perspective

i wrote this post 7 years ago. with the election less than a week away, i thought we could all use a little…”perspective”

august 21, 2009
Perspective…

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we look at things and judge. It’s easy when you’re on the outside of a situation to say what you would do or what should be done. But what happens when you’re the one in the middle of it? Do things change? The situation is the same, but how you relate to it takes on a whole new meaning. For whatever reasons, religious, moral, political, familial…we form beliefs and opinions about things then hold them to be truths. One thing that got me thinking about this was watching my grandmother dying. it took me back. 21 years. i watched my mom when she was dying as well. it gave me a new understanding for people who help someone who is terminally ill die. I can’t think of very many things worse than watching someone suffer and not being able to help relieve their pain. Yet most people have a “belief” about this. One that was formed based on the reasons I mentioned earlier.
There is a great debate over healthcare reform, but where do we find the answer? My opinion about it is based on personal experience as is most people’s. So where is the truth? The Bible? I’ve heard scripture quoted on both sides and as with most situations, we hear what we want to hear.
When all of my kids were little, I used to think I knew what I would do in certain situations when they got older. I looked at people who had teenagers and made judgements about them. I was so sure MY kids would never… Then I had teenagers and all of that flew right out the window. There is nothing like being in the middle of it to change your perspective. So why is it that we can’t see things from other people’s viewpoint?
Maybe the answer lies in caring for people rather than truth. Maybe it’s about loving your neighbor as yourself rather than protecting yourself. Maybe if we all stopped judging long enough to look around us and reach out to help those in need rather than insulating ourselves from the world then our differences wouldn’t matter so much. Even our differences in opinion…

 

footnote:  i cannot and will not claim to understand how people can vote any other way than i did, however i do believe that in any given situation if we were put in the other person’s place i.e., we were born, raised, and lived the life they did, we would make the same decisions. it doesn’t mean that we have to agree, in fact we probably won’t, but it does mean we should try to have respect and look at the bigger picture. the bigger picture being feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, fighting for equal rights for all, making sure everyone has affordable healthcare…the list goes on. it is my perspective that these are the things that matter, these are the things we should fight for. these are the things i will continue to support…and it doesn’t matter who the POTUS is, that will never change.

words on paper

consuming my mind, longing for peace
the words tumble ‘round seeking release.
thoughts of love of life of hope
despair and pain and learning to cope.
the empty book gathers dust for days
no ink on the pages as lifeless it lays.
what will remain when i am no more?
my stories silenced in earth’s dark core?
i will spill them on paper; i will let the ink dry
for those who remain after i die.

a crystalline knowledge

halloween was always one of my favorite times of the year. as a kid you get to dress up however you want to and when you become a parent you get to dress your kids in adorable, sometimes ridiculous outfits; until they become old enough to decide for themselves. when my oldest was only 16 months old (his 2nd halloween) i made him a pumpkin costume. it had the jack-o-lantern face on the front and i even made a hat with a little green stem. it was adorable! my home-ec teacher would have been proud. those days are long gone. this year my youngest is the only one who actually dressed up and went out. she was tom cruise’s character from risky business. (i think she liked the comfort of the costume more than anything…that and sliding across the floor in her socks!)
no one ever comes to our house to trick or treat. not in 5 years! (i think they may have been tipped off by the jehova’s wittnesses). so with only one kid at home, that daughter and i decided to watch a movie. we weren’t really crazy about any of the halloween options on netflix so we settled on “practical magic”. the movie is from the late 90’s and stars sandra bullock and nicole kidmann as sisters and stockard channing and dianne wiest as their older eccentric aunts (i love those 2). the story is about the owens women who, dating back hundreds of years, are all witches. their ancestor cast a spell that any man who fell in love with one of the women from this family would meet an untimely death. sally (played by bullock) and gillian (played by kidman) went to live with their aunts after their father died (per the curse) and the mother died of a broken heart. although extremely close the 2 sisters were complete opposites. while gillian vowed to see the world and couldn’t wait to fall in love, sally, who was much more practical, (and sure she was unable to bear anymore heartbreak) cast a spell on herself.

