Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


At the end of May, Strawberries Forever honored me with the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. This was the first for me and I as excited about it. Then life went crazy, and I forgot about it. But before you find me rude, a great many things were happening then. So hear me out. In the beginning of June I had a few different military missions to do. In the middle of June I went on a blind date fairytale that has been blossoming into the most romantic time of my life. In July, I had more military missions and moved into a new house (and had to repaint nearly the entire rental house I lived in for over four years). August included more military missions in between the increasing work load at my civilian job while trying to find time for dating and unpacking. Oh, and I had to research and buy a new car to replace my 235,000-mile car that was showing a bit too many wacky issues to be trusted anymore. Throw in a visit back home, some social events with friends and family….yeah, I forgot. That, and man, I am tired but have never felt more alive!

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award was new to me, but is similar to other awards it seems. But, here are the rules for those who may not be familiar with it:

1.  Say “Thank You” to the person who nominated you & link their blog to your post.
2.  Answer the 10 questions given to you.
3.  Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers and let them know they have been nominated.
4.  Include the Award Badge in your post.

These are the answers to the questions given to me. 

1.  When was the first time you knew that you wanted to write?

Sometime in elementary school I knew I wanted to write. I even wrote two “books” for as an assignment where they were reviewed by a real adult author. I was a huge deal for me back then and I still own those books today.

2.  What is the favorite childhood memory?

I have several, but one that comes to mind pretty quick is going to this small lake in Michigan. There were two levels to the lake, which was more like a pond now that I have seen it again as an adult. The creek or stream fed into the pond and then there was a small waterfall that created a lower level pond that was more shallow and like a mini beach. We didn’t go there often, but when we did it was always fun. There were other kids, we took snacks and we stayed for hours.

3.  What is one food that you love from your family’s culture?

At Thanksgiving, my daughter MUST have green bean casserole and homemade mashed potatoes. My son REQUIRES cream cheese and celery sticks and homemade stuffing. Every Christmas my mom would make no-bake cookies and hard rock candy. I have started doing it with my kids and now, it is a tradition. If I don’t make these things at the holidays, it is just not Thanksgiving/Christmas according to them. So, I guess a tradition has been started/has been continued.

4.  Do you have children or expect to have one in the future?

I have two kids: son and daughter. Though I think it would be fun to have some more, I am ready for the stage in my life where I can enjoy me again. So, I am happy to babysit some adorable babies and toddlers for a bit and then send them back home. As for the preteens and teenagers…yeah, they don’t babysitting. They do know everything at those ages anyway. Didn’t we when we were that age?

5.  If money was no object, where would you travel to?

It used to be Spain. I was so enamored with the idea of it. However, over the years, Ireland has seemed to replace that and made it to the bucket list. I am really not sure why or how that change has come about. I think it may be that I am found of the Irish accent and culture. Thought I studied Spanish, which I think was my main reason for wanting to visit before, an Ireland vacation seems to be higher on the list. If I ever go, I think drinking a beer in a pub seems like a good start and then maybe finding some wild ponies would be on the list too.

6.  What do you like about blogging?

I like the ability to write on a variety of topics in a variety of styles. And though that, I am finding a community of people who are often more accepting and friendly than some of the communities actually around me.

7.  What are your thoughts on all-girl or all-boy schools?

I don’t see the appeal in them really. We have to learn to interact with each other eventually, so why not start when we are kids?

8.  How old were you when you first rode a bike?

I don’t recall the exact age but I had to be in elementary school as my recall my first bike was when we lived in Michigan. The Christmas I got it was magical too. Under the hue of Christmas lights, I saw Santa pulling my bike up to the tree. I moved quietly behind the couch with my mom and dad as we watched Santa pull out the other gifts. But all I could see what the best gift ever: a pink banana-seat bike with swirling streamers hanging from the handle bars. Aaahhhh, the memories of riding around trails on that bike still stick out in my mind. I do wonder where that bike ever went though…And who was “Santa” since my mom AND dad were behind the couch with me.  HHHhmmmmmmm?

9.  Is there a song that brings tears to your eyes?

I absolutely love Hurt by Christina Aguilera. If you listen to they lyrics/watch the video, it is all about losing someone over some issue(s) and then realizing that your chance to ever see them again is gone, forever. It then you realize, maybe you were wrong? Maybe you should have forgiven them? Maybe you should have tried to make amends? But stubbornly, you continue to avoid them for whatever reasons, but now that they are gone, did you really just hurt yourself by hurting them? It makes me think of a few loved ones in my life.

