Guest Poet-Lauri

The following poem is written by one of my tweeps!  You can read Lauri’s blog here and follow her on Twitter here.

Life is Random

By: Lauri Halterman (aka @grnladybug)

The sky is crying,
the whole world’s a mess;
I think I’ll put on
a white frilly dress.

Dance and spin
on the window sill;
sing to the birds
like a whippoorwill.

I scratched my toe
on the curb today,
saw it bleed
then wiped it away.

Added a Band-Aid
to keep it neat;
then peeled it off
to take a peek.

I wonder why
I can’t remember,
the things I did
last December?

Yet May is here
and I can see,
all the things
that used to be.

Gather you up
in a big bear hug;
thanking the stars

that shine up above.

Life is random
and so am I;
some days I laugh
and some I cry.

Goodbye 34

Today I turn 35.  I can’t believe it.  I feel like the year clock stopped around 29 and when I pick Bella up from school in the afternoons I am still surprised when I see that tall and thin girl walking towards me.  It seems like only yesterday she was an infant and Callee just a twinkle in my eye.  But today I am a 35-year-old mother of two girls ages 6 and 4.  I was talking to my mom the other day and she informed me that my dad wants to buy a motorcycle.

“Can you imagine this 69-year-old man on a motorcycle?”  She asked with a laugh.

When did my father turn 69? Oh yeah, that would be the same year that I have turned 35.  In my mind my parents are in their late 50s.  Maybe it’s because that’s how old they were when I got married and moved away.  Somehow time doesn’t pass and things don’t change if you’re not there everyday to see it happen (you know like the tree falling in the forest thing).

Last year was a big year.  I don’t really need to go into all of it.  But I did start this blog just a few weeks after I turned 34.  I started it with the intention to post everyday.  I wasn’t sure I could keep that promise, but wanted to very much.  With the exception of one very sad week and thanks to a little help from my friends and fellow writers, I have posted daily.  I used to think I wanted a third baby.  This blog has become that baby.  I’ve watched it grow and learned a lot about being a good “mother.”  I have big dreams for this baby, especially since I have a lot more control over what this baby becomes than I will the other two.

So today I am 35-years-old.  It feels huge and yet I’ll probably spend it the same way I do every other day, well except for the fact that my parents should be arriving this evening sometime.  A few years ago, I set goals for myself.  35 was the magic number when X and Y would happen.  I am very hopeful of the goal.  There is a voice in my head screaming or whispering “I declare this the year of personal transformation and professional success.”  I have faith in that voice, but also surrender my idea of what that transformation and success should look like.  This year I want most of all to love, listen, feel joy, and peacefully put one foot in front of the other!

Happy Birthday to me and thank you all for being a part of my life!

Learning Experience

I have given myself a new exercise in poetry writing.  I sit down with my deck of Saints and Angels cards (by Doreen Virtue) and ask for a poem topic, then pick a card.  I did it for the first time last week and wrote “Safe Travels” this week the card I pulled was “Learning Experience.”

Learning Experience (1-22-10)

stepping out

over the waters

a fire burns within

screaming to be put out

with a leap

once taken

the only choice

is to swim

a lesson that is necessary

building strength



a dark hallway

you must move though

hands outstretched

leading to an end

that whispers to you

no guarantee

promises withheld

only to be discovered

in the effort

of the plunge

a life


by the heart

learning to love

and be love….

Kelli’s Click

I mentioned Kelli in my blog award post the other day.  Hers was the first blog I started reading.  I found it by doing a wordpress search of “self-discovery.”  She and I have a lot in common, both ex-teachers turned stay-at-home-moms with musician husbands and both spiritual seekers.  You will get a glimpse of her talent and inspiring message by reading her story below.

Let the Struggle Cease to Be

Kelli B. Haywood

I had never planned to be a mother.  I was one of those people who didn’t want to bring a child into such a corrupt world, and I didn’t feel that I was emotionally equipped to properly care for a child.  All those feelings changed after we lost my husband’s aunt to cancer in her early forties.  Both my husband and myself came to the realization that we wanted and needed children on the ride home from her funeral.

We now have two children.  Becoming a mother changes you in dramatic ways.  My husband and I decided that it would be best that I stay home with my children.  I view so many things from a different perspective since becoming a mother, including my future goals, nutrition, spirituality, education, and my own responsibilities to my family.  What it didn’t change was my emotional capacity to be fully present for my children.

