The Path (poem)

I fell, one night,
into a simple dream
An unhindered path
blanketed in grass, pristine
A gentle breeze at my back
beneath a sky so clear
In the distance a bird
singing a melody, clear
pexels-photo-568236.jpeg
Step by step I, forward, moved
not knowing where or why
Maybe fate would put me
where it would decide
Scenes from my history
dotted the landscape in brief
but were left behind silently
with little pain or grief
The sun shone on my face
masking my destination from my eyes
as I continued fearlessly forward
A new future, in a dream, disguised
But then a second path converged
and on it a person came into sight
Where are they going on the path in my dream
Who am I dreaming of in the middle of the night
Path
Conversation started
Laughter joyously rang
And on that converged path
new friendship began that day
What began as a simple dream
on an unknown path, so new
Turned into the path, the moment,
that led my life to you
friend

Heather L. Flood
05.08.18

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30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 13 – Your Commute To And From Work

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I love to drive.  I love being out on the open road, music playing on the stereo while I sing along, or silence except for the hum of my tires on the asphalt.  I love the scenery of trees and overgrown grassy medians.  I love the myriad of billboards that advertise everything from fast food chains to mom-and-pop restaurants, hotels to doctors offices.  I love seeing other travelers on their way to somewhere as we share a small stretch of America’s highways and biways.  I love rest stops and truck stops.  I love getting lost and carving new paths.  I love getting in my car and just going . . . going somewhere specific or maybe just exploring what is outside of my everyday realm of civilization.
Driving.  Claiming this great country one blacktopped, speed-limited mile at a time.
I love driving.

Day 13 – Your commute back and forth to work

When most people hear how long my commute to and from work is they usually gasp in horror.  “Oh my goodness!  You poor girl!  You have to drive that far?”  But I tell them, with complete honesty, that I love my drive to work.  The drive to work gives me plenty of time to prepare for the day ahead of me, and the drive home gives me plenty of time to decompress and leave my work day behind.  Yes, there are times when I am exhausted and don’t want to make that long haul.  Yes, there are times when appointments or weather makes the drive a bit of an inconvenience (I’m terrified of driving in snow).  But for the most part I enjoy my drive.  I’ve been making this commute for almost 4 years.
I live in Paducah, Kentucky.  I work in Murray, Kentucky.  Roundtrip commute each day:  approximately 100 miles.
My son and I leave the house each morning at 7:15 so that I can drop him off at school.  After making our way through the dropoff line I head toward the south side of town to make a stop at my usual gas station for my morning Dr. Pepper.  That particular gas station has the best soda fountain in town, because their Dr. Pepper calibration is slightly off kilter in favor of the soda syrup.
From there I head toward the highway and get on I-24, a relatively boring highway, but one that makes up half of my drive.  It does have lots of pretty foliage in the fall though.  But in the winter is also the site of many nasty accidents.
From I-24 I get on the Purchase Parkway, so named because it goes through the Purchase-area of Western Kentucky, as in Louisiana Purchase.  You know, Louis and Clark?  I’m only on this stretch of highway for about 10 miles, but in that short stretch there are currently two separate sites of road construction where the state is reconfiguring some of the on-and-off ramps.  It’s a mild inconvenience, but nothing that brings traffic to a dead stop on a daily basis, or even at all for that matter.
From the Purchase Parkway I get onto Highway 641, a lonely 4-lane highway that Marshall and Calloway Counties never plow when it snows.  Never.  It’s awful.  Along this stretch of highway I pass Andrus Excavating about 10 miles from work.  As soon as I pass it I lose my K-Love radio signal and have to switch to a little Christian station based in Hardin, Kentucky.  About 5 miles from work I pass a Dollar General and Murray Auto Auction, where a friend had to pick me up from one winter night because the road was crappy and I was too afraid to drive any further.
Traffic starts to get heavier the closer I get to Murray, a college town, home of Murray State University.  Luckily though I get to get off of 641 before getting too deep into Murray, so I get to get out of the traffic before it becomes to obnoxious.
My radio station sits at the bottom of two hills, and is surrounded by trees and apartments.
The drive home . . . Simply reverse my drive to work minus the stop at my son’s school.
Drive-time in the morning: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Drive-time in the evening: 45 minutes.
I love my commute no matter how crazy anyone thinks I am for it.
Until next time . . .

Introvert Insight

My pastor recently said that when searching for a way to serve in the church you naturally wouldn’t put an introvert on the host team.  I am an introvert and I am on the host team.  Being introverted doesn’t mean that we hide in a hole of shy loneliness all day.  We just don’t need to constantly feed off the attention of others to maintain our happiness.