 

10. How do you feel about receiving awards?

I know some people don’t accept them, and I can totally respect that. It can be taxing to have to answer the questions, and maybe more personal information than some bloggers want to share. And then the nominating part is always a challenge: Who do you choose? Will someone feel left out if you don’t put them on there? Will someone be annoyed that you chose them?

I guess the bottom line for me is that it is very thoughtful that someone thought of my blog to select me. So, I may as well return the courtesy of doing the same for other bloggers. And if they don’t do awards like these, I can totally understand that as well.

 

For the nominations, I decided to go with some blogs I have found recently (and a post I liked of theirs): 

  1. The MomHood (https://themomhood.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/prompt-stomp-week-3/)
  2. What the Woman Wrote (https://whatthewomanwrote.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/in-your-eyes/)
  3. jmeyersforeman photography (https://jmeyersforeman.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/carly-and-mike/)
  4. From Hiding to Blogging (https://cxianliu.wordpress.com/portfolio/close-up-macro/)
  5. Photography by Nic (http://photography-by-nic.com/2015/10/04/rainbow/)
  6. Drawing with Light (https://katieprior.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/monochrome-madness-2-28/)
  7. Coffee fuels my photography! (http://coffeefuelsmyphotography.com/2015/10/14/autumn-cluster-wordless-wednesday/)

 

Questions From Me:

  1. What made you want to start your blog?
  2. What have you wanted to do on your blog but haven’t yet? Why not?
  3. Name one item on your bucket list, or more if you like?
  4. What is your biggest fear?
  5. What is your best moment in life?
  6. With New Years fast approaching, do you make resolutions? If so, name one. If not, why don’t you like to make them?
  7. If you could host a challenge on your blog, what kind would it be?
  8. What was the name of your first pet? What do you remember the most about them?
  9. Did you ever go to a high school reunion? Was it fun or not?
  10. Do you have a pet peeve?

 

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Hoodwinked by “Love”


I have always been a fool for love. I was the little girl who watched Cinderella, the teen who married her high school sweetheart and the woman who believed all men meant what they said. Each and every time, I thought it was true, everlasting love. Unfortunately though, I was wrong every time. It wasn’t love. Some of it was friendship, attraction and mutual desire. However, other times it was just plain and simple abuse that I willingly accepted, and at times, even asked for more.

Like most girls, I watched all the fairytales. I believed in princes and romance and a life full of passion. I didn’t really witness this kind of magical love while growing up, but yet, I thought it was still out there. I wished for it. I prayed for it. I wrote about it.

At times, I think I had sprinkles of love, or at least some heavy puppy love. I had some romance and passion and fun. There were words of endearment, claims of unending love and dreams of a life of grandeur. Men had promised to love me, stand by my side and never leave me. But more often than not, their words did not reflect their actions.

I was told I was perfectly beautiful, but that I should dress up more and wear my hair differently. I was told that I was exciting, fun and full of passion, but then left because I was ‘too hard to keep up with.’ I was told that I was funny and witty, but was punched in the face because that same mouth stated the unwanted truth. I was told that I was desired so much and that I shouldn’t be scared, but he didn’t notice or care that I was crying. I was told that I was so easy to talk to, a perfect friend who he could tell all his troubles to, but when it came time to meet, he couldn’t remember the fact that he was actually still married. (Thank God we never actually met.) I was told that I was a good mother, but was berated for not answering texts fast enough when I was spending time with my teenager. I was told that I should spend time with my family, but was broken up with over the phone while at my mother’s funeral because he was ‘tired of begging for my attention.’ I was told that I was loved so deeply and so truly, but I was cheated on multiple times.

This was the love I learned over the last 30+ years. Needless to say, this was not the love I envisioned or wanted. No, not at all. I don’t ever remember Prince Charming breaking his soulmate’s teeth with his fist. Nor was there a chapter where he made her feel bad about spending time with her children or honoring her dead mother. The princes I was choosing were of a different breed. However, I can’t blame everything on my suitors. I wholeheartedly believe a relationship takes two to work. There were times, I was not the best girlfriend or wife. I played my part at times. I had harsh words in response to hurt. I lowered myself to a revenge cheat when I discovered the first painful betrayal. I could be overwhelming at times with things I wanted to do or places I wanted to go, knowing finances were a concern.

