Purpose

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Some of my best writing usually comes from some uncontrollable feelings that I need to just get out on paper. Other great pieces have come from something that I felt was really interesting. I miss writing. I miss having a purpose to my ramblings.

It used to be that I used my opinion column to connect with readers. I’m often socially awkward and slightly introverted so writing helped me express all the things I was afraid to tell people. It helped me grow out of my awkwardness because a reader would  often comment on something I wrote and that would be the opener to a more in depth conversation than, say, the ever changing the weather.

I keep looking at the newspaper, the one I used to write for. I wish I could just leave it alone. I wish I didn’t care so I would not see the things I started, the things I designed, get picked up by someone else. The community I poured myself into get less than they deserve.

I started a photo column when I worked there. It was all about the county the newspaper served. I would travel around the county and photograph random scenes, animals, people, and write about what I saw or how it made me feel. Abandoned houses often caught my attention. I liked to imagine what kind of life those houses sheltered and what brought them to their state of disrepair. One time my musings about a photo of a friendly looking abandoned home led to a reader sending me a letter about the life she shared with her husband early in their marriage. She told me about their son they raised there and the good times they had. She shared how she was lost since her husband died. Her husband died on the very day my youngest was born. A coincidence, perhaps, but she was touched by my recognizing the house as a happy place and I was humbled by her letter.

Another reader had lived in that house and shared a photo when it was at its best with fresh white paint an inviting front porch and an large old tree in the front yard. I took the old photo back to the old house and photographed it next to the house as it is today. I then had it developed and mailed it to the lady who shared her experience with me. That kind of connection is what I loved most and miss dearly. It gave my writing purpose.

Sometimes I feel like I let someone rob me of something that was part of me. When I left the paper I left for my health; for my sanity. But the further away I get from the events that led to severing ties to that place the more bitter I become about it all.

These energy vampires, why are they allowed to walk around and affect so many lives in a negative way and they remain seemingly unscathed? It hardly seems fair.

Sometimes I feel like the abandoned homes I’m so fascinated with. Which is hard for the people I love to understand. I should be more fulfilled, right? I have nothing to complain about. Life really is good. I know this. So, I redirect my focus to the people close to me, meanwhile I look for ways to reach out through writing, music, something — anything — because talent shouldn’t sit idle, it needs somewhere to go. Artists need an audience, musicians need someone to listen, writers need readers, and we all need a purpose.

 

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So much more than a desk

My desk at home was mostly non-existent. When I had worked from home years ago, I was in a basement office with a makeshift table/desk, an upholstered office chair, baby toys, a comfy rug and soft music. This was where I locked myself away, along with my walking 11 month old son, to do design work.

When I began a full time career in the newsroom I didn’t have a need for my makeshift office/playroom. The newspaper provided a laptop for any weekend writing so my computer and little office/playroom went into hibernation. I did all the big no-nos you should never do with a Mac. I didn’t update, not one single time, for two years.

Because we’re busy (or haven’t felt the force of necessity) we still haven’t fixed the fact that our basement has zero power. Thus, the office is out of order. One afternoon, soon after I put in my two weeks notice at the paper, I brought my iMac upstairs, set it on the only logical surface in my house, an end table. This has been my desk for almost a month. This is where I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning cursing my neglect of my computer as I tried to update my OS. It is where I typed my last blogpost. It’s where I warned my kids nearly one hundred times “DO NOT TOUCH!”

My friend/boss/farmer had made some purchases at a liquidation sale at a school. He only wanted file cabinets, however, because of the bundling that was done at the sale he found himself the owner of a couple desks he had no need or place for. After taking out a bucket of rotten tomatoes from the grading room I admired one desk with a pencil sharpener mounted on the corner. I love using pencils, there’s something about the sound a No. 2 pencil makes when you are jotting down notes or writing out a grocery list. I know, it’s weird. A really good pencil sharpener is either expensive or hard to come by so when I saw this metal hand cranked Boston KS I was a little excited. I asked him if he would mind parting with the pencil sharpener. He asked if I wanted the whole desk. I didn’t really know I needed a desk, but what the heck. We haggled a little over the price and next thing you know I was bringing the truck back on my next work day to take home a hefty piece of furniture.

My husband knows by now that I can’t pass up a nice piece of old furniture. By no means am I at hoarder status, every piece I’ve brought in has found a nice place in our home. He eventually grows to like, even love, the pieces I’ve brought home. However, it has become our tradition that he complains about unloading it and moving things around to accommodate it. He’s not entirely comfortable with change, poor guy, he didn’t know when we got married that he was marrying a furniture rearranging mastermind.

We moved the living room around a little and set up my new little corner. I stepped back admiring the new living room. The thought struck me that this is a step in the right direction. I needed this more than I knew. I’ve muddled through these last few weeks not really knowing that deep down I’m still trying to find a place. I know I have my place with my family, no one can ever change that. Family and faith have been my rock and my foundation. But my soaring thoughts and ideas need a place to go.

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What I guess I’m trying to say is this desk is more than a new piece of furniture in our home. It is a permanent symbol and physical manifestation of me grabbing ahold of something and reclaiming what I knew was always mine, a part of my being I thought I lost: My love of writing and my ability to create. It’s just an old school teacher’s desk with an iMac and a few antique relics, but this is the space where I will take back what is mine, where I can start to feel like me again.

Quenched

Parched, dry, dusty and dying, it appeared
laying my head on my pillow and drifting into a dream.

My senses are awakened by the scent of moist earth
riding on a cool and gentle breeze through my window.

Familiar sounds, distant but remembered.
Little pelts on my roof top.