I have been working through some difficult childhood experiences since I started college.  I’ve been trying to break down years of insecurities and emotional reactions to situations that are extreme or out of place.  I have come a long way – a really long way.

I recently turned thirty-one, and I must say that the passed year has been one of spiritual renewal for me.  I am discovering who I am and who I can be in reality.  The year began with me being in poor physical health.  I had experienced my second unwanted (the first being unnecessary) c-section.  I had been mistreated by a doctor and it left my body broken.  Not only was my body broken, but so was my heart.

A few months after the birth of our second daughter, we moved back to the land where my husband and I were both born – Appalachia.  It was where our families were, our heritage, our children’s legacy, where our dreams resided.  It was where we belonged.  The relief we felt upon reaching the mountains again was tremendous.  We lived in a larger city for several years after undergraduate school.  I taught middle school and went to graduate school and my husband finished graduate school, taught college classes, began his art and music career , and became a tattoo artist.  However, we never really settled into city life.  We went with the flow, but never found our place, and both of us were reluctant to call it home.  So, when we settled into our little cabin in the holler, and began our plans for homesteading, it felt like we were free again.

I loved watching the girls grow in this new familiar environment, and I had nothing to be upset about in our current situation, but the past kept creeping in with reminders in both my physical and mental health.  It wasn’t long before I was actively seeking a healing.  I adopted a traditional foods way of eating for our family based on the information in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon .  I lost a lot of weight in the most healthy way.  I loved the feeling of control I had, but I still struggled with my dragon – impatience.

In June of 2009, I began a serious practice of yoga and meditation.  I mix both Hatha and Kundalini styles, but have since focused more on Kundalini.  It has led me to tremendous healing in all areas of my life.  I’m becoming the mother I want to be.  The wife I want to be.  I have even found a place of sincere spirituality.

Leslee recently wrote in her post on Psalm 23 about flashcards sent from God.  I believe it.  While I was controlling my life with so many things, struggling to find balance and healing, I was still uneasy and impatient.  Little things made me angry.  I felt anxious about the things that I couldn’t keep from going wrong.  I manifested problems that weren’t there.  I blamed myself, and in part I deserved the blame.  Then, one day during my Kundalini yoga practice I heard my inner guru speak.  It said, “Stop fighting.  Why are you still fighting?”  I had been thinking “let go and let God”.  I had been crying out to my soul – “What are you still so troubled about?”  I had been trying to meditate through all the chatter thoughts and the planning and fixing that my mind wanted to do.  I had been keeping up the guard I had had up since childhood that took so much energy to maintain.  Instead of being guided in my yoga practice, I was trying to rush to the result.  I was fighting tooth and nail.  I was fighting for my life, for normalcy because that had become a habit for me beginning as a pre-teen.

It wasn’t long after that that I bought some Yogi Tea.  On the little tea tabs there are quotes from Yogi Bhajan, the guru that brought the ancient technology of Kundalini yoga to the United States.  On that particular day, my quote was… “The mind is energy.  Regulate it.” Again, stop fighting.  Stop planning.  Just be present.  I was getting the message, but to really bring it home, my pastor’s sermon that night was on Psalm 46.  The following is the 10th verse of that Psalm:

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

God wanted me to stop fighting.  It was an order.  He is in charge and I don’t have to worry about my needs being met, or what happens next.  There is a plan for me.  There is a plan for all of us, if we stop fighting.  It is easier said than done.  I continue to do my best day to day to reverse the old habits of constantly trying to plan what is next, and speed up and slow down time.  I try to find joy in the present.  Whatever is currently going on is exactly what is suppose to be happening to me at that moment, and there is joy there – no matter what the situation.  I’m growing to have a servant’s heart, which is what the heart of a mother should be in my opinion.  Until you help your child learn the ways of the world and help them find their place in it, you are your child’s teacher – you are their hope, and your patience with them is so very important.  You are their Mother.  When they are grown, you will wish you had had more moments being present with them as they were youngsters.  I know I will.

Kim’s Click

The following “Click” is from Kim Wencl.  I connected with Kim through the Owning Pink Posse.  I was immediately drawn to her and her story.  She sent me a copy of the book it is published in and I read it and wept (you will understand more when you read below).  Weeks went by and I didn’t cross paths with Kim online, then on the day that Amy died I clicked on Owning Pink and there was a post written by Kim about dealing with the loss of a loved one.  The next day I checked my blog and Kim had left a comment for me.  I believe that the timing of this was meant to be.  Every time I think of Kim I am reminded of our connection to loved ones that have transitioned and it is no coincidence that she was back in my awareness in the days following my best friend’s death.  Thank you Kim for sharing your story and for what you represent to me!  It is obvious you came into my life for a reason…


When thinking about what events in my life “clicked” thus changing my life forever, I found I could narrow them down to two.

