30 Questions for Self-discovery: Part 5

30-journaling-prompts-worksheet-lavendaire

I found this, and you can download the .pdf at www.lavendaire.com

This is supposed to be a thirty-day journey of self-discovery, but I tend to lose focus (and motivation), so I broke this down into five days.  On each of the days  thus far I have answered six of the questions.  You can see the answers for the previous four posts by clicking on the day of the week.

This has been a fun and enlightening journey, and I would love for you to take this journey as well.

Day one:  Monday

  •  How do I feel at the moment?
  •  What do I need more of in my life?
  •  What would make me happy right now?
  •  What is going right in my life?
  •  What am I grateful for?  List at least 10 things.
  •  When did I experience joy this week?

Day two:  Tuesday

  •  List all my small victories and successes.
  •  What’s bothering me?  Why?
  •  What are my priorities at the moment?
  •  What do I love about myself?
  •  Who means the world to me and why?
  •  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

Day three:  Wednesday

  •  What advice would I give to my younger self?  (Do I follow this advice now?)
  •  What lesson did I learn this week?
  •  If I had all the time in the world, what would I want to do first?
  •  What’s draining my energy?  What can I do to reduce or cut it out?
  •  What does my ideal morning look like?
  •  What does my ideal day look like?

Day four:  Thursday

  •  What makes me come alive?  When was the last time I felt truly alive?
  •  Who/What inspires me the most?  Why am I drawn to those inspirations?
  •  Where does my pain originate?  What would need to happen for me to heal?
  •  What are my strengths?  What am I really good at?
  •  What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared?
  •  What is something I would love to learn?

Day five:  Saturday

  •  What hobbies would I like to try?

I don’t know, really.  I’m always up for trying something new.  So if you have any hobbies that you particularly enjoy feel free to tell me about them.  My next new hobby may be something I don’t even know about.

  •  Where would I want to live in my ideal life?

I know that would not want to live in a big city.  I was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and I couldn’t image living anywhere else.  That is until I left St. Louis.  I’ve lived in Paducah, Kentucky since January of 2001, and I wouldn’t move back to a big city for anything.

My ideal life would be in a small city or town much like Paducah.  Although, my husband and I fell in love with North Platte, Nebraska when we went there for a visit a couple of years ago.

We loved that it was a small city, much like Paducah.  It was in a beautiful area of the country, near the edge of the plains region of the United States, surrounded by open areas and farmland.  On the highway through Nebraska we would look out the windows of the car and could see for miles and miles.  There was no large buildings or smog to mar the view of the sunset.

The city of North Platte was built by the railroad industry.  Much of the city works for Bailey Yard, which is the world’s largest freight rail yard and is operated by Union Pacific.  Railfans come from all over the country to visit the Golden Spike Tower and Visitors Center, so the permanent residents of the North Platte are used to tourists.  In all other cities that I’ve visited, the permanent residents have been a bit jaded and not too welcoming to out-of-towners.  Yet the residents of North Platte the we encountered were warm and welcoming.  The city itself is rich in heritage, which it celebrates and puts on display in its many parks and historic events.

North Platte is just a few hours east of where my sister lives in Colorado, and about nine hours west of St. Louis, where my family still lives.  More than anything, though, it was how open and unobstructed the city was.  Farmland and fields as far as the eye could see all the way across the state (once you get past Omaha).  I felt like I could stretch my arms out as far as the east is from the west and still not touch anything.  I felt like I could take the first deep breath of newborn life.  I could close my eyes and hear no highway traffic, people yelling, or other ambient noises that come with life in a large city.  I could sit outside at night and see more stars in one night than I had seen in all the collective years of my life.

My ideal life doesn’t have to be in North Platte, Nebraska.  North Platte is simply where I discovered what kind of place makes me happiest, where I feel most comfortable and at home, and it’s in a place such as that where my ideal life would take place.

  •  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?

I would love to travel to Colorado.  That is where my sister and niece live.  I’ve never been to Colorado, and want to not only visit with my family, but I want to stand in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.  I want to see the sunrise and sunset on the mountain range.  I want to breathe in the clean, clear air.  I want to see snow-capped mountain peaks, and see railroad tunnels that have been carved into mountain sides.  I want to visit the Continental Divide.  I want to sit outside on their back porch in the middle of the night, no other person around for miles, and feel like the only person in the world.

  •  What can I do to take better care of myself?

Where do I begin on this one?

I need to quit smoking.  I need to eat better, and exercise more.  I need to do all the stuff that everyone tells you leads to a happier and more healthy life.

All those things may lead to a healthier life, but I am here to tell you that those things do not ensure a happier life.  Right now I have all I need to take great care of myself.  I have a roof over my head.  I have food on my table.  I have a job that pays for my basic living needs and allows me and my family extra money for not just the “needs” but also the “wants.”  I have friends and family that love me and that I love.

People always think that taking better care of yourself means only taking care of yourself physically.  But you also have to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally.  I am blessed to be surrounded by more than my fair share of people who care for me, and God always provides the things I truly need in life.  I would say that right now I am pretty well taken care of.

  •  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?

I used to live in fear of trying anything new.  After all, what if I didn’t know how to do whatever it was that I was trying to do?  What if I completely screwed up?  What if was an epic failure?  I would find reasons to convince myself that I was bad at something before I even tried to do it.  I had absolutely no confidence in myself.

Over time, though, I have come to realize that living life in a comfortable bubble of fear not only kept me from embarrassing myself or failing at anything, but it also kept me from living life.  How would I learn what I love to do, how would I learn what I am good at, how would I be able to look back on my life and say that I lived if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone?

I said for as long as I could remember that I wanted to write and publish a novel.  A couple of years ago I discovered that anyone can do just that through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.  So I wrote a (very bad) novel and published it on Amazon.  It sold several copies and got some nice (and not-so-nice) reviews.  The book is no longer listed on Amazon because I took it down.  I wrote my book, I published it and put myself out there to be critiqued for my writing.  I was terrified the day I clicked “publish” and my book went live on Amazon.  But I did it.  I wrote a book and became a published author.  After time I realized that I no longer needed the reinforcement of book downloads and purchases to be able to call myself a writer.  It was never about that anyway.  Writing and publishing that book was simply a test of myself.  I wanted to be able to see if I could write the book and put myself so plainly out into the world.  I did it.  Mission accomplished.  Confidence built.  Fear conquered.

  •  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

I would like my legacy to be one of happiness and joy.  I’ve always said that when I pass away that I don’t want a typical funeral.  I don’t want a visitation where everyone stands around dressed in head-to-toe black, talking in hushed tones and crying.  That is now how I live.  Why would I want that when I die?

