ’bout time there was a post on Hey Lou. But in my defense, I’ve been busy. I usually dislike that excuse, but this time it’s true. If I wasn’t at work the last two weeks, I was with family that was in town, trying to write, or seeing good friends….

Because that’s what the holidays are for!!! I’m 100% positive that I’m not alone in that hustle and bustle .

christmas, new year, busy life

why in the world am I sad? silly kids

This month (as all Decembers in my life are turning out to be) was a fun/evolving/growing/learning and interesting month. I say that with all the meaning those words can give.

Relationships, people… relationships.

Once again, my relationships with people shifted into a new realm. I found forgiveness in my soul for people I found it very difficult to consider forgiving. I saw light and joy in people I hardly know. I saw my view of the people in my life changing, as I changed, and tried to fit all of those pieces back together again.

I’m just not a winter person. I need my sunlight. I need my warmth. I much prefer sunlight over moonlight. I wish it wasn’t so true.

garden, eating organic, eating, health

life is good…. SUMMER

When it’s cold out, lyrics and voices and side glances from others are amplified in a mysterious way. Songs hit me hard. I listen to the same ones over and over again.

I’ve been listening to another song lately: Calender Girl by Stars.

I feel as though it’s my song. You know when each lyric just feels…. like you? That’s how this song is for me. (I should have added above that each time I wasn’t doing one of those “busy” things, I was driving somewhere and listening to music the entire time.)

“If I am lost for a day try to find me, but if I don’t come back then I won’t look behind me. All of the things that I thought were so easy just got harder and harder each day. December is darkest, in June there’s the light…” 

Sometimes I still feel lost in my own little world and there are times when I’m on the highway driving and I think to myself, “What would happen if I just drove?” Who would freak out first, if I didn’t show up where I was expected? Who would cheer me on? Who wouldn’t even notice? (I have to wait until summer anyway, because I’m not risking getting stuck on the side of the road in the freezing cold.)

What does lost mean? Can one be lost with a friend beside them?

“I dreamed I was dying, as I so often do. And when I awoke I was sure it was true. I ran to the window, threw my head to the sky and said, ‘Whoever is up there, please don’t let me die.’ But I can’t live forever, I can’t always be. One day I’ll be sand on a beach by the sea.”

I have a nightmare problem. Sadly, I have about 2 nice dreams I remember after 24 years of life and a whole slew (yes, slew) of horrible dreams. The first nightmare I remember is when from when I was 6. Guess what? It was winter. The scene was cold. In my very first remembered nightmare, I was freezing.

In my most recent nightmare, I wasn’t cold, but the scene was mostly black and white and I was lost, confused, and traumatized to a certain degree. Have you ever dreamed of someone you know scaring you or being injured in a way that scares you (which, as it turns out, is most horrific if that person is actually one of the nicest you’ve ever met)? I can usually separate myself from those bad dreams in time to not freak out, cry, or fear for my life once I’m awake. Yet, this past week, I slipped into kid mode and when I woke up from my nightmare it took another thirty minutes at least to calm down and stop crying. I just wanted to know that the person I’d dreamed about was okay. I just wanted that comfort, because at the time, it was the only thing I was unsure about in life and the only concern I had. It’s amazing how the brain works (er, doesn’t work?) at 2 A.M.

I was unsettled the next day, jumpy, and I swear my heart never actually stopped pumping in a very visible and noisy way.

So come on, June. What are you waiting for?

When I have nice dreams, I have to call them daydreams. They don’t happen when I’m asleep. Nice dreams include:

Lying on the grass beside someone and looking over to see them smiling at you. 

Getting an unexpected gift (not necessarily tangible.)

Hugging someone so tight you feel like you might crack their rib. 

A sweet kiss. 

Laughing your head off. 

Driving around listening to music.

And, thank God, these things are more than dreams. They actually happen in real life, unlike nightmares. :)

Do you have nightmares? Are you a daytime person or a nighttime person? Winter or summer?

Or are you one of those extremely lucky and somewhat unaffected individuals, and the weather/light situation is something you hardly notice?

hm

hm

Love, Lou

ps Okay, I did do one cool thing in the cold. I went to River of Lights with my sister and her family. That was FUN even thought I couldn’t feel my toes.

nightmares, winter, weather

yayyyy

 

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Always Be True. Period.

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad)

It wasn’t so much something about me, as it was advice, that changed my life and stuck with me forever.