The first was September 12, 1983 – the day Elizabeth Jean came into my life. This day was also the most physically painful time of my life.  After an excruciating labor and finally a c-section, my girl was born, and when I learned what love was really all about.  Elizabeth was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.  She had a massive head of wild black hair, and the biggest blue eyes ever.  I knew she was special … but I wouldn’t know just how special until 20 years later.

The second event was September 20, 2003.  This day was the most emotionally painful day of my life – the day the physical presence of Elizabeth left me.  But, as painful as that was, it was also the day that the God of The Universe came into my life in the most real and vibrant way.  It took my breath away and propelled me through some of the most difficult days, weeks and months of my life.

Up until that day, I had a relationship with God, but he seemed to be this distant, far off deity that for a very long time I had cried out to and begged for help … but remained ever silent.  Liz’s high school years were tumultuous at best.  She was gregarious – she was a cheerleader, she got good grades … but she also smoked, she drank and she experimented with drugs.  My husband and I were beside ourselves with worry and fear.  We could never understand why she chose to do these things – couldn’t she see how they were ruining her life?

September 20th happened and it was literally the last straw.  I breathed a sigh of relief – she’s yours now God – I know you will take better care of her than I ever did.

But God was no longer a silent deity – that day he stepped into my life and became real for the first time.

He gave me peace.  Peace that Elizabeth was just fine, that I would be fine, and my family would be fine.  We would get through this very difficult, dark time in our lives, and we have.

God opened a door for me that day that I never expected to walk through … but I was offered the opportunity and I took it and once I did, I did not want to go back.

God showed me in no uncertain terms that Liz was just fine, in fact she was more than fine, she was amazing and VERY happy.  God reached out to others as well and then in turn they reached back to me.

And I could see this very real path forming in front of me – but again, it wasn’t forced on me – it was always my choice whether to take another step on the path, or completely abandon it for other avenues.  However, I have never in my entire life felt so compelled to follow a path as I have this one – I wanted to follow – I needed to follow – oh yes, I followed.

God does not disappoint.  He has led me through darkness and despair into love and laughter, but most of all to PEACE and a return to JOY.

Because he reached out to me in such a compelling, powerful, and real way, I now reach out to others through my words and my voice to share my experiences … it is but a small way to begin to repay The Universe for the abundant blessings and gifts received over the past six years.

I look forward to the day when I walk through the veil that still separates Elizabeth and me, and we are completely united.  But for now, I am so very grateful for all I have received – it is a sacred trust that can never be broken – not even by death.

Love never dies … and the bond we all share with those we love is never broken … not even by death, and that is the best news of all!

Live in PEACE – but most of all in JOY

Dear Amy (my stuff)

I’ve allowed myself one week to write to you and about you on the blog.  Tomorrow I’m going to tell your favorite story and then go back to the old routine, well with the exception of the click stories.  (I’ve received four already and plan to post them on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)  For my last letter I just want to tell you how I’ve felt.

I guess it was nearly a year ago when I made my “25 things about me” list on Facebook.  One thing I thought about including in the list and did say in a comment was “I am not who I used to be.”  I wanted to make it clear to everyone who knew me when I was younger that I was not proud of a lot of my choices.  When you read that though, I think it hurt you.  I can’t exactly remember (see that’s why I need you) if you actually told me or I just got it via Kristin, but I’ll never forget the gist of what you said.  It made you sad that I felt so much regret for that time in my life, because for you it was a wonderful time.  You were right beside me on that journey, picking me up when I slipped, helping me laugh when I wanted to cry, and just simply having FUN!  Somehow I’d forgotten all that fun and chose to focus on the “bad” stuff.  You wanted me to remember it the way you did.  The funny thing is, once I was told what you really thought of me not being who I used to be, I DID start to remember it differently.  I chose to reflect on the good and I began to change.  I started to accept and embrace the past, letting go of all the guilt I’d held onto.  Those little steps of self-acceptance and self-love opened my heart.  Over this past year I have begun to love more deeply and more passionately and I believe you had a big role to play in that.  I thank you so much for the gifts you have given me over the past 18 years.