Julia Shappert | Official Blog

It is no lie. I am an introvert. I don’t think there is anyone I know who wouldn’t consider me quiet, reserve, and introspective. In many cases, this is true but definitely not all the time. Sometimes, I feel like introverts are viewed in a less-than-positive way from the more outgoing crowd. It is a shame that we (on behalf of introverts) are easily misinterpreted as shy, antisocial, and even snotty. But, hopefully this article shows our side of the story. 🙂

1.) We over think things…a lot. It’s almost like we are living in a separate world where all of our thoughts just explode and evolve into millions of deep scenarios, which can lead to anxiety. We might be silent on the outside but our brains don’t seem to relax.

2.) We speak up when necessary. If we are passionate about something, there is no stopping us voicing our…

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Are You Feeling Weighed Down?

In a world where we are expected to keep busy all the time lest we be viewed as lazy it is all too easy to get overwhelmed by our life.  Responsibilities to work, family, friends, church . . . sometimes we forget how to say, “no.”  I know that I am super guilty of that.  Sometimes you have to sit back, pull out your favorite book, shut off your phone, and focus on yourself for a little bit.

In your life the person who needs you the most is yourself.  You will be no good to anyone or anything else if you don’t recharge your batteries now and then.  It’s not being selfish to need some time alone.

My favorite way to recharge . . . I go to a quiet spot near the river, sometimes with a book, and just enjoy the peace and quiet.  I think.  I pray.  I relax.  I set aside everything that I am carrying with me for just a little bit and focus on me.

How do you decompress?

Until next time . . .

Kindness Blog

Lots to do? Sometimes we need to do nothing for a while so that we can come back, to face our challenges, renewed and with a fresh perspective.

Then we can do what really needs to be done.

weighed down

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“Warning” by Jenny Joseph (poem)

This is one of my absolute all-time favorite poems.  Every time I read it I chuckle and picture a happy, little old lady wearing a purple sundress, red hat, and sandals living her life fully and unapologetically, making the most of every moment and not having a care in the world.  One day I will be that little old lady.

Warning
By:  Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple 
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. 
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves 
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. 
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired 
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells 
And run my stick along the public railings 
And make up for the sobriety of my youth. 
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain 
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens 
And learn to spit. 

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat 
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go 
Or only bread and pickle for a week 
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. 

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry 
And pay our rent and not swear in the street 
And set a good example for the children. 
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. 

But maybe I ought to practice a little now? 
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised 
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Who God wants me to be

Lately I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life.  There has been no significant event to bring on that reflection.  Sometimes you are just able to step back and see things for what they are.

I am a 37-year-old wife and mother.  I am an aunt and friend.  I am a dedicated employee and newly reborn Christian.  Am I now where I thought I would be by this age?  Nope.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a firefighter, neurosurgeon, truck driver, and in the military.  When I was a teenager I found my calling when I watched my dad practice for this bar dj’ing gigs.  I knew that radio was what I was meant to do.  I was a fine arts geek in school . . . band, choir, theatre . . . but my passion lie in my clarinet and saxophone.  I remember thinking that I would never be able to feel whole if I stopped playing music.

I look back at the friends I had when I was younger and vividly remember writing notes to them that were signed “best friends forever.”  You never think when you’re younger that the friends you had then would not be the same friends that you would  have when you are older.  Many of those friends from high school I don’t even talk to anymore.  They were people who were there for me at some of my hardest teenage times . . . break-ups with boyfriends, fights with other kids at school, struggles with classes.  I thought that we were building friendships that would last forever.  But when you are a kid it’s difficult to see past today much less see years into the future.

I remember my first love . . . Bill.  My world rose and fell on him.  He was adorable to my little high school mind.  He was tall, blonde, the most beautiful blue eyes, and very smart.  Everybody loved him.  He was my first boyfriend.  He was my first kiss.  He was the first one that encouraged my writing.  He was IT . . . my first love.  I thought that relationship would never ever end.

I haven’t seen or spoken to Bill since December, 1995.  I do know that he is father to a couple of children and married to a beautiful girl that we graduated with.  She has the same name as me.  It’s funny the way life works sometimes.

As a kid I had lofty dreams of where I would be when I got older.  I would be living in a nice house, driving nice cars, and doing very well off financially.  I would be married to the perfect man, and I would be a raging success in my career.  Basically I imagined my life as a fairy tale.  How does the saying go . . . “Want to make God laugh?  Tell him your plan.”

We can make all the plans we want, but only God knows where our life will go.  Only He knows what lies ahead of us on our road.