So I could have done some things better. Maybe if I had, certain relationships could have been different. I don’t believe any of my actions caused the abuse though, at least not anymore. At the time, I thought it was my fault though. I should not have led him on if I didn’t want to do more…but I was just a teenager, it wasn’t my fault. I should not have accused him of cheating and then he would not have punched me….but it was true, he was cheating and he had no right to hit me. I should not have started talking to a married man and got close…but he told me he was separated and I believed him, it all made sense.

With each of these relationships, I learned. I learned that love was not what I thought it was. It was hard. It was unstable. It was insecure. It was mean. And it was painful at times. I started to think it was fiction. There was no damn Prince Charming! And maybe it was crazy for women to expect men to perform at that level. I mean that is a lot of pressure and effort. Maybe I was just expecting too much and believing in fairytales. So I started to give up on love, the whole idea. I started to throw in the towel  and resign myself to a social life of outdoor activities I tried alone. I thought, I can be quite happy in life alone. I don’t need a man to make me happy.

This was all going fine…and then, I went on a blind date. Now, I want to believe love is possible. I hope that my battered heart can heal. I pray that this prince is different. I dream that a relationship without abuse is not fiction. I crave that I can be seen for who I am, fun and passionate, and be enough, and yet, not too much. I wish that disagreements can be settled without the desire and respect diminishing. I think all of these things as I look into the eyes of my new prince, my new boyfriend. It is almost terrifying to try another hand at love, but hey, I have always been a fool.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the Daily Post ~ Brilliant Disguise. 

From Blind Date to Fairytale


After being divorced and dating a few jerks, I really wasn’t all that excited about a blind date, especially with a “nice” guy. Yeah, those guys never like me anyway. I seem to attract the crazy, abusive or unstable men. Nice would be a refreshing change, but highly unlikely. I’d probably have more luck with the lottery, but I decided to go anyway. I figured, at the very least, I could enjoy a meal and bowling with friends, and possibly make a new one. I had no expectations of this blind date man even liking me. I have to admit, I was completely right, but utterly wrong at the same time. He didn’t like me. That was clear. Nope, he was more than a potential new friend. He was my perfect prince who started my real-life fairytale.

I was enjoying a glass of wine with friends when my prince and I met. He confidently walked over to the table where our mutual friends and I sat with a big smile on his face. As soon as I saw his dark hair, firm build, dreamy eyes and scruffy beard, I got butterflies. Of course, I tried to play it cool with a casual smile. But inside, my heart was doing a little school-girl happy dance. “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. This date just moved to the next level.”

We all chatted easily over dinner, laughing and sharing stories. My prince was polite, respectful and quite the witty gentleman. Once dinner was done, we moved over to the bowling alley. Originally, I had rode to the restaurant with the couple who introduced us. But this handsome blind date of mine offered me a ride. Again, I hid my swirls of excitement with, “Sure. That’s fine with me.”

As we bowled, some of the initial walls began to fall. We found out more about each other’s lives. Divorced. Kids. Jobs. Hobbies…The twinkle in his eyes when he smiled….The spark from his hand during a high-five worthy strike…The heart-piercing sound of his laugh. Yeah, there was definitely something there. So I took deep breaths, telling myself, “Relax. Be yourself. Don’t expect too much.”

After bowling two games and delaying our friends some, we decided to move the date into the blind-date-extended-version. We said goodbye to our friends and we headed downtown to find some live music. While sitting side by side listening to the band, my prince put his arm around me gracefully and pulled me close. His touch was like a shock throughout my body. Oh, yes. I was in trouble, but it was the kind of trouble no girl in her right mind would avoid. By the end of the night, I felt like I had known this man for months. There was a complete and utter comfort in me as I spoke to him. I could tell him anything and he listened. Throughout the night, we shared more than most would recommend for a first date I am sure. But we didn’t care. It was as though we had just found our best friend again after being parted for a number of years. We had so much to tell and share.

By the end of the night, we had our first kiss. He slowly took my face into his hands and pulled me close. When our lips met, it was like the world melted away. I didn’t care about anything else but this amazingly perfect moment.