(sally) “he will hear my call a mile away. he will whistle my favorite song. he can ride a pony backwards”
(gillian) “what are you doing?”
(sally) “summoning up a true love spell…he can flip pancakes up in the air. he’ll be marvelously kind. and his favorite shape will be a star. and he’ll have one green eye and one blue eye”
(gillian) “thought you never wanted to fall in love.”
(sally) “that’s the  point. the guy i dreamed of doesn’t exist. and if he doesn’t exist, i’ll never die of a broken heart”

i know this is just a movie; not a very good one according to the reviews (although i liked it). but it certainly hit on something with that spell. how many times do i do this? in order to protect myself i make the goal so unattainable that i don’t expect to be able to reach it. self-preservation is a basic instinct, but i know that i take it too far. case in point, this blog. i’ve been writing for years and for years my husband has read all my stories, poems, essays, narratives and ramblings. he encourages me, he gives me his opinions, and he tells me to keep writing. he tells me to share, he pushes me to do more.

i, on the other hand, worry that i’m not good enough; that people won’t like or understand my writing. i write what’s in my heart and when i read it back i think, “no one is gonna get this; no one is gonna care!”  i tell myself that if i can’t be the best, then there is no point in trying. i summon up things that don’t exist to keep myself safe, to keep myself from failing. but as hard as i talk myself down, he is always building me back up. making it all clear.
at the end of the movie there is a great song by stevie nicks:

“crystal”

“do you always trust your first initial feeling
special knowledge holds truth bears believing
i turned around
and the water was closing all around
like a glove
like the love that had finally, finally found me
then I knew
in the crystalline knowledge of you
drove me through the mountains
through the crystal-like clear water fountain
drove me like a magnet
to the sea
how the faces of love have changed turning
the pages
and I have changed oh, but you…you remain
ageless
i turned around
and the water was closing all around
like a glove
like the love that had finally, finally found me
then I knew
in the crystalline knowledge of you
drove me through the mountains
through the crystal-like clear water fountain
drove me like a magnet
to the sea”

thanks babe, for always making it clear; convincing me to believe in myself and for always pushing me, driving me “like a magnet to the sea” to discover the “crystalline knowledge” in me.

*and as a side-note, i kissed tom cruise tonight…who knew!

a woman president…

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i wrote this a few years ago and thought it was timely…we all could use a little humor, right?

 

 

september 9, 2009
A Woman President??

Anyone who has spent anytime around my youngest, Regan, knows that she is a “hoot”. I’ve always said that God gave her to me so that I would never forget how to laugh and laugh I do, everyday with her! I think it is her honesty and openness with every thought that pops in her head that makes her so comical. After the President’s speech yesterday I was hoping for some really good dialogue with the girls. Well, Bryson just shrugged and had nothing to say (no surprise there). Peyton (my always by the book,rule following, idealistic child) said: “He’ just so nice! He said it was ok to stay home from school if you were sick”. (Glad she got the word on that from the Prez, now we can all breathe a sigh of relief that it IS indeed ok to stay home from school if you are sick). Regan said: “It was cool, but tiring”…yeah sitting in a chair staring at the screen can really take it out of you! This morning she had further comments and questions. First she asked was it really hard for a girl to be President. At first I said “no”, thinking I didn’t want to crush her dream of becoming the first woman President, then I thought better and said, “well, yeah , it probably would be hard since there has never been one before and people have a hard time with change.” I felt we were really going somewhere, then I began to doubt how closely she actually paid attention to the speech when she said, “was that speech the same one we watched at Tracy’s where he had to put his hand on that book and say all those words?” No, Regan, that was the Inauguration.” “Oh yeah…well, now I KNOW I don’t wanna be President, cause I don’t wanna put my hand on any book and stand up in front of a bunch of people and say all those words, no way!” Well, I guess that’s one more career path we can mark off the list…and I was SO looking forward to being The First Grandma…