Always, always, be true to your husband. – Grandpa Bob

I had the very special opportunity to spend time with my Great Grandpa Bob in the last few years of his life. He was the most interesting man and let me tell you… I have yet to find someone with eyes that twinkle the way his did, a smile as contagious, and an outlook on life that was more positive.

To put it simply: I have yet to meet anyone as happy as Bob was.

I try to be more like him each and every day.

advice, grandpa, writing

might have been the most attractive human being to ever walk the earth, just sayin. is that weird? to have a crush on my great grandpa?

We sat together and chatted for hours and hours.

He sang, “You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” He was willing to answer any question. He ended most of his profound statements with a strong, “Period!” (“And that was how it was! Period!”) He may have had moonshine some whiskey in his fridge.

We discovered that he and I have the same hands. I used to dislike my thicker fingers (Meredith got the slender, skinny and delicate hands of my mother’s side) but when I noticed that each of my fingers were shaped exactly like Bob’s, suddenly I loved my hands.

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry

There’s that SMILE!!!! Please, God, let me be cool enough to still sit on santa’s lap when I’m 90 years old. LOVE THIS!!!

He told me he loved me. He told me that God would always be with me. He told me to always, always, be true to my husband.

Oh, and about his continuously positive outlook on life… one more little fact… he was blind.

advice, staying true, writing, young adult, short stories

when Meredith and I went to visit!!

Grandpa Bob had no problem talking about his own death, which he referred to as “crossing the threshold into eternity” and nothing else. We talked about heaven. He wanted his body to be donated to science, to help others with the same eye condition. He lived to be over 90 years old and his mind was sharper than a blade. (I hope I also get that gene.) Certain points in our conversation brought us both to tears. I suppose I get that strong emotion from Bob, too. We laughed hysterically and he told me outrageous stories from his youth.

writing, short stories, poetry

giving him a smooch!

He had Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition that worsens with time until eventually, you are legally blind. My grandmother (the beautiful one who I had mentioned here) and uncle also have this.

They, too, are the happiest people I’ve ever met.

How is this possible? How can these three individuals, who were robbed of something as precious as sight, still smile wider than all others? How can they laugh, cry, and show emotion that seems to radiate out from them without them trying? How can they see so much?

I’ll never know and I doubt I’ll ever be as wise or gracious or sparkle the way they do. But I’ll never stop trying.

I’ll never forget my Grandpa Bob, his hands, or his advice.

writing, new writer, short stories

my visit with Greg, the last time I saw Grandpa Bob

Love, Lou

(And I love you forever Grandpa Bob!)


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Getting Old is a Good Thing

Yes, I am one of those annoying 23-year-olds who offend anyone over the age of 30 by saying out loud, “I feel like I’m getting old.” People, I didn’t even want to turn 16. My 15-year-old self said, “Um, I’m good. I really don’t want to be turning 16. I’m already halfway to 30. That’s enough.” So each year when I become an older person, I sort of hate it. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it feels sometimes.

Especially when T. Swift’s song, 22, comes on the radio. I can no longer relate to such a song.

 

HOWEVER! Sometimes I get one of those oh so lovely reminders that I am very lucky to be aging (somewhat gracefully, I hope) and to be past certain aspects of my life. Such as:

P.E.

Today I was in the parking lot behind my work. It just so happens to back up against the field of the high school I attended. The timing was perfect, and I witnessed a class doing P.E. outside on said field. I felt so sorry for those students. P.E. was a nightmare for me. If you know me in person, you might have already heard my schpeal (did I spell that right?) on public school physical education. I think it does two things, and pretty much only these two things: 1) elevates the athletic kids to a higher level and 2) scars the un-athletic kids for life, possibly making them never want to wear a sneaker ever again. I know the arguments. I know that it’s supposed to be good, and where else will some kids ever get any exercise? and how else will they learn essential life skills like getting smacked in the face with a dodge ball (me)? and we can’t possibly eliminate P.E. in school because it’s too important. Ha. To that I say, How about we start funding a real Home Economics class, where instead of learning to sew a teddy bear on the end of their pencils, students learn how to make a great meal out of scratch? How about we talk about how food is just as important to an overall healthy lifestyle, if not more important than playing soccer for one humiliating hour of their lives? Oh my gosh. If I don’t stop now, I never will. And this is not what this blog is about. This blog is about being happy to be getting older!!! Which I am. NO MORE PHYSICAL EDUCATION!!!! Luckily, I did put on a sneaker again, and I am more physically active in my life than ever before. No thanks, by the way, to P.E.