I want there to be upbeat music (preferably from a playlist that I have put together), and I would like everyone to be able to laugh and share their favorite stories about me, stories of (hopefully) how I made their world a little brighter, happier, brought more sparkle.  I want my funeral to be a joyful experience full of color and life, how I try to live my life now.  I want people to walk into my visitation and think to themselves, “this is exactly what Heather would have wanted.”

I would love to leave this world having made a positive impact on someone.  I want my legacy to be that of happiness and laughter.  I would love, after I pass, for someone to see a rainbow and think of me, or see something gaudy and sparkly and think, “I wish Heather were here to see this.”  I would love for my legacy to be one of friendship.  I don’t want anyone to say that I was the best friend they ever had.  I would just like to leave a legacy behind of being the best friend that I could be to others.

I want to leave behind a legacy of a good life lived well with no fears, no regrets, never a missed opportunity to add a little sparkle to someone’s life, and never a missed opportunity to offer someone a hug or to tell them that I love them.

What will your legacy be?

 

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30 Questions for Self-discovery: Part 4

30-journaling-prompts-worksheet-lavendaire

I found this, and you can download the .pdf at www.lavendaire.com

This is supposed to be a thirty-day journey of self-discovery, but I tend to lose focus (and motivation), so I am going to break this down into five days.  On each of the five days I will answer six of the questions.  I would love for you to follow along with me, and even perhaps delve into your own journey of self-discovery.

Day one:  Monday

  •  How do I feel at the moment?
  •  What do I need more of in my life?
  •  What would make me happy right now?
  •  What is going right in my life?
  •  What am I grateful for?  List at least 10 things.
  •  When did I experience joy this week?

Day two:  Tuesday

  •  List all my small victories and successes.
  •  What’s bothering me?  Why?
  •  What are my priorities at the moment?
  •  What do I love about myself?
  •  Who means the world to me and why?
  •  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

Day three:  Wednesday

  •  What advice would I give to my younger self?  (Do I follow this advice now?)
  •  What lesson did I learn this week?
  •  If I had all the time in the world, what would I want to do first?
  •  What’s draining my energy?  What can I do to reduce or cut it out?
  •  What does my ideal morning look like?
  •  What does my ideal day look like?

Day four:  Thursday

  •  What makes me come alive?  When was the last time I felt truly alive?

There are several things that make me feel alive:  worshiping with family and friends at church; playing with my son or the children in my Sunday school class; executing the Country Cares for Kids St. Jude Radiothon on my radio station.

To ask when the last time was that I felt truly alive implies that for the bulk of my life I feel dead.  I try not to take for granted the small but important moments in my life, the moments where memories are made, or the moments when I feel like I am truly putting my talents to work for a greater good.

To not take for granted those small moments in life is to have a constant reminder that you are alive, that you are important to the world, and that as long as you have breath in your lungs then you can do something to make the world a better and more beautiful place.

  •  Who/What inspires me the most?  Why am I drawn to those inspirations?

There are two people who immediately come to mind as inspirations in my life.  The first is my pastor’s wife, Carolyn, and the other is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas.

The first time I met Carolyn I had not stepped foot in a church in ten years.  I knew nobody in that church that first morning.  She welcomed me with the warmest and most sincere hug and smile.  I immediately felt at home.  She reminds me greatly of my late grandmother, who to me was the epitome of a woman.  She was smart, beautiful, patient, determined, loving, strong in her faith, and always wanting to do what she could to encourage and promote the people in her life.  That’s exactly how Carolyn is.

She has such a heart for everyone in the church, especially the ladies.  She always goes out of her way to make sure everything is beautiful and comfortable for anyone who enters the church and her home.  She is constantly on-the-go, but always has a moment to talk to someone, listen to someone, or offer a hug and a smile.  She is the busiest woman I know, but she has such a huge heart for the people in the church and for people who haven’t found the church yet.

I used to strive to be more like my grandmother, but I lost her when I was 25 years old.  She was perfect in my eyes, and losing her was a hard blow to my heart and to my faith in God.  I didn’t understand how God could take from this earth a woman like her.  I spent several years angry at God for what I felt like was Him robbing me of her.  But God  saw fit to put another woman in my life to learn from, a woman with the same heart that my grandmother had.  Carolyn is a blessing and an inspiration in my life as a woman, as a friend, and as a leader of the church, and I am thankful everyday that she is part of my life.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he put her in front of me that first day at church.

The second person that inspires me is the late actor, comedian, and founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Danny Thomas.  The story of how and why he started St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a constant reminder that God can do huge things through anybody.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital may have opened its doors in February of 1962, it was actually born many years before when Danny was an unknown and struggling actor.

The story goes that Danny Thomas went to church one night to pray.  He was struggling in his early career, was married, and had a child on the way.  At church he prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes.  He asked St. Jude to make him a success in his career, and in return Danny promised that he would build a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus.  Before he left the church that night he dropped his last 7-dollars in the offering plate.  Within a week he got a job offer to do a toothpaste commercial that paid ten-times what he dropped in the offering plate the night he prayed to St. Jude.

Though the door of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital didn’t open until February of 1962, the hospital existed long before that.  When Danny found success as an actor and comedian he went to work keep his promise to St. Jude.  He went to all of his friends and fellow entertainers and got financial support to open a hospital that wasn’t going to charge patients and their families a single penny for treatment, because Danny believed that the only thing a family should worry about is helping their child get well, not stressing over how much treatments are going to cost.  He sold everyone on the idea of opening a hospital that was going to cure childhood cancer, because Danny Thomas said, “no child should die in the dawn of life.”  In a time when segregation was still a normal part of life, Danny got financial backers to open a hospital that would not turn away a patient due to their race, religion, or financial situation.

When St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened it’s doors in February of 1962, the overall survivability of childhood cancer was 20-percent.  That means that only one out of every five children that walked into St. Jude walked back out.  But Danny had a dream for the hospital that doctors, nurses, and researchers would work together to cure 100-percent of children with cancer.  Today St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has raised the overall survivability of childhood cancer up to 80-percent!  EIGHTY PERCENT!!!  And their goal is to be up to 990-percent within the next decade.  And the hospital NEVER charges families a single penny.  They don’t charge for treatments, medications, food, travel, housing . . . NOTHING!  Families never receive a bill EVER!

Today St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is still funded the same way that it was funded in its birth, by donations from people who believe in Danny’s dream, by donations from people who want to be part of Danny’s promise to completely cure childhood cancer, by donations from people who have endured cancer in their family, and by donations from people that have perfectly healthy children and want St. Jude families to be able to say the same thing.

