About Me

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On a quest to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I enjoy conversation with good friends over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. If I could be anywhere on earth, I'd choose to be on the beach, in the moonlight, with my feet buried in sand up to my ankles.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Art for the Auditory

I may be the only auditory learner on the planet. I’m the only one I know of anyway. Most people learn visually which explains the plethora of diagrams, graphs and charts out there. I’ve sat through many a business meeting squinting at charts intended to present information in the “easiest” way possible. I’m all about words. Want me to remember something? Tell me. Giving me directions? PLEASE don’t draw me a map, and for goodness sake don’t tell me every extraneous landmark and cross road between here and there. Despite my visual deficiencies I’m fairly creative. I enjoy drawing/doodling and have always wanted to take an art class. I found one offered through my local rec. center, Colored Pencil Drawing of Plants and Flowers, and signed up. I purchased the required pad of Bristol smooth paper and went to my first class this past week. Our first lesson was on shading. The instructor had us draw a circle, a cylinder, a cone and a cube. I knew I was in trouble when my cylinder ended up looking like a dented beer can. I got so flustered I forgot how to draw a cube. I tried to copy what the instructor was doing with shading, but I didn’t get it. We were supposed to imagine that light was falling on the shapes from a certain direction. Huh? “Look at that wall,” the instructor said. “See how it’s not all one color because of the way the light hits it?” It isn’t all the same color? It looks like the same color to me.

I was still trying to wrap my mind around the shading thing when the instructor moved on to the next topic – drawing a leaf. I spent half of the available time trying to make the outline of my leaf look like the picture with lots of erasing and redrawing. Once I had the basic outline it was time to color the leaf in with colored pencil. Painting with color pencils is about layering. I had difficulty with the concept of putting a base color down on a section of the leaf with the idea that the color will change as I add additional layers of other colors. I forced myself not to look at my classmates’ work for fear that I would be completely psyched out by how much better they were doing than I was. By the end of the evening my drawing did indeed look like a leaf, although I couldn’t tell you which direction the light was coming from or whether or not the shading was right. There are only 3 classes left. Something tells me that may not be enough for this visually impaired “artist”.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It Hurts a Little Less

When removing a band aid ripping it off quickly hurts a little less than pulling it off slowly one hair follicle at a time.

Learning to play the guitar is painful until calluses build up on finger tips. After months of daily practicing, pressing the strings down on the frets hurts a little less.

Singing off key at the first audition is less embarrassing ten years later, after many more times of hitting the wrong notes and playing the wrong keys in many more venues.

An exercise routine starts off with sore muscles and stiffness, but later as muscles gain strength the body moves with fluidity and greater endurance and less pain.

After months of living without you, hours of second guessing myself, and painful chance encounters seeing you today hurt a little less.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Ragged Hope

My appologies for my lengthy absence from blogland.  I've been off pursing other writing opportunities (see shameless plug for my new book to the right of this post).  I recently entered a writing contest (that I didn't win) and I'm posting the story I submitted here in hopes that you'll enjoy it and most importantly that you'll give me some constructive feedback. 

God told me to. That phrase has been used by so many people to excuse unthinkable behavior that I hesitate to even say it out loud. There had been no audible voice telling me to bring my 3 ½ year old niece to live with me, but still I knew that I was supposed to. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I was sure I would be successful. I would take her from the unstable environment she was in and bring her to a loving home, give her everything she needed and she would be fine.

Amanda’s worldly possessions after 3 years of life fit into one medium suitcase. Less than a week’s worth of clothes, a handful of Little Golden Books and a doll – a Mrs. Beasley doll that according to the almost illegible tag was made in 1962. The doll’s hair stuck straight up, her talk box didn’t work – the string was permanently pulled out, and it appeared that her left arm had been sown back on at least once.

Amanda looked “normal” on the outside, beautiful in fact, but she didn’t act like other kids, at least not like my friends’ kids. She was a mass of energy by day running around and around, moving from one toy to another, never stopping long to play with them, and a screaming banshee by night. She was terrified of falling asleep and would scream for hours when I tried to put her to bed. No routine of bed time story and snuggling or rocking her in the rocking chair tired her out. She went full speed until she finally went unconscious. Her mother used to put her to bed and then after she was asleep would leave her and not come back for days or weeks, and then the last time not at all.

A typical day for Amanda at preschool went something like this:

8:25 Grabbed a coloring picture away from Alexia

9:00 Snack

9:10 Ate Ben’s crackers

9:25 Called Ben a #@%$ because he wouldn’t play with her

10:05 Fought with Alexia over the tire swing

10:55 Pushed Jessica off the swing

11:10 Hit Cindy in the head with a Barbie doll

11:25 Pushed herself in between two kids during story time and pinched them.

11:30 Lunch

12:00 Took a chair away from Alexia

12:30 Refused to lie down for nap

12:40 Talking while other children are trying to sleep

1:00 Asleep

2:00 Awake

2:10 Pulled Emily’s hair

2:30 Kicked Andrew

3:00 Choked Alexia

3:20 Spit on the children on the tire swing

She seemed to have no remorse. This became more alarming as she got older. She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and she wouldn’t stop trying to get it until she got it, fell asleep from exhaustion or moved on to some other distraction.

I prayed for healing of her emotional wounds and wisdom to raise her well. I read parenting books, went to classes. I set limits, she exceeded them. I gave her consequences, her behavior stayed the same. I gave her rewards for good behavior. I read more books, hired therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. With each new expert came new diagnoses: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Sensory Dysfunction, Mood Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I thought I must be doing something wrong. Where was the healing? Maybe I needed to pray more specifically, or have more people pray with me. Surely God would not ask me to do something that wasn’t doable.

Amanda left home when she turned 18. She lives on the streets or in sleazy motels or low rent apartments. She has been in and out of jail, and she supports herself by selling her body. She walks with a limp due to an injury she sustained when she jumped from the moving car of a “client” who tried to abduct her. Given the way things have turned out I have questioned God over and over again about why he had me bring her home if he wasn’t going to save her. I did my part. When was He going to do His? I still don’t have a satisfactory answer, but I think God valued giving Amanda a chance at a good life regardless of whether or not she took advantage of that chance. Thankfully the chance is still there. I’m praying she takes it.