puppy love

i never really considered myself an “animal person” because i felt it was in vast contradiction to my “neat and clean person”.
growing up we had a total of 4 dogs: the first was a rather large dachshund named taffy that i only “remember” from pictures. i think i was about 3 years old when, as the story goes, my mother walked into the dining room one day and found taffy on top of the dining room table peeing, and that was the end of taffy. (not literally! just as a part of our family) i don’t really think my mother was an animal person either, which is probably where i got it from.  it wasn’t until probably 4 years later we acquired dog #2 when our next door neighbors’ dog had puppies. i brought one home, warm and squirming in my arms with that sweet puppy breath, and begged mama to let me keep him! she surprisingly relented. within a few days i broke out in a mysterious rash which the dr confirmed was mange and dog #2 went promptly back to the neighbors. throughout my remaining years at home we had 2 more dogs, cookie and angel (both outdoor dogs), so i didn’t really grow up with the “family dog curled in front of the fireplace sleeping at the end of my bed” kind of scenario. i guess it isn’t really surprising that my idea of having a dog was mostly concentrated on how unclean they were, but as they say: “things change”.
i remember the day, it was july 16, 2011 i had something i needed to pick up at a local shop and the pet store right next door was having one of their adoption days out front. now just because i wasn’t a dog person doesn’t mean i didn’t think they were cute (i’m not heartless). i strolled through the cages and smiled at all the jumping, barking, drooling, wagging crew of canines and one small cage caught my attention. inside sitting scrunched in the back corner, not moving or making a sound was the cutest little black and white puppy. as i kneeled down to look at him, he began to shiver, but his eyes never left mine. before i knew it one of the volunteers rushed over and began reciting the puppy’s very sad, albeit short, history of being abandoned with his litter who were found beside a river. he was one of only 2 that survived and he had parvo (i wasn’t really sure what that was, although i found out later it can be deadly if left untreated). i assured her i was just passing by on my way to another store and had no intention of adopting a puppy today.
“do you want to hold him?”
“what? no, i have to go. i…”
“just for a minute? he seems to like you”.
well, someone certainly trained her well.
“ok, sure. why not? but just for a minute, then i have to go”.
she opened the crate and handed me this scrawny, trembling creature who promptly laid his head on my shoulder and nuzzled into my neck. oh geez! i pulled my cell phone from my pocket, snapped a selfie with the pup and sent it to my husband who was out-of-town. he promptly texted back, “wth?”
i laughed and replied, “no worries, just walked by a pet adoption thingy. but isn’t he cute?”
“well, sure he is, but…”
“ya know, it’s weird, but i feel some connection to him. i can’t explain it! anyway, just thought he was cute and wanted to send you a pic.”
“ok…<3”
i handed the puppy back to the girl and she said, “so…?”
“thanks, he is adorable and i hope he finds a good home soon! good luck!”
“yeah, so do i cause he is pretty sick and i don’t know what is gonna happen to him.”
she was really good!
“well, i really gotta go; errands to run.”
“ok, but if you change your mind…”
“bye!”
i hurried away to the shop next door and roamed aimlessly around. i pulled up the selfie on my phone and smiled. i texted my husband and said, “so, i know this is crazy, but what would you think about a puppy?”
“what about it?”
“getting one…i can’t explain it, but i feel this connection; like he picked me. i know that sounds stupid!’
“it’s up to you”…this is a classic response from him and while some may envy me for that, it can be quite annoying.
“but what do you think?”
“i think it’s up to you.”
ugh!! i left without what i had come for, and walked back to the pet store. the volunteer saw me coming and smiled and waved. “you’re back! you changed your mind!”
“no, i’m just thinking! we were not planning to get a dog and i just don’t know; this is a big decision!”
“do you want to hold him again?”
“NO!…sorry, no. i just need to think about it.” i squatted down to look at him. he was back in his corner, sitting, staring at me as if he could see into my soul. i shuddered.
“so, let’s say i was interested. what’s the process? is there some sort of waiting period, an application approval, what’s the deal?”
“you just fill out a few papers agreeing to have him neutered, pay the adoption fee (which includes the neutering) and he’s yours!”
“like, today? i would take him home today?”
“yes.”
“but i don’t have any stuff! food, a food bowl, a leash, nothing! i’m not ready!”
“well, you can fill out the papers, pay the fee, adopt him and we will hold him for you while you go get all your ‘stuff’.”
“whoa! i don’t know, let me think about it and if i decide to adopt him i’ll come back.”
i glanced back down to see him staring at me as i walked away.
ten minutes later i was walking into target and i couldn’t  get that face out of my mind. the next thing i knew i was loading my car with a crate, food and water bowls, a collar, a leash, puppy food and a panicking feeling that my “soul-mate puppy” would be gone! i rushed back to the pet store and my heart dropped when i saw the empty cage only to feel a rush of relief when i saw him in the arms of the volunteer! she handed him to me as soon as i approached and he once again nestled his head into my neck.
“i knew you’d be back! i have his file pulled out and the paperwork ready for you.”

