The Lesson of the Stockings.

Merry Christmas!

I could not find the stockings.

Couldn’t find them. Gargantuan plastic green tubs of holiday decorations and ribbons galore and I could not find my beautiful felt and embroidered stockings.  Traditions.

I did find a pair of old-fashioned red and grey striped hunting socks – you know the kind.  They are the pair of socks you truly do not wish to admit to owning, with those ‘almost holes’ in the heels and grungy grey toe parts and balling up on the outside after too many washes.  (They are the perfect socks.)

Turns out they are the perfect Christmas stockings too.  Maybe that is the way new traditions are born?  Or, maybe it is the way a person returns to their own traditions….

 

tree lights

I have found that maybe a bit of whirlwind during the time leading up to Christmas might have been a blessing.  There were moments I would look, almost study the Christmas tree gracing my home. Memories.  Then remembering a year ago. Tears.  Lots of tears. We all have those moments when you remember the happiest of Christmases, but for some of us, there are also those snapshots of memory one would wish to erase from ones heart.  For me, it was the memory of a year ago.

And I cried. But a funny thing happened when I opened my eyes to look at the tree once more.

tree lights meaning

A beauty all its own…..Tears and Christmas tree lights.  Maybe the pain made the light shine that much bigger?

May your Christmas….be Christmas.  Through tears, through lights of kindness and all…

Love to all!

~Stephanie

#christmas#love#tears#stephanie#thebrickdandelion

 

Well, this is unexpected..

In the middle… continued.

Hello on Monday, December 14th, 2015.  On a rainy Monday evening when I should be either working overtime or driving home with a ‘has-no-behavioral-boundaries’ Gordon Setter who, with every molecule of his eighty pound body declares his intention that he was born as a lap dog.  No matter how much I protest or scold him.  (He is slowly winning me over…I am belly-up when it comes to his overeager approach to everything in life – from attacks on the garbage to insistence on perching in the front seat).  Yes, I should be on any of those tracks in my normal Monday routine, but tonight I have missed a teleconference meeting and I find myself in a familiar spot.  I like these unexpected moments – I, four minutes late in a phone call, am unwired into the larger network necessitated by my attempts at modern business, drinking coffee to pay for my access (if in my own mind), all the while priding myself on getting here at all, wired to the “unwireable” only to realize I have indeed, gone full circle.

In the last weeks during my personal epiphanies of many sorts I discovered I like the middle and I do not wish to just survive as grateful as I am for having accomplished or being blessed at such status.

My life. My. Life.

Seems fitting on so many levels that I am sitting in a coffee shop as I had done years before – a different person but  not really, in a December evening which should be snowy or threatening with snow.  Instead the blackness of the night seems to cry joyfully at the chance to sparkle lights meant for ice and whiteness to rather dazzle off puddles on pavement.  Odd how comforting it is – the weirdness of midwestern December rains and the gratitude and slightly off-kilter humor behind it all.  It’s as if instead of traveling to a warmer climate Mother Nature decided to hop the Boeing to come to us.

On such a night as this, when the weather fools,  and the dark fools one to believe it is much later than it really is and when I had planned to link-up, I am instead, writing.  Just as I had years ago.

I had written, heartbroken and heart-breaking.  Lonesome and shocked at my life.  I miss writing.  In the time since then….Well, I cannot hope to repeat the intensity of that writing.  It would be like climbing Mount Everest then wondering why walking through the woods is not the same.  Plain simple fact:  It’s not the same.  Not even a return to that Himalayan icon would ever repeat the experience.

No, I have found that keeping the mountain in ones pocket, patting it every so often and smiling silently to oneself is really the best way to remember….to never forget…..and to keep climbing!

…………

In my life what do I feel passionate about?  My business.  Particularly one of my buildings.  This blog will be my personal insights in my journey as I dream my dream. I might write of past hopes and hurts as I lived them this past year, but I do not live there anymore.

Maybe that tale is the book?

But here, I write the bizarre tale of my experiences with my buildings and my business.

Well, here it goes….No more reaching out the side of the pool to test the temperature of the water… I was never that kind of swimmer.

I always made sure there was water.

Then dove straight in.

Side note:  In the time writing I find, on this most lovely of unnerving evenings – like a gentle rollercoaster ride – a certain satisfaction that my smart phone has petered out its charge…

I smile openly and quietly in this tucked away coffee shop looking up to see the most intense young girl, hot chocolate drinking and wearing..

a crown.