Tiny drops of an antidote for the affliction plaguing the land.
They call it drought. Earth is now quenched.

It has rained.

Train Wreckage

I heard something today that is just sticking with me in a bad way. Actually I heard something and read something else that I am just haunted with. Two totally unrelated stories. Two human tragedies. Or tragedies in the making. I won’t delve into what they are. But I can’t help feeling like a person watching trains barreling toward each other and there is nothing I can do. Absolutely nothing in my power of doing will change events that are all but destined to occur.

The thing that haunts me most are the innocents that are along for the ride on these trains. The ones that will be damaged, irreparably, from the carelessness and selfishness of people who are themselves so damaged and broken, they can’t see beyond their own desires and need for self gratification.

I can’t change what is bound to happen, things that are out of my control. Could I, though, pray for the healing of those innocents that are in the wreckage? Is there really hope for them? Do they stand a chance in the drama unfolding? I would like to think so. But I can only hope.

May is here and Mother’s Day is just around the corner

There are days that I honestly believe that I will be found at the bottom of a huge pile of laundry knocked unconscious by the fumes of cleaning supplies. My family will realize I am missing when supper did not get cooked and the dishes are piled on every flat surface in the kitchen, toys scattered throughout the house, messes in the bathroom—unmentionable.

Seriously though, there are tons of thankless tasks and chores that moms do. All the countless moms throughout history that did what they had to do and never gave it a second thought. I’m not saying they are or were all good. There are some out there that don’t deserve the title of mother. There are even some that are not “mothers”  but serve as a mother figure to children that desperately need nurturing in their lives. Fathers have their place to be thanked, as well, but this is for Mother’s day. For the moms that keep the laundry clean and folded, wash endless amounts of dishes, change diapers and really really messy babies when diapers can’t contain it all. The moms who run errands to countless places while doing the carseat rodeo trying to latch and unlatch a frustrated toddler who only wants to get out and run around the parking lot like a screaming banshee. The moms that sweep floors 3oo times a day, vacuum until the rug is wore down to its last threads or stay up at night looking after a sick child. The moms who worry themselves gray when their newly licensed child goes out for the first time on their own. The moms of special needs children who take care of their children and give them the love, tenderness and patience that they require (they are true women of grace).  The moms that are there all hours of the night and anytime during the day ready and willing to listen to the heartbreaks, fears and troubles of adult children (or anxieties about the brand new baby that won’t stop crying—I’ve called my mom around 2:00am a few times).  The moms that do all of the above and hold down a full time/part time job. The moms who wait patiently with arms ready to embrace, as their children stubbornly ignore sound advice only to discover all the pitfalls of life that mom warned of. The moms with children who have terminal illness and the countless hours they pray to take their child’s place. The moms who have fought illness themselves and kept pressing on for their children. The moms who would put aside every ambition of their own to see their children’s dreams and ambitions come true. Thank you to those moms. You are not alone, even if it seems as though nobody around you notices or cares, you are appreciated.

My mom and my boys

My Town Part II

We walked through the downtown area of Bardstown took some pictures of some of my favorite homes. Still haven’t taken a picture of the building named for my husband’s ancestor (it is undergoing repairs).

We went to My Old Kentucky Home State park. That’s where I became disappointed. It is a pretty park, everything is well maintained, and as you walk along the brick paths you hear this constant ringing of bells playing every song that Stephen Foster composed. Maybe it was, in part, due the the headache I was developing but stubbornly ignoring in attempt to limit my intake of tylenol, asprin or my all time favorite excedrin. But the bells that were trolling from outdoor speakers around every corner were nauseating.


I love old buildings, I love to look at them and imagine what it must have been like to live when they were new and opulent. But I just can’t get passed that music. Cheesy bells playing Camptown Races, My Old Kentucky Home, Oh Susannah, over and over, bells bells bells. Ugh. I came really close to saying something to one of the park officials, but my growing head ache urged me to press on and get it over with.

Other than that I love Federal Hill itself. It’s beautiful with it’s old brick, masonry stars, and Judge John Rowan’s spring house turned law office down the hill. The boys enjoyed the walking and the boys enjoyed running around the rotunda.

We ended our day out with a stop at the library, then some fun at the park.


Oh yeah, one more thing adding to my frustration with my experience with My Old Kentucky Home. There was a lady that offered to take my picture with the kids. I was thrilled, but in the back of my mind I knew that the picture—like any other that someone takes of me with my family—would be out of focus or I would have a goofy looking face or my eyes would be closed or look like they are ready to pop right out of my head. I was right. I don’t blame her for it, it wasn’t her fault the picture was crumby. I can barely master my new camera myself let alone trying to explain it to a well intentioned stranger. So there you have it, my latest experience attempting to show you my town. The next involves bourbon, hopefully that will be a little more fun! 😉

Thinking of Autumn

Today feels like an early autumn day. The air is crisp and cool, and there is a quiet steady breeze blowing.

Here is a little something I wrote in my journal last September after lying down in grass soaking up the sun and watching the clouds (one of my favorite pass-times, when I get a chance).

Lying on the ground cushioned by the last of summer’s lush green carpet, I close my eyes.
The sun embraces me with a warm kiss on the face of her beloved child.
Letting out of breath my soul rises up toward the heavens.
From high above, I can see the earth turning golden and red;
Dotted throughout the emerald hills as the pulse of a heartbeat,
Ever changing growing older with each passing season.
I am brought back down out of my dream by the conscoiusness of my senses
As a crisp cool breath is blown upon me.
Autumn is welcoming me with his quiet steady arms.