stanly, as we named him, was an instant hit with our family. although he was 3 months old he only weighed 6.5 pounds! we treated his parvo and he slowly began to heal and to thrive. he gained 7 pounds in his first 4 weeks at his new home. timid at first, he soon adapted and was a gentle and friendly dog. he learned to go out and potty easily enough, but as is the case with most puppies he was not too fond of the rain. i remember standing with him under an umbrella in our tiny backyard saying, “go potty, go potty, please go potty!” as he stared up at me with a look that said, “you’re not serious?!”. eventually he relented and no matter the weather he would scratch at the back door when nature called. he was a quick learner and other than a few minor mishaps of chewing a pillow or stealing a shoe, he was a well-behaved gentleman.
in march of the following year we moved out of our neighborhood of tree-lined streets and closely built homes to be closer to our kids’ school. stanly now had a large yard to roam with plenty of squirrels to chase. while i was happy for his new-found freedom, i missed our old house and the close proximity to friends. i was not working at the time and i felt isolated and alone with the kids at school and me at home, but i had stanly and he became my constant companion no matter what i was doing. he would sit beside me on the couch, his head in my lap. he would follow me from room to room as i unpacked and tried to settle in. a few weeks after we moved i had to have surgery to have my gallbladder removed. once back home it seemed stanly never left my side. whether it was my physical pain of recovering from surgery or my emotional pain of attempting to adjust to my new surroundings, stanly seemed to sense my discomfort. i remember later telling my husband that i didn’t think i could have gotten through those first few months alone at home without stanly.
stanly had a girlfriend in the neighborhood, lyla, who was allowed to run free quite a bit. he would sometimes stand at the front storm door looking out onto our front yard and see lyla run by. he would of course get very excited and bark and scratch at the door hoping to be let out to join her. while we never allowed him to roam free he was a bit of an escape artist and had many adventures running the streets with her until we could either finally catch him and bring him back home or he grew tired and would show up of his own accord, wagging his tail as he sauntered up the driveway.
february 20, 2014 was one of those days when he discovered the gate latch was not completely secure and he made his way out to run the neighborhood. most of the neighbors around had seen him at one time or other and knew he belonged at one of the few houses on our street. they would see him running with lyla or going back and forth outside the fence of neighboring dogs teasing them in a sense, that he was “free” and they were not. i was at work where i was a part-time nanny for a family with 3 boys when one of my daughters called and told me stanly was out and they couldn’t get him to come back in. i told her i would be home soon. a little later she called again, crying, telling me that a lady came to the door asking if we had a black and white dog because he had been hurt and while she didn’t think it was bad, they were trying to find his owners. the next few hours were a blur as i drove home talking back and forth with my girls and then my husband. a couple who lived a street over had seen stanly get hit by a car and had taken him to the vet. they saw his tag and called my husband who was picking up our youngest from softball. we still didn’t think it was too serious until my husband got to the vet. he called to tell me to pick up our other 2 girls and to meet him there. stanly had massive internal injuries and several broken bones. they had given him medicine for his pain and were waiting for us to arrive so that we could say goodbye. i walked into the room and saw him on the table. his breathing was labored and his eyes were barely open. he looked at me and began to whimper. i walked over to him and hugged his neck. i kissed him and whispered my love for him and thanked him for loving me. i told him he was the best dog anyone could hope for and that it was ok to go. he was my companion, he was my friend, he was my soul-mate puppy.