BEING TOO TAN

I was one of those teenagers who paid to lay in a tanning bed. I did. Can’t tell you why. Can’t tell you what I was thinking. All I can say is, I’m glad my family no longer makes fun of my always orange/red nose. It was ridiculous and I’ll eat leafy greens every day for my entire life trying to undo the damage. (I didn’t edit the picture below at all… that’s me in all my too-tan glory!)

writer, new writer, short stories, fake tanning

17 in this picture. I’m burnt to a crisp, while Meredith is a healthy tone. Oh my word.

BEING IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP 

It was freaking hard, being apart from Greg. But we did it!!! We made it through two years long distance. The odds were against us and we beat ’em! My first two years of college were spent mostly talking to Greg on the phone and looking up the next flight I could get to go see him in Nashville. At the time I thought it would never end. Now, it feels like a lifetime ago.

long distance, writing, young adult, fiction

first long distance reunion

writing, fiction, young adult

too many….

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up close photos…

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taken of….

young adult

ourselves!!!

Seriously. It’s silly. These are just 5 out of probably one million too many photos that look exactly the same. (That last one, btw, was taken at 3 A.M. after we packed up all of Greg’s stuff in Nashville… meaning we no longer had a long distance relationship. It was a good day!!) I’m glad to be living every day with Greg and to no longer feel the need to document each breath we take in each other’s presence.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTOS

I think each one taken of me, each year, was embarrassing. This is one of my favorites:

writer, new writer, fiction, young adult

3rd grade

I actually begged my mom for these jeans. “The baggier, the better, Mom.”

 

HOMEWORK 

Never again. Notta. Now I set my own goals, get my own work done, and it’s on no one’s time schedule but my own. Goodness, I love that.

AND BEST OFF ALL… GETTING OLDER MEANS…

STILL BEING ALIVE

Yes, it’s true. Getting older means I have made it this far, and for that, I should only be thankful. I read a quote that said “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

Each wrinkle, each sun spot, each time I bend over and make a slight grunting noise to stand back up straight (yikes), I will remember these things. I will remember that I no longer have to suffer through P.E., I no longer have to get ready for the first day of school, I now get to see Greg every single day, I don’t have homework to do and I only get tan when I actually spend time outside.

In another three months I’ll be 24 and I’m sure I’ll have days when I dread it. But when I consider my life, what it has become through this process of getting older, I can really only think of good things. Actually, getting older isn’t scary at all. I wish I could go back and tell my 15-year-old self that. But at least I know it now.

<3 Lou


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One Art {aka The Art of Losing}

Today I want to share with you my favorite poem. Not just my today it’s my favorite or one of my favorites, but my true, kindred spirit, love of my life poem. I had to read it in my American Literature class a few years ago when I was still in college. It was life changing. Not only does this poem point out our trivial wants and needs, but it also points out what truly matters in life. What could possibly break us, if we let it, and why sometimes losing something is our own fault… or completely out of our control.

~~~

ONE ART

by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master; 
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

~~~

I get chills when I see the (Write it!) and I feel as though I should look around for a pencil and write down everything I have lost. This poet, Elizabeth Bishop, had a hard life. Her father died when she was a baby and her mother was “institutionalized.”( Given that time period, ~ 1916, it was a touchy thing… the “hysteria” of women. Gives me the chills to think of what her mother went through.) We’ll never know what exactly happened to Elizabeth’s mother, but we know enough already to see that her childhood wasn’t exactly normal. She lived with different grandparents and always remarked upon her life with a dark tone. “I’ve never concealed it,” she wrote, “although I don’t like to make too much of it. But of course it is an important fact, to me. I didn’t see her again.” How… sad.

The beginning of this poem makes me laugh at myself. We’ve all lost our car keys. We lose items, as well as time, when we go looking for them. Do car keys get lost intentionally? No, they’re not alive. But losing them has never been a disaster in and of itself. (Except for when I made it the 35+ minute car drive to work, and Greg called me, saying that the other set of keys must be in the console to the car I was driving… and I had to drive all the way back home, then back to work. At the moment, I was feeling pretty disastrous.)

I already feel as though I’ve lost certain aspects of my life. Memories that slip away of where I’ve been or who I’ve known. My life goes on, there is no disaster there. If I really try, I could probably recall such things. They’re only lost to my everyday life.