When Danny Thomas passed away he was remembered as an actor and comedian.  But more than that, more than anything, Danny was remembered for the promise that he made, the promise that he kept, to St. Jude Thaddeus.  He was forever endured into the hearts of people around the world as the man who, when he had nothing, made a promise to build a shrine to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, and he did it.  He kept his promise, and it was a promise that changed the world.

Today St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is where doctors send patients not because the child and their cancer is a hopeless cause, but because at the hospital named for the patron saint of hopeless causes hope can be found.  Hope is the big cream-colored-and-red-trimmed hospital that sits right next to I-40 in Memphis, Tennessee.  Hope is a terrified family walking in the doors after driving in the middle of the night, having just found out their child has cancer, and a doctor that tells them that everything will be alright.  Hope is a treatment protocol that is discovered at St. Jude and is then shared around the world so that it can be used to treat children everywhere.  Hope is a St. Jude family that has lost their child to cancer, but still continues to support the hospital and their work so that no other family will have to lose their child too.  Hope is a promise made when a man had nothing, and a promise kept when he had the world.

That is why Danny Thomas is an inspiration to me.  I have said to myself many times that there is nothing I can do to change the world.  Nothing.  I’m just little me.  But Danny Thomas didn’t have plans to change the world the world either.  What Danny had was faith and he had hope, and that was all he needed to change the world.

  •  Where does my pain originate?  What would need to happen for me to heal?

I used to be a big ball of pain, guilt, shame, and anger.  Much of it stemmed from childhood and having a step-father that was physically and verbally abusive.  I’ve a constant stream of people in my life with substance abuse problems.  I even had a close friend that was verbally and emotionally abusive.  I didn’t think that was possible.  After all, who stays friends with someone who treats them like crap.  But anyone can beat you down so much that you don’t have the mental or physical strength to walk away.  I had self-esteem issues, abandonment issues, anger and unforgiveness . . . I was a hot mess of negativity.

But I started going to Celebrate Recovery almost two-and-a-half years ago.  With the help of that program I was able to forgive people in my life that had hurt me, admit the hurt that I had caused to others, rebuild my self-esteem, and finally get to the know the woman inside me that’s been there all along.  It’s a pretty good feeling to look at the woman I was prior to Celebrate Recovery versus the woman I am now.  I barely liked myself back them, and because of that I was not able to fully love others.  Now I love who I am today, and because I can love myself I can love others.

  •  What are my strengths?  What am I really good at?

I feel like I am a really good listener.  Whether it’s a friend that just needs to talk or one of the kids in my Sunday school class telling me about their week, I try to give my complete attention to that person.  I always joke that God gave me ears for a reason, but to me it’s not really a joke.  I will never turn away someone who wants or needs to talk.

  •  What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared?

Honestly, the only thing I am too scared to do is buy a house.  I want a house, a place my family and I can make into our own home.   I want a house with a backyard big enough to run and play in, big enough to have friends over for a bar-be-que or to sit around a fire pit.  I want a house with a front porch big enough to hang a porch swing.  I want a house that has an island in the kitchen where family and friends can gather.  I want a house with an extra bedroom that can be turned into our “technology-free” room . . . no computers, no tablets, no phones, no video games, no tv.  All it will have is a recliner, a desk, and my bookshelves.  I want a house that has at least one large shade tree in the front yard and at least one large shade tree in the back yard.

So what keeps me from leaving the apartment life behind?  Fear of becoming house poor.  I don’t want to buy a house and then not be able to take care of problems that may arise because we can’t afford it.  What if the water heater goes out, the fridge dies, the plumbing has problems????  As it is now, if anything goes wrong in my apartment I can call maintenance and they come fix it.  With home ownership, I am maintenance, and that scares the crap out of me.

  •  What is something I would love to learn?

I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy.  I love to actually write . . . pen, paper . . . not type, but write.  There is something beautiful about a letter written by hand.  It takes time and thought.  It is intentional.  It’s not cold and perfunctory like an email or text.  In this ever-increasing technological world where everything must be as convenient as possible, the art of actually writing is dying.

I want to learn calligraphy so that when I write a letter, a note, a poem, anything, it will be even more beautiful.

Day five:

  •  What hobbies would I like to try?
  •  Where would I want to live in my ideal life?
  •  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?
  •  What can I do to take better care of myself?
  •  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?
  •  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

 

30 Questions for Self-discovery: Part 3

30-journaling-prompts-worksheet-lavendaire

I found this, and you can download the .pdf at www.lavendaire.com

This is supposed to be a thirty-day journey of self-discovery, but I tend to lose focus (and motivation), so I am going to break this down into five days.  On each of the five days I will answer six of the questions.  I would love for you to follow along with me, and even perhaps delve into your own journey of self-discovery.

Day one:  Monday

  •  How do I feel at the moment?
  •  What do I need more of in my life?
  •  What would make me happy right now?
  •  What is going right in my life?
  •  What am I grateful for?  List at least 10 things.
  •  When did I experience joy this week?

Day two:  Tuesday

  •  List all my small victories and successes.
  •  What’s bothering me?  Why?
  •  What are my priorities at the moment?
  •  What do I love about myself?
  •  Who means the world to me and why?
  •  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

Day three:  Wednesday

  •  What advice would I give to my younger self?  (Do I follow this advice now?)

This question reminds me of two songs . . .

and  . . .

There are many times that I have thought about this.  What would the 41-year-old me tell the 9-year-old me as my mom was going through her divorce from my abusive stepfather?  What would the 41-year-old me tell the 14-year-old me as I struggled with insecurity, low self-esteem, and bullying?  What would the 41-year-old me tell the 18-year-old me as I graduated from high school with no plans for the future?  What would the 41-year-old me tell the 24-year-old me as I packed all of my belongings to leave my hometown and start a new life in a little bitty town where I knew nobody at all?  What would the 41-year-old me tell the 29-year-old me the day I gave birth to my son?  What would the 41-year-old me tell the very-far-from-God 37-year-old me the morning I stepped foot in a church for the first time in 10 years?

I would tell each and every single one of those Me’s . . . nothing.  I wouldn’t say a word.  Going back to tell myself that I would make it through the bullying, insecurity, fear, low self-esteem, and emotional and physical abuse would not change anything for the better in regards to who I am today.  As a matter of fact, I had to endure all the events in my life to get to where I am today.  Without every day happening as it did, the good things and the bad things, I would not be who I am today.