Love and Blessings.

Stephanie.

My Matthias Building…

“In the middle..”

FullSizeRender (97)

…Greetings…

I write this word but as I do so, if I was standing face to face with you, I would be most embarrassed at the length of time between posts. I write “greetings” with sincerity and apology.  Again.

I am having difficulty writing with my usual ease of analogy, description and sufficient “zap.”  In recent years, these past two months is the least amount of writing I have ever done.  I feel inadequate to a craft in which I adore and place my aspirations.

I have lived through storms, describing them mindfully yet rather snootily as finding a quiet harbor after hurricanes or adrift in a calm sea after the most violent of thunderstorms.  I have looked forward to dreams and the fulfillment of goals as one would look for rainbows and with equal amount of seriousness. I have held those lofty dreams “out there, on the horizon” as one would their own personal holy grail. I have butchered and bent any meaningful passage of any author or even the holiest of authors for my own personal justification and fortification.

It has been only after the last storm, when life quieted down and I finally allowed it to, did I realize I was no longer on the chase for my life.  It was only then did I realize that although I still had dreams, survival as a goal was very nice.  Yes. Yes it was.

But then I read one of those snippets of quotes which stated that “survival mode is meant for making it through the storm, not as a way of life.”  The truth struck me like the sight of a dangerous, rotting frame of a second story window which I have looked at and dismissed for months.

Yesterday I saw it.  Yesterday I fixed it.  (Then I cried).

Weeks ago I learned after another such storm that perhaps my goal in everything I had gone through was arriving……in the middle.  I think it is also called “living.”  Surprised?  I was absolutely dumbfounded.  Just as I had walked by that window I had also survived through my life in a mode not meant for living.  Sometimes people can get addicted to that type of thrill.  (I had wondered). No. No, but it does have a sneaky way of becoming the comfortable chair in ones living room.  And, hey, life happens.  Got a storm?  You live through it. You do your best.  You try to smile through it all.

But when storms pass and goals are way, way, way out there, then what?  I tell you, it is a lovely place I call “the middle”.  And I still sound snooty about it because life now is what I have never known.  Only within the past few days do I realize I can be firmly here, not clutching for dear life, but I can stand here not ignoring the past.  I can stand here not discounting my future dreams.  No, I am safe.  My arms are strong enough to reach behind me for the past.  My eyes are bright enough to look ahead.

And once more. Twice more.  No matter how many times I might fail or fall, I finally figured out that my true goal all along was here….

…In the middle…

Love, Blessings and with Gratitude,

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi!

Beginnings are advertised. Endings are dreamed about – either with tears or sparkly, heavenly images of angelic goals.  At least mine were.

Beginnings are difficult.  I get petrified personally even to the point of inaction.  I cannot function.  Until this past year, post-divorce and through the most gut-wrenching situations in which I plopped myself.  Of course at the time I found ample subjects upon which to project blame.  And those soul-tearing episodes might continue.

Or they might not.

One thing I am learning though, is that a beginning is a certain type of fear.  The attainment of goals and dreams is both satisfying and momentarily……  Heck, I have been known, if only to my most private self, to feel a bit like Wonder Woman at such times.

I recently learned I can operate a handheld circular saw.  I recently learned that even though I forget keys and my toolkit, I can still survive.  It might take me twice as long but there is nothing quite like embarrassing yourself even to your own self combined with a few dozen episodes of repetition to realize “Hey, I have learned.”

And those dreams of ‘getting there’.  Finishing.  Completion.  Oh, is there anything like it? Man, give me those gold cuffs… I am W. Woman.  Ms. W. Woman.

I have found though….it’s “in the middle.”  Dreaded.  Until a person realizes that life is okay.  Is it possible my whole life has passed without giving credence to the holy land of “in the middle” which is both a desert and its own oasis?

……

I wrote that six days ago.  In this middle ground I am finding a new kind of peace – a sense of my own truth.  I wrote:  My soul will never forget what I have been through, either by myown hand or others.  Ultimately though even ‘by the hand of others’ is really the environment one chooses.  Sometimes.  I encourage everyone: If you are in danger, seek help.  Get out.  Prize your life and of those around you.  God put us on this earth.  He put your soul here.  You are worthy.  You have no right to inflict pain on others.  You also have no right to put yourself in pain.  Seek help.  It might take twenty tries to ‘get it right’.  I wont lie.  Its horrible trying something and failing.  Maybe whats worse is trying something new and not knowing if you have failed or succeeded.  Because then the questions continue.