To Elizabeth, losing her mother’s watch might have been a disaster. Imagine your mother being taken away at the young age of five, and having only a few items of hers left. (Maybe she feels that her mother was one of the things “seemed filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” But that’s just me, speculating almost 100 years later…)

For those of you who have traveled to another continent, I wonder if you would especially connect with the idea: “…vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.” I haven’t traveled all that far, but this is how I feel when I think of the river I used to see at camp every summer in Colorado. I loved the camp, the people there, the green mountains, but I most often find myself remembering the flowing river. I would sit beside it during our morning “quiet time” simply because it was the loudest place. I felt hidden. So much happened there, as far as the inner workings of my brain and heart were concerned (all during the tender ages of 8-15.)

And finally, we get to the personal, human to human part of this poem. I love it and it makes my heart so heavy. Who did Elizabeth lose? Who had the joking voice and the gesture? She wrote it for me. And you. She wrote this poem for anyone who ever dared to read it. I truly believe that.

Because to be human means to lose things every day. They may be big or small. We can’t keep track of everyone or everything. Memories slip away, moments are lost before anything worth remembering has a chance to happen, and most importantly, people slip away from us. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. My sister once wrote a song that said, “Nobody’s happy at no one’s expense.” Do you understand how profound that statement is? It rocked my world. Each time something good happens, chances are, it was at the expense of someone else. This might sound like a terribly negative way to view the world, but I think it’s fundamentally true. Think about it. When you got that job promotion, yay for you, sad for whoever was the runner up. When you got married, your life changed for the better, but someone out there may have once believed him to be their true love. If you were to list all of the factors that make you happy, I’m sure that at least half will fit the bill. Nobody’s happy at no one’s expense. 

Which isn’t to say that you don’t deserve that happiness! We do! It’s simply one of those facts of life, like a revolving door, that good things happen, bad things happen, people are happy, people are sad, and the majority of people get on with their lives.

We all lose someone along the line. Whether that cause is a death, a lost love, or a big mistake… we all have a story. Most of these resonate with people on a personal level. I know I have been in jeopardy of losing the most important people in my life. Sometimes we are blind to just how important they are. Remember to cherish the ones who love you back. (I hear Hanson in my head… “So hold on to the ones who really care, cause in the end they’ll be the only ones there… MmmBop)

Just make sure that the one you are keeping is worth more than the one you are letting slip away. If it’s right, do all you can to find something, even if it desperately wants to get lost. It could be a disaster. Elizabeth- it could be a disaster, and I think you agree. {And you certainly got me to (Write it!)}

It’s been a long day and obviously, my mind is in overdrive. I think I’ll go do these three things:

Tell Greg how thankful I am that we are 6 years in (3 and a half years married) and growing stronger every day. I won’t let that get away. Ever.

Make more tea, because I have been sick all day long.

Try to get more organized so I don’t LOSE anymore TIME trying to find my car keys.

<3 Lou


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Lou, the Conspiracy Theorist

I have this, ahem, problem with “smart phones.” They make me nervous. Therefore, I still have a regular old flip phone. Or what someone referred to the other day as a “dumb phone.” I love it. I can text and make phone calls. I wish it didn’t have voicemail, because I hate listening to voicemails and it gives me anxiety. (I think this might stem back to high school, when the only person who ever left me a voicemail was my dad, and it was usually when I was in trouble, not answering my phone… but that’s a whole different issue.)

This has caused me problems, I won’t lie. I’ve been lost without a way to look up directions. But hasn’t everyone, up until this recent phenomenon that is the smart phone, been a little lost? I know I’m not dealing with something new. Finding everything at the click of a button is new.

Back before Greg ran over his iPhone with the minivan, I would occasionally look at his phone and wonder why every ad that showed up on websites was showing me drums. Or recording equipment. Or harmonicas. I quickly realized that somehow, this little phone was tracking all of the searches Greg was making and then showing him what he wanted in the ad space.

The realization literally sent shivers down my spine.

My computer does this same thing, of that I am aware. I’ve had some smart tech-y type people tell me that there are ways to avoid this from happening, but it really doesn’t make me feel any better. The fact that someone, somewhere out there, knows what Greg or I look up on our phone or laptop just makes me nervous. It’s a little too Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s a little too creepy. I don’t want anyone to know what I’m doing (except for what I post on Hey Lou!)

The whole reason why I’m even writing this is because I seem to have lost my camera. We can’t find it anywhere. And now that we are left with my flip phone and Greg’s even worse replacement a co-worker gave him for free, we have almost no way to take decent pictures. I love adding pictures to my blog. If I had instagram or one of those fancy “newest version” smartphones I’d have some of the clearest, cutest pictures out there. I’ve seen them. It really is amazing.