To me, wanting to go back and give advice or encouragement to a younger version of yourself is to say that you regret certain things you’ve done, or wish you could change parts of your history.  But to change your history is to change who you are today.  Remember how well it worked for Doc and Marty and their space-time-continuum in Back to the Future?  You can’t change the past.  It is what it is.  You can only learn from yesterday and use that knowledge to be a better and stronger person today.

So, if I had the opportunity to go back in time and a younger me anything, I would skip it.  I can’t rewrite any of my past, not that I wouldn’t want to.  All I can do is accept my past, embrace the woman who I a today because of my past, live for today, and always try to be better tomorrow.

  •  What lesson did I learn this week?

It’s wasn’t so much a lesson that I learned this week.  It was a lesson I already knew, but God took the opportunity to remind me of . . . a pop quiz, if you will.

I facilitate a group at church for friends and family members of addicts, because addiction affects not just the addict but also everyone around the addict.  Addiction can cause anger, stress, pain, and tear apart families.  I am the daughter of a 15-year addict.  I know firsthand what addiction can do to a family, and I know firsthand that families can recover from addiction.

Last night I was supposed to go to church for this group, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I just wanted to stay home and watch Netflix in my jammies.  I’m on vacation from work this week, and I tried to rationalize with myself that I deserve a vacation from all of my commitments this week.  But I could hear God in my head telling me that I needed to be there.  So I got dressed and headed to church.

There was a girl there last night that is not normally in my group.  She was having a bad anxiety attack and was just feeling all out of sorts.  She sat in on my group, and when it was over she was in no condition to drive.  It turns out that she lives near me, so I was able to drive her home.  She and I had a great conversation in the car last night on the way to her house, and again this morning on the way back to the church to get her car.

I’ve been struggling lately with the fear of opening myself up or making myself available to anyone because I have been hurt recently by so many people I’ve called friends.  So God took this moment to remind me that He has me right where he wants me, and he will put the people in my path that He wants for me.

It’s a simple lesson that God has taught me over and over again, but He knows that sometimes I need a reminder.

  •  If I had all the time in the world, what would I want to do first?

I am on vacation from work this week, so right now I do have all the time in the world.  The first thing I did on Monday morning was sleep in.  Then I spent the day watching television . . . and logging in to my computer at work and doing work.  I am a workaholic, and I struggle with giving up control.  Plus, I struggle with having nothing to do.  I can’t just not do anything.

If work weren’t a factor though, I would travel.  I would get in the car and just go.  I want to explore.  I want to pick a destination and have no set arrival date.  I want to stop at touristy places on the way.  I want to take scenic pictures.  I want to meet local people, and visit museums.  I want to explore all the nooks and crannies, the hidden gems, the small towns, the off-the-beaten-path places that are forgotten but just as spectacular as all the tourist destinations.  I want to see all of the regional kitsch that this world has to offer.

smiley face water tower

Towns with smiley face water towers – roadsideamerica.com

giant rocking chair

World’s largest rocking chair – roadsideamerica.com

giant ketchup bottle

World’s largest catsup bottle website and fan club – official website

Brook’s Catsup Bottle Water Tower – wikipedia

the archway museum

The Archway Museum in Kearney, Nebraska – official website

Great Platte River Road Archway Monument – wikipedia

city museum

City Museum – official website

City Museum – wikipedia

  •  What’s draining my energy?  What can I do to reduce or cut it out?

Honestly, there is nothing that is draining my energy right now.  For a time I was overextended with too many church commitments and going to school.  But I opted to take this semester off school, and I cut down on my church commitments.  It was getting to the point that rather than doing one job well, I was doing several jobs and sucking big time at all of them.  I cut down the number of things that need my attention so that I could focus more attention on what really meant the most to me.

  •  What does my ideal morning look like?

It does not start with an alarm clock.  That’s for sure.  I will wake up when I naturally wake up.  I won’t have to rush to be anywhere.  I would get up and sit on the couch for a little while enjoying a Dr. Pepper.  Once my brain has woken up I will then take my shower, get dressed, and head to work.

  •  What does my ideal day look like?

This question is just too open-ended for me.  Are we talking about a weekday?  A Saturday?  A Sunday?  They are all very different days in my weekly routine, and thus my ideal day is different regarding them all.

Speaking in generalities though, each of my days are already my ideal day.  I have my routine all worked out so that I know where I need to be and when.  I have commitments with church in the evenings that I wouldn’t change for anything.  My ideal day is already my ideal day.

Day four:

  •  What makes me come alive?  When was the last time I felt truly alive?
  •  Who/What inspires me the most?  Why am I drawn to those inspirations?
  •  Where does my pain originate?  What would need to happen for me to heal?
  •  What are my strengths?  What am I really good at?
  •  What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared?
  •  What is something I would love to learn?

Day five:

  •  What hobbies would I like to try?
  •  Where would I want to live in my ideal life?
  •  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?
  •  What can I do to take better care of myself?
  •  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?
  •  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

30 Questions for Self-discovery: Part 2

30-journaling-prompts-worksheet-lavendaire

I found this, and you can download the .pdf at www.lavendaire.com

This is supposed to be a thirty-day journey of self-discovery, but I tend to lose focus (and motivation), so I am breaking this down into five days of six questions each.  Today is day two.  I would love to have you join me on this journey.

Day one:  Monday

  •  How do I feel at the moment?
  •  What do I need more of in my life?
  •  What would make me happy right now?
  •  What is going right in my life?
  •  What am I grateful for?  List at least 10 things.
  •  When did I experience joy this week?

Day two:  Tuesday

  •  List all my small victories and successes.

I have been in a career I love for the past seventeen years.  I am raising a happy, well-adjusted son.  My marriage is going well.  I have friends that love me.  A few years ago I set a goal to write and publish a novel on Amazon, and nine months later I achieved that goal.  I used to have a friend in my life that was extremely toxic.  I thought I would never have the courage to walk away from that relationship, but I two years ago I did and I never looked back.

  •  What’s bothering me?  Why?

The only thing that is bothering me right now is the lingering feeling of abandonment that I am dealing with.  I am going through a season where I am having a difficult time reconciling my expectations of people to what people actually are.  Recently a couple of people that I considered really good friends disappeared with no explanation.  I finally had the opportunity to speak to them over the weekend, and as one of them explained what they did and why they felt the need to do it, all I could think and say was, “but you left me.”  I feel like I should have been able to do something to fix the problems they felt in the situation, that I should have been able to get everyone to sit down and talk it out, to help everyone just get along . . . so that people will stop leaving me because of their problems with others.

  •  What are my priorities at the moment?