Eventually, the kiss did have to stop though. It may have been minutes. It may have been hours. Time was irrelevant anyway as we were both in a euphoria that we had forgotten was possible. Suddenly, the world seemed to be so much more exciting. That thought was very clear.

As the night ended, we knew we had to see each other again. So we didn’t waste any time of course. We hung out the next day, nearly the entire day. We ate brunch together and laid around talking about almost everything and absolutely nothing. We went swimming. Yes, it was the second date and my prince saw me without makeup, and he didn’t even seem to care! We took a walk hand-in-hand. I showed him the barn where my horse was boarded, my “sanctuary” in times of stress. We shared stories of heartache and pain. We laughed like school kids over the silliest things until our abs hurt. We kissed so gently it was like a soft breeze, and we even took a nap in each other’s arms. Through all of this, we really saw each other, like the real us. Not the image you normally display for the public, but the real, gritty, not-so-perfect us. And it was wonderful. There was no stress, no anxiety, or no façade.

At the end of the day, we thought about how crazy it was. We had just spent nearly 24 hours together in only two days. Probably not the most normal of blind dates for sure. But there was no reason to end, except for the mundane fact of work, which we had almost completely forgotten about. Yeah, reality snuck in for a moment. We did have to work in the morning after all. So we called it a night, but only after making a dinner date for the next day. Yes, he was going to make me dinner on day three of knowing me. I think the words, ‘pinch me’ came to my mind. However, dinner was just the beginning of the adventure to come.

The next day at dinner, this man amazed me even more. He was making me shrimp. “I remember you said it was your favorite,” said the dreamy-eyed creature who walked into my life only two days prior. I stood there smiling like a fool I am sure. How is it possible to be this happy and relaxed with him already? How did he even remember that I mentioned shrimp was my favorite? When did I even say that? As I stood there in thought, he leaned in, softly kissing my lips and started to dance with me in his kitchen. It was sweet and perfect. We danced about the house, laughing and talking. We ate shrimp and broccoli and drank wine. It was the simplest and yet most wonderful meal I think I have ever had. And at one point, he looked into my eyes and said, “Would you go to the beach with me?” At this point, I thought I was dreaming. Surely, I was dreaming. What 43-year-old divorced woman has a hot, single, nice guy invite them to the beach after only knowing them for barely three days? Only girls on the Hallmark Movie Network that’s who. And last I knew, I was not on a movie set. I mean if I was, I certainly was not seeing a check from them. Though, I have to admit the man before did have the body and face worthy of a part in a romantic novel. Heck. Maybe I was on a set?

“Are you serious? You can’t be serious. You barely know me,” I said with a laugh.

“I know enough, and I think we would have fun at the beach together,” said my handsome date.

“I think we would have fun too. I am sure of it. I can’t believe you are serious though! Um, can I give you an answer tomorrow? I will need to make sure some things are in order, but I think it is very doable,” I said with the biggest smile ever.

“You have the most genuine smile. So pure,” he stated as he ran his fingers along my jaw.

Oh yes, this was turning out to be a Hallmark Movie Network set after all. The only difference here was that there was no annoying person to yell cut in the action. Nope. It was real and right in front me. And I thought, why not take a chance?

The next day after work, my romantic blind date came by my house. The day before he mentioned wanting to cut up a tree that had fallen in my yard after a storm. He wanted to do this before we headed out on our four-hour drive to the beach.

“Are you kidding me? You want to cut up my tree for me? Before we drive and after we work?” At that point, I really did look around. I must be on one of those candid camera shows, but one with a romantic twist. Did they have those? They must! This must be a trick because wonderfully kind, handsome men did not exist. At least not in my past they didn’t. They were either kind, insecure and smothering or they were handsome, manipulative and abusive. This mix of sexy, gentle, giving, romantic and strong standing before me was something I did not know. I almost felt like I was staring at a mythical unicorn. But I am not a stupid woman. I was up for the challenge of taking a risk. “OK, cut away if you desire. While you do that, I will make some dinner.”

So there I was, in my kitchen, making meatloaf for a man I just met on Saturday. It was only Tuesday night and he was about to eat dinner in my home with me and my live-in father. This is insane, I thought. Who does this? Who runs off to the beach with someone they just met? Me. Yes, apparently I do, I told myself with a laugh. Outside of my past experiences with crazy men, everything in me told me to go. Everything in me compelled me to take a chance. Everything in me pushed me deeper into this magical fairytale unfolding before me. Everything in me whispered, you will regret not going. Seize the moment.