I won’t deny that the technology of today is practically a miracle. People walk around with access to EVERYTHING. Every person they could ever want to communicate with… every store they could want to buy from… every song they could want to listen to. It’s a modern luxury that has become so common, that to be without a smartphone makes me kind of a rare breed.

But let me tell you something:

Once, about a year ago, I lost my phone. Or broke it. I hardly remember what happened to said phone. But what I do know is that I waited THREE MONTHS to replace it. Yes. Three months. Can you imagine? Three months without a phone? Here are some examples of what the outcome was:

– I felt FREE. No one could get a hold of me, except through Greg’s phone. 

– I was the safest driver in all of New Mexico .

– I didn’t make it to at least three events, because I am horrible at directions and had no way to call and figure it all out.

– I became organized. I had to plan ahead. Decide where and when to meet people. Greg and I had to communicate more than ever, about our work schedules and what we had planned. I had to write down all of my reminders on an actual calendar, not on my phone. 

– I read twice as much as I usually do (which is quite a lot).

– I wrote twice as much as I usually do (which is a quite a lot, too). 

– I began to love it and dreaded getting a new phone. 

– I started seeing the negative effects that phones have on others. I remember sitting at lunch with a friend, and she looked at her phone non stop. I realized that I, too, had been guilty of this and I hated it. I hated the fact that something held in her hand and shown on a screen could be more important than the conversation we were having. 

– I had way less anxiety. No “unknown” number could call me and leave an ominous voicemail. IT WAS AMAZING. 

WORTH missing a few things I had planned… and besides, I got better at looking up directions before I drove away from my house. 

Now that I have my little old flip phone, things have changed again. I use it to text Greg funny messages throughout the day and to check in when either of us gets home. I have used the hilarious excuse of a camera on this phone to take pictures that I have used for this blog. I’ve made it successfully to everything I had planned, given that my phone wasn’t dead.

But you know what? Sometimes I “forget” my phone. I … drumroll… venture out of the house without it. On purpose!!! 

You can’t imagine how liberating it feels. Sometimes I come home and zero has happened. Does that make me an unpopular person? Maybe. All I know is that each time I separate myself from the little black thing that I realize is sometimes glued to my hand, I never seem to miss anything Earth shattering.

I love to use the word “cahoots.”

As in, “I truly believe that the standardized testing people are in CAHOOTS with the scan tron companies, because they both make so much money off of each other and it isn’t really about the students at all.”

OR

“I think the flip phone people are in CAHOOTS with the smartphone people, because mine seems to malfunction every day. Are they doing that on purpose so that I switch over to the dark side?”

Call me a conspiracy theorist… I’ll agree with you. Call me crazy… and I’ll argue against that. All I am asking is that you at least TRY to free yourself of the bondage that is a cell phone. Maybe take baby steps. Ten minutes a day. Then twenty. Eventually, you’ll leave the house without it and you won’t turn around to go get it. You’ll be fine!

I know lots of successful people who are attached to their phones. I know that people get work information and doctors are on call. I’m not talking about the extreme cases. I’m talking about the average person who seems to have morphed lately, in the past decade, to someone who can’t function without a phone in their hand. Maybe step one for you is setting your phone down, rather than holding onto it. 

new york, hey lou writes, poetry, phone, smart phones, short stories

I’m trying to get him to pose… but he’s too distracted by his phone! :P

You might find yourself reading more, writing more, laughing more, sleeping more, or communicating with others in a way you forgot was possible.

Just try it? For me? And then let me know how it’s going :)

(one great thing I discovered, trying to stay off the computer as much as possible, as well as my phone, is that setting specific time aside to check emails and do all of the technology related stuff at once has really helped.)

Love, Lou

<3


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Bad Poetry, Bowl Cuts & The Past

We have all done things we regret. Right? Please don’t tell me I’m alone. I’ve done things that I still feel guilty about. I’ve also done things that are embarrassing or just silly. I can’t change the past, even if I really, really want to. Too bad. I can, however, use what I’ve learned and start a better future. My husband Greg always says, in moments when I’m down, “Don’t water last year’s crops.”

It says so much. Last years crops are dead and gone and there’s absolutely no point in watering them. Do, however, water this year’s crops- the ones growing right now. I need to nourish the future I have by taking care of my present. That silly old past- it won’t get me down!!