I spent too long putting everything ahead of my family.  I was married to my job more than I was married to my family.  I sought approval from my boss and my coworkers more than I tried to be the best wife and mother what I could be.  I also spent too many years thinking that I could control every single aspect of my life.  All that got me was a giant hole in my heart that I tried to fill up with all the wrong things.  Now my priorities are my relationship with Jesus Christ, being a good wife, and being a good mother, and being the person to others that I needed someone to be to me when I was going through hard times.

  •  What do I love about myself?

For the record, I do not love this question.  I feel like I am supposed to be bragging on myself, and that makes me uncomfortable.

So . . . my eyes.  I love my eyes.

I love that I have finally recognized and embraced the unique quirks of my personality, and no longer live with the insecurity of trying to be just like everyone else.  I am an individual, and God made me this way for a reason.  My only job in life is to discover why God made me this way and how He wants me to use it.

  •  Who means the world to me and why?

Above everyone else in the world, my son means everything to me.  He is a miniature version of me, and he is everything I wish I could have been when I was his age.  He is independent.  He is strong-willed.  He has got my sass, and a wonderful and snarky sense of humor.  He is adventurous and inquisitive.  He’s got a vivid imagination.  He is quirky, sensitive, emotional, and comfortable in his own skin.  He hasn’t gotten a chance to get jaded by life yet, and his is comfortable with himself.

  •  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

Taking the time to sit down and discuss, accept, and embrace our differences, instead of getting into a pissing match over them, would make the world a much happier place.  We are all unique and that is what makes the world a beautiful place.  We all bring something different to the table.  Just because I believe something different from you does not make me wrong or you wrong.  It means that our differences give us the perfect opportunity to sit down and get to know each other.  I may not believe the same thing you do, but I will listen to you and I will respect you and your beliefs. My favorite color is purple.  Your favorite color may be orange.  We may not like each other’s favorite colors, but if we can agree to let my favorite color hang out with your favorite color then what we get is a more beautiful and colorful that what we started with.

Violence and hatred do not fix differences.  Violence and hatred do nothing but cause more problems.  Respect and love for each other are the only things that will save the world that we are destroying with anger and hatred.

Day three:

  •  What advice would I give to my younger self?  (Do I follow this advice now?)
  •  What lesson did I learn this week?
  •  If I had all the time in the world, what would I want to do first?
  •  What’s draining my energy?  What can I do to reduce or cut it out?
  •  What does my ideal morning look like?
  •  What does my ideal day look like?

Day four:

  •  What makes me come alive?  When was the last time I felt truly alive?
  •  Who/What inspires me the most?  Why am I drawn to those inspirations?
  •  Where does my pain originate?  What would need to happen for me to heal?
  •  What are my strengths?  What am I really good at?
  •  What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared?
  •  What is something I would love to learn?

Day five:

  •  What hobbies would I like to try?
  •  Where would I want to live in my ideal life?
  •  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?
  •  What can I do to take better care of myself?
  •  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?
  •  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

30 Questions for Self-discovery: Part 1

30-journaling-prompts-worksheet-lavendaire

I found this, and you can download the .pdf at www.lavendaire.com.

This is supposed to be a thirty-day journey of self-discovery, but I tend to lose focus (and motivation), so I am going to break this down into five days.  On each of the five days I will answer six of the questions.  I would love for you to follow along with me, and even perhaps delve into your own journey of self-discovery.

Day one:  Monday

  •  How do I feel at the moment?

Honestly . . . I feel bored.  I am on vacation from work this week, and I’m not quite sure what to do with my time.  My normal week consists of working Monday through Friday, and then various church commitments in the evenings.  This week there is no work to be done.  I should be taking this opportunity to sit back and relax, maybe binge on some Netflix, and I actually feeling a tinge of anxiety because I feel a little lost.  I don’t know what to do with my quiet time.  I’m not used to not being at work.  A day or two off work I can handle.  But even on those days off I am generally busy with church or a family activity.  But this is a whole week.  I don’t know what to do.  Maybe that is a sign that I am too busy.

  •  What do I need more of in my life?

As evidenced by my answer to the previous question, I think I need more down time.  I need more time where there isn’t always some form of noise, distraction, or “pressing need.”  I’ve gotten so used to always being on-the-go that not being on-the-go causes a certain amount of anxiety.  I logged into my work computer today from home and actually did some work, even though there is a person at the station that is completely capable of covering for me in my absence.  But I did it to relax and feel somewhat in control, even though the point of a vacation is to relax by not doing work.  I feel unneeded at the moment, and being unneeded scares me more than just about anything.

  •  What would make me happy right now?

Traveling always makes me happy.  I enjoy exploring new places, eating where the locals eat, shopping at goofy touristy shops, taking tours, learning about local culture and history.  There is a great big world outside of Paducah, Kentucky, and I want to meet explore all of it.  I want to see the sunrise in the mountains, and the sunset on the beach.  I want to go to county fairs and church bazaars.  I want to meet the mom and pop that still run the local restaurants and general stores.  I want to have lunch with the man or woman who knows everything about their community and learn the stories that aren’t in the history books.  I want to get lost in the world, and find myself on the highways and byways, the dirt paths and gravel roads.  I want to carve my initials in trees wherever I go as my silent by definite mark on the world.  When people ask where I have traveled to, I want the to be easier to say, “where haven’t I been.”  I want to be a nomad, a gypsy, a woman whose home is nowhere and everywhere.  I want the story of my life to be illustrated with funky postcards and small-town kitschy souvenirs.

  •  What is going right in my life?

My marriage is going well.  I give my husband plenty of reason to lose his patience with me, but even after thirteen years of marriage, he and I are still going strong.  I have an amazing twelve-year-old son who rarely causes any trouble.  He’s strong, independent, and is comfortable with himself.  My work life is secure and the team we have in place right now has meshed well and is in place to continue to grow and improve more each day.  My walk with Christ is not where it should be, and that is something I talk complete responsibility for, but I remind myself daily that at least I am not where I was four years ago.

  •  What am I grateful for?  List at least 10 things.

There is the easy and obvious stuff to be grateful for:  my family, my job, the roof over my head, my health, my salvation.

Then there is the less obvious things that I am grateful for.  I am grateful for the pictures on my walls because they remind me that I have made precious memories with my family.  I am grateful for the hugs I get from people at church because they remind me that I love others and am loved by others.  I am grateful my sense of exploration because it reminds me to always see things as if for the first time and never let things get old or taken for granted.  I am grateful for my past and even the bad mistakes I have made because, without those experiences, I would not be who I am today.  I am grateful for my love of written words, because words allow me to paint a colorful picture in an imagination in what can be a dull world, tell someone that I love them in a moment when they feel unloved, and speak in moments when my voice occasionally escapes me.

