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Creased Leather Cushions

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     Often we use simple terms to describe the friends we know, declaring attributes we most admire or more likely, desire. Either way we find ourselves smiling when we say, she’s fun, outgoing, and a daredevil too!

When we are searching out a new friend, complicated thoughts bubble to the surface.  Stating that someone is simply fun isn’t enough. We tend to define what fun means to us. I want a friend who enjoys long walks and tea parties. Who drinks beer and can sing karaoke on a moment’s notice. 

Sometimes though, words evade us and we are left with edges of a feeling we can’t quite put into words. Like cool air drifting over us, we are drenched in heightened awareness, and the elusive word(s) are replaced with a picture.

                                             For me it is creased leather cushions.

The buttery leather is inviting. When I sink into it, the creases give and expand as if they’ve been patiently waiting for me.  Together, the cushion and me, find the perfect position to rest. I love that the cushion hides the parts of me that I prefer to keep from others, tucking them deep in the folds, like a secret.  As I relax into the tawny leather, my mood often lightens.  And, whether or not I am aware, peace comes. Often it’s ever so subtle; my nervous leg stops bouncing, I stop futzing with my hair, wondering if it looks flat against my head. The breath I’ve been saving for no particular reason, releases in a slow escape.

There are plumper cushions. Some with fabric that sparkles and sticks to your skin so all can see where you’ve been. Tight weaves leave you sitting high on the cushion, above the other friends. I’ve had those friends-oh, I mean cushions. You had better hold tight to the chair arms because you might bounce right off.

My closest friends are creased leather cushions.  While other fabrics may fray or stain, leather endures.  However, effort is needed to care for them.  A gentle rub or hug. A polish or compliment. Sometimes, just sitting with them when they’ve been wounded, the weight of their pain, carving another crease into their being.

When I look in the mirror, I see creases across my forehead. And fine lines around my eyes and lips. And when I dare to look, the deeper ones mottling my neck.  Then I smile and remember that I am someone’s creased leather cushion.

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A Cup o’ Ken

Growing up, every morning my father brought me tea.  Super hot and bitter strong.  Often tea leaves floated in the creamy milk swirling on top.The recipe was simple; scalding hot water, loose tea steeped for hours, a splash of milk and something else. But that will come later.

As you can imagine it was a rude awakening when I moved out of the house.  That first morning, rousing myself awake, staring at untouched boxes, and realizing there was no tea to jump-start my day.

Funny, tea not only wakes me up, it helps me sleep.  The same caffeinated warmth spreads over me like a blanket, settling my thoughts, somehow signaling to my brain that the day has ended.

During the day, when I’m hungry and shouldn’t eat, tea makes me feel full, at least for an hour or so. Or if I’m troubled, tea is pure comfort to my soul.

I could say that tea, black and strong, is my vice.  It is the answer to every question.  Just like in the Godfather (at least according to You’ve got Mail), the answer is always, take it to the mattresses.

This elixir in a cup that fuels my sleepy form, fills my hungry belly, calms my wearing bones, and feeds my soul was delivered to me bedside, starting at age five from a man who never said I love you.  Lucky for me I married a man who no, doesn’t bring me tea in bed, but continues the tradition by sharing a cup with me day and night.  One day a few years back I shared with him that my father, Ken, never told me he loved me.

Marc smiled and said, “He showed he loved you every morning when he brought you tea in bed.”

 

 

 

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Owning It

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Compared to many other countries, we, the rich folks, own a lot of things.  But I’m not talking about things.  I’m talking talents and gifts that we are good at.  Often, the problem is we don’t want to claim them, thinking we’re not worthy, not good enough at whatever it is to own it. That might be construed at bragging.  The word, bragging conjures up an arrogant person.  As they boast on and on about their Thing, their head swells with each word until eventually they float away.  Good riddance!

I believe there is something short of gloating and beyond modesty that we can be and own our gifts.  This is why we must own them:

 

  • Everybody yearns to be good at something.  It is said that we should do one thing really well.
  • Our gifts make our heart swell.  With pride, accomplishment.  Often times, a sense of peace.
  • Owning our gifts usually motivates us to press on, farther down that road.  Our spirit is lifted and by nature we desire to do better, be better.

 

So what aren’t you owning? Say it out loud and own it.  Say it with conviction, the words almost guttural as they pass your lips.  When you say the words carved and heavy as stone, you should feel them rush out of your chest, leaving no room for doubt.

With that said, I am sharing a picture of my desk.  After dinner the other night, I couldn’t wait to get back to my office to write. Before I sat down I stood looking at the mess.  In that moment, Jeopardy wafting into the room from down the hall, dinner dishes untouched in the sink and the dogs in need of bath,  I owned what I had been skirting for some time.  I AM A WRITER!