that was our family’s first experience losing a pet and it was extremely painful. my oldest daughter had gotten a puppy just a few months before stanly died and i think that made trying to get back to normal after losing him, just a little more bearable. sadie was only 5 months old when stanly died, but they had definitely been buddies. she loved laying beside him on the couch and chewing his tail and he tolerated it. many times we would find stanly curled up (as much as he could fit) in sadie’s tiny bed and when we weren’t looking he would sneak her lamb chop stuffed toy away and lay with it under his arm. she missed him and didn’t understand where he had gone, but we knew we were not ready to open our hearts back up to another dog.
in august of that year i got a new job after being out of work since may. although sadie was now almost a year old, we hated having to leave her everyday while i was at work and the girls at school. we thought about the possibility of getting her a little brother or sister so she wouldn’t be alone, but i was still sad about losing stanly and it had only been 6 months, so we waited. the following february marked the 1 year anniversary of his death; it was sad, i still missed him so much! little did i know that the day before, on february 19th, 364 days after losing my soul-mate puppy, another puppy was born who would a short 6 weeks later become a part of our family. i remember picking him up to bring him home. he was so tiny and i as i held him on the drive home, he nestled his head right into the crook of my neck and i felt a familiarity as his warm puppy breath gently touched me. i smiled as my eyes got misty and i whispered, “hello, soul-mate puppy”.
sullivan (or “bug” as he has been affectionately nicknamed) has been with us now for 18 months. he is quite a handful and loves to chase sadie and bite her tail. she is not quite as fond of this game as she used to be when she was the one doing the biting, but she tolerates it. she loves to sneak his chewie away when we aren’t looking and hide it under her arm. a couple of weeks ago i had back surgery and ever since being home sullivan has been by my side. if i am sitting on the couch his head is on my lap. when i lay down to rest or to sleep at night he curls beside me as close as he can get. he seems to sense my discomfort.
in many ways stanly and sullivan are complete opposites. where stanly was calm, sullivan is wild. stanly seemed to love other dogs and sullivan not so much. sullivan chews up any and everything not nailed down, however, stanly could be trusted alone for hours and he would do nothing more than lay on the couch. despite their differences, i have seen a spirit in both of them that is hard to deny. a soulfulness that looked me in the eyes 5 years ago died, and yet it seemed to show up again. it laid its head on my shoulder as i brought it home, and he lays his head in my lap as i drift off to sleep. good night my soul puppies.

who is browneyedgirl…

the good, the bad, and the ugly…married 27 years, with 5 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. i have a passion for writing that both inspires and heals (me). struggling with depression, anxiety, and chronic illness, i am just an ordinary girl seeking to bring understanding to the darkness inside myself, while hoping to navigate the way with enough love to accept me for who i am and not who i wish i was. my writing is sometimes dark, sometimes personal, sometimes humorous, but (i hope) always real. any writer will tell you that although putting pen to paper can be a very therapeutic outlet, a public forum like a blog can be very exposing. my hope is that in sharing my writings, which by extension is sharing myself, others will gain for themselves understanding, acceptance, and hope…and maybe in the process laugh a little. now that would be extraordinary.