  •  When did I experience joy this week?

I teach two Sunday school classes at church.  The kids in my classes range from four-years-old to twelve-years-old.  All of the kids have been on Spring break this past week.  The first thing we do in class each Sunday is to take a few minutes to talk about things each person did during the past week.  Yesterday each child excitedly regaled me with stories of how they spent their Spring break.  Some of the children stayed home and spent their week playing outside or playing video games.  Some children got to travel with their family.  But no matter how each child spent their week, they all got excited when it was their turn to tell their story.  I love hearing children get excited about something and being able to see their experiences through their eyes.

Day two:

  •  List all my small victories and successes.
  •  What’s bothering me?  Why?
  •  What are my priorities at the moment?
  •  What do I love about myself?
  •  Who means the world to me and why?
  •  If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

Day three:

  •  What advice would I give to my younger self?  (Do I follow this advice now?)
  •  What lesson did I learn this week?
  •  If I had all the time in the world, what would I want to do first?
  •  What’s draining my energy?  What can I do to reduce or cut it out?
  •  What does my ideal morning look like?
  •  What does my ideal day look like?

Day four:

  •  What makes me come alive?  When was the last time I felt truly alive?
  •  Who/What inspires me the most?  Why am I drawn to those inspirations?
  •  Where does my pain originate?  What would need to happen for me to heal?
  •  What are my strengths?  What am I really good at?
  •  What is something I’ve always wanted to do but was too scared?
  •  What is something I would love to learn?

Day five:

  •  What hobbies would I like to try?
  •  Where would I want to live in my ideal life?
  •  Where would I like to travel in the next 5 years?
  •  What can I do to take better care of myself?
  •  When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?
  •  At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

Until next time . . .

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 010 – Friendship

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

Friendship . . . it’s a very broad word.  You have friends that are in our lives for only a short time.  You may even have friends that have been in your life for years and year, maybe even since childhood.  There are friends that only know a little about you, and there are friends that know everything about you.  No matter what through, with every friend that comes into your life, you give a little bit of yourself away.

The point of this writing prompt is to write about what it’s like to be friends with someone.  Yet, writing about friendship in such a vague fashion is bound to turn into a laundry list of attributes that I want in a friend . . . someone who laughs at the same things I do, that has a similar history to mine, that has the same beliefs as me, etc, etc, etc . . . Basically the generalized list of friend requirements would lead you to believe that I want to friends with only one person in my life . . . me.  But that is not the point of friendship, and friendship rarely works out to such exacting standards.

This is actually my second attempt at writing this post, because the first attempt was starting to turn into a laundry list of the friends in my life.  When I went back and read the years of friendships that had all been reduced into their own separate paragraphs it read much the same as a research paper minus the in-paper citations.  It was cold and perfunctory.  Those paragraphs lacked the laughter and tears that so often comes with friendship.  I don’t know if I can recreate the myriad of emotions and experiences that my friends have led me to experience, but hopefully I try to their relationships a little justice.

Some friends has a very positive influence on my life.  They came into my life, if only for a brief time, and helped me face fears, face reality, realize goals, and take on new challenges.  Some friends had a less than positive influence on my life, such as the friend that turned into an extramarital affair for two years.

Let me take this moment to stress though, that no friend should ever be able to push you into something you don’t want to do.  If they do pressure you into things that you don’t want to do then they are not your friend at all.  I take full responsibility for all the decisions I have made in my life.

I grew up with some friends, such as Molly, Tiffany, and Jill.  I matured with some friends, such as John, and Brian.  I have supported friends and been supported by friends.  I have laughed with friends, sometimes (the best times) to point of tears and aching bellies.  I have cried with friends in moments of sadness and loss.  I have given tough love to friends and been the recipient of tough love.  I have given my love and friendship easily, and received friendship and love easily.  I have also been stubborn and self-destructive, and been friends with people as stubborn and self-destructive as I can be.  I have leaned on friends to help me through the addictions of my loved ones, and been the one leaned on when a friend has been falling down.  I have faced fears with my friends, and suffered the loss of my friends.  I have had my heart broken by friends, and been stabbed in the back by my friends.  I have had friends become enemies, sometimes by my own actions, and sometimes by their actions.  And in turn, I have also had enemies become friends.

If you are my friend then I love you.  I love you with all of my heart, and hope for the same in return from you.  I will hold little back from you, and will do all I can to support you and encourage you.  I will value you, and recognize that you have been brought into my life for a reason, whether it’s been to change something in my life or to change something in yours.

I am thankful for every person that has come into my life, and I carry a little bit of each of them with me in my heart.  Each person that I have called friend has made me into the person I am today.

thomasaquinas1

Here is a sneak peek at the topic for day 011:  Dragon: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

Until next time . . .

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 009 – Animals

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

When I first found this list of writing prompts I told myself that I would stick to it.  For one whole year I would sit down with a new and different prompt and just let the words magically flow.  I made it to day eight.  My last post with this list was on May 17, 2017.  This time I am not going to promise myself that I will stick to the list every single day, but I will do my best to work through the list with some level of consistency.  I’ve not posted much in the last several months.  I have always referred to my need to write as a machine.  Sometimes the machine goes dormant for weeks, months, or sometimes even years.  But it always seems to fire back up when my feelings start overflowing.  I have to let them out or else I’ll go crazy.  Writing has always been my outlet.  Writing is my unfailing voice when my mouth fails me.

This particular writing prompt wants me to write about an animal.  There have been so many animals in my life, though, that I can’t pick just one.  So, sit back while I regale you with fond memories of some of the animals from my history.

My very first pet was a Russian Blue kitty cat named Flynn.  My parents adopted him shortly before I was born, and my mom always told me that when they got him he was smaller than a can of Dr. Pepper.

Flynn was a super awesome kitty, and he old had three feet.  He had all four legs, but was born with a birth defect that one of his legs ended in just a paw pad.  There were no adorable little toes.  It never fazed him that he was missing a foot.  He was my first experience with love, and he was first experience with death.  I was about seven years old when he passed away while the whole family slept.  My mom found him in the morning before I woke up, and she broke the news to me while I ate breakfast.  That broke my heart.

My next super awesome cat was named Rocky.  When my mom found him at the humane society he was in a large cage with several other kittens.  The other cats were just hanging out and napping.  Rocky was hanging on the front of the cage vying for all the attention.  The Sylvester Stallone movie, “Rocky” was popular at the time, so when my mom adopted the attention-grabbing kitten, she named him Rocky.  He immediately became my cat.  He slept with me, followed me around the house.  He was my feline shadow.  As he aged he went deaf, but he didn’t realize that he couldn’t hear.  He would walk around the house in the middle of the night howling at the top of his lungs like a dog baying at the moon.  He lived a long and adventurous life finally passed away in 2001.