What do you need to own?  I am passing the microphone to the next person who reads this.  What’s your shout out to the universe?  Don’t be timid.  We are full of god-given gifts.  What’s yours?

Let me know.  I’d love to celebrate your gift with you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Aren’t you ….

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Beautiful smiling cute baby

smiling more.  I’m not talking about the closed mouth, slight turn of the lips smile you give the checker at the grocery store.  Or the millisecond one you offer the driver who pulls up next to you as and you grip the steering wheel, willing the light to change.

I’m talking about a full monty, teeth barring, cheek pinching, ear to ear grin. 

Really, how often do we wield that smile?  I know. . . it’s reserved for special occasions.  Weddings, birth of babies, raises, when that dress in the back of the closest fits again, or in my case, an agent wanting to see my manuscript.

Is the perfect smile like the newest hardware release where there’s a limited amount available?  Are you holding onto smiles that might change a person’s day, or at least influence a singular moment as they bask unexpectedly on your pearly whites?

Facial muscles.  That’s all that is required.  The cool thing is giving this simple gift benefits you.  A few of my favorites are:

makes you more attractive

releases stress

boosts your immune system

lowers blood pressure

helps you stay positive

My challenge to you;  grin like you just won the lotto, until your cheeks hurt.  Do this at least 5 times a day for 7 days.  Post your results and comments. 

*** My results below – do you have a story that beats mine?***

Think of all the things 35 smiles could bring.  Brightening a gloomy day, halting a tear from leaking out, giving someone a reason to try harder, making a stranger feel loved.

On a personal note: I recently attended a meeting with  a small group of writers that share their struggles and highs over a cup of coffee.  A new woman sat down next to me.  She was bubbly,  full of ideas and passion.  I left thinking… next time I’m having what she’s having!   But once I got home and sat behind the computer, what I remembered most about her was her non stop smile.  So that’s what I’m having (big ass smiles), at least for the next 7 days.   

Results:

Sadly, I didn’t make 35 smiles.  But when I purposely spread my cheeks to maximum girth, I felt an instant boost in my mood.  Even if the smiley face was directed outward, somehow it seeped inside me, all the way down to my toes.  I was visiting a grieving friend where happy thoughts were deep in the cracks and hard to find.  She played with me and we smiled, most of the time, at each other.  Then we would laugh.  It was great!  What did I learn?   That quality always trumps quantity.  Sometimes, one great big ass smile is all that is needed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why aren’t you. . .

reading something daily?

I get it.  Life is busy. With our phones, T.V., work, children and husbands there’s little ‘me’ time left.   Even if there was, would you want to spend it reading?

You should read something everyday.  And when I say something I am being very broad here.  Not just books.  I don’t know about you but I am a pro at focusing on me.  If it’s not what I’m doing, then it’s what I’m feeling. This moment, the next, last week and next Thursday.  Generally I tend to worry more about tomorrow and cringe when I replay yesterday while at the same time, muddling through today.

We need to focus outward.  The best way to move in that direction is to crack open the vast horizons and stretch our thinking caps.

So what should you read?

Cartoons.  Nothing sloughs off negativity better than a hearty laugh. If it’s at your own expense, even better.

New Recipes.  Can’t you imagine the ingredients swirling in the bowl, tempting your taste buds until you find yourself salivating.  Next thing you know you’re searching your pantry or jumping in the car headed to the grocery store. The result on this tasty exercise? Cooking is cathartic.

Meditation/prayer/general uplifting stuff.   Short of Prozac, most of us don’t wake up chipper.  Starting your day in the zone by reading something that feeds your soul improves your chances of accomplishing what you set out to do the rest of the day.  Don’t you want to end the night with a sigh of satisfaction?

The news.  I admit, I’m not a paper reader and haven’t dived into online news. I do however pick up the Art & Entertainment section of the Sunday paper.  Knowing what’s happening in the world, your community and neighborhood keeps you relevant.  It gives you things to talk about with other people, whether they’re new acquaintances, old friends or your spouse of 20 years.  And, if you are not the one bringing up new technology/international incidents/Broadway plays at least you’ll have insight and can join the conversation with a respectable point of view.

Your goals.  What, don’t have any?  You should and not just the boring financial ones. Or the unrealistic kind, like dropping 3 dress sizes by Christmas.  Well okay.  Maybe no carb eaters can achieve that but I’m focusing on your dreams.  They aren’t just for daydreaming.  Make them happen.  Come up with a plan and give them a look-see daily.

Whatever it is you’re choosing to read daily, is data in that brain of yours.  Make it work in your favor. And read on.

Stayed tuned for more Why Aren’t You. . . posts