I also want to tell you that I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for moving so far away.  I’m sorry for missing so much over the years.  I’m sorry for crawling into my own little world and forgetting to reach out to those of you who had invested in me for so long.  I’m sorry that you only met the girls a few times.  They would have loved you so much and you them!  I’m sorry for not sending pictures of them.  I’m sorry for not staying with you when I’d come to NC for visits.  I’m sorry for not expressing enough gratitude for all the lovely gifts you sent me and my family over the years.  I’m sorry for not telling you I loved you enough, but glad I at least said it recently.  I’m sorry for dumping my drama on you and not taking enough time to ask you how you were doing.  You have taught me so much about living and I’m sorry I am only realizing it now that you have made your transition….

Here are a few things I’ve learned from your example:

1.  When you find people you connect with, stay connected.  TALK ON THE PHONE to the people you love! (I’m easing in to this one, you know I’m not a phone person.)

2.  There is nothing wrong with asking for what you want and expecting to get it!

3.  Be generous and helpful.  Reach out to people in need.

4.  Life is short, make the most of it.  Have things, do things, and be with people that feed your soul!

5.  Seek your own answers, make up your own mind, and don’t let anyone ever pressure you or guilt you into doing/being something you DON’T want to do/be.

I’ll probably think of more lessons later, but those are the ones that stand out to me now.  Thank you for the biggest gift of all (that came in the tiniest little package): YOU and your beautiful friendship!!!

I know you loved 80’s music and singing Karaoke.  This is the first song we ever sang at Rainbow Deli!

Dear Amy (funeral)

Where to start, where to start…  Well, your funeral was last Wednesday and I must say it was beautiful.  I didn’t count them, but I’d guess there was about 20 police cars leading the funeral procession from the funeral home to the church.  They had every intersection between Raymer’s and Hopewell blocked and one whole side of the church was filled with men and women in blue.  You loved the attention you got from being married to law enforcement and, boy, they made sure you got it in the end.

I walked into the church with Chris and Jen.  Heather had gone to look for the minister about the eulogy.  I sat down and looked at the rows marked for family and I knew I was supposed to be there.  I wasn’t sure whether or not to get up but finally after they brought the coffin in, I knew I was in the wrong place.  I walked out and found my rightful place, with your family.  I sat beside Kristin and your little grandma.  She (grandma) was so cute, singing along to the songs and saying “yes, yes” to everything the ministers said.  When the vocalists sang “In The Garden,” inside my head I replaced He with She.

And She walks with me,
and She talks with me,
and She tells me I am her own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.

My guess is some might call that blasphemy, but you are a daughter of God and I know that you are now watching over me just like Jesus.  And speaking of Jesus, everything Jervis said at the service was PERFECT.  (Ok, not everything, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)  You and I had talked about Jesus on the 13th.  I had told you my thoughts and that most of all for me Jesus is a teacher.  In my life I am trying to learn from him and follow what he taught…two of those huge lessons being forgiveness and everlasting life.  The one thing Jervis said (and used scripture to back it up) was “she will live again.”  The other thing he said is that God does not punish us and God does not cause tragedies like this to happen.  You leaving us just is…  There is no one to blame and all we can do now is go to God for comfort.  He didn’t make this happen, but he can get us through it.

Now the one thing that made me cringe a bit, OK A LOT, was when Jervis talked about Puni.  In my mind I was screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and tackling him before he could say it.  But I really didn’t think you’d want me actually doing that at your funeral, so I let him speak.  For those of us closest to you, Puni (along with your other little quirks) were such big pieces of you.  And those of us who knew felt so special to be in the midst of that circle.  You only told the people you loved the most and Tim loved you so much that he had to tell Jervis the story of Puni.  I had no idea it would end up being said aloud to the hundreds of people that were there.  Kristin and I expressed to one another that we could feel your embarrassment, but it also just occurred to me now that we were probably both a little jealous.  I mean that was a part of you that belonged to a select few and we were among that few.  Maybe we wanted to keep Puni all to ourselves, so that we would know something and have something so many others didn’t.

You keep sending all these signs, it’s crazy how many we are getting.  I know you always hated country music and nearly everyone else in your life liked it.  This past week everyone has been passing along songs to each other and they are all COUNTRY songs.  We keep apologizing to you for using country songs (which you hated) to remember you by.  But I think you are sending us these songs on purpose because you knew that WE would like them and hear them and think of you.  So in honor of that I just found a version of “In The Garden” by Brad Paisley that I wanted to share.