I used to have a cat named Spot.  He was all black except for one white spot on his neck.  When he was a kitten Spot was a wild man.  He would climb curtains, run wall-to-wall around the house, try to jump into the kitchen sink while my dad did the dishes, and would sit in the tub while my dad would take a shower, and he would attack my feet if they moved while I slept.  And then he got neutered and he stopped moving.  He became a big ole lump.  He didn’t like most adults, but had amazing patience with children.  In the winter when the furnace would be running he would lay on the floor vent.  The room would be freezing cold, but that goofy cat would be fast asleep and purring on the vent.  He fuzzy belly would be hot while everyone in the room was turnin blue from the cold.  He like to go outside but would never venture farther than the backyard.  He’d just lay in th sunshine and sleep.

Unfortunately I will in an apartment complex that does not allow pets, so I have not had any animals in my life since 2004.  But the last two cats that I had were named Pepper and Goldie.  Pepper was just a standard domestic tabby cat.  Goldie was an orange tabby.  Pepper was afraid of EVERYthing.  Goldie was afraid of NOTHING.  Pepper would hide and cower and would avoid people at all costs.  Goldie would get in your face and demand attention.  My dad got both of them on the same night, and they were about the same age.  They were essentially raised by the dog that my dad already had at home.  Pepper always remember that he was a cat.  Goldie grew up thinking he was a dog.  He at the dog’s food.  If the dog went outside to play or go to the bathroom, Goldie went outside also.  Goldie learned how to play fetch, and would try to steal food directly off of your dinner plate.

Those are just some of the pets that have walked through this world with me.  How about you?  What are some of your favorite animal stories?

pets

Here is a sneak peek at the topic for day 010:  Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.

Until next time . . .

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 008 – Dream-catcher

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

Some people think that dreams mean nothing, that they are just a collective sequence of incoherent meanderings of the mind.  Others, myself included, believe that dreams have meaning.  That the imagery, colors, people, and actions are all the mind’s way of working out things that you are feeling and experiencing.  I personally believe that dreams are yet another aspect to delve into when it comes to the study of human behavior.

Sometimes my dreams are affected by something I read or watched on television just before going to bed.  Other times a person or place will show up in my dream that I haven’t seen or been to in years.  When I was a young child I would even dream in black and white when I was sick, and I would lose my depth perception in my dreams if my fever got high.

The mind is a crazy thing, and dreams are just another way to explore how the mind works and why we do what we do.

As you can tell, the topic of this particular writing prompt is dreams.  The assignment is to write something inspired by a recent dream I have had.  I don’t remember much of my recent dreams so I am going to veer a bit from the assigned task.  I am going to refer to the most vivid dream I have ever had.  It was the only time that I have had a dream recur.  It had this same dream for four nights in a row with each night getting progressively worse.

Night one

I am alone.  I am walking along a paved path through a park.  There are trees, shrubery, grass, and various other standards of landscaping. There are no birds.  There are no other people in the park.  There is no sound.  I am not deaf.  There are just no sounds to be heard.  It’s almost as if somebody has pressed a mute button on my auditory sense.

I can’t tell what time of day it is because there were no shadows in my dream.  There is no sunlight.  It is as if I am walking through a painting.  Objects are 3-dimensional, but the colors are flat, even, without depth or warmth.

I can hear footsteps behind me.  I turn and see my best friend.  He is walking briskly, as if he is trying t catch up with me.  He looks unhappy.  Not sad and not pissed off.  Just displeased.  He is carrying a small gun about the size of a .22.  I get nervous and quicken my steps.  I know that I am the object of his displeasure and that I am the target for this gun.

And that is how the dream ended on night one.

Night two

The scenario is exactly the same.  The park, the lack of sound, even what I am wearing.  It is an exact repeat of the night before.  The only difference is when I hear the footsteps from behind me my best friend is carrying a larger gun, and he is visibly angrier than the night before.  Again I quicken my steps and escape him.

Night three

For the third night in a row I am strolling through that same park.  Again everything is exactly the same.  In my dream I am unaware that I have been in this same dream during the previous two nights.  Again I hear the footsteps from behind me, and again it is my best friend.  The gun he is carrying is once again larger than it was the night before, and he is obviously very angry and determined to confront the source of his anger.

I am terrified.  I run, and come across a bench along the walkway.  I hide behind the bench, and my friend passes right by me without seeing me.  I know I am not in the clear.  It is just a matter of time before he finds me again.

Night four

Just as with the previous nights, every aspect of this dream is exactly the same.  When I hear the footsteps behind me I see that my best friend is carrying a machine gun.  He is holding it firmly with both hands in front of him.  It is pointed at me.  He is glaring at me.  I break into a run knowing that I have to escape him.  Again I hide behind the park bench.  I watch my friend approach, but this time he does not pass by.  This time he stops in front of the bench.  He turns to face me as I crouch behind the bench.  He looks down at me with the gun aimed directly at my face.  I am so terrified that I can’t breath.  I say nothing to him.  I can’t say anything.  What is there to say?

For the first time in all four nights there is finally sound.  It is the sound of his voice as he growls his intent at me . . . “Now I’m going to kill you.”

That is how night four, and the final night, ended.

Here is the backstory that caused this dream.

My parents are divorced.  I lived with my mom as I was growing up.  My dad always made sure that we communicated a lot and that he was very active in my life, sometimes to the point of being overbearing.

When report cards would come out I would have to call him and tell him my grades.  He would praise the high grades and he would lecture me for the low grades.  One particular semester I had gotten a couple of really bad grades that I knew I would get a verbal lashing for.  I put off making the call to my dad for several days.  This became a huge source of anxiety for me.  It was such a source of anxiety that it caused that 4-night-long dream.

The dream scared me until I figured out what it was representing.  It was with that dream that I became interested in dream interpretation.

Walking alone in the park = keeping silent about my grades

My best friend = my dad

The park bench = my report card

The gun = my growing fear of telling my dad about my grades

“Now I’m going to kill you” = the verbal lashing I anticipated getting from my dad

As soon as I figured out what the dream meant I knew I had to tell my dad.  If I didn’t tell him then how much worse could the dream have gotten had there been a night five?

I told my dad about my report card.  I got the verbal lashing.  Life went on.

Here is a sneak peak at the topic for day 008:  Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

Until next time . . .