Here are a few examples of past moments I need to move on from (go ahead, laugh… you’ll be laughing with me, not at me… I think)

My first acrostic poem:

poetry, past, writing, young adult, fiction

Looks kind of violent from far away- all that red

For anyone who might have trouble reading this, it says:

M elinda how creative was that? at least I used two different colors

E nergetic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still love the exclamation point, to a fault

L emen   ? maybe, although that’s debatable. I do like lemons, though

I nsperacian   my spelling did improve, with time

N eet   never, have I ever in my life been “neet”… or neat

D o   well, that’s just common sense. I do lots of things

A ward   I like to think I’d just won some great award in my classroom, but there’s no solid evidence for that

I’ve been humbled by so many things. I’ve learned not to compare myself to my sisters (my twin, Meredith, wrote a poem just like this and hers is awesome!! straight lines, correct spelling, and words that actually described her) If I did that, I’d just go crazy. I’ve learned to laugh at things that might be embarrassing… like… LIKE THIS PICTURE!!!!

My first “mistake” haircut:

fiction, past, young adult, fictiion

most likely, I wrote the poem around this same time (yikes)

I looked like a boy. My bowl cut matched the baby Tommy doll in the case I’m holding. I think that’s a classic Christmas morning nightgown. I had braces at age 6… brutal.

But I digress.

This beautiful, coherent acrostic poem (and the bowl cut) is in my past. I can’t change that! (which I’m completely okay with…I’m one of those people who can laugh at myself…thank goodness) But you know what else? Something I CAN do?? I can write a new one!!! Yes!!

Here is a new version, written today.

M elinda some things from our pasts shouldn’t change, so there, I kept the original M

E nigmatic sometimes…

L aughing daily

I nterested in almost everything

N ever neat though I’m working on it

D edicated to those I love and pursuing my dreams

A pprehensive at times

There! Done. Changed, or updated, something from my past.

Although- now that I’ve gone and done that, I think I like the original one better <3

Another example of something I can’t change:

The dreaded brown and short hair. I don’t know what I was thinking. Hadn’t I learned from my childhood, that short hair just isn’t my thing? I went through an identity crisis. Luckily, Greg still proposed when I had this hair, but even more lucky…. it grew back.

My second “mistake” haircut:

past, regrets, writing, fiction

not me at all!

It took years to get back to my “normal” self. In the same way, when I make big mistakes and hurt those I love, it seems as though it can take years (or even longer) for things to go back to normal. Sometimes the people I love most in life surprise me and show me complete grace…forgiving me right away. Greg is the best at this. It is often ME who has a tantrum-like moment and often HIM who smiles and says, “Okay, can we be done arguing now? I just thought of the birds outside and it made me so happy!” Literally. This exact thing has happened.

writing, love, past

Everything is back to normal ;)

I’m so grateful for poetry of my youth, the fact that hair grows back, and people who chose to forgive, rather than hold grudges. I’m thankful for mistakes and the fact that we can LEARN from them, rather than wallow in them forever.

<3

If you’re interested… Here are some examples of my poetry. I like to think I’ve come a long way since the acrostic poem of my younger days, but you should let me know what you think ;)


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Now THAT Is Real

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My parents… their teen years!

When I look at this picture, I think… “Wow, they certainly look meant to be.” They both had the style going: choker necklaces, long hair, involvement in school, what I would call “hippy mentalities,” kind smiles and good looks.

I’m so thankful that not only did this couple look good together, but they really were meant to be. Today my parents have been married for 33 years.

33 years is a long time!

It was a Tuesday. Kirsten Faye Braaten and William Bruce Wilder were getting ready to make the commitment to love each other forever. Who gets married on a Tuesday? Two people who have to work that very week, who have very little money, and who will get a discount at the hotel where one of them works. That’s who. And you know what? They say they wouldn’t have it any other way. Their small wedding was a special one. A few good friends and their families were there. They had a “reception” that took place at the hotel, in a room that wasn’t booked solely for them. My, how the times have changed.

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Mr. and Mrs. Wilder

It’s no wonder these two made it work with the bare minimum. They were meant to be. My parents hardly knew each other when they got married. They had known each other (somewhat) in college, and then, having spent some time together (a total of about 4 weekends, as they were living in separate places) knew they were meant to be. They said it was like a magical force simply willing them together- that they had hardly a thing to do with it. It was all in God’s plan.

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my mom, her two new brother in laws, and another groomsmen

Besides, look how cool my mom is. No wonder my dad fell head over heels ;)

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my mom, opening wedding presents (we played dressup with the dress she is wearing my entire childhood!)