I looked out the kitchen window as I mixed the meatloaf, wondering, am I about to make the biggest mistake of my life or am I about to embark on the most romantic time of my life? I did not see a middle ground here. We were both all-or-nothing kind of people who spoke our minds. There was no beating around the bush and no time to waste. We both had been unhappy for way too long in our lives. Therefore, we were ready to take a chance and see where this instant connection would take us. And for the moment, after we ate some meatloaf with my dad, the connection was taking us to the beach…

(To be continued…)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In response to the Dungeon Prompts ~ Turning Point.

&

The Daily Prompt ~ Happily Ever After.

Why does your love hurt?


I sit and wonder how you are

We used to call, we used to write

We used to laugh and talk all night

 

When I met you, our embrace was real

I felt you, I saw you in those eyes

Now I sit alone and am not sure why

 

Are the words you said real

Am I wrong for how I feel

Can I not be your friend

Am I wrong for not wanting it to end

 

I want to help you

But you shut me out

And I am left alone

Trying to figure it out

 

Friends say I shouldn’t be sad

He wasn’t ready, just be glad

 

But they don’t know the you I saw

They didn’t experience the great fall

It was real

It was sweet

It was the world at my feet

 

But maybe I just wanted to see what you couldn’t give

Maybe I am not what will help you live

As a friend, I hope you find your way

And I hope you know I loved you today

 

I tried to help, I tried to care

But you left me feeling stupid and bare

So know I meant every word I said

And think about how you left me feeling dead

 

*These were my thoughts on love…after drinking.

Where is my love?


Love. Everyone desires it. If they say they don’t, I would question if they are human. Love in the simplest terms is life. It is the reason for living and makes the world a better place. It illuminates your inner soul and makes you a better person. It puts a bounce in your step and a light in your eye. When you love someone, you want to do better and be better. You want to make their life better. People have done amazing things in the name of love.

I’ve often wondered why love is so difficult if it is so desirable. I suppose if I knew the answer, I would be wealthy and sought after for advice. If others knew, there would not be so many books and songs written on the topic. Apparently, trouble with love is common though. There are times when I hear a song that says exactly what I am feeling, and then I know I am not alone. (Perhaps if I could just meet the love-lost writer of the song, we could both be happy finally? I mean we are going through the same pain.)

The love I want appears to be the kind in fairytales. There is desire, respect, and friendship. It includes random dancing in the kitchen, driving down the road singing songs badly together, and enjoying complete silence together while watching a sunset. I want someone who loves me for who I am. He loves that I can go from the barn to the symphony in one day (and he will do those things with me). He doesn’t get jealous of my horse because he knows that’s my Zen moment. He laughs when I leave little notes in his truck. He actually listens to how I feel. He trusts me enough to tell me what is upsetting him (even if it is something I did). We talk to each other regularly. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We know the other’s dreams and support them. We randomly surprise each other with little things, like a favorite home-cooked meal or tickets to a favorite event (even though those things may not be our personal favorites).

This dream man of mine only wants me. He is confident enough to tell me that and shows me I am his and he is mine. He needs no other woman’s attention. He has his own hobbies and friends, and I have mine. We can both go do those hobbies and hang out with those friends individually – respecting that personal time and those friendships. We are not hurt by this time because we love each other enough to value that space and those friends. (Who doesn’t need that?) When he is gone, I don’t worry because I know he is mine and he will return. I know he can be faithful because he is happy and an honest, honorable man.

This ultimate man considers my feelings, and I his. We are a couple in every sense. We are friends, partners, and teammates. When one hurts, the other feels it and wants to protect and support. This is the love of movies, books and fairytales. It is not perfect, but it is real and enduring. He doesn’t quit me and I don’t quit him. This is the love I want. This is the love I need.

Will I ever know this love? Maybe. Maybe not. I may have already met him but he is not ready. I may have seen him and not known. He may be afraid to talk to me. We may even be friends right now and have not reached that point of in our relationship. Whatever the case, I will not stop believing in fairytales. He is out there. But, I guess I will not know what the future holds until I get there. I just hope it’s soon…like next week is good for me.

~~~~~~~~~~~

What makes my ‘love’ so fine?