That’s the middle.

Middle is when you learn to trust the soles of your feet as you tread your path.  Middle is the place I think of most of life.  It is those postings and sayings about its ‘life when you are planning your life.”  But it is also

Love.

Love.
Love is on my mind… I attended a wedding last night; it was the first such event in a long time for me and the first wedding I have attended since divorcing. Even as I write, I hesitate with the word. “Divorcing”. Verb. “The Divorce.” Not only a noun, but a title. Ew. Perhaps not worthy of mention at all?

As I watched the wedding celebration and all its demonstrations of affection (the kissing and hugging and laughing), I am still wistful and hopeful, but I am also resigned.

I am okay alone.

As a ‘single’, I wandered leisurely and self-indulgently through the crowd, sampling conversations spiced with topics ranging from dresses to do-it-yourself projects. I explored the venue’s historic building and the equally intriguing wine displays. (I sampled there too!) One of the most surprising aspects of my life now is the enjoyment and realization of my enjoyment of those times when I can “mix it all up”. Heaven is enjoying people and conversation, then being able to explore for that perfect spot to sip wine and daydream. And to tap out some writing notes…

Or, to gather up my thoughts and to thank G-d in my own silent way. I thought of the bride who I have known since she was a pre-teen. She has become a self-assured young woman in the best of ways possible. She “holds her own”, yet reaches out to the world in both grace and boldness. I marveled at her and her equal tenderness to her husband. The wedding celebration was thankfully just as unique as the both of them with expressions of their happiness together in books, games and pets.

I sat, happily, with some tears (and some wine!), listening to Sinatra-genre love songs and the pleasant waves of overlapping conversations to arrive at these words on the topic of love:

Dear G-d,
Please Bless them. May they learn and grow and always reach out to hold one another’s hand.
And may they find one shared dream between the two of them. Something wild and crazy.

And giggle. I hope they make each other giggle once in while.

I hope they ride the roller coaster of fighting and making up…starting with the lessons of the bunny slope of rides progressing to the anaconda of all roller coasters.

May they never come to the land of questioning love for one another. May they never even see the gates of it.

No! Scratch that!

They should see the gate of that particular hell, but when they do, may one of them grab the others hand to pull their partner’s soul closer to their own.
May they press into each other time and time again.(You can take that however you wish!)

May they choose the wild open road that they alone together pave.

Yes, may they start “fires” of passion but more so, may they share yawns. May they wipe noses. May they learn to love to kiss toes.

Yep. Amen.

Love…

~Stephanie

FullSizeRender (96)

I am rather fascinated by the appearance of blooming Easter lilies among daisies and weeds in my makeshift flower garden… Here, in mid-October, despite the freezes of autumn evenings and my neglect of them, they bloom… 

Hello world!

Wow! Hello!

First, please permit me to share with you how honored I am that your eyes meet my words!  (Lovely thought as I begin writing.)  And because I would never assume to enrapture nor captivate nor be clever enough for intrigue;  if I had one last sentence to write;  if you read no further or never return here I would write these words:

….Sorry.  Actually if I could ever think that efficiently life might be simpler.  And I would not write.  (Shudder).  So that’s why I blog.  I have stuff to say. But my purpose is greater than just opening up the floodgates.  I wish to provide a spot for hope and humor.  We are all each alone yet not.  We are never truly alone.  Yet, we are.  Birthed and will expire.  Alone.

Yet…not.

I really hope for a return of your eyes to my blog!  A journey! Together! (See? Evidence of not being alone!)  We could call it a virtual life’s road trip!  No guarantee of air conditioning or fair weather, but I can promise stories…

And good music.

Thought for today:  As my community celebrates our local high school’s “Homecoming”, I need to state the obvious as it is the perfect beginning (Hey, you do not wish to ‘road trip’ coast to coast, first time out…no, let’s do little jaunts.)  The best homecoming is coming home…..to oneself.  Be your home.

With as much love and grace as I can possibly muster ~

Stephanie.

Oops. Almost forgot:  Thank you! (wink).

(September 26, 2015)