I do not live in a nice house.  I live in a two bedroom apartment.  I do not drive a nice car.  I drive a little Kia.  I am not well off financially.  I struggle every month to make the ends meet, and sometimes they don’t.  I am not married to a perfect man, but I am married to a man who is perfect for me.  I am not the raging success in my career that I pictured while I was in broadcasting school, but I have listeners that enjoy me being a part of their day.

Thanks to Facebook I still can keep up with many of the people who I was friends with as a kid.  But, honestly, if I deleted my Facebook account the loss of their constant updates about their trips to the gym and what they made for dinner would not diminish my life.  Why?  Because I don’t know those people anymore.  I am not the same person I was when I did know them.  Just as they are not the same person they were when they knew me.  We have grown and changed, and have not talked in years.  Facebook is just the last vestige of holding on to the past.

I just realized that I sound kind of bitter right now.  Bitter is not at all how I feel.  I feel so very thankful for the way my life has turned out so far.

2-and-a-half years ago I realized my dream of going to work for a station I had been hoping to work at for 10 years.  I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 10 years.  I have an amazing 8-year-old son that tries my patience but makes me love him more everyday.  I have a 14-year-old stepdaughter that is growing into a wonderful young woman.  In the past couple of years God has brought so many people into my life that have brought change in me that I could have never imagined when I was a kid.  I have met people who are like family to me.  I have more moms that I can count now.  I have friends that are more like brothers and sisters to me.  I have met people who have helped me find my way back to God, and people who have helped me grow in my relationship with Him.

A year ago I was on a path that was leading not only to my own self-destruction but to the destruction of my family also.  I was having an affair with one man, and just a few months away from meeting another man who I would actively try to seek an adulterous relationship with.  Did I plan on that when I was a kid?  Nope.  I was going to have the perfect marriage, remember?  But one year ago I was lying to my husband about where I was so that I could go to another man.

I am not saying that my life is perfect now.  It’s not perfect at all, but it is getting better.  I am getting better.  I have learned to have faith in God to lead me where he wants me.  I have learned that he will bring the people into my life that he knows that I need to be better for him.  I have let go of the adulterous relationship, but am still struggling to extricate myself from the other man I was actively pursuing.  But God will show me the way and give me the strength.

I had great plans for myself when I was younger.  But God had great plans for me from the minute I was born.  I am finally able to see that.

I have not taken the radio world by storm.  I am not rich or famous.  I don’t have a big, fancy house.  I don’t have a super nice car.  But I have a roof over my head, food on the table for me and my family, a job that I love, and the faith that God is giving me everything I need.

As I reflect on where I am in my life I look back and see how far I have come in the weeks, months, and years of my past.  I am not who I was then.  I am not who I will be in the future.  Who I am is who God wants me to be right now.

Are you who God wants you to be right now?

Until next time . . .

Dance (poem)

Take a step
Arms raised high
The music in your head
in tune to the tears of the sky
Take another step
Face to the clouds
Glistening skin
Nature’s music playing loud
Spinning, swaying
Make a splash
Let everything go
An unchoreographed dance
Carefree laughter
washes cares away
as you steal a moment
to dance in the rain
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
06.13.14

Waiting (poem)

Waiting, waiting, waiting
That’s all we ever do
Waiting for a moment
Waiting for you
Waiting for a tomorrow
that may never come
Waiting to get older
says the waiting young
Waiting to get better
Waiting to slow down
Waiting to find happiness
behind the waiting frown
Waiting to grow up
Waiting to finally die
Waiting for the clouds to part
Waiting for goodbye
Waiting for the beginning
Waiting for the one
Waiting for the next moment
so your waiting will be done
Waiting for the right words
that you don’t know how to say
Waiting to not be waiting
your entire life away
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
06.10.11

Hole (poem)

Doubt and fear
Suffocating life
Reaching for the stars
Watching dreams die
Happiness and sunshine
Seem so far away
The strength to keep reaching
May not come another day
Slip down deep
A hole of despair
Until all that you’ve reached for
Disappears in the air

By:  Carrie Leigh
05.26.14

Painted On (poem)

A painted-on smile
to match the cheery mood
Fake joy perfected
Happy laughter on a loop
Watch me as I do my magic
that most will never see
Watch as I turn on the girl
that you need me to be
Never allowed to have a bad day,
to come down from the clouds
Never lose the skip in my step,
or shed a tear out loud
Live in my sunshine
when my days are good
But run away on the bad days
so I don’t run to you
So, I’ll dress for the day
and wear my smile as a shield
So that you see the girl you want to see,
not the girl inside that is real
I’ll hide my tears behind closed doors
You’ll never have to see me fall down
But know that behind the painted-on smile
hides the liar’s frown
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
05.21.14