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 007 – The Rocket Ship

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

“Space . . . the final frontier . . . ”  Wasn’t that from the original Star Trek series?  Though the kitchy, low-budget series was entertaining, I was always a bigger fan of Captain Piccard and his crew.  The writing prompt I am tackling today is not neccessarily about Kirk or Piccard.  But it does tackle the final frontier.  Today’s writing prompt . . . The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on it’s way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

I am on day number two of trying to write this post . . . I think pulling teeth would have been a lot easier and considerably less painful.  Some topics are just like that.

Now when I think of shows like Star Trek I don’t wonder what it would be like to be adventuring through space.  I think about what it would be like to be trapped for weeks, months, or ever years, on a ship in space.  No possibility of getting off the ship.  No escape.  No taking a walk around the block for a change of scenery.  No running through a drive-thru for a milkshake and cheeseburger.

That is the route that this particular writing prompt entry will take.  I will be honest and say that I have been avoiding this particular writing prompt, because science-fiction is not a subject of interest to me.  I only ever watched Star Trek because somebody else was already watching it.  So this may not be one of my stronger posts.  Allow me to apologize for that ahead of time.

When I think of space I think of all the things I would like to see.  My rocket would be one similar to Marvin the Martian’s rocket.

Marvin the Martian Rocket

Except my rocket would be purple with chrome trim, and a big yellow smiley face on the side.

I would travel through space and check out stars, black holes, Mars (of course), Pluto, and I would take selfies on the moon as I make “snow” angels in the dirt.  I take a space stroll on Venus, try to land on a meteor.  I would do a fly-by of the International Space Station and moon them.  I would listen for sounds that might hint at life in other galaxies.  I would chronicle my dad-to-day activities via video so that future generations could watch with amusement my descent into space madness.  I would turn off any form of directional system and purposely get lost.  After all, you can’t find anything if you already know where you are.  You have to get lost to find your way.  I would try to find the stars that make up my favorite constellation . . .

orion

I would recreate my favorite episode of Ren and Stimpy . . .

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3hcph3

Basically, I would do the same things in space that I do here on Earth.  Zero-gravity would just make those activities a lot more entertaining.

Here is a sneak peak at the topic for day 008:  Dream-catcher: Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

Until next time . . .

365 Writing Prompts, by thinkingwritten.com – Day 006 – Eye Contact

The complete list of 365 writing prompts can be found at thinkwritten.com

Take a moment to think about one of the most intimate moments in your life . . . a moment when you felt connected to another person.  I’m talking about a connection more intimate than physical contact.  A moment when you felt a connection in your soul.

It is said that the eyes are the gateway to the soul.  To make eye contact with someone, even if it’s just for a moment, is to connect with them.  Maybe you’ll be able to see something that they are keeping hidden . . . a sadness, a joy, a lie, a truth.  The mouth can lie, but the eyes can not.

Eyes are possibly the most expressive part of the body, and to make eye contact with someone is to reach them on an intimate level.  And that is the subject of today’s writing prompt.  Eye contact.  The assignment is to write about two people seeing each other for the first time.  So, without further ado . . .

 

The room was large, open, and decorated to look like the interior of a barn.  The stage at the front of the room was filled with musical equipment . . . a guitar, bass, keyboard, drum kit, speakers, and several microphones.  Tables lined each side of the room, and the center of the room was left open as a dance floor.  The space was used frequently for musical acts and dances.  Most of the entertainers who took the stage were local acts, bands that played together for fun and as an escape from the tedium of their day jobs.

She entered the room that night expecting nothing more than to watch her friend play with his band that night.  She was prepared for a couple hours of good music, maybe a little bit of dancing, and then to go home.  She looked around the room and noticed that most of the audience was quite a bit older than her, and they all were decked out in their cowboy boots, best jeans, pearl-snap shirts, and cowboy hats.  She found a seat at a table near the stage and people-watched while she waited for her friend to arrive.

She never saw the band members take the stage, but the lead singer greeting the audience is what finally grabbed her attention.  She spotted her friend on the stage and gave him a wave.  She noticed that the rest of the band members were all about the same age as the audience . . . every band member, except for one.  The keyboard player.  He was much younger.  He looked young enough to be the son of one of the guys in the band.  She was captivated.  He had dirty blonde hair.  Compared to the rest of the band he was short.  He was trim.  His Captain America t-shirt clung to his chest and shoulders just enough to hint at the solid muscles beneath it.  His dark blue jeans were worn and comfortable looking, like they had been worn during many a performance.  His black Converse high-tops had obviously seen a lot of life as well.

She had gone to watch her friend play with his band, but she could not turn her gaze away from the man on the keyboard. 

During the show intermission she went outside to talk to her friend as the band quickly smoked their cigarettes before returning to the stage.  She knew most of the other band members, having met them at previous shows, so an unfamiliar voice grabbed her attention.  She turned around to find the source of the voice and it was him, the keyboard player.  He was standing right behind her.  When he noticed her looking at him he gave her a quick but small smile and quickly looked away.  It was dark outside so she was unable to get any kind of impression from the look on his face.  She wanted to see him in the light.  She wanted to find out his name and talk to him.  Her curiosity was killing her.

The band went back inside and took their places on the stage again and soon their second set was under way.  Again, she could not take her eyes off the keyboard player.  She felt drawn to him, and like everyone else in the room knew she could not take her eyes off of him.  The rest of the set passed in a haze.  She did not notice a single song they played as she watched the keyboard player.

As the evening came to an end and she prepared to leave, disappointed at not having even learned the keyboard player’s name, she told her friend goodbye and turned to walk away.

“I don’t even get a hug or a goodbye or anything?”  It was his voice, and he was talking to her. 

Her breath quickened as she frantically tried to think of a witty response.  Nothing.  Her mind was blank.  She turned around and there he was, standing right behind her.  He eyes!  They were such a deep brown that his pupil was almost lost in the depth of the brown.  He was staring at her, waiting for her response, but no words would escape her lips.  But his eyes said that he knew what she was thinking.  A connection.  Unable to turn her gaze away from him, she gave him a smile.

“In case you’re wondering, my name is Eric.”

“Carrie,” she responded, her voice just a bit more than a whisper.

“I hope I’ll see you again very soon, Carrie.  If you’ll give me your number, I’ll text you when I’m playing again.”

He typed the numbers into his phone as her weak voice spoke them.  She gave him a reluctant goodbye, and left the event hall.  Before she made it to her car she got a text . . . “I couldn’t stop watching you all night.  I almost didn’t say anything to you.  Too nervous, but your eyes drew me in.  When can I see you again?”

And it all started with just a brief moment of eye contact.

 

Here is a sneak peak at the topic for day 007:  The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on it’s way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

Until next time . . .