It doesn’t take a storybook romance to make things work. I know that my parents have had their share of rough times, but they’ve always, always made it through. When I think of my own marriage, I look to them, because they never gave up on each other. They never gave up on their children, on their lot in life or on their faith that things would always be okay.

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newly weds :)

My parents have never told me to do something because of money or popularity. They’ve encouraged me and all three of my sisters to follow our dreams and be happy in doing so. Maybe it helps that they come from humble beginnings and they know it’s possible to survive on beans, rice, and a lotta love. Because of their example, I like to think I don’t want for much. I can live simply and love much.

My mom told me many times growing up that once I’m married and have started a family, people who might try to get in there and ruin it, or whose lives seem so much more exciting… that they’re just fake. They’re not real. They may look one way, but that’s just an outward appearance. Yes, others might be really exciting and kind and have great lives, but it doesn’t make mine any less. I truly believe that now. I wake up each day to an existence I am happy and content with. More than that… I wake up every day to a life that makes me smile and laugh and wish only for another simple day of the same thing. Just like my mom, I also married a great man. The love of my parents and the love I experience with Greg is something that can’t be made up. Fiction can’t compare.

So thanks, mom and dad. Thanks for sticking together for 33 years.

Because that’s real.

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I love this one! Always having fun, those two…


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Being Patient and Kind <3

I’ve never been a huge believer in giving up something for lent. It can be fun to challenge yourself… but only if it’s just that: FUN. It’s no good to give up something and then make everyone around you as miserable as you are. Am I right, or am I right? I’ve never successfully given up one particular thing for the entire season, which always left me feeling like I didn’t accomplish something I should have.

SO! This year, rather than giving up something, like coffee or sugar or laughter (ha), I decided to add something to my every day life.

Greg and I have been reading 1 Corinthians 13 every single night.

It sounds simple… the “love is patient, love is kind” verse we all know. I have done a lot of thinking on this particular verse of the Bible, and I think that I’ve always passed it over as something that is “too popular.” How ridiculous of me, first of all. We didn’t have it read at our wedding because I wanted to be more original. Again, how ridiculous. The entire chapter is beautiful and meaningful in a way I had never understood until reading it with my husband every night. It’s perfect for a marriage. In fact, I’d say it’s downright required.

I recommend this sort of “every night ritual” for anyone. ANYONE. Single, married, divorced, dating… basically, if you interact with other people at all, this verse could do you some good. Why not try to be patient and kind in all we do? It will only make the world a better place. Why not STOP being envious of other people, STOP being too proud, and start living a more humble and content existence?

I want to be someone who isn’t quick to get angry. Especially before I ever have kids… I’d love to get my temper in check. (not that I have a crazy temper, but we can all use some improvement, I’m sure!) I want to be someone who can forgive and clean off the slate, especially in my marriage. “Love keeps no record of wrongdoing” has been one of the most influential parts of my lent challenge. I’ve let a lot of things go. I want to protect what’s important to me, trust in Greg, never give up hope for our future and persevere through it all. I’m more than three years into my marriage and I can say that I’ve failed in every single one of these and I will probably fail in them again. I’m human. All I can do is try, pray and wake up every day with a smile that we’ve made it this far! Making something real last is worth it.

The result of all this?

I’m happier, smile more often, I feel lighter (in my soul!) and my marriage is in better shape than ever before. If you read something over and over, eventually it takes on a whole new meaning. Each day something different will pop out at you. It’s just like hearing a song and because your life is different than the last time you heard it, the song has completely changed.

I recommend this challenge, and not just for lent. It’s almost over, anyway. I have a feeling that even after Easter comes and goes, Greg and I will still continue to study this passage and I will continue to pray for those changes to stay with me and grow in my heart. <3

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one of my favorite pictures of us!

On a different note, another thing I did in the past month was read one of the craziest stories of my life.

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you will not believe what these pages hold

Ever heard of Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal? I hadn’t, either. That is, until my brother-in-law told me I should read it. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t tell anyone under the age of 18 to read this book. It was excellent, but uncomfortable (aren’t most great books at least a little bit uncomfortable?) I don’t want to spoil the ending in any way, shape or form, so I won’t tell you too much. I will say that this book is a page turner, CRAZY, sexual, surprising, and will make you gasp as you read it.

Just trust me.

:)


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Happy Birthday, Lou

Yesterday we celebrated Greg’s birthday. He turned 27, and I am simply trying to wrap my head around the fact that when we started dating, he was 21. In a lot of ways, I still picture us as that couple, me 17, Greg 21, but in many ways, we’re not the same people at all.

Since we’re, ahem, less than rich (but rich in love! yes, it’s true!), I decided that I’d write a blog and post some pictures of my very favorite moments with Greg. It’s my gift to him. I figured, after he proposed on my 19th birthday, there was no one-upping him on gifts. Besides, even if this is a day late, it’s something. I’m not an organized person at all, so I had to scramble around facebook and my in-law’s computer to locate some good pictures.

Here they are. I would also call this list (after “The Happy Birthday Lou Photo Album”), quite simply, “How to be a happy couple.” It’s pretty darn easy, if you find the right person!

Take your very first picture together, the very first day you ever hang out alone, and then don’t stop hanging out. (this is that age I was telling you about… 17 and 21!)

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First Picture of the Lous

Go to some weddings, drink too much, and have fun in a photobooth!

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drunky?

Always ask him to dance, even if he really doesn’t want to. He will have fun, even if he doesn’t quite know it at the time!

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Me, so happy!

On your very first lake trip, make up even after a sleepless night spent trying to fold one tiny blanket over both of you (think, like a taco…).

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the lake

Eat a giant hotdog together, no matter how unhealthy/gross you know it is. He will rub your back when you throw it up later that day. (um, and get some matching sweatshirts.)

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ugh

Go to New York and attempt to get a good picture in front of the Statue of Liberty. :)

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I’m trying to get him to pose…

Always support his facial hair. 

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the beard

Take some great pictures at sunset. (especially if you are doing long distance- for two years-… it will help you remember those good times!)

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hugs!

Never take yourself too seriously. Ever.

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pool time

Hang out with your friend’s cool Great Dane, and don’t get one of your own if neither of you is quite responsible enough for a dog…. 

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our dream dog

However, if you do wind up getting a dog, take him on hikes. Then, when it just isn’t working in your small apartment, send the dog to family in Minnesota who will take him on long runs every day!

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Aksel, he was a good dog.

Go camping, hunting, or simply rough it together for a few days in the outdoors. It will bring you closer together. (no one likes doing anything alone and in the dark in the middle of the woods… you know what I mean.)

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don’t we look tough?

Always get a very nice dessert and share it. And try to go on dates. Our first real date only happened thanks to Greg’s older brother, Chris, who gave us a gift certificate. I am pretty sure we were already engaged. haha

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my 21st

Wake him up from naps just to take a picture, just to get a good picture onto your blog. :) Hey, I only had so much time to put this together before his parents took us out for dinner….

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today!

Most importantly, love every day! Say the words, appreciate who your significant other is, and smile when they look at you. Be forgiving and understanding. Work through anything. When you wake up and find that you’ve been together for more than six years, it’s a good feeling. Nothing can quite compare.

Happy Birthday, Lou!!!! 


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It’s The Little Things In Life

It’s the little, everyday things, that make life good. Today was such a good day. Nothing exceptionally exciting or amazing happened, but absolutely nothing bad happened, and a few nice things happened. My morning consisted of making breakfast and coffee with Greg, finishing up our spring cleaning, and listening to great music. I then joined Greg for his lunch at work, took some stuff to Goodwill, and returned back home to do a little more cleaning. Next Alex and Meredith came over, we had dinner, and that was pretty much it.

Amazing day. I can’t help but smile. Here are a few images I captured:

My new boots made me happy. They were affordable and comfy… keeping me warm all day long!

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Yay, boots!!

Our beautiful backyard! I came home, hung some clothes up on the line (how cool!!) and enjoyed the weather. Birds were flying above me… I just love being home <3

My backyard... I'm so lucky!

My backyard… I’m so lucky!

This tree is in my backyard. It’s crazy… it’s so picturesque!!!!!!!!!!

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The coolest tree ever

Yes, it’s the wild west here in Albuquerque. We have tumbleweeds! I saw this one on my way home an snagged a pic. I’m glad it didn’t blow in the wind and stick to the front of my car!

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huge tumbleweed!

Meredith and Alex made me laugh as we sat around and ate dinner!! Love it!! BFFL (best friends for life!) (I just made that up…. I think)

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alex and mer

My husband, Greg, sittin’ by my side and looking great! Could life get any better?

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Lou

I submit that it cannot!!

Can you see why it was an awesome day? I had a lovely scenery to gaze upon, fun friends and family at my table, and a tumbleweed blowing in the wind! It truly is the small things in life.

I hope you enjoyed your day, too!!

